Bicycle Touring As a Cheap Adventure Travel Alternative

Adventure travel has been increasingly sought after over the past few years, but as the economy has declined the generally expensive adventure travel packages have become less and less appealing. Few people would feel good about spending thousands of dollars to put a little adventure in their travel.

And here enters bicycle touring. There are several different types of bike touring around, from those totally organized and supported by a bicycle touring company down to those fully self-contained and supported by you, the tourer. Interestingly, the cheapest option (fully self-contained) also provides the most freedom and adventure.

It sounds too good to be true, right? You get more for less? But that really is the truth if adventure is what you’re looking for. Also, assuming that you go on a bike tour more than once in your life, then the one-time purchase of your bike (if you don’t already own one) and touring gear is a good, relatively cheap investment. The cost of your bike and gear, if you do some bargain hunting, can be less than the cost of a ticket overseas, and you get to use your bike and gear over and over again.

Designing your own adventure travel tour by bicycle can also allow to you stay close to home if you are on a really tight budget or a time constraint. Spending a few days cycling to a nearby landmark, national park, etc., would effectively cut your traditional transportation expenses to zero, or darn near to it.

The biggest expense you’ll have while on your adventure will probably be food; your body’s the engine and it needs gas. But as long as you are smart about what you buy and make sure not to eat a steak dinner with a couple beers every night, you are still going to come out way under the expense total of a normal adventure travel package.

So whether you are looking for some gap year adventure travel, a little taste of the slow travel lifestyle, or some way to throw a bit of cheap adventure travel into your life this year, give bicycle touring at try. And for all you new cycle tourers out there, there are plenty of cycle touring guides and tips on the internet to get you started. Good luck, and happy touring.

10 Tips For European Travel Planning

1. Keep your money safe – Certain parts of Europe are known for their thieves and pick-pockets that target tourists. Consider bringing along a money belt which you can fasten beneath your clothing to keep your money safe. You should also budget accordingly so you never carry more cash than you need in a single day.

2. Create an itinerary – Leave it with friends and family members back home. It should list your flight information, the address and phone numbers of the hotels or hostels you’ll be staying at, and your travel plans once you’re in Europe.

3. Compile contact information – This includes all important phone numbers such as your credit card companies and where you’ll be staying throughout the trip. In the event you needed to report a lost credit card or call your hotel in advance, you have the information you need.

4. Plan how you will travel within Europe – If you’ll be traveling between various European countries, you may find flying point-to-point saves you time and money. If you’ll be traveling within a specific country or region, traveling by train may be more practical.

5. Know common words and phrases of the language – Knowing a few simple words such as “train” and “bathroom” may be all you need to get around. Also, in many places if you simply say “English” you can find natives who speak English.

6. Make and confirm all your lodging reservations – When making reservations, make sure you include all key information in your reservation requests including the type of room you want, how many nights you’ll be staying, and any special requests you may have. A few days before your scheduled departure, call ahead to confirm your reservations.

7. Know the weather – What’s the seasonal climate like where you will be traveling? Make sure you pack accordingly and consider packing in layers so you can easily dress according to the weather once you’re there.

8. Know the U.S. Embassies – If your passport is lost or stolen, you’ll need to get a new one through the U.S. Embassy so make sure you know where it is located in each country you will be visiting.

9.Do your homework – If you don’t have much time and you’re not sure which cities and sites you should visit, read up on your destination online. Reviews written by other travelers can be a valuable source for your European travel planning.

10. Create a route and time-line – Determine a logical geographical order of the places you will visit and when to ensure you make the most of your time in Europe.

How To Pack For a New-To-You Summer Vacation Destination

Most families that take vacations are used to knowing what to pack for the various vacation destinations to which they are traveling. In some ways, though the “same old, same old” may seem a bit dull to others, it does make for knowing what you actually need to take on your trip with you & what you are better off leaving at home.

The one rogue variable that can cause issues for families is having to pack for a trip to a destination to which they’ve never traveled. Not only are you not aware of what you may encounter, but you have to keep track of so many other variables. If you travel with kids, though, you may find that the newness of the destination and the preparation for it can be enough to throw them off, and this can be a nightmare for parents. What do you do?

Well, if you’re traveling somewhere this summer that’s new for the whole family, here are a few steps to take prior to leaving home that may make the transition a little easier:

1. Have A Family Meeting – Sure, this idea seems a little “sitcom”, but there is value in setting the whole family down for a meeting to discuss what your vacation will be like this time around. This means that a little research has to be done regarding the destination and what it has to offer, plus it never hurts to have some info on where you’ll be staying.

2. Put Together A Plan – Once you’ve established that everyone is on the same page, it’s time to get a plan together. You could make a general plan for the family, or you could make it specific to each member of the family. Make a packing schedule and, if possible, try to have another family meeting to discuss progress on the trip preparation.

3. Check the Weather – Don’t hesitate in checking the weather ahead of time so that you know what to pack for your trip. You can either check the local town’s chamber of commerce for a weather update (i.e., Red River, NM is a perfect example). If you’re still unclear on weather, plan for light layers so that you can either maintain layers if cold or shed layers if things get warm.

4. Have A Packing Checklist – Nothing will throw your trip into a whirlwind like getting to your destination and seeing that one of your kids packed only toys and candy for the trip. Each person should have a checklist as to what items to pack & should check them off as they go. You could even make it a game for kids if they need some extra motivation.

5. Relax – Travel experts often cite one thing to keep in mind for new vacation destinations – have fun & relax. Even with all the planning you have in place, things will fall through the cracks. Luckily, if you need it, there’s usually a place for you to replace it when you get to your destination.

A vacation should be a relaxing time, and even with a bit of a curve-ball with a new destination, always remember that summer vacations are the trips that are the most memorable. Make this new adventure be the best!