Saturday, 7 January 2012

Finding a Cheap Car Rental When Traveling to Other Countries

Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, there are many reasons to rent a car when you reach your destination. While public transportation will usually take you to major tourist attractions or to the centers of large cities, relying only on trains and buses can be time-consuming. After all, you are forced to travel according to the carriers' schedules, rather than having the freedom to come and go as you please.

Taxis, of course, are always an option - providing you don't want to travel too far off the beaten path. If you're on holiday in Spain, for example, and decide to venture over to the Spanish coast or countryside, a taxi is out of the question and public transportation won't take you where you want to go. Indeed, a car hire is the only way to ensure that you have the flexibility to see the sights on your own timetable and on your own terms.

For those who think that renting a car in another country will be impossible or cumbersome, it's time to think again. Not only is it easy to rent a car in European countries and the U.S., but it's actually easy to find discount car rentals.

The ground rules for a car hire are basically the same across all car rental companies. For example, you typically have to be 23 years old, have a valid driver's license, and have a credit card. When you reserve a car, you normally get to choose what class of vehicle you'd like, such as compact, mid-size, full-size, or a van. However, you don't usually have the opportunity to specify make and model. Nonetheless, most car rental agencies will accommodate your wishes if they have your preferred make and model available when you pick up the vehicle.

The choice of whether or not to purchase extra insurance can be made when you collect the rental car. Before you leave for your destination, it's important to check with your own car insurance agency and see if your coverage extends to rental cars in the country you'll be visiting. If not, it's a good idea to sign up for the extra coverage.

If you'll be traveling to several different countries, it's important to understand the regulations of the car rental agency as they pertain to crossing borders. If you're in Europe, for example, most car rental agencies will allow you to drive to other European countries - providing you inform them that you're going to do so and that you buy extra insurance. The same holds true for a car rental in the USA; with advance notice, many agencies will allow you to, for example, take the car to Canada.

With all of the advantages to using a car hire while you're traveling, the one sticking point is whether or not you'll be able to find a cheap car rental. The best approach is to search online for a company that works with many different car rental agencies; they will have up-to-date information on availability, and can search for the best price available for the dates you desire. Because these online sources book so many reservations, they are able to negotiate bargain basement prices so that a traveler can find the cheap car rental that will make their holiday or business trip convenient and worry-free.

Find The Perfect Weekend Getaway

If you are starting to feel like an overworked dog who hasn't even had the time of day to even brush her hair, then a great weekend getaway is exactly what your mind and body is desperately in need of. A spectacular weekend getaway need not cost you a whole year's salary. It is highly important that you do a little bit of research on great weekend getaway spots that are both hassle-free and not so expensive so that come by Monday you will be in tip top shape for the office once you have been fully refreshed and rejuvenated from your weekend getaway. Here are some prime weekend getaways spots that you might want to consider going to.

1. Arizona Hot Springs

These sizzling hot springs give off a relaxed and friendly atmosphere to those who just want to soak tired muscles in the extremely relaxing thermal waters that the incredible hot springs in this town has to offer. If you want to take full advantage of this weekend getaway. The relaxing waters will surely get you in the mood for some more weekend getaway fun. Their relaxation services include

- 20-minute bath
- Turbo shower
- Hot-pack treatments
- Swedish massage

After having that luxurious afternoon spa treatments you can then head off to the other places in this quaint city wherein you can enjoy delicious, home-style lunches as well as take a walk downtown to enjoy the great sights, from the Victorian architecture to the various antique shops and worldly museums. And if you're a heading off to Hot Springs, Arizona in a car or if you have rented one for the trip, here's a great trip for your sight-seeing pleasure: take a spin around the Hot Springs Mountain Drive or the West Mountain Drive wherein you will surely find the views from these two mountain summits extremely extraordinary.

2. San Antonio, Texas

For those hippie chicks or those who want to channel their inner flower child, San Antonio, Texas provides a great old-world boohoo vibe that is both extremely charming and relaxing for a great weekend getaway. From San Antonio's world-class hotels to the blossoming art scene, even up to the world famous relics of the Alamo, this rustic town offers a lot of great things to do if ever you decide on spending your weekend getaway here. You might want to stay at the trendy and chic new Watermark Hotel and Spa which is housed in a converted saddlery after you've got yourself settle in, you can then venture off to the King William Historic District and just wander around San Antonio's vintage boutiques, various art galleries and charming little cafes.

The San Antonio night scene is something to take notice of as well since by night time, the whole city turn into a bustling place for club hopping and drinks out with friends - a definite must to cap off your weekend getaway in San Antonio, Texas. A favorite neighborhood night spot here is the Azuca which offers great nuevo lationo cuisine as well as sexy salsa dancing - great for couples taking on the weekend getaway or those who just want to have fun and meet new people. A cool insider tip from the burgeoning vintage shops in San Antonio, try to find time for a trip to the Jive Vintage and Art where shopaholics can find a treasure trove of kitschy as well as cool vintage pieces.

3. Charleston, South Carolina

If you are really trying to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, you can head off down south to Charleston, South Carolina for this city's simple and languid charm. Known for being the epitome of the Old South, this quiet Southern town has beautiful magnolia-lined boulevards that will surely charm your tired body and mind. You can feast on the many low-country cuisine that this beautiful Southern town has to offer, shrimp to grits. You really must try their home-style specialties.

The slow and lingering pace of this town will surely be a welcome break from your monotonous and highly jarring city life. The stunning antebellum mansions as well as the blossoming gardens down by the waterfront will surely calm your senses. And for the shopper in you, you can then peruse to the outdoor bazaar located on Market Street and you can also make your way toward the vintage stores located on King Street. A great tip for those who are off for a weekend getaway at Charleston, South Carolina you can also try out the jazz clubs at the East Bay Street.

Find The Perfect City Retreat

Is it possible to stay in the middle of a city and still have an oasis of calm to retreat to?

The aim of any boutique hotel is to provide guests with a welcoming, comfortable environment that reflects its design and location. In city centre hotels, that design and environment is influenced by many things and the hotel must decide which type of guests it is catering to.

Nightlife Boutique

There are many cities that are referred to as 24-hour cities. New York is famously known as “the city that never sleeps”, whilst Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Bangkok and many others enjoy a reputation for partying and good nights out. It’s unsurprising then that the number of hotels catering for those people who live life to the full is increasing. Creating a hip, funky hotel for this market is a good move. More often than not, the men and women that come to enjoy themselves in these cities are well-paid and happy to spend their money on good design, spacious rooms and flamboyant cuisine. Making your hotel part of your nightlife adds more to the experience and those boutiques that integrate popular bars or restaurants into their premises will attract large number of guests eager to stay where the action is. Whilst this doesn’t sound like a retreat in the usual sense, for these visitors it’s exactly what’s needed.

Pamper Boutique

You don’t have to run a huge spa hotel in acres of land in order to offer the sort of pampering that city visitors want. Business visitors and tourists alike enjoy the benefits of a small, exclusive hotel that offers a range of spa and beauty treatments. A massage, facial or body treatment helps to reduce stress and induce relaxation, and if that’s followed by a freshly-prepared meal, or a quiet chat in an informal lounge while the city rushes past you, then all the better.

Design Boutique

All boutique hotels are built around an essential and integral design. Some city hotels opt for a design which automatically turns to building into a cool, calm retreat, no matter where it is. The colour schemes, choice of furnishings, fittings and linens and attention to detail all contribute to an atmosphere that’s immediately welcoming and relaxing. These hotels really are designed to make you feel as though you’ve entered a different world.

Find The Ideal Venue For Your Business Event

Finding the right venue for a conference or business meeting can be a testing time. With so many things to consider, from the number of delegates to travel and parking arrangements, and of course, everything has to be within budget!

Before you start to panic, spend some time considering what is essential to your business event. Gather ideas from colleagues, jot down things as they come to mind and research who’ll be attending and any special requirements they may have. Planning is the key to organising any conference, seminar or meeting and, if done right, will make sure it’s a great success.

Think about some of the following questions: How many will be attending your event, how long will it last – will you need overnight accommodation or just day facilities? What about leisure facilities, somewhere to relax at the end of the day? How about food, will you need lunch, mid-morning refreshments or perhaps a dinner in the evening?

Once you’ve made the big decisions you’re ready to start your search for that perfect venue. After spending all that time planning, you’re sure to want somewhere out of the ordinary, and definitely not the standard dull meeting room with an equally uninspiring view of one of the UK’s busy motorways.

There are some outstanding meeting venues in Norfolk that won’t blow your budget, offer far more than your standard, hotel venue and with experienced conference co-ordinators on hand to answer your questions. Sounds like a big promise, but you’ll soon be impressing colleagues and new business associates with your choice of a truly refreshing venue.

Situated just south of the medieval city of Norwich, with excellent road links, is Barnham Broom Hotel and Golf where you will find all this and more. A range of bright, airy meeting rooms can be arranged for events small and large, plus all the usual equipment will be at your fingertips such as presentation software to ensure your messages are delivered professionally along with free Wifi internet access.

Whether you need a quiet room for a small meeting with colleagues to brainstorm and discuss important, even confidential issues or a large, grand room where 150 people will gather to absorb a presentation then head to a first-class lunch, Barnham Broom can cater for all. With an excellent attention to detail and experienced staff to help ease you through the day, they will ensure everything is as you planned.

Comfortable bedrooms and an award-winning restaurant, make Barnham Broom a great choice for businesses that need overnight packages with fantastic rates available. And on top of this the Norfolk hotel has fabulous leisure facilities, which include a health and fitness centre with swimming pool and gym along with two championship golf courses. Whatever activity you choose, the end of the day will refresh the mind. A round of golf is ideal allowing you to absorb the countryside setting as you unwind, get to know fellow delegates and test your golf technique on the challenging course!

So, when you’re asked to find a venue for your next meeting or conference, think of the perfect combination of business and leisure at Barnham Broom Hotel in Norfolk.

Fewer Rooms, More Style

One of the reasons boutique hotels are so popular is because they directly oppose the accepted hotel normality of hundreds of rooms and bland service. Their refusal to treat guests as anything other than honored visitors means that they spend time, money and energy developing a hotel where you feel comfortable and at home. This can only really be achieved with low room numbers.

Hotels in this sector have discovered that travellers are willing to pay for accommodation that is different in design and where even full occupancy means they’re not queuing for breakfast or waiting for room service to answer the phones. Instead, fewer rooms means more space and better service, and an increasing number of travellers are taking this option.


Space is important to travellers, particularly those for whom the hotel is an integral part of the experience. Whilst other holiday makers or business travellers simply use a hotel as a base for sleeping and eating, boutique hotel guests want to feel that they can spend the morning drinking coffee and reading in the public areas without feeling like a nuisance, or relax by the pool without worrying about fighting for poolside space with other guests. By taking a definite decision to reduce the number of bedrooms so that each room has more space and by fashioning public areas that guests actually want to use, boutique hotels create a unique atmosphere that appeals to guests.


Boutique hotels are often based in older, traditional buildings where creating larger guest rooms means considerable changes to the internal design of the building. Sympathetic architectural changes can be achieved with careful planning and this allows hotel owners and their designers to maintain and incorporate original features into a more modern, spacious room design. From keeping original windows to fitting the most modern of bathrooms, clever design allows these hotels to provide fewer rooms, whilst at the same time preserving the essential features of the building.


The smaller the number of guests, the better the service can be. This is a concept that’s fully understood by the boutique industry and it strives to ensure that standards of service are exceptional. Any contact that the guest has with a member of staff should be a positive one and, in many cases, members of staff are trained to anticipate guests’ needs, ensuring that they are comfortable asking for anything, including help with activities outside the hotel as well as the facilities within it.

Lowering the number of rooms in a hotel, combined with good design, quality fittings and excellent service all combines to make a hotel unique and that's what today's travellers want.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Family-Friendly Spring Break Tips

You want to take the family on a nice vacation in the Spring but you don’t want Junior to learn what “chug, chug, chug, chug” means yet. You want to have a nice “family” vacation without getting caught up in the “Girls Gone Wild” atmosphere that traditionally surrounds Spring Break. Here are some tips.

Try to take your vacation when most college students are still in school. Spring Break for college students can be from the end of February to the end of March, but most colleges have vacation the first two weeks of March. Plan your vacation after the first two weeks of March.

Avoid the traditional Spring Break college destinations: Jamaica, Cancun, Acapulco, Montego Bay, the Bahamas, South Padre Island off of the state of Texas, Daytona, South Beach, Key West and Panama City, which are all in the state of Florida. Basically anyplace warm, with sand and with beer. However you don’t have to bring your family to Nome, Alaska either. Again, the off-peak college spring break times these destinations can be great, but that doesn’t account for the high school kids who have left the parents at home.

Choose a destination that is “family friendly” such as Disney World in Orlando. There could be a few college students donning a pair of mouse ears completely wasted but since Orlando is far from the beach it is more likely to be a fluke. Look for vacations advertised as “family friendly”, a ski vacation, Disney Land in California, or a trip to Colorado or Destin, Florida as these are all good possibilities. You can also check out your state tourism web sites for ideas of where to go where the drinking age is not an issue. Check out magazines like “Family Fun” which feature family vacation destinations every month for ideas.

Finally, remember -- if you happen upon a partying college student, relax, one day it will be Junior’s turn.

Family-Friendly Boutique Hotels

Boutique hotels aren’t just designed for wealthy couples or adults only. Many boutique hotels welcome children and families.

Should families be excluded from the boutique hotels experience? Many hotels in this sector think not, and happily open their doors to families with children of all ages, providing a range of services and facilities to suit this market. For many families, the size and location of these hotels is perfect for a family holiday, and allows their children to experience great design, service and cuisine from an early age.

Beach holidays

What child doesn’t want to go on a beach holiday? Yet what parent doesn’t want a bit of sophistication and style when it comes to spending time near the sea? Boutique accommodation in some of the world’s most attractive beach resorts can cater for children, allowing them to enjoy the simple pleasures of the sand and sea, whilst parents can enjoy the best food, thoughtful beach accessories and rooms that are designed to bring the outdoors in. Examples of these hotels include the Beach House in Marbella, the Elounda Gulf Villas and Suites in Crete, the JK Place Capri in Italy and the Villa Floriana in Croatia.

City trips

Taking the family to see some of the most famous sights in the world is usually a good reason for a city break. European cities like London, Seville, Vienna, Paris and Rome are all full of exciting things to do, no matter what age your children. Museums, art galleries, boat excursions, theatre trips, adventure parks – a city break can encompass all of these and a boutique hotel is a great place to relax at the end of a hard day’s sightseeing. Great service means that your children can get a glass of milk or a cup of hot chocolate and something to eat to keep them going, and the central location of many of these hotels makes them an ideal base for exploring. Try the Egerton House Hotel in London, the hip Seven One Seven in Amsterdam, the Palacio Belmonte in Lisbon or the Hotel le Pavillon de Paris in the French capital.

Countryside capers

Explore a fabulous rural landscape by taking your family to a countryside boutique hotel. Hire bikes or take the bus into nearby towns and villages, or visit historic monuments, or simply go for a walk. Spending time in the countryside is a great way to unwind and the boutique environment gives you the perfect opportunity to relax. Choose one with a pool, and your children will be happy to stay and play whilst you read, use the spa or just take in the view. For a real treat, take a look at La Bastide de Marie in Provence, La Villa Hotel in Piedmont, Italy, the Cotswold House Hotel in Gloucestershire or the Kasbah du Toubkal in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains.

Family Travel Bargains Are Just A Mouse Click Away

In addition to being difficult, planning the family vacation can be expensive. Fortunately for us we can use the internet to make planning a lot easier. Spending a few hours online can save you hundreds of dollars on your next trip as well as give you tips to make your trip even more fun.

Once thought of as a vacation for couples, cruises are fast becoming a family favorite. Today’s cruise lines know that if they can plan fun activities for the children mom and dad will have fun too. The first place to start your search should be to go directly to the cruise lines themselves.

A quick search on your favorite each engine, like Yahoo or Google will reveal all the top cruise lines in seconds. Many of the cruise lines offer special last minute specials that you may be the perfect family vacation and save you a bundle. While on these websites, check for package deals. Many cruise lines like to partner with the airlines to provide “one stop shopping” for their customers. These may not always be the best deals but in a few clicks of a mouse, your vacation can be booked.

One of my family’s favorite vacation spots is sunny Florida. The big theme parks like to put together package deals to make planning your trip easier. Most of these package deals will include everything from airfare, tickets to the park, rental cars and even free parking at the park. Because Florida is such a big hit with families, hotels often offer “kids eat for free” deals. This can be a huge savings for a family of four. The hotels that offer these discounts are generally the ones that are kid friendly and offer activities to keep the kids busy when not at the parks.

Getting there can be one of the biggest expenses of your trip so check to see if the airlines are offering any specials to your destination. You may find a buy one ticket get another for half price deal or some offer special rates for kids under a certain age. If you’re shopping for the best airfare at “the right time” you may even stumble onto a fantastic deal that an airline is offering to fill up seats on specific flights. These are generally deals that are offered for a very limited time, so have your credit card ready when you search.

Airlines and travel agencies will often feature promotional periods where they will take care of everything for your entire family for one price. These promotions are usually offered just once or twice a year to create a buzz for their business. If your timing is right you can take advantage of one of these deals. Ask around to see when and if your airline or travel agent offers these.

If you’re not sure where you want to go or how much you should budget for your family vacation, get online and start searching. There are deals online that can not be offered elsewhere, with a little luck and great timing, you can plan the perfect family vacation without breaking the bank!

Family safari vacation to the home of the Gods

Families traveling with kids will find Amboseli national park a safari destination matched to no other, with less tourist traffic, breathtaking open spaces, easy access from Nairobi, the list is endless.

The park described by writers as ' a home for the Gods' covers 150sq mile south of Nairobi and lies just at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain at 5,895m. The park is currently on the cross roads with the government and the local communities both claiming ownership, with Kilimanjaro's snow capped peaks dominating every aspect of this Park and form a stunning backdrop to the wildlife found here - elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, cheetah and a host of plains game and its breathtaking beauty, the tag is well worth the effort!

The area is home to the Masai people, tall, colorful, proud, nomadic warriors famous for their legendary prowess in battle and single handed acts of bravery in fights with wild animals.  Perhaps, more than any other people they have learned to live in complete harmony with the wildlife which surrounds them, this knowledge they proudly shared to visitors and well worth the time. Kids will be allowed to get really close and explore the simple but fascinating homesteads, adults will also enjoy the cultural aspect of the lifestyle.

Amboseli's Oltukai lodge is one of the best spots in the world where children can watch elephants and study their fascinating wilderness behavior, This is where you will find the highest concentration of elephants than anywhere else in Africa, they can be seen spread well over the savannah woodland, just remember to ask your driver guide on how this clever mammals mourn and pay last respect to a dead member or how they cross their tiny young on a fast flowing river. .

Quietly tucked away from view, The Kibo family Villa crouches undisturbed, an elegant three-bedroom log cabin built in stone and gum tree, in complete harmony with its surroundings. Own entrance, a lounge, a fully fitted kitchen and a barbecue area. Secluded by a copse of indigenous Acacia Tortilis trees and five acres of garden, Kibo Villa is peace and privacy made perfection. Two or threes small families traveling together love the self-catering option, use the lodges facility is welcome. Detailed attention is taken on security issues and a resident nurse is available on call.

Kids will love the lavish private family buffet breakfast or dinner set out specially as a family package in wonderful secluded detting amongst the tortillas trees only a tone away from the family of the resident elephants also having a feast of their own, breakfast works out best.

Selenkay conservation area lies east of Amboseli is well off the beaten track, never visited by tourist till now, birdlife is prolific especially bird of prey. The 6 tents Porini luxury camp caters for 12 guest at a time, the camp is in the lines of a traditional luxury family camp, comfortable family tent rooms, ensuite bathrooms, flush toilets, solar powered electric lighting and an amazing chef completes a safari family haven!

At Amboseli locally trained masai naturalist or walking guides will get Kids out in the mornings in a small group of say 8 kids for an adventurous nature exploration. This walking trips to the nearby sites in most cases will include lessons on the masai hunting techniques, catching and naming butterflies, treasure hunts, tree planting, hide and seek in animal camouflaged clothing and an interesting Q and A session answering every question they have ever had on wildlife and tribesmen.  

The young rangers club is available to 10 - 15 year olds, could be a temporally or annual membership with letters, post cards and birthday cards sent to members all over the world from deep down wild and magical Africa!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Family Fun and Finery on Oregon's Coast

It's a place of incredible romantic possibilities, with unbelievably pristine beaches and rugged shorelines, and plenty of hidden spots perfecting for long walks hand-in-hand, finding yourselves all alone. With such gushiness-inducing qualities, it's no surprise you'll soon wind up reproducing.

Lucky you. Oregon's coast is perfect for families as well. Those hidden spots put you and the little ones right in the middle of some of the best nature can show off. Then there are the myriad of kid-friendly lodgings, restaurants and towns which pull out the stops for the kidlets or bring out the kid in everyone.

Still, you don't have to sacrifice the finer things when you bring the kids.

On Oregon's north coast, the tiny town of Manzanita is endowed with a mysterious, woodsy vibe just above its vast expanse of crystalline beach. Here, the <strong>San Dune Inn</strong> provides a vast array of freebies like bikes, game equipment, popcorn and movies. Stay at this charming, unassuming place just blocks from the beach and you'll find stuff for volleyball and other games suitable for the sand, as well as beach balls, bikes and simple sandcastle-making gear like buckets. They have an enormous selection of movies, and their choice of board games is a kick as well. It's a kid's dream come true.

It's also very pet friendly. Head northward, and you'll encounter dozens of sandy and rocky beaches perfect for playtime. Drive about 12 miles and you'll find the ritzy resort town of Cannon Beach. Near a famed Lewis & Clark landmark, Fultano's Pizza sits and emits wonderful smells of Italian cuisine. With an outdoor patio here, you can still see some of the sights available at the end of Second Street, and enjoy exceptional - even gourmet quality - cuisine at a family pizza joint price.

Fultano's delivers to local hotels, and they feature slices for lunch. They have a special thin crust recipe that's especially tasty, crunchy and yet still tender in a way that manages to combine both those latter qualities seamlessly.

There are many of the standbys, as well as gourmet varieties like the Margherita (garlic and herb olive oil, three cheeses, red onion and more), a Greek-themed specialty, a Goat Cheese pizza, and specialties with Teriyaki Chicken, Linguica, BBQ Chicken and a variety of seafood selections. One item features a distinctive sausage with mashed grapes for the sauce, providing a subtle, sweet tang. The sausage is spicy and zippy, making a nice balance to the slight sweetness.

One must-try is their pasta (about $10). They have a homemade tomato sauce that is one stunning, mother-of-all sauces, and their meatballs are a serious delicacy. Still, even with its decent wine and microbrew selection, this is a place that welcomes the kiddies nicely. 200 N. Hemlock and Second Street. (503) 436-9717.

 Drive north again, to Seaside, and you'll find a beach town full of things to do for children - most notably Broadway Ave. with its almost dozen arcade businesses, ice cream vendors, kooky gift shops, bumper cars and other attractions.

One highlight is Seaside Helicopters, which whizzes you around above the town for about $25 per person. It's thoroughly spectacular, as the helicopter takes you over the headland of Tillamook Head and Cannon Beach as well, allowing you unforgettable glimpses of the sea and these landmarks from this unusual vantage point. You even get to see "Goonies Rock" - where part of the cult film was made.
Down on the Central Oregon Coast - about 100 miles south - it's a vast playground for kids and adults. Lincoln City is filled with miles of super clean beaches and tons of shops and restaurants.

Just south of Lincoln City, you'll find another haven for families in a very unique resort called <strong>Bella Beach</strong>. Really, it's a collection of rather upscale, gorgeous beach cottages that are vacation rentals or for sale. There are about 40 rentals available inside this pretty place, and more are still being built.

The philosophy of Bella Beach is to create a place with a "neighborly feel," and indeed they've succeeded. Set in the midst of a Central Coast wooded area, there are the rustic architectural themes common to places like Manzanita or Cannon Beach, where garages are tucked away behind the buildings and front porches are the emphasis.

There's a playground for the kiddies, and the homes vary from hideaway lodgings for two with oceanfront hot tubs, to larger accommodations for bigger groups. Bella Beach also offers up accommodations for groups as large as 60, if you happen to have a business retreat or reunion of some sort.

Then there's that wondrous beach. Like many of the beaches in the area, the tide line is at a rather steep slope, so waves come in fast and hard, but dissipate quickly to shyly lap at your feet.

Family Camping Tips

One of the fondest childhood memories I have are camping with my dad. My dad and I would grab our tent, sleeping bags and fishing poles and head down to a local lake for a weekend. Camping can be a wonderful activity for the entire family. It can also become a huge calamity if you are not prepared or don’t know what to expect.

If you are not experienced at camping then it might be best to start with a commercial campground. These campgrounds are often listed in the yellow pages. The costs of these campgrounds is often nominal and they usually have showers, bathrooms, electrical hookups, running water nearby, fire pits and a camp store for any necessities that you may have forgotten. Established commercial campgrounds also often have activities for the entire family including swimming pools, hiking trails, paddle boats and fishing lakes. Although most of these campgrounds are set up for campers they almost at always have tent sites as well.

Once you have tried camping at an established campground you may decide to want to rough it out in the woods on your own. To find locations for tent camping you might try doing an internet search on camping.

Regardless of where you go camping it is important that you be prepared. The following is a list of items you should consider for ensuring you are prepared for an enjoyable camping trip.

Camping Inventory

1. Tent. You can find a wide selection of tents in various sizes from 2 person tents to family sizes. You might consider getting the children their own tent. They will enjoy having their own space.

2. Sleeping bags and an air mattress if desired.

3. Flash lights and extra batteries.

4. Matches

5. Cookware. Cooking on an open fire will probably not be good for your best cookware so you might want to bring older pots and pans or consider buying a camping cookware set. Think ahead about foods that will be easy to cook on a fire.

6. Firewood. If you are not camping at an established campground you may not have access to firewood.

7. First Aid kit. This should include band aids, peroxide, gauze, burn crème, tape, a tool for removing splinters, and anti bug spray.

8. Water for drinking

9. Trash bags. Whether you go camping at an established campground or in the woods somewhere it is imperative that you leave the area exactly as you found it. If the location does not have trash bins then pick up your trash and take it with you. Don’t ruin the experience for the next family.

If you carefully plan your camping trip and expect the unexpected by being prepared for anything you will have a great time camping.