Carl Turnley Travel

Carl Turnley discusses his love of and experience with travel.

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Canada’s Best Outdoor Activities

Of all the places in the world for avid travelers to visit looking for amazing outdoor experiences, the entire country of Canada has to be one of best. From mountain ranges, to enormous lakes, to dense forests, there are thousands of locations within Canada’s borders that can make for a truly memorable trip. With that said, I’ll mention just a few of many things you can take part in in the Canadian wilderness.

First, be sure to have a list of all the national parks within your area. There are 37 national parks in the entire country, each consisting of information centers and staff willing to help at any given time. Most of these offer tours around the parks as well, some of which having entrance fees, but others being free. It is important to note that if camping, fishing, or hunting is part of your itinerary, you will need to obtain the necessary permits from the appropriate park center. Once all the necessary paperwork is completed and you are legally permitted to enter the parks, the opportunities are endless.

Hiking is one of the simplest, yet most enjoyable outdoor activities that virtually anyone can do. The parks throughout Canada all have clearly marked paths and trails according to their levels of difficulty. Banff National Park in Alberta for example, has over 1,500 kilometers of hiking trails alone, and with the size of the mountains and lakes surrounding the park, it is one of the most scenic areas in all of Canada.

Of the main hiking areas, the Rockies national parks in Alberta and British Columbia are some of the largest, crossing all four parks of Banff, Jasper, Yoho, and Kootenay. Manitoba consists of plenty of uphill hiking trails, and Ontario has some of the more challenging paths in Algonquin Park and Lake Superior Provincial Park.

If fishing is more up your alley, the lakes and rivers found all throughout the Canadian countryside are abundant with an enormous variety of fish. The colder bodies of water found in the Northwest territories are full of arctic char, while salmon are commonly found throughout the the entire country. As mentioned before, permits are required in their respective areas, and typically cost fees ranging from $15 a day to $30, though annual permits can be bought as well.

For those that wish to have a more relaxing getaway and would prefer camping, British Columbia is home to plenty of stunning parks and campsites able to house hundreds of campers. Cathedral Provincial Park has stunning landscapes that you can hike, or admire from one of the many campgrounds found throughout.

As one of the most visually breathtaking countries in the world, Canada is perfect for travelers who wish to experience the outdoors unlike anywhere else. If a summer trip is in your near future, look into what outdoor area would work best for you, and consider taking part in any of the activities mentioned above.

5 Essential Apps for Road Trips

There’s no vacation quite like one in which you drive thousands of miles across the country, stopping to see every little attraction along the way. Road trips can be incredibly fulfilling getaways, in that you are able to do much more with your spare time than those who choose one location as their main destination. The difficulties however, tend to come with navigation. Whether it’s traffic, or simply being unsure of exactly where you want to go, the following mobile apps can help you tremendously on your next road trip.

Waze

There are few things in life more frustrating than sitting in traffic, and it is one of the fastest ways to have a road trip go downhill. This is where Waze can help. As an app offering real-time updates on the latest traffic conditions, accidents, and speed traps, Waze aims to make your journey smoother at every turn. It is community-based, so the notifications you’d be receiving are from real drivers in your area alerting you of potential red flags along the way. An added benefit is the feature allowing drivers to share where they were able to get the cheapest gas, saving you money on your trip. Powered by Google, Waze has set the bar fairly high for the rest of the travel apps out there.

Follow – Drive Together

This app is a lifesaver for groups of drivers that can never seem to stay together. It can be extremely challenging staying with a caravan of travelers when dealing with red lights, traffic, and just different styles of driving. Follow establishes one car to lead the pack, and allows all others to track their movements despite what their GPS’s might say. Should the lead car skip an exit that was suggested on your initial route, the app will alert you of their decision and show you where they are headed in that exact moment. The one downside to Follower is that the free version only allows you to add one follower per trip, but upgrading to access unlimited followers costs merely $1.

Openbay

An absolute must for travelers who may not be very confident in their cars’ abilities, Openbay provides users with a network of nearby mechanics, sorting each by the best prices available. Depending on what your car may need i.e. an oil change, replacing a flat tire, or engine repairs, this app gives you the best possible options in your area. You can compare mechanics side by side, and even book appointments through the app, securing your payment even after the job is done. Though you’ll hope to never have to use this app on your road trip, you’ll be happy you installed it when the time comes.

Along The Way

Venturing through an unfamiliar territory? Along The Way provides users with an itinerary of things to do in their respective areas. Whether you’re looking for parks, restaurants, tourist attractions, bars, or stores, this app will show you everything around you to help you avoid wandering aimlessly. What separates this app from the others is its ability to predict where you’re headed, and give the locations of the area’s best attractions coming up on your route. Along The Way is great for travelers who’d rather not turn around to go back to that one destination they passed a few miles ago.

Audible

Depending on the length of your road trip, there may be times where music no longer does the trick in successfully filling the silence. This is where Audible comes in. Powered by Amazon, this app puts hundreds of thousands of audiobooks in the palm of your hand. From iconic authors to stand up comedians, the number of books included in Audible’s library is truly immense, and will provide you with enough entertainment to last you from New York to California.

3 Places to Travel to After Retirement

Saying goodbye to the working world can be a bittersweet experience, but as long as your retirement fund is able to support you for the rest of your life, the next stages can be extremely enjoyable ones. With all this free time now on your hands, what better thing to do than to travel the world? Below are some of the best destinations to visit post retirement, and how you can make the most of your time at each.

Ireland

An extremely popular vacation destination for all types of travelers, Ireland is home to some of the warmest, most welcoming cities in the world. From Dublin, to Belfast, to Killarney, it would be difficult to find a town that doesn’t greet you with open arms and beautiful scenery to match. Dublin specifically is home to some of Ireland’s greatest landmarks, including the National Museum of Ireland, Kilmainham Gaol, and the Guinness Storehouse, as well as most of the country’s notorious pubs.

For those seeking a more relaxed vacation, Killarney is home to the country’s more scenic points of interest. The Killarney National Park has the highest mountain range in all of Ireland, McGillycuddy’s Reeks, beautiful lakes, waterfalls, and castles.

Australia

Though a flight from the United States to Australia is less than ideal for most (typically spanning anywhere from 14-18 hours), once you’ve reached the land Down Under, you’ll be happy you chose this as your vacation destination. As one of Australia’s largest cities, Sydney has an enormous variety of things to do and landmarks to visit, including the world famous Sydney Opera House, or the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Don’t be afraid to venture into the outback where you can experience Australia’s eclectic wildlife which includes kangaroos, koalas, wombats, and dingoes, just to name a few.

Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef is, obviously, something that can only be experienced of the coast of this beautiful continent. There are countless tours you can take part in to get the most out of your Great Barrier Reef trip, and even more to see the wonders of Australian in general.

Sicily

The largest mediterranean island just off the coast of Italy, Sicily is the perfect destination for travelers looking to visit a historic region rich with ancestral towns and stunning architecture. The capital city of Palermo specifically, is a bustling town with open markets, restaurants, museums, cathedrals, and more for a sightseeing experience unlike most. Of course, the food and wine is something that must be tried like any region in Italy, so be sure to take advantage of all the vendors at your disposal.

Being an island, the beaches and coastal views Sicily has to offer are truly breathtaking. Plan a trip out to the city of Trapani on the west coast for some of the best beaches in the region. Trapani is yet another town with gorgeous architecture and streets full of restaurants and shops.

 
No matter what your post-retirement plans are, traveling the world can be a luxury you are able to experience at any point in your life. Should you choose to make that decision sometime soon, consider any of the three destinations mentioned above for an enjoyable, relaxing trip.

Planning Your Summer Camping Trip

Where Can You Go Camping This Summer?

With summer approaching, it is time to prepare for a fun camping trip with your friends or relatives. Camping is one of the most popular types of vacations because it is less expensive than staying in a hotel. Also, you get to enjoy nature. There are fantastic destinations for campers, including:

• Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont
• Yosemite National Park in California
• Yellowstone National Park in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming
• Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona
• Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina

If these national parks are not close enough to your home for a camping trip, then there are many other locations to choose from, including privately owned campgrounds that charge a fee to pitch a tent or park a recreational vehicle.

Bring Along an Assortment of Camping Gear

Before you go camping, you need to buy a variety of equipment to remain comfortable and safe. Camping gear can also require a lot of specialized packing to prevent damage. Depending on how many individuals are going on your camping trip, you may need a larger vehicle or a trailer to carry the items. Here are the essential things required for a camping trip this summer.

1: Camper or Tents

If you have access to a camper that is large enough for everyone going on your camping trip, then it is easy to fill it with the items needed for sleeping, hiking and cooking. However, if you don’t have a camper, then you will need tents. Fortunately, there are modern tents that are made of lightweight fabric that is also waterproof, making it easier to pack these items in a cargo area of your automobile. Make sure to have all of the stakes and poles required for setting up each tent.

2: Sleeping Bags and Soft Pads

You should have a sleeping bag for each person on your camping trip, and make sure to select varieties that are the right size. It is also a good idea to have a soft pad to put underneath each sleeping bag in order to have a good night’s sleep.

3: Waterproof Tarps

Pack waterproof tarps to put on the ground or underneath a tent to avoid having wet sleeping bags and clothing. Choose tarps that are durable but easy to roll into cylinders so that you can find the items quickly as soon as you arrive at a campground.

4: Pillows For Each Camper

It is an excellent idea to pack small pillows for your camping trip. If you don’t have a pillow, then you will probably find it difficult to sleep, and you may end up with a stiff neck in the morning.

5: Backpacks

If you plan to go hiking while camping, then make sure to have a backpack for each person on the trip. Choose waterproof backpacks that are made of durable but lightweight fabric, and make sure to select backpacks that are the right size for a hiker.

6: Camping Stove

There won’t be any restaurants at a campground, so you must bring along a camping stove along with the right type of fuel and matches. In most cases, campgrounds no longer permit building a fire with wood, but if it is permitted, then you might need to pack your own logs or wood pellets.

7: Food and Water

Learn if the campground has safe drinking water, and if it doesn’t, then you will need to bring along enough bottles of water for each person for several days. In addition, you will need water for washing dishes, cups or utensils, and if you want to bathe or wash clothing, then you will need huge containers of water for those purposes. If you don’t have a camper with a refrigerator, then you must pack a lot of food that won’t spoil.

The Best Online Resources for Planning Your Trip

Those travelling to a destination for the first time are likely to turn to the internet to find the best options for accommodations, sights, and food. However, many sites are riddled with fake or biased reviews. Though there is no way to determine a true organic review from those solicited by the owners, here are the top travel sites to help plan the perfect getaway!

Booking.com

Ranked by reviews.com as the best overall travel site, Booking.com allows users to effortlessly find the accommodations and surrounding resources for any destination!

TripAdvisor

Unfortunately, most anyone can leave a review on this site. However, it is a great resource for getting rankings and lots of reviews. Most TripAdvisor users have a quality experience when relying on the reviews of the site to make a vacationing decision, and have found the majority of the reviews to be accurate.

Kayak

When it comes to finding flights for a trip, going right to the airline sight may not present the best results. Luckily, Kayak developed a system that searches all of the airline sites in addition to other travel booking sites to compare prices. Frequent flyers swear by Kayak and its ability to find the best option for any budget.

For more travel tips, visit Carl’s travel blog here!

Cruises for First-Time Cruisers

One of the trickiest tasks faced when planning a cruise is choosing the right ship for you. They’re often difficult to tell apart, with some catering to singles, some to families, and others to senior citizens. As a newcomer to these adventures on the water, it can be all the more difficult. The following are a few well known cruises that cater to a variety of audiences.

Royal Caribbean: Allure of the Seas

This is the largest cruise ship in the world with so much space that it almost feels like a small town. The center of the ships is lined with several shops, several ice skating rinks, pools, restaurants, a rock climbing wall, and even a zip line. With all of this, Allure of the Seas is surely for the more adventurous type that doesn’t want to get bored too easily. The cruise is accommodating to both couples, and families.

National Geographic Orion

For the avid travelers who want to see the world, the ships operated by National Geographic offer much more unique cruises reaching all corners of the world. An added bonus is the reduced crowd size. The number of guests is not like that of Carnival cruises or other mainstream lines. Destinations include the South Pacific, Indonesia, South Africa, and the Indian Ocean, giving those onboard the opportunity to experience a much more exotic getaway.

Disney Fantasy

Families seeking vacations that allow their children to have fun, look no further. Some cruises today advertise themselves as the best for families, but tend to only have one or two attractions designed for children while the adults have all the fun. Much like Disney World, this ship comes with water slides, pools, Disney shows and productions, and appearances by none other than Mickey himself, along with several other characters. While this may seem like a kid only for children, adults can treat themselves to several nightclubs and spas.

Norwegian Breakaway

Sailing to either Bermuda of the Bahamas, this rock-and-roll cruise is for those who love nightlife. Comparable to Times Square, this cruise has broadway shows and clubs that perform some of the most famous plays today, like “Rock of Ages” and “Burn the Floor”. There are comedy clubs, blues clubs, and even an 80’s themed party complete with fireworks. It’s safe to say that this cruise is best for partiers.

Celebrity Reflection

Here’s another unique cruise. Celebrity Reflection offers a vacation experience for those who wish to stay in shape, or even get in better ship while enjoying their time away from home. Swimming classes, thermal spas, and healthy dining all come with a ticket to this trip, and of course, a gym full of equipment and fitness classes.

 
No matter what your ideal getaway is, cruises can be some of the most fun experiences you’ll ever take part in. Regardless of the country your ship is traveling to, the ride there is perhaps more than half the fun. Consider any of those mentioned above depending on the type you’re looking for, and be sure to have a fun, relaxing time.

The Best Hotels in Las Vegas

When visiting Sin City for the first time, it can be overwhelming when choosing where to stay given the number of exquisite hotels all along the strip. Depending on the style you’re looking for, Las Vegas everything from the unique to the contemporary. Below are just a few of many of the city’s best hotels.

Luxor

Mirroring Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza, the Luxor hotel first greets you with an enormous sphinx guarding the gargantuan structure. With a seemingly endless beam of light reaching far into the night sky, it would be hard to miss this hotel. Aptly named after the city of Luxor in Egypt, this building houses four different pools, a spa and salon, and 29 retail stores. Additionally, the Luxor regularly hosts world famous shows including Blue Man Group, and one of the largest nightclubs in America.

New York-New York

No, not the city. That is the actual name of this Big Apple themed hotel on the strip. Showing off giant replicas of the Statue of Liberty and other Manhattan skyscrapers, it’d be easy to confuse to the two. Aside from hosting countless shows, casinos, and bars, New York-New York has an actual roller coaster that winds in and out of the hotel, reaching heights as high as 200 feet, and speeds of up to 67 miles per hour.

Bellagio

With some of the most stunning fountain shows in the United States (including a 6-foot chocolate fountain found inside), the Bellagio has some extremely high-end features. Upon entering, guests are greeted by a stunning scene of 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers on the ceiling lobby, by artist Dale Chihuly. There is also an art gallery that has some of the most well known pieces in the world, and botanical gardens throughout; an art fan’s dream hotel.

Venetian

Modeled directly after the city of Venice, Italy, the Venetian is lined by canals that can be navigated by gondola tours. The marble that makes up most of the hotel was actually imported from Italy as well, making this stay ideal for romantic getaways.

Excalibur

 
For more of a medieval experience, a stay at what looks like the castles and fortresses of 16th century Europe is sure to do the trick at Excalibur. With over 1,200 slot machines, eight restaurants, a wedding chapel, and an enormous pool, it would be difficult to run out of things to do. The hotel even offers the chance to enter jousting tournaments for a truly authentic experience.

Vacations for the Traveling Couple

There is perhaps no better way to form an everlasting bond with a significant other than to travel the world with them. Whether your ideal vacation is to relax, go on daily adventures, or take advantage of all the room service at your disposal, doing so with a loved one is unlike most experiences. For couples seeking that perfect getaway, consider any of the following destinations for a romantic, and surely enjoyable time.

France

This may be a no-brainer for those looking to really treat their significant others, but France has some of the most scenic towns in all of Europe, specifically Chassignolles. Paris may be a little too cliche for some, so it is recommended to seek out smaller locations when traveling as a couple. Though it only has one hotel in town, Chassignolles is truly a sight to see. With meadows filled with flowers, farms hosting herds of cows, and food markets found around town, this virtually private getaway is a perfect environment for two.

New York, New York

An obvious vacation destination for anyone, New York City has more culture within its five boroughs than most states do in their entire borders. The change of scenery that occurs when one goes from the bustling avenues of Times Square to the cobblestone streets of Brooklyn is truly remarkable. Landmarks like the Plaza Hotel not only provide an extremely luxurious hotel stay (though fairly expensive), but shops offering handmade jewelry, high quality clothes, champagne bars, and more, making it ideal for spoiling your significant other.

Aside from the countless hotels at your expense in this city, there are literally thousands of restaurants to choose from for a romantic candlelit dinner, one of which being Salon de Ning on Fifth Avenue. Some of the amenities that come with this 1930’s Shanghai inspired restaurant are mandarin cocktails, heat lamps for colder nights, and an absolutely stunning view of the city; all the right ingredients for a memorable date.

Italy

You could visit almost any town in Italy and find a romantic hotspot. The country is full of stunning wineries, towns, mountains, and beaches that make any trip worth the long flight from the United States. Coastal villages may be your best option when planning a romantic trip, as most of the major cities will more than likely be crowded year-round. The town of Vico Equense for example, has some of the best restaurants you can find with the freshest seafood, and views that put some classical art pieces to shame.

Nova Scotia

 
For a colder-climate vacation, the eastern Canadian province of Nova Scotia has some of the most aesthetic bed-and-breakfast’s in the world. There are a number of art galleries around the island, rustic homes weathered by the salty winds, and fishing ports for those that may want to catch their own dinners. Tours along the shorelines are offered as well for romantic sunrises or sunsets, making the views some of the most romantic aspects of a trip here.

4 Destinations You Would Have Avoided in the Past

Current events have led many people to believe that the world is a dangerous place. Of those affected by war, conflict, or legal tensions, there are very few countries that people would consider ideal vacation destinations. However, there are a number that have since reemerged as hotspots for the avid traveler due to changing times. Below are just a few to consider now that tensions have subsided, and their tourism industries are again beginning to flourish.

Iran

A country that was once on George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil,” Iran is beginning to see a booming tourist industry thanks largely in part due to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office lifting its blanket ban on certain areas of the country in 2015. The heritage of the country is truly unique that most travelers should aim to experience. Rich with ruins, mosques, and a remarkable culture, Iran offers much to do for those looking to experience a more sound part of the middle east.

Colombia

All too often do most people associate Colombia with drug wars and government conflicts. While this was a country riddled with such issues throughout the late 20th century, it has since calmed. Notable figures like Pablo Escobar and Carlos Lehder led a revolution against the Colombian government in their efforts to become the richest drug traders of all time, but the country’s war against them was too much. Now, Colombia revels as a thriving tourist destination with colonial architecture, visually stunning beaches, and bustling nightlife.

Beirut, Lebanon

Between the years of 1975 and 1990, the Lebanese Civil War ravaged the entire country, dominating the world’s perception of Beirut, and Lebanon in general. Multiple attacks on government officials and tension in general has deterred most from visiting, but the city of Beirut is reclaiming its title as “The Paris of the Middle East.” Beaches, luxury hotels, and restaurants are easy to find in the city, and offer a relaxing getaway for couples.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

 
In 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence from the country of Yugoslavia. This led to a series of attacks that resulted in nearly 100,000 fatalities, commonly referred to as the Bosnian Genocide, the effects of which have been felt for years. The early 2000’s would not have been a good time to visit, but now, over 20 years since the war, military involvement has dwindled. The capital of Sarajevo is a beautiful town flourishing with culture and history that is accommodating to travelers of all types. Tours around the country are offered as well for those seeking a guided experience.

Travel Hacks to Save You Money

carl turnley travel hacks

Two of the biggest reasons given for a lack of traveling in one’s life are a lack of time and a lack of money.

 

Time is tough to tackle–you can plan trips in advance and take off work, but sometimes big things come up and complicate things. Coordinating schedules with significant others, children, friends, family, etc. adds another burden.

 

Money, however, is no excuse. You don’t have to make six figures to travel the world and explore–in fact, with the use of some handy travel hacks, you can save a good bit of money in the coming year.

 

With 2017 in full swing and this year’s travel trends already covered in a previous entry, it’s time to look towards not just what you can expect when you’re traveling in 2017, but how you can save money doing it.

 

Freeze a Bottle or Two to Save on In Flight Purchases

The 3-1-1 rule implemented by the TSA has made bringing drinks onto planes trickier in recent years. Sometimes a few ounces of water or Gatorade or an energy drink isn’t going to cut it.

 

A solution that seems to evade many people is simply freezing your bottles. As per TSA rules, a bottle of liquid may be brought onto the plane so long as it’s frozen solid by the time you reach your checkpoint. That’s not always a given, as wait times are often long in these lines, but freezing your drinks ahead of time will keep you hydrated (or energized) and save you money.

 

Check Prices Before You Buy

This one more than likely seems like an obvious way to save cash, but it’s often ignored in lieu of efficiency. Check other websites and airlines for cheaper flights, even if it means a slightly longer layover or an earlier departure time.

You also may want to consider using a site like Hipmunk, which compares prices, departure times, layovers, flight time, and combines them into an aggregate score called “Agony.” As you may suspect, lower agony flights are usually those with less in between time and more regular flights schedules.

 

Stopovers Can Double Your Vacation

You’ve obviously heard of layovers–they’re a flyer’s worst nightmare. You’re stuck in some random location for a few hours with nothing to do but sit around in the airport and maybe grab a bite to eat before you’ve got to return and prepare to reboard. They are a necessary evil during which you can accomplish little other than catching up on that show you’ve been binging on Netflix or knocking out a bit of work.

But stopovers are a different ballgame. If your layover extends beyond what one normally would consider to be a layover (usually 24 hours), you’ve entered the realm of stopovers. You’ve also effectively doubled your vacation.

Many airlines offer free or cheap stopovers–IcelandAir actually features free 7 day stopovers, even going so far as to provide you with a free Stopover Buddy who accompanies you for the day, showing you around the area and answering questions you may have.

 

Search For Free Activities In The Area

The most expensive part of a vacation isn’t always the flight or the hotel accommodations–depending on where you’re going, you may well end up spending more on food and entertainment than you do getting to your destination! To save money in this department, check your destination’s community calendar or local newspaper websites to see what free events are being offered during your stay. Often, you’ll find free live music or cultural events that catch your eye. Sites like EventsNearHere.com and Eventful feature long lists of events both free and paid in any area you specify.

When you’re dining out, there’s no need to find the most expensive eateries in the area. Great, local food is often some of the cheaper food available–if you’re in Philadelphia, you don’t need to spend $25 to get an authentic Philly cheesesteak, nor do you need to empty your wallet to get gumbo in Lousianna.