On The Road – 5 Awesome Modes of International Transport

Catching public transport just doesn’t have the same appeal at home as it does when you’re travelling. There’s nothing exotic about jumping on a bus in Brisbane city or slogging it through the burbs on your daily train commute. Where I live on the Sunshine Coast we barely even have public transport! And yet, when you’re in a foreign country, the way you get from point A to point B, all becomes part of the glorious, romantic adventure. Whether it’s riding on the back of a motorbike in Indonesia, (without the inhibitions of a helmet) or dodging heart-palpitation-inducing traffic in an Indian rickshaw – the way we travel becomes part of the beautiful fabric of our journey tales. But there are risks and rewards with every option!

Here are five of my favourite modes of international transport, the best places to experience them and some of the risks you can choose to either ignore or minimise.

1. Motorbike

There’s something about riding a motorbike that gives you an overwhelming sense of FREEEEDOOOM! The wind in your hair, the landscape so close you can touch it, the smells filling your nostrils as you cruise past small villages with cooking fires burning. Ahhhh… perfection. This is one of my personal favourites and I jump at any opportunity to travel by motorbike whether it’s a scooter in Bali, doubling on a boda-boda in Uganda (make that tripling because the driver doesn’t count) or hopping on the back of a friend’s motorbike in India – I’m always up for a ride. BUT, of course this mode of transport poses significant risks. First of all – check your insurance policy. Are you covered to ride a motorbike? A lot of basic policies won’t cover you, so you need to make sure you are comfortable with the risk. Being choppered home from Bali on an emergency flight with a broken back is not only inconvenient and painful, it could also be HUGELY expensive. Secondly, don’t be stupid. Remember you are riding in a foreign country, with very different road rules and road conditions. Think potholes, bribes, aggression and traffic like you’ve never seen it before. It’s always worth taking into account that if you can’t ride a motorbike at home, it’s not likely you will have magically acquired the skills to ride one in Asia.

2. Rickshaw

Rickshaws are awesome! There is something exciting and exotic about jumping in a rickshaw and hooning off at the mercy of the driver when you land in a country (or pottering off if you happen to be in a cycle-rickshaw in Vietnam). You still get to feel the wind in your hair and see the sights up close and personal like you do on a motorbike, but with a little more protection. Plus you have the added benefit of local knowledge and conversation with the driver, as well as using a service that is providing gainful employment for locals. And it’s amazing to see how much you can fit in a rickshaw! We have had some LOADED journeys with suitcases and backpacks in India as well as surfboards in Sri Lanka.

3. Train

Travelling by train has got to be one of the best ways to see the scenery and also observe locals in their day to day life. In fact there’s a bit of an understanding among travellers in India that you’ve never really travelled there until you’ve been on the trains. I’ll never forget pulling into a train stop in South India and a local family travelling in our carriage hanging out the window to meet their family or friends at the station who just stopped by as they were passing through to deliver tiffin boxes loaded with food for the journey. More proof that it’s the sights, smells and sounds that really do linger in your memory and make travel such an addictive, colourful adventure! One of my all time favourite and probably most recommended train trips is the journey from Ella to Kandy in Sri Lanka. It’s one of the most picturesque journeys you will ever take, as the train winds through luscious green tea plantations in the hill stations. The beauty of the trains here are that you can travel with the window open and the breeze in your face, or you can stand by the doors and lean right out to get the full experience. Just magic!

The cons – safety is obviously a concern on trains in some countries. India has a pretty bad track record of derailments and theft can also be a problem so make sure you travel smart and keep your belongings protected. It’s a great way to travel on a budget though! Train travel in Asia is already ridiculously cheap, plus you can save on accommodation if you take overnight sleepers for the longer journeys.

4. Bus

Travelling by bus has a lot going for it! It’s cheap, it’s convenient and you can take in the views. Obviously there are some cons to bus travel – it can be painstakingly slow – depending on the location – and it some parts of the world it can be quite dangerous. Some of the best parts of the world for bus travel that I’ve experienced are Vietnam where the overnight buses are a great, cheap way to cover some ground, and Turkey for the first class bus experience. The price of bus travel in Turkey is fantastic and it also feels more like you’re on a plane. There are ushers who serve drinks and snacks and TV screens for your viewing pleasure.

Safety is obviously one of the major concerns to consider. I’ve travelled on buses in Africa where I felt considerably “at-risk”. My first bus journey was from Kenya to Uganda where someone came around with a video camera to take video footage of our faces before the journey began. I would have been happy to stay naively oblivious to the purpose of this exercise but my husband informed me that they wanted to have footage of us and where we were sitting so our bodies could be identified in the event of a crash. Very disconcerting! Even more alarming was the fact that we saw bus wrecks frequently on the side of the road.

5. Boat

There is something completely magical about being out on the water when you’re travelling. The wind in your face, the sun on your skin and the sound of the water lulling you to sleep or into a post lunch-coma – sounds delicious right?!? I can’t say I’ve been on any boat trips while travelling that have been disappointing. In fact there are too many highlights to even recall! Whether it’s simply as a mode of transport (getting from one Greek island to another, or crossing countries on a ferry) or as a stand-alone adventure (sailing on the Turquoise Coast in Turkey, the islands of Croatia or on a junk boat in Halong Bay), boating is something I feel like I should schedule into every trip if possible!

In places where it’s a major tourist draw card there is often a lot of competition which is great for keeping prices down but does mean there can be a some fairly questionable quality trips as well. And in developing countries where safety isn’t carefully monitored, there are obviously risks, so you do need to do your research and make sure you only travel with companies that have a good reputation.

Take Your Pick Of Adventurous Grand Canyon Rafting Tours This Labor Day

Labor Day is just around the corner, so it’s time to finalize your plans for the long weekend. A trip to the Grand Canyon could be just what you need for some fun and excitement, and the best way to do that is by taking a river tour through the Canyon.

South Rim River Rafting

Tusayan in Arizona is the starting point for rafting tours of the South Rim. Tusayan is a small town outside the main gates to the Grand Canyon National Park and it has an airport there, which makes it easy to fly in for your river tour.

When you get ready to book your tour, you’ll get to choose between a basic or deluxe tour. If you book a basic tour, you’ll travel from Tusayan to the river in Page by bus, but if you book a deluxe tour, you’ll go the river by plane instead.

These are day long tours that depart at 7 am. So be prepared to get an early start on your day. The tours depart from the airport, even the basic tours on buses, and as an added perk, if you book a deluxe tour, you’ll be picked up at your hotel and driven to the airport.

Departing From Glen Canyon Dam

The bus ride to Glen Canyon Dam gives you the chance to see a lot of scenic views such as the Painted Desert and the Navajo Indian Reservation. When you get to the dam, your tour group will board pontoon boats that carry 19 people each in preparation for the float trip down the river. The tour covers 15 miles of the river and comes to an end at Lee’s Ferry.

This tour includes several stopping points where you can do some hiking along the banks or to Hidden Canyon, swim in the cool waters, and even enjoy a nice lunch. Walking to Hidden Canyon is worth it because you’ll get to see authentic Native American petroglyphs on the rock walls. Your boat will also float through Horseshoe Bend, which is a well-known landmark in the Canyon.

Visiting Lee’s Ferry

Your next stop after the boat tour and an air-conditioned bus ride is the Cameroon Trading Post. It’s a great place to buy Native American crafts and souvenirs of your trip to the Canyon. And if you’re hungry, there’s plenty of local food available.

About The Deluxe Tour

The deluxe tour comes with everything that the basic tour offers except for the bus ride at the beginning which is replaced with an airplane ride. The airplane flight to Page is much quicker, so that gives you plenty of time to enjoy the Jeep tour that is included in the deluxe tour option. This gives you the opportunity to see more of the Canyon, including the Slot Canyons, that you miss on the basic tour. When your Jeep tour is over, you’ll head to Glen Canyon Dam and begin your river float.

Las Vegas Grand Canyon Rafting

Vegas is closer to the West Rim, so most Vegas tours go there, and one fabulous tour to book is the one that combines a helicopter tour with a river float. The tour begins with a helicopter flight from Vegas to the West Rim, where the chopper descends into the Canyon and lands on the Canyon floor. You’ll have 30 minutes to explore the Canyon floor before you board a bus to be taken to the Hoover Dam where you’ll start the river portion of your tour. You’ll float along 12 miles of the Colorado River, enjoying many scenic views including that of Willow Beach. This tour has beautiful scenery and adventure too, considering the exhilarating helicopter descent into the Canyon.

Final Advice

You need to book your Labor Day tour as soon as possible because these popular tours sell out fast. The lowest price on these tours is the Internet rate, which you can get by using your credit card to buy the tour online. It is hot this time of year in the Canyon, so wear light clothing and don’t forget your sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Bring along a swimsuit too, so you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the river when your boat pulls in for a stop on one of the scenic beaches in the Canyon.

Your Budget Travel Guide

Have you always wanted to travel but feared the thought of spending beyond your means? Well, here is a piece of good news: travel need not be costly. Travelling is not the exclusive turf of those who can afford to pay their way through anything. Whether you are an ordinary office employee, a student or a retiree, you have every right to enjoy the wonders of this world commensurate to your financial capacity. Be your own travel guide!

Deciding to be your own travel guide will help you find resourceful solutions to the endless expenses involved in travelling. Travelling is even more enjoyable when it is not heavy on your pocket. Cheap travelling is a practice that many people are yet to master. Many travellers have been duped by expensive travel guides and travel agents, not knowing that there are actually several ways to lessen the financial challenges.

Here are ways through which you can travel with minimal costs:

1. Find the Most Affordable Hostel

Hostels are relatively cheaper than hotels. Though structurally smaller and more cramped, they offer the same amenities and, at times, the same basic travel comforts as many hotels. If you are looking for free Wi-Fi connection, free breakfast and free airport transfers, most hostels offer these services, too. Others offer free laundry, staff-sponsored parties and a common room where guests can mingle and get to know each other.

The only things you have to put up with are space and, in certain hostels, hygiene. The trick is to do your research beforehand. Read reviews to know what previous guests think. You will have a clear idea of which hostels to consider and which ones to avoid. Lastly, be on the lookout for promos. Hostels occasionally offer discounts and other perks. A dormitory-type may be a lot cheaper, but if you want a cleaner and less topsy-turvy situation (particularly if you are female), then go for an all-girls dormitory. These rooms are usually less crowded and are more comfortable.

2. Walk More

Travelling on a budget means preparing to give up taxis or private cars. What most comfort travellers do not understand, however, is that they are actually spending more for transportation expenses than they are for food, lodging or souvenirs. Some taxi drivers take advantage of tourists, driving them in circles so that they will be forced to pay more than what is necessary. On one hand, if you use your feet more, not only will you be able to test and improve your sense of direction, you can also see and experience interesting spots inaccessible through regular transportation. If you are not sure where to go, then read through blogs, brochures or local magazines. They can serve as your portable travel guide.

3. Adopt a Flexible Itinerary

The worst that you can do to yourself while travelling is to be a stickler for rules. It is important to have an itinerary to keep things in order, but it is much more important to enjoy your trip and have a blast. Give a little room for unexpected adventures. Do not set your return date if you think you need more time to explore a place. Your itinerary may look great, but first-hand suggestions from locals and backpackers are the stuff that make travelling more exciting. Travel guide books and magazines may not have an inkling about these suggested spots, which are usually underrated, less crowded and far more beautiful than many tourist spots made famous by media mileage.

What to Pack for Kruger National Park

Visiting Kruger National Park is always an adventure waiting to happen. Whether you are going as a family, a tour group or enjoying a peaceful and romantic getaway with your significant other. If you are travelling from abroad and visiting South Africa, you may not be familiar with the climate or know what to expect from the terrain in South Africa. So whilst preparing for your exciting trip to the Kruger National Park, we will discuss what you should definitely pack, what would be useful to have with you, and what are small extras if you have the space and loathe being without your usual pleasures to consider bringing along.
Deciding what to bring along to the Kruger National Park depends on a few different points such as the seasonal weather expectations, the duration of your stay and the activities you plan on doing whilst at the park.
Generally for a three to five day stay, the following will are definite must-have items.
Clothing:
• Two pairs of long pants, with an addition comfortable skirt for women.
• Two pairs of shorts
• Two shirts
• Additionally to the two shirts, add one long sleeved shirt.
• One light or medium weight jersey or jacket/pull over.
• A scarf may be useful as the evenings can get chilly
• Something waterproof, like a light rain jacket or a wind breaker is also advised.
• One pair of closed comfortable walking shoes, one pair of casual wear shoes. Perhaps also something warm and comfortable to wear at night on your feet. Something more robust than slippers but with the same level of warm and comfort.
• One pair of sandals or flip flops.
• Swimwear is always advised.
• Bring along a smart evening wear outfit as some lodges may require more formal dress for dinner.
• Underwear and socks should be packed according to ow many days you will be staying plus travelling, and then add two more for safety. For women it is advised to take along a sports bra for comfort on the bumpy roads.
• Pack all of your toiletry essentials, including small and easy purses or pouches to carry emergency stocks as these may not be available.
• South African winters are from April to October. Although the cold season may be mild when compared to other countries, the mornings and the evenings can be particularly cold. During this season it is best to pack warm gloves, scarfs, hats and a heavy jacket or coat.
There are of course also other essentials to consider besides clothing. Remember not to pack too heavily for day tours and safaris, you want to have quick and easy access to the items you need, and it may be a hassle dragging a large or heavy pack with you. Make sure that you are adequately freed up to enjoy moving about, viewing animals and not worrying about items being left unattended. The following list contains the items most often used by travellers.
• All of your travel documents: passports, visas, vaccination certificates, airline tickets and money arrangements ie credit card/travellers cheques etc. it is also highly advisable to make copies of all these documents and email them to yourself so that you always have a copy saved on email.
• A day pack or comfortable bag that can be carried around easily with just the essentials.
• Binoculars
• Camera equipment to your taste. Along with the camera bring along extra memory, you will most likely go through much more than you anticipated.
• Bring adequate sun protection in the form of a hat or a cap.
• Anti-malaria medication if you require this.
• A personal First Aid Kit can be handy although generally not essential as tour guides and lodgings always have the necessary stock and supplies. Do however remember all prescription medications.
• Insect repellent especially if you are visiting during the warmer months (November – March).
• Also in aid of sun protection, bring along moisturiser and sunscreen.
• Lip balm with UV protection
• Travel tissues and wet wipes
• A small flashlight and extra batteries
• A water bottle for hydration, marked with your name.
This covers all the essential items you may need on your trip. Some extra items for added comfort which are not essential but may come in handy will be discussed below.
• Cell phone and camera charger. Along with this you may think about getting a solar powered charger which allows you to fit your charger in and charge via sunlight. Not an essential but definitely useful.
• Bring adaptors for your electrical items, ladies may want to take electric hair items along.
• Bring an extra towel. Preferably one you don’t mind spoiling in case you go swimming outdoors.
• Sunglasses. South Africa is generally very sunny, if you have sensitive eyes, or if you get festive the previous night and find yourself on a hot game drive, your eyes will thank you for the protection.
• Sugary snacks. Sometimes being out and about for long periods can be a little draining. In case you need a little lift between meals, pack something sweet. A nice idea is something like raisins, or any other lightweight, easy to carry snack.
Most importantly of all remember to take your sense of adventure and pack everything to be comfortable. Comfort will make an enormous difference to how much you enjoy your time in the wild!

5 Tips for Driving a Rental Car in Puerto Morelos

Puerto Morelos, Mexico is a tranquil, laid back beach town on the Yucatan Peninsula, and makes the perfect home base for a vacation in the Riviera Maya. Having a rental car in Puerto Morelos is a great decision for most people, since it gives you the freedom to jet off to Cancun or Playa del Carmen for a day whenever you feel like it, or explore the many amazing ruins and natural wonders at your own pace.

Driving a rental car in Puerto Morelos and the surrounding areas isn’t much different from driving in the US – the Yucatan is one of the safest places to drive in the country and the main roads are generally well-maintained. However, there are some tips that travelers should follow when driving a rental car in Puerto Morelos in order to have the best vacation possible.

Tips for rental cars in Puerto Morelos

1. Get CDW/LDW coverage from your credit card company
Collision Damage Waiver/Loss Damage Waiver is a pseudo-insurance policy that covers damage to the rental car itself (which is not covered in the mandatory Liability Insurance). Most major credit cards offer a certain amount of CDW/LDW coverage for free as long as you use it to make the reservation and pay for it. To get it from your credit card, you must decline that coverage from the rental car agency in Puerto Morelos. Car rental companies will offer this protection for an extra fee, but it usually includes a deductible of 10-20% of the vehicle’s replacement cost.

2. Keep a copy of your rental car insurance in the glove box
Always, always, always have a copy of your Mexican Liability Insurance, CDW coverage and your car and health insurance policies from back home, just in case. The most important is the Liability Insurance – if you’re in an accident and can’t prove that you have enough insurance to cover the damages, you could find yourself waiting in a Mexican jail while the police figure out who was at fault and how much coverage you have.

3. Gas stations in Mexico are state-owned
There is only one chain of gas stations in Mexico, Pemex, and the prices are the same everywhere in the country. Be aware that most gas stations will only accept cash, and there may be very few gas stations on some long stretches of highway. For example, the toll road to Chichen Itza has few exits and few gas stations, so plan accordingly.

4. Watch out for potholes on smaller roads
The major and secondary highways in Riviera Maya and the roads in the city of Puerto Morelos are in pretty good shape. But be careful with rural highways, side roads, and pulling off onto shoulders – you might get an unpleasant surprise from a pothole. Potholes are actually the main reason people in Puerto Morelos don’t recommend driving at night.

5. Map your route ahead of time
The Mexican government has an app called Mappir that not only helps you plan a route from Point A to Point B, it will also estimate how much fuel it will take and what the costs of the route are (fuel, tolls, etc.). For example, it Mappir suggests 2 possible routes from Puerto Morelos to Chichen Itza: one has tolls, with a total cost of 697 pesos but only takes 3 hr 45 min; the second has no tolls with a total cost of 424 pesos but takes 4 hr 25 min.

10 Things to Know About Travel in Southeast Asia

Lots of globetrotters and backpackers have journeyed to the fertile and culturally rich Southeast Asia. Known for its beautiful beaches, mesmerizing historical sights and a touch of adventurousness, this comparatively inexpensive travel destination baits thousands amongst thousands of people every year with landmarks like Angkor Wat, Cambodia; the city of Bangkok, Thailand; and the scenic views of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. Don’t forget Jakarta Indonesia a surprise in Southeast Asia.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/viator/10-things-to-know-about-t_b_3977087.html

As much as we highly recommend you visit these places, the prudent traveler will do his/her homework as to abide the laws and traditions of these very different countries, as well as be prepared to face the risks, both financial and otherwise that could wind up tarnishing your vacation.

Almost everything is negotiable, almost: Haggling can be more beneficial in Southeast Asia than in most places in the world. Vendors at most malls and shops do not have price tags and it is common that when you ask for one, the price will be quite high because it looks like you have cash to burn. Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price since another vendor just a few feet way is sure to be selling the same thing.

The food is great, just be careful: Renowned for its amazing cuisine, both on the street and in the restaurants, eating in SE Asia is one of the most exciting parts of going, but be cautious before eating just anything. One tip is to check if you see other patrons dining at a location before you go in.

Also, many of these countries have free English-written dining guides. Check them out.

Watch your pockets: Whether you are on the back of a motorbike or walking down the street, muggings and scams happen everywhere. Keep your personal belongings near to you at all times, perhaps consider a fanny pack or only bringing along essentials where you’re out of the hotel. This is a justified warning.

There is more to life than ‘backpacker street’: SE Asian countries have become very good at creating mini-tourism hubs of inexpensive hotels or hostels and surrounding them with vendors and bars and everything you need so that you don’t leave.

Granted, in places like Saigon and Bangkok, they are a lot of fun, but make a point to get out and explore other places. You’ll never know what’s waiting just around the corner.

Wetshill Consulting Travel & Tours based in Singapore specializes in in giving advice and tips for tourists from Australia, Canada, US and all countries all over the world.

Check the local rags and mags: As I mentioned before, most SE Asian countries have English-written guides. That’s because in a number of countries there, there is already an established community of expatriates. If you are looking to just find your bearings and want a safe bet on places to go, pick one up.

Be prepared to be approached by strangers: Locals in Southeast Asia are often very nice toward westerners and truthfully enjoy telling you how nice you look. Whether it is coming from a man or woman, get ready for a swarm of compliments on your appearance. It may seem a little strange at first, but you will get used to it. I promise.

This scotch does not taste like scotch: Drinks are a quarter of the price than what you’d find in Europe or in the U.S., the reason being that many of the typical name brands are regionally produced and use local ingredients, so don’t be shocked when your beloved Grey Goose on ice tastes a little different from what you are used to. Use the opportunity to try some very interesting locally produced spirits.

Take the tour deals seriously: Pretty much anywhere you go (of the major tourist destinations) there are sure to be tour pamphlets sitting around with great deals. From boat rides to day trips, there are great tours around that will get you where you need to go.

Hire local transport for the day: One great way to get around is to hire a tuk tuk or a moto-driver for the whole day to take you everywhere you want to go for a very nominal price. Your driver can also work as a de facto tour guide, getting you around to the spots you may not have thought of and that you would regret not seeing.

When you can, take a bus or train: When it comes to budget traveling, this is the way. Night buses get you from one country to the next for next to nothing, although they do take longer, no doubt about that. Roads between many destinations are well enough to travel, although there are going to be bumpy rides. None the less, when you need to do it on the cheap, this is the best option.

Top 5 Short Amazing Tours in Congo

If you’re in Congo on business or you just have a few days for visiting some of the attractions of this beautiful region, you should consider booking one of the short tours available. These tours are great for those who want to capture the essence of the Congolese culture and natural attractions but don’t have too much time on their hands. Here are a few ideas for your short breaks in Congo:

1. Brazzaville City and Tank Graveyard Tour

A tour of Brazzaville is a must during a visit to Congo. Brazzaville is the capital of the Republic of the Congo, and a touristic destination base for those who want to visit the nature reserves and all the attractions that this side of Congo has to offer. This tour includes a sightseeing tour of the city in a 4×4 vehicle, and stops to all the landmarks in Brazzaville. You will also get a chance to admire the Congo River and Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, situated on the other side of the river. A tour of the Tank Graveyard is also included, here tourists having a chance to see tanks and other war machines dating back to the Great African War.

2. Louna National Park Full Day Tour

A visit to Louna National Park implies an encounter with the beautiful wild mountain gorillas, Congo being home to the biggest population of this kind of gorillas. You will get a chance to drive into the wild tropical forest, admire absolutely heavenly sceneries and meet the gorillas. You can see them in their natural environment, as families, enjoying the sweet life. You will get a chance to visit an orphanage for gorillas and contribute to the well being of these amazing animals. This tour also includes a stop to the Tank Graveyard, one of the most visited attractions in Brazzaville.

3. Congo River Cruise

A cruise on the Congo River is definitely something you don’t want to miss if you get the chance to come here. Congo is the second largest river in the world, so you should experience its beauty and enjoy the chance of admiring the fabulous sceneries that can be found on both its shores. The cruise will be made in a pirogue, the traditional way for locals to cross the river. During this journey, you will be able to admire Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, plenty of villages and farms, and an overwhelming variety of flora and fauna. This cruise includes a lunch served either on board or at the riverside restaurant.

4. Kinshasa City Tour

Kinshasa is the third largest city in Africa and the second largest French-speaking city in the world. It is the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and home to about 10 million people. It has many attractions and landmarks such as the National Parliament, Independence Square, Botanical Garden, National Institute and Museum etc. It’s situated face to face with Brazzaville, located on the northern shore of the Congo River. Gombe is the commercial and residential center and a great tourist attraction. Here you will find restaurants, hotels and embassies.

5. The Villages and Tribes of Congo

Discover the traditional Congolese lifestyle by visiting the jungle villages and tribes. You will get a chance to enter the magical tropical forest, the second largest rainforest in the world, and become a spectator to a great variety of plants and animals. The locals have lived around these parts for hundreds of years and their lifestyle is still unchanged and in harmony with nature. For this tour, the departure point is in Pointe-Noire, a port city and the second largest city in Congo-Brazzaville. This is the ideal base for short tours and cruises.

If you find these tours to be exactly what you need or you want to discover even more destinations for your short breaks to Congo, you should consider getting in touch with the main tour company in Congo, Congo Travel and Tours. They will be able to help you find the ideal tours for you and even help you with get your Congo visa and travel insurance.

Vegas Vacations And Helicopter Trips to the Grand Canyon

Sin City is a wonderful destination for a summertime trip. The city is packed full of fun and excitement, plus, you can take a helicopter tour from there to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Don’t miss the chance on taking a thrilling helicopter tour of the canyon when you are so close.

Believe it or not, the Las Vegas is 120 miles away from the West Rim, so it isn’t very far at all. It’s only about a 45-minute chopper flight away. The flight there is pretty exciting too because you fly over Hoover Dam, Grand Cliffs Wash, Lake Mead, and the Colorado River.

Departures

There are two places the Las Vegas helicopters take off from: one is on the famous Strip, and the other is in the suburb of Boulder City. The tours out of Boulder City cost less, but it is a forty-minute ride to get to the airfield.

Strip departures are much more convenient (only a 10-minute ride) and the shuttle service is by limo instead of a van. Not only that, these Las Vegas helicopters fly over the Strip on the return leg of your tour, so you get an aerial view of the massive resorts in Vegas. If you can swing it, you should definitely consider taking a tour that departs from the Strip so you can enjoy a fun limo ride and flyover of Vegas.

When you tour the West Rim, you can opt for a tour that lands at the canyon if you want, or you can choose one that stays in the air. They both follow the same flight path, the only difference is the landing tours drop you off at the canyon. After they arrive, air-only flights circle the Canyon and then head back. Landing tours either touch down at the top or on the bottom.

Landing Tours

The most popular tours, and the ones that sell out quickly, are the ones that fly to the bottom of the canyon to land. For example, the tour that includes a Champagne picnic is a favorite. You can also upgrade your tour to include two fun activities: a float trip along the Colorado River and a flight to the top of the rim along with VIP access to the amazing Skywalk. They all sell out quickly so book your tour well in advance.

One of the tours that land on top of the rim allows you 2 1/2 hours to explore the area on your own. Places to visit include Guano Point, Eagle Point, and Hualapai Ranch. You can choose a similar tour package that gives you the exploration time but also includes tickets to the Skywalk. Don’t miss the Skywalk if you are brave, you can stand on a glass panel 4000 feet over the canyon floor and 70 feet beyond the rim!

Tours on Grand Canyon helicopters come in two main flavors: basic and deluxe. The latter is more expensive, of course, but when you take all the perks of a deluxe tour into account (convenient Strip departure, limo, flying over the Strip) you realize it’s worth the extra expense. But maybe the best thing about deluxe tours is they use EcoStar 130 helicopters. These choppers are ideal for sightseeing because they offer plenty of personal space, stadium-style seats, and a massive wraparound windshield for unobstructed scenic views.

Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours for Labor Day Holiday Visitors

A Grand Canyon helicopter is a fun way to spend a weekend vacation. Since Labor Day is nearly here, it’s the perfect time to start planning a weekend in Vegas and a canyon tour.

The great thing about taking an air tour from Las Vegas, is that you can choose from landing and air only tours. Since the tours all fly along the same route on the way to the canyon, you’ll get to see the impressive Hoover Dam and Lake Mead on both types of tours. Of course you will end up at the highlight of the journey, the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon itself. While the air-only tours circle the canyon and head back to Vegas, the landing tours stop at the canyon so you can get out and explore the area.

Landing Tour Options

There’s one Grand Canyon helicopter tour that I recommend above all others, and that is the deluxe landing tour that leaves from the Las Vegas Strip. Deluxe tours offer extra in that you will receive a limousine shuttle to and from your hotel, and you will fly in the state-of-the-art EcoStar 130 helicopter. You can take one of these tours on a chopper that flies down to the canyon floor so you can get out near the banks of the Colorado River.

As a nice touch, this tour comes with a champagne picnic, and you can even take a boat tour along the Colorado River if you like.

South Rim Tours

If you’re closer to Arizona, or even if you just want to experience the more remote areas of the canyon, then you could try an air tour from Tusayan. You can drive to the helicopter tour starting point in Tusayan from any location in Arizona, or you can fly there from Vegas in about an hour.

You get to choose from the least expensive half hour air tour of the South Rim, or the longer tour that lasts nearly an hour, which is highly recommended. The longer tour takes you from the South Rim to the remote wilderness of the North Rim and on over to the eastern edge of the Grand Canyon National Park. It is the most comprehensive air tour available and lets you see a great deal of beautiful scenery and landmarks.

Helicopters can’t land inside the canyon at the South Rim, but you can still take a fun 4×4 tour of the park. For instance, you can book a tour package that includes a 40-minute air tour and a 2 1/2 hour ground tour. Seeing the canyon from the ground is a thrilling experience too, especially when you combine it with an air tour.

Deluxe Tours

If you do choose a deluxe tour, you will be treated to the best sightseeing helicopters that are available at the Grand Canyon. The EcoStars have more room inside the cabins and they are extremely comfortable to ride in, plus they have huge wraparound viewing windows for panoramic sightseeing. The choppers deliver a smooth ride and are nice and quiet inside the cabin. If you can get a deluxe tour ticket, then you shouldn’t even think twice.

Grand Canyon Labor Day Tours

September 5-7 is Labor Day weekend, and it’s the last three-day weekend of the year and a wrap up to the summer vacation season. This makes it one of the busiest times of the year for Grand Canyon helicopter tours. If you’re planning to fly on Labor Day, then I recommend that you book early. Book now so you don’t forget, but try not to put if off past August 24. Booking early is the only way to be sure you’ll get seats on the tour you want. Book online to confirm you seats and make a significant saving in booking fees, too.

Make This The Best Labor Day Yet

A helicopter tour is the best way to see the Grand Canyon, and it is a thrilling experience too. And since you can upgrade your flight to include a landing excursion, you can customize the adventure of a lifetime you’re sure to enjoy.

African Safari

Today I am a bit excited as I write this blog. First it’s because I bumped into a longtime friend of mine who we share a great history of our childhood moments. She later moved to the States with her parents and recently she came to tour her motherland and she was trying to explain her experience to me. Therefore, I am going to share her experience here because for a second it made me appreciate the fact that I am an African. Well, for lack of better words, it gave me a sense of belonging.

I believe that almost everyone from overseas who has done a tour to East Africa will tell you how great it was and all great experiences that come with East Africa. This is because Africa is renowned for being wild, authentic, spectacular and rugged and here is my friend’s story who kept wondering if it would live up to her expectations. She left Africa when she was 6, therefore Africa sounded so new to her.Her name is Maxwell and she went on a safari to Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania.

She decided to start describing the game viewing as according to her it was the most exciting moment of her tour. “Never would I imagine seeing so many animals in such a short period of time. In Rwanda we hiked deep into the forest to spend time with a Gorilla family – a Silverback, mature males and females, juveniles and babies! Watching these primates interact with each other and recognize us as friendly visitors truly made me believe in evolution.

We also trekked to see the Monkeys, an experience that filled me with the joy of a child. Watching these small monkeys swing, play, flight, feed and run through the jungle in their natural habitat was thrilling.

Then there was Serengeti- within less than an hour of arriving at the reserve we had seen, heard of zebras, wildebeest, giraffe, buffalo, elephant, hippos and more! On an early morning game drive we saw a cheetah devouring its prey. We watched three, yes three leopards, a mother and her cubs feeding on a Thompson Gazelle in a tree. We watched as a lioness hunted down a warthog just as a snack.

That afternoon we spent watching a pride of lions walking for their evening hunt. We saw hyenas, which later that night, uninvited, visited our camp site. Then the very next morning we quietly observed a pride of lioness stalk a herd of buffalo and later spotted two male lions watching on the other side of the herd in wait.

In Ngorongoro crater we counted seeing nearly all the same animals again in one day. In Lake Nakuru we spotted Rhinos! We watched as a giraffe casually walked the length of the local air strip and our group followed a lioness and her three cubs as they started their evening hunt. In Lake Naivasha we walked, yes walked, with zebras, gazelles and more. We motored a boat past hippos and flamingos.

And the Maasai Mara had been just amazing, we saw beautiful herds of hoofed animals. We watched a pregnant cheetah finding a place to rest. What you would enjoy most is meeting the East African people”. Most are the times when you would get to learn of travel advisories against travelling to most parts of Africa. Unfortunately, these days terrorism is something that can happen anywhere and to anyone, if I can put it better it is a worldwide concern as we sadly see time and again.

The East African people are friendly, welcoming and respectful. They work together towards a brighter future and what will shock you is the Rwandese knowledge of ecotourism. East Africa is a place that anyone would most definitely feel safe throughout their travel.