Traveling on the Cheap | On the Road with Nora Dunn

Professional Hobo Nora Dunn shares her secrets for travel on the cheap:

1. Try mystery shopping on flights. You can book flights at 50% off (or more) as a mystery shopper on an airline.

2. You don’t have to pay for accommodation. In my first five years of full-time travel, I saved over $63,500 in accommodation expenses, and accumulated a repertoire of experiences that I couldn’t possibly have paid for. In 2011 alone, I paid $173 for accommodation—for the entire year. It’s totally doable with Couchsurfing, home exchanges, and volunteering in exchange for housing.

3. Set parameters for your souvenir shopping. Instead of traditional souvenirs, which are pretty useless, I choose items that both define an experience or place, and are practical complements to my one-bag traveling entourage. Ideally, my new item replaces something else that has worn out, so the new purchase isn’t an extra weight/bulk.

Read the full interview with Nora here: Traveling in a Financially Sustainable Way | On the Road with Nora Dun…

dog sticking head out of a car window

Travel Safely with your Pet During the Holidays

If you are heading out on the road with a pet in the car, you should take special precautions to keep you and Fido or Princess safe. Writer Mark Phelan recommends these tips for safe travels with your pet:

  • Never drive with a pet on your lap. It’s dangerous for the animal, you and other drivers. The driver’s air bag would immediately kill any animal small enough to fit on your lap. The animal could also slip onto the floor because of bumpy roads or a sudden maneuver.

  • It’s a bad idea to let your dog stick its head out the window. “The dog may like it, but stones that can chip a windshield could injure or blind a dog,” McTigue said. Even a grain of sand or leaf could damage a dog’s eyes at automotive speeds.In addition, a dog standing on the armrest to stick its head out a partially open window can step on the power window switch and open the window fully. “All of a sudden, the driver’s concerned with, ‘Is my dog gonna jump out the window?’ which can lead to distraction and accidents,” Byron said. “If the dog does jump out, they can get broken bones and damage to the pads of their feet.”

  • Because animals can slip out of vehicles while far from home, they should always wear collars with ID tags. The tags should have the owner’s mobile phone number, so they’re easy to reach while traveling.

  • Byron suggests getting animals acclimated to car travel when they’re young.

  • “Take them on short, regular trips on a regular basis when they’re young. Give them little treats, maybe have somebody come with you in the car patting them. Go two or three blocks and let them know their trip will always end with them coming back home.”

Source: How to travel safely with your pet during the holidays


Senior Travel Tips: Planning Ahead

Traveling with parents or grandparents this holiday season? Keep the stress level low by following these tips from Diane Atwood at

  • Have a bag of essentials with you at all times that includes medications, travel itinerary, a comfortable change of clothes, water, snacks and activities.
  • Pack necessary medications, up-to-date medical information, a list of emergency contacts and photocopies of important legal documents.
  • Create an itinerary that includes details about each destination. Give copies to emergency contacts at home. Keep a copy of your itinerary with you at all times.
  • If you will be staying in a hotel, inform the staff ahead of time of your specific needs so they can be prepared to assist you.
  • Travel during the time of day that is best for the person with dementia.

Source: Senior Travel Tips: Planning Ahead

Tips for Finding the Restaurants While on Vacation

Use these five tips, curated from, to find great places to eat while you’re on vacation.
Rule 1 – explore around your hotel
The key is to explore, get lost, and encounter some of the best culinary experiences of your life.

Rule 2 – look to technology

If you have limited time here, it is ideal to rely on applications and websites to find restaurants…Go through the reviews and opinions of other locals and travelers and find some of the best eateries in your area that you can indulge in to your heart’s delight.

Rule 3 – put on your walking shoes

Some of the best encounters you will have on your travels will invariably be when you are on foot. When scouting for eateries,
sometimes not having a destination in mind can help. Take out some time and look around. With some luck, you are likely to
find yourself at a bar or restaurant that is close to your hotel. Pick a door and walk in.

Rule 4 – ask a local

With some caution of course, be sure to speak with cabbies and cops to get some local expert opinions on where to eat. Your
hotel concierge is more likely to recommend places that most tourists tend to rave about. Getting out and speaking with the
people on the street is an excellent way to find some truly local joints.

Rule 5 – look for crowds

Crowds outside an eatery are a good sign…However, make sure that the crowds do not look like you. Avoid restaurants that cater to hoards of backpackers or business travels. Scout for the locals and trace them back to their source.

Source: Rules to Finding the Best Restaurants on your Travels

Missouri Hiking: Photo Tour of the Castlewood Loop Trail

Missouri is a hiker’s paradise. The state offers miles and miles of wooded trails over all types of terrain. And if you time it right, the foliage is dense enough that you hardly notice the random deer peering at you from within the trees. Even more compelling, you’ll generally find yourself alone on the trail — so you can enjoy nature on your own terms, without the background noise of children screaming.

Here’s a photo tour of a trail less traveled, the Castlewood Loop near St. Louis, Missouri. The Castlewood Loop is accessed from the Chubb Trail, on the Lone Elk side. To get there, head to Lone Elk Park, but stay right of the park entrance. Park in the lot and walk back across the street to the trail entrance. Follow it down the hill and turn left at the bottom. You’ll walk along the train tracks for a bit before crossing over the tracks. Just over the tracks, the Castlewood Loop veers off to the right and the Chubb Trail continues to the left. For more information, see the GORC Trails map.


Related Images:

Weekend Trip Idea: San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas is a warm weather destination that offers enough sites and sounds to fill up a nice weekend getaway. If you like to drink, you’ll find yourself sipping prickly pear margaritas on the River Walk. If you like architecture and history, you’ll spend at least an afternoon walking the King William Historic district and visiting the Guenther House.

Flip through this San Antonio photo tour to get a taste of what this historic city has to offer.


Try a Rafting Vacation for Thrills, Scenery

Rafting adventures can last for a few hours or as long as a few days, depending on the level of difficulty and challenge you are after. Trips that last for more than a day typically involve nights out by the river banks, usually in tents or camps. The level of comfort and luxury differ greatly from operator to operator – you can find many tours that involve sleeping under the stars in sleeping bags and a few that include full-service meals and comfortable beds.

Where you can raft

There are hundreds of commercially rafted rivers throughout mid-America: in the Western US, the premium commercially rafted rivers are found in California, Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado. In the Northeastern U.S., they are typically found in New York and Maine. Depending on your experience, raft operators offer a range of rapids, from Class I to Class V. Typically, raft operators hold a license to carry out commercial rafting activities, in particular regions or rivers.

Rafting operators

Family-owned Far and Away Adventures’ offers high-end backwater river trips on Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River. While the highlight is rafting down Salmon River’s rapids, pools and riffles, Far and Away offer visitors an overall refined experience they describe as “wilderness luxury”. This is because despite being in rugged terrain, Far and Away guests are not subjected to the traditional “rough-handling” one would expect having to live out in the wild. Instead, guests are pampered with personal concierge service, top-quality meals and comfortable accommodation. Meals are polished off linen tables: think organic foods and locally-sourced ingredients. With more than 28 years of experience, Far and Away Adventures has been featured widely in a number of prestigious magazines, including Conde Nast, Travel+Leisure, AAA Motoring, and the New York Times.

Holiday River Expeditions offers whitewater rafting holidays down the Yampa River – the last undammed river in the Colorado River system. A typical whitewater rafting adventure on the Yampa stretches over four to five days, offering plenty of full-bodied waves and rapids (from Class I to Class V), side-canyon waterfalls, gorges, and pre-Columbian ruins such as Tiger Wall and petroglyphs. On average, about 4-7 hours are spent in the water per day. The nights are spent in camps along the river bank. Holiday River Expeditions can cater to children from age 5 and above.

Tributary Whitewater Tours specializes in whitewater rafting adventure holidays in California catered for families; children as young as age 4 can go on a whitewater adventure. There are special discounts for youths and families. Their recommendations for whitewater rafting adventures with children include the Class 2-3 rapids on the East Fork Carlson River or the Truckee River, both near Lake Tahoe. In North California, Tributary Whitewater Tours recommends the Trinity River and the Lower Klamath River, nwhere guests get to ride on inflatable kayaks and enjoy wildlife sightings and riverside camping. For teenagers, there is the Class 4 Middle Fork American River or the North Fork Yuba River.




Tips for Renting North Carolina Beach Houses

Before you rent a North Carolina Beach house, ask yourself these five questions.

Where do you want to be?

One good way to narrow down your search for a beach house in North Carolina is to decide where you want to explore around North Carolina. The Wrightsville beach area, close to Wilmington, is popular for its restaurants and shops, but the beaches can get very congested in summer. About 200 miles away, beach houses on the Outer Banks are usually scattered in between small towns. Kill Devil Hills, Manteo, and Hatteras are popular destinations for their selection of dining options, wildlife, history, and lighthouses.

With whom are you traveling?

This can help you narrow down the type of beach accommodation you are after. For instance, if you are traveling in a large group, you can narrow your focus to beach houses with plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms – four, six, eight, or more. Couples on a romantic retreat may prefer chic condominiums  that come sports and spa facilities. If you are planning a special vacation, such as a honeymoon or a golf vacation, ask if there are special rates.  Continue reading →