Tent Tips for Camping and Traveling

We love traveling as much as the next person. Seeing things we’ve never seen before, being places we’ve never been before, and tasting food we’ve never tasted before; yes traveling is exciting and thrilling. But what of traveling to camp? Crazy are we? Recently we utilized one of several hotel group packages where we were able to do some camping. What a joy it was to sleep out in the wild. Yes traveling is wonderful, but camping and traveling is as well. If you’re one that likes to do this then please continue reading as I’ve got some tent tips:

Flooring of a Tent:

One important thing that you must consider in choosing a tent is its flooring. It is important that the floor on where you will directly rest is warm and dry. That should be your basis in finding a good tent. Make sure also that the floor of the tent is not less than 4 feet in length and in width. The floor must also be made of a material that is good in preventing water and coldness get inside the tent.

Alternatives:

You don’t have to buy a new one and throw your old one if ever the latter does not have a good floor. That will be too costly. What you can do is just sew an additional layer on the floor of your tent. You may use the same kind of material on the flooring or you may use something thicker. You must make sure that your additional layer is well sewn and that there are no loose threads or excess mat.

Another alternative that you can do is to simply add cardboard on the floor before the sleeping bag. You just have to make sure that the floor below the cardboard is waterproof. The good thing about cardboard is that they are easy to put and to remove. Also you can easily buy cardboard in nearby stores.

Camping and tents for utah group packagesPhoto Credit: N1NJ4

How to patch up holes in the floor of a tent:

If this should happen, that the floor has a tear or a hole in it, you must repair this as soon as possible as the moisture and fog on the ground may seep in your tent. What you must first do is to cut a patch from a tarpaulin or an old tent and simply patch in on the hole by a weather-resistant adhesive. This kind of adhesive can be bought on most hardware stores.

Traveling to Run

Running is considered as one of the best cardiovascular exercises. But have you ever travel to run? That’s what we did and we stayed in Abbey Inn St George, Utah before doing the marathon there. Most people think of traveling as something to do to sit by the side of the pool, but there’s  more to traveling that just sitting, how bout running? It improves the condition of the heart, burns the extra calories and also increases bone density. Furthermore, running is a very simple sport. There’s no need for flamboyant equipment and special skills. All you need is a good pair of running shoes and an accessible venue.

The hardest part in running is developing a starting program and it will take time to build your endurance even for a short span of time. An aspiring runner must develop a positive attitude to enjoy the sport notwithstanding the initial challenges. For a start, consult your physician and seek his approval to start a running program.

Traveling to run, abbey inn st george utahPhoto Credit:Phil Roeder

After getting the green light from your physician and finalizing a running plan, the next thing  to do is find a quality pair of running shoes. In buying for a new pair of running shoes, bring your old pair and a pair of socks so you can have a reference or basis. Sales people in the running stores can guide you on what’s the right pair for you. Test the new shoes by walking or running around the store to get the feel of the shoes.

Comfort is the most important aspect to consider. A short and a T-shirt is a good running attire. Majority of the runners prefer running shorts with a split leg, built-in underwear and a key pocket. In tropical countries, sleeveless singlets and light shorts are preferred by runners because it’s lighter and dries easily.

Before embarking on your first actual run, you have to plan the road-map so to speak. If you plan to do a road run  conduct an ocular inspection to determine the type of roads along the way. Given the choice, running on asphalt or dirt road is better because it gives a softer cushion as compared to concrete roads.

Meanwhile, a runner must also wear reflective clothing when running at night and to run towards traffic to avoid being hit by motor vehicles. In case of rain, either a treadmill or a stationary bike are good alternatives.

Warming up is another important aspect for runners to avoid injuries and to flex the muscles. For first timers, it is advisable to start with a brisk 10-minute walk and then alternate 30 seconds of running with one minute of walking on thrice a week.

Each week, increase your running mileage and reduce your walking. Run a comfortable pace so you can engage in a conversation with your running buddies. Slow down when you experience difficulty in breathing. Concentrate on time and don’t be carried away by the intensity. If you can run consistently non-stop for 30 minutes, it is fine to put on faster pace.

A new runner must also know how to minimize side stitches such as stomach cramps. In case you have eaten a huge meal, wait for two to four hours before running. Side stitches are also caused by weak stomach muscles. To remedy this problem, perform a lot of ab and lower back exercises to help strengthen your torso and reduce the stitches. In case you get a side stitch while running, slow down to a walk and try holding your hands up in the air as you take deep breathe.

Whether you’re a new or a veteran runner, you must remember shin splints are a downside of running. Experts recommend cross training with other sports such as biking or swimming to avoid shin splints. If shin splints are a recurring problem,check out your running shoes to determine it is providing support and do some stretching consistently before and after a run.

Bounce Back Program

After doing some traveling around for the holidays which is nice to get other priorities met such as relaxing and nurturing our social lives. However, after all the merrymaking, we find ourselves struggling to get back to our pre-holiday routine and reclaiming our fitness. Even while I was on a vacation in a Utah national park hotel in southern Utah, I was able to keep up on things a little, even despite all of the traveling. Here are some essential steps in recovering from your holiday rut to your race-ready body:

 

Running bounce back program from Abbey hotelsPhoto Credit:lululemon athletica

Week 1: Regain your Endurance

Start with a basic 45-minute to 1 hour easy to moderate endurance/cardiovascular program for at least three to four times this week, focusing on the weakest portions of your routine. You’ll need more jump-start training on this part because this portion is most likely to suffer more than the other two when you go into holiday mode.

 

Week 2: Regain your Strength

After some endurance work in the first week, look into reclaiming muscular strength. This will help you rebuild muscle mass lost during the holidays. Add two 20-30 minute strength sessions from last week on off-cardio days.

 

Week 3: Regain your Routine

By this week, you may be able to regain a significant portion of your race-ready endurance and strength. Begin to add more speed intervals and hills when you feel ready. Initial “bounce-back soreness” should be minimal, which means you can push your abilities a bit more than the first two weeks. Be careful not to add more than 10% of your initial bouce back training volume to prevent injury and premature burnout.

Things you must Bring during Camping

If you are thinking of doing some creative traveling, or going camping, or taking an ATV tour somewhere then pay attention as these are things you’ll need. Here are the most important things that you must bring during an ATV ride, or when camping: backpack, sleeping bag, lamp, stoves, utensils, canteen, big plastic bag, cleaning materials, clothes, compass, map, etc.

 

Backpack

Your backpack must be durable and waterproof. It does not have to be too big as this might be difficult for you to carry. It must only be big enough to carry all the necessary things. If the camping trip may last for longer days, then an extra bag may be advisable. But only of you can no longer fit your stuff in your backpack. It may be easier to pack heavier when you’re riding an ATV, but there are times when you’ll get off of the ATV to do some hiking around and may need a smaller pack. (we just went on ride with a Utah ATV rental)

Regarding packing your things in your backpack, there is a very simple way to do this: put first the things that you will not often use like your sleeping bag, extra boots, and trash bag. Those objects that you might use from time to time should be placed last so that they will be above inside your bag. These are your canteen, your first-aid kit, flashlight and other things. For those objects that you will surely reach for like a bottle of water, a compass, a map, ca, gloves, cell phone, it is best if you put them in your pocket or in the outer pockets of your bag.

Reminder: the overall weight of your backpack must not exceed the 20% of your body weight.

Sleeping bag

Along with your backpack, this is an important element in your camping that you should never forget. A sleeping bag has two kinds depending on the weather. On a hot weather, your sleeping bag must be light but durable, if possible it must not have a zipper. For winter, it is advisable to bring a sleep sack. This is perfect during cold season because despite the weather outside, you will still be perfectly warm inside.

 

Lamp

It is the most practical system of lighting during camping. However, you must keep them away from the tent or your clothes, or any other object that can quickly catch fire. When you usually think of traveling you don’t think of needing to pack a lamp, but that’s what makes this traveling that much more enjoyable.

 

Stoves and fireplaces

You must only use these for cooking your foods, not for starting a fire. In order to be able to cook in the campsite, bringing a small gas stove is advisable.

 

Canteen

This is also an important element. It will be convenient if you will make sure that this will always be full.  A good canteen must have a screw cap to avoid the water inside from spilling.


Food

In packing foods, take note of the following:

  • The weight and the amount of foods
  • The preparation of the food.
  • Whether the food will get spoiled quickly.

It is a better alternative to go with canned foods and instant foods such as instant noodles, peanuts, crackers, cheese.

 

Personal things

For most of your personal stuff, it is better if you will pack them in a separate small bag. Your bag must contain the following for your hygiene: soap, towel, tissue, toothbrush, comb, nail clippers, ointment, toothpaste.

There must be another separate bag for your cleaning materials as it may contain harmful substances. Also, don’t forget to bring a trash bag. Dispose the trash only in a trash bin in the city or somewhere dedicated for trash collecting.

Cooking Foods for Camping While on a ATV Ride

The Grub in Dent, CumbriaPhoto Credit:Eamon Curry

Our ancestors have cooked their food by placing their foods directly above their campfire. This primitive way of cooking food is great not only because of its simplicity but also because it allows members of the community to gather around and share their ideas and aspirations. A small piece of meat, sausages, vegetables, can be directly placed above the campfire. Or you can have a potato wrapped in an aluminum foil and have it placed above the fire. It is a bit complicated in cooking pigs and other animals since you cannot hold it for a long time and you will have to keep rotating it above the fire.

A few weeks ago we spent some time on an Zion ATV tour, where we were able to see so many things that are simply amazing. We got to camp out under the stars and just enjoy life. It’s this kind of traveling, out in the sticks that adds flavor and spice to your life. So if it’s this kind of traveling you’re after, then stick with me as we talk about the best ways to cook your food while camping.

In cooking your food during camping

You may use either wooden or metal skewers for cooking. However, for wooden skewers, you should soak it first in water before you put meats or vegetables in it. If not, they may get burned quickly. Metal skewers are great in conducting heat. Therefore, you should wear gloves or mitts in handling metal skewers. Cooking with skewers may be done by holding the skewers or by sticking them to the soil at a certain angle.

Cooking Sausages, bread, and marshmallows

Not all foods are appropriate for cooking in campfires. Foods that may take a long time to cook should be avoided. Foods with shorter time to be cooked are much preferred. Sausages and hot dogs are excellent campfire foods because they do not take so much time to be cooked. There is also what is called bread sticks that has a flavoring in it along with herbs. Another popular campfire food, especially with children, are marshmallows; as it starts to be heated, it forms a small layer of caramel outside and the inside starts to become softer.

Pros: You do not need to bring your cooking or grilling set. Also you won’t need to bring a gasoline. As you wait for your foods to be cooked, you can comfortably gather around the fire to talk to each other and to get some heat from the fire.

Cons: To cook by campfire, you will first have to find an open space where you can set-up a campfire. You must constantly rotate your food in order for it to be cooked evenly. Also the risk in having your food getting burned is higher in this method since you cannot always control the fire. If there will be children cooking with you, then you must be observant with them and stop them from playing or getting too close to the fire.

How Will Egg Donation Affect My Personal Traveling Lifestyle?

While trying to weigh the idea of egg donation or to become an egg donor there always comes into your mind even if you feel a little foolish about thinking it, “how will egg donation affect my personal lifestyle? Specifically my love of traveling lifestyle?” Certainly this is a valid question, as you need to know what it will require of you to successfully donate your egg to a needing mother.

  • Sexual Intercourse: First and foremost is the requirement to ensure protected sexual relations for the length of the cycle during donation (use condoms), and well the month following your donation.

  • Time: From the beginning of the process to completion the donor will have generally 8-12 visits to the doctors office. Keep in mind the majority of these visits will be during the 2 weeks before your egg is retrieved.

  • Fertility medication: Usually the side effects from the medication are minimal but they can include fluid retention, breast tenderness, feeling bloated, moodiness and tenderness of the ovaries.

Having said that you must be aware of some of the medical risks as well that are connected with egg donation. Egg retrieval is performed with very carefully using an ultrasound for direction, however there is a risk that the needle may pierce surrounding tissue or organs, causing bleeding and possible infection. Additionally there is a risk (which is less than 3%) of ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome. Which if that happens your ovaries become enlarged and you may have fluid that collects in the abdominal cavity causing pelvic discomfort, and bloating.

It is no small commitment as there is preparation for the cycle that takes longer that the cycle itself. There first has to be a recipient couple that has been determined is a match, and that may take some time and sometimes never happens. Once there’s been a match made you as the donor can anticipate the screening process after that to take at least 3-6 weeks as they must take care of all of the paper work. The actual cycle of the donation will take around 2 -3 weeks from the beginning of your menstrual cycle repression to the day of egg retrieval.

So once you’ve been chosen there are some things that you must be prepared to do to ensure that the recipient has the highest chance of conceiving. Altogether these for many are not major things that require a complete takeover of your life, and the benefit of knowing that the sacrifices you’re making are allowing a living breathing human being to be born into a family that wants nothing more than to love and care for that child for the rest of its life.

I hope that you realize how grateful those people are for you, in this life is seems so often that there is only greed and selfishness, enough to fill the whole world. But for those who have been through the egg donation process, particularly those who have been the recipients there is a profound sense of gratitude for those who are willing to lend a hand. To prove once and for all that the world they’re bringing this child into has hope for them, and for everyone.

What to Do if You Get Sick While Traveling

Getting while you are traveling is not a good thing to happen to anyone. Traveling alone can be stressful enough therefore an added pressure of being sick also adds to the stress.
There are many reasons actually why people get sick while traveling. Usually, if a person is not feeling well before departure the best thing to do is to take the right preventive medications. That way whatever it is that’s going to happen can be easily thwarted. Recently we completed a grand circle tour that easily could have thwarted our travel plans, but we followed these tips and we able to have a great time.

Capital Reef National Park

Photo Credit: Bruce Tuten

While on vacation, there is also a chance that you get sick, therefore it is better if you can take your regular medications with you. Being on a foreign land usually means getting in contact with germs and viruses that are alien to your body and immune system. Aside from the environment, there is also a big chance that you can get sick from drinking water or consuming food in your destination.

Now, that the common reasons for getting sick traveling have been discussed. It is now time to discuss the best preventive measures.

  • Prior to your schedule, contact your insurance company; make sure that you are covered while traveling. If that is not the case, then you may opt for a short-term medical insurance plan that will cover you while abroad. You need to understand that your regular health insurance may not be useful when being hospitalized in another country. It is therefore essential to clear all these issues with your insurance agency.
  • Always have your health card handy and list down the numbers of your doctor, your closest relative and your insurance company.
  • Your cell phone’s ICE or In Case of Emergency feature must contain all your important contact information.
  • If you have pre-existing condition, consult your doctor and get new prescriptions on your maintenance medications and bring them with you. Your medications may not be available in the country you are going to, so it is best if you are prepared.
  • Do not trust the water from your destination. Always buy bottled water for drinking.
  • Do not be too tempted by exotic looking foods, your foreign stomach may not be flexible for local delicacies. So, if your gut is not that strong, better stay within your regular diet.
  • Always wash your hand whenever you have the chance and anywhere you may be. If there is no clean water available, use a hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid eating street vendors no matter how tempting and delicious they may look.
  • Always check a restaurant’s rest room before you order. If it is clean has towels and hand soaps, then you can conclude that the management observes cleanliness, which means that you can also trust their food preparation.
  • Avoid junk foods too. It may be okay to have them when you are home, but when you are at a foreign place it could be better to eat healthy.

All in all, getting sick while traveling can be avoidable if you take the necessary precautions. But in case you do get sick, just be smart enough not to panic and try to remember all the tips mentioned above.

Overbook Hotel – What To Do About It

This could be a very alarming situation indeed especially if you are so sure that you have made your reservations ahead of time. Wouldn’t it be terribly frustrating and devastating that after a long and tiring flight you are going to arrive at the hotel where the front desk people will inform you that they are overbooked and they can’t accommodate you? Luckily on our last excursion for southern Utah tours, where we were able to see three national parks in one week; began with an overbooked hotel, but they were able to remedy the situation quickly.

That’s not the end of it. You, of course will be too stunned to digest the first words, but once the reality of it all sunk in, you can expect your adrenaline rushing no matter how tired you are. It would feel like this is the perfect time to pick a fight. But then again, you have to maintain your cool because you want a room with a bed where you can rest. Therefore you will talk nicely and ask the hotel people to explain everything to you. The lame excuses will start to pour in by that time. But you know for a fact that they know that you have made reservations. If you are not very argumentative you might simply opt to transfer to another hotel. But then again you have rights as a client with reservations. Therefore you should stay and argue your case.
Zion Valley
Photo Credit: Dereck Bradley
Here are the best things you can do:

  • Ask for the manager. If they start ignoring your request, you can start raising your voice a little, but do not be too loud; you want to appear in control.
  • Once they get the manager for you, ask the front desk clerk to tell the manager the issue. It is their fault therefore it’s their duty to deal with the problem.
  • If the manager gives you the same excuses, then the best thing you can do is to ask for the available options. They may have some tricks up on their sleeves so you might as well know them.
  • One of the most common options they can give you is to transfer you to another room; of course it will be one with higher rate than the one you originally reserved. That is how tricky hey can be.
  • Do not, for whatever reason fall that one. Tell them that you are willing to transfer to another room if you will not be charged with the extra rate. It will be a big miracle if they agree on that.
  • Another possible option is to transfer you to another hotel. If this is not much of an inconvenience, this could be your best option. But, do not agree immediately, ask them if they are putting you at a hotel of the same status and at a room of the same or higher category; if you will be on higher category room, you have to ensure that the first hotel is going to pay for the extra charges. Never agree on anything other than that.
  • A vehicle must also be available for you to transport you and your belongings to the other hotel. If you have to wait for a room at the other hotel, the first hotel must pay for your lunch or dinner while you are waiting.

In case, the above scenario do not happen and the hotel people insist that they cannot help you, tell them that you are going to report the situation as breach of contract and that you are going to file a complaint at the right authorities.

You have to make them realize that they cannot ignore you and that you have a binding agreement with them and that you have certain rights. The good reminder a few days before you start making your trip is to call the hotel again and reconfirm your reservation. If you have an email confirming your reservation, print that. During the call, list down the name of the person you talked to as well as the time and the date of the call. That way, you have all the necessary proofs that you have certainly made your room reservation.

Preventing Common Travel Crimes

The next time you on vacation to any island, whether it’s Aruba or Hawaii or anywhere else, you might be tempted to let your guard down, have a good time, maybe even drink a little too much. Okay I understand that but when it comes to your own personal travel safety or more importantly travel crimes; if you don’t practice some basic common sense you could easily become a travel victim.

First let’s start with your essentials; your wallet, passport and credit cards. Always carry with you photocopies of all your credit cards and the photo page of your passport. When you’re at your hotel don’t use the safe in your room. Why? Two reasons; many hotels charge you to use one and to add insult to injury; hotels are not liable for anything lost in those safes.

Instead; park your valuables downstairs at the hotel safety deposit boxes. When leaving the hotel just take one credit card and photocopies of your ID, why? Who’s going to watch your stuff when you decide to go for a swim? You know what can happen next, it disappears.

In the end it’s about achieving a delicate between having a great time and playing old common sense. If you that you’re not only protecting yourself, you get to your home and brag all your friends about what a really great time you had and you get to come back.

Prevent Lost Bags with Luggage Shipping

Okay, surprise, surprise, your bags actually made it to the hotel with you but as you know that’s not always the case. In fact the number of lost bag complaints are up to 30% over last year and there’s a good reason; there’s just two types of airline bags; carry-on and lost. But thankfully there’s a solution; in fact about 17 solutions; it’s called Luggage Carrier Service. Companies that will take your baggage and deliver it door to door. On domestic itineraries you can save considerable time and stress every time you travel by simply not checking bags.The services range from UPS to Federal Express and 15 other companies including one called Luggage Concierge. The process is simple; your drop your bag into a pouch … with FedEx there’s no pouch you just attach a wrapper, it’s a labeled and off it goes, you then bypass the inevitable lines at the airport and go right to the gate.

And here comes the good part; when you land you’re not waiting at airport baggage lines hoping it gets towed that your luggage is in the same flight that you were, you’re already off and running and your bags are waiting for you. Now what does it costs? It all gets down at the bottom line. Some services charge as low as $40 to ship your bags, now if that sounds expensive do the math. Do you know how much time we spend just getting your bags from one place to another if you check them? About 2 ½ hours, divide that into 40 bucks and you can’t wait to spend that money. Think about how much stress you’re not going to have.