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7 Tips and Tricks on How to Pack for a Warm Weather Vacation

Most travelers relish the thought of a vacation with sunny, warm weather, even if it’s to a destination without beaches or swimming. However, warm-weather travel can come with its own inconveniences. If you’re traveling outside of the summer months, the weather can change, and a sunny day can quickly become uncomfortable.
Fortunately, experienced travelers know how to mitigate problems and keep everyone in their group happy. It can be tempting to under-pack on warm-weather vacations, but don’t forget the essentials for staying safe in the sun. Check out these travel tips and hacks for ways to minimize problems and maximize fun adventures on your next getaway!
1. Make smart fabric choices 
Denim can be stylish, but is it really the best option for traveling to Key West in the middle of July? Try linen, white cotton t shirts or performance fabrics for breathable, comfortable outfits. Lighter fabrics roll up easily, too, saving valuable luggage space.
Tank tops can be very comfortable, but remember that the more skin you expose, the more time you have to spend putting on sunscreen. Consider covering up with lighter fabrics to help manage your sun exposure.
Also, remember to pack for layers, like lightweight jackets or cardigans. Even tropical destinations can cool off in the evening, so keeping an extra layer around can make the difference between a fun adventure and an uncomfortable evening. Air conditioning can also vary widely between restaurants, hotels and public transit, so a lightweight jacket might even be useful during the day. Leggings are also a good option for fashion-conscious travelers heading out on nighttime adventures. If all else fails, there is nothing wrong with a classic crewneck, especially since there are so many different ways to style them for any occasion!

2. Pack a proper hat and sunglasses
Even springtime sun can be intense enough to cause sunburns, and squinting in the sun is sure to interfere with your enjoyment of world-famous sights. A lightweight hat or bandanna is a good choice for shielding your head. Bringing comfortable hats for your kids can also prevent whining and misery later on. If you aren’t fond of hats, a sun parasol can be a stylish and fun option for staying out of the sun.
The best sunglasses for your trip will depend on what you’re doing and where you’re going, but don’t overspend! Sunglasses are far too easy to lose or break while on vacation. Buy a neck cord and be careful to double-check for your sunglasses before leaving restrooms, hotels and restaurants.

3. Plan your sunscreen, bug repellent and allergy medication usage
While some may find sunscreen a pain to keep safe in your suitcase, packing it may be better than buying it at your destination. Your sunscreen brand and selection options may be limited if you wait to buy it, and you may find yourself stuck with a product that’s inconvenient or insufficient for your needs. It may also be cheaper to pack sunscreen. For most U.S. destinations, you can probably access the same general types of sunscreen across the country, but do your research for overseas destinations.
The same rule applies to bug repellant and allergy medication. Some destinations have mosquitoes almost year-round, and you may need bug repellant even if you’re not going into the woods. Unfamiliar flowers and trees can trigger allergy symptoms that keep you from fully enjoying your trip. Research your destination carefully to determine your best options.
Remember that some airlines or countries may have restrictions on bug repellent ingredients, aerosol cans or medication ingredients.
4. Pick a bag that suits your needs
Lugging around multiple bags after a day of fun can put a damper on the rest of your evening. It can also be troublesome to forget a bag of souvenirs, food or a water bottle someplace because you had too many bags to keep track of.
If you’re traveling alone, a small carry-on suitcase or cheap backpack may suffice, but running around with children makes a large backpack mandatory. Look for something with padded straps made of a material that is breathable. An ideal warm-weather backpack will also have easily accessible space for water bottles, as well as room for souvenirs and snacks. If you’re planning a day at the beach, pack plastic bags for storing wet swimsuits.

5. Print out your transit options and safety plans
Nothing is less fun than lugging around a giant suitcase in 90° F weather because you misunderstood how the bus system works and there are no taxis in sight. Triple-check your plan for getting from the airport to your hotel and have a written backup plan in case something goes wrong. Also, keep a phone number for a local taxi company saved to your phone in case you truly need it after a day in the sun, and make sure you know how to quickly get to the hospital in case of accidents.
In many warmer regions, sudden storms can mess up a dream vacation. Popular warm-weather tourist destinations can be prone to storms in certain seasons, so make sure to familiarize yourself with the area’s flood, tsunami or other natural disaster evacuation plans, and even pack a printed copy, if possible.

6. Bring a backup option for shoes
Tennis shoes can be great for hiking but can quickly become uncomfortable when they’re sweaty or muddy. Pack a pair of padded sandals for hot days when you’ve planned a lot of walking. 
If you’re planning a beach vacation, a pair of flip-flops may be worthwhile, but keep in mind that most flip-flops can hurt your feet after walking significant distances. Flip-flops also do little to protect your feet from the sun, and sunburnt feet can quickly put a damper on your dream vacation.
Children, in particular, can be quick to complain about sore, hot or blistered feet, so make sure to have backup options for them. It’s well worth the extra luggage space!

7. Carry a reusable water bottle
Reusable water bottles can save you money and help protect the environment. A well-designed reusable water bottle is lightweight, easy to clean and can be quickly opened and closed to protect the mouthpiece from the elements. It also reduces your need to find a trash can or recycling bin.
In some locales, though, clean drinking water is only readily accessible in bottled form. Do your research ahead of time and see if it’s wiser to pack vending machine change than a reusable plastic bottle. However, many international destinations have clean drinking water access at major tourist sites, so don’t waste your money on disposable water bottles unless you have to.

Guest Post - Brenda Kimble is a writer and travel blogger from Austin, TX. She is also a mother of 2 daughters and a son. Her life's journey has taken her to 5 continents, 25+ countries, and all 50 United States. When she is traveling, she is typically doing yoga, crafting with her kids, or writing for The Talkin'T-Shirts Blog, where she is a frequent contributor. 
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Maheshwar - Cultured by Ahilya Bai Holkar

Once the legendary devil Ravana took up a fight with King Sahastrabahu. However, the result did not went as per his expectations and Ravana was taken as prisoner by king Sahastrabahu. The place where Ravana was kept as prisoner is mentioned as “Mahishmati” in Ramayana.

Yes, the same “Mahishmati” which was mentioned in blockbuster movie Bahubali. But where this city Mahishmati is or had existed in the past? After finished our exploration of Mandu, we were all set to Maheshwar, 45 km. from Mandu situated along the banks of river Narmada.

This small and peaceful town is noted for its mammoth Ghats, temples and Sarees. Lots of pilgrims and saints come here to offer prayers and worship sacred river Narmada. Lot of Saints, why? Reason being - The mythological city of Mahishmati “, is now known as Maheshwar. Our spirits soared to unprecedented heights to realize that we were standing in legendary mythological city of “Mahishmati”.

To thank the Gods for this fortunate trip, we went to the banks of Narmada river for thanksgiving. That is the first thing to be done in Maheshwar. Neat and clean mammoth structures alongside the Ghats (river Banks) will ensure every moment spent here is worth. Ahilya Ghat is the most prominent place of worship on river Narmada.
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8 of the Best Things to Do in the Ouachita National Forest

Did you know Arkansas is the home of the largest national forest in the south? The Ouachita National Forest provides access to all types of outdoor activities, on the trail, on the water, and beyond. The opportunity to enjoy the park is not just limited to the young and super fit. The national parks and forests are mandated to be all-inclusive. Because of this, even the family caregiver will find many activities accessible to all, including those who use adaptive equipment such as a cane or wheelchair. The park can give anyone a break from routine and leave you with a lifetime of memories.

As you and your family plan what activities you want to take part in, consider the needs of your group first and foremost. If Mom enjoyed hiking but is now in a wheelchair, you may want to opt for wheelchair-accessible trails for her to indulge in. You can ask for help from her caregiver if she has one. Caregivers are responsible for making a realistic assessment of your family member’s abilities, both physical and mental, and can help you plan a day out. You don’t want to be one mile into a three-mile hike, only to find out Dad is running out of energy.

Here are some suggestions for all activity levels:
1.      Go for a car ride.  Start with a car ride on the Talimena Scenic Byway. This highway runs from Mena, AR to the Oklahoma portion of the park. There are numerous scenic overlooks as well as attractions worthy of a stop and a picture along your route. There are many picnic sites along the way too. Take a break to eat your favorite lunch. If you happen to be a family caregiver for an elderly parent or disabled family member, a car ride through this magnificent forest will be stress-free and enjoyable for everyone. The Talimena Byway is particularly beautiful in spring when the wildflowers are blooming and in fall when the leaves turn into a blaze of reds and golds.

2.      Go for a hike. Ouachita National Forest has some of the best hiking trails in Arkansas. The serious hiker will want to consider backpacking the longest trail in the park, the Ouachita Recreational Trail, which travels the entire length of the park and is a rolling, winding, jaw-dropping 192 miles. Don’t worry! The day hiker will find trails that range in difficulty and length to satisfy their level, too. The best plan is to choose an area of the park you want to explore, and then choose the trail that matches your ability. There are even several wheelchair-accessible trails available, including the Friendship Trail, the Orchard Trail, and the Shady Lake Trail. Friendship Trail has an added bonus of a fully accessible bathroom at the trailhead, which helps simplify elder care services.

3.      Ride the trails.  Horseback riding trails are available throughout the park, and parking is even available for your horse trailer. Have a mare that loves a challenge? An old plod-along gelding that prefers something simpler? The trails vary in difficulty, length, and surface, with some being covered with gravel. You can find the perfect trail in the park for your horse’s needs and your own desires.

4.      Hook the big one. If you love to fish, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to cast a line in the Ouachita National Forest. Most of the lakes within the park are accessible to boaters ready to hook the big one. If you are a shore fisherman, there are fishing piers located throughout the park, including North Fork Lake, Shady Lake, and Lake Hinkle. There’s also a fishing pond right on the side of the wheelchair-accessible Friendship Trail. Ouachita is also full of rivers and streams for fishing if you’re willing to hike rougher terrain to get there. Bring your fishing license and hook one of the crappies, bass, sunfish, and catfish swimming around the park.

5.   Search for treasure. Crystal Vista is a must if your family member is interested in treasure hunting. Once the site of an old quartz mine, Crystal Vista is now open to the public. There is no fee, and you are allowed to remove up to 20 pounds of material for your personal use. Even if you are unsuccessful in finding quartz crystals, the view is worth the climb. The site overlooks Ouachita Lake and Mount Ida. Note that this site is on the top of Gardner Mountain and is an approximate 25-minute uphill hike on a well-maintained trail. 

6.      Pitch a tent.  If you and your family are ready for an extended visit to the park, there are numerous options available for a cozy campsite. There are sites for tent camping as well as RVs and campers that require electrical hookup. Camp Clearfork even has rustic cabins available by reservation only for groups such as family reunions, church groups, etc. Grab your sleeping bag and favorite book of scary campfire stories and find your spot.

7.      Go boating.  Whether you’re fishing, tubing, or just drifting around the lake, boating is a great way to spend the day at the park. Many of the lakes have paved boat docks for you to launch your boat easily for fishing or just sightseeing. If you don’t have your own boat, you can rent a boat at numerous sites on the Ouachita Lake.  Most can also provide non-motorized equipment such as canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats. Which brings us to our next suggestion …
8.      Hit the off-road trails.  Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) are growing in popularity and, yes, they are permitted in the park. There are numerous trails designated for OHVs; wever, they are all multi-use trails. Some of the trails include room for ATVs, hikers, bikers, and horseback riders all potentially at the same time. Be respectful of everyone when you pass.
Open year-round, the Ouachita National Park offers things to do throughout the year; however, some amenities are seasonal. If you are planning on a specific activity or area of the park, you might want to call first to be assured that it is available when it is offseason.

Guest Post - By Susan Ashby.
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Mandu - City of Love destroyed by Powerquest

Situated approx. 100 km. from Indore, Mandu is a small ancient city in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Mandu rose to its peak of glory under patronage of then king Baz Bahadur. This was the time when love story of Baz Bahadur and his queen Rani Roopmati had painted the Mandu in colours of love during 16th century. Till date their love story is the flavour of all folk tales and song-dance theme in this Malwa region. Baz Bahadur (commonly known as Brave Hawk) was a warrior par excellence who fall in love with Roopmati, a shepherd with a symphonic voice.
Testimony to their fairy tale saga: To respect the desire of Roopmati to worship river Narmada every morning, Baz Bahadur constructed a Pavilion (Roopmati Mandap) cum military observatory fort to enable Roopmati get a sight of and worship river Narmada daily from terrace of pavilion.

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LALITGIRI - The Pilgrimage from Ancient History!

Flourished under the patronage of legendary king Ashoka, the kingdoms of Magadh and Kalinga became important centers from where Buddhism spread to the outside world. Present day areas of Bihar-Jharkhand used to be the kingdom of Magadh and parts of Odisha-Andhra Pradesh composed Kalinga kingdom. At their peak these places were often referred as most prosperous regions on the earth and were full of amazing temples and universities imparting ancient Indian knowledge. However, with passage of time dust accumulated on these sites and these places gradually faded out from the eye of common people. In fact, many got buried with layers of earth and since then have been waiting to get resurfaced in future.

With the development coming to these areas, many of these extinct places are coming to life. One of the such places I came to know during one of my visit to this part with lots and lots of things to discover was Lalitgiri. Lalitgiri is situated at a distance of 10 kilometers beyond the River Virupa in Cuttack district, about 90 kilometers from Bhubaneswar which is the capital of Odisha state.
Excavations in this region have indicated towards existence of very ancient Buddhist complex. With the discovery of Lalitgiri, and stitching together the chronology of event with iconographical similarities, the timeline of Lalitgiri goes back to the 2nd century BC. Based on this, Lalitgiri can be safely considered as one of the most ancient Buddhist establishments. So I was about to walk into one of the lost chapters in our history, with due excitement. 
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Trek to Laxman Temple/ Hemkund Sahib

Laxman Temple/Hemkund Sahib, at a height of 4300 meters above sea level, lies in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state. Challenging trekking route and spectacular beauty of the mystical valley has always tempted botanists, nature lovers, foreign tourists and adventure lovers. Valley boast off over 500 species of wild flowers of unparalleled appearance and fragrances.

This is the place where Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru of Sikh community, did intense meditation to please Lord Brahma. Please by the austerity Lord Brahma commanded Guru Gobind Singh Ji to take birth in Kal-Yuga in order to kill demons and protect holy people. Undoubtedly, the Hemkund Trek is a steep challenging trek and you will often hear from the locals there that – “Mountains are for FIT not FAT”. You trek from 9,600 ft to 15,000 ft in just 6 Kms and that’s what makes it a tough trek.

Place remains open to the world from June to October and for rest of the year it remains snow clad.

Journey to the Hemkund starts from Haridwar, where you can easily hire a cab for your entire trip. Below is the entire itinerary in brief. 

1. Haridwar to Govindghat - Around 300 Kms
2. Start from Haridwar - Cab is recommended. Very less frequency of buses.
3. Route: Haridwar – Rishikesh – Devprayag – Jayalgarh – Srinagar – Rudaprayag – Karnaprayag – Nandaprayag – Chamoli – Pipalkoti – Joshimath – Vishnuprayag - Govindghat
4. Govindghat – (Motorable-4Km) – Poolna (Trek 10 km) – Ghangaria – Total 14 Kms
5. Split routes from Ghangaria for Hemkund Trek and Valley of Flowers Trek.

Drive to Govindghat around 300 Kms, which would take 10 – 12 hours of time to reach depending on the road conditions, please expect land sliding at various points throughout the drive.

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Modern Stylish Tallboy - Hyundai All New Santro

Way back in the 1990's a relatively unknown name from South Korea entered the Indian car market and dared to compete with well established Maurti, Ambassador and Tata. It was the time, when compact/ small car buyers were accustomed to small engines and a features deficit product. It was then, Hyundai introduced the Santro, which claimed to offer superior technology, features, space and interior quality, that were often neglected or better unheard till then. Most important Santro offered "Power Steering" as standard fitment and made driving a comfortable affair.

Very soon Santro was the preferred choice for Indian Car buyers and changed the dynamics of Indian Automobile Sector. Sales figures are sufficient enough to indicate the magic Santro left on its proud owners. 
  • From 58,646 in 1999, sales figure reached to 65,515 in 2000. 
  • Trust and excitement continued with average sales nearing 1 Lac per year over the next decade. 
  • November 2006 - Santro crosses 10 Lac sales in eight years.
Despite high demand, Santro was discontinued in 2015 after 16 years of love affair with Indian Roads. It was a heart break moment for numerous Car Lovers across the country, however the memories never left the Indian Car Buyers. 

23rd October 2018 was the day when Santro made a comeback to rule the Indian roads. At a Grand launch ceremony attended by Shahrukh Khan, Media and leading Bloggers from India, curtains were pulled off from "All New Santro". 
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Day out in Beijing

Beijing, capital city of China is one of the ancient cities on Earth with more than 3,000 years of recorded history. Evidence of human ancestry dating back to 700,000 years ago has been found in the southwest part of Beijing, where the remains known as 'Peking Man' were found.
Amidst one of the tightly packed trip to Beijing got some time to check out the City of Beijing. Landing in Beijing at 1:00 PM, had no option but to run wherever I could have in the available one half of the day.
As I always say, best plans should be kept in the earlier part of the program. So to explore Beijing attractions, I dumped the luggage in hotel room, took the Metro/ Subway map in my hand and started to “Tiananmen Square”. Tiananmen Square is one of the most popular and renowned spot around the world. There is no tourist who comes to China, leaves without a visit to this place. 

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On Nainital and Mukteshwar: A Lake, Deodars and Maple Leaves - part 2 of 2

We left for Mukteshwar at around 11 AM. Somehow it got cloudy again and the roads got under thick white mist. It took a while to drive out of the town since there were many people on the road. Soon it started to drizzle and it felt good. Mukteshwar is at a height of about 7200 ft and is right in the middle of Banj Oak and Deodar forests. The forest is evergreen and mostly covered in mist. You can see that green moss and lichens have taken over the whole forest since it rains here almost every day, even in summer. 


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On Nainital and Mukteshwar: A Lake, Deodars and Maple Leaves - part 1 of 2

We left home while it was still dark. Dark clouds were high up but it was not going to rain. The morning was warm and there was no wind. I woke up at 4 and was out on the road by 5 AM. The drive started pretty smooth and we were in Haridwar by 6:30 AM. The road is mostly wide with little traffic in the morning. The most interesting and exciting thing about this route is that it runs through Elephant corridors. The area has a large population of deer, wild elephant and leopards. You can see roadside signs with jumping deer, crossing leopards and elephants.
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