Archive for April, 2015

Family Adventure Vacations

If you realize that it has been long since you have been on a holiday with your family, here’s something for you. If you and your family members are of the adventurous type, an adventure outing could be a good choice for your vacation. You might like to go hiking to someplace less visited, or engage in extreme sports. You might want to enjoy a forest trail and explore the wild, or go family camping by the riverside. The options are plenty. It’s you who makes the choice.

Trekking

If hiking in the hilly regions and walking in the wilds is something you enjoy doing, go trekking. Weather conditions and topography must be taken into account before planning a trek. If you are a trekker, you will love to explore the Himalayan regions in India. The Andes in South America is another popular destination for trekking. Alaska’s autumn forests, the rainforests of Australia and Africa, and the Kilimanjaro range in Africa offer some of the top trekking destinations. The Ladakh range in India, High Sierra in California, Mount Kenya, and the Swiss Alps are some other tourist destinations that are largely visited by trekkers from around the world. There are several walking and climbing routes in Mount Kenya that are used by hikers coming on an adventure tour to this region. The Alps of Switzerland is one of the most-visited tourist spots in the world. Construction of tourist facilities such as hotels and mountain huts began in the mid-nineteenth century and the Swiss Alps became a popular choice for trekking.

Sailing

Some enjoy sailing to marinas, which provide tourists with convenient docks and easy access to restaurants. Some prefer to visit sheltered bays and calm waters, while others may like to sail on a yacht to the high seas of Goa. If you enjoy nature’s company, you can choose to go sailing in the quiet river waters with your family, watching sea birds and enjoying the cool breeze. Some of you might like to cruise in the marinas, chatting with your dear ones over a glass of wine or engage in water sports to add a tinge of adventure to your sailing holiday. The Exumas in Bahamas, the Whitsunday Islands in Australia, the British Virgin Island, and the Caribbean waters offer some good tourist spots for an adventure vacation with the family.

Adventure Sports

Some of you might like to explore the coral reefs of Mauritius or the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and discover the depths of the blue seas on a scuba diving or snorkeling vacation. If riding the waves is what you like, kitesurfing will provide you with that element of adventure. The white, sandy beaches of Hawaii, Tarifa, and Tenerife in Spain, and Boracay in Philippines offer some of the best kiteboarding destinations. Parasailing gives you a sense of freedom. For a bird’s-eye view of the ocean, you can visit parasailing destinations like Kerala and Goa.

River Rafting

Whitewater rafting originated way back in 1842 but became a popular sport only in the mid 1970s. Does this adventure sport interest you? If you would like to experience the thrills and chills of the white waters, go rafting on the deadly rapids. The white waters of River Ganges in the Himalayas, River Brahmaputra in Arunachal Pradesh, and the Colorado River of the Grand Canyon offer some of the world’s best destinations for rafting.

Exploring the Wild

Exploring the wilderness of the forests is one of the best adventure vacation ideas. Spend time discovering the wildlife and observe habitats of wild animals. Such a trip will not only rejuvenate your mind but also teach children the importance of nature and wildlife conservation. The Wild Animal Safari in the Pine Mountain in Georgia hosts a rich animal reserve. The Chobe National Park in Botswana, the Kruger National Park in South Africa, and the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania serve as some of the excellent tourist spots for a trip with your family. Bird watching is another interesting activity to spend a holiday. Rio Grande valley and the pine forests of East Texas are popular bird watching destinations. Some tourist companies offer packages that include watching tropical and ocean birds.

Surfing

How about riding down an ocean wave while standing on a surfboard? Surfing is a favorite sport of many. If you are one of them, plan your vacations around the surfing destinations in different parts of the world. Hawaii is considered as the original home of surfing. Hawaii beaches are a popular tourist attraction. The wild waters of the north shore of Oahu in Hawaii, the Pacific coast of California, the western coastline of France, and the Sunshine coast in Australia are some of the most popular surfing destinations in the world.

Camping

Camping is a good way to enjoy both fun and adventure. Just sitting around the campfire, cooking together, playing fun games, or chatting all night long in the tent; family camping turns out to be a time well-spent with your loved ones. When camping near a lake or river, you can engage in fun activities like swimming and fishing during the day. If the campground is near a mountain, you may like to enjoy the mountain view or go hiking to explore the hilly terrains. Cornwall in Southwestern England, New Hampshire in North America, and north-Indian states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand offer some good camping destinations.

Unearthing Archaeological Sites

If mysteries interest you, plan a vacation to Egypt and explore its archaeological wealth, the Egyptian Pyramids, or Mohenjo-daro, a city of the Indus Valley Civilization. The latter is one of the most explored archaeological sites in the world. Ciudad Perdida, San Agustin, and the tombs at Tierradentro in Colombia, Machu Picchu in Peru, and the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations are some other famous archaeological vacation destinations.

Family vacations give you the opportunity to spend quality time with your family. Remember the last time you took your family on a vacation? Think of the joy you could see on their faces when you declared your plan for a holiday with them. So what are you waiting for? Get ready for an adventure vacation with your family. The pleasure of spending time with your near and dear ones is priceless.

Taking to the Skies in Style: Hot Air Ballooning

In 1967, the Fifth Dimension asked the musical question, “Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon?” The song, which was written by Jimmy Webb, was called Up, Up, & Away. Hot air ballooning began in 1783, with a sheep, a duck, and a rooster as the first passengers. The first human passengers took a ride two months later, on November 21st. While helium and hydrogen balloons were later used by the military, such as in World War I, according to the Aerostar company, which makes hot air balloons and equipment, little progress was made on the development of hot air balloons until the 1960s. Ballooning, as a sport and recreational activity, has been increasing in popularity since then, especially in the United States. There are now over 3,500 balloons in the US and about another 1,000 in other countries.

Hot air balloons are based on a simple concept, hot air is lighter than cold air, and therefore, it rises. Modern balloons have three basic components―a lightweight fabric envelope or balloon, a burner, and a basket to ride in. Usually, the envelope is first inflated by a fan. Then the air inside the envelope is heated with a burner, burning a fuel such as propane. Eventually, as the air inside the balloon gets hotter, it overcomes the weight of the basket and passengers, and you have lift-off. The size and shape (and color) of these three components vary greatly, with some balloons being capable of carrying fifteen or more passengers.

Just as with an airplane, in order to fly a balloon in the US, you have to be licensed by the FAA. In addition to written and orals tests, the requirements for a private pilot’s license include at least 10 hours of training, including 6 with an instructor, a solo flight, an ascent to an altitude of 2,000 feet, and two flights of an hour each, within 60 days of applying for the license. However, unlike airplanes or helicopters, hot air balloons cannot be steered, at least not in the traditional sense. The pilot has to rely on the wind. Since the wind can vary based on altitude, limited changes in speed or direction are possible by changing altitude. This method enables pilots to participate in competitions, where the goal is dropping weights onto a target.

Because there is less wind around sunup and sundown, these are usually the times that pilots choose to fly their balloons. They can also fly at night, but because of problems with visibility and the need for instruments and lights, this is rarely done.

Would you like to take a balloon ride, or perhaps even get more deeply involved in the exciting world of ballooning? The Hotairballooning website suggests looking in your local phone book for companies offering rides in your area. Their site also has a ride directory that lists companies by state or Canadian Province. A typical ride lasts about an hour, but many enjoy prolonging the adventure by offering to help with the inflation and deflation of the balloon.

Another way to get more involved with the sport is by volunteering to be a member of the ground crew. The ground crew helps with setting up the balloon, and then follows along in a chase car during the flight, so that they can help the pilot land safely. If you don’t know of a pilot in your area, you might find one at a balloon festival. Hundreds of these festivals take place around the world each year.

Balloon festivals are like fairs, with other activities taking place, and food vendors satisfying the appetites of all those waiting to see the balloons fly. And unlike the flight of a group of powered aircraft, as the sun begins to dip toward the horizon, the evening seems to become more still and peaceful, as the sky is filled with the thrilling sight everyone has been waiting for. So then, even if you don’t want to get involved with ballooning by helping with the ground crew, or taking a ride yourself, you might still enjoy visiting a festival and watching all the beautiful balloons as they go ‘up, up, and away’.

Recommended Links