Top Ten Travel Destinations for the Savvy and Cultured

There are so many places on earth, so choosing the top destinations is really up to personal preference. Depending on whether you like tropical places, or rainy locations, or camping, or hiking, there are so many options to choose from. Below are ten places throughout the world that may be exciting and interesting to visit.

1. Costa Rica

If bird watching is something that you would like to experience, Costa Rica is a must for your top ten travel destinations list. In 2009, Costa Rica obtained a new birding route and it has over 500 bird species. With all these birds, it is important that you remember either your favorite birding binocular or, at a minimum, your compact travel binocular or monocular. The landscape is a must-see for naturalists. With its rainforest canopies, tropical biological research facilities, and family – fun reserves, this place is incredible.

2. Seoul

The capital of South Korea is known for its glamorous cafes, glorious galleries, and great fashion. As of 2010, it was referred to as the World Design Capital. If you are interested in art and fashion, and glamorous scenery is your motivation for travel, this would be a great place to visit. It’s also renowned for cultural and shopping opportunities and you can take advantage of low prices for SLR cameras and lenses, for example, during the day while attending cultural performances during the evening. Korean cuisine is excellent and, if you’re not handy with the flat, metal, Korean-style chopsticks your host or hostess will likely graciously provide a spoon and fork for you.

3. Sri Lanka

If you desire a setting that is filled with animals, and natural beauty, then sightseeing in Sri Lanka must be on your to do list. For more than two decades Sri Lanka experienced low tourism, as the country was plagued by a civil war. But, with civil peace, the natural beauty has once again become evident. Whether you want to see gorgeous beaches near seaside villages, or monkeys swinging from trees; this is the place to be.

4. Copenhagen

If you are trying to go green, Copenhagen may be a good place to include in your top ten travel destinations list. Copenhagen residents have bicycles paths around the city and tourists can ride free bikes, revealing the attitude behind why this city is known as a very “green” place. Scandinavia has historically been a conscientious steward of its ecology without being strident about it and you’ll enjoy the easy-going atmosphere.

5. Antarctica

This continent should definitely be one of your top ten travel destinations. The tourist boom is posing a threat to the environment, so it is important to visit before the continent is closed to more casual visitors. If you want to view some amazing landscape, and have first class access to views of some of the world’s last remaining glaciers, then Antarctica is a must. If you’re interested in sharing awe-inspiring vacation pictures when you return, you can’t go wrong with the rare beauty of Antarctica.

6. Shanghai

China is an interesting place to visit. If you want to travel through Shanghai, then you can always use the Maglev, which is a train that can reach speeds of 430 km/hr. Getting to see this city, and what it is has to offer definitely earns this place a spot on the top ten travel destinations. Whether you want to see museums that showcase 5,000 years of history, enjoy the delicious soup dumpling that they have to offer, or experience massage with yoga, or Chinese acupressure, then Shanghai is a travel destination worth exploring.

7. Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California, is a city that many people have heard a variety of things about. For those who desire to explore museums, or go shopping in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles is the place for it. For those of us who have long aspired to meet someone famous, spending a day in Los Angeles is the one of the better things you can do to change your luck. You can also check out Venice beach if you want a more tropical setting, or Disneyland or Universal Studios if you are with the kids. Whatever the case, Los Angeles is a magnificent place to include as one of the top ten travel destinations.

8. Leipzig

If you want to visit a cultural destination, then Leipzig should be a destination to consider as part of your top ten travel destinations. With the numerous museums, you will be able to learn about German cultures and ways of life. The glorious churches, the magnificent buildings, and the parks and gardens make this city even more glamorous to explore. If you are a true history buff, then the Battle of Leipzig Monument may be a nice review. If visiting with a family, then the Leipzig Zoo will be a delightful destination. Whatever your interest, this is a nice German city that may be interesting and stimulating culturally.

9. Koh Kood

These luxurious islands in Thailand are for outdoorsy people who enjoy nature. Since more than half of Koh Kood is covered by tropical rainforests, and the seas offer crystal clear water accompanied by beautiful beaches, this is a tropical paradise. Whether you want to snorkel or scuba dive in the sparkling seas, or view the beautiful imagery of the sunset, or waterfalls, this island can be a breathtaking experience for beach lovers everywhere. You’ll regret it if you forget to bring your camera and travel binocular or monocular! Koh Kood certainly deserves a spot in your top ten travel destinations!

10. Mumbai

Have you ever wondered about the legendary Bollywood? You’ll want to include Mumbai in your list of the top ten travel destinations and here’s why. Mumbai is the capital of the film industry in India, and if you choose to visit this destination, you will get to indulge in some of the culture that goes along with this domain. In this dynamic city, you can even see the Taj Mahal resort, which is a must for history enthusiasts. If that’s not your area of interest, then there are always museums and art galleries to free your creative side. If you want to go shopping for the day, then there are a plethora of markets where you can shop for just about anything. How about visiting the famous tourist spot known as Powai Lake? This is a famous spot that attracts people from all over the world. But beware; the rumor is that the lake is infested with Crocodiles.

Buying a Travel Trailer – The Pros and Cons of New and Used Travel Trailers

Are you thinking about buying a travel trailer? There are so many decisions to make.

* Do you want a new or used trailer?

* Is this going to be a cash purchase or financed?

* What are you willing to spend?

* Should you get a 5th wheel, toy hauler or tongue pull travel trailer?

* What manufacturer are you interested in?

* What floor plan is best for your requirements?

If you are undecided, you should start out by considering the pros and the cons of buying used vs. buying new. Take your time when buying your travel trailer. Do your research and avoid spontaneous buys.

PROS of Buying a Used Travel Trailer

* More Bang for Your Buck. A used travel trailer will hold it’s worth longer than a new trailer. A used trailer is the way to go if you are on a looking to save money or don’t want to be stuck with making payments for 10 years. You could get a used 252 with all the bells and whistles cheaper than a NEW 202 plain jane travel trailer.

* Do Your Research. Visit travel trailer forums and read what owners are saying about particular travel trailers, both good and bad, this information could save you a bunch of future headaches. Remember the greater part of travel trailers that are purchased new rarely see any camping action, a large amount of trailers are either put in storage or parked at peoples houses. Its not unregular to find a used travel trailer in showroom condition, even older travel trailers from the 70’s can be found in great condition.

* Second-hand travel trailers hold their value! If you get a good quality bargain on a used travel trailer and decide to sell it a few years later you have a great chance of getting all your money back.

CONS of Purchasing a Used Travel

* Potential Problems. Buying a used travel trailer is a bit of a gamble, there could be minor problems or major problems and if you are lucky – no problems with the trailer. In most cases the warranty will have long ago expired, so expenses will be out of your pocket. Do your homework right so problems won’t be a surprise.

* Elbow Grease. You will need to give your new used trailer a good cleaning, no matter what condition it’s in.

* Less selection of ideal floor plans. Floor plans are limited by what’s currently for sale.

PROS of Buying a New Travel Trailer

* Nice & Sparkling. It’s new, fresh and all yours!

* Warranty. If there are problems, take the trailer back to your dealer and they’ll have to repair them for free!

* Maintenance Free. You do not have to be bothered with purchasing new tires, new battery, or any other part for at least a year or until the warranty has expired.

* Floor Plans. Lots of floor plans and interior colors to choose from.

CONS of Buying a New Travel Trailer

* New Trailers Depreciate Fast. A new travel trailer loses it’s value the moment you pull out of the dealers lot. If you financed with little or nothing down, you will be “upside down” owing more that the trailer is worth, for years! If you have to sell your travel trailer you will most likely owe more than what it’s worth and have to come up with the difference in cash.

* The Cost. If you are budget minded you almost certainly do not want to be trapped making monthly payments for the next 10 years on a travel trailer you will use at the most 8 months out of the year. Do the math, and figure out how much each camping trip will actually cost you per year, just factoring in the monthly payments. Ouch! If your payments are $350 a month x 12 months = $4,200. $4,200 can buy a fantastic used travel trailer and you won’t be stuck with payments!

A Woman Traveling & Living Solo in a Van – Why?

I am a 50 year young, God loving divorced mom of one adult son. I have spent most of my
life working far more hours than I should. I am very responsible and have always worked
myself to the ultimate (& at times ridiculous) to build other people’s businesses… and I
have been pretty successful at it! At the same time, most of my life I have been a single
parent, so though I made a decent income compared to many women in my shoes, living on
one income and paying all the bills solo, I didn’t have anything extra for savings. Often I
felt like I worked from can ’til can’t, and the only thing that kept me going was the ongoing
motivation to provide a good home and environment for my then “growing up” son.

I have gotten burnt out from time to time amidst the mad crazy pace of management and
business life, but I’ve always ended back in the rat race due to the responsibilities and
demands of being a single mom for the most part. Since my son is now grown and a man on
his own, after my current corporate management “gig” is over (I plan to make that happen
before my next birthday) I will then fulltime and travel using my van as a home base while
supporting myself primarily through my online businesses, occasional consulting and
speaking engagements, and my true passion: writing.

How did I come to discover this free (& honest) nomadic gypsy spirit that lives inside of
me? First, I always have been drawn to small spaces inside, and wide open scenic vistas
outside; love nature, love scenic beauty, love exploring, love uniqueness and discovery of
all kinds. I loved every movie I saw with the actors living in a well kept RV or travel
trailer… actually, although I don’t remember the names of the movies, those are the “clips”
that live in my head: an older woman with a bird on her shoulder sitting at the table of the
nice travel trailer she lived in since her husband died, she was happy and at peace though
others didn’t understand her choices. Another movie I remember vividly was about 2
women who traveled the country heading to Canada (with breathtaking footage along the
way). An unhappy waitress who joins them along the way has a very unique personalized
(too pink and frilly for me but cool nevertheless) travel trailer that she just gives away
without thought when she meets the “man of her dreams”. (What????? Don’t give that
away!!! What was she thinking???) As long as I can remember I have been drawn to the
gypsy life, from the travels to the ornate cozy gypsy wagons, travel trailers, and small
RVs and campers to the biggest perk of all: Independence and Freedom to live life
outside the “societal box”.

When my now adult son was from the ages of 7 to about 14, we often went camping in
various places on many weekends. Not having much money for extras, we also vacationed
as campers. Two of our most memorable vacations camping, were at The Great Smoky
Mountains NP in NC & TN and at the Shenandoah National Park in VA.

I guess where the casual weekend camper took on a whole different mode was in the
whole pre-Y2K frenzy. I found my natural survival mentality becoming more and more
immersed in the preparedness and survival aspect of it all. At that time I thought, “Hey
whether Y2K brings on anything difficult or not, the bottom line is I am living week to
week, what if something catastrophic happened in my life; how would I take care of my
son?” I was supposed to receive $100 a week in child support for many years but long
story short (not worth writing or talking about) I never did. I pursued it for a while
through the courts and child support agencies. But after their not securing anything
worthwhile, the state agency wanted me to sign papers to pay for their costs in finding my
ex “once again” to make him comply! I gave up! Things were very different back then with
the courts and compliance. So I didn’t look to anyone else but myself (& God) to help me. I
ended up buying a $1000 travel trailer and fixing it up so that no matter what happened
we would have a roof over our heads. I didn’t talk about it to people because I knew that
if one didn’t follow the societal guidelines of a big home with a white picket fence or at
least a nice apartment, people thought you were out of touch with reality! But when my son
reached 16, we moved out of our nice luxury apartment into the 24 ft. travel trailer when
they were enforcing a rent increase from $600 to $700 a month (which was pricey for SC
in ’98).

I found there was a beautiful resort campground near the infamous Charleston gardens
and historic antebellum homes on the outskirts of Charleston, SC not too far from my job
as a purchasing manager for a national high-tech manufacturing company. I spoke with my
son (who was always very adaptable and always ready for a new adventure) about how
much I could save. I took him to the beautiful resort campground with a large lake, White
Ibis and Blue Heron nests right behind the area we would be parked in, and beautiful
amenities all housed in cedar wood buildings. On top of all that we were only a couple miles
from where the islands and swamp areas merged with the ocean and all of it in the up and
coming area of town with trendy and new shopping areas and restaurants. We stayed
there over a year. We thoroughly enjoyed it there and I was able to save enough money to
fund much of his first year of college as a result of the reduced costs. After I moved
back to upstate SC, and to a new job we were in not so beautiful grounds and it wasn’t
nearly the same experience, but still worked out fine for the time.

There were a lot of things I learned about myself between the Y2K revelations (and the
time period thereafter) and moving from the beautiful grounds to not as nice facilities in
SC as I was saving monies for my son to go to college. I found that people were generally
pretty enjoyable to get to know. I loved that everyone seemed to be on the same level
when out in the camping world… whether doctor or janitor, people were people without the
normal dictates that society normally labels people with. (That’s the way it should be
everywhere in my opinion!) As far as the travel trailer, I adapted very well to the small
space and made it homey and enjoyable just as I had prior to our apartment.
I remarried during my son’s last year of college and moved out west. Unfortunately, it
became a bit of a nightmare. About 2 1/2 years ago I found myself in a crazy, dangerous
situation and as a result left my now ex husband, and traveled back across the USA by
myself in a 97 Dodge Dakota with a truck camper. I literally left everything behind and
was very short on money. That was right after “Katrina” so gas was high (about what it is
now!) so I only stayed in a hotel one time in 3 months and stayed in camp sites about 5 days
total. Most of the time I stayed overnight at Walmarts and Flying J’s and while still in the
west; at a few Casinos. I always tried to park near other RVers so I wasn’t out there
isolated. One time at one of the casinos there was a man picking up a vehicle for someone
at the casino and saw me step out of the back of the camper and started flirting with me,
soon followed by trying to talk me into he coming in to the camper with me to “visit”. He
kept “nicely” trying to work his way into the camper. I finally got in a few words and told
him “my husband” was due back any second, “no thanks” and went back in and shut the
door. It was at night and I was going to go into the casino to use the restroom and maybe
get a bite to eat. I decided not to take the walk to the casino with him out there. I was a
little uncomfortable but the story about a husband to return any second seemed to do the
trick.

I found everyone other than that man, to be very kind and genuine to me and I never felt
threatened other than him. I did feel scared a few times until I found everyone so kind to
me. Even when there were more truckers around me than RVers, they seemed to be more
protective of me than threatening in any way. I do think that a woman traveling alone
should make sure she is not isolated if at all possible for safety reasons. When I go
fulltiming I will be using my van instead of a camper or RV that is more conspicuous. Being
in a van, I feel more comfortable to park in more areas as it is so unassuming as compared
to a camper or RV. Even if I go out of the van I can use the driver side door to exit if I
feel it necessary, so no one will know I am basically living in the van unless I feel
comfortable enough with others for them to know.

A few safety targeted suggestions especially geared for women:

If possible park near other campers/RVers/ travelers at campgrounds, Travel
Centers (IE: Flying J’s), Walmart or Casinos.

Consider an inconspicuous (stealthy) rig/vehicle. (I personally prefer a van
specifically for this reason.)

Once you locate your spot to park don’t go in and out of your rig any more than
necessary.

Don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself, especially when boondocking/dry
camping. (IE: If like myself, you have magnetic business signs on a white van, remove
them before you arrive to where you will park.)

Although we have free choices in life, some choices may speak what you don’t really
mean to say. So be aware of your clothing. If you wear daisy duke shorts and a top
exposing your naval and hips and/or a neckline cut “way down to there”, you will most
likely draw attention to yourself that is not safe for you!

Be prepared for emergencies so you don’t have to unnecessarily exit @ night: Keep a
portable “potty” of some kind in your rig. I have a non-flushable Reliance Hassock
Toilet that uses disposable bags.

If you have windows in the “living spaces” in your rig, as I do in my van, make sure to
prepare your vehicle to reveal as little light as possible. (IE: Apply a dark tint to the
back windows, additionally cover them with shades, etc.. Also, put some kind of
divider between the front and back of your rig or put sun shades on the windshield
and side front windows to keep anyone from being able to see into your living areas.

Keep the noise level way down. If you watch TV or listen to music, use earphones.

Stay aware of the sights & sounds around you. Know where you are parking and what’s
near your parking site. Also, only use one side of your earphones so you can hear if
someone comes near your vehicle.

Have some kind of protection available. I am personally not one to carry a gun, so I
have pepper spray handy just in case. Have you ever been sprayed by that stuff?
OMG!!! It is definitely effective enough to buy you the time to get safely away if
needed. Keep a cell phone charged up, with service in range and within your reach if at all
possible.

Most important of all: Exude confidence (not arrogance) that you are where you are
supposed to be and doing what you are supposed to be doing. If you give off fear and
uncertainty, that will most likely concern others around you. However, if you smile and
wave and give off confidence in who & where you are, that will go a very long way to
keep you safe and alleviate suspicions of passers by.

I have now lived and traveled in several “portable and mobile” dwellings (travel trailer,
pick-up camper and van) for various reasons, as well as enjoyed camping and the
community that stems from campers, frugal travelers and RVers. I have always loved the
freedom the portable lifestyle offers. For many years (since the pre Y2K days) I have
been the member of RV, Camper Van & Boondocking online groups, browsed newsletters
and own tons of related books. Now my spare time is filled with preparing to go back out
there, but this time for an extended time period, maybe forever… who knows? From
building businesses online to making preparations with the basic gear needed, including a
few extras like a laptop with a long battery life & a cell phone with national coverage, to
sprucing up my 97 GMC Safari Van to ready it for travel, and yes even finding cool
products to live well along that venue… My eyes sparkle and a smile settles deep within as
I get closer and closer to my life becoming more and more mobile/portable and less
dependent on the normal bricks and mortar of society. I am preparing with anticipation to
the soon coming day that I take my life full time on the road. By my 51st birthday you may
pass me down the road, or maybe we will sit next to each other at a little mom and pop
diner in a quirky little town… or just maybe we will meet each other at a planned get
together with others of like mind along the way! I look forward to it! See you along the
way…

By: Brenda Curtiss of http://www.LordandCurtiss.ws