Author Archive | A Week at the Beach

RHA MA390 Travel-friendly headphones

Travel-friendly Headphones: RHA MA390 Wireless Earbud Review

Good headphones are essential, especially for travelers. Whether they’re for running, taking work calls, or drowning out airport noise, travel-friendly headphones are easily a must-have item on any trip.

In fact, I always have headphones within reach, even when I’m staying local. Because I work remotely, I need to be able to take a call or narrow my focus wherever I am. So regardless of whether I’m working at home, on the plane, or a noisy coffee shop, I find a good pair of travel-friendly headphones are worth the investment.

Man on public transport with wireless headphones

Of course there are different kinds. Justin has a pair of noise-cancelling, over-ear, bluetooth headphones from Samsung that he loves so much he even uses them for naps. But I personally find them to be too big. They take up almost an entire pocket in his backpack, which can be critical space when you’re traveling.

And while I have a pair of trusty UrbanEars, I recently got my hands on a pair of RHA bluetooth® in-ear headphones. These are admittedly my first pair of wireless headphones because I’ve always been worried about having to charge another device.

RHA MA390 wireless headphones for travel

Here’s why the RHA MA390 earbuds are travel-friendly headphones:

  1. They fit comfortably around your neck without an annoying cord to get caught or tangled
  2. The bluetooth connects to the phone display and shows you how much battery is left
  3. They’re lightweight, compact, and flexible, with a magnet that closes the loop for extra security
  4. They come with different size earbud covers so you can easily find one that fits you best
  5. They charge quickly and have long-lasting playback (up to eight hours on a full charge)
  6. They’re sweat-resistant and have easy-to-reach controls for when your phone is tucked away

Awesome as they are, they’re unfortunately not quite perfect as travel-friendly headphones. Despite high sound quality overall, I noticed some crackling when the treble gets higher than usual. And charging is still one more thing to think about and keep handy when traveling. However, the price makes the RHA MA390 earbuds a good bargain for solid headphones.

Do you have a favorite pair of travel-friendly headphones? Tell us about them in the comments!

Continue Reading 0
Image of Hebrew letting on a wall

3 Easy Ways to Learn a Language Before Your Next Trip

Traveling is supposed to be fun and relaxing. But it can be stressful if you don’t speak the same language. Whether you dedicate your vacation to resting or exploring new places, it can be super helpful to learn a language (even just a few words!) before you go.

In some cases, like with Americans who head to Cancún for spring break, travelers might not have issues communicating with the locals. After all, it’s a city known for receiving tourists from all over the world, especially from English-speaking countries. So ordering food at a restaurant or asking for directions won’t often be a problem.

Person holding a Fluent City Spanish hand book in front of a cactus

But that might not be the case for other, less touristy, places. What if you want to visit a charming little island off the coast of Mexico, where they are less accustomed to hordes of visitors. People in places like these are less likely to understand a language different from their own. And frankly, these are often the hidden gems of travel; the destination where you get a genuine feel for life in a foreign place.

That’s why, even if you just learn the basics, it can be a life-changing experience to learn a language other than your native tongue. Spanish, in this case, can be more than a cool addition to your résumé or a secret talent to impress your friends with. When you travel to places off the beaten path, it becomes a necessity.

Of course there are several easy ways to learn a language. And, if you have the time before your trip, we’d suggest you try a couple of them. Different formats can help with different aspects of the learning process. However, traveling is about immersing yourself in a new place, a new culture and, yes, a new language. Usually the best option for that is a service that will prepare you for the type of situation you’ll encounter in real life, like asking a stranger for recommendations, ordering a cab, or making small talk with a local.

Travel accessories including a Tuttle Pocket Japanese Dictionary

Here are 3 easy ways to learn a language before your next trip:

1. Get the Duolingo app

This popular app uses games for a fun way to learn a language. It’s the perfect choice for those with a bit of a competitive streak. Beat the clock, collect points, and work your way up those levels! You’ll also have the chance to review what you’ve learned and what your weaknesses are so you can work on them. Duolingo is available for every major operating system and it can help you learn Spanish, French, German, Italian and 11 other languages! Plus you can connect with friends to challenge each other!

2. Buy Rosetta Stone software

Another option to learn a language, including Spanish, French, Italian and German, is a classic: Rosetta Stone. This software, which can be tailored to meet the needs of individuals, educators and businesses, has been helping people learn new ways of expression for 25 years. Needless to say, they must be doing something right! In addition to rave reviews, its TruAccent speech recognition technology sets Rosetta Stone apart from other similar services.

3. Skype with a Tutor

Thanks to the internet, there are now services that can connect you with a real tutor via Skype. Spanish55, for example, hooks you up with a certified Spanish tutor who, after an initial consultation, will work one-on-one with you via Skype so you can achieve your goals. And there are also sites like italki that offer other languages. So you’ll be able to learn a language at a fraction of the cost, in a fresh, dynamic way and, most important, from the comfort of your own home and at your own pace! Flexible, relaxed and rooted in reliable technology, services like Spanish55 can help you achieve fluency faster.

Have you used another method to learn a language before traveling? Tell us more about your favorite tools in the comments!


About the Author:  Fernando Quintero is a writer and editor for Spanish55. A former movie blogger, he now works as a digital reporter for an international news platform.

Continue Reading 0
Camping tent overlooking fog on a mountain

3 Camping Tips for Maximum Outdoor Comfort

Some camping tips can be over the top. When really heading to the hills on a camping trip is all about getting back to basics; leaving the strain of the modern world behind and decompressing among Mother Nature’s glorious bounty. No screens, no deadlines, no 24-hour news cycle. Just you, your friends, your backpacks, and the wilderness. Pure simplicity. That’s why we love it.

That said, there’s a lot of unnecessary machismo around camping. Some people seem to think that camping has to involve at least a little bit of suffering. And if it doesn’t, you’re not doing it right. But I, for one, don’t subscribe to these theory. I love getting back to basics, I love being one with nature but I also love being comfortable, warm, and safe. And what do you know? It is possible to have it all.

Orange camping tent lit up at night in the dark wilderness

Here 3 camping tips for maintaining maximum comfort

(without breaking the bank or spoiling the adventure):

1. Don’t skimp on your gear

Even if you’re sleeping on a Caribbean beach, the key to camping is all about being prepared for the conditions. When you’re out in the hills and the sun falls below the trees, the night can get cold quickly. That’s why the first of our camping tips is about investing in good gear.

I know camping can seem like an expensive hobby, but that’s only true when you take a short-term approach. A good multi-season sleeping bag might cost you well over $100, which sounds expensive. But if you look after it well there is absolutely no reason it won’t last you for years and years.

And if having a comfortable sleeping bag means you spend more nights camping on your holiday than sleeping in hotels, then return on investment is a easy to see. You will easily make that money back in a night or two.

View looking at the woods from inside a tent with a sleeping bag

The same goes for a solid, well-made tent. Obviously a tent fit for purpose is going to cost a little bit more initially compared to a festival tent you might find in the bargain bin at a gas station. But when it comes to longevity there is no competition. I’ve had tents that have lasted longer than some marriages!

Camping is definitely one of those pastimes where spending a little more initially can pay big dividends down the road. And in most cases we’re only talking about a little bit more money for better quality. The difference between a standard sleeping bag and a good one is pretty much the cost of a meal out. Stay in this weekend, have a sandwich, and spend the savings on good gear that can go with you practically anywhere.

2. Think of your sleep

Nothing can ruin a camping trip quite like a sleepless night spent tossing and turning. Not only will that evening be spoiled but so will the following day. You’ll have bags under your eyes bigger than a sleeping bag and likely be so grumpy that fellow campers will secretly hope you become a bear snack! More important, when you’re tired you’re more prone to make mistakes, lose your footing, or get injured.

So getting sufficient sleep in the woods is not only for the benefit of your enjoyment, it’s also a health and safety issue. Fortunately, I have camping tips for that too. And the good news is there are a heap of things you can do to improve your odds of getting a good night’s rest when camping. I recommend you start by bringing something comfortable to sleep on.

Sleeping bag and pad next to a tent at sunrise

It sounds completely obvious but you’d be surprised by how many first timers show up with a wimpy grocery store roll mat. You’re sure to impress no one, least of all your back, by sleeping on one of those underwhelming pads. Camping technology has come along way, and now you can find lightweight roll mats and air beds to match any style of camping, from extreme backcountry to glamping.

If you already have an inflatable bed and find that’s not the most comfortable, then have a look at this handy guide on what you can do to primp it up before you pump it up.

3. Always stay dry

This is possibly the most important of my camping tips. Can you imagine being more uncomfortable than when you’re deep in the woods, realizing every single piece of clothing you have is wet? It might not be a problem during the day when  sunshine and body heat is working in your favor but when you lay down at night, however, things are going to get cold quick.

The solution is to always have an extra pair of dry clothes to change into at night. But don’t just trust that your backpack will keep clothes dry either. Most backpacks are not 100% waterproof, so you’ll be in trouble if the heavens open or you somehow drop your bag in the creek. It happens. More than you think.

Person crossing a clear river in their camping gear

Instead dry sack or even just a sturdy reusable bag to protect the clothes you’re not wearing. And always, always, change for bed. Even if your clothes don’t feel damp, they usually hold at least a little bit of your own sweat. As night falls, this moisture will evaporate and your body temperature can plummet. It’s definitely worth the extra effort to bring a change of clothes to make sure you stay dry and warm!

And there you have it, camping fans–three camping tips to improve your comfort and safety during your next camping trip. Remember the woods are fun, but they also demand our respect. Conditions can change quickly, and it’s up to you to be prepared. All you need is good gear and a sensible head on your shoulders.

What are your favorite camping tips for enjoying the great outdoors?


About the Author: Sarah Cummings is a freelance writer. When she’s not writing about sleep or practising yoga on the beach, you can find her hiking to new camping spots. She and her family are definitely adrenalin junkies who love nothing more than spending time in the Great Outdoors!

Continue Reading 0
Beach Vacations that Aren’t in Florida

4 Beach Vacations that Aren’t in Florida

Don’t take it personally, Florida. There is no end to the number of adventures to be had in the sunshine state, from the picturesque to the unusual. But when it comes to beach vacations and ocean view destinations, Florida does not have the monopoly that people think it has. Far from it, in fact! If you are planning to soak up the sun this summer, whether with your family or on a private getaway, it’s time to branch out and experience something else besides Epcot. Take a look at four of the most phenomenal beach vacations that have a little more culture and flair than Orlando.

4 Beach Vacations Outside Florida

1. Samana, Dominican Republic

If you are a beach vacation aficionado, you might not even need to read the rest of this article. Samana is perfectly situated for quick access to not one, not two, but three world class beaches. Soak up all the sun you need and enjoy the best ocean views in the world in Samana Bay. There are lots of activities to keep you occupied if you can manage to peel yourself away from the stunning white sand beaches.

There are waterfall hikes and zipline excursions for the adventurous members of your party. Deep sea fishing excursions can be arranged for the sportsmen and women out there. Still craving more beach time? Take a horseback tour of the Samana peninsula and drink it all in. When you are ready for a quick bite or a major meal, Samana boasts a variety of fine dining options. You can find everything here from local Dominican specialties to Thai and French cuisine that will have you returning night after night.

Two people sitting on a beach bluff in Negril Jamaica

2. Negril, Jamaica

Jamaica is renown for its vibrant culture, music, food, and style. The nightlife in cities and towns across the country can make for a memorable vacation, but what Jamaica does best is beach life. Negril offers a number of exciting activities and attractions that are related to its prime beachfront location.

You can hit surf on a boogie board, sailboat, or anything in between. Go for a long walk on the aptly named Seven Mile Beach and check out the amazing natural formations of the Negril Cliffs. Get a private glass-bottom boat tour of the bay or dive off the coast to find dolphins and exotic reef life. Once you’ve had your fun in the sun, maybe you are ready to put on your dancing shoes and see if Jamaican nightlife is worth all the hype (it is).

You can find everything from classic beach bars to pulsing nightclubs in Negril. There are even services that offer bar crawls after the sun sets. One Love Bus Bar Crawl might be just the thing you are looking for to get acquainted with party culture on the island.

3. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Puerto Plata is an idyllic beach getaway for those who want the very best of the best amenities, excursions, and comfort. The numerous luxury resorts will entertain and pamper you like royalty. You can explore the famous Paradise Island by your desired mode of transportation: sleek speedboat or catamaran.

Amber Cove is a popular docking point for cruise ships, and rightfully so. From there you can access restaurants and cafes with authentic local flavor, or take a quick hike to stunning waterfalls and lush jungle ecosystems.

If you want the experience of a lifetime, set up a dolphin encounter at Ocean World Park! You can swim with the well trained dolphins before watching their exciting stunt-filled show! Puerto Plata will also appeal to the foodie in you. There are a ton of fine dining options in the area, especially elegant takes on Caribbean and creole cuisine.

Aerial view of the clear blue waters surrounding Turks and Caicos

4. Turks and Caicos

For the ultimate beach vacation, you have to find your way to the tiny caribbean island country of Turks and Caicos. This destination is far off the beaten path and you can find pristine beaches that you can lounge on all by yourself. And what beaches they are! Check out Half Moon Bay and Grace Bay for ocean view sunsets that will change your life.

Dive just offshore to untouched reefs teeming with shimmering tropical life. Better yet, enjoy the most remote, jaw dropping snorkeling while on a private catamaran cruise around the island. Would you rather eat what you see out there? Charter a fishing boat for a half day or full day of deep sea fishing and eat your catch that evening!

The Caicos Conch Farm is definitely worth a visit for a totally unique and informative afternoon. When you are done, mingle with locals in Providenciales every thursday at the weekly Thursday Night Fish Fry. There are plenty of all inclusive packages available to make beach vacations in Turks and Caicos an unforgettable experience!

Conclusion

Move over, Florida. You are still beautiful in your own way, but there is no questioning the appeal of these superb locations.  We hoped you enjoyed reading about  Beach Vacations that Aren’t in Florida.

Was this article helpful and informative? Leave us a comment with your thoughts in the section below.

 

 

Continue Reading 0
View of Jervis Bay, NSW, Austrlia

Discover Jervis Bay & Shoalhaven

Jervis Bay and the Shoalhaven region is a coastal area that lies in the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia.

It’s made up of a number of charming coastal towns and suburbs. Jervis Bay, on the other hand, is the stunning oceanic bay and village that lies to the east of the Shoalhaven area. It’s also known for having the world’s whitest sand. Jervis Bay and Shoalhaven are full of never-ending treasures, and are only a two-hour drive south of Sydney.

Here are the best ways to discover Jervis Bay & Shoalhaven:

Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay, NSW

[Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jayphen/16281947166]

Visit the Beaches

Hyams Beach is the most well-known of beaches in the Jervis Bay and Shoalhaven area. It’s easy to see why since it’s one of the most picturesque beaches in NSW. You’ll find that Jervis Bay really does live up to its reputation for having the whitest sand.

There are other similar beaches just as amazing as Hyams Beach, too. You’ll be just as please with beaches like Greenfields Beach and Murrays Beach. These hotspots in the Australian sun are great for relaxing or hitting up some water activities.

Porcupine fish in Green Patch, Jervis Bay, NSW

[Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8612899680]

Try the Water Activities

One of the more popular water activities for people visiting the area is snorkeling and scuba diving. Jervis Bay and Shoalhaven are home to sites like the southern reef at Mollymook, the Labyrinths, Gorgonian Wall, the submerged Fairey Firefly aeroplane and Point Perpendicular. Here in the South Coast, the Jervis Bay Marine Park has calm waters and white sand along with its marine life to keep you amazed.

Boating and fishing in Jervis Bay and Shoalhaven provides some of the best experiences and there are many ways to enjoy those tranquil waterways. You could hop on a whale watching tour, hire your own boat for a day’s worth of fishing or a private sailing charter, or even go kayaking along the beaches.

Surfing in Jervis Bay is also very popular, with surf hotspots including Bawley Point and Culburra Beach, Warrain Beach and Mollymook Beach.

Friends hugging on a bench in Jervis Bay, NSW, Australia

[Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/frankllin/5658745463/]

Find Accommodations

Jervis Bay accommodation is quite easily accessible as almost all of the attractions in the area are within short distances of each other and there are many small towns to explore.

When staying in the Jervis Bay and Shoalhaven region, it is best to choose a centralized location so that you can explore other places nearby. I’d recommend the Minnamurra River, Lake Illawarra, Minnamurra Forest, Bombo Quarry etc. From beachfront homes, bed and breakfasts, motels, inns to even coastal camping, there is plenty to choose from.

In the Shoalhaven region, coastal camping amidst the shoreline of the South Coast is a great way to enjoy the natural environment. Camping out close to places like Bristol Point’s beach, Cave Beach and Green Patch is ideal, as you can easily enjoy the sunrise or sunset without travelling far.

The Spirit of Jervis Bay tour boat in NSW, Australia

[Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lukasbenc/4139717336]

Take a Tour

There are plenty of tours available in the area catering to people of all ages with a large variety of things to do. Ecotourism is a growing industry in Jervis Bay, with tours available for sightseeing cruises that allow you to explore the sandstone cliffs, sea caves and coastal surroundings. You can go on bush tours, take surfing and wakeboarding lessons, visit local wineries and gourmet food producers, and even go whale & dolphin watching in the bay.

Have you been to Shoalhaven or Jervis Bay? What are some of your favorite things to do there? Tell us in the comments!

 


 

Continue Reading 0