5 Things About Rome That May Shock You

You’ve decided to make that big jump across the pond and head over to Italy. You’ve read all the tour guides, seen plenty of vlogs and have been fantasizing for what seems like forever, and now it’s finally happening.

But if Rome is your first stop on a European adventure, or if you’ve never been to the city before, then you might be in for a surprise. Here are five things about Rome that may shock you. Knowing them might help you prepare for your trip.

1. Rome Is busy

Anyone who’s been to Rome will tell you how busy the city is, but you’re not going to understand how busy until you experience it for yourself.

Depending on when you go, not only will Rome be full of locals trying to live their daily lives, but it will be filled with tourists as well. The metro and buses, while well-connected, are quite crowded.

Europeans and Italians are going to be traveling during the summer and into the early fall months, so be sure to time your trip accordingly.

Vatican City, a tiny country within Rome, is the center of the Catholic Church’s activities. It is also is the home of the Pope, so if there is a Christian holiday coming up, you can be sure there will be throngs of worshippers, especially during Christmastime and Easter.

During these holidays, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to find cheap accommodations in Rome. You might be better off delaying your trip instead of going during a holy time.

Be prepared for the crowds in Rome

2. Pickpockets work 24/7

Professional street hustlers are everywhere.

If you want to blend in and avoid most pickpockets, you should dress as the locals do.

Italians are known for being fashionable yet understated. Clothing is always expertly tailored and often paired with gorgeous, handmade shoes (which are surprisingly reasonable to purchase in Italy).

Tone down your image and leave the digital SLR camera with the extra lens in your hotel. If you don’t feel like being fashion forward, you just have to be more aware of your surroundings than you normally might be.

Keep valuables (like your passport), at the accommodations and keep money and cell phones inside your zipped coats or under your clothing. Don’t make it easy for thieves to rip you off, duh.

Keep your head up and don’t assume someone is offering to help out of the kindness of their heart: Con artists target tourists under the guise of helpfulness, but then expect to be “paid.” Be polite, but be firm. A loud “No!” is often most effective, as they will move on to easier, less-vocal targets.

Roman Ruins Hiking

3. Accommodations are expensive

Hotels are not cheap, even when using discount websites to book them.

Fortunately, there are many alternatives to choose from. Locals will often rent out their homes through private vacation rental sites, such as AirBnB. This is a great way to save money since the locals set the rates, not hotel chains.

Another alternative is to stay at an agriturismo–accommodations that are located on a farm and typically offer B&B-like amenities. Often run by individuals who also live on the property, agriturismos allow you to experience their culture and see how they live from day to day.

When you’re looking to stay in the city, hostels are another alternative to major hotel chains. Bear in mind that many hostels cater to a younger clientele and can be busy, noisy places. Check the reviews before you book and be sure there is no age restriction.

Many hostels are run like conventional hotels; you just have to be sure the one you’re staying at caters to your particular needs.

By saving money on accommodations, you’re free to spend that extra cash on the things you want to do in Rome like eat and sightsee.

roman coliseum

4. The food is terrible (unless you know where to look)

Unless you only want to eat pizza and panini, eating in Rome can be a terrible experience.

Most restaurants around the popular Roman tourist sites are expensive and cater to tourists that are desperate for food and willing to pay anything to get it. Don’t fall into this trap. Before you go to Rome, investigate some cheap and delicious restaurants online, and then program them into your cell phone map.

Not only will you have a guide to great eating right in your hands, but you’ll also be able to find your way around the city and explore areas you might never have gone to otherwise.

The best restaurants are where the locals also go, and they usually do not eat near touristy areas.

TeeShirt for Sale in Rome

5. The weather can be wild

Depending on the time of year, Roman weather can vacillate wildly between extremely hot and humid and miserably cold and damp.

Check the weather forecast and plan ahead. You will need an umbrella, a sturdy rain jacket, and comfortable walking shoes.

Although public transportation is efficient in Rome, you will be doing a lot of walking, so leave the heels and dress shoes at home (unless you’re planning on a fancy dinner night).

Temperatures can fall below freezing during the winter, so make sure you pack light but warm clothing (think Merino wool that can be layered).

In the summer, the less clothing the better, but you need to be careful.

Many religious sites have specific clothing restrictions (women can’t have bare legs or shoulders in churches; men can’t be wearing shorts or go in without a shirt), so check the sites you want to visit and be sure to pack comfortable, cool clothes that also cover your body.

When in doubt, pack a scarf that can double as a shawl, or pants that convert into shorts.

Clothing is relatively inexpensive in Rome, so if you forget something at home, you can pick up what you need at one of the local shops.

Hiking in the Rain Rome

Ohhh, the Memories…

Rome is an amazing city and one that will linger in your memory long after you’ve left, but it does take careful planning, especially if it’s your entry point into Italy.

When you plan, pack accordingly, and keep your head up, you’ll have a wonderful time in the eternal city.

Hiking Poles

Five Major Benefits of Being a Digital Nomad

Remote working was virtually unheard of only a few decades ago. Having a full-time job usually meant working in the same place every day, with a fixed schedule and the same group of colleagues.

With the internet having become more widespread, it is now much easier for people to work remotely.

Over the past few years, a whole movement based on working remotely while traveling the globe has emerged. “Digital nomads,” as they are commonly known, typically have jobs which allow them to be fully remote, such as translation, computer programming or writing.

Here are five major benefits of the digital nomad lifestyle:

using technology to work from anywhere

1. You can live almost anywhere you like

You can base yourself anywhere that’s equipped with electricity and a reliable internet connection. There are even websites that rate top digital nomad destinations, for example Nomadlist, you can see it here.

Looking for something more fantastic, if you’ve always wanted to live by the ocean, or in the shadow of a mountain, now you can.

There’s no need to live in an overcrowded, polluted city just because that’s where all the jobs are.

Digital Nomad Working Mountainside

Also read: Top 5 Cities to Live as a Digital Nomad

2. You can make time differences work for you

Some digital nomads are lucky enough to be able to set their own schedules and work whenever it suits them.

Others need to work fixed hours, especially if they need to be available to take calls or participate in video conferences.

However, even if you fall into the second group, you can make the time difference work for you.

When you’re a night owl, try living somewhere which is 10-plus hours ahead or behind your home country, so that you can work until the early hours while still being able to take calls and contact your team.

Hiking Watch

Also read: Travel + Work: Synching Across Multiple Time Zones (When on the Road)

3. You don’t have to put up with colleagues

One of the biggest problems you might have at work is dealing with annoying colleagues, whether they won’t stop talking when you’re trying to concentrate, or they have a taste for stinky egg sandwiches which they eat at their desk.

Working remotely usually means working alone, from the comfort and privacy of your own home.

If you do get lonely, you can always use a co-working space to meet other digital nomads; unlike traditional working environments, it’s totally up to you.

soloprenuer

Also read: Outsourced Ecommerce Fulfillment Allows for Location Independence, Run a Biz While YOU Travel

4. You can move around regularly

As the name implies, digital nomads are free to move around as much as they want to.

Many stay put in one place for several months, or even years, but others choose to relocate more often.

As soon as you feel the need for a change of scenery, you can book your next flight and go.

Lots of nomads even travel with carry-on luggage only, to make it even cheaper and easier to work while on the move.

Backpacking Season

Also read: Getting Ready For the Backpacking Season

5. You have much more free time

People with regular 9-to-5 jobs usually have to commute. That means a lot of wasted time, whether they’re waiting for delayed trains or crawling along the freeway in rush-hour traffic.

When you’re a digital nomad, going to work can be as easy as walking downstairs and setting up your laptop on the kitchen table, which can save many of you up to two or three hours per day.

You can use that extra time to catch up with friends, pick up some new skills–like hiking or Mandarin–or just wake up later in the morning.

Hiking Trip Essential Preparation

Also read: Essentials for a Safe, Enjoyable Hiking Trip

Remote Work Isn’t for Everyone

The digital nomad lifestyle is definitely not for everyone; it wouldn’t suit those who have time-management issues or need to be close to family and friends.

However, it can be an eye-opening experience for those who struggle to fit into traditional workplaces or who want to see more of the world without being limited to a few weeks of vacation time per year.

Why not give it a try?

Hiking Pole Reviews

Bangkok Airports (there are two) Don’t miss your flight in Bangkok!

Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Mueang International Airport (sometimes Don Muang) are two separate airfields serving Bangkok.

The site of harried tourists leaving their hotels and arriving at the wrong airport has become more common as flight traffic increases in Bangkok.

Tourists should be prepared and know which airport they will be using, how to get there, the differences between the two and the services available at both.

Why does Bangkok have two airports?

Tourist Waiting Arrival

In September, 2006, a Quantas flight bound for Sydney departed Don Mueang Airport at 3:12 a.m.

It was to be the final commercial flight from the field that had served Bangkok since 1914. Operations ceased and were transferred to Bangkok’s new airfield, Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

The closure was short-lived, however: Operating costs at Suvarnabhumi Airport were high, and safety concerns over cracked runways and taxiways created a crisis of confidence.

Low-cost carriers saw Don Mueang Airport as a viable transit hub, and authorities began to see it as a reasonable alternative to expanding operations at Suvarnabhumi International.

By March 2007, Don Mueang International Airport again reopened for domestic flights.

Today, legacy carriers and long-haul international flights operate from Suvarnabhumi International, while low-cost carriers operate from Don Mueang International.

Here are some things to know about Bangkok’s Two Airports:

Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK)

Suvarnabhumi Airport Thailand Travel

Suvarnabhumi International Airport, 25 km east of the city, is the sixth-busiest airport in Asia and handles 53 million passengers yearly. It also has the world’s tallest free-standing control tower. It serves as the main hub for Bangkok Airways, Orient Thai, and Thai Airways. It was built in an area formerly known as Nong Nguhao, or Cobra Swamp.

The terminal is massive and as beautiful as it is functional.

TIPTourists should be warned that the arrivals hall can be populated by con-men and illegal taxi drivers, and should use care.

Getting to and from Suvarnabhumi is easy.

In addition to taxis and express buses, the Airport Rail Link, which operates from 6 a.m. to midnight, connects Suvarnabhumi to downtown Bangkok.Airport Rail Link Bangkok

Connections to Bangkok’s MRT subway system can be made at the Makkasan City interchange, while the BTS Skytrain connects at the end of the line, at Phayathai Station.

Transit is cheap and the connections are easily made, but parties of three or more may find it cheaper to take a taxi.

Travel Time from Suvarnbhumi Airport to Bangkok:

Approximate time into Bangkok is 30 minutes.

More Info:

>>> Check your flight status for flights arriving and departing Suvarnbhumiy Airport here.

>>> Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok Official Info Page.

Don Mueang International Airport (DMK)

Don Mueang International Airport

Don Mueang International Airport, 25 km north of the city, has seen yearly double-digit growth in passenger travel and handled over 35 million passengers in 2016.

Don Mueang International Airport began handling commercial traffic in 1924 and served as a major US base of operations during the Vietnam war.

Today, it is a hub for Asia’s low-cost carriers, including Thai Lion Air, Nok Air, and Thai AirAsia.

Don Mueang’s two terminals:

  1. Terminal 1: handles international travel
  2. Terminal 2: for domestic flights

Most people traveling between Bangkok and Don Mueang Airport opt for a taxi, as there are no fast transit options in and out of the city.

A few bus routes travel to Don Mueang.

Some travelers attempt to take the Skytrain to Mo Chit station, and taxi from there, but savings are slim and reports of difficulties finding cabs at Mo Chit abound.

Travel Time from Don Mueang Airport to Bangkok:

Approximate time into Bangkok is 45 minutes or more.

More Info:

>>> Check your flight status for flights arriving and departing Don Mueang International Airport here.

>>> Don Mueng Airport Bangkok Official Info Page.

Airport confusion can be prevented in Bangkok.

First, tourists must note well which airport serves their airline.

Second, you must be specific with cab drivers when traveling from hotels to the airport. It is prudent to have the name and the address written along with the terminal number to avoid confusion.

Bangkok’s two airports each serve different but equally important purposes.

Knowledge of the two and prior planning can save a mad dash between Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Mueang International Airport as minutes tick down to departure.

Happy trails… now catch your flight!

Get Out and Travel More


Trekking Pole Dog Icon at Bangkok Airports travel

The Nomad Cycle: How To Spend A Full Year Working Your Way Around The United States

It’s perfectly possible to work your way around the country with nothing special in the way of education, experience or credentials.

Of course, if you have those things, there’s an even greater world of possibility open to you.

The jobs discussed below form a basic bedrock for full-time travelers and are accessible to just about anyone.

The Nomad Cycle

The Nomad Cycle Chart USA Year Round Gypsy Work

SPRING Nomad Work in the USA

The Harvest Seasons

There are jobs in Florida picking citrus fruits all year, but the really big season in which lots of temporary hands are needed is in the spring.

The hiring process generally begins in February for work starting in March and lasting for about three months.

Agricultural harvest work isn’t as rich in spring as it will be in summer and fall, but there’s at least one other big opportunity for those on the opposite end of the country — strawberries.

California produces most of the country’s strawberries and they are grown there all year, but the prime season begins in spring and carries on well into summer.

Harvest Seasons

Home Improvement

Spring is far and away the biggest season for home improvement projects.

Major retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depot will add tens of thousands of employees to their workforce just for the spring season.

This temporary hiring blitz also extends to a lesser extent to general retail chains like Walmart that have lawn and garden departments.

Landscaping & Gardening

As with home improvement, spring is also the time in which gardening activity is at its peak.

Landscaping companies look for seasonal help not just out in the field but also in their offices.

SUMMER Work Options

The general theme of looking for temporary work in the summer is in going to where all the tourists are headed during the high travel season between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

One area where opportunities are plentiful is in parks and wildlife refuges.

For national parks, the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service are the best places to start.

National parks are the prime choice, as they offer decent hourly pay as well as often providing a place to camp or park an RV.

These positions exist at the state and city level as well, but these parks often only offer non-paid volunteer positions that come with only a place to camp or park as a perk. Jobs through private concessionaires are also available in these parks.

Cities and towns that are located next to the major parks see a corresponding rise in business, and therefore a need for temporary workers.

One prime example is the towns at the five entrance gates to Yellowstone National Park.

These gates span the states of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana in regions where there is not enough of a year-round labor force to support the summer rush.

Snake Bend Colorado River National Park USA

Summer Camps

Private summer camps for youth also offer a range of opportunities for temporary workers, from camp counselor to chef.

Summer Harvesting

If you’re interested in harvest work during the summer, the first big crop is the cherry harvest which begins in June.

This mostly happens in the states along the West Coast, but there’s a significant amount of cherry farms in Michigan and Wisconsin as well.

August brings both the blueberry and apple harvests.

Both harvests generally last into October.

They’re also both found mostly in the extreme northern corners of the country — Maine and New Hampshire in the east, and Washington in the west.

Alaska Fishing

Summer fishing season in Alaska brings a great need for both workers on fishing vessels and workers manning the canning factories.

There’s such a regular and predictable need for this huge labor force that companies will pay for round-trip airfare for those who will commit to working the entire season.

Cannery workers are also put up in dorms and fed three meals a day, but the hours are long and the job involves standing for 12 hours surrounded by stinky fish guts.

The pay is better than most temporary labor jobs, however, with workers who stick out the summer often coming back with the better part of $10,000 in their pockets.

Las Vegas POKER DEALERS

Las Vegas hosts the World Series of Poker from the beginning of June to early July every year.

About 1500 dealers are needed for this massive tournament, and the majority come from outside the area.

Pay is in the range of $20 to $30 per hour. You need some prior experience as a dealer for this job, but not a whole lot; it may be possible to land a job with nothing more than a solid training course completed recently.

You don’t have to worry about the notorious stink of cigarette smoke that plagues the dealer’s profession either; smoking is not allowed in the table area during the tournament.

Poker Dealer Las Vegas, NV

Festival Work

You can find temporary festival work here and there all over the country all year long, but summer is the prime season.

You shouldn’t have to go too far to find a major music festival, renaissance fair or similar event that runs for at least several days and needs a small army of temporary staff to set up, run concessions, clean up and take everything down.

FALL Digital Nomad

Fall Harvest Time

There are two major harvests that require thousands of temporary workers in the fall: sugar beets in the northwest, and cranberries in the northeast.

Montana is the center of the sugar beet world, while Cape Cod is an excellent starting point for cranberry work.

Sugar beet work is particularly attractive as it doesn’t involve actual picking of the beets. Workers instead work for one of the major sugar companies, who receive the beets from the individual farms that harvest them.

At the lowest level, workers sort and process the beets.

There are even more lucrative positions available for those who know how to drive a large truck, operate machinery like loaders and forklifts, or are trained in the use of the specialized processing equipment.

Cranberry picking starts in September, while the beet harvest work begins in early October. If you’re stuck elsewhere in the country, you may find sporadic opportunities at pumpkin patches.

Retail Holiday Season Rush

The hiring crunch for the Christmas season begins in the early fall.

Just about anywhere in the country, you’ll be able to get on with retail stores, shopping mall kiosk companies or package delivery services.

Amazon’s fulfillment centers make a strong effort each year to attract temporary workers for the Christmas season, especially those who live out of RVs.

These centers can be found in over half of the states in the country, with the largest number of them in Arizona, California, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The Postal Service also hires thousands of extra workers at their mail sorting facilities throughout the country for the months of November and December. The application process for this generally begins in September and ends in early October.

Christmas Tree Lots

Christmas tree lots generally open up just after Thanksgiving. They’ll be looking for temporary help until the holiday arrives.

Christmas Tree Sales November December USA

WINTER Nomad Christmas

Ski Resorts

As parks are rich in opportunities for temporary jobs in summer, ski resorts are rich in winter.

The mountain areas of California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming are the central places to look for these jobs.

Resorts & Temp Agencies

The winter months are the toughest times for nomads, due to the combined lack of agricultural and tourist industry work.

Resorts in warmer climes may see something of an uptick in visitation during this time, in particular those along the Gulf Coast.

Many nomads ride out the winter simply by finding a place to settle in and working through a temp agency.

Not matter the shifts in the economy, there’s enough work out there for anyone to stay occupied all year if they are flexible enough.

Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from working in some digital moneymaking ideas as well!

More Nomadology

 

Getting Ready For the Backpacking Season

When the call of the wild is hitting you hard, you need to start thinking about your camping gear and the supplies you need to make backpacking a great experience.

It is time to check your tent, pack, sleeping bag, and emergency supplies to make sure the key components for your camping comfort and safety are in order.

Your Tent

Camping Tent

Your tent serves more than a way to keep the rain off your head (or snow, if you are a winter camper).

If properly sealed, your tent will not only be waterproof, but will also help contain your body heat.

Tent Checklist

  • Make sure your vents, fly, and entry are all cleaned and tear-free.
  • Use a mild mix of bath soap (unscented) to wash off any dirt or debris on the fabric, and
  • Use clear water under mild pressure to clear any dirt, debris, or sand in your zippers.
  • Never use any harsh chemicals – the man-made fibers can be damaged by any chlorinated cleaners.

Anything in the zippers will cause them to wear out faster as a natural course of using them, so keeping them clean is critical.

Winter Camping

For winter camping, you want those zippers to close snugly to keep out the cold and blowing snow – and in the summer you want them to open all the way so the moisture and heat released from your body while you’re sleeping can escape.

Check the siding material of your tent to make sure they are free of tears or other openings. You can usually patch most man-made fibers with kits readily available from a variety of sources.

It is a good idea to apply a coat of sealant to the exterior of the seams of your tent and fly with the sealant appropriate for your tent’s material.

ONLY apply the sealant in a warm dry place, making sure you give it plenty of time to dry properly.

In order to apply the sealant, it is best to pitch your tent with all sides taut, which will help ensure the sealant gets into the nooks and crannies.

Lastly, check that all of your supplies – poles, straps, and stakes – are intact, then set up the tent completely one time before packing it and going out into the wild.

Your Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Bag Example

Your sleeping bag and ground pad should be relatively maintenance free, other than the same cleaning of the surfaces and zippers for the bag apply.

You need to clean your bag inside and out, but not get the insulation wet. You also want to make sure the skin of your bag is clean and free of any oils or greasy substances.

Check the insulation. If it is becoming bunched, or lumpy, it may be time to replace your sleeping bag.

Ground Pads

Ground pads come in a variety of materials and comfort levels.

Their primary function is to insulate, to keep your body heat from being radiated into the ground through your sleeping bag. Your ground pad is also your last defense from ground water getting to the skin of your sleeping bag, drenching you.

Both situations can lead to hypothermia, a dangerous condition in which your core body temperature drops below 93 degrees.

A self-inflating ground pad offers a great combination of comfort and protection.

These foam-core pads are a relatively new development, are very light-weight, and compress for easy attachment to your backpack.

Your Backpack

Taking Care of Your Backpack

Your backpack is your greatest asset for wilderness camping, and maintaining it so it will withstand several kinds of constant abuse is critical.

1. Check that there are no threads hanging or tears in the liner.

Snags and tears can quickly spread, dumping your supplies into a creek at an inopportune moment, or the entire bag coming undone if you are using it to suspend your food supplies for safekeeping during the night.

Clip any snagged threads, and patch any tears. You also need to make sure you keep your pack water-tight. Seal the seams, and if the material permits, coat the entire bag.

2. Check all the grommets and clips on the straps.

If you are using pack with an external frame, make sure the clips holding the bag to the frame are secure.

Make sure there are no rips or tears in any of the straps, and that the fastening clips that hold the shoulder straps and waist strap in place are free of chips or cracks.

Readjust the straps to fit your body as it is today.

Let’s face it, we all tend to gain a little weight over the winter, and an improperly balanced backpack can overbalance you, or chafe in very uncomfortable ways.

Your tent and bag came with stuff bags. Use them – but make sure the bags are clean and dry before stowing away your equipment.

TIP: Packing Your Tent

When loading your tent, put in the fly, then the poles, then the tent itself.

This is the reverse order in which you will need them, and the proper order when you unpack it.

You should never store the stakes with the tent, even if they are in their own ripstop bag, the edges could puncture the tent skin, forcing an emergency repair out in the field.

Emergency Supplies

Emergency Preparations

Duct Tape

One of the backpacker’s best friends is duct tape.

It is strong, water-proof, and multi-functional. You can use it to make temporary fixes to any torn material, and if you combine it with the extra tube sections that came with your tent, you can even temporarily fix the poles on your tent.

You can also use duct tape for emergency first aid, because it makes a great way to tightly secure bandaging material or splints.

Gallon Zipper Sealed Plastic Bags

Bring along a few gallon-sized zipper-sealed plastic bags.

You can use them for a variety of purposes, from collecting specimens to storing your wet socks until you can set up camp and get them dry.

Keeping your supplies (and feet!) dry is critical. In a pinch, you can use them to catch and store water.

First Aid Supplies

Check all of your first aid supplies, and make sure you still have a proper assortment of bandaging materials, disinfectants, scissors, and other supplies.

Toss out the antibiotic ointment you have in your first aid kit from last year and replace it. It has lost its efficacy. If you carry hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant, it needs replaced as well.

You can find the components of a good “do it yourself” first aid kit by checking with the Boy Scouts or the Red Cross.

Water Purification System

Check your water purification supplies, and make sure the iodine and/or filters are ready for use.

Make sure that your purification kit’s components are free of cracks. Get your canteen, waterpack, bladder, or insulated water bottle cleaned and ready for use, too.

Signaling Devices – Mirror & Whistle

No backpack is complete without two signaling devices – a mirror and a whistle.

Obviously a mirror only works when there’s a light source, but if you become disabled and a search party is looking for you, the reflection from the mirror gives you better odds of being spotted from a great distance.

The whistle is a vital signaling device. You can only yell for help for a few minutes at a time, while you can blow a whistle for hours.

GPS Locator

Another signaling device becoming more common in our high-tech world are GPS emergency locators.

Many are solar-powered, some are coming with Farraday generators, or they come with batteries.

No matter how they are powered, they only work if there is a satellite overhead, and a means of triangulating on your position. When you intend on going into extreme wilderness, rugged terrain, or into mountainous areas, you may want to invest in one of these gadgets.

Do NOT rely on this as your sole signaling device. If you’re breathing, you can still use a whistle. If the batteries go dead on the GPS unit – you could be as well shortly after.

Miscellaneous

Other stuff

Matches

Always have at least two different means of starting a fire in your pack.

Waterproof matches and a “permanent match” are easy to stow away, and work in a wide variety of weather conditions.

Knife

Always have a knife. A good multi-tool with a knife blade and other gadgets, can be found in most hardware and sporting goods stores, and can be handy.

Patch Kit

An emergency patch kit for your tent and backpack could also prove handy – but keep in mind for every ounce you add, you are losing food!

You have duct tape (featured above), which is a great permanent patch.


There are a wide assortment of other supplies you might consider bringing along for your camping expedition, but these suggestions cover most contingencies, in lightweight materials suitable for backpacking.

The best preparation if you’re a novice is to pick up any of the various books available for backpacking in the type of environment you plan on trekking in, or to pick up a copy of the Boy Scout manual on camping.

More Backpacking Season Tips

Sedona, Arizona – Easy to Get to but Hard to Leave

There’s a reason they call Sedona, Arizona the most beautiful spot in the United States.

Regardless of how you approach the city, there is beauty all around you.

Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure or a little culture, you’ll find it here:

Mountains, Sign, Sedona Landscape

Biking In Sedona

If you’re driving to the area make sure you bring your bike. Sedona has numerous bike trails, and they’re growing each year. The newest trails are along the Red Rock Scenic Byway.

If you do forget your bike, not to worry, there are plenty of places to rent one.

When you’re ready to put the miles in, make sure you plan your trip in October to enjoy the Sedona Century Bike Tour. It is forty miles of scenic beauty through rivers, desert views, and red rocks.

Driving to Sedona

Horseback Riding 

If sitting on a bike all day isn’t your thing, perhaps seeing the countryside on horseback might be more to your liking.

Get ready to play cowboy or cowgirl as you wind your way through Red Rock Country crossing creeks and dining under the stars.

Camping in Sedona Tent Stars

Hot Air Ballooning over Sedona

For a wider view, consider a hot air balloon ride over the canyons and ancient ruins.

An aerial view let’s you truly appreciate the scope and size of the area. There’s nothing more beautiful than watching the sun rise over the canyons from 1,000 feet in the air.

Mountains of Sedona and Yellow Hot Air Balloon

Golf or Tennis?

golf green in sedona

Once back on firm ground, consider an afternoon of golf or tennis. There are several championship courses open to the general public.

The Sedona Golf Resort, surrounded by red rock formations, is just one of the stunning courses available. If you would rather not spend all day on the course, there are also executive courses for a quick nine holes.

Sedona is a perfect location for the tennis lover.

Visitors can play year round at many of the local resorts.

The weather is always just right for tennis, and professional instruction and competition is available for those who need a little brushing up on the game or are ready to take on a challenge.

Sedona Indoors

If you’re eager to spend a little time indoors, Sedona has you covered.

The city is home to film festivals, theatres, music, and over eighty art galleries.

You’ll find festivals throughout the year, so do make sure you check out what’s happening during your stay.

You’ll also find local wineries to explore and indulge your taste buds after a day in the canyons. Restaurants run the gambit with a little something for everyone whether you are looking for fine dining or an al fresco experience.

The Red Rock Canyon isn’t the only thing to feast your eyes on in Sedona.

Going Cuckoo

Eagle and Cathedral Rock

Due to its elevation and climate, Sedona is a bird lover’s paradise.

In the month of May, more than a hundred and thirty different species of birds are normally seen during one bird watching outing in the Verde Valley.

During the last week of April, the yearly Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival is held in nearby Cottonwood, Arizona.

Weddings

Wedding in Sedona

Sedona is also a wonderful location for that special day.

When you’re looking for an outdoor wedding, the beauty of Sedona can’t be matched.

Professional wedding planners are on hand to help you will all the details necessary to make your special day a day you’ll never forget. After the ceremony, consider riding off into the sunset on horseback or in a horse-drawn carriage.

Regardless of your interests, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Sedona. From a Wild West adventure to relaxing on the veranda, there is truly something for everyone. Coming to Sedona is easy. It’s the leaving that’s the hard part.

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Essentials for a Safe, Enjoyable Hiking Trip

If you’re like most people, then you don’t prepare to go for a walk. You just put your shoes on and walk out the door. Unfortunately, many people treat a hiking trip as little more than a long walk, and that can be a bad idea.

Think of it this way: When you go for a walk, you stay in your neighborhood. That means that you’re never far from help in the unlikely event that you get too tired to walk home.

When you go hiking, you’re in a completely different environment.

Carrying the proper hiking gear will not only keep you safe but also allow you to have fun. What are the essentials that hikers need to carry?

1. Food and Water

Food and Water

One of the aspects of hiking that is often underestimated is the potential for dehydration. When you hit the trail without carrying enough water, you can quickly find yourself in trouble.

Whether it’s hot out or, when you’re hiking in one of the cooler months of the year in your region–an insulated water bottle for water can stabilize your liquid intake for hot, cold or temperate no matter the outside climate.

Depending on the temperature outside and the distance you plan to cover, you’ll need at least a couple of bottles per person.

Since hiking can wear you out if you’re not careful, remember to eat before setting out. You’ll also want to pack a nutritious lunch.

2. Hat

Wear a Hat or Beanie

Hiking on a hot day can not only put you at risk of becoming dehydrated but also increases your chances of getting heatstroke.

Wearing a white hat is a good way to keep from overheating and will allow you to stay on the trail longer.

If you don’t own a hat, then pack a white towel instead.

When you are hiking in winter weather, of course, a snowcap or beanie will serve to keep you warm.

Bottom line: wear the hat that will protect from the exposure no matter the season of  the year.

3. GPS, Cell Phone, Map and Compass

GPS, map, compass, satellite

No one plans to get lost when they go hiking, but it continues to happen nevertheless.

Taking a GPS device or cell phone can be a big help. In case they stop working, be sure to take a map and compass as well.

4. First Aid Kit and Walking Stick

Hiking Pole Women Horizon

In addition to getting lost, hikers are frequently injured, so it makes sense to carry a first aid kit every time you hit the trail. Since sprained ankles are common, it’s also a good idea to carry a walking stick.

Walking sticks, also popularly known as trekking poles, or Nordic walking sticks come in foldable, i.e. packable, styles, you can see more about them at the Walking Stick Buyers Guider here >>>.

5. Insect Repellent

 

The whole point of hiking is to have fun, but insect bites can quickly make you miserable. Carrying insect repellent is a good way to ensure that you enjoy your outing.


Hiking can be an unpredictable activity. Being prepared for a variety of different situations will allow you to get the most from your trip. You wouldn’t go on vacation without packing the essentials, and hiking is no different.

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The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Hiking

Hiking enthusiasts around the world know that regular romps in the wilderness are not only good for physical health, but for mental health as well. 

As hiking requires physical movement over varied and challenging terrain, it provides a great workout for your body.

Meanwhile, the social and stimulating aspects of hiking, such as taking in beautiful scenery while accompanied by friends and family, provides a workout for your mind 

Few other exercises can so effectively benefit your body and mind at the same time.

When you’re ready to learn about these benefits in greater detail, then read on below to find out about three physical and three mental health benefits of hiking.

Hiking’s Physical Health Benefits

Hiking and Health Benefits Physical

1) Arthritis prevention and relief

Walking is one of the very best activities for relieving arthritis pain in the knees.

Sure, you could walk around your neighborhood or around the mall, but hiking provides the varied terrain necessary for building up all of the muscle groups in your legs.

Recent studies have shown that taking 6,000 steps a day may not only prevent and relieve arthritis, but may even reverse it.

What better place to get these steps in than out on the trail?

2) Weight loss

As it is a form of physical exercise, regular hiking can definitely aid in weight loss (which, incidentally, can further aid in reducing arthritis pain).

You can easily burn around 300 calories an hour at a gentle pace, and you can increase your pace and trail difficulty as you feel yourself becoming fitter and healthier.

Plus, it is very difficult to get bored when surrounded by the great outdoors, as opposed to when running or walking indoors on a treadmill.

3) Diabetes prevention and reversal

Hiking can be a great way to manage both Type I and Type II diabetes*.

Not only can it lower your risk for Type II diabetes by keeping your body in great shape, but it can actually contribute to the reversal of Type II diabetes for those who are already suffering from it.

Furthermore, while there is no known cure for Type I diabetes, hiking can lower the amounts of insulin that your body needs, making symptoms easier to manage.

Hiking’s Mental Health Benefits

Improve Mental Health with Hiking

1) The strengthening of social ties

Humans are social creatures, and while some of us may be more introverted and prefer to spend time alone, we all nevertheless need a network of close relationships in order to feel happy, secure, and loved.

Hiking is a fantastic way to renew and strengthen these relationships, as it allows us to get closer to friends and family while away from the usual distractions of life.

One afternoon out on the trail with a close friend can be worth more than hundreds of text messages!

2) Reduction in feelings of depression

Renewing and strengthening social ties can also be a big part of helping the symptoms of depression, but the benefits of hiking for depression don’t stop there.

Researchers have found that spending time out in nature is actually a much better strategy for reducing the symptoms of depression than, for example, walking around a shopping mall.

While depression is a complex mental illness with no simple cure, hiking can definitely be part of a strong depression treatment plan.

3) Stress relief

Just as hiking can help fight depression, it can also help fight anxiety and stress.

When school, work, or your home life have you down, then it is healthy to take a breather now and then to spend some time far away from your worries and stresses. Moreover, hiking can even serve as an upper body exercise when you utilize trekking poles on your journey.

If you give yourself a break and surround yourself with some natural beauty for a time, then you will likely return to your life ready and able to successfully handle whatever it throws at you.


Ready to hit the trail? See the Heroic Adventures side-by-side comparison of the most popular trekking poles here >>>


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Foxelli Trekking Poles Review

Foxelli is a company that is famous for manufacturing quality outdoor gear and has produced a trekking pole that is made of carbon. The product only weighs seven ounces and is very easy to use.

The collapsed length is 55 inches from a folded 24 inches, which makes it fit any suitcase or backpack. The pointed tips come with a detachable rubber boot. The product comes with different types of tips for rugged or muddy terrain that will not slip off.

Extending the product is easy because it is released by a single switch. The Foxelli Trekking Poles lengthens fully in one release. Traction is better with the product because of the pointed tip which can be used without the covering and still remain intact.

The tips are made of tungsten and can pierce through hard soil or snow. Traction is increased when the rubber coverings are used and surface tension is increased.

Foxelli Trekking Poles

Features

  • Made of 100% carbon
  • Only weighs 7 ounces per pole
  • Length is 24 inches and extends to 55 inches
  • Traction is increased
  • Easy to retract or release with one switch
  • Grip is made of cork with secondary grip made of foam
  • Comes with rubber tip, snow and mud baskets
  • Has 120-day product return window or full cash refund
  • Has 3-year limited warranty

This product provides good support to the user and lessens the stress on the arms, knees and legs. The user will exert less energy and will finish the hike in a shorter period.

The user can also maneuver quickly and extend the length of the poles with one switch. The cork grips are sweat-absorbent and are supported by a foam grip for a stronger hold when the incline becomes more difficult.

Advantages

Foxelli trekking poles are a durable and trekker-friendly product that is designed to adapt to the terrain. The material of the poles is pure carbon and ensures the durability and strength of the product when it is used with great stress.

Large-sized hikers can use the product as it can support big weight and the length can be adjusted to fit the user. The product is reliable to catch the balance of the user and will help in relieving pressure on the back, knees and legs.

The tips of the pole are pointed and are made of tungsten. The shape and solid structure of the tip will provide ample support and will pierce through soil or snow.

The baskets that come with the product act as reinforcements so that the poles will not sink into the mud or add traction to the poles as they run on the ground. The tips are also designed to absorb shock and will give the user added comfort.

The grips on the pole are made of cork. The material follows the shape of the user’s hand and will not cause arm or hand strain when the product is used for a long time.

For added support when going uphill and for the user’s added security, a grip made of foam is attached underneath. The wrist handles will ensure that the pole is not dropped and stays within arms’ reach.

The handles are useful to people with knee problems or who are recovering from a muscle injury. The cork grip has more gripping power than foam or rubber.

When the product is used for long distances, the product will not break or corrode. The carbon material makes the product impact resistant and will be able to withstand extreme weather.

Aside from the sturdiness and the secure grip of the pole, the product is covered by a three-year warranty to ensure that the product will last for a long time. The manufacturer guarantees full cash refund or a product exchange in 120 days.

Disadvantages

For trekkers who go on light hikes, the product will appear as if it is similar to other poles in the market. The durability of the product will be tested if it is used in extreme conditions and on challenging hikes.

Verdict

Foxelli Trekking Poles is known for its reputation to build quality products and these poles stand true to its good name. The product is reliable and durable because it is made of pure carbon.

The product will not break or corrode if it is used in summer or winter. The product can even be submerged in water and will not rust. The carbon material makes the product light and easy to carry.

The handles are firm to hold and will stay secure in the hikers’ grip. The cork material of the handles will absorb sweat and will not be slippery even when used in rainy weather. The product can be easily retracted or released with one switch. Adjustment of the length can be done in a short span of time which will help the user gain balance.

The product performs well in aggressive terrain and is even proven dependable for users who are disabled or injured.

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Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles Review

Hiker Hunger poles are made of carbon fiber that makes them lighter than aluminum poles. They weigh only 7.6 ounces per pole and can stretch as long as 54 inches from a 24-inch folded length. The poles are strong and resist shock and the tips are pointed for greater ground impact.

The tips come with interchangeable accessories such as rubber pads, rubber tips and snow baskets. The grips are made of cork that follows the contour of the palm and fingers and are supported by foam to sustain hold at challenging terrain. The tips are made of tungsten which makes them very solid when hitting tough surfaces and will not chip or corrode.

The Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles comes in three layers of metal that can be extended and retracted quickly. The joints can be locked by an easy switch mechanism. The folded size is compact and travel-friendly because it can easily fit in a backpack.

The light weight of the product makes it easy to transport. If the poles are to be transported alone, they come in a sling bag that makes it easier to carry.

Hiking Hunger Poles 

Features

  • Made of 100% carbon
  • Can be folded and extended smoothly
  • Lightweight at 7.6 ounces per pole
  • Has folded length of 24 inches and extends to 54 inches
  • Can be easily collapsed and locked at desired length
  • Easy to pack in a suitcase or backpack
  • Grip is comfortable and made of cork
  • Has one-year limited warranty

These poles are built to last and come complete with accessories to cater to any kind of hiking at any type of climate. The poles can withstand and will not break in extreme hot or cold weather. The manufacturer offers a one-year limited warranty.

Advantages

These are highly dependable poles and can bring reliable support to users who are hiking on light to advanced terrain. The poles are made of pure carbon which makes the structures sturdy and will not break when hit on hard surfaces.

The carbon material can also resist heavy weather like snow or rain and will not sink into the mud because of the sturdy mud baskets. The product offers good support when snowshoeing and will not bury deep into the snow. The length is appropriate for tall or short hikers.

The product is easily folded and extended and will easily adapt to the needs of the user. When going uphill, the poles can be extended quickly to support the weight of the hiker. The support is stable even when the path is muddy or slimy because the rubber grip of the tips provides good traction.

The tips of the poles are pointed and can pierce through dirt more efficiently. The poles offer a good balance to the user and will help prevent slipping on loose gravel. The support that they give is tremendous so that even large-sized users can depend on them.

The sturdiness and reliability of the product are highly rated. Users with poor knees and with balance dysfunction can use the product for support when hiking.

The pole can help hikers cover great distance with less effort and in less time. The support is useful when the trek becomes exhausting and going downhill becomes a challenge.

The locks on the product can be easily flipped and switched to fasten. The locks are reliable and will not lose hold even under extreme pressure. The product can be extended or folded quickly.

The hold on the product is firm because of the comfortable cork grip and supported by foam lining underneath. The wrist straps are made of foam and mesh and will not slip from the users’ wrists.

Customer support is efficient and will replace the product or parts right away. The one-year warranty is honored by the manufacturer.

Disadvantages

The product can break when subjected to extreme stress. The carbon material has a tendency to malfunction if the stress applied is stronger than what the design can tolerate. The pole is not supposed to be used as a stand for heavy equipment and is not meant to be a lever to lift heavy objects.

Like all poles, the product will break if subjected to extreme pressure. It is not to be used as a construction tool or support for heavy lifting.

Verdict

The Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles is reliable and the carbon material makes the pole fit the need for support and balance during a trek. It is portable and very light. The poles can be easily extended or folded because they easily slide through the shaft.

The product is complete with all the necessary accessories to fit any kind of terrain. The grip is firm because of the cork material and there is a foam support underneath it when the added strength is needed.

However, the pole has a capacity only for support for hiking and will break if overwhelming pressure is applied.

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