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June 2016

Some Tips to Plan a Trip to Sturgis for the Bike Week

Play out a bicycle tune-up (or get it checked by an expert) no less than a month ahead of time to minimize the quantity of specialized glitches you may confront along the street, and amid the rally too.

The gorgeous Black Hills of South Dakota come alive each summer with the thunderous reverberations of close to 200,000 bikers. You’re right, they head to the Sturgis Bike Week, an annual biking extravaganza which takes place in Sturgis, South Dakota. Besides the obvious focus on motorbikes and everything to do with it, the event comprises races, bike shows, bikes-only streets, the 12th Annual Mayor’s Ride, Michael Lichter’s annual exhibit, the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame, organized rides, and some very awesome concerts as well.

This much-anticipated event has entered its 74th year, with the fest being conducted from August 4-10, 2014. So without a moment’s delay, here’s how to plan a trip to Sturgis for the motorcycle rally.

Getting here
Since you are headed to a bike rally, it does make sense to make a road trip of it. There are several scenic routes that will take you to Sturgis, making the journey as worthwhile as the destination. But if you’re not into long-distance biking yourself, you can always get here, by car, train, or by air.

The first step would be to map your route to Sturgis, and depending upon the distance and your comfort level, plan the journey by factoring the number of stops you’ll be taking. Next, you will have to book your accommodation at the scheduled stops, wherever you plan to spend the night. Be aware that you may not get a room along the way at the last minute―the event’s popularity ensures that a lot of people travel these roads in the days leading up to it. Therefore, check the availability of rooms beforehand on websites like Expedia or Tripadvisor, and seal the deal right away so that you’re assured of a place to bunk at.

Also remember that, impromptu bookings may mean that you’d have to shell out a hefty price; you can’t blame the local businesses for making some last-minute kills.

Staying here
Well, true-blue bikers always make reservations for the coming year at the culmination of the current event. But this does not mean that accommodation is out-of-bounds for those who came in late. There are a lot of options when it comes to staying in and around Sturgis, including hotels, motels, campgrounds, bed and breakfasts, etc. Those looking for a bit of peace and quiet after a noisy day may want to rent an apartment on the outskirts. All said and done, there are a lot of options when it comes to accommodation, to suit all tastes and budgets.

What to pack
Though the Bike Week is scheduled at the height of summer, the altitude in the Black Hills may make the area considerable cooler. Also, depending on where you’re coming from, you may encounter a few wet spells along the way. Therefore, carry some rain gear if you’re anticipating wet weather.

As far as possible, avoid carrying too many clothes, as you can always do your laundry at the destination. Pack light clothes, and throw in a few event-appropriate outfits as well.

If you plan to bunk in the outdoors, carry your camping gear along with some warm clothing, as the night may bring some chills in the mountains.

In case you are opting for a bike journey to Sturgis, here’s a reminder to pack the biking trip essentials like a Swiss knife, portable tool kit, batteries, matches or lighter, sunblock, first aid kit, wipes, and a tire repair kit. Ensure that you’re carrying a GPS-enabled device as well.

This and that
► The Sturgis Bike Week has a lot of events going on simultaneously, so you need to keep abreast of the itinerary, and head to the event of your choice in time.

► Certain events like concerts and stunt shows may have tickets (which can get sold off in no time), so if you happen to be interested, make sure that you book them beforehand.

► Bike rallies often require prior registration, so you know what to do if you’re planning to participate in one.

► Sturgis has a lot of biker-themed watering holes, but be aware that any DUI offenses can attract a strict penalty here. Misbehavior and rioting can lead to serious trouble, as the local police are on the constant lookout for the slightest sign on hooliganism.

Planning tips never really end, do they? But we’ll leave you at this―the rest is up to you to simply sit back and enjoy. Have a great time at the Bike Week!

Some Useful Tips to Get Internet Access While Traveling

Is it true that you are one of the individuals who feels deficient without the Internet while you’re moving? Welcome to the club, buddy. We,can totally relate to your predicament; which is decisively why we’ve presented to you a couple of pointers that will guarantee that the Web is dependably inside range.

Did You Know?
Some hotels block certain websites for security reasons or to preserve bandwidth. Which means that you may not be able to access certain instant messaging sites or even YouTube.

To say that we can’t imagine our lives without the Internet would be the understatement of the year. Any place, anytime, anywhere, it is the Internet that we choose to depend on; be it communication or navigation. So, why should things be any different while we’re traveling? In fact, aren’t we more in need of this one true friend when we don’t find ourselves on home turf?

While traveling to another country, it is the exorbitant cost of accessing the Internet through our mobile service carrier that makes us sweat, and wish for a more affordable option. So fear not, because we’ve got just what you’re looking for.

Getting Internet Access While Traveling

Let’s begin with the obvious, shall we? Wi-Fi networks can be found in hotels, cafés, airports, train stations, and other public places.

In hotels, the connection may either be charged or free, but remember that any kind of privacy cannot be expected while you’re making use of an open connection. Also, you may expect it to be rather slow in crowded spaces like lobbies and around swimming pools. Some hotels offer wired connections to individual rooms as well, which are safe and fast. More often than not, you may expect to be charged for using these connections. The rates may be exorbitant, so ensure that you are in the know about it.
Well-known coffee shops and fast food outlets across Europe have free Wi-Fi, but as in any public place, expect the speed to slow down if the place is crowded. If you’re visiting a smaller establishment, look for the Wi-Fi signal sticker on the door.

At the airport, you may find dedicated Internet cafés which let you use their services at an hourly charge. Wi-Fi services are nowadays offered at most airports worldwide, usually with no charges applied.

Internet Cafés
Internet cafés are your safest bet while traveling to an unknown destination. They’re easy to locate mainly in urban areas, but you may have some trouble finding them in remote locations. Cafés can be a safe, speedy, and secure option, especially as you’ll be paying local rates for Internet.

Local SIM Cards
If you’re using an unlocked cell phone, you have the option of buying a local prepaid SIM card that lets you surf the net. Charges levied will depend on the plan that the service provider offers.

Portable Hotspots
Portable Wi-Fi hotspots are widely available, and quite convenient to carry around as well. The plans offered vary according to the service provider, averaging about USD 50 for 5 GB. The hotspot needs to be purchased separately, and can cost anywhere in the range of USD 120 or beyond, which is a one-time purchase. These are well-suited to those who travel frequently.

International Roaming Facility
And for those of you who don’t mind spending a mini fortune on the Internet, or are too unimpressed with the above options, there’s always the international roaming facility. To avail this, all you need to do is contact your mobile service operator to know about the plans and charges. Following this, you need to activate your service, and voila! The Internet is at your fingertips. Keep in mind that there could be occasions when the roaming facility falters, so it’s better not to be too dependent on it.

The Internet has become an absolute necessity while traveling, thanks to the various translation apps, navigation tools, or for the basic purpose of staying connected while you’re on the move. But with these options, there will hardly be a moment when you’ll actually feel disconnected while you’re away from home.

Tips to Finding a Travel Companion

One can’t and ought not make flurry with regards to picking the right travel partner. It could be an intense formula for fiasco.

Putting up something as heavy as the philosophy mentioned above does exert undue pressure on you, doesn’t it? Those who are travelers at heart don’t really mind jet-setting anywhere by themselves, but there are times (work pressures, heartbreaks, etc.) when you know you’d love it better with a little company.

Which is what gets us where we are. So, how does one nail the right travel companion? Is it just sheer luck? Or just an endless ordeal involving trial and error? Well, it’s a bit of both, actually. But you can better your chances by reading what follows.

How do you find a companion?
The obvious choice is to pick one among people you already know. This includes the usual―relatives, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.

If for some reason, none of these make the cut, you do have the choice to pick your partner(s) online. There are specific websites dedicated to the cause, like travel buddies, which help you get in touch with like-minded travel partners. Mind you, opt for this only if you have absolutely no qualms with taking a trip with strangers. Well-known forums such as those on Tripadvisor and Lonely Planet may also be of help.

And how do you know he or she is the one?
Well, obviously you don’t, unless you actually set out to travel. There are various qualities that we’d want our travel buddy to have, but in a real-world situation, it’s best that we stay rooted with accepting the essentials. So, while we can go on and on with the ideal requirements, we simply cannot do without the following qualities.

He or she truly likes to travel.
Yes, it’s a duh! point to begin with, but believe me, there are hundreds of people who are just in love with the idea of travel, than actually traveling. They speak of exotic places and dream of visiting them, but are weary of leaving their cul-de-sac when it comes to it. Going on a trip with someone like this, (assuming that they do come along) is akin to running a three-legged race with a stone-drunk person.

Also, traveling involves a lot of uncertainties―a room with a spider, trains/planes/buses that never arrive as scheduled, and attractions that are complete rip-offs. You’d want to go with someone who accepts this as part of the journey (however grudgingly), and moves on to the next adventure (this is probably the mark of the perfect traveler).

If you manage to find a person like this, cling to them for life, after you’ve confirmed that he/she genuinely wants to go where you’re going. You wouldn’t want an Ibiza/Phuket type to come meditate with you in the Himalayas, would you?

Is like-minded, but not a clone.
Finding a like-minded partner is like a dream come true for us, in the unlikely event that it does happen. However, you wouldn’t want that person to be your supposed personality-twin. Well, you need someone with different ideas and a perspective that’s not your own. Someone who manages to enhance your travel experience, and vice versa. In short, someone who ends up bettering your brand of crazy.

Allows you some space.
Your buddy needs to be mindful of the fact that you won’t be joined at the hip throughout the duration of your journey (because you’re not on a honeymoon here). You both need to chart your own course for a certain duration, when one wants to go to the museum, and the other wants to hit the beach. Travel buddies don’t have to do everything together―and that’s the beauty of their partnership. A no-holds-barred time off from each other ought to be a part of the trip. And mind you, this has got to be amicable.

But doesn’t mind being in proximity to you.
Travel buddies may need to share rooms, tents, and bathrooms, be next to each other on long, tiring journeys, and end up not wanting to kill each other. Bodily habits can be a major bone of contention between travel partners, which is why, it’s better to be very clear about one’s level of tolerance upfront. Familiarity offers a certain level of comfort, but too much of it may also breed contempt. Be open about what you can and cannot stand, and you should be just fine, if not entirely happy.

Finally, it should just click!
No matter what, you should never ignore that little voice in your head, if it begins to warn you. Everyone’s sixth sense is capable enough to gauge a rank stranger, or even a known person. So, if your heart and your mind is not in it, abandon the plan. Go solo if you please, but don’t be pressured or pressure someone else to go on a holiday. It usually ends up among the decisions you’d regret for a long time.

There are far too many qualities an ideal travel mate should have. But if these points aren’t ticked off, you might as well tick off the entire trip.

Step by step instructions to Picking the Proper Travel Mug

In case you’re gifting a travel mug to somebody, and are uncertain in the event that it appears to be excessively flat, you can have a go at, making it impossible to make it customized by printing the beneficiary’s most loved symbolism on it, or a decent citation implying the event.

Buying a travel mug does seem like a breeze, doesn’t it? I mean, how complicated can it really get? It’s just a mug, after all.

True, if you look at it in a certain manner. But if you happen to be someone who treats his on-the-go morning beverage as sacrosanct, you’d want to pay close attention to what’s about to follow.

Go for steel.
Choosing a mug in the right material is something that you should prioritize. Travel mugs come in plastic or steel variants, with the latter being preferred for its numerous positives. Stainless steel is sturdier than plastic, which makes it an excellent component for a travel mug, as it can withstand all the falls and bumps it may encounter. Also, steel offers better induction than plastic, that is, it helps keep your beverage warm or cold for at least up to an hour. Another downside for plastic is that over time, it tends to absorb the smell and stains of the liquid it stores, no matter how well you clean it. Certainly, such a mug is not a welcome companion in the mornings.

Although plastic works out to be cheaper when compared to stainless steel, opting for the latter will prove to be a good investment in the long run. If for some reason you do have to buy a plastic mug, do pick one that has a steel lining inside.

Look for easy portability.
If you carry your beverage while driving, check the size of the cup holder in your car, and measure the dimensions before you make a purchase. If not, you’d be advised to pick a mug that has a wide base so that it’s not prone to toppling over. Also, look out for an anti-skid base or a rubber grip at the bottom to minimize the number of falls to the max. Yes, this may seem a bit too much, but wait till you have a situation of a pet prone to jumping on to your desk at inopportune moments, or a colleague who just has to flay his arms while he chats with you, perched on your desk.

Choose the right lid.
Yes, we’re now on to the most fascinating aspect of making the right purchase―choosing the right lid. Again, we’re here to make your conundrum lighter by telling you to opt for a screw-on lid. It won’t come off as easily even if you drop your mug, as opposed to the one that snaps open and shut. The beverage hole also comes in variants like sliders and snap lids, but it’s too personal a decision for us to make, so this is one aspect that we’re leaving in your good hands.

Yes, the size does matter.
Obviously, you know how big or small your mug ought to be. Heavy drinkers, go for the tumbler-sized 16 or 20 oz. one, whereas moderate fellas can pick smaller variants that come in a capacity of 8 oz.
Let it make a statement.
Additionally, there are lots of other choices to make, if you wish your mug to speak for you. It doesn’t matter where you buy it; either online or at the store, you can always have your travel mug personalized. Narcissists may want to have their own picture plastered across it, whereas fashionistas may want Anna Wintour’s face to grace it. Others may want a quirky or inspiring message to motivate them in the mornings, while others still may want to print a snide remark aimed at the flapper-armed colleague we mentioned earlier. Keeping it plain works just fine for some too.
Whew! Never imagined there would be these many things to consider before buying a travel mug. But now that you do, it’s going to take a lot to actually pick the wrong one. Happy shopping!