The top 5 things to do in Oahu

Summer is upon us and planning your annual family holiday is probably taking great stock in your mind. Planning a big trip can take lots of time, energy, and attention to detail. When putting your vacation agenda together, you have to take into consideration the interests of everyone who will be on the trip as well as costs associated with the activity. If you are planning to travel to Hawaii this summer, Live Your Aloha can help make the preparation process smooth and stress-free. This article will also help you plan as it will identify 5 fun things to do in Oahu!

  1. History! Oahu is home to several historical landmarks that date back to the day that will forever live in infamy, December 7, 1945. Taking your family to visit the Pearl Harbor Memorial, USS Arizona Memorial, or the Battleship Missouri Memorial will be both educational and unforgettable. While there are many fun things to do on the island, taking time to visit the memorials and learn about Pearl Harbor is a once in a lifetime opportunity. While some visit the memorials on their own, it is best to go with a tour guide. When booking a tour, you will not have to worry about fighting the crowds for tickets or worrying about where to park. The tour guide will take care of all the logistics. All you have to do is show up.
  2. Nature and Parks. Grab your sunscreen and set out to explore the gorgeous land that is Oahu island. There are many parks to visit. Many include opportunities to hike or relax on the beach. Whatever you choose to do, be sure to use sunscreen generously and stay hydrated.
  3. Sailing. There are many ways to enjoy the ocean in Oahu. Take your family on a sailing excursion or an evening dinner cruise. Perhaps you may have an interest in snorkeling or fishing. The opportunities to experience the ocean and marine life are abundant in Oahu. If you are not much into experiencing the ocean by boat, consider taking a helicopter ride to experience the island from above. See picturesque views that are remarkable and will leave you mystified by the beauty.
  4. Food and drink. The island offers a great deal of bars, restaurants, flea markets, and swap meets. Whether you are interested in purchasing fresh produce while on your vacation or bartering with the locals at a flea market, there is something for everyone in Oahu. After a morning at the market or swap meet, stop by a local bar and grill for a bite to eat and a cold, refreshing beer.
  5. Valley of the Temples. If you are interested in religious monuments or simply want a place to worship or meditate, there are many places to do so in Oahu. The Valley of the Temples is located in the mountains, surrounded by well maintained lush vegetation and small gold fish ponds. Local cats are known to wander around the property so do not be alarmed if you make a new furry friend.

There is something for everyone in Oahu. Pack your bags and have a magnificent time!

How to Have a Stress-free Family Vacation in Orlando

Family vacation times can get hectic, even with the world’s best organizer at the helm. And with so much to see and do in Orlando, Florida, you might be wondering how you will manage with kids in tow and a long list of must-see places. The good news is that — since Orlando is a popular destination for families — many thousands have faced this dilemma. Here are some of the best tips and tricks from seasoned travelers on how to plan well and have a good time during your upcoming Orlando trip.
1. Use a vacation package.

Want to cut down on the hassle of booking a hotel and then making sure you have tickets for Walt Disney World? Westgate Orlando vacation packages offer this kind of convenience. Allowing you to save both on time, as their hotel is close to Disney world, as well as on money. Packages range from $59 to $199, including Disney tickets and a luxurious studio suite. Having your tickets in hand when arriving at Disney World will allow you to head for the gates right away without dealing with lines. And for those who want to see other attractions, Westgate Resorts has a package for SeaWorld as well as Universal Studios. Save yourself ticket hassle by booking package deals for these parks, too.
2. Plan for an extra night.

Can you and your crew experience the magic of Walt Disney World in one day? Yes, but only if you have arrived the night before. Flying to Orlando at the crack of dawn and hustling from the airport to the park is a recipe for tired and stressed out kids and parents. Get there the night before so you can fully relax and enjoy your day at Disney or whatever other amusement park you have booked.

3. Be reasonable.

With so much to do, it is easy to overbook your days. Vacation is supposed to be enjoyable. But if you feel like you are spending your time rushing from one attraction to the next, chances are high you are not finding this relaxing. It is okay to have a long list of nice to-do things. But also be realistic in what you can fit into each day without it exhausting you and overstimulating the kiddos. When you find yourself or your kids at the breaking point, pull back. Even if it means nixing an evening activity and replacing it with room service at your hotel. Regrouping when needed will allow you all to get a breather and recharge for round 2 or 3.

4. Pack your own drinks and snacks.

Being hungry and thirsty while at an amusement park and having to waste time standing in line for overpriced popcorn is no one’s idea of fun. Often kids will bug you about concession snacks that they will end up not eating. Or end up eating, but the sugar high will make them cranky and you crazy. The night before, hit up a supermarket and pick out carefully considered treats that your kid loves but that also aren’t too high in sugar content. Ditto for drinks. Pull out your pre-packed snacks and skip the lines for food. Spend time where it really counts–the attractions.
5. Include the family on the planning.

Heard of after-vacation blues? A common contributor to post-vacation depression is where someone complains that they were not able to do a ride or go to a location they wanted to go to. This particular complaint can be prevented by a little thoughtful planning. Have your kids come up with 2 must-do rides for each amusement park. This will relieve you of the pressure of feeling like you have to see and do everything. If you have done the things at the top of each child’s list, then you can consider your trip a success.

5 Districts of LA to Visit Based on Interests

Thinking of visiting Los Angeles but feeling overwhelmed by the size of the city? You aren’t alone. So how do you plan a trip to the city without feeling overwhelmed? It’s all about learning how to focus your own interests. Let’s break it down for you:

1) West Hollywood

This section of the city is well known for its shopping and nightlife. It’s the perfect match for the younger crowd, as well as the seasoned veterans of the city. There are enough music clubs to fill your nights, and enough places to shop to fill your days. Ever heard of Santa Monica Boulevard? If you want to visit this hot spot, come with an appetite. This strip of road is lined with restaurants for those who want to see and be seen, such as Sunset Beach or Katana.

West Hollywood is also well known as the home of Sunset Strip, where you can visit great music clubs like the Viper Room or stop by The Comedy Store. If you want to sit at a café and watch for celebrities, you want to stop by Sunset Plaza on the strip. Some of the best, most luxurious hotels in west hollywood are along this stretch of road.

2)Studio City

If you like walking and moving at a leisurely pace, Studio City is the place to visit. This was once the mecca of homes for the actors working for studios. Now it boasts some of the most upscale dining and shopping in all of LA. Do you love sushi? You want to take a walk down Ventura Boulevard’s famous “sushi alley” to get a wide variety of great rolls.

Studio City is the perfect section of LA for the foodie. Just stay close to Ventura Boulevard and enjoy a wide variety of high-end cuisine.

3) Universal City

Want to take a studio tour and enjoy great shopping? Visit Universal City. This section of LA became famous for its studio backlot tours, drawing in a large crowd of tourists. You can Ride the Movies, visit Universal Studios Hollywood, and shop. Heard of CityWalk? It’s a stretch of shopping that inspired the modern version of malls. It’s full of restaurants, novelty shops, street performers, and more.

Universal City is perfect for the tourist who loves Hollywood entertainment.

4) Downtown LA

Immerse yourself in a variety of cultural differences in the downtown district. Visit Chinatown for a real taste of Chinese cuisine and culture. Enjoy a number of museums. See a live show at the Walt Disney Music Hall. Take in an NFL, NBA, or MLB game. Enjoy a helicopter tour of the city.

If your tastes are more cultured and you enjoy arts, architecture, and museums, you want to stay in Downtown LA.

5) Beverly Hills

There is no place in LA for the shopaholic quite like Beverly Hills. From jewelry to clothing to baseball caps, everything in this section of the city is high end, which also comes with a high price tag. If you plan on staying in Beverly Hills and shopping, make sure you save a lot of cash before you come. Before heading out to dinner in Beverly Hills, make sure you have a reservation. Many of the more upscale restaurants won’t have a place for you if you don’t.

If you love to shop and treat yourself, Beverly Hills is the perfect match for your LA experience.

During your trip, you may want to plan for a few extra days on the side to visit Santa Barbara. You can enjoy wineries, the beach, and the mountains all in one laid-back location. And it’s only 90 minutes from LA.

 

Phuket as a Group Vacation Destination

While most travelers to Phuket are going solo or in small family-sized units, it is actually an ideal destination for larger groups, if you’re willing to invest a little effort into planning adequately.

First things first, when traveling with a group of eight or more persons, hotels may not give you the best value for your accommodation dollar. For this reason, it is definitely worth checking out Phuket villa rentals as an accommodation option.

At first glance the price to rent one of these villas may seem high, but when you break the cost down on a per person basis (and factor in the added value and pleasure you get from having exclusive use of the facilities), you’ll find it actually can be quite reasonable.

Exclusivity has its benefits

Phuket is a very popular destination. So, for example, if you choose a certain luxury hotel on the basis that it has a swimming pool and fitness facilities available, you may find those facilities to be practically unusable due to the sheer number of people who also had the same idea when booking. In that case, your enjoyment of the facilities would be less than you anticipated, leading to disappointment.

When you rent a villa, you already know in advance exactly what is included in the price, and you also know that all the facilities are exclusively available to your group, so you’ll get the full measure of enjoyment.

Another thing to consider is that managing a villa is much easier than managing a hotel, so the property and its facilities are likely to be maintained far better than even the most majestic of hotels. It really can make a world of difference to the quality of your experience.

Dining out as a group

Phuket offers a vast abundance of options, from hawker stalls to fine dining establishments with award-winning chefs. You’ll find all the various Thai regional cuisines represented here (each region has its own predominantly preferred style), and the many expat restaurant owners and chefs also contribute a wide range of international cuisines.

Dining out together as a group can pose some challenges, but with proper planning you can provide the best chance of a successful outcome.

The first thing to check is that the venue is up to the required standards. It’s quite easy these days to find online reviews and recommendations. Asking locals for advice can also be helpful. The important factor is that you need to get these recommendations as early as possible, so you can build a shortlist of potential candidates.

You also need to know about the food preferences and any allergies of the individuals in your group. Surprising your vegan friends with a visit to a steakhouse may not go over quite as well as you expected. So do remember to ask about anything you’re not completely sure of.

Finally, you also need to make sure the venue can accommodate a group of your size. Once all of these points have been met, you will be able to go ahead and make a reservation with confidence.

Group activities

Once again, knowledge and planning are the keys to ensuring a great day out for everyone in the group. It’s generally easier if everyone in the group is around the same age, has the same level of fitness and physical ability, etc.

When there’s considerable disparity in any of these factors, you may need to put a little more effort into choosing your activities. Some tried and tested that will have broad spectrum appeal include:

  • Relaxing at the beach – this one is self-explanatory, and is the main activity on Phuket. Or inactivity, depending on how you look at things.

  • Dolphin Bay Nemo – an excellent and ethically operated dolphin show that is truly enjoyable for almost anyone.

  • Gibbon Rehabilitation Project – although a short hike through the National Park is required to participate in this activity, it’s accessible to most people.

Activities that may be a little more challenging for some include:

  • Swimming at Bang Pae Waterfalls – to access this, participants would need to be able to climb some fairly steep and potentially slippery steps. The reward is definitely worth the effort if everyone is fit and able-bodied enough to get there. It’s located just a short trek from the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project mentioned above.

  • Flying Hanuman zipline – zipping through the rain forest 40m (or 130ft) above the ground is an awesome experience, but it’s obviously not for everyone. Participants need to be medically fit and brave enough to complete the course.

  • Snorkeling the reefs – this is another fun activity, but participants should be strong swimmers and have good situational awareness.

Group travel can be a highly rewarding experience

As you can see, group travel requires a bit of effort to be put into the planning, but ultimately it’s a great way to travel. Shared experiences are always more fun, and these kinds of adventures are a great way to strengthen bonds within the group while having a great time. Phuket is a natural choice due to the diversity it offers and the high quality on offer.

Going on an Extended Vacation? Tips for Getting Ready

Are you and your family thinking of taking an extended vacation this year? Summer break is the perfect time of year to take off somewhere far and just spend time as a family for a long period of time. The kids don’t have school and you’ve got some time saved up you can use. If you’re going to be gone for more than a week, you’re going to want to take extra precautions when preparing. Here are some tips you should find helpful.

Safeguarding the Home

When you’re traveling for a long time, you want to make sure that your home is safe. There’s nothing worse than coming back from vacation to find out your home has been robbed. Before you leave, make sure that any access points in the home are secured. If there is a vulnerability such as a bad lock or a crack in a window, get it fixed prior to leaving for vacation. Other things you can to do secure the home:

Let security company know – contact your home security company to let them know that you will be away from the home for a while. This way, if the alarm sounds, they won’t hesitate to contact authorities.

Secure the mail – mail piling up in front of your door is the quickest way for robbers to detect that you’re not home. Since you won’t be there to get the mail, you might want a digital mailbox. Companies such as iPostal1 provide digital mailboxes. You can review incoming mail, have it delivered to where you’re vacationing, and more 24/7.

Let a neighbor or family member know – having someone check on the house periodically while you’re gone will provide peace of mind. Ask a family member to drop by from time to time. Anyone who may have been thinking about robbing you won’t because they’ll see someone stopping by.

Before You Leave

Prior to leaving for your extended family vacation, there are some other things you’ll want to do to prepare. Remember, you’re going to be gone for a long time and you want to make sure that you’ve tied up any loose ends and prepared for anything that might happen while you’re away. Here are some things to complete before leaving:

Research the destination – Don’t just blindly take off for vacation without first knowing a bit about where you’re going. If you’re traveling abroad for instance, do you need a temporary license? Get to know a bit about the local laws and regulations so you’re not blindsided once you arrive.

Print out everything – Unless you plan on packing your printer, make sure that you’ve printed everything you might need while on vacation. This might include your plane tickets, tickets to attractions that you may have purchased online, your itinerary, maps, etc.

Be practical with your packing – There’s no need for the entire family to pack outfits for every day you’re on vacation. Depending on how many members in your household and how long you’re going to be gone, that’s a lot of packing! Not to mention, the more you pack, the more you pay. Try to keep it to one carryon bag and maybe one suitcase. Pack items that can be mixed and matched to create new outfits. For instance, black shorts can be paired with any color shirt so it can essentially be worn more than once.

Bring entertainment – Chances are you’re not going to be out and about every day while you’re on vacation. During your scheduled downtime, it’s important to have some entertainment, especially if you’re traveling with young children. Make sure you have plenty of board games, cards, toys, and even a gaming console to keep you and the kids entertained when you’re not on the move.

Getting away from it all for a while is something everyone needs. If you and your family are planning an extended vacation this summer, be sure that you follow all of the above tips. Doing so will ensure that you have a fun-filled, stress-free vacation that everyone will enjoy.

5 Districts of LA to Visit Based on Interests

Thinking of visiting Los Angeles but feeling overwhelmed by the size of the city? You aren’t alone. So how do you plan a trip to the city without feeling overwhelmed? It’s all about learning how to focus your own interests. Let’s break it down for you:

1) West Hollywood

This section of the city is well known for its shopping and nightlife. It’s the perfect match for the younger crowd, as well as the seasoned veterans of the city. There are enough music clubs to fill your nights, and enough places to shop to fill your days. Ever heard of Santa Monica Boulevard? If you want to visit this hot spot, come with an appetite. This strip of road is lined with restaurants for those who want to see and be seen, such as Sunset Beach or Katana.

West Hollywood is also well known as the home of Sunset Strip, where you can visit great music clubs like the Viper Room or stop by The Comedy Store. If you want to sit at a café and watch for celebrities, you want to stop by Sunset Plaza on the strip. Some of the best, most luxurious hotels in west hollywood are along this stretch of road.

2)Studio City

If you like walking and moving at a leisurely pace, Studio City is the place to visit. This was once the mecca of homes for the actors working for studios. Now it boasts some of the most upscale dining and shopping in all of LA. Do you love sushi? You want to take a walk down Ventura Boulevard’s famous “sushi alley” to get a wide variety of great rolls.

Studio City is the perfect section of LA for the foodie. Just stay close to Ventura Boulevard and enjoy a wide variety of high-end cuisine.

3) Universal City

Want to take a studio tour and enjoy great shopping? Visit Universal City. This section of LA became famous for its studio backlot tours, drawing in a large crowd of tourists. You can Ride the Movies, visit Universal Studios Hollywood, and shop. Heard of CityWalk? It’s a stretch of shopping that inspired the modern version of malls. It’s full of restaurants, novelty shops, street performers, and more.

Universal City is perfect for the tourist who loves Hollywood entertainment.

4) Downtown LA

Immerse yourself in a variety of cultural differences in the downtown district. Visit Chinatown for a real taste of Chinese cuisine and culture. Enjoy a number of museums. See a live show at the Walt Disney Music Hall. Take in an NFL, NBA, or MLB game. Enjoy a helicopter tour of the city.

If your tastes are more cultured and you enjoy arts, architecture, and museums, you want to stay in Downtown LA.

5) Beverly Hills

There is no place in LA for the shopaholic quite like Beverly Hills. From jewelry to clothing to baseball caps, everything in this section of the city is high end, which also comes with a high price tag. If you plan on staying in Beverly Hills and shopping, make sure you save a lot of cash before you come. Before heading out to dinner in Beverly Hills, make sure you have a reservation. Many of the more upscale restaurants won’t have a place for you if you don’t.

If you love to shop and treat yourself, Beverly Hills is the perfect match for your LA experience.

During your trip, you may want to plan for a few extra days on the side to visit Santa Barbara. You can enjoy wineries, the beach, and the mountains all in one laid-back location. And it’s only 90 minutes from LA.

 

5 great accommodation options for surfers in Bali

Bali Island offers more than just majestic white sandy beaches, alluring tropical rainforests, world class restaurants, and shopping centers. The paradise island is also home to the best surfing spots in the archipelago. Because of the favorable weather conditions existing almost all year round, and the diverse forms of waves that you can find in the surrounding waters, Bali has become a popular choice for local and international surfing competitions and of course recreation. Whether you are a beginner or a professional surfer, you will surely find your place on Bali Island.

 

Here are five of the great accommodation options that you should consider for a complete and memorable surfing experience in Bali. These hotels and private villas are not only close to the best surfing spots on the island, but they also feature incredible architectural design, exceptional service, and outstanding amenities.

 

  1. Mick’s Place in Bingin Beach

 

Resting on a low-lying cliff in western Bukit Peninsula, Mick’s Place is a one-of-a-kind resort with its 180-degree view of Bingin Beach and the stunning sunset scenery of the Indian Ocean horizon. The resort complex consists of seven bungalows of Polynesian architectural style and beautifully landscaped tropical gardens. During the day, you can enjoy a variety of water activities such as surfing and snorkeling in the cool and pristine waters. At night, you may treat yourself to a relaxing coconut oil massage.

 

  1. Blue Point Villas and Spa

 

With 57 guest rooms and 29 luxurious villas, this resort complex is considered a paradise for surfers and regular tourists as well. Blue Point Villas and Spa overlooks the famous Suluban Beach, also known as Blue Point. It is famous for its unique cliff-top chapel, exquisite restaurants, and lush spas inside the estate. This resort complex is also strategically located near the best surf breaks in Bali including Suluban, Padang-Padang, and Uluwatu. Surfing lessons are also offered for beginners and long-time enthusiasts alike.

 

  1. Villa Impossibles

 

Villa Impossibles in Uluwatu is a luxurious six-bedroom villa resting on top of rugged boulders at the bottom of the cliff. Similar to a lighthouse, it has a perfect uninterrupted view of the beautiful coastlines and clear ocean waters. Villa Impossibles is also just a few minutes away from some of the most popular surf breaks on Bali Island. The incredibly-designed estate can be rented for up to 12 guests or as individual rooms for smaller groups. It is also a perfect venue for tropical weddings and other different occasions.

 

  1. Puri Dajuma Beach Eco-Resort and Spa

 

This beach resort is a four-star resort located on the western side of Bali Island. From Puri Dajuma Beach Resort and Spa, the black sand surfing area of Medewi Beach can easily be accessed. There is no need to worry if you are a beginner, as surfing lessons are offered to guide you. Puri Dajuma is also just a few minutes away from Pekutatan Beach where you can enjoy a lot of activities including diving, snorkeling, and trekking across adjacent rice fields.

 

  1.  Premier Surf Camp

 

Premier Surf Camp is perhaps every surfer’s ideal place to stay while in Bali in terms of price, convenience, and service. The eight-room resort is close to two of the best surfing spots, namely Pererenan Beach and Echo Beach. They offer surfing lessons for any skill level and board rentals as well. During sunset, you can enjoy a picturesque view of the ocean while dining authentic Balinese seafood cuisine. You can also experience utmost serenity on the Premier Surf Camp as it is not as crowded as other surfing spots on the island.

Plan Your Next Vacation to Dubai – The Pearl of the Desert

The rise of Dubai has been more than exceptional. Come on, even in the 1960s, it was a sea-facing piece of desert. Now, it is the land of world’s tallest building, Audi cars made from white gold and is the most popular work destination (no, it is very difficult to buy land and live there even if you have money) for almost everyone. It is equally good for travel, as we can see from those travel packages, being offered by many of the known operators. Another added advantage is the ticket price which is affordable for Indians. Whether you love to play it safe and get a package tour or you want to be adventurous and do everything by yourself is up to you. I will suggest that you buy a travel insurance for your Dubai Trip, and not just any insurance, the best travel insurance policy available in either case. It will keep you safe, trust me. In case you lose your luggage, passport or any other important item, one call to the insurer can ease all your worries.

OK, now that I have told you that, it’s time to tell you what to do when in Dubai; what to see, what to eat and where to take selfies.

Dubai, at max, is a megacity, going by the geographical size of it. Most of the attractions would be urban attractions. And it is very easy to cover these locations I am going to suggest, firstly, because they are not far from each other and secondly, as you can guess, Dubai is very well connected. The view of Dubai when the plane descends can tell you that.

I would have loved to start with Dubai airport itself, I love to spend some time there every time I land in Dubai or taking a connecting flight from there, but some of my readers may find it too stretched. Keeping that urge aside, let me tell you what you can find in the city itself.

Burj Khalifa: Ah! The famous Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. What’s more magnificent is that it is not a solid, tall, un-poetic building like Empire state or the now-gone twin towers. This is a well-designed building, something you would love to admire, for quite a while. Once you are done comprehending how big it is, how tall it is and taking selfies in the front, take the elevator and move to the top of this building.

There is an observation deck at the top from where you can see the skyline of Dubai and the view is simply breathtaking. Experience this, you will not forget it. Once you come down, look back to realise how far you climbed really. You might get vertigo, standing on the ground!

Dubai Mall: Every Indian city has one “largest mall of Asia”. Old joke? Alright. If you want to see a big mall, visit the Dubai mall, you might get lost and ask for directions, this is an incredibly big mall. It provides entry to the famous Dubai Aquarium, as well as Burj Khalifa. The number of shops and eateries is virtually endless and if you want special discounts, like every other Indian, try either the Dubai Summer Surprises in July-August or Dubai Shopping Festival in January-February.

There is an ice skating rink, cinema halls (multiplexes, for modern day Indians) and gaming zones. There are endless daily shows as well and you will invariably walk into a fashion show or live music show or something similar.

Jumeirah Mosque: This is probably the most beautiful mosque you will see in your life. It is large, like many other Dubai attractions, but surely it is not kept like we keep our pride, Jammah Masjid in Old Delhi. This is an exact copy of Al Azhar mosque of Cairo, but it is eight times bigger.

One of the finest examples of Islamic architecture, this grand structure is awe-inspiring. You can get a guided tour of the mosque and apart from wowing at the grandeur, you can also develop a better understanding of Islamic culture, a much-needed commodity in the modern world.

Dubai Aquarium: Dubai Aquarium is the attraction which you should not miss at any cost. It has over 140 species of undersea life which are in an incredible display in a tank which is suspended in the Dubai Mall (on the ground fall in case you are wondering). You can immediately view the aquarium when you enter the mall for free! Moreover, you can have access to the aquarium tunnels if you enter via the Underwater Zoo.

If you are looking for thrills, then you have the shark diving activity along with the milder cage snorkelling. Don’t forget the glass bottom boat tours either, you will simply love it. 

There are so many places left in Dubai that I am planning for another blog. Pack your bags and experience something incredible. You will love every moment of this tour. But don’t forget to buy a travel insurance, as I said above, if you want to enjoy the journey, an insurance is must to take care of any risks or losses. I have no intention of dissuading your holiday mood, but as said, “precaution is better than cure”, so what if any unforeseen event happens? So, make some space in your bag for your travel insurance (though you can buy travel insurance online and store it in your phone as a soft copy!)

Go ahead, enjoy and don’t forget to repeat, Dubai is the pearl of the desert.