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We all dream about being able to take an extended, long-term vacation. But, as wonderful as this may sound, there are a lot of logistics to work out prior to traveling. Otherwise, the experience is not going to be nearly as awesome as one may think. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have an awesome time on an extended vacation. You just need to think in the long term when you are planning and make sure that there are no hitches in your travel plans. You can use these tools to help you plan your long-term travel experience so you can make the absolute most of it.

1. Safestore

If you are planning to be away for more than a couple of weeks, you may want to protect your valuables. Don’t just leave them in your home. Rent a storage locker so you know that everything is safe. Self-storage is definitely the way to go when you want to make sure your stuff is safe for extended periods of time. There are self-storage options all over the world, including in the USA, UK and parts of Europe, so do your research to find the perfect company and location for you.

2. TripIt

How would you like to have your entire itinerary planned for you in advance? All you have to do is provide TripIt with your confirmation emails for flights, hotels, etc., and they will take care of creating a master itinerary that you can access from anywhere, even if you are not online. Use it to share travel plans, find alternate flights, get notifications about better seats, etc. This is going to make your trip planning a lot easier and your travel a lot smoother and more relaxed.

3. City Mapper

Wherever you plan to be while traveling, you need to know how to get around. This site is the tool you need to find out where everything is, no matter where you are. Get directions to shopping, restaurants, accommodations, subways, and more for most major cities around the world. You’ll never get lost, no matter where you are, when you are using this handy little tool.

4. XE Currency Converter

If you are going to be in areas where the currency is different from your own, it is a good idea to have access to a currency converter. That way, you will always be able to figure out what things cost, no matter what currency is being used. Receive the most accurate data and daily rates to help you plan your spending accordingly and make sure that you are getting the best rates.

5. Foodspotting

Do you want to know where the best restaurants in the world are located (including those out of the way places that the world doesn’t know about yet)? This is the tool that will tell you. You will find the best restaurants, the best dishes, and more, no matter what type of food you are looking for. You will even find some awesome ice cream stands where you can enjoy frosty treats.

6. Expat Explorer

This is your complete guide to living the expat life. You will find expat country guides, country comparisons, tips for planning your vacation finances, and much more. Learn about how living abroad can affect your banking, the challenges you may face as an expat, and a whole lot more. You can even call and speak to a real person if you have any questions regarding your upcoming expat experience.

7. Spotted by Locals

Tourists don’t always get to enjoy the best of what many places have to offer, because only locals know about these things. You need to start thinking like a local and find out what they love about their home towns. Use this tool to find out what the locals really love, and find out for yourself why they love it.

Source: This article was published on lifehack.org by - Jane Hurst

Categorized in Others

It's an exciting time to be alive as NASA, along with billionaires and their rockets, continue to push the envelope when it comes to space travel and exploration.

But it all comes at a pivotal time, as President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January. As president, Trump will nominate a NASA administrator and will be tasked with setting a budget for the space program, which will then have to be approved by Congress.

The current proposed budget for NASA in 2017 is $19 billion — down $300 million from the previous year but still an improvement from the past decade, which saw the end of the space shuttle program.

Trump Sets the Course For NASA

President-elect Donald Trump will step into his new role during a pivotal time for future space endeavors, as well, with NASA setting its sights on a Mars mission in the 2030s and preparing to end its dependence on Russia for rides to the International Space Station.

Whomever Trump nominates could set the tone for the future of the space program, including how NASA partners with the commercial space industry, according to Jim Cantrell, CEO of Vector Space Systems and a founding member of SpaceX.

With Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel acting as a close Trump adviser, Cantrell said "some of the more commercial thinking" he brings "is very healthy, and if Trump continues to do that, it will be very positive for NASA."

Presidents are usually relatively hands-off with NASA; however, Cantrell sees an opportunity for Trump, who has previously called space "terrific."

"Occasionally you see presidents come in and provide a clear change in direction of leadership," he said, referring to John F. Kennedy's decision to go to the moon and George W. Bush's appointment of a NASA administrator who helped paved the way for partnerships with the private space industry.

"The potential is there for Trump to do the same thing," Cantrell said.

Ending Reliance on the Russians

Since NASA grounded its shuttle program in 2011, the space agency has been buying seats aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule in order to send American astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

It likely won't happen in 2017, but expect to hear updates from NASA partners SpaceX and Boeing as both make strides in their testing of commercial crew vessels: When they are ready to shuttle humans, SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Boeing's Starliner would cost about $58 million per seat, according to NASA. By comparison, a seat aboard the Russian Soyuz has the heftier price tag of $81 million.

A Return to Flight for SpaceX

SpaceX is planning to return to flight in January — just four months after an anomaly destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket and the satellite it had been set to carry into space.

Elon Musk's company is targeting a January launch, exact date to be determined, for Iridium's mobile communications fleet.

SpaceX's timeline is ambitious, but the company has pulled it off in the past. After its Dragon capsule exploded en route to the International Space Station, the company was sidelined for six months.

The Unpredictable Jeff Bezos

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is a member of the billionaire rocket club. As CEO of Blue Origin, he's largely kept quiet about the company's plans, instead telling the world after they've pulled off something impressive.

"They have been unpredictable from the start because there isn't much known about what their core path is," said Cantrell. "I am fascinated to see what it is the guy has in mind. His style is very different from Elon's. Elon says what he wants to do and goes and gathers the money to do it. Bezos suddenly shows up with a fully functional vehicle that blows your mind."

Blue Origin has been following a cycle of "launch, land, and repeat," with its reusable New Shepard rocket and vehicle, which goes into sub-orbital space.

Image: Jeff Bezos speaks during the 32nd Space Symposium

Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Amazon and founder of Blue Origin. Matthew Staver / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Building a Space-Based Internet

"I see it as a very bright year for the space internet," Cantrell said.

Building a space-based internet is not a new idea, but it's one that has taken off once again largely due to new technology and lower launch costs.

While a number of companies, including SpaceX, have expressed a desire to build a space-based internet, it's shaping up to be a big year for OneWeb.

The company, whose investors include The Virgin Group, Coca-Cola, Airbus, and Qualcomm, announced earlier this month it had received a $1.2 billion injection of capital, which will support production in a high volume satellite facility, according to the company.

"My bet is on OneWeb to get it going first," Cantrell said.

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic suffered a major setback with its SpaceShipTwo when it broke apart over the Mojave Desert in 2014, killing the co-pilot and seriously injuring the pilot, who was able to parachute to safety.

Earlier this month, Virgin Galactic marked its first major milestone since the crash when its new spaceship, the VSS Unity, successfully completed its first glide test.

When it comes to space tourism, Virgin Galactic has been one of the most visible companies setting imaginations wild with the idea of actually letting human tourists visit space.

"They aren't going to move as aggressively forward as the smaller companies launching unmanned stuff," Cantrell said. They'll work on "getting the risk of losing human life down" and showing their more than 700 customers who have been patiently waiting that they have a "strong future."

Author: ALYSSA NEWCOMB
Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/2016-year-in-review/blasting-2017-what-s-stars-space-travel-n700571

Categorized in Science & Tech

It is never too early to plan for your next travel destination for 2017. So, get your travel shoes ready and get inspired with the top trending destinations for next year.

According to the experts in Booking.com, people have been searching and booking for the places below for 2017 travels. With this data analysis, you do not have to knock your head off for travel ideas since everything is rounded up for you and served on a silver platter.

Kyoto, Japan is increasingly becoming popular in the recent years. The city has emanated the perfect blend of modernization and ancient history. It is the center of technology while housing serene Buddhist shrines, panoramic gardens, and cozy tea houses. The city offers a vast array of Michelin-starred restaurants and shopping options to suit your different tastes.

Reykjavik, Iceland offers an exceptional experience for travelers. Reykjavik is an eccentric place that gives tourists a novel experience. You can bar and cafes that are quaintly welcoming with its warm facade and quirky collector's items. You can even visit the 'Icelandic Phallological Museum' or the penis museum. Or if you are a 'Star Wars' fan, the Café Babalu has toilets themed to this famous movie franchise. Visit the Reykjavík Cathedral if you want to appreciate vibrant arts and architecture. And remember, Reykjavik is also famous for its 'Northern Lights'.

Savannah, United States is a perfect place to visit if you want to experience Southern charm and hospitality. Do not forget this is the place where the famous gumbo and boiled crawfish originated. Savannah's heritage and cuisine is an age old testament to historical influences. You can drown yourself in its culinary wonders and paradisiacal sceneries of grand architecture and weeping willows.

Mumbai, India is a whole new wonder on its own. This is a city that is so rich in culture that you can drown yourself in it for months end. With its vibrant energy and organized chaos, it is definitely 'one for the books'. Mumbai also features a conspicuous sense of history and spirituality that you cannot help but feel attracted to. The art galleries, museums, temples and even world-class restaurants all help give Mumbai its reputation as one of the top travel destinations of 2017.

Cairns, Australia is one destination that you should definitely go to next year. This city provides the perfect gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. And, people should know by now that this phenomenal wonder is disappearing. So, do not wait for any further and head over to Cairns and splurge in its sheer wonder while you still can. This is also the perfect spot if you want to explore an underwater world full of rare species and plethora of colors.

Author:  Naj Gulanes

Source:  http://www.travelerstoday.com

Categorized in Others

The travel bug has bit more and more people these days, but so has the stress of finances. Luckily there are ways to enjoy traveling without the stress of overspending. Here are several tips and tricks I learned while on my travels.

1. Do your research

I can’t stress enough how important it is to do your research. I have saved so much money just by sitting in front of my computer screen a few extra hours per day hunting for the best deals. A good tip I have learned from others is to go on the actual airline’s website and see if they have any specific deals.

2. Sharing is caring 

It can be a little intimidating to share a room with a complete stranger(s) for several days and/or weeks, but more and more people are actually turning to hostels these days. Hostels are accommodating. It is much better to think simply in terms of where you are staying. Don’t look into the petty details, just focus on what you plan to do outside of the room.

3. Package deals

Whether you decide to buy your ticket and room together or separately, just remember to look for the best deals. I have found from experience that a package deal can actually be less expensive. Also, make sure to choose a budget. We all know what we can afford, so in order to reduce stress during travel, make a budget and stick to it, trust me, you will feel much better if you do.

4. Take what you can carry

We all know packing can be a major pain, but the good thing is that we are able to take a large suitcase and a carry-on. It is important that you make as much space for as many items as you will need since you will have to consider the laundry part of your travels. It helps to have a packing list. Remember to check the weather prior to your trip in order to pack more appropriately for your destination.

5. Cash is important

It is always important to have some cash with you since you never know if you will need it. It is important to notify your credit card company of your dates of travel ahead of time, to avoid any issues while you are vacationing. It also helps to notify them so they that they are prepared to take extra precautions on your card, in case of theft.

6. WhatsApp

WhatsApp, Viber, etc, are great ways to keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues while you are away. Wherever you end up staying will probably have free wifi, so you can connect with anyone for free and avoid any charges. Talk to a representative from your phone carrier and see what they suggest. You can ask them about the least expensive way to use your phone overseas and they will certainly give you the answers you need.

7. Pack a picnic

Even though airlines kindly provide us with meals, it is important to bring some food from home. You can pack several snacks, sandwiches and fruit to accommodate you on your travels. It will help avoid having to pay crazy prices at airports and it also keeps you happy and energized as you head to your destination.

8. Destination save

So, now that you have found your cheap flight and hostel or hotel deal, you have packed enough to accommodate your needs, you downloaded WhatsApp and/or Viber to your phone, took out some cash to exchange and have packed a picnic, you are ready to travel.

9. Choose the cheaper route

As tempting as it is to take a cab all the way to the foot of your hostel or hotel, I recommend you try the train or bus instead. For example, the average cost of a cab in any city is 25-30 euros and that is expensive. Airports have great directions and services that will direct you to the nearest buses and trains.

10. Eating like a champion

Take advantage of complimentary breakfast options where you are staying, as well as cheaper options within your hostel or hotel. The challenge is eating out. I’ve learned from experience that tourist areas are the priciest. It is important to avoid these spots if you are budgeting, however, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice meal. I once found a cute little mom and pop tapas bar hidden in the back streets of Barcelona for under 10 euros. It was delicious, filling and didn’t starve my wallet.

11. The art of budgeting

Art galleries, museums, parks, etc, are wonderful ways to learn more about your destination’s culture, painters, architects and musicians. For example, when I went to Barcelona, I was able to experience the beauty of Gaudi’s Parque de Gaulle for free. Yes, you heard me, for FREE. There is a large portion of the park that tourists are able to experience without spending a dime.

12. Walking is the best exercise and it’s free

Think about how far you can get by simply walking. Indulging in the art of walking means you are giving yourself a free scenic walking tour. Walking also gives you the option of being social. It is a great way to meet locals and share a smile, as well as connect, ask questions, ask for advice, directions and even make friends. You never know who you will meet.

Source : http://www.lifehack.org

Author : NICOLLETE IZAKOVIC

Categorized in Others

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