How to Pick a Hotel on Oahu

Do you dream about sunbathing on the white sands of Waikiki, exploring a tropical reef with a snorkel and mask just off the lava-rock coastline or enjoying a cocktail in the Hawaiian sunset? You’re not alone.

Going to Hawaii on vacation is a dream come true for many people, and the 50th state’s beauty is not exaggerated.

Tourism is a multi-billion-dollar industry in the Aloha State, and it’s easy to see why. Hawaii has plenty of hotels, resorts and other man-made attractions in addition to the naturally compelling vistas and seascapes. You can’t go wrong with the natural beauty of the islands, but when you’re planning a trip to Hawaii you will need to carefully consider what hotel or resort will serve your needs best.

Where on Oahu?

The first thing you should consider when planning your Hawaiian vacation to Oahu is which part of the island you’d like to stay on. Honolulu appeals to many because of the sheer number of things to do here — from sporty to cultural and romantic to adventurous — but it’s not the only place to stay on the island. Many travelers prefer a smaller, less populous base for their Hawaiian trip and thus choose a hotel on the North Shore of Oahu, or at Kailua, which is famous for its wind- and kite-surfing opportunities.

If you love the bright lights-big city feel of Honolulu, it’s understandable! “The Big Pineapple” is a wonderful place to visit in its own right — even if you never leave the city limits. Honolulu is most famous for the numerous, fabulous, hotels and resorts that line Waikiki Beach. The beach is the place around which most tourists gravitate — whether for swimming, surfing or simply strolling. If it appeals to you, the rooms with sea views and glimpses of the sand and Diamond Head at the resorts along Waikiki are understandably popular. Rooms are usually spacious, and the resorts’ added features such as cocktail happy hours, kiddie pools and room service make for a great vacation in paradise.

However, staying along Waikiki might not be the best answer for you if you are planning on renting a car and making daytrips to see the rest of what Oahu has to offer. As in any city’s most popular areas, the streets near Waikiki are often crowded and finding parking may be onerous. To make sure that your rental will have plenty of room to manoeuver, look for smaller properties off the beach.

Does It Have Entertainment?

Picking Hotel OahuIf you’re staying in Honolulu, you’ll never lack for entertainment. The Hawaiian capital has plenty of daily cultural performances, as well as museums and galleries to explore. However, this is another metric by which to measure your hotels. If you know that you’ll be looking for a hula performance or musical review every night, you can find a hotel that offers the best kind of entertainment for you.

Does It Suit Your Group?

Although Hawaii is a popular honeymoon destination, newlyweds are far from the only kind of tourists who stop on Oahu. Whether you are a solo traveler, a family with children, seniors on a group holiday or some other category, you can find a hotel that suits your needs. If you’re bringing small children, for example, you’ll want rooms with pullout beds and a kid-friendly menu at breakfast. You may even find a hotel with a babysitting service. For seniors, it might be important to have ground-floor rooms or other accommodation that allows access with limited mobility. For all groups, it helps if the hotel caters to your particular kind of traveler and offers tours and other extras for your interests.

Does It Have a Swimming Pool?

Everyone knows Waikiki Beach is the hot spot in Honolulu, but the truth is some people prefer to swim in fresh water than in salt water. If you love swimming, but not the sea, do yourself a favor and book a hotel that has a swimming pool. Many of the hotels offer these — and some of the larger resorts have fancy options, such as infinity pools, pool bars and kiddie pools with slides — but not all, so be sure to check.

Finding a hotel in Hawaii can be a challenge because of the sheer variety and number of accommodations available. If you know what services and options you need from the hotel, it will be easier to choose.

Dubai Adds Value to any Business Enterprise

Dynamic, forward-looking, innovative, entrepreneurial – descriptive tags which underline why so many foreign companies both large and small are attracted to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the Persian Gulf. And add to the mix an astute financial services sector always ready and willing to offer a raft of value-added services, ranging from the simple business banking account to the more complex payments and cash management services vital for the well-being of any profitable company.

Glitzy, glamorous Dubai, the largest city in the UAE, is an obvious magnet for the investor, the business entrepreneur and also the millions of tourists who visit every year. It’s not hard to understand why given the city’s penchant for massive infrastructure investment and spending over recent years. Now man-made islands, five-star hotels and gigantic shopping malls, not to mention the tallest man-made structure in the world, the incredible 2,716.5 foot Burj Khalifa, all add a wow-factor which few cities anywhere can match.

The Oxford Business Group (OBG), a global publishing, research and consultancy firm which publishes economic intelligence on the markets of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America, says Dubai’s economy continued its post-crisis recovery, expanding by around 4.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2013. Much of this was down to growth across the rest of the UAE in a range of sectors, mainly trade, financial enterprises, transport and communications, real estate, construction and manufacturing.

Economic data showed non-oil sectors dominating the UAE’s GDP figures, with the share for trade at an estimated 28 per cent, 16 per cent for manufacturing, 14 per cent for financial enterprises, 13 per cent for real estate and 8 per cent for construction.

Dubai has witnessed a continued recovery in the real estate sector since the beginning of the year, where the average price per square metre of residential apartments increased by about 25 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2012. Like other important sectors in the emirate, the Dubai Financial Market also performed very well since the start of 2013; its General Index recorded a 12.7 per cent growth by the end of March, showing investors’ interest in the capital market.

The activities and events organised in the emirate have also contributed much to attracting the large number of tourists and visitors from various countries, with the Dubai Shopping Festival and Global Village, the region’s first cultural, entertainment, family and shopping destination, adding to the many festivals and exhibitions held throughout the year.

Indeed, rising demand and the recovering economy are driving growth in Dubai’s retail sector, with a sharp increase in new mall space suggesting that it is beginning to shake off the doldrums of the global economic crisis of 2009.

And with the economy rebounding, projects previously put on hold have been reactivated and new developments are being put into the pipeline. The flow through the development pipeline is expected to become stronger throughout the second half of the decade, as new projects are completed and some existing retail spaces expand to maintain their competitive edge.

For more on the UAE and other countries in the Middle East, check out the OBG website here.

Save Money Driving – Fuel Saving Tips 26 – 30

This is a Guest Post by Todd @ Fearless Dollar — it’s part of his 5 site series on How To Save on Gas Money.

Are you driving to see family this holiday season? Taking a road trip to see the fam can be cheaper and more (or less) convenient than taking a flight.

If you haven’t noticed, in the past 10 days fuel prices have dropped 50 cents in many areas across the country. But don’t be deceived, they’re still a lot higher than they were just 5 years ago.

If you want to save money on driving, here’s our 5 site series on saving fuel. I’m posting across five websites, so make sure to check out all the tips!

Fuel Saving Driving Tips

Tips 1 – 5 Fearless Men

Tips 6 – 10 Fearless Dollar

Tips 11 – 15 AllThingsFinance.net

Tips 16 – 25 American Debt Project

Tips 25 – 30 Daily Tips Blog

What burns gas more than anything?

A. Frequent and sudden acceleration

B. Frequent and sudden braking

C. Excessive idling

These are the main reasons city driving cost so much more fuel than driving on a highway. What are the best ways to save gas?

26. Maintain your car

In every sense of that statement, utilize and maintain your car as your machine of choice. Because it is!

Maintaining your car according to its schedule will not only lengthen how long you can use it, but will help retain its fuel efficiency.

27. Know the season

Avoid prolonged warming up of engine. Aside from getting your heater blasting, modern cars don’t need more than 30-45 seconds of warm-up time.

Make sure you don’t use deep-tread tires or snow chains when you don’t need to. These will guzzle up the use of gas!

28. Buy a fuel efficient car

The next time you’re on the market for a car, keep in mind its fuel-efficiency, especially when looking at used cars. You’ll eventually resell it, and moving forward cars with poor fuel efficiency will be harder to sell.

29. Buy gasoline during the coolest part of the day

The cooler the temperature, the denser the gas. Meaning when you fill up, you’ll be getting a little bit more fuel.

30. Cut down on frequent and excessive acceleration and braking

Speeding up and then coming to quick hard stops is not only wearing on your car, but burning up fuel unnecessarily.

Checkout gas saving tips 1 – 5 on Fearless Men!

[Featured image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/cmogle/]

The Importance of Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is often perceived as an ‘additional cost burden’ by most travelers. Interestingly, even travel agents tend to downplay the role of travel insurance – due to the fear of the increased package pricing and hence losing customer base – wherever it is not mandatory.
Whether you are a domestic traveler or international flyer, the travel insurance offers the following benefits and major coverage (actual benefits may vary based on your chosen package)

  • Health (dental/medical) coverage during your travel and at your destination
  • Accident related coverage is must for any type of travel
  • Loss of baggage cover and theft related coverage
  • Legal support cover during your stay abroad
  • Emergency evacuation and delayed departure cover
  • Death related and funeral expense cover
  • Natural calamities (earth quakes, flood, volcanic) related damage cover

In addition, there may be optional coverage benefits such as car rental, war and terrorism related coverage, adventure sports coverage based on what you opt for.

With airline and hospitality industry fighting margin pressures and economic slowdown related issues, the need for traveling related insurance coverage gets all the more important. Flight cancellations and reservation issues are becoming a daily affair these days, isn’t it?

Travel Insurance Tips

Just like any other insurance coverage, the travel insurance too comes with a lot of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ and hence it’s very important to pick the right plan.

Firstly you need to consider a travel insurance plan based on your trip frequency. For example, if you are frequent traveler to a particular country you have to opt for multi trip insurance plan rather than a single entry plan. Similarly if you are more of a domestic traveler, then you need domestic travel insurance.

Next, it is important to make sure that you have the right medical coverage as part of your plan because your domestic medical coverage just does not work in a foreign country.

Once the medical part is taken care of you need to worry about the purpose and duration of your visit. If you are going on a long vacation that involves a lot of traveling from country to country (e.g. a Europe vacation for a month) you need to make sure that your coverage is valid with respect to the prevailing situation and rules of all those countries.

If your purpose is to be part of any extreme sports, then you need to opt for such special coverage and pick the insurance company that offers the same as an option.

If you are visiting a country affected by terror or war situations or wherever travel advisory has been issued, then it is important get that option covered as well.

It is also important to cover for very expensive cruises and luxury vacations. Obviously, you don’t want to lose money on additional expenses such as hotel stay, travel to main port etc without having travel insurance while going on a life time cruise that costs $20,000 – Just in case of a cancellation for example.

Essentially, you must get coverage for most important scenarios such as health, flight cancellation, baggage loss etc and on top opt for coverage for those prevailing conditions. A good travel agent can always help you with the situational requirements while a good insurance adviser would help finding the right plan.

I hope the importance of travel insurance is very clear now!

How to Pack a Suitcase Efficiently?

Well, the picture here will tell you how stressful your suitcase packing can be especially when the travel packing list is not already prepared or the travel itself is not planned in advance.

In fact, packing a suitcase can be very easy if you get a little bit organized yourself and exactly follow the steps below:

Step by Step Suitcase Packing

  1. Gather all that you want to carry and place them on your bed. You need to do a rough calculation as how many pairs of clothes will be required based on the number of travel days, whether you will get to do laundry in between your travel etc
  2. Fold your shirts and vests exactly like how they fold and keep them in the showroom or store. Roll your ties loosely. Fold the briefs and undergarments once or twice but don’t roll them up. Stuff a couple of pairs of socks into your shoes that you are going to carry
  3. Place the suitcase on the floor, open it flat and pull out the elastic straps to the sides
  4. Start with your heavy clothes such as the jackets and place them at the bottom of the suitcase. Remember not to pack the jacket that you will be wearing while traveling
  5. Place you trousers unfolded and lengthwise on the heavy jackets. Please note that the trousers ends will be now extending out of the suitcase. Remember to place each pair with its sides switched (i.e. if a pair has its waist side to your left, the next pair will have the waist side to your right)
  6. Now, place the folded shirts breadth-wise, followed by your vests
  7. Once all major clothe items are placed, fold the hanging sides of the trousers inwards to cover the shirts and vests. Fasten the packed clothes with the suitcase’ elastic straps
  8. If your suitcase has a shoe pocket, place your shoes in the same with toe of one aligned with the heel of its pair. If it doesn’t have a shoe pocket, place the shoes along the border of your suitcase
  9. Pack your underwear in side pockets or corners to save space. Double check for any other necessities such as additional belts,
  10. If you are carrying any suit and if your suitcase has a suit holder, pack it properly and fasten. In this case, you might want to store your ties in the same place otherwise use side pockets for the ties
  11. Pack your toiletries in a toiletry pouch or plastic bag and keep that for carrying in the carry-on bag. Include any medicines and other important things like mobile phone charger in this bag
  12. Finally, place one or two empty plastic bags or thin laundry bags in the suitcase to bring back your unwashed and dirty clothes on return. Close your suitcase carefully after making sure that nothing is jutting out and you are good to go now

Have a nice travel with your efficiently packed suitcase!

Packing List for Vacation

What is the relevance of a Packing List for Vacation? Basically an organized list is pretty much the very first requirement to get your suitcase packed (Read: How to Pack a Suitcase Efficiently?)

When you are going to pack for a trip, you need to be aware of how long you are going to be there, how hot or cold it’s going to be, the places you are going to stay or what you want to do there. With these things in mind you will need one or more suitcases, organization, vacation packing checklist, hotel accommodation information, travel sized containers, leak proof bag, small bag or purse.

Let it start with a Packing List for Vacation…

  1. First, make a check list of all the things you need according to your itinerary. Ideally you need two copies of your packing list – one for your return journey as well. When you travel with family, this checklist will contain as many individual sections as the number of travelers plus a common section for all
  2. Pack 2 to 3 days in advance and while keeping things in your suitcases, put a check mark against those items in your list
  3. Check with your hotel to see if they provide hair dryers, toiletries or towels, so you can avoid the same
  4. Pack cosmetics and toiletries in travel sized containers – preferably leak proof ones – and keep them separated from clothes
  5. Keep clothes and accessories to one to two color schemes, so you can mix and match. Also take a couple of quick dry items that can be hand washed
  6. Distribute the clothes evenly throughout the bag by rolling them
  7. Save room in your bag by wearing the bulkiest shoes and jackets (if the weather permits) while traveling to the destination
  8. Keep all your jewelry and other valuables in a small carry-on bag or purse
  9. Do not forget to do some study on the foreign currency and ATM availability in your destination, just in case you are traveling abroad. Accordingly, you may want to keep enough money with you while traveling
  10. If you are on medication, do not forget to carry your medicines in your small bag or purse
  11. If you are traveling as a family, try to dedicate one suitcase or bag per family within the allowed luggage limits
  12. Never over stuff your suitcases – a broken suitcase is a vacation spoiler and can cause embarrassment in public places
  13. While leaving home, do not forget to dispose your garbage, switch off your electric appliances and lamps, close windows and doors and inform your good neighbors
  14. While stuffing things back on return, do not forget to crosscheck with the other copy of your checklist

Bon Voyage!