How consumer money is used in aviation investment

Individual investors may ask: “What is portfolio management?” Essentially it’s a way for investors to spread their investments over a range of options, some of which may be considered to be risky and others to be relatively safe. Riskier investments offer better returns but, as with any risk, nothing is guaranteed.

Investing in the aviation industry as part of a portfolio can be a good way to maximize profits as part of a careful investment strategy.

Since the dawn of time humans have wanted to soar with the birds in the sky, and it was the advent of the first powered flight by the American Wright brother that made the dream a reality. Since then aviation has really taken off, generating a multi-billion dollar industry and technological innovations that have fed into a huge range of consumer products.

Early days

Before the advent of commercial passenger airlines, the industry developed quickly due to the usefulness of airplanes during the First World War in Europe. Massive advances were made, and though between the First and Second World Wars commercial aviation started to increase, it was the advent of jet engines, originally invented by Englishman Sir Frank Whittle, that allowed the development of mass transit airplanes that now span the globe.

Airline companies

Airlines, for the most part, started out as flag carriers for their countries, but the privatization of many of these coupled with the rise of new private organizations means that there is potential for investment for consumers as well as for the major investors such as financial institutions and pension funds.

Top operators include the American Delta Airlines, owned by a wide range of investors, United Airlines, also American and is a subsidiary of United Continental Holdings and wholly owned by it, and China Southern Airlines, owned by China Southern Airlines Limited.

National carriers include British Airways, owned by its shareholders as a public limited company, the German carrier Lufthansa, and Holland’s KLM.

Other major players include Emirates, based in Dubai and owned by the Dubai government and Air Canada, originally created by the government, it is now a private organization owned by shareholders.

A glamorous business

It’s easy to think that the world of air travel is full of glamour and excitement, and it certainly can be for regular travelers. Richard Branson has helped break the monopoly of the national carriers with his Virgin brand, expanding his investment portfolio to aviation having started off in humble beginnings with his Virgin music label in the early 1970s.

One of the difficulties for individuals interested in investing in the aviation business is that it is so huge, turning over many billions of dollars a year. It is geared to corporate investors, yet there are certainly opportunities for consumers to get involved in the action.

The first thing to do is to look at balance sheets. Who is making money? What are the growth prospects for a particular airline? What are the threats and risks to the bottom line? It’s essential to understand how these organizations are performing and to understand that just because they performed well one year doesn’t mean it will happen the next year.

Investment potential

Analysts consider that there will be significant profitability in the aviation industry in 2014. Much of this is down to the cost of jet fuel, which has been dropping, and is an airline’s single largest expense.

Looking at some figures from the first quarter of 2014, a slow time for business, the parent company of American Airlines posted a loss of $341 million compared to a loss in 2012 of $1.6 billion in the same quarter. Revenue, however, was up by one percent, hitting $6.1 billion. Seven of the nation’s biggest carriers, including American, Delta, Southwest and JetBlue have posted a profit for the quarter, excluding special costs.

Where does the money go?

It’s easy to think that the money paid to an airline is just for getting a traveler from A to B. It isn’t. That’s what the traveler wants and expects but there are costs an airline has to meet apart from employing pilots, cabin crews, paying for their airplanes and fuel and maintenance.

When setting their fares and considering profitability, airlines have to factor in other cost centers. These include insurances, landing fees, “free” food and drink for those who offer it, and taxes by government, not to mention baggage fees and the cost of security screening.

5 Things You Need Before an International Trip

Traveling internationally is hands-down one of  the most educational, exciting, and rewarding experiences you can have in your lifetime. For years, nomads and explorers have trekked over foreign continents and sailed across uncharted oceans to experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of foreign cultures.

Fortunately, successful modern travel is not reliant on trade winds and fruits to stave off scurvy. With these five must-have traveling essentials, today’s nomad is well-equipped to roam freely, and intelligently, through the vast lands of international exploration. Orange slices are purely optional.

A Reliable Guidebook


[Image via Flickr by The Wandering Angel.]

You wouldn’t go skydiving for the first time without a little advice, so why would you leap headfirst into a foreign country without any information? A reliable guidebook will always be your most trusted travel companion. Need to find the bus station in Prague? Guide book. Want to know the cheapest train route from Berlin to Milan? Guide book. Only have four dollars and need a hostel in Bangkok? You guessed it, guidebook.

Although there are hundreds of guide books for most countries, cities, and regions, it’s important to always have a trusted and frequently updated resource. Fodor’s Travel Guides and Lonely Planet Destination Books are some of the most trusted names in travel.  

International Credit Cards

When traveling internationally, your adventurous spirit and wanderlust can’t pay for food and shelter. Traveling does have its expenses, and many of these expenses are unforeseen and cannot be budgeted. Fortunately, international credit cards guarantee your travel is not cut short by empty pockets.  
If you use your day-to-day credit card for foreign expenses, you’ll most likely be hit with roughly a three percent international fee on every transaction. This adds up quickly. The best international credit cards waive these fees and offer various travel bonus rewards, such as perks for lodging and flights.

Cell Phone with International Plan 

Staying connected is essential while traveling. Whether you need to call home in case of an emergency or secure lodging for the night, a cell phone will make sure your trip is as smooth as possible. Remember, phone booths are a scarce commodity. Along with a reliable phone, it’s important to acquire an international plan for the trip’s duration. Through T-Mobile’s international plans, you’ll have unlimited data wherever you go. With T-Mobile’s international plans, you’ll find coverage in over 125 countries.  

Small Camera and Accessories


[Image via Flickr by Christian Haugen.]

Documenting your experiences will allow you to re-live your time as a world traveler for the rest of your life. When choosing a camera, it’s important to find one that is durable, compact, takes decent quality pictures, and holds a good charge. You don’t want blah pictures of an amazing trip.

You also don’t want a dead camera battery when the sun sets over the Great Wall of China. Along with your camera, it’s suggested to also carry extra batteries and extra memory cards. Physically, batteries need little space, and an extra memory card will provide ample room for, well, extra memories. 

Space-Saver Back Pack


[Image via Flickr by kokorowashinjin.]

It’s vital to pack lightly when traveling internationally, especially if you are backpacking. You think you need your complete works of Yeats when traveling over the Irish countryside, but a few spine-crushing miles into it, you realize you don’t. When choosing the right backpack, you also need the right size. Too small, and you won’t fit your essentials, but an oversized backpack is burdensome.

In addition, it’s important to find a backpack that is very efficient. Not only can you fit more stuff; compartments help you easily access your belongings. Lastly, water-resistant material is a must. You don’t want soggy clothes and wet electronics.

Traveling internationally is a rite of passage for any true adventurer. A passage defined by its promise of experience and the discovery of the unknown. By carrying the right travel essentials, you’ll be ready for whatever these new lands and experiences have to offer.

Planning the sports trip of a lifetime

Many of us would love to take off on an extended trip around the US, checking out all those places that we have heard about but never actually seen. Unfortunately, vague notions of spending a summer drifting across the states almost never actually come to fruition, often because we simply can’t decide what it is we want to do and see. What many of us need is some focus; in other words, before we decide on the where, we need to decide on the why.

Focus on sports
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One idea is to focus the trip on following a favorite sport, or sports teams; travelling around the country to catch the best games in the most famous locations.

With many iconic stadiums and other venues spread across the United States, the opportunities for enjoying great sports at some fine locations are almost endless. Famous names such as Madison Square Garden in New York City, Wrigley Field in Chicago, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Fenway Park in Boston, and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in LA are all out there waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. Those wishing to see where the history of American sports has been played out have a wide choice of teams and cities to choose from.

Some people stick with following just one team around the country, while others like to watch a variety of different teams – and sometimes different sports – to mix things up. In order to get the most out of a sports trip of a lifetime it is usually essential to be a super-fan, and open to pretty much anything when it comes to sports. Having a broad appreciation of different sports helps to ensure never missing out on a great game or sporting event.

Major League Baseball

Let’s first touch base with baseball, the “Great American Pastime.” While the West Coast has some fabulous baseball stadiums, for those who only have a week or two to devote to their sports trip of a lifetime, a road trip starting in the Midwest and heading east will bring the baseball fan to a number of great parks located within relatively easy reach of one another. Traveling between cities such as Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and New York is a great way of combining a sports vacation with exploration.

If you start out in the “Windy City,” catching a game at Chicago’s Wrigley Field is a must. Famous for Babe Ruth’s legendary ‘called shot,’ among other things, Wrigley Field is home to the Chicago Cubs. This quintessentially American ballpark was built in 1914, and sitting in the crowd here watching a game certainly feels like stepping back in time. For a more modern experience, make your way to Chicago’s South Side and take in a White Sox game at US Cellular Field, which opened in 1991.

Heading due east, the next stop on the road trip should be Cleveland, Ohio to watch the Cleveland Indians play at Progressive Field Park. Located near the center of the city, Progressive Field Park is referred to as “The Jake,” by the locals, and was ranked as the best Major League Ballpark in a 2008 poll.

Next up is Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies – the oldest name in American sports history. Dating back to 1883, the Phillies are the oldest franchise to have continued with one name in one city in all of professional American sports. With a new stadium built in 2009 and some of the best field-side snacks on the East Coast (make sure to try the hoagies, cheesesteaks, and soft pretzels). Philadelphia Phillies tickets are sure to admit one to a great time.

Heading north for a couple of hours will bring you to New York City and the Yankee Stadium in the Bronx to catch a Yankees game in this rebuilt beauty. Next, head across town to Flushing Meadows and catch a New York Mets game in the recently opened $900 million Citi Field. Heading a little further north will bring you to the oldest baseball park in the US, where you can to see the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway Park. With its unique atmosphere and passionate spectators, this grand old dame of baseball demands respect.

Other East Coast ballparks worthy of a visit include Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles, and Nationals Park in Washington DC, home of the Washington Nationals.

NFL Football

Some individuals get more of a kick out of NFL football, and the US has a wealth of excellent teams based in great stadiums in beautiful cities – so many that it is hard to know where to start. For those interested in sports history, Candlestick Park – home to the San Francisco 49ers – is definitely worth a visit; you will have to hurry, however, as the 49ers are scheduled to move to their new home at Levi’s Stadium in nearby Santa Clara, California soon.

While you are on the West Coast, stop by Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington, home to the current Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. If you are heading east, be sure to stop off at Soldier Field in Chicago, home to the Chicago Bears; Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, home to the Green Bay Packers; and Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, home to the New England Patriots .

NBA Basketball

For those who prefer hoops, any basketball-themed trip should start at Madison Square Garden, located in the heart of Manhattan, New York City. The noise of the crowd, the skill of the New York Knicks, and the amazing location in the heart of the Big Apple makes this an experience not to be missed. If you are closer to the middle of the country, check out the Chicago Bulls at the United Center, then catch a plane south to marvel at the skills of currently red hot San Antonio Spurs, or west to watch the Los Angeles Lakers compete in the iconic Staples Center.

How to travel

Sports is found everywhere in the USA; it is a part of the fabric of modern American culture, and so separating it from everyday life is virtually impossible. Making a journey of discovery and taking in different sports in cities far and wide is the dream of almost every fan, and a sports odyssey taken with family or friends is a great bonding opportunity.

In most cases, the mode of transport chosen will depend on the time and funds available. The centrally located travel hub of Chicago is a good place to start any sports-themed trip; starting off in Chicago offers travelers the choice of the Bulls, Bears, Cubs, or White Sox depending on the time of year. Renting a car will allow you to take a leisurely trip east towards Cleveland, Pittsburg, Washington, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston – all of which are great sports towns. Flying west from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport – where LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and Phoenix await – is also a convenient option.

Any sports trip taking in multiple games requires great planning and organization. Tickets for big games get snapped up quickly, so you should buy them well in advance to ensure you get the best seats. Often, the availability of tickets for events such as a World Series game or the Super Bowl dictates the route of the trip, offering solid destinations in an otherwise fluid itinerary. You will also want to book hotel accommodations early, as big games create a big demand for rooms.

When the plans are complete, the route is decided upon, and the tickets are bought, you can sit back and anticipate your sports trip of a lifetime – which is a big part of the fun.

3 up and coming countries to see before the tourists take over

MYANMAR
A trip to Myanmar is one of the most rewarding experiences in the South East of Asia because the country is strikingly beautiful and different from most destinations in Asia. With the lift on the tourism boycott ban to this country, it means that doors are finally open for exploration.

Myanmar has been through a tough political regime that has deprived the world access to this beautiful country and much of the country remains the same as it did years ago. Though the economy remains in tatters, the Burmese people still express shy smiles to the visitors and their warm hospitality welcome you to explore this country in friendly environment.

There are numerous attractions to luxury travel in Myanmar which include numerous temples, the Ayeyarwaddy River, Lakes, Mountains, Rivers, pretty over water villages, caves, pagodas and forests. The best destination to explore ancient temples is Bagan; the city of Yangon offers beautiful contrasts of colonial architecture and ancient pagodas while the Inle Lake rewards you with unforgettable sights.

CROATIA
It is an incredible country to explore with its dizzying diversities that range from dramatic lime mountain ranges towering over canyons to impressive gorges to waterfalls and rivers. Since the Homeland Wars that ripped the former Yugoslavia apart, Croatia has spent time healing its scars and quietly turning itself into one of the most sought after destinations in Europe and with its entry into the European Union in 2013 means that this beautiful country is ripe for exploration.

The choice of simple beach experience is overwhelming in Croatia making it difficult to decide whether to go to the Italianate resorts on the Istrian Coast, the glitzy Opatija Riviera or the islands that dot the coast from Kvarner Southwards, Central Dalmatia, elegant Hvar and Dubrovnik with its spectacular islands.

If it is adventure you are after you will enjoy the outdoors in Europe’s most scenic parks from the Karst Peaks of Velebit to the rushing waters of Krka.

MOROCCO
Morocco is an ancient North African country that offers fascinating contrasts, mystery and breathtaking beauty. It is where Berber, European, African and Arabic cultures blend, the ancient and the modern strive to strike a balance and where idyllic villages up the Atlas ranges seem to be caught up in a time rap while in cities such as Fez, Marrakech and Essaouira the medieval streets go hand in hand with fashionable roof top bars and restaurants.

This is definitely the place to visit before the rich Berber culture which has endured invasions, regimes and harsh climate gets eroded by western culture. Morocco is rich in every dimension, from the landscapes ranging from deserts to rugged mountains and pristine coastline; it is a paradise under the sun for outdoor lovers and those who want an adventure holiday.

There are some experiences only worth trying in Morocco such as scrubbing clean in a traditional Hammam, haggling prices in the bustling souks, enjoying an afternoon in the lively Djemma El Fna and tasting the spicy tagine in a local restaurant.

5 ways to sample the best of the UK

SELF DRIVE TOUR BY CAMPERVAN
Sometimes as you travel to UK you would like to see more than the cities, explore the countryside and get to visit some of the palaces, castles and villages that dot the dramatic landscapes of the UK. A self drive campervan tour gives you the freedom and flexibility of touring your places of choice as well as pulling over to explore a destination that appeals to you. The road network in UK is impressive (and hiring a campervan with Spaceships is easy) and makes it easy to drive from one location to the next taking you through stunning landscapes.

BEACH HOLIDAY IN CORNWALL
Most of Cornwall is surrounded by the turquoise; it is where the land meets water in such a spectacular way leaving behind the longest stretch of coastline in the UK. The coastline features attractive sheltered coves, picturesque Cornish fishing villages, rugged cliffs and beautiful bays. It also has fine stretches of clean sandy beaches with most of them being awarded the Blue Flag statuses which means they are great for families. Aside from the beaches, Cornwall offers beautiful cottages that offer comfort away from home and within the vicinity of the beaches. There are numerous activities to engage in while on beach holiday in Cornwall such as surfing, walking, swimming, fishing and exploring the beautiful gardens in Cornwall.

TAKE AN ENGLISH COURSE IN LONDON
London is United Kingdom’s dynamic capital that offers remarkable experiences with its world famous icons such as Big Ben, London Eye, the Buckingham Palace and numerous museums full of incredible treasures and artifacts. You can take on an English course in London in some of the best English Schools as you immerse into the English culture. It attracts an eclectic mix of people and cultures that make it a cosmopolitan city and a great destination to learn English.

ENJOY THE TOUR DE FRANCE IN YORKSHIRE
The Yorkshire Dales is one of the finest landscapes in UK that have made the area recognized as a National Park and an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The landscape is dotted with marvelous limestone formations contrasting sharply with the heather clad moorlands and valley floors covered in meadows, dry stone walls and littered with field barns. It is no wonder that this is the chosen destination for Tour De France 2014 and many top riders are already practicing in the region. You can enjoy cycling in the region going through impressive scenery or be a spectator as this great race takes over the region as you sample the locally brewed beer.

STAY IN A LOG CABIN IN COTSWOLDS
The Cotswolds is another incredible region in UK with beautiful landscape of rolling hills, quaint villages, and medieval towns and to say the least, an area or Outstanding Natural Beauty. A log cabin stay in the Cotswolds gives you an opportunity to enjoy scenic locations, immerse in local culture and engage in wonderful activities such as walking, cycling, fishing and relaxing in cozy authentic log cabins fitted with modern facilities.

5 places for the most luxurious of weddings

Kenya
Kenya has beautiful and romantic destinations that melt even the hardest of hearts; even British royalty could hardly resist to propose in this wondrous country. You can exchange your vows in a classic safari wedding with Masai warriors, surrounded by the savannah grasslands and spectacular wildlife roaming at a distance. The pristine white powdery beaches lapped by the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean and shaded by lush green coconut palms also make fantastic luxury wedding venues. The Kenyan coastline is also dotted with fabulous resorts where you can find luxurious boutique hotels and villas where you can also exchange your wedding vows.

Italy
Italy is a country with incredible landscapes of towering mountains, mirror lakes, impressive ancient cities, pretty villages, gorgeous coastline and the most beautiful rural landscapes. With stunning panoramas at every turn, it offers fairytale wedding locations. Whether you want to tie the knot in the luxurious rustic villas in Tuscany, in a pretty church along the incredible Amalfi coast or in the beautiful island of Sicily, the options are endless. Italy not only gives you endless options for luxurious wedding destinations but also rewards you with cultural experiences, red wine and enchanting artistic pieces.

Greece
Greece is a beautiful country with numerous island each unique and attractive in its own way and attracts millions of visitors annually. It boasts of fantastic sun kissed beaches, ancient cities, dramatic coastlines and luxurious resorts. It is the perfect destination for weddings especially in the island of love Cyprus where the goddess of love Aphrodite is said to have been born. Mykonos is also a glamorous destination for weddings as it is fashionable and offers glitzy resorts and stunning locations. People also choose an all inclusive resort in Crete where guests can top up on as much as food and drink as they like in stunning surroundings.

India
India is a vast country that intrigues its visitors with its contrasting chaotic cities, iconic monuments, majestic palaces, misty hill stations, unforgiving deserts and beautiful sandy beaches along its lengthy coastline. It is a dream wedding destination for many as it has a lot on its plate in terms of remarkable romantic scenic locations. You can wed like royalty in India in opulent mansions, royal palaces or along the beaches of Goa. Weddings in India are celebrated with vigor in song and dance and extravagance depending on the wealth of the bride and groom families. The ceremonies could also last for days going through all the rituals and tradition. You can wed in style in a cultural wedding in a royal palace hotel of your choice in India and enjoy the most memorable day of the rest of your life.

Maldives
Maldives is beautiful with breathtaking islands, colorful coral reefs, stunning beaches sheltered by lush tropical vegetation and dotted with beautiful thatch roofed over water villas that give it a different look and makes it a romantic atmosphere. It is a place where you can have the luxury wedding of your dreams in scenic locations; in an over the water villa, under the water in a house reef or at a secluded island.

Exploring Australia and New Zealand by campervan

Australia and New Zealand are definitely the best destinations to explore in a campervan, they are both sparsely populated which means enough parking space wherever you stop over, they have amazing and diverse sceneries and unlimited adventures to be discovered along the way.

Prepare to get the most memorable moments in your life as you take on the long open roads leading to breathtaking attractions in the company of friends or family armed with good music and curiosity to fulfill the dream tour of a life time.

The beauty of exploring in a campervan in beautiful countries such as Australia and New Zealand is the freedom of travelling at your own pace and stopping over in a stunning location to relax and taking in the beauty and then proceeding after you have had enough to the next location. It is the best way to explore a country if you only have a short period of time that cannot easily fit in a bus or train schedule.

Australia In A Campervan
It is the smallest continent, largest island and the world’s sixth largest nation and for those who do not really know what to call it refers to it as “The Land Down Under”. It is a vast country that is sparsely populated and is rich in natural landscapes, spectacular beaches, aboriginal history and unique flora and fauna exclusively found only in this side of the planet. The climate is superbly pleasant and its environment is full of things to see and do that it attracts a lot of visitors each year to explore the region and enjoy fun filled holidays.

Hiring a campervan in Australia is the best way to ensure you get to see most of the country and since this is a common form of tourism, the country is well geared with numerous facilities to cater for campervan holidays such as campsites, parking areas and availability of free camping as long as you follow the right protocol.

Some of the best places to explore in a campervan in Australia include the East Coast of Australia, Adelaide, the lovely coastal cities in the north and of course the animal parks along your route.

New Zealand In A Campervan
New Zealand has truly diverse and magnificent landscapes dotted with sparkling lakes, towering snow capped mountains, native forests, abundant bird life, primeval rock formations, small towns and vibrant cities and sundrenched beaches. You need not to forget the interesting people who call this place home, the kiwis with their down to earth hospitality.

This is not simply a destination to stay in one location as so much will pass you by; it is no wonder that most travelers opt to hire a campervan to explore New Zealand so as to get to see much of this spectacular country.

The Southern Island is the perfect destination for an epic road trip with numerous routes that could take you from coast to coast to the highest peaks in New Zealand past dramatic coastal views and beautiful towns.

4 Traveling Tips for Large Families

Traveling with a large family is expensive and stressful. However, there are things you can do to minimize your costs and make the experience more memorable and enjoyable. Take a look at these four tips to help you do that.

Plan Ahead But Be Flexible

Kids have a hard time on trips if they don’t know what to expect. That’s why it’s important to make a plan and stick to it when you’re traveling with a large family. However, too much structure can also be stressful, so make sure there’s plenty of time to rest and relax. For instance, if you’re traveling with small children that usually take naps, some downtime in the afternoon is beneficial to help them keep some of their everyday routine.

Dress Alike

If you’re going to an amusement park or some other place with large crowds, wear matching t-shirts to keep track of your family. It makes head counts a lot easier. Plus, it eliminates the hassle of deciding what to wear for the day. There’s also the added bonus that scrapbook pages come out looking awesome because nobody is wearing clashing colors. Of course, this idea is a lot easier to pull off when you have young kids since teenagers might put up a fight for their individuality.

Save Money With a Rental Car

It’s almost always cheaper to drive than fly when you have a large family. Of course, long hours on the road are a nightmare, too. You can make the experience a lot more enjoyable for your family by renting a large vehicle with all the bells and whistles. Your kids will love having a built-in entertainment system for the drive. Plus, you’ll love that you don’t have to worry about your vehicle breaking down.

If you do fly to your destination, you’ll still want to rent a car. It’s nearly impossible to find a taxi cab that can seat your entire family, which makes it cheaper to rent a car than having to pay two taxi fares everywhere you go. Yes, you’ll have to deal with parking, but the cost savings are worth the hassle.

Pack Some Food for the Trip

Feeding a large family while traveling is expensive because it costs two to three times more to eat out as it does to prepare food at home. You can save money by bringing food with you or shopping for groceries once you get to your destination. Of course, this is hard to do if you don’t have a refrigerator in your hotel, so try to plan. Vacation rentals are often a better option than hotels because they have kitchens to help you keep your food costs down. If you don’t have access to a refrigerator, still bring snacks to hold your family over between meals to keep the grumpiness to a minimum.

These are just a few tips to make traveling with a large family easier and more affordable. Do you have any other suggestions from your own experience? Leave a comment below.

Author Bio:

Abigail Clark is an up-and-coming freelance writer. She graduated from The University of South Florida with a bachelors in marketing, minoring in journalism. When she isn’t up to her neck in coupons she is enjoying the outdoors fishing. She loves doing reviews for technology, home products and beauty products. If you would like her to do a review for you look her up on twitter @downtownabby17.

Hawaii Travel on the cheap

White sands, lush palm trees swaying carelessly on the beach with the light breeze, and aquamarine waters that are ideal for swimming, diving, fishing, and surfing. For many people, Hawaii is the dream vacation. Friendly locals wear colorful shirts and greet travelers at the airport with an “Aloha!” and a festive lei to welcome you to a place like no other. The resorts are some of the most beautiful in the world, complete with professional level golf courses, swimming pools, full bars with specialty cocktails, buffets, and five star service. Hawaii has its own attitude and its own pace that it moves at, and nobody enters or leaves without a smile and a new outlook on life. The only downside to a place as pleasant as Hawaii is the cost. Of course there’s a cost. You didn’t think all of this was free, did you? On the contrary, it’s actually one of the most expensive travel destinations on the planet, where even a weekly budget of five thousand dollars is considered cutting corners. Here are ten ways you can save some costs while still taking the dream vacation to Hawaii.

1. Plan your trip during the right time of year. The spring and summer seasons are when prices on airfare and hotels will be lowest, and it is also when the weather is best.

2. Book your Hawaii airfare intelligently. Look around for the cheapest deals and make sure you book well in advance and not during peak seasons. AirfaresFlights lists cheap Hawaii flights from Australia on the one page.

3. Check out package deals. Hawaii is incredibly expensive, and food and drink costs alone will add up to a number you don’t want to look at. If you book a package deal or an all-inclusive, you can figure some of these costs into the price and save yourself a great deal of stress, planning, and spending.

4. Take the public transportation. Even though public transit will cost more in Hawaii than it would in any other state, it is still less expensive than having a car. It’s a much better way to meet the locals, too. Try The Bus.

5. Look into renting a condominium if you’re staying for a longer period of time or if you are traveling with more people. Condominiums are more luxurious than hotel rooms and come equipped with a kitchen, a washer and dryer, and extra sleeping space. You’ll pay more than you would at a hotel, but the stay will be better and you’ll get a better cost efficiency.

6. Speaking of the kitchen, prepare some meals at home. If the resort offers free breakfast, take advantage of it. Otherwise, cooking your breakfast at home will save tons of money. The same goes for lunch and dinner. You can either pocket the difference or put it towards your activities, a rental car, or better meals when you do go out.

7. Ask about any discounts you might be eligible for. This includes seniors, families, members of certain associations, or anything else.

8. Book everything well in advance. This will get you the best rate. Likewise, you can book very close to your date, especially if you’re traveling during the slow season when hotels are just trying to fill rooms.

9. There are plenty of free activities you can partake in. Ask the front desk what the area has to offer.

10. Bring everything you can from home. As previously mentioned, Hawaii is one of the most expensive travel destinations in the world. Simply going to the store to buy a towel will cost you spare change that could have been spent more efficiently elsewhere. Just as you would with any other vacation, plan wisely and well in advance and you’ll notice that you’re spending much less than your neighbor who didn’t think things through. If you can do all of this, Hawaii could end up being a reality instead of just a dream.

Everything you need to know about hiking in Europe

Looking to get away from the day-to-day grind of stationary traffic, delayed trains and saddle sore? Then why not take a walk – a really long one? Better yet, take a long weekend, head over to Europe, saunter through some of its most beautiful countryside and enjoy some time to yourself.

It’s easier than you think to get started. Simply choose your starting point, check out suggested routes and make sure you stock up on essential kit such as rucksacks and hard-wearing boots from a trusted high-street supplier or website. Then book your plane tickets and get ready for some serious food for the sole in these less-trodden locations.

Montenegro

Unfairly overlooked by many hikers, Durmitor national park near Zabljak is a hidden gem of interconnected walking routes. The trails will take you through some pleasingly rustic mountains and wildernesses, all relatively untouched by developers. You might want to pack a tent, since bed-and-breakfasts are few and far between.

Fly to Dubrovnik in Croatia, and from there it’s roughly a three-hour drive across the border.

Ireland

We all know about Kerry’s pubs and rolling greenery, but MacGillycuddy’s Reeks are something unexpected: Irish mountains. Exploring these peaks takes a little more experience and ability, thanks to their occasionally demanding mountainside trails. Getting up and down is straightforward, luckily.

The Hiking Life website recommends refreshing at the Climbers’ Inn in Glencar. The pub also offers accommodation for weary walkers.

Norway

Some of Northern Europe’s most spectacular mountain scenery can be enjoyed at Jotunheimen national park, home of Galdhøpiggen, Norway’s highest mountain. You don’t need to be a mountain climber to enjoy the park’s walks, although being fit would help, as there are plenty of ridges and low-level trails for hikers of all abilities.

Hotels and hostels are commonplace while camping is allowed almost anywhere. You can fly to Bergen or Oslo and then get a train to the park (it’s about a five or six hour drive otherwise).

Austria

In his article for The Guardian, Trail magazine editor Simon Ingram calls Austria’s lake district “pleasant walking through Julie Andrews terrain”. It’s easy to see why. Surrounded by steep, lush green mountains, the region’s lakeside trails are tranquil and breathtakingly picturesque. What’s more, there’s nothing too taxing here so you can amble through Sound of Music-esque villages without fear of blisters from the countryside beyond.

Head to Salzburg, and if you can tear yourself away from the city’s fairy-tale castles, a bus will take you to Hallstatt.

Czech Republic

The Prague-Vienna Greenways form a network of hiking trails some 250 miles long. Established for well over a century, its various routes will take you through landscapes dotted with ancient castles, historic towns and villages and idyllic valleys and rivers. Preserved by the Czech Republic’s Environmental Partnership for Sustainable Development, you’ll find numerous local traders, markets and festivals along the way.

You can get a flight to either Prague or Vienna to begin the walk, either as part of a group or by yourself.