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Inflatable Paddleboarding and 7 Other Water Sports to Try While Traveling



Traveling is all about new experiences, adventure, and leaving stress from daily life behind. That’s why if you ever travel to a natural attraction and are feeling like trying something new you should consider one of the following water sports. they are the perfect way to take full advantage of rivers, beaches, or lakes near you.

For some, you don’t even need travel guides, just equipment rental.

I know that summer is almost gone but the countries near the equator offer warm climates combined with beaches and lakes all year long, so you get to enjoy watersports all year long.

Personally, I’m not a water lover but my sons and husband love it and are always looking for a way to get in some additional excitement in the water into our vacations. So we have done plenty of these watersports. Here are some of their favorite so far:

Paddleboarding and Other Fun Water Sports for Travelers

Below is general information about some of the top watersports to try while traveling.

Stand-up Paddling

This one is a weird combination between paddling on a boat and surfing. For this sport, you need to have enough balance and coordination to be able to stand over the board while paddling. Aside from being a fun activity, it is also a great way to transport yourself over the water and a fun way to race anyone traveling with you.

Recently and inflatable paddle board has become a more affordable and portable option to the rigid ones.


This can be done in two very different ways. One of them is leisurely paddling away through a relaxed river or lake near the shore. These usually allow you to explore the beauty of the surroundings.

You can also take these to fast rivers and have some adrenaline-filled fun day trying not to fall in the rapids.

Which one would you choose?

Jet Skiing

Thrill-seekers tend to love jetskiing because of the fast speed that can be reached. As long as the environment is safe, and there aren’t people nearby you even get to do some fun races.

The best part about them is that you don’t have to be an expert to drive them. It is extremely easy to drive them. Even if you haven’t done it before, ask for the renter to give you a quick tutorial and off you go. Plus they are rented by the hour in tons and tons of places around the world.

Banana Boat Ride

These inflatable bananas are an amazing option for the whole family. You all get to sit on it while a small boat pulls from it. This is an exciting bumpy ride that everyone can enjoy since there isn’t too much risk of falling over.

Plus you are always made to wear a life jacket at all time.

Depending on your age and skill level you can ask for the boat to go faster or slower. So it can be customized to fit all ages and tastes.


Rafting takes you cruising through river rapids. It is also an example of teamwork where you all need to be in communication and work on time to be able to direct the boat and avoid the dangerous parts of the river.

The difficulty of this sport is mandated by the water levels of the river and of how fast the rapids are. Some are slow enough for families that know how to swim and some others are meant only for professionals.

Surfing Lessons

Places like the Pacific coast of Central America offer great beaches for those who want to learn all about how to surf. The best part is that you can visit them year-round. Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica offer some of the best options as far as I know.

My family and I have tried some lessons in all three countries.

They also have beaches with strong tides and big waves that expert surfers can also get a fund couple of days out of before moving to the next beach.

Go Sailing in Seach of Local Wildlife

This is an activity that we have enjoyed on the Caribbean side of Central America and places like Florida. These trips are a great and relaxing way to explore off of the shores of wherever you are traveling.

In some areas of the world, you might be able to see colorful fish through the crystal clear water. In some other cases, you might be able to find yourself sailing next to dolphins and whales.

Most tours take you out for lunch, making it an even better experience. This, I must confess is my favorite so far, since I don’t have to be in direct contact with water.

Diving and/or Snorkeling in Coral Reefs

Ok, I’ll repeat it! I am not a water person but snorkeling is something that I ended up enjoying. These tours offer a combination of relaxed sailing with being able to swim with all kinds of colorful creatures.

You do need special training for diving that takes a few weeks at a certified academy, so it won’t be a quick thing, but I have heard of people who dedicate a whole vacation to learning how to do this properly to be able to go on deeper water to enjoy its beauties.

Now that you have learned about these eight exciting options, which one would you choose for your next vacation? As you will see, even people who aren’t fans of playing in water can have a great time while trying at least one of these ones. So which one is it going to be?

Out of all of these the only one that my family I haven’t tried is paddleboarding, but trust me, it is high on my family’s bucket list and we want to include it in our plans for upcoming adventures. It sounds like a lot of fun once you learn how not to fall off of it.

The post Inflatable Paddleboarding and 7 Other Water Sports to Try While Traveling appeared first on Travel Experta – Family Travel Blog.

By: Marina Villatoro
Title: Inflatable Paddleboarding and 7 Other Water Sports to Try While Traveling
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Published Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2020 17:25:34 +0000

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The Spirit Medium And The Model




Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy | All Rights Reserved

It’s been 4 years -almost to the day- when I was last in Hanoi on my Hau Dong: Spirit Mediums of Vietnam photo book tour, and memories of these wonderful two weeks are unexpectedly flooding in. 

Perhaps it’s because of the imminent US Presidential Election that reignited these memories since I was there in 2016 when the current White House occupant was elected. I recall having breakfast at the Golden Silk hotel while CNN was announcing the news much to stunned shock of all present. 

However setting aside politics, I think it’s just the passage of 4 years compounded by the current travel impossibility due to COVID19 that is the cause for the nostalgia.

And as an antidote to the nostalgia, I write this post about Linh Trần (whom I often call Lotus), one of the very best Hầu Đồng spirit mediums in Vietnam and who made her name by being featured in Morgan Freeman’s The Story of God Netflix series. She figures prominently in my photo book, and was interviewed at length as to her path within the Đạo Mẫu religious faith and practices.

Extremely photogenic and with considerable presence, Linh Trần’s incarnations as the various deities that populate the Đạo Mẫu religion during her ceremonies were always very popular, and she had/has faithful and loyal followers. I recall her willingness in being photographed by me in a studio near her home, and telling her -despite her scoffing- she ought to have a parallel career as an urban fashion model. 

We kept in contact throughout the intervening years, and it’s only recently that I saw photographs of her modeling her own clothes in various parts of Hanoi and Vietnam. I am certain she isn’t doing it professionally, but I’m glad she heeded my advice, even though it took her much of these 4 years to get there. 

Perhaps her next step would be to become an influencer on the youth-oriented social platforms such as Tik-Tok and certainly Instagram.


By: tewfic el-sawy
Title: The Spirit Medium And The Model
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Published Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2020 21:03:00 +0000

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Berlin Brandenburg Airport lounge names pay homage to former Berlin airports




Pleasingly, the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport has a little nod to the history of the city. The Berlin Airport lounge names for the common use facilities come from the old airports.

BER has been a saga from start to finish. The original opening date of 3 June 2012 was postponed just 26 days prior. Since then it has been a lot of rebuilding and redesign, not to mention a colossal amount of money, to get the airport up and running.

Berlin Airport Lounge Names

Thanks to the history of Berlin, at one time the city had three main airports. These were Berlin Tempelhof Airport, Berlin Tegel Airport and Berlin Schönefeld Airport. The original airport, opened all the way back in 1923 was Tempelhof, which had the code THF.

Once Tempelhof was closed, the two airports remaining were Tegel, used for legacy carriers mainly and Schönefeld, where the budget airlines generally flew from.

Terminal A at Tegel is hexagonal in shape and has was designed to get you from kerb to aircraft with as little walking as possible. A great concept, and one which is no longer feasible, hence the modern airport which is a walk-a-thon. TXL is closing on 8 November 2020, and the closed facilities are the new Berlin airport lounge names.

But What About Schönefeld?

Berlin Brandenburg Airport is actually on the site of the former Berlin Schönefeld Airport. A new runway was constructed to the south and a new terminal was built in between, complete with road and rail connections.

In fact, the old Schönefeld terminal will now become Terminal 5 at Berlin Brandenburg Airport. Low cost airlines such as Ryanair will be based there, pending a new Terminal 3 coming in the future. Therefore, the terminals right now are 1, 2, and 5.

Overall Thoughts

It is great to see the Berlin airport lounge names being Lounge Tempelhof and Lounge Tegel. Back when the airport was originally scheduled to open, the anchor tenant was to be airBerlin.

They built a lounge at the airport, which was never used as they went bankrupt in late 2017. The former airBerlin lounge is now the Lounge Tempelhof, for those wanting to know such details.

Are you looking forward to trying the new Berlin Airport when it opens in a few days time? Will you miss anything about Tegel or even Tempelhof? Do you also like the new Berlin airport lounge names? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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All my flight and lounge reviews are indexed here so check them out!

Featured image by Muns via Wikimedia Commons.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: Berlin Brandenburg Airport lounge names pay homage to former Berlin airports
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Published Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2020 19:05:06 +0000

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How to Travel Abroad to Work From Home




When I decided to travel to Mexico in the middle of the pandemic for more than a month, I didn’t have many supporters among my friends and family, with fair concern. The country is currently one of the hardest hit by the virus — and is now approaching nearly 900,000 cases.

Traveling now clearly isn’t an option for everyone, but my partner and I both felt we could get away and, with our employers having us work remotely, I probably had no better opportunity to work abroad than this one and only time.

We wanted to travel and visit as safely as possible, not only on the flight down from New York to Mexico City, but also during our stay in both the capital and the beachfront community of Tulum. We also needed to be able to work from home, which requires a strong internet connection, a working cellphone and a quiet place to concentrate.

Here’s what we learned while working from home, abroad.

Before booking our trip this summer, we considered other countries such as Barbados, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and even our parents’ homeland, the Dominican Republic. But Spanish is both of our first language and we’ve traveled to Mexico pretty frequently in the last few years. That familiarity was comforting. Additionally, we had friends who had gone earlier and told us that in Tulum, where we would spend the majority of our time, restaurants, stores and other public places were adhering to social distancing, mask requirements and other safety measures.

During normal times, you usually think to pack sun lotion, swimsuits and everything else for a trip to the beach. As we all know, these are not normal times.

Not only did we pack everything we needed for a few weeks away, we packed 100 disposable masks, gloves, two big bottles of sanitizer and about 10 mini bottles of sanitizers that we planned to take with us whenever we went out.

We also traveled with disinfectant wipes as we wanted to disinfect our phones and even our laptops.

The one thing we did forget that I recommend is a thermometer to check your temperature if you do get sick. We had the fortune of not getting any symptoms but we did regret not having one.

Mexico didn’t have any requirements about being tested before arriving but we took a coronavirus test three days before leaving, quarantined and received our results a day before traveling. We wanted to ensure we would not spread the virus on the plane ourselves.

Flying from New York, we thought we would have an empty flight, but we guessed wrong — you might plan to expect the same if flying to a tourist destination.

Regardless, we had planned to take several precautions. We wore gloves and masks in the airport and on both flights. Additionally, we each wore a hooded sweater, trying to cover as much of our bodies as possible, even if it meant we were going to be a bit hot throughout the flight. It just made us feel better.

Once we stepped onto the plane, we sprayed down our seats with disinfectant and also wiped down the arm rests as well as the trays. There we stayed throughout the roughly 3 ½- hour flight, not leaving our seats. I highly suggest using the restroom before you get on the plane so you won’t have to get up and walk through the cramped aisles and use the plane’s bathroom. We also did not eat on the plane.

Once we landed, we stuck to Ubers. (Like many New Yorkers, we don’t have driver’s licenses.) Neither of us felt comfortable taking public transportation, and the car-hailing service was affordable and convenient.

But to be frank, it was a risk, like the overall trip. In Mexico, we discovered that many of the cars don’t have plastic dividers separating driver from passengers. However, most drivers wore masks, and we always rode with masks and opened car handle doors with gloves.

But really, we only took cars when necessary. In Mexico City, where we stayed for four days, we got around mostly walking. In Tulum, we rented bikes to get about.

In terms of lodging, we were a bit leery — despite taking the risk of traveling — of staying in a hotel. We wanted a space where we knew we wouldn’t run into a lot of people, and if we did, at a lesser volume and less frequently. So we did some research. In Tulum, we found an Airbnb in a building called Sanctuary in a private community called Aldea Zama. It gave us a location where we didn’t have to go to town much as Aldea Zama had a few restaurants and a grocery store. And at $50 a night, this Sanctuary was affordable.

The building had only 18 apartments in total and three floors so we rarely, if ever, ran into people and it had amenities like a pool and a gym that were cleaned daily. Additionally, the apartment had two balconies and more than 2,000-square feet, giving us both enough room to set up working spaces.

Internet access is crucial for any remote worker. Always double-check with your hotel or Airbnb host before you travel to confirm how to connect and the Wi-Fi's strength and reliability. In Tulum, we discovered that the electricity would go out often so there were periods where you could go without Wi-Fi for an hour or two. But I had made sure I had a personal hot spot on my phone. Before you go, call your service provider to discuss connectivity in your destination. I found myself struggling to get access with one provider until I called my phone company in the United States and they mentioned another provider would be helpful. The representative also guided me as I went through my phone to find and select the cell carrier that gave me better reception (Tip: Roaming has to be on to find any additional carriers.)

I spent the majority of my days working inside the apartment, but took frequent bike rides into town or to a local market. In the evenings, we would either eat at home or go to a local restaurant or out for a beach sunset. (We met many Americans who moved to Tulum during the pandemic.)

When we ate out, every restaurant indoors or outdoors we encountered followed a system where they check your temperature, spray you with sanitizer and make you step in a small puddle of water as disinfectant (whether this indeed prevents the spread of the virus was unclear to us). We skipped the few restaurants that appeared too lax on social distancing.

The six feet of social distancing was enforced mostly everywhere we went, from small to larger-scale restaurants, as was mask-wearing.

But don’t expect all the typical tourist destinations, like historic sites and museums, to be open. While we got away on a few day trips, including visiting the cenotes, or underwater caves, we understood that our options — like most travelers in the Covid era — were limited.

I recommend always sticking together with your partner or friend during the trip: You want to work as a team to avoid exposure, even if you get sick of each other. (We definitely did at some points.)

For many, this trip probably looks risky and dangerous, but we felt prepared, protected ourselves as best as we could and avoided large crowds.

Before we went, we were told by friends that they felt safer walking around in Mexico than they did in Florida or New York, and we came back feeling the same way.

In fact, I felt really safe overseas in ways I didn’t feel at home before and after returning. It gave me some peace during a very difficult period.

Claudio E. Cabrera is the deputy off-platform director at The Times.

By: Claudio E. Cabrera
Title: How to Travel Abroad to Work From Home
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Published Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2020 09:00:19 +0000

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