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Ask The Wild Pair: Mother-Son Vacation

In Ask The Wild Pair on June 12, 2009 at 10:51 pm

q3I’d love to take my teenage son on a mother-son vacation. But, he’s pretty anti-mom these days.  It would take something truly high-octane-cool to convince him. Any ideas?

aIt’s not just you. In case you haven’t noticed, teens tend to prefer parents in small doses, or, if they could get away with it, not at all. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of adventures so awesome that even too-cool-for-mom teens can’t say no. To get you started, we’ve listed just a few recommendations below.

But first, if we may, a word of advice: Reign in any visions of dramatic relationship breakthroughs and heart-to-heart life goal discussions you’re currently entertaining. And go with the intention to simply enjoy the sheer joy of watching your son experience something new and the good fortune of having a few precious days together.

Now, off you go to choose a trip too good to pass up!

Teen Trips Fueled by Adrenaline

Canadian Rockies Family: Mighty Peaks to Mountain Goats – 6 days
With glacier hikes, river rafting, biking, rock climbing and horseback riding, an Austin-Lehman Adventures Banff & Lake Louise vacation is the ultimate family adventure. By day, hike wildflower meadows and national park trails _ even trek across a glacier. Bike serene forested paths around turquoise lakes, raft the playful rapids of the Kananaskis River and ride horses with Alberta cowboys. By night, enjoy a hearty meal and the comforts of a Summit Spa, a wood-burning fireplace, and a claw-foot tub.

Departures: July, August
Activities: Hiking,Biking,Kayaking
Price: $2,898

Costa Rica: Multisport Family Adventure – 9 Days

Explore Costa Rica’s undiscovered wildlands on this active, natural history adventure. With Wildland Adventures you’ll hike through 600-year-old highland cloud forests near Mt. Chirripo, habitat of the Resplendent Quetzal, between lush rain forests and pristine tropical beaches of the Osa Peninsula, and along with a two-day white water rafting trip down the Pacuare River.
Departures: All Year
Activities: Safaris, Wildlife and Photography
Price: From $2,890

Arizona – Grand Canyon Rafting Trip – 6 or 7 Days

In the grandest canyon of the Colorado, experience the excitement, serenity, joy and enchanting beauty of the river with Western River Expeditions as it transforms this divine chasm and those who venture down it. The Grand Canyon is ever-changing, with massive walls that step back to expose eons of natural history, at one place dark and narrow, and at another lush with waterfalls thundering hundreds of feet in luminous free fall.

Departures: May, June, July, August, September
Activities: Hiking,Rafting
Price: From $2,295 per Adult

Ask The Wild Pair: Australia Policy, Israeli Stamp on Passport

In Ask The Wild Pair on February 25, 2009 at 3:18 am

q

I have a friend who was living in Australia and he said that I would not be permitted to enter Australia with an Israeli stamp on my passport, is this true? I find that very hard to believe.

aYour gut instincts were right. We’re just off the phone with our contact at Australia Tourism who says emphatically, “Australia absolutely has no issue with any stamps on passports.”

For an up-to-date, country-by-country listing of passport requirements around the world, go to the “Foreign Entry Requirement” Web page of the U.S. State Department at http://travel.state.gov.

That said, you may wish to note the following caution from the experts at Frommers posted online at: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/israel/0227020032.html

“If you plan to visit Arab countries, ask for your visa stamp to be placed on a piece of paper separate from your passport when you enter Israel (if your passport is stamped by Israel, that stamp will close the doors to many Arab and Islamic countries for the duration of your passport). Israeli passport control personnel are accustomed to this request and in most cases will cooperate, but an occasional ill-tempered clerk may decide to make extra problems for you by stamping your passport. With political conditions the way they are, even in relatively friendly places such as Morocco, Egypt, or even Bali (a Hindu island in Muslim Indonesia), Israeli stamps in your passport could cause problems should you find yourself in a local police station, or when you show your passport in banks, hotels, or post offices.”

Bon Voyage!

The Wild Pair

Ask The Wild Pair: Off-Season Travel

In Ask The Wild Pair on January 24, 2009 at 7:41 pm

qDo you have any ideas for great off-season destinations?  My friend and I like to travel when prices are lower and there are fewer tourists.


a2There are pros and cons to off-season travel. On the one hand, you can save you money and afford you the opportunity to enjoy a more relaxing vacation without the crowds. Alaska, for instance, might not be an obvious wintertime choice. But it’s an awesome time to visit, boasting once-in-a-lifetime dog sled adventures, top-tier skiing, natural hot springs and the best time to view the Northern Lights. Conversely, high-season usually equates to a destination’s prime weather and natural beauty. Try leaf-peeping in New England off-season, for example, or good luck enjoying that Caribbean hot-spot during a hurricane. That said, good times, and considerable savings, can be had nearly anywhere off season.

“Everyone goes to Jamaica in the spring, but December is also a lovely time to explore this island,” advises adventure travel guru Peter Grubb of ROW Adventures.  “In the first few weeks of December before Christmas, prices are considered ‘off season’ and the weather is lovely.  In addition to the traditional beach resorts, some outfitters are now offering more adventurous trips that take you to the real Jamaica.”  One to check out is ROW’s Jamaica MultiSport that includes hiking the Blue Mountains, mountain biking, bird watching, rafting and of course, some lazy time at the beach.

“Also, says Grubb, “river rafting in the western USA is at its peak from June through August.  But going in September you’ll find few others on the rivers while weather is typically still fantastic.  Trip sizes tend to be much smaller as well, so instead of 16-24 other passengers, you’re more likely to be on a trip with just 4-10.  The water is cooler so swimming is less inviting, but daytime temperatures are typically still in the high 70’s and 80’s, and nights are comfortable.”

Bon Voyage!

Ask The Wild Pair: Getting In Hiking Shape

In Ask The Wild Pair on March 24, 2008 at 8:15 pm

q3 I want to go on a walking trip but I’m sadly out of shape. I used to play tennis and hike, but I dealt with a serious illness for three years and was unable to work out. How do I motivate myself to get back into shape? The walking trip is for all levels, but I feel as though I am below the lowest level.

a3Actually, even if you haven’t yet bought hiking boots or a gym membership, you are way ahead of the game. Why? Because you have a goal. You want to go on a walking trip. There’s something on the horizon and all you have to do is walk towards it. In our opinion, a varied approach to getting back into shape will work best. Walk with a friend. Pick up the tennis racquet again. Join a gym and take classes that appeal to you. Start lifting light weights. Within a week or three, if you are lucky, exercise will become a habit. Keep doing whatever you enjoy, stop doing what you don’t enjoy, and add more walking to your routine. Walk to the movies or to a market or even to work. Leave your car home whenever possible. Walk farther. Ask friends to walk with you. Try walking on hilly terrain. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to sign up for the walking trip–and not just at a beginner’s level.

Ask The Wild Pair: Passports

In Ask The Wild Pair on March 23, 2008 at 5:51 pm

qMy boyfriend and I have just signed up for an awesome adventure travel trip to Costa Rica. I’m really excited about the vacation but just noticed that my passport is expired. The trip is still two months away, but friends warn me that there is a huge backlog for passports and suggest I use an expediting service to be sure. What do you think?

aFunny you should ask. My husband and I have both had to renew our passports recently. I used the expediting service CIBT, Inc. because I needed to travel ASAP. For his, lacking any immediate plans to travel; we sent it through the mail to the Department of State. Mine cost $248.00 with rush and service fees and was back in less than a week, his, $127.00 in government fees, and back in just over two weeks. Friends who have recently applied through the government report similar turnaround times and hassle free experiences. We might have used the expediting service for my husband’s renewal, simply for the peace of mind that their tracking processes provide, but CIBT required proof of international travel plans within fourteen days of application to use their services.

Costa Rica is a great adventure travel destination choice. There are white-water rivers and waterfalls, tropical rain forests, active volcanoes, mountain cloud forests and coral reefs, in addition to rare and exotic wildlife. I wish we were headed there with you!

For entry, U.S. citizens must present valid passports that will not expire for at least thirty days after arrival, and a roundtrip/outbound ticket. And just in case your trip includes time in South America before arriving in Central America, take note: Persons traveling to Costa Rica from some countries in South America and Sub-Saharan Africa must provide evidence of a valid yellow fever vaccination prior to entry. The South American countries include Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, according to the Department of State Costa Rica consular information sheet.

Upon return, we hope you will share your photos and experiences with us here!

Happy trails,

Ellen