|Planning and Having a Safe Road Trip contributed by Aaron Schulman|
Nothing beats spending your vacation with your family. The first things that
parents should do when traveling with their children is prepare a checklist of
things to bring to ensure a successful family trip. Whether you are using
up vacation timeshares, or
camping in a park wilderness, it's better to go the extra mile to prepare.
Worrying about what can go wrong on your family vacation is the last thing you
should be doing. Preparing and being ready is the best solution for that.
The following are some tips to help you prepare for your next, safe road trip:
Before leaving for your destination, check your car and make sure that it is
well-maintained. If possible, take the car to a mechanic to have an overall checkup.
If you travel during winter, take precautions and bring extra items such as food,
water, blanket and a flashlight in case of emergencies. During summer, have the air
conditioning inspected; no one wants to be in a road trip while feeling too much heat
from the sun during the drive.
Planning the driving route has never been easier in this day and age.
Before, people who went on road trips had to buy a printed map from a bookstore,
but now all you have to do is go to Google Maps (or an alternate map engine) and
print out your route. If you and your family are a group of adventurous travelers,
a GPS navigation system should be included in your car in case you want to take
alternate excursions and / or can't find the way to your destination.
Also, some organizations offer free or discounted travel planning as part of
their vacation club membership.
Research different options while planning your vacation to see what the costs and benefits are.
Whenever the driver needs a break, take a break. Accidents can happen
when a person is distracted or drowsy while driving. Let the driver get some rest
by pulling over for a few hours or swapping with another person who is a responsible
and legal driver. If the weather is bad, wait for the storm to abate instead of risking a serious accident.
Texting or making calls while driving should be avoided, since this can result in road mishaps. A driver should always be focused on the road and be alert at all times. If itís absolutely necessary, one of the passengers can take the call or compose the text message.
If you're renting a car, make sure it's a model you can travel
comfortably in. Research about the automobileís safety features and be aware of its limits.
If you have a pet that you want to tag along, find the best way to make
the travel simpler for them. Travel sickness is common for some pets. Ask the
veterinarian about what should be done in terms of accommodations and possible medications.
Call up your credit card company and inform them that you will be out of town.
This would ensure that your purchases won't be considered suspicious activity. A
lot of people have this happen to them and it causes unexpected delays and embarrassing situations.
In more extreme cases it could halt your trip due to a halt on your funds.
Bring a first-aid kit with you at all times. Youíll never know when you or your fellow
travelers can get bruises or cuts. This can be taken care of with the right supplies.
Drive in areas that are well-lit and always be alert about what goes on in your surroundings.
Stay away from people or places that seem suspicious and always stay in well-lit, well-populated
areas. Also, be sure to know which ends of the town to avoid. Locals will know far more about this
than foreigners, but be sure to ask trusted locals.
Following the necessary precautions when on a road trip will ensure a fun-filled
vacation for you and your family. It always pays to be a little extra careful;
otherwise you might be in for a disaster. Also, use this guide as a starter. Add to
it and do a little more research to suit your specific needs.
The contributor, Aaron Schulman enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 girls, traveling on family trips, web development, publishing, writing, cooking, jazz and guitar music. He also writes guitar reviews and is an avid guitar player. He recently shared a review on the Baby Taylor Guitar, a great small guitar for the family traveler and guitar enthusiast.
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Almost everyone we know has an e-mail account. Communicating via e-mail while traveling is drastically cheaper than international phone calls.
Flight schedules, lodging, travel agents, news, phone numbers, etc. are all available on the Internet. Many sites also allow bookings with a credit card number. The Internet is an excellent supplement to the Lonely Planet guide when traveling.
Many banks, credit card companies, and stock brokers have web pages where personal finances can be managed on line. Credit card transactions and balances, bank check writing, stock trades, and cash transfers between banks and brokerage accounts can all be completed on the Internet.
Internet Access through an Internet Service Provider
Subscribing to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) only makes sense if you are carrying a modem equipped PC. Many ISPs offer Global Roaming, a feature that allows you to connect to your ISP with a local call from most cities in the world. There are two major international networks of ISPs: GRIC http://www.gric.com and iPASS http://www.ipass.com. A good way to select an ISP is to visit the GRIC and iPASS web sites, choose one based on their international coverage, and then choose an ISP member of your preferred international ISP network provider. Most ISP accounts come with one or more personal e-mail accounts and some web host space.
Internet Access at an Internet Café
For a per-minute charge, the Internet can be accessed at an Internet Café. Rates tend to vary between US$0.02 - US$0.10 per minute depending on the country. Over the past few years, Internet Cafés have become more prevalent than bank cash machines. In most countries, Internet Cafés can be found in all cities and some remote towns. There are a handful of free web-mail providers. Two of the most popular are Yahoo http://www.yahoo.com and Hotmail http://www.hotmail.com. We find Yahoo web pages to display much faster than Hotmail pages, so given a choice, we'd choose Yahoo. With web-mail, you can send e-mail messages and keep your inbox online, accessible from any Internet connection.
There are several free Web Hosts and many more paid Web Hosts. A Web Host provides disk space to post web pages; it does not give you Internet access - that's what ISPs and Internet Cafés are for. When connected to the Internet, files can be transferred to a Web Host using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) utility. Free web hosts to consider are Bravenet (web: http://www.bravenet.com) and Hypermart (web: http://www.hypermart.net). All free Web Hosts place ads on web pages uploaded to their web server.
Paid Web Hosts have a wide range of fees and services. If looking for cheap web hosting without banner ads but limited service features, consider Bravenet's paid web hosting (web: http://www.bravenet.com).
A web host with more features than Bravenet yet nearly as cheap is PowWeb (web: http://www.powweb.com). I use PowWeb because with my www.atwtravel.net domainName, PowWeb lets me create up to 100 email addresses @atwtravel.net, and use these addresses on PowWeb's webmail and PowWeb's POP3 SMTP server. This means that without an ISP subscription, I can configure a mail client on my laptop, plug into an Internet Cafe, and use my @atwtravel.net mail just as I would, were I paying for an ISP connection.
If looking for a robust web host with enough features to run an online shopping business, consider http://www.jdshost.com.
Each Web Host restricts the amount of disk space that can be used per account. Often there is no restriction to the number of accounts a user can subscribe on a free Web Host. Generally, if multiple accounts are requested immediately after one another, they are created on the same physical disk. (Remember, a web hosting company may have thousands of computers and disks networked together.) In case the size of a single web site exceeds the disk space limit of one account, a second account can be used for overflow with reference links between web pages loaded on the two accounts. Having two or more accounts that have linked pages on the same disk is faster because bandwidth bottlenecks in the web host company's network are avoided. Some web hosts, however, try to restrict this practice.
Web Host Policy
Web Host companies exist under some governing company policy. Some only accept web sites that have personal interest content. Others promote commercial sites. Based on the Web Host policy, the kinds of services provided vary greatly.
Domain Name Registration
Many Web Hosts support the linking of a purchased Domain Name to a web account on their web server. Free web hosts FortuneCity, HyperMart, and Bravenet support this action. Almost every paid web host supports Domain Name linking. The only paid web host I know of that does not support Domain Name resigration is AOL. If you want to promote your web site widely, purchase a Domain Name and choose a Web Host that supports Domain Name registration.
Learning HTML and Creating a Web Page
- All essential HTML needed to create a basic web page can be learned in a weekend. We used a tutorial CD called "Web Page".
- NetObjects Fusion MX makes web page writing faster and easier. NetObjects Fusion MX is the most fully featured web site development tool on the market. It has everything needed to build, manage, and promote a web site.
- An image utility like Photoshop is invaluable to create and size .jpg and .gif files that fit nicely into the web page layout. Use Adobe ImageReady to create moving images (called Automated GIFs).
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