What’s On Your Bucket List?

If you’ve got a bucket list, chances are you can check off a lot of those things on the gorgeous island of Kauai.

Here are some common bucket list items you can do in Kauai:

Skydiving

Skydiving on Kauai is epic to say the least! The views of the gorgeous green mountain in the middle of the ocean are breathtaking. If skydiving Kauai doesn’t make you feel alive, I don’t know what will!

Skydiving Kauai picture

Skydiving Kauai is a must for your bucket list!

Surfing In Hawaii

Now surfing may not be all that amazing of an activity (unless you’re really into surfing) but there’s absolutely something unique and amazing about surfing in Kauai. Kauai is not as well known for surfing as the North Shore of Oahu but swells can get to 20 ft or more on big days and much more often 6-12 ft depending on the season.

If you want to surf with the big waves, this is one of the places to do it!

Scuba Diving

Kauai is one of the best places to scuba dive. Well, not Kauai exactly – Nihau. It’s the small island just a few miles off the coast of Kauai. It provides epic deep underwater cliffs right next to the coral reefs.

Nihau Scuva Diving picture

Scuva Diving in Nihau is a great addition to your bucket list!

If you’ve never scuba dived before, Kauai is a great place to get your certification. The dive operators here are very experienced and have great safety records.

Swim With Dolphins and Turtles

Who doesn’t want to swim with dolphins and turtles?

Swim With Dolphins

Honestly, there’s nothing like swimming with dolphins. They’re so fun and playful and you can swim with them in the wild here if you know where to go (and what you’re doing!).

Just make sure to be safe and NEVER go out alone!

Locals will often go to Kalihiwai Bay early in the morning on a calm day and swim out to where the dolphins are feeding. If you’re lucky, you too can swim with the dolphins there. Again, just make sure to be safe, never go alone, and bring flippers and a snorkel if not a flotation device as well.

See The Rainiest Spot On Earth (Mount Wai’Ale’Ale)

Mount WaiAleAle averages more than 452 inches of rain a year! That makes it the rainiest place on Earth – and an extraordinary sight to see. In the old days, you could take a helicopter and fly to the top of the mountain, land there and walk around. Today, the only way to get there is to hike for several days and it’s very dangerous and not recommended.

Mount WaiAleAle picture

You can still take a helicopter ride up and see Mount WaiAleAle though – you just can’t land there. It’s definitely an extraordinary sight to behold on a clear day (which, of course, are few and far between). You can see Mount WaiAleAle from many parts of the island and you’ll often see it hidden behind rain clouds – working on a new world record for rain fall!

Thanks to www.extremebucketlist.net for their inspiration for this article.

10 Reasons Why You Will Love The Helicopter Tours In Kauai

So you want to see the beautiful island of Kauai by helicopter, huh?

Well that’s a good choice! It’s one of the BEST ways to see the island.

Here are my top 10 reasons why you will absolutely love taking a helicopter tour in Kauai!

1. See What No One Else Can See

First of all, because you can see A LOT of parts of the island by helicopter that are completely inaccessible by land.

Jurassic Park Falls picture

Manawaiopuna Falls is famous for being in the movie Jurassic Park. It can only be seen by helicopter!

2. Very Little Travel Time

Second, it takes a lot less time to get there by helicopter! You can go from seeing Waialeale (the highest point on the island, the top of the mountain!) to seeing the amazing Kalalau and exclusive Honopu beaches in just a few minutes.

3. Bird’s Eye View

The view from a helicopter is stunning, to say the least. Honestly, words cannot describe how gorgeous the island is from above. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience when you get to see the majestic beauty of the island from a helicopter. Even if you go on several trips, you will NEVER forget your first time seeing Kauai from above.

Na Pali Coast Bird's Eye View picture

The bird's eye view of the Na Pali coast from Helicopter can't be matched!

4. Ocean Life

You can often see whales, monk seals and dolphins from your helicopter as well – just keep an eye out for them!

Kauai Whale Watching picture

Seeing the whales in Kauai is an amazing experience.

5. See Where You Want To Explore More

When you take a helicopter adventure, you can see where you want to go explore more. Maybe Wailua falls appeals to you from above – so you want to go check it out more. Or maybe you love the view of the Na Pali coast and gorgeous mountains there so you decide to hike into Kalalau valley to explore more.

Taking a helicopter trip as soon as you get to the island is a great way to discover what’s here and can lead you on even more adventures!

6. Avoid The Tourists

On some of the custom helicopter tours, you can land at secluded parts of the island and walk around where no one else is. It’s a great way to get away from it all and explore some of the hidden beauty in Kauai.

7. Fly In An Open Door Helicopter

On Kauai, there are several helicopter companies that will take you on an open-door helicopter ride. It’s definitely an experience to remember! It allows you to get almost a 360 degree view from your perch that’s unobstructed – meaning you’ll have more time to check out the stunning waterfalls and sheer cliffs below you.

Open Door Helicopter Kauai picture

There's nothing quite like flying in an Open Door Helicopter in Kauai!

8. Wildlife!

From a helicopter, you can often see mountain goats, wild deer and wild boar which are very hard to find any other way unless you’re hiking alone in Koke’e State Park.

Mountain Goats Kauai

The mountain goats in Kauai travel on sheer cliffs with ease.

9. See All Of Waimea Canyon

You can literally see ALL of Waimea Canyon (or just about all of it) from above. This is the “Grand Canyon of Hawaii” and provides breathtaking views. Honestly, even if you hike the canyon trails, because it’s so big and there are several sections of it, you’ll never get as good a view from hiking as you will from the helicopter ride.

Waimea Canyon picture

Waimea Canyon is just gorgeous from above!

10. Fun!

Honestly, taking a helicopter ride in Kauai is one of the funnest things you could possibly do on the island. So enjoy it!

Thanks to all of the wonderful folks on Kauai who provide helicopter tours for all of us to enjoy. We love you!

Travel Tips For When You’re Traveling Abroad

A trip to a foreign country is always an exciting time. You get to explore new sights, experience different cultures and meet lots of people along the way. This is also a great way to bond with friends and family.

However, before you leave for abroad, there are a few essentials that you need to check first to ensure that you will have a safe trip and pleasant stay overseas.

Travel picture

Before leaving for your international trip, there are very important things that you need to check.

From precautionary measures to learning about the country as much as you can, to what clothes to pack; these are all essential things that you need to look into to ascertain that everything will run smoothly once you arrive in your country of destination.

Precautionary Measures

Check your government website to see if there are any travel alerts posted about the country that you are planning to go to.

Governments are updated about specific political situations in other countries and sometimes, certain countries are listed as “high risk” because of civil disturbances brought on by political turmoil.

Check also for health advisories to ensure that you will not be walking into anything that might prove to be highly dangerous to your health.

This being said, you should definitely check if your insurance policy covers travels abroad.

Travel Insurance

It is not recommended that you travel abroad without any form of insurance.

Insurance policies for trips abroad usually not only cover medical emergencies but they also cover lost luggage, dental emergencies and even car rental excesses.

So before you leave for your trip, check to see if your insurance policy covers medical and emergency expenses abroad. If not, there are travel insurance policies that you can get just to cover your stay in a foreign country.

What to Bring

Check the weather condition in your country of destination during the time of your visit. This will help you pack the right clothes and bring other essentials such as sunscreen and other sun protection items if the weather will be too hot during your stay there.

Of course, do not forget your important documents such as your updated medical history, prescriptions, if any; and your passport.

Bring your own first aid kit as well.

Now, for the matter of what to leave behind, the most important thing that you need to leave behind – actually, to give to your family and friends, is your travel itinerary.

Make a detailed documentation of everything that you will be doing during your trip plus your flight details.

This way, should anything amiss happen; your loved ones whom you left back home will have a record of your planned itinerary and have an idea of where you are; i.e. where you’re billeted and places you planned to visit.

Thanks to expatintelligence.com for their Travel Tips.

Top 5 Things To Do In Bratislava

Bratislava is a beautiful city and one that we think doesn’t get enough holiday attention. Situated in Europe between Austria and Hungary, it’s the only national capital that is bordered by two countries. Plus with its rich and diverse culture, there’s much to enjoy in this European city and as an added bonus Bratislava is one of the cheapest places in Europe to visit! So there’s no excuse!

Bratislava picture

However because of this, many people visit purely to enjoy the cheap drink, which (as you can imagine) makes it a key destination for stag parties. Problem is because the alcohol (and pretty much everything else) is so cheap many stag parties fail to notice that there’s much more to this city than just drinking! So for those of you who are planning to go on a Bratislava stag, read on for some exciting ideas about what to do…

Quad Biking

Definitely a great activity for all the petrol heads out there! This is a great alternative way to explore and sight-see in Slovakia. In fact it’ll also give you a chance to literally go off the beaten track and get to grips with the local and natural terrain. So if you like adrenaline then this one is definitely for you!

Clay Pigeon Shooting

This is a great and popular European activity. If you’re not sure what it is then let us give you a quick explanation. Basically it involves a shotgun and you aiming at clay targets that are propelled into the air (where you’re supposed to shoot them mid-air.) Sounds exciting don’t it? Well it is and once you’ve shot a few targets we promise you’ll be hook and feeling like a real sharp shooter.

White water rafting

Not exactly what you’d expect from Bratislava is it? However it’s true, because in the city there’ve built a manmade white water rafting course that has more rapids and drops than you can handle! So make sure you take some swimming trunks and clothes you don’t mind getting wet because you are going to get wet!

Bobsledding

Oh of course we’re going to save the best activity for last because in our opinion this is the best and the most exciting stag party activity ever. So if you want something that’s really going to gets the blood pumping then how about grabbing a sledge and whizzing down a 360 meter slope at 50km/h? Just remember though the season lasts till April to September so make sure you go during those times.

Anyway that’s it for our best of Bratislava…

See? There’s much more to do during your stag than just drink and go clubbing. We also recommend taking in some of the local historic sights and hot spots as well while you’re there. After all you’ve paid to go to another country so why not learn a bit more about it and see some of its national sights?

Kilohana Estate

After passing by Lihue and before reaching the Kauai Community College, you will find the popular Kilohana Estate. The restored plantation takes back visitors to circa 1930s. Within it is a Tudor mansion, which is noted for being home to one of the most prominent families in the island. It is not surprising that the estate is a picturesque and ideal venue not just for tours but also for theatrical luau and public gatherings.

Surrounding the Kilohana Estate is a manicured green lawn. The 35-acre estate currently features an old plantation village and several tropical gardens. Running through the property is the classic Kauai Plantation Railway, which facilitates an ideal tour of the working farm in the area. For shoppers, unique shops can be found, including Koloa Rum Company and 22 North.

The estate used to feature a 27,000-acre sugar plantation. It also used to be the main hub for Kauai business and for cultural and society events. Aside from being a popular touring venue these days, Kilohana Estate is also a popular wedding and reception venue. Its banquet facilities are among the finest in the island.

Kilohana Estate Tours

Premier tour is offered. Visitors are given the option to hike in the rainforest, ride the train, or set a gourmet picnic lunch to discover and behold the sceneries of Kilohana Estate. A typical tour starts in a Hawaiian train depot. Visitors are given several minutes to explore and enjoy the unique train depot shop, where numerous hand crafted souvenirs are displayed and sold.

Once you ride the train, you will surely be amazed at how the engine appears-old and rustic but still very functional. Once the ride begins, feel the wind created by the train making its way past the blooming garden, which is adorned beautifully with tropical flowers.

Kilohana Mansion

The Kilohana mansion is a tourist attraction on its own. Many tourists attest that entering it is like entering another world. This mansion displays the basic and most awesome features of Hawaii’s unique plantation-era architecture. What’s more? It is open for everyone’s enjoyment. The structure is where old-style luxury in the island is displayed.

Be surprised how it takes you back in time to a gracious epoch, an age when there was more time to relax, enjoy, and appreciate the goodness of nature and life. It was constructed in 1936 by Gaylord Parke Wilcox, a sugar baron. No one can ignore the original decors and furnishings in the house. The main salon has a cocktail and a dining area. There, you will find Gaylord’s, an award winning and notable restaurant that offers and serves the freshest and most sumptuous island cuisines.

Kilohana Estate Kauai

The beautiful Kilohana Estate in Kauai!

Luau Kalamaku

Kilohana Estate also serves as the site for Luau Kalamaku, a festivity that is regularly held in the area. The event showcases hula, poi, and many more. It is known as being the only theatrical luau in Kauai. Enjoy the festive atmosphere, partake in the sumptuous food, and be treated to a wonderful and full-scale theatrical experience that is like nothing else.

The evening typically starts with the dramatic torch lighting, followed by the imu ceremony. After that, enjoy the live Tahitian music, hula dancing, and native games. Fire poi ball twirlers, hula dancers, traditional Polynesian fire knives, and vivid storytelling sessions will all combine to give you and the other tourists an unforgettable and festive evening like no other.

How To Save A Few Thousand Dollars On Your Next Overseas Trip

When you’re traveling overseas on vacation, sometimes you can save A LOT of money by renting an apartment or vacation house instead of staying in a hotel. Sure, you won’t get your pillow fluffed every day by a maid, but you can spend that extra cash you save on some fun adventures like a helicopter tour or fishing trip!

Where To Find Great Vacation Rental Deals

There are a ton of websites out there now that you can use to check prices for rental homes, apartments, and hotels. If you’re traveling in peak season though, make sure you book your vacation home or apartment several months in advance – because the good ones tend to rent out fast. I usually try to plan 6 months in advance for a big overseas trip – that way I get the best deals on the best places to stay.

A lot of people now use sites like TripAdvisor or Craigslist to find a place to stay when traveling. And both of these sites can be great, but I find that checking multiple sites works a lot better than just relying on one – because none of the sites have all the options available, and Classifieds sites like Craigslist change just about every day with new postings and old postings being rented out already.

Just a few hours shopping around online for a great deal on a place to stay can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars and make your trip a whole lot more fun and rewarding because you know you got a place in the exact location and price range you wanted!

If you’re traveling to Europe, you can often find some great deals on vacation apartments - of course the same applies just about anywhere you travel.

Other Tips For Saving Money When You Travel

1. Always Book In Advance

I said it before and I’ll say it again – booking in advance is the quickest and easiest way to save a few hundred dollars on your next vacation. It pays to plan ahead!

2. Pack Well

A lot of times people forget the necessities when they travel and so they have to buy them abroad – costing them hundreds of dollars or more! If you know you’re going to be in a cold environment when you travel, make sure you pack warm clothes and a jacket! Don’t wait until you get there and then spend hundreds of dollars on a jacket you don’t need.

3. Plan Your Meals

When traveling, often the biggest expenses tend to be the little things – meals in a cafe, eating out at restaurants, etc. Even just buying a meal in an airport can run $20 a person sometimes! So just packing your own meal for the plane rides or taking a few minutes to go to the grocery store when you arrive at your destination and pick up some fixings for lunch or breakfast can save you hundreds of dollars on your next trip.

4. Eat Where The Locals Eat

Another big money trap when you travel are all the tourist restaurants. A lot of times, especially in a big city with a lot of tourism, you’ll find many of the restaurants on the main strip overcharge tourists – because they can! So find out where the locals love to eat and you’ll find the best food at the best prices!

Waioli Mission House and Waioli Huiia Church

Anyone who wants to check out Hawaii’s most historic houses should not miss to drop by Waioli Mission House and Waioli Huiia Church. Located in Kauai’s north shore, the two structures are standing near each other. Looking from the outside, both old and restored buildings look great at the backdrop of the beautiful and lush surroundings.

Waioli Mission House and Waoili Huiia Church are both distinguished as among the famous landmarks of Hanalei Town. Both are also included on the National Register of Historic Places. The mission house and the church are both strategically built within the town’s heart. They are set within a huge manicured lawn, adorned by the beautiful mountain background.

Waioli Mission House

The arrival of the first missionaries William and Mary Alexander to Hanalei in 1834 marked the establishment of the Waioli Mission. It was in 1837 when the missionaries’ home was completed. That house became what is known as the Mission House. The Alexanders were succeeded in 1846 by another couple, Abner and Lucy Wilcox. Descendants of both families currently remain as among the prominent figures in Hawaii’s society, particularly in the business realm.

The design of the Mission House obviously reflects the distinct southern roots of Rev. William Alexander of Kentucky, its architect. The house, and the church, was seriously destructed by the devastation of several strong hurricanes that hit the area. It was in 1921 when restoration of the Mission House (and the church building) was completed.

Inside the house is an old wall clock, which is believed to have been installed in 1866. Notably, it still keeps time accurately. Other significant features of the structure are the fine koa furniture and the lava rock chimney. It should also be noted that Lucy Wilcox delivered all her eight sons in the house’s master bedroom.

Waioli Huiia Church

In front of the Waioli Mission House is the Waioli Huaiia Church. The old structure was built in 1834. The stained glass windows and the green shingles are the prominent features of the building, which are both considered as picturesque symbols of the old Hanalei.

It is notable how the green wooden church keeps its airy Pacific atmosphere. The structure has huge and outward-opening windows complemented by high ceilings. Its doors are kept open during daytime, an indication that visitors are always welcome. On top of an old organ is a Bible dated 1868 and printed in native Hawaiian language.

Adjacent to the church is the Mission Hall. This structure originally served as a venue for worship until the construction of the Waioli Church. The hall was constructed using plaster and coral. It comes with a steeply pitched roof, obviously designed to withstand heavy rains.

Another attraction of the Waioli Church is its choir. The Waioli Church Choir is tagged as the best in the island. It sings hymns in native Hawaiian language during the 10 a.m. Sunday service.

The Waioli Church was originally a Congregational Church. However, since 1957, it has been associated and identified with the United Church of Christ. Everyone is welcome to structure, even non-members of this church.

Grove Farm Homestead Museum In Kauai

One of the attractions of Lihue is the Grove Farm Homestead Museum. This museum facilitates a fascinating trip back to the past of the Kauai. It should be noted that the productive sugar plantation industry of Hawaii during the late 1800s originated in the island.

To get to the museum, take Highway 50 going to Lihue to the east from Puhi. Turn right when you reach Nawiliwili Road past Mile Marker #1 (right before you enter the town proper). The museum is down the road to your left.

Grove Farm Homestead

A visitor can possibly experience the typical daily life of sugar planters circa 1860s. Grove Farm is a 100-acre plantation where surviving sets of agricultural, domestic, and sugar milling facilities are still preserved. Old furnishings and collections are even displayed. And who can resist the allure of the surrounding pasturelands and orchards that are uniquely Hawaii?

The homestead was center of operations for the then booming sugar plantation. It also played a vital role in facilitation of family relationships, plantation activities, gardening, farming, and household work. The plantation now has the oldest existing sets of plantation buildings. A visit to the Grove Farm Homestead Museum is a significant part of any tourist’s visit to the farm.

George Wilcox

In 1864, businessman George N. Wilcox leased the then struggling farm. There he constructed a home not just for himself but also for his nieces. When the raging war between the North and the South continued, the agriculture industry particularly in the southern mainland of the US was seriously destroyed. Thus, the sugarcane farming industry in Hawaii prospered and grew tremendously.

Mr. Wilcox converted the arid land to a successful sugar plantation from being a struggling island farm. In the years that followed, prosperity ensued, as indicated by the developments. In 1978, Mr. Wilcox’s home was transformed into a museum. It has always highlighted the family life and more especially the rise to fortune of the Mr. Wilcox, who died a single man at the age of 94 in 1933.

The main house has been kept in its pristine condition due to the loving and meticulous caring through the years. To date, the land still is a functional and working farm. There are still animals in it. Just being in the site can transport anyone back to the old Kauai farming times. The complex also includes a teahouse, a washhouse, and a guest cottage.

Modern tours

Tours can be booked and scheduled if you want to explore and enjoy not just the Grove Farm Homestead Museum but the entire plantation. You can possibly move comfortably from one building to another. You should also check out the gardens and grounds. Some local Kauai residents serve as guides.

Touring of the museum is on every Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Grove Farm Homestead Museum is open from 10 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon only. Take note that tour groups are strategically kept small. That is why prior reservations should be facilitated.

Kauai Museum

A gathering venue to learn more about the past of Kauai and nearby Niihau (small island in the east, part of county of Kauai)—that is what Kauai Museum is. The place is obviously and logically doing its best to commemorate culture and history of the island. There are so many things one can discover about the island’s indigenous ancestors and immigrants. Those are showcased in the museum.

Kauai Museum is situated in a structure comprised of lava rock within Lihue. It features amazing and breathtaking collections from Kauai and Niihau artisans. Visitors learn more about the interesting geological formation of Kauai and other Hawaiian islands. Also to be featured are exhibits about Captain Cook’s arrival in Waimea, the early Hawaiian life, and the emergence of the Hawaiian monarchy.

There are even galleries that showcase the masterpieces of multi-cultural artists, craftsmen, and sculptors who gained fame and popularity in the island. Now on its 51st year in operations, Kauai Museum is still up to offer more to visitors who come to learn and discover more about the past, present, and possible future of this paradise island.

Location and structure

Kauai Museum can be found right at the heart of Lihue. It is near Lihue Airport. Every day, there are various activities that are aimed to keep visitors engaged. Prices of admissions also vary to provide options regarding which types of galleries to behold and which particular areas to be toured. Two hours is the recommended time to ideally tour and enjoy the museum. There is even a gift shop in the compound for those who intend to buy souvenirs and memorabilia.

The museum is housed in a Greco-Roman style building, which served as a town library once. The little but great museum certainly is a must in tourists’ itineraries because it contains important historical artifacts. Visitors can learn more information that will trace back the history of the island—from ancient times to discovery of the island in 1778 to the monarchy and plantation periods.

What to expect

Kauai Museum displays an extensive and outstanding collection of art works, masterpieces, and items that will give out clues and about Kauai’s distant past. The processions include not just artworks but also textiles, photographs, cultural materials, and many more. The site also houses old idols and poi pounders, paniolo and sugar plantation relics, seashell collections, feather leis, old Hawaiian quilts, and other replicas.

There is even a model of the ship used by Captain Cook when he discovered the islands. The ship replica, the HMS Resolution, is on display to catch interest about the island’s history. Vintage pictures taken by Japanese immigrant W.J. Senda are also on display while contemporary videos shot from helicopters, are shown to showcase the natural beauty of Kauai as seen from the sky.

No wonder, current exhibits tell stories of the famed island’s history and hospitality. Showcased are more than enough reasons why Kauai is considered as a unique and enriching tourism destination. Many seasonal exhibits are also put on display to further heighten one’s curiosity.

 

Opodo Vs Lastminute – Which one to choose for the next travel?

Opodo or Lastminute – which one makes a better choice for customers?

Opodo logo

These are both well-known travel agencies, and people all over the world have heard of them more than once. Some do prefer Opodo, while others tend to travel more with Lastminute. So, why choose this and not that? Here are some facts that will help you make the right choice to travel cheaper and enjoy a better quality:

Opodo targets more customers!

Many travelers think that Opodo is offering targeting customers only in Europe; this might not be entirely true. Actually, Opodo is noted to operate in Europe and other countries of interest. It has often served in Europe, North-Africa, America and Asia too, making it a very reliable traveling company. Here you find some of the best travel deals for Opodo in France. These include journeys, cruises, flights, etc…

Opodo has cheaper services!

When it comes to travel deals, opodo has the best price among its peers. Even if it doesn’t offer premium-quality services, this travel agency holds the best quality/price ratio.  However, Lastminute possesses very good services in high class. This means that anyone who is not from the high class certainly might have enough money to be part of it. On this fact, the opinions vary; some people prefer quality even if they pay more, while others care about prices more than anything else.

Unreliable customer services for both!

The big con of both companies is their customer service. Actually, there are two customer services departments: the post-sales department and the after-sales department. The 1st one has an excellent service with good communicational skills, just to encourage people to make a purchase; while, the second department is usually not joinable. In fact, customers may spend hours in the phone just to redeem a refund or to report a bad service, and nobody will answer them. After all, it’s the same with al travel services. Before customers buy, agencies run after them; and once they have paid, no agent will answer them.

Opodo and Lastminute are both good travel agencies. Both of them have pros and cones; but for limited budgets, Opodo becomes a better choice, especially for European and French customers. In fact, more than 20% of French travelers prefer to choose Opodo rather than Lastminute, and they have a reason for that!