Going on a summer vacation can be really exciting and fun. One gets to let go of the daily stresses and enjoy themselves for a few warm days in the sunshine. Part of what can make or break the perfect summer vacation is how well one can pack and what they pack for the trip. There are always the essentials that everyone should pack on. But there are also some slightly unconventional items that some people might not think would be important for a summer vacation but they could actually prove quite beneficial.
Carry-on Air Conditioner
As much fun as being in the warm sunny temperatures while on vacation can be, things can get a little too much sometimes. Certain holiday destinations have extremely high heat conditions which can be unbearable for some people. One way to overcome this issue is to simply invest in and pack a portable air conditioner in your luggage. It might not seem like a normal thing to pack while you head out on your vacation but it sure can be a lifesaver. This useful yet ever so slightly unusual gadget is small in size and quite practical to travel with, so it won’t be too much of a hassle.
Portable Wifi Hotspot
Almost everyone nowadays has a virtual presence which they access through their smart devices every single day. If you cannot live without internet access and cannot risk your summer vacation destination not having strong enough wifi if any, then this might be quite a necessary item to pack on your next holiday. The mobile gadget would allow you to access the internet at your preferred speed like you are used to at home. You can arrange a good deal with your mobile carrier before you leave for your vacation if you are planning a trip abroad.
Not many people would think to pack dryer sheets with them on their summer holiday but they can actually prove to be more beneficial. Some people would not like to admit it, shoes sometimes stink; it is a fact. And especially when you’re on vacation and you’ve been in the same shoes for an entire day of walking, running or doing any form of physical activity without getting a chance to change socks or shoes for a long period of time. This is where dryer sheets come in handy. One can simply put the sheets in the shoe and leave it there for a few hours to absorb the moisture along with any bad odors. A couple of hours later you’ll notice the quick results and you can say goodbye to smelly shoes.
Vacations are about spending a good time away from any routine and daily stress causers. Although, there are a few unusual items out there which you may not think can be helpful to pack on your trip but can prove to be quite essential when you consider it carefully. Do some research in advance to check the weather conditions at your vacation destination and pack accordingly. Remember to pack as lightly and efficiently as you can to avoid the travel hassles.
OVOLO GROUP TO OPEN NEW URBAN RESORT IN BALI IN LATE 2020
The new Mamaka by Ovolo will be a part of the island’s revitalized Kuta district
Ovolo Group, the design-led hotel collection with properties throughout Australia and Hong Kong, will unveil its first-ever resort in Indonesia in late 2020, with the opening of the beachfront Mamaka by Ovolo in the island’s revitalized Kuta precinct.
Formerly the Citadines Kuta Beach Bali, the property will close early this month and is expected to reopen in late 2020 as Mamaka by Ovolo, complete with 191 designer rooms and suites, innovative food and drink concepts, and unique experiences. As part of the new brand architecture and “Wonder.Full.” brand campaign recently unveiled by Ovolo, the new Mamaka Kuta Beach will join the By Ovolo Collective, which includes the Nishi Apartments Canberra Australia, Mojo Nomad Aberdeen Harbour Hong Kong and the soon-to-open Sheung Wan Central Hong Kong.
The playful design aesthetic of Mamaka by Ovolo was envisioned by the Ovolo team and realized by ara design international, the brand behind many international hotel and resort projects. Heavily inspired by its island home, Mamaka by Ovolo has merged the global brand ethos of Ovolo – that of vibrant, dynamic spaces – with ancient Balinese culture (in the ancient Pali language, “mamaka” translates as one who shows affection not only for oneself). The hotel’s design will embrace vibrant colors and traditional Balinese textiles like kebaya baju, alongside natural materials, ample weaving, bold patterns, and lantern effect lighting.
Mamaka by Ovolo will boast several all-day bar and dining venues, including the island’s highest rooftop pool club with 270-degree views of Bali’s western beaches from Jimbaran to Canggu and beyond. And as Kuta’s beachfront is home to the island’s best surf break for beginners and recreational surfers, the resort will also have its own in-house surf school, as well as a circuit-training mechanical surfboard for core strength, horizontal climbing wall, wellness center and unisex salon.
“Convention was not considered – this is our take on a resort. It will be a playground for travelers through food and drink with attitude, wellness and activities, a surf school and shop, and a little self-indulgence – they won’t want to leave!” says Girish Jhunjhnuwala, Founder & CEO of Ovolo Group. “This urban resort will bring a killer experience to Kuta adding to its growing vibe.”
As part of the Mamaka development, furnishings and kitchen items from 10 rooms at the former Citadines Kuta Beach Bali have been donated to the local non-profit foundation Yayasan Solemen Indonesia (‘Solemen’), which provides direct support and funding to the disadvantaged. The donation has included everything from sofas to cutlery and microwaves to mini bar fridges, which will be given directly to people in need or sold to assist the charity continue its important work in the community.
For more information about Ovolo Group, visit: www.ovolohotels.com.
ABOUT OVOLO GROUP:
Ovolo Group was founded by entrepreneur Girish Jhunjhnuwala in 2010 and has quickly become one of Hong Kong’s largest and most dynamic independent hospitality firms. The Group provides both business and leisure guests with the best in effortless living across numerous hotels and F&B outlets internationally. A proud Hong Kong brand, Ovolo Group remains a family-owned and privately operated business operating two hotels and four restaurants in Hong Kong, and six hotels and five restaurants across Australia in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane. Ovolo is also developing two new hotels in Melbourne, Australia (South Yarra and South Melbourne). Ovolo also has the By Ovolo Collective within its portfolio of hotels, a distinctive collection of four hotels each one unique, each one special, the more guests explore, the more they’ll find. These include Nishi Apartments in Canberra Australia, Mojo Nomad Aberdeen Harbour in Hong Kong, The Sheung Wan Hong Kong launching April 2020 and Mamaka Kuta Beach Bali Indonesia launching late 2020.
Americans aren’t great at planning vacations. So much so that a large tourism industry group, the U.S. Travel Association, is encouraging workers to begin planning their getaways on Jan. 28, dubbed National Plan for Vacation Day
But planning a sustainable vacation – one with a small environmental footprint that is respectful of a destination’s people and culture – is an even taller task, said Jonathon Day, an associate professor in The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Purdue University.
Jonathon Day, chair of the Travel Care Code initiative and author of the book, “An Introduction to Sustainable Tourism and Responsible Travel,” provided these tips for making vacations more socially and environmentally friendly:
Shop local: “Visit local businesses and enjoy authentic experiences from your destination. Visiting farm-to-table restaurants, local arts-and-crafts stores and farmers markets all make a bigger contribution to the communities you visit.”
Be waste wise: “Bring your best habits from home. Plan to recycle and minimize waste, particularly plastic waste when you travel.”
Limit your carbon footprint: “Be a fuel-efficient traveler or purchase carbon offsets for those flights you are taking.”
Five-year Trip Advisor Hall of Fame Award Winner Baja AirVentures offers an active travel program completely unique to the world of adventure travel. No other tour operator combines the best opportunities for marine mammal encounters on both sides of the Baja peninsula in one all-inclusive six-day ground and air-supported package.
The 6-day/5-night Best of Baja’s Whales, Dolphins & Sea Lions Tour departs weekly from Feb.3 through April 11, 2020. The all-inclusive per person rate, including round trip private air carriage from San Diego across the peninsula and back, is $3,695 (exclusive of 13% IVA Mexican tax and 3% Marine Park entrance fee).
The package includes private roundtrip air from San Diego with ample opportunity for aerial flightseeing, Pacific whale watching in Scammons Lagoon by motorized panga, two nights at a B&B in the Mexican hamlet of Guerrero Negro and three nights of total seclusion at Baja AirVentures’ Las Animas beachside eco-lodge a scenic hour’s boat ride south of Bahia de Los Angeles on the Sea of Cortez.
“The unique combination of seeing marine mammals on both coasts of the peninsula is something no other whale watching operator in Baja is able to offer in one itinerary,” says Kevin Warren, founder and owner of Baja AirVentures. “In fact, the opportunity to view these magnificent creatures from a bird’s eye perspective is a thrill and rarity in itself.”
According to Warren, through conservation efforts, the Grey whale population in the Pacific continues to rebound and grow. Last year saw a new record with over 1,800 breeding adults and babies sited at Ojo de Libre (Scammons Lagoon). This prime location has the largest concentration of the Grey whales on the planet.
After departing from San Diego in a private plane for Scammons Lagoon, participants spend the better part of three days scanning and interacting with migrating California Gray whales by boat. This is where guests often get to actually “pet friendly whales” in their natural environment. Two nights are enjoyed at a cozy B&B in the small village of Guerrero Negro. Days Four and Five are spent desert hiking, kayaking, birdwatching and snorkeling with sea lions and dolphins. Boat excursions from Las Animas provide an added opportunity to view several types of whales, including Blue and Fin whales (the two largest species in the world).
A recent guest had this to say on Trip Advisor about their intimate encounters with the Grey whales, “The small-plane flights alone, with one pilot and five passengers, were a treat. Once on the water of Scammons Lagoon, we did not merely ‘watch’ wales! Instead, our skiff was at times surrounded by these magnificent creatures. Playful and seemingly curious calves met out-stretched hands, allowing themselves to be stroked and patted, while their enormous mothers swam watchfully close by.”
After crossing the peninsula via a scenic 2-hour drive through the Valley of the Cirios (Valle de los Cirios), a large wildlife protection area filled with exotic Cirio cactus, guests arrive in Bahia de Los Angeles (Bay of the Angels) on the Sea of Cortez. A boat transfer follows, past bird-filled deserted islands and bays to Las Animas Wilderness Ecolodge. The only boat-in ecolodge along the entire coast Las Animas is a remote, eco-friendly property that accommodates up to 16 guests in eight romantic and private beach-side yurts equipped with bathroom, solar shower, composting toilets, comfortable queen- and king-sized beds, covered decks and skylight roofs. The yurts are built around the spacious main palapa which offers an expansive deck that serves as a central dining area, game area and communal lounge space.
The all-inclusive tour price of $3,695 includes double occupancy B&B and yurt accommodations, roundtrip air from San Diego, naturalist guided outings and lectures, boat transportation, healthy homemade meals, beverages (including beer and margaritas) and such activities as kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, sailing and hiking.
For details on the Best of Baja tour call 1-800-221-9283 or visit online:
For information on other adventure packages offered year-round by Baja AirVentures please go to: https://www.bajaairventures.com/.
Not sure why kissing under a plant is a holiday tradition…but we’re good as long as a cocktail is involved.
1oz London Dry Gin
0.5oz Fresh Lime Juice
0.5oz Vermont Maple Syrup
Mint and Fresh Cranberries (for garnish)
Fill a shaker with ice and add gin, lime juice, and maple syrup.
Shake vigorously for 20 seconds and strain into a coupe glass.
Top off with RITAS’ Cran-Ber-RITA and garnish with mint and fresh cranberries.
Holidays got you feeling sour? The Ebenezer Rita will have you saying bah humbug to any drama!
1oz ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
3oz RITAS’ Cran-Ber-RITA
Rosemary Sprig (for garnish)
Fill a pint glass with ice and add all ingredients except rosemary.
Strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube.
Top off with more RITAS’ Cran-Ber-RITA if needed and garnish with a fresh sprig of rosemary.
Feeling extra festive? Make ice cubes out of RITAS’ Cran-Ber-RITA and add fresh cranberries and tiny sprigs of rosemary.
Home for the Holidays
A cocktail so sweet and smooth, even your cousins won’t be able to complain. Pairs perfectly with a warm fire and hot gossip.
1.5oz Blanco Tequila
0.5oz Vermont Maple Syrup
1.5oz Lime Juice
Pinch of Fresh Ground Cinnamon
Cinnamon Stick, Fresh Cranberries (for garnish)
Fill a shaker with ice and add tequila, maple syrup, and lime juice.
Shake vigorously for 20 seconds and strain into a collins glass over large ice cubes.
Top off with RITAS’ Cran-Ber-RITA and garnish with a cinnamon stick, and fresh cranberries.
*Carefully* light the end of the cinnamon stick ablaze, then quickly blow out. Gently rest the smoking cinnamon stick on the edge of the cocktail to send a seasonal scent wafting through the air.
*Credit: RITAS and Dan Magro, Author of Suck It Up: Extraordinary Cocktails for Everyday People.
Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor create special film to send Christmas message to fans.
Queen icons Brian May and Roger Taylor today posted their personal Christmas messages to fans worldwide with the gift of a new specially created animation film for the band’s “Thank God It’s Christmas” track originally released in November 1984.
“Thank God It’s Christmas” was a rare song writing collaboration between Roger and Brian. The song spent six weeks in the UK charts over the Christmas/New Year period 1984/1985. It enjoyed a second lease of life Christmas 1995 coupled with the hit single “A Winter’s Tale” from the Made In Heaven album. Here the track receives a fully animated treatment.
The concept for this new animated film came directly from Brian and Roger who explain their thoughts behind it with Roger saying, “Ironically, Christmas tends to be such a stressful time for so many of us. So many emotions, joyful memories of past Christmas’ as delighted children and responsible adults / parents. It’s just a great relief when it finally happens.”
Brian adds, “The video goes a little further by including a subtle reminder that we as humans now need to feel a responsibility for the welfare of ALL creatures on Earth – not just for our own benefit, and that of our grandchildren, but out of respect for the rights of the animals themselves.”
Working with Brian and Roger, the film was directed & animated on their behalf by Justin Moon and executive produced by Drew Gleason for production company °1824. The new “Thank God It’s Christmas” film is available to enjoy in two versions:
Surprising fans everywhere with the ultimate stocking stuffer, rising superstar and multi-platinum singer Jacquees unveils his first-ever holiday album Christmas In Decatur today on Cash Money Records.
The first single “Christmas Without You” highlights his range, on the heartfelt, lovelorn, seasonal song over delicate acoustic guitar, faint jingle bells, and production from ForteBowie. Jacquees also welcomes FYB and Bluff City to a hype holiday party on “FYB Christmas” and the video for “It’s Christmas,” featuring Lil Reign wasĺ added to MTV Mistle YO! Playlist.
Christmas In Decatur follows hot on the heels of his second full-length R&B album, King of R&B—out now. It includes singles “Your Peace” featuring Lil Baby [22.8 million Spotify streams], “Verify” featuring Young Thug and Gunna [9.5 million Spotify streams], and “Risk It All” featuring Tory Lanez [3.3 million Spotify streams]. Pitchfork called it “slick and ambitious,” and The Atlantic dubbed it “a refreshing work of classically inspired R&B.”
Next up, Jacquees will embark on “The King of R&B” Tour, which kicks off on Friday, January 17th, 2020 in San Antonio, TX. The tour will roll through major markets coast-to-coast including San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. and concludes with a hometown show in Atlanta, GA on Thursday, March 5th.
Get into the spirit and spend with Christmas In Decatur with Jacquees now.
Didn’t have a chance to get all your Black Friday / Christmas shopping done? No worries, G-SHOCK has a new holiday giftset, the Gorillaz-Bundle, a special collaboration with the world-famous virtual band, Gorillaz. Arriving with two popular analog and digital designs, the watches retail for $340.00 and are now shoppable at gshock.com.
The colors of the GWB5600GZ model are inspired by the hues of Gorillaz’s latest* album “NOW NOW.” A combination of pop blue and pink are incorporated into the design, and the bi-color message “NOW” floats onto the display whenever it is illuminated with the backlight.
Base model for the second watch in bundle gift set is the newer Carbon Core Guard analog GA2000 Series with replaceable band. The GA2000GZ model features the same camouflage pattern as Gorillaz’s eponymous first album. This model comes with two bands, one with a vivid hue pattern and one with darker military style coloring. Both models come in specially designed packaging that is befitting of G-SHOCK collaboration timepieces.