Rules to know about leaving tips when traveling

Leaving a tip can be confusing because the rules vary from one country to another. While it is impolite to leave a tip in some of them, it is very wrong to leave them in others.
Here’s what you need to know.

Always have money in local currency.

fgsghdshsdjdajqdjehjdaBeing an organized traveler means having enough local money on your hands to cover any planned or unexpected expenses. It is essential to be able to pay tips in local currency because changing foreign currencies costs service providers a lot of money and it is very likely that they are not even allowed to do so. It is also often impossible to add a tip when paying with a credit card.

Know when not to tip

In some countries (such as Japan, China, South Korea or French Polynesia), staff may be offended to be offered a tip because service excellence is an integral part of the culture there.
If you tip Japanese Ryokan staff, a taxi driver or a tour guide, for example, be sure to place the tickets in a card or envelope and hand them over with both hands and bow your head.

In French Polynesia, tips are almost perceived as rudeness because they indicate that the person receiving them occupies a lower status. Even if you’ve received excellent service, the tip is not welcome. If in doubt, please refrain.

Leave a tip only for a service received

In India, for example, make sure you have received a service in exchange for a tip. Some beggars ask for alms, but giving them money sends a wrong message. As it is an impoverished country, try to buy them something or hire them to do a small job, if you feel compelled to give them money.

Check your bill before you leave a tip.

lsngosngorsngosnoswsdgdIn the United Kingdom, Chile, Brazil, Portugal, Portugal, France and many other countries, restaurants, hotels and other establishments already add service charges for most of their services.

And check if the bill includes a “service charge,” as opposed to a “tax” on service before you think you have been billed for the tip. A service “fee” does not go to servers. A small clarification concerning Brazil:”Although tips are not necessary, they are nevertheless desirable because of the very modest salaries,” notes Dan Boland. In general, people who work in tourist destinations have become accustomed to Canadians leaving some money behind.

When can you leave more?

In Iceland, as in many European countries, a tip is not required in most cases. Restaurants will often include a 10% service charge on the bill, which means you don’t have to leave a tip, but you can leave 15% if you’ve received exceptional service. Taxi drivers, hairdressers and tour guides add an amount to their bills to cover service charges.

European exceptions

Although many European countries do not have a tipping culture, Greece, the Czech Republic, Spain, Italy and a few other countries are the exception. In Greece, when dining out at a restaurant or taking a taxi, a tip of 5 to 10% depending on the service is highly appreciated. It is also well worth giving a few euros to your maid at the hotel and your tour guide.

Cannabis tourism in California

california the land of marie jeanne

Some marijuana tours are luxury style with limo drivers and med-stops before going to the 5-star restaurant downtown. Then there’s those that go on nature trails and hikes.

When California legalised marijuana for medical use in 1996. It historically, caused a small boom in the industry with various businesses, one being the travel tourism business. Historically, California was the most tolerated of the states which were the first one to decriminalise marijuana in 1975.

smoke whatever greenery you wantOn November 8th, 2016, Proposition 64 was passed. In other words, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act states marijuana is legit. Legalisation of the cannabis is for recreational use and those over the age 21. With much efforts and support, it eventually became legal, and many marijuana dispensaries surfaced.

Because of this, the marijuana tourism grew as well. And naturally, it boomed again with recreational usage as the focal point. It became legal in various California cities and towns. Some of the most notable ones are Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Oakland, Fresno, Long Beach, San Bernardino, Sacramento, Tahoe, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Riverside, …and many others.

Adults have an option to legally be allowed to utilise the green alternative within the medicine bureaucracy.

In fact, residents of the cities are allowed to possess 1 oz. of marijuana at a time and cultivate six plants yet, out of the public’s viewing or eyesight.

Here are the basic policies in the marijuana law:

– Individuals seeking a medical marijuana I.D. = Proof of age (18+)

– California residents

– Qualified patients possess up to 8 oz. or 1/2 lb. of marijuana at a time.

– Qualified patients = cultivate 6 mature plants or 12 immature plants.

Marijuana Tours

Depending on your needs, smoking on these tours vary. There are places where smoking is prohibited in certain spots. It is for the privacy of those around the smokers.

Although it may be legal, at the discretion of the owner and his/her property on certain tours, respecting their space is important. Therefore, enjoying the experience while vacationing at the hotels, bed and breakfasts are recommended. They accommodate smokers. Tours manage the itinerary accordingly, and they do a great job doing it.

tour with the most experienced guides
Tour with the most experienced guides

Food based tours.

Some of the tours available in California are food based. It means that guests will go through the dispensary’s site tour, have the option to purchase medication, then eat a three-course meal!
Whereas there are tours that have their guests go for the appetiser at one restaurant, then go for the main course at another restaurant, making the experience more quality driven.

After eating a delicious meal at a fantastic restaurant, the option to medicate once more before going for desert is given.

There’s a fine tour for you!

California is not only accepting to specific tour packages and respect the need for outdoor marijuana users since it’s inception. Although, it’s said that those who smoke should also respect the natural surroundings as well.

Encouraging the discretion of marijuana smoking in California is always enforced by many dispensaries and tour guides. They recommend Vape pens which are popular in the state but, also, it’s the best way to consume it if you are in a public place. Also, don’t drive while high is truly enforced. Plus, you can be convicted of a DUI for driving under the influence of marijuana in California.

Street Art Tours

If you are passionate about art them, you’ll love this type of tour.
Street art and the appreciation for it can come with a price. The price is enjoying the atmosphere as you immerse yourself in a tour of fun that’s cannabis involved. While doing so, there are tour packages which nurture the historical significance of contemporary public art.
In Venice Beach, for instance, there’s a guided Pedicab tour that travels through the entire beach town.

While travelling, the guide presents to tour guests the various locations and hot spots for public art created by locals; some people there for years.

Not only is the cannabis legal here, but in Venice beach so is the graffiti art which is a hot commodity in the California beach town.

Visitors from all over the world.

a growing area in californiaThe activities on these tours vary, therefore, the prices will too. For instance, if a customer pays at a higher pay scale, naturally they’ll be able to get the 5-star luxury activities. For an average pay rate, then the mediocre tour; but, it’s all great because you and your friends are in Cali. And this is what your mission is to relax and vacation on these tours.

Visitors come from all over the world, plus, visitors regularly consume from all over the world. Celebrating significant events and milestones is the best way to go through these tours.

Most tours have a welcome presentation from the guide including the schedule of the day. The majority of the time, there’s certain spots that the group will stop at one at a time, as the day progresses. And all the engaging with the marijuana are spent in unique ways.

They’ll learn and be more educated with the herbals from the expert guide.

You will get to also stop by the most famous grow shop of California and buy souvenirs and equipment such as vaporisateur pour herbe and other bongs as well as various accessories!

Finally, when as the day ends, visitors or guests will not go empty handed. There’s always a package or gift given or souvenirs to take home to. They are normally cannabis infused ingredients in the food given or creative crafts that were made with clay and resin…etc.
All in all, the cannabis tour in California will be an unforgettable experience for you and your guests, especially if you have to head back home where it may be illegal. Although, you may have to consume it if you have leftovers and you live in a state where it’s illegal.

My Take on Hiking Gear

good quality Hiking Gear is paramount

After a rad winter spent in Colorado, hiking and skiing, I wanted to share my take on hiking gear for all you adventurers out there!

There are several things you need to consider before deciding on the hiking gear you will need. Is this a simple hike of short duration, a hike that will require sleeping and eat on the trail, or is it an organised hike where amenities are supplied.

The hiking gear you need will depend in large part on this information, and, if it is not a planned hike, you will consider how willing you are you to rough it.

The first step when determining what hiking gear you should take is to get together with your hiking partner. If you are hiking any distance and plan to eat and sleep on the trail, you do have some choices to make! When you plan carefully so that each person has the responsibility to bring certain items, it can lighten the load considerably, and it is important to remember that these are items you will be carrying on your hike.

The first thing to consider is the pack itself.

Some stores specialise in hiking gear, and even military surplus stores, where you can find used hiking gear inexpensively.

A hiking pack should be approximately four thousand cubic inches unless you plan on carrying a lot of extras such as photography equipment, or things such as hunting and fishing paraphernalia. When shopping for hiking gear, try to keep in mind that it needs to be functional and efficient as well as light weight.

If you plan to be on the trail during the night, you should decide if you plan to sleep in the elements, or if you will need to include a tent in your hiking gear.

Again, it is never wise to hike alone, and you will need two one man tents or one two man tent. Trail shelters are available that weigh from three to four pounds. If it rains or gets chilly, you will be glad you brought a tent on your hike. You will need sleeping bags as well if you plan on sleeping on the trail. Depending on the weather and terrain, you might choose a very light weight sleeping bag or even one much colder resistant and even a sleeping bag liner.

Sleeping bags

There are sleeping bags available that provide protection from the cold down to thirty degrees. These sleeping bags weight as little as one pound and two ounces, and pack down to about the size of a softball. You could choose MRE (meal ready to eat) such as those the army uses, which can be heated with a small can of Sterno. Should you want to hunt, fish, forage, and cook on the trail include cooking essentials made to be lightweight and compact, specifically for hiking gear.

Clothing

Clothing to include in your hiking gear depends on the season, climate, and duration of the walk. In summer, you need basics like plenty of socks (wet ones tend to cause blisters) comfortable outerwear, boots, and any climbing accessories you might need.

However, if you are hiking in cold weather, or climbing in high altitudes, you’ll need long underwear, light nylon shorts, a mid-weight fleece jacket, a light rainproof layer, gloves, hat, and accessories to suit the weather and your needs. Extra hiking gear includes a headlamp, tool/knife, first-aid kit, compass, sunglasses, and sunscreen, and you’re good to go!

Here is an interesting video with a solid checklist for you :

Fun in the Sun-Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

the amazing coastline next to Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is the favourite place to vacation for travellers worldwide. Rated #1 by Trip Advisor in 2014 as the top beach destination, this year-round getaway has something for everyone. There are over 60 miles of white sugar sand beaches that stretch from just over the border in nearby NC to historic Georgetown in South Carolina.
Whether you like to golf (there are over 104 courses in the area) shop (hundreds of name brand discount outlets) or eat out (1700 restaurants to choose from)-Myrtle Beach has what you need. With over 500,000 tourists each year, the vacation city must be doing something right. Maybe it is the small town feel of cosy beach houses, or the big city taste of the Grand Strand-Myrtle Beach is full of southern charm.

Things to do:

south carolina state houseIf you like to stay active on vacations, you will find a wide assortment of things to try. There are rentals for scuba diving, deep sea fishing or banana boat rides. You can visit Ripley’s Haunted Adventure or the magnificent aquarium. There is a giant sky wheel for daredevils and a zip line to try at Outdoor Adventures. Barefoot Landing boasts a wildlife exhibit, complete with tigers, unending curiosity shops and a one of a kind theatre.
If musicals and live music are more your taste, the Carolina Opera House and Alabama Theater have shown for every night of the week. There are also magic shows, haunted ghost tours and race car adventures to explore.

Amazing Vacation Pictures

If you would like to take once in a lifetime photos and videos of your vacation, a drone is the way to go. Pictures of about 150 feet give you a perspective of beaches and other sights that haven’t been experienced before. Careful planning about strategic photo flights and knowledge of the restrictions in your area will ensure you have a positive experience with drone vacation pictures. Your friends will be amazed at the Myrtle Beach you capture on your drone. Visit this Facebook page to know more.

Little Known Fun Facts About Myrtle Beach

my new drone in action for videoMyrtle Beach continues to amaze visitors and keep travellers returning with its wide variety of offerings. Even for you experienced Myrtle Beach enthusiasts, here are some fun facts you may not know:
• The local Sweet Myrtle Beach gave the city its name.
• Vanna White, from Wheel of Fortune, was born in Myrtle Beach
• Real estate in Myrtle Beach went for $25 back in 1902.
• Sports Illustrated has been in Myrtle Beach since it started in 1953
Beaches

Of course, the main attraction of Myrtle Beach is the beautiful beaches. Families travel from around the world to try the surf at Garden City Beach, Surf City, Sunset or Cherry Grove-these have all been named some of the best beaches in the United States

To say that Myrtle Beach is an ideal summer destination is an understatement. It caters to families, teenagers, honeymooners, seniors and motorcyclists. You can hear fun going on, at any time of the day. You won’t soon forget your vacation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

If you are after drone news make sure you read amateurs de drones wordpress

My Trip To Banff. Getting There is Half the Fun

banff-canada-amazing-landscape

I had been looking to do something a little out of the ordinary for my next trip.

I had been to Mexico, Florida, Dominican Republic, New York City, and a handful of California cities. It was time to go North. After Thousands of searches on Expedia, Trip Adviser and google images I settled on Banff. The colourful mountain town in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. The pictures promised snow-capped mountains, rugged hiking trails, white waters, a vibrant downtown, great restaurants and beautiful if slightly overpriced hotels. I decided to opt for a camping option and started looking for the best camping tent reviews I could find online. I ended up grabbing the MSR Hubba Hubba Tent which is great for backpacking!

banff national park townI flew into Calgary on a Thursday evening just as the sun was setting over the Rocky Mountains, an hour’s drive towards the west. By the time, I went through customs and picked up my bags it was dark out. I picked up my rental and opted to stay at the closest Double Tree to the airport. I hadn’t been sure when I made my reservations, but now it was dark, was sleepy and wanted to enjoy the drive into the mountains in daylight so I could appreciate the scenery.

I set westward on the #1 TransCanada Highway while it was still dark. As a reward, I drove the 63 miles (110 km by Canadian signage) to Banff as the sun rose behind me filling the sky with pink hues. Despite the green highway sign saying that Banff was only another 27 km I detoured into the inviting-looking town of Canmore. The little town is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

I drove the streets lined with old brick bungalows and into the busy little downtown. Sitting on the patio of a Restaurant called The Summit Cafe I sipped coffee and orange juice as the rising sun warmed my face and I savoured the mountain views. I congratulated myself on my decision to wait out the night in Calgary and make this drive during the day. I left my car parked in front of the cafe and walked around the sunny little town. I crossed a bridge and walked along a river trail for a few moments before I remembered this area was abundant with bears. On my way back to my car I passed a lovely little art gallery called Fallen Leaves. Ironically I fell in love with a bear painting and it broke my heart to leave it and the One thousand dollar price tag behind.

I missed the first turn off for the town of Banff, but the highway has about five more and so it was not long before I was in the busy, bustling, lively town of Banff. Cars were bumper to bumper down Banff Avenue. The Avenue is lined with colourful restaurants and hotels.

The sidewalks were lined with people walking one way or another. A tour bus stopped in front of me and 80 Japanese tourists disembarked and immediately began snapping photographs of the town and the surrounding mountains. It took me approximately one hour, not counting breakfast, to drive from Calgary to Banff. It took another hour to drive the three miles from the highway turn-off to my hotel, The Fox Inn and Suites. I was about five hours too early to check-in but the receptionist assured me I could leave my car in the parking lot behind the building with no issue.

I left my bags in the car for the moment and was happy to set out on foot. I had a town to explore!

If you are looking for camping tips I highly suggest you read this post www.whatcampingtent.com/blog/bond-with-your-family-by-tent-camping/

Found this amazing timelapse video of the area, hope it makes you want to visit the place!

My Time-Share Presentation Experience

Aerial view of Mexico city
my timeshare presentation
my timeshare presentation

I wanted to share something quite special that happened to me recently. Aside from being known as a “party” guy, I sometimes happen to work…

I had never been to one of those time-share things until the first time I went to Mexico. You know, those presentations where they hold you hostage for hours while demanding to know the dollar amount in your savings account. True story that is what happened to us! Landing in Puerto Vallarta at about 8 pm, we de-boarded the plane by a staircase and walked across the runway to the airport.

After clearing Mexican customs, we left the airport walking down a long ramp towards the front doors. All along the hallway were booths. These booths displayed taxi services, car rentals, horse back riding, cruises, fishing trips, the works. We did our best to avoid being stopped but eventually a charming Mexican boy, and a beautiful Mexican girl got our attention and held us in conversation. They promised us a free taxi ride to our hotel that evening and a cruise the next day if we went to their 90-minute time-share presentation. An all-day, all-you-can-drink-and-eat cruise, free, tomorrow, in exchange for the 90-minute presentation. We caved.

Of course, we had to pay for our taxi that night. It would be reimbursed on the cruise. The taxi driver promised he would pick up the next morning. The next morning we were waiting outside our hotel when an entirely different taxi driver insisted we went with him to the cruise. He drove us from the opposite direction of the port, out of town for half an hour on a narrow jungle winding highway.

At a brand new 5 Diamond time-share resort, we were offered mimosas. Then they separated my friend and I and we were each presented to our time-share real estate agent. She showed me condos I could never afford. They insisted I drink champagne and demanded to know why I wouldn’t sign up to buy a condo. Supervisors were sent over to ask what my the savings in my bank were. They made me fill out a work-book demonstrating how much more affordable it was to buy their time-share than any other type of travelling. After four painful hours, I was let go. I found my best friend waiting for me at the bus stop. There were no taxi rides back to the city, not for those of us who did not buy a time-share. Our taxi ride was redeemed, however, and the cruise turned out to be the real deal. I don’t like the way they tricked us into attending the time-share and held us, hostage. But he next day we spent eight hours on a boat eating ceviche, drinking “cervezas”, and trying to forget our first full day in Mexico.

Awesome Trip to Playa Del Carmen

Playa del Carmen, Cancun

Hey what’s up guys, today is the day you’ll get to learn about our epic trip in Mexico!

Packing my bags pre-flight

On board during the flight
On board during the flight

I was thirty minutes into Googling ‘Playa Del Carmen’ when my phone started playing “Exit Music” by Radiohead. To be honest, I was two hours into a rabbit hole that led me from my original search to scrolling through Facebook. I tapped the power button on the side of my phone and silenced the alarm. Procrastinating had yet again failed to serve me as I leaped from the couch and began throwing together a bag. Passport, check. I.D., check. Being a guy is easy, you can do anything last minute. Road joint, check. With a lit joint hanging from my lip, I headed out the door when I got a call from Eric.

Timeless Flight

Falling asleep on an airplane ride is the virtual equivalent of becoming an X-Man. My powers must be time traveling and teleportation. I woke up just in time to order a cocktail from the attractive flight attendant. Eric nudged me as she walked away. “That’s the kind of women that are going to be there, dude.” I grinned and closed my eyes again.

Touchdown

Eric and I had been planning this trip for months. Fly into Cancun International. Catch a bus/taxi into Playa del Carmen and wing it from there. I suppose it’s not so much of a plan when you think about it. I hailed a driver and Eric, and I climbed in. They guy clearly spoke little English, so we just gave him our destination and were on our way.

About twenty minutes into the ride, our driver pulls off the main road and decides he knows a faster way into town. Eric and I are confused since there is very light traffic on the highway. Paved road turned into gravel which turned into dirt. At this point, Eric and I are sacrificing the cost of data usage to check google maps. We show him our phones and try to explain that he is taking a detour. All we got back was “yeah, it’s no problem. Here is faster.”

Strangely enough, the guy was right. At this point, I consider my failure to learn some basic Spanish over the last few months. Once we arrive at a hotel, I decide to bust out the Spanish I do know:
“Queremos mota. Sabes donde esta la mota, señor?” The accent is flawless.

I’m Not the Man they Think I am at Home

sound system in mexicoDebauchery, here we come. Armed with a map of the city, a pocketful of sunshine, and enough pesos to bribe Zorro, Eric and I began walking the city. The obvious place to start was downtown, which is party central. Everything was modern and updated. Sanitized for American tourists. Eric and I dipped into an alleyway after eating dinner to light up a joint. This one’s for Che. Wrong country.

We could hear the reggaeton music blaring from Mamita’s Beach Club as we walked up. The nightlife of Playa del Carmen is something special. Latin music breathes into your soul after eight whiskey sours and a night of grinding on beautiful Mexican women. I won’t get into details. Besides, that’s not the only reason we went on this trip. Red, blue, and green ornamental lights that make up much of the city’s decorum inspired a weird sort of Christmas-like sentimentality. As we traveled around downtown, it became abundantly clear which bars were tourist spots and which ones were local favorites.

It’s Just My Job, Five Days a Week

I can’t speak to the beauty of Playa del Carmen and Cancun’s beaches during the day. It wouldn’t do it justice. Over the course of the next three days, Eric and I traveled around the entire Yucatan visiting ruins and scenic beaches. The inherent beauty of the countryside there is overwhelming when you’re not being ushered around by a tour guide. Its aesthetic nature vastly contrasts with the gritty allure of much of the state’s cities. Trips to a foreign country always excite me. I especially like to see the difference between the way a country portrays itself to foreigners and the way it operates behind the scenes. I don’t know; maybe that ‘s just the stoner in me.

It’s Gonna Be a Long, Long Time

dude must have been stone too
Weirdo we met on a beach, dude must have been stone too…

I highly recommend going to Playa del Carmen to have some fun with a friend. Check out the sites. Explore the city. Explore the surrounding area and its beaches. I would also recommend, however, that you try to find an English speaking driver before leaving the airport. It just makes things so much easier. I would love to go back to Playa del Carmen one day, but first I have so many other places to check out. Remember life is short, carpe diem!