Your Thrifty Guide around Napa Valley

Napa Valley, a vast, lush green, picturesque travel destination in the California region housing premiere and world-class wines are being flocked not only by wine lovers all over the world, but also of tourists from all walks of life. This is due to the place’s highly recommended restaurants offering delectable foods, hotels of immensely great accommodation, a variety of activities to experience, and the personal touch of nature, which is a breath of fresh air from the usual urban destinations.

Labeled as California’s Wine County, the acres of wine yards, bordered in between two magnificent mountain ranges, are surprisingly not the state’s largest wine-generating region. Napa Valley is known as such not so much because of quantity but more on the exceptional quality of their wine. With all these information, a tourist is naturally expected to cash out a lot of money for this trip to happen, but knowing these practical tips will make you enjoy the trip without the need to splurge too much.

Let’s start, of course, with the pride of Napa Valley – Wines.

Wine Tasting
1. Wine tasting done at wineries around the area is usually for $15 to $20 per winery.
2. For cheaper tastings, you may avail of a Napa Downtown Card for $30 to get the chance to taste different wines from 12 different tasting rooms instead of wineries. All these at your own pace – no need to hurry through all of them in just a day. Five rooms a day is ideal. The card can be purchased at the Napa Valley Visitor Center where you can also ask for current, additional discounts, promos, and specials, or you may just call: 707 257 0322 in advance.
3. For those interested in the process of wine making, they may avail free educational tours offered by particular wineries such as Frog’s Leap and Robert Mondavi Winery with a $20-$25 tasting fee.

Accommodation & LodgingNapa Valley
1. If you’re a solo traveler, one way to save money for lodging is to seek help from Couchsurfing.com, a website that basically connects the locals with the travelers who are in need of a place to stay and don’t mind becoming an honorary member of another family for a while. On the bright side, you get the chance to witness what it is like to live there as a local, personally experiencing their rich culture, and even bag handy, insider tips to keep in mind when roaming around Napa Valley if you have a tight budget.

Bear in mind though that reservations must be made in advance since they always receive a lot of requests and there are only limited hosts to cater the tourists.

2. You may also check out Airbnb.com which is another search engine specifically made for tourists looking for places to stay based on their location, within the range of their budget (starting from as low as $10), and the type of room (whether you plan to rent the entire place, a private, or shared room) they wish to avail.

3. There are also a number of motels and inns that have prices that range from as low as $79 to not more than $200 such as the El Bonita Motel, Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa, Calistoga Inn Restaurant & Brewery, and the Jack London Lodge.

Filling in your Hungry Stomach
1. If you’re really aiming for budget-friendly food purchases, stick with sandwich shops or markets like the Oxbow Public Market for quick meals where you can also buy products that you can bring home with you for your family and friends. For fresh breads, you may check out Model Bakery located just behind the Oxbow market. Food trucks like AdHoc and burger stand like Gott & Roadside also offer fried chicken meals and burgers for cheaper prices.

2. And what better way to save money on food than to bring your own and cook it where you’ll be staying.
Transportation
1. The cheapest mode of transportation around Napa Valley is with the use of the bike. Bike rentals cost around $45/day, and you can rent them in Calistoga Bikeshop and Napa Valley Bike Tour.

2. Other than bikes, you may also rely on Uber as it is known to operate around the world and charges $14 per 15 minutes of a 5-mile drive.

3. If you have your own car, it would be better to designate someone to do the driving for you. If not, you can settle for hired car services that cost from $35/hr. to as much as $115/hr.

Should You Buy Travel Insurance?

You have decided to go overseas for the next family vacation. The dates have been settled; the itinerary is set and the kids are all excited. As you canvass for the cheapest airfare options available, the question arises: should you buy travel insurance?

travel_insurance

Travel insurance packages may be purchased from these vehicles: the chosen airline or cruise service itself, a third-party travel insurance agency, or your credit card provider. Buying the insurance from the same airline or carrier will prove less of a hassle as you can directly transact with them in case an emergency occurs under their watch. Travel agencies may offer more comprehensive packages with a wider network of participating countries as well. Credit card companies may provide flexible payment options for their valued traveler clients. Regardless of what platform you prefer, it is the insurance coverage that should help you decide.

Trip Cancellation or Interruption Insurance

Most plane or cruise ship tickets are non-refundable so many travelers experience the misery of cancelling a paid flight and thereby wasting cash, or being charged with additional fees when rescheduling a missed trip in spite of a justifiable cause. The cancellation clause allows one to reimburse all related payments in case a trip was aborted due to reasonable claims such as critical illness, bad weather, prior accident and others as may be listed in the policy.

The interruption policy meanwhile protects the client if unable to continue with an ongoing trip, allowing the client to reimburse the fraction of the cost of service not rendered. This will prove worthwhile when travelling with senior citizens or sickly relatives. Many organized tours already include this provision in the tour package but it is still wise to closely examine the coverage.
Medical and Evacuation Insurance

While it seems unfitting to talk about accidents in the middle of a vacation, it is still worth caring to subscribe to an evacuation insurance policy during your trip. This insurance type covers the cost of receiving medical attention in case of an accident or health problem that would have occurred to you from far-off locations. It is different from the usual healthcare plan as it also covers the cost of rescue, repatriation or (heaven forbid) transportation of remains. Other medical plans do not shoulder such expenses; hence, it will save you up to 50,000 USD should you get travel insurance with this inclusion.

Lugagge Theft, Damage or Loss Insurance

Most airfare tickets automatically include a baggage protection clause that will allow you to reimburse lost or stolen items from your luggage under their watch. You may still want to look closely at the airline’s regulations as there may be certain limits and item restrictions. Some travel companies provide a separate or upgraded luggage insurance policy that can cover expensive items such as laptops, cameras, or jewelry throughout the duration of the tour. This will prove handy for travelers who use digital devices at sea or high altitudes.

All these inclusions may seem to hijack you further, but they also provide value in unspoken ways. So, should you buy travel insurance? Are you confident that no harm will go your way and that you can handle all finances by yourself? The answer deeply hinges on your resolve. Make sure to do your research as you organize your trip. A well-planned excursion is a well-spent vacation.

The Essentials of a Traveler’s First Aid Kit

Whether you are an adventure savant or an amateur traveler, you should know the essential items that constitute a first aid kit. Be sure that you are ready to attend to any emergencies – from simple to serious ones – to avoid any disruptions in your itinerary. Listed below are the essentials for preparing a traveler’s kit.

Bandages

• Bandages, moleskin, and gauze pads
These are the necessities of a first aid kit. They can be used for treating small injuries, cuts, scrapes, blisters, and wounds. They won’t take up much space on your kit, so be sure to stock up on these items in various assortments.

• Surgical/Medical Tape
When you get a slightly deep or bigger wound, a surgical tape will help hold the gauze and dressing in place. Additionally, it can help strap sprains, strains, and other minor injuries.

• Tweezers
A pair of tweezers may come in handy in removing splinters and other stinging objects. Tweezers can be used in cutting bandages, gauze, and surgical tape.

• Thermometer
Be sure to pack a thermometer in your first aid kit. If you are backpacking and suddenly feel feverish, a thermometer will help in keeping track of your temperature.

• Rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is a recommended item for every traveler. Make it a habit to keep your hands clean. Same goes with rubbing alcohol. It can help in cleaning cuts and wounds. Rubbing alcohol is also used to sterilize any equipment you will need. Rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer will help keep you clean when water is not accessible.

• Electrolyte powder packets
These would absolutely save your day in case you get diarrhea or vomiting – cases common amongst travelers. If you are traveling on an exotic locale, the food and surroundings may overwhelm your stomach. Packing your electrolytes will surely help rehydrate and replenish you. Drinks rich in electrolytes, such as Gatorade, can also be used.

• Topical solutions
Topical solutions include any medication or product applied onto the skin. An antibiotic ointment will help in healing small cuts, wounds, and scrapes. Adding a hydrocortisone cream into your kit will help in getting rid of rashes, insect bite, and blisters. Lastly, sunscreen is a must-have for any traveler’s first aid kit. Pack a tube of your favorite sunscreen to block out harmful UV rays anywhere you go.

Allergy medications

• Allergy medications
When traveling, it is important to have access to a wide variety of allergy medications. Even if you don’t have allergic reactions that you are aware of, it is still a good idea to pack some allergy medications into your kit. You’ll never know what would trigger a reaction. Furthermore, there is a possibility that you would develop a type of sensitivity to some things that you haven’t encountered before.

To be safe, always be ready and take your Benadryl and antihistamines with you. It would be better if you have an EpiPen. Even if you don’t have known anaphylactic allergies, it won’t hurt to pack one. You may not even need to use it, but others might. Be sure to keep these items on hand.

• Over-the-Counter Drugs
For over-the-counter drugs, pack the commonly used for treating any ailments that may occur suddenly. Always include pain reducers for mild headaches and sore muscles. Add fever reducers, ibuprofen, Imodium, anti-hyperacidity tablets, and other vitamins.

• Personal medications
Be sure that you have your personal medications with you whenever you travel. Add your prescription drugs into your first aid kit. More importantly, do not forget to carry your prescription copies with you, just in case you run out of meds and need to buy more.

rfwbs-sliderfwbs-sliderfwbs-sliderfwbs-slide