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Seven Can’t Miss 2016 Travel Destinations

Traveling the world is not just about seeing a destination, it’s also about experiencing the culture. One of the best ways to experience a place is by attending a local festival or event. 2016 is full of international events, both large and small. From high profile events like the Olympics Games, to lesser known festivals like the International Festival in the Sahara, we’ve compiled our favorite events and destinations to experience for 2016.

2016 travel

So get your bags packed and cameras ready, here are the seven can’t miss destinations for 2016 travel.

Thailand
By far, one of the more playful festivals to experience this year is the Songkran Water Festival, which takes place all over Thailand in April. Songkran marks the beginning of the new year in Thailand, and is also the start of the summer season. Revelers traditionally celebrate the festival by splashing water on each other as a way to wish each other a year full of blessings. Bangkok has one of the largest celebrations of Songkran, but other cities such as Chiang Mai also have pretty big celebrations.

2016 travel

France
France has always been a destination on many travelers’ list. This year, it’s also the destination for the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament, also known as the Euro Cup, which will take place in June. In addition to Paris, matches will take place in cities like Bordeaux, Lyon, Nice, and Marseille. Even if you’re not planning on attending any of the football matches, there’s always a good reason to visit France and explore this beautiful country.

2016 travel

Pamplona, Spain
Every year in July, the city of Pamplona comes together for the eight day festival of Saint Fermin. Although the most famous event of festival is the Running of the Bulls, the festival of Saint Fermin has plenty of other events worth checking out. The city of Pamplona itself is also worth exploring, as it has several Roman ruins as well as ruins dating back to the early Middle Ages.

2016 travel

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Besides being the site of this year’s Olympic Games in August, Rio de Janeiro has always been known for its beaches, music scene, and Carnival, the city-wide celebration just before Lent. This seaside city in Brazil has a lot to offer its visitors, from high end upscale resorts to down-to-earth hotels. These days, Rio has also become a gathering point for LGBT travelers, who number over one million each year.

2016 travel

Albuquerque, New Mexico
The annual International Balloon Fiesta is a perfect excuse to visit the city of Albuquerque. Held every year in early October, the balloon fiesta showcases hot air balloons from all over the world, and provides a colorful addition to the already stunning background of the area’s mountainous landscape. Albuquerque itself is rich with Southwestern culture, and some of the nearby cities like Santa Fe or Taos are also worth visiting.

2016 travel

Mexico
For a deeper taste of Mexican culture, head south of the border to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead. Considered a national holiday in Mexico, Dia de los Muertos is a day to honor the deceased. This holiday is celebrated around the days of October 31 to November 2, and is characterized by the colorful sugar skulls and bountiful food that is served during this time.

2016 travel

Douz, Tunisia
The final event to cap off the year is the International Festival of the Sahara, which takes place in November in Douz, Tunisia. This festival began in 1910 and is a four day celebration of Bedouin culture. The event attracts over 50,000 people, with more and more Westerners attending each year. The highlight of the festival is the camel race, but there are also music and dancing, as well as a Bedouin marriage ceremony, all set within the backdrop of the desert sand dunes.

2016 travel

These are our top 2016 travel destinations and events to check out. To see what LeafCanoers have to say about these destinations, download the LeafCanoe app.

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Five Ideas for Travel After a Divorce

Divorce and breakups can be difficult. When a marriage or a relationship ends, people often feel a sense of grief and loss, even if they were the ones who ended the relationship. Yet, despite the difficulties of a breakup, there are many ways to cope with the end of a relationship. One such way is through travel.

Travel is more than just a means to see the world. It can also be transformative and healing. Being in a new place can help bring a different perspective to your life. This new perspective can help you immensely on your path towards acceptance. Almost any destination can be a good place to start on your healing journey. The best way to choose your destination is by exploring what that particular destination has to offer. Though it may be difficult to take that first step, travel after a divorce can serve to help you move on from your breakup.

Take some time to be alone
After a serious breakup, it’s helpful to take some time to be alone and reflect on life. A train trip through Europe, for example, can offer a good balance of solitude and social interaction, as you work through your period of reflection. From the countrysides of France and Italy, to the streets of cities like Prague or Amsterdam, there are plenty of opportunities to hop off the train and engage in some solo exploration on foot.

Europe - Travel after a divorce

Simplify your life
Going through a breakup involves a major life change, and can often force you to rethink your day to day. Take this opportunity to visit a place that allows you to focus on the simple things in life. The laid-back culture of Jamaica is perfect for re-examining what is important in your life. Go at your own pace and enjoy exploring the country’s beaches and towns. Let Jamaica’s relaxed attitude influence the way you see the world.

Jamaica - Travel after a divorce

Test your strength
The emotional stress of a divorce can leave you filled with self-doubt and insecurity. Take this time to take on a challenge and test your strength. A popular travel destination for those looking for a challenge is the 15th century Incan site, Machu Picchu, located in Peru. Hikers and adventure travelers love to visit Machu Picchu, whose altitude at 2,000 meters above sea level poses a challenge for many travelers who come to the site. But it is this challenge that will ultimately help you in your road towards moving on from a divorce. Being able to overcome the difficulties of visiting such a site, can help reaffirm the inner strength that may have been lost when you went through your breakup.

Machu Picchu - Travel after a divorce

Rediscover the beauty of the world
The world is a beautiful place, and often times, the depression that comes with a divorce or breakup serves to obscure this fact. However, it’s good to take the time to appreciate what the world has to offer. African countries like Tanzania are a wonderful place to visit for witnessing the world’s natural beauty. From the wild animals of the Serengeti and the breath-taking views of Mount Kilimanjaro, to the serene waters of Zanzibar, Tanzania offers a wealth of natural beauty for you to soak in. Rediscovering the beauty of the world can help you move on from the depression and sadness.

Zanzibar - Travel after a breakup

Find balance
The final step towards recovering from a divorce is to find balance in your life. Practices such as yoga and meditation can help you achieve balance and maintain a sense of peace with your life. Although India is often known as the birthplace of yoga, places like Ubud, on the Indonesian island of Bali, has started to become a hub for yoga and meditation. With beautiful Hindu temples, serene rice paddies, and a plethora of yoga and meditation centers, Ubud is a peaceful retreat from the hectic and tourist-laden spots found on the rest of the island. Rent a quiet and secluded villa and spend your days meditating. By finding balance in your life, and accepting what the world has to offer, you are well on your way towards creating a new life post-divorce.

Bali - Travel after a divorce

No matter how you slice it, divorce is a difficult thing, and the feelings of sadness, self-doubt, and insecurity can often be hard to shake off. The wonderful thing about travel, though, is that it can have the power to help you in your process toward healing. By allowing you to do things like see a new perspective, test your strength, and achieve a sense of balance, travel can play an influential role in helping you move on from a divorce.

For more ideas of where to travel, download the LeafCanoe app.

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10 Destinations to Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids

Whether we like to admit it or not, our kids are growing up in an age of privilege. With fast internet at their fingertips, and the latest technological advances readily available to them, today’s kids have been raised to think that life is relatively easy. In short, they are becoming spoiled kids.

One of the best remedies to unspoil your kids is through travel. Travel exposes your kids to different lifestyles, and can often challenge the ways they currently view the world. LeafCanoe has a plethora of leaves that can provide ideas of where to take your kids. However, here are our picks for 10 destinations to unspoil your spoiled kids.

Costa Rica
With its abundance of animals, beaches, rainforests, and outdoor activities, Costa Rica is the perfect destination to take your digitally connected kids and help them reconnect with the natural world. Pura Vida, which means pure life, is the country’s motto. That laid back attitude is evident in every inch of the country. Life moves at a slower pace, and the rich natural environment can turn even the most die-hard city-lover into a fan of the great outdoors.

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - Costa Rica

Paraguay
Today’s kids have been raised on constant stimulation from televisions, computers, video games, iPads, and iPhones. They aren’t accustomed to living life without these types of stimulation. A trip to Paraguay, where the majority of the population are subsistence farmers, can open your kids’ eyes to a much simpler way of life.

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - Paraguay

India
The structure and organization that our society’s kids have grown accustomed to can sometimes be at an almost detrimental level. In real life, kids must learn to deal with chaos and confusion. A country like India, with its frenetic energy, is a great chance to expose your kids to the chaos of life. With its cacophany of sounds, colors, and tastes, India is a rush to the senses.

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - India

Singapore
Spoiled kids can sometimes be picky in their tastes, especially when it comes to food. A great way to introduce your kids to diverse cuisines is to visit Singapore, with its melting pot of Chinese, British, Arab, Indian, and Malaysian influences. In Singapore, kids can sample samosas from India, goat curry from Malaysia, or Singapore’s own famous chili crabs.

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - Singapore

Ghana
In our society of excess, kids can often seem wasteful, demanding the latest toys and gadgets. A trip to Ghana, where kids have learned to be resourceful in their play, can turn your spoiled kid around and make them appreciate what they have. Though still considered a developing country, Ghana is surprisingly rich in natural resources, and has a fairly developed tourism industry, which makes it an accessible country for families and kids to visit.

Unspoil Your Spoiked Kids - Ghana

Turkey
In an age where internet memes and trends come and go every fifteen seconds, kids can sometimes lose sight of the importance of history. Turkey, a country with a diverse and storied history, is the perfect antithesis to today’s transient and ephemeral trends. Straddling the cultures of both Europe and the Middle East, Turkey’s history dates back to prehistoric days, and can be explored through the various historical landmarks scattered throughout the country. Check out the leaf, “My favorite spots of our Turkey trip” for ideas of where to go in Turkey.

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - Turkey

Philippines
Spoiled kids are used to living in comfort, and often forget that not everyone in the world lives this way. A trip to the Philippines, particularly to see the provinces beyond the big cities and resort towns, can help your kids see the disparity between the rich and the poor. Philippines is a beautiful country, and in the rural areas, kids can see families living in small huts on family farms. Such a stark difference from the bustling cities of Manila and Baguio.

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - Philippines

Cambodia
For parents wanting to expose their kids to an even more rural environment, consider the country of Cambodia. Known for the beautiful Angkor Wat temple complex, Cambodia is still very much a pastoral based society. Kids and families can witness this rural environment at a much slower pace by renting bicycles and exploring the temples and surrounding villages over the course of several days.

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - Cambodia

Thailand
A common complaint of parents regarding their kids is their disconnection to cultural traditions. In Thailand, kids can get a glimpse of Thai culture through the dance, food, temples, and religious ceremonies. A Buddhist country, Thailand has a large selection of temples throughout the country that kids and families can visit and learn more about. To get ideas of where to visit in Thailand, check out the leaf, “Thailand in 10 Days.”

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - Thailand

Poland
Kids who are spoiled sometimes forget how privileged they are. They forget that in many parts of the world, and throughout history, kids have been denied the opportunity to live a normal childhood. Places like Aushwitz camp in Poland, are a stark reminder of the dark sides of human history. Formerly a Nazi concentration camp, Aushwitz is now open to visitors, so that people may never forget what people are capable of doing to each other. To see a more nature-oriented side of Poland, check out the leaf, “Spring flowers – Botanic garden, Cracow, Poland“.

Unspoil Your Spoiled Kids - Poland

Travel is more than just going to a destination and checking activities off a list. It can be an opportunity to show your kids how people around the world live, and instill in them a deeper appreciation for the life that they have. By doing this, you can slowly begin to change your kids from being spoiled to being actively engaged global citizens.

For more ideas of where to take your kids, check out the various leaves on LeafCanoe by downloading the app.

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Ten Tips for a Great Kenya Safari

One of the most popular activities to do while visiting Kenya is to go on a safari. The idea of a Kenyan safari conjures up images of a rugged explorer riding through the African landscape in search of lions, giraffes, or wildebeest. In actuality, a safari, which in Swahili means journey, is more of an organized tour through Kenya’s national parks. However, there are still plenty of opportunities for excitement and adventure on a Kenyan safari. The country of Kenya is home to a large variety of animals, including the “Big 5” of game animals: lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards, and rhinoceros. For those coming to Kenya for the safari experience, you are sure to come across one of these animals during your safari excursion.

Kenyan Safari - Hippos

LeafCanoer, Daijie, recently shared her experiences on a Kenyan safari in her leaf, titled, “Kenya Safari.” From visiting an elephant orphanage to boating Lake Navisha, Daijie’s leaf offers plenty of great suggestions of what to see and what to avoid while on safari.  Every traveler’s safari experience is different. Yet despite the differences, there are still a few tips that travelers can keep in mind to ensure a great Kenyan safari experience.

Tip #1: Avoid the tourist season
Many travelers go on safari either during the hot and dry months of December and January, or the cool and dry months of June to August. However, a better time to go is during the months of March to May, during the rainy season. There are fewer tourists during this time, but there are also more animals out, as the weather is cooler and there tends to be a larger supply of water available.

Kenyan Safari - Elephant

Tip #2: Pack a duffel bag
Most safari tours prefer travelers to have a duffel bag rather then the standard suitcase. The soft sides of the duffel bag makes it easier to pack into a minivan compared to a suitcase.

Tip #3: Bring a headlamp
While most lodges will have some lighting by way of lamps or lanterns, it can get pretty dark in the African wilderness. It’s helpful to have a headlamp handy on those rare occasions when you find yourself alone in the dark.

Kenyan Safari - Flamingos

Tip #4: Get visa on arrival
Visitors to Kenya can apply for a visa prior to arriving in country, however, citizens of most countries can opt to get a visa on arrival. If you’re choosing the visa on arrival option, do expect some wait time for processing your visa when you are at the airport.

Tip #5: Get local SIM card
Wifi is very limited in Kenya. If you’re looking to stay “connected,” a good option is to purchase a local SIM card. You can buy a SIM card that has prepaid data, to allow you to connect to the internet. Local SIM cards can be purchased right at the airport.

Tip #6: Save money by arranging everything in country
Most travelers choose to book their safaris before arriving in country. This ensures that they have a place to stay during their safari, especially for stays at some of the more famous lodges. However, budget conscious travelers may want to wait until arriving in Kenya before booking a safari. You can often get cheaper rates when booking in country, or by going through a local company.

Kenyan Safari - Lion

Tip #7: Stock up on your shillings before the safari
While there are plenty of ATMs in the cities, you’ll have a hard time finding one once you are out on safari. It’s a good idea to have enough shillings on hand before you leave on safari, so that you’re not stuck without any money.

Tip #8: Aim for early morning or late afternoon
To capture the best lighting for photography, it’s best to time your safari excursions for early morning or late afternoon. Coincidentally, this is also when the weather is the coolest, and you can avoid the harsh midday sun.

Kenyan Safari - Zebra

Tip #9: Bring along a field guide and binoculars
You will be seeing a lot of animals on your safari. Having a field guide on hand, or a book that provides descriptions of the animals you will see on safari, will help you immensely in understanding what it is that you are seeing. Additionally, a pair of binoculars will be helpful to view the animals from a relatively safe distance.

Tip #10: Wear casual and comfortable clothes
The most important tip is to wear comfortable clothes. Choose fabrics that are breathable and easily washable, as well as ones that will hide dirt and dust well.

Kenyan Safari - Monkey

Like all travel experiences, a Kenyan safari is whatever you make of it. With luck, these tips can make it into something that is both unforgettable and life changing.

To explore more of Daijie’s “Kenya Safari” leaf, or to explore other destinations, download the LeafCanoe app.

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