Columbias Best Holiday Lights Displays

Celebrate the holiday season in Columbia, South Carolina by enjoying some of the best light displays in the state. Attend Lights Before Christmas at the zoo, Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals Park, or Harborside Lights at Lake Carolina. Visitors of all ages will enjoy the seasonal activities.

Lights Before Christmas is one of the signature events at Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens. The zoo grounds sparkle with nearly one million lights and animated holiday displays from November 17-December 30. Enjoy the holiday music and warm up around the Jingle Bell Bonfire. Hot chocolate, marshmallows, and other treats are available for purchase. Children may visit with Santa. The event runs from 6-9 pm nightly, except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas. Advanced tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for ages 3-12. Prices are $2 more after 5pm at the gate. Riverbanks Zoo is located at 500 Wildlife Parkway, off I-26 at Greystone Blvd.

Holiday Lights on the River is the largest drive through Christmas lights display in the midlands region. Located at Saluda Shoals Park, the light show runs November 21-December 31 from 6-10pm. The two mile driving loop features more than a million dazzling lights and over 400 animated lights displays. Visitors will see a Victorian Village, Old Man Winter, and the 12 Days of Christmas. The Dazzling Dancing Forest comes alive with dancing, lighted trees synchronized to holiday music. Park the car and walk along the Wetland Wonderland Walking Trail or take the Red-Nose Express Hayride for $1. Enjoy the thrilling Winter Wonder Ride on weekends, or nightly from December 14-23. Riders tube downhill on a 125 foot course through a series of lighted arches. This ride is fun for the whole family. Tickets are $2 per slide and tubes are provided. Visit on Nights of Wonder, December 14-23, for 10 nights of special family activities. Make holiday crafts, visit Santa and the gift shop, purchase refreshments, and roast marshmallows. Ride the Saluda Shoals Choo-Choo for $2 per person. Admission to Holiday Lights on the River is $10 per car and $20 for 15-passenger vans. The park is located at 5605 Bush River Road.

The residential community of Lake Carolina hosts their annual Harborside Lights on December 7 from 6-9pm. Visitors may drive through Lake Carolinas beautifully decorated neighborhoods and enjoy thousands of lights and luminaries at the Village Green and Town Center. The family celebration includes musical entertainment, visits with Santa, horse-drawn carriage rides, and holiday treats. The activities also include the Harborside Lights 5K and Fun Run. The Lake Carolina community is located northeast of Columbia at 100 Lake Carolina Blvd. The event is free and open to the public.

The Perfect Vacation in Thailand

Go on and have the perfect vacation in Thailand. Don’t just go to Thailand following the trail of one of your friends who has already been there. Don’t also go to Thailand on the advice of your favorite Tour Operator or as per what you have just read in one of the Tour Guides or brochures. Be different. Go and do some volunteer work in Thailand instead. Mind you when you go as a volunteer in Thailand, you get more bangs for your bucks! You get to see the true Thailand, not the sanitized version that’s presented to millions of tourists who have visited Thailand before you. When you wish to go as a volunteer in Thailand the true Thailand will open up in front of you, the rural Thailand that’s unseen by the outside world unless some like you who go over to do volunteer work in Thailand.

So, what kind of volunteer work can you do in Thailand? Do you have to be a professional? Could just anyone go? Will you get adequate time off from your volunteer work in Thailand to be able to see the country and its villages? When you wish to sign up as a volunteer in Thailand you could take any of the several options that are open to you. You could take up teaching and be engaged with little children who could be taught English by you. You could participate in Thailand’s medical program or one in childcare. If you are interested in animals you would surely enjoy working for the welfare of gibbons or elephants besides sea turtles and rescued dogs. You need not be an architect or an engineer but you could participate in Thailand’s building activities and help in building a school, a home or a place for putting up destitute kids. You could also help in community activities such as in vegetable gardens or mini fish farms. Generally, you will need to work for only four days a week, leaving you with a long weeked to explore the countryside or the surrounding mountains. The perfect vacation in Thailand beckons.

Myself webmaster of Starfish Volunteers ( ) – a growing ‘not for profit’ volunteer and gap year organisation providing volunteer opportunities, volunteer Thailand, volunteer travel, community volunteering and volunteer work in Thailand.

Baring All Go Nude On A Greece Holiday

If you’re looking for a trip that’s as light on your wallet as it is on your suitcase, cheap holidays in Greece are the perfect answer for those wanting to enjoy the stunning surroundings of this country au naturel.

World renowned as a premier destination for naturism, Greece and its many islands offer the ideal getaway for visitors who prefer going nude, and the attitude to naturism in this Mediterranean country is second to none.
Nudism can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks, when athletes would compete in the nude and men were depicted naked in the many sculptures that have reached us today. And although the locals can be conservative, this open-minded approach to the body is still clear, making Greece one of the best places in the world to enjoy naturism, whether you’re a novice or a seasoned nudist.

Boasting secluded coves, long stretches of sand or more popular nude-friendly beaches; it’s no wonder that many people are often tempted to try nude bathing for the first time during their holidays in Greece. There are many places to choose from where clothing is optional, and each one is suited to any traveller, from family and couples’ beaches to gay or mixed beaches. Although the list of known nude beaches is almost endless, some can be textile (clothes-wearing) during the high season especially weekends when the locals flock to the seaside, and others can be nude one year and clothed the next. Best check before leaving the bathing suit at home.

There are quite literally dozens of beaches which encourage nude bathing in Greece, but two of the most famous nude-friendly beaches are in Mykonos: Paradise and Super Paradise. Now better known for its ‘party beach’ reputation, if you’re looking for seclusion, this isn’t the place. Try the island of Crete, where its remote coastline is better suited to naturism away from any gawkers.

Although there are numerous nude beaches throughout Crete, most of them can be found in the south-west of the island. The Red Beach (not to be confused with the textile beaches of the same name) remains popular as a nudist destination, particularly at the north end of the beach, whilst Filaki Beach is the only official nude beach in Greece and home to an official naturist resort.

It may be relatively conservative, but the island of Skiathos (featured in the film Mamma Mia!) has a well-known nude quarter, with names like Big Banana, Little Banana and Nameless Banana making the island’s three nudist beaches all that more memorable. But with so many of the country’s islands boasting remote shorelines and carefully hidden coves, nudists will be in their element wherever they go.

If you are tempted to bare all for the first time on your Greece holiday, do remember the sunscreen. Swimming sandals are also optional, at the risk of encountering a sea anemone, but forget the camera it can be intrusive.

Planning A Budget Bahamas Holiday Getaway From Miami Just Got Easier

Travellers planning to book 2012 Miami holidays in Fort Lauderdale now have the unique opportunity to enjoy a brief escape to the enchanting Caribbean island of Bahamas. Joint owners of the Balearia Bahamas Express-Spanish ferry operator Balearia and the Capo Group, have recently announced the launch of the first ever US-Bahamas ferry service.

The Balearia Bahamas Express will be whisking passengers away from Fort Lauderdale, Miami to their budget Bahamas holidays experience in Grand Bahama. The newly launched ferry service means that travellers can enjoy town-centre holidays to the Bahamas and Miami at a bargain price making for a truly unforgettable holiday experience.

The exciting new offer is currently being marketed as “an appealing alternative to air travel” with significant savings to be made over opting for a direct flight to the Bahamas from Miami. Travellers can choose between economy class and VIP/first class travel. An economy day trip starts at $49.50 per person while the first class day rate will cost upwards of $65 per person.

Holidaymakers hoping to see a little bit more of the Bahamas can opt for an overnight stay which will cost approximately $25.5 per person on top of the day rates. All passengers are permitted two pieces of hand luggage at no extra cost; however, the prices listed do not include the departure tax of $18 and operational charge of $12.5.

With the exception of Wednesdays the ferry, christened “Pinar del Rio”, will be running a daily service taking holidaymakers to their short stay Bahamas holidays departing from Port Everglades Terminal One in Fort Lauderdale at 10 am. Return trips are scheduled to depart for Fort Lauderdale at 7:30 pm. Travelling at a remarkable 32 knots the Balearia Bahamas Express boasts of making the 76 mile journey in a mere two and a half hours.

Holidaymakers will have the opportunity to relax, enjoy the magnificent scenery and take in the calming sea breeze on the spacious decks. On board services include a cafe- bar, movie viewing facilities, baby changing stations and duty free shopping. Passengers are reminded that a valid passport is need for check in.

A river Shannon Boating Holiday in Ireland

I have recently come back from what I can only describe as the most relaxing and interesting vacation I have ever been on. This year myself and my wife were looking at holiday options and based on a recommendation by some friends we thought that a trip to Ireland might give us a dose of culture and scenery. I had only ever heard good things about the country, so we started planing. We were informed that the best way to see the real Irish countryside was by boat, cruising on the river Shannon which runs through the center of the entire country. So we did our research and booked a cruiser from a little town called Banagher. We had never operated a boat before but we were given a brief class beforehand which made everything easy.

We booked the cruiser for three nights, we thought that this would allow us time to see the rest of the country and it did. The rest of the country was fantastic but the truth is I never wanted to leave that boat. The river is full of history covering three thousand years, the ruins of churches, abbeys, castles and towers are everywhere and free to explore. Not far from Banagher is the ruins of an ancient seventh century city which you can cruise right up to and walk around. It was all very extraordinary. You will never be cruising for long without meeting a lovely village and stopping in at a pub. One pub we visited was 350 years old and the old part of the bar was preserved from this time. Another small village had huge deserted stone buildings and military towers. A local told us this was in case Napoleon was to attack England by coming through Ireland. All of these structures still stand like ornaments on the landscape passed down through generations until there meaning has been eroded to just spectacular sites. Cruising by low lying green meadows to the sweet backing notes of wildlife all around really recharge my soul. As the famous Irish Poet Yeats said ‘Come with me oh Human Child, to the waters and the wild’ my natural human instincts for exploring, for the wild were satisfied and the scenic delights that crossed my eyes will never be forgotten. Until next year when I will return to the river Shannon.

There is a company called Discover the Shannon Link: which arrange holidays on the river and were really helpful with us.

Don’t Ruin Your Vacation Because You Forgot To Pack Your Holiday Insurance!

Budget holiday insurance is the smartest way to travel; even the cheapest holiday insurance could help you to re-coup costs that you may have to face if you were to lose your tickets, passport or credit cards. What if you were to leave your luggage in the back of a taxi, or if it was lost at the airport? If there was a natural disaster that cut your travel plans short? Budget holiday insurance could be the only way you gain compensation for such events.

When travelling on a budget holiday insurance is still the smartest thing you could pack in your suitcase “” besides sunscreen! Why risk ruining your vacation, for the sake of a few extra dollars to give the you peace of mind that you could travel safely anywhere in the world and be covered for most if not all eventualities you may face.

Imagine if you or a family member fell ill or had an accident while you were in another country. Medical expenses when you are not in your own country can be extremely expensive and distressing for you. Would you like that to ruin your holiday? It”s bad enough that you are ill or injured at all, without having to find money to pay for medical expenses, not to mention possibly changing flights or accommodation bookings, or having to cut the holiday short and go home.

If a family member was to fall ill or die while you were overseas, even the cheapest holiday insurance could cover you for that. Changing flights and travel bookings at the last minute can be a costly experience, and a time consuming one. If you knew that you could claw back some of the money you had to spend to get home quickly, the load on you could be lightened a little. In a time of family crisis and distress, the last thing you want to worry about is how you will pay your credit card bills for all the expenses it cost you to get home.

Holiday insurance has helped many people, in a variety of situations. Some holiday insurance companies even cover fees incurred at the dog kennels or cattery should your return home be delayed by some unforeseen circumstance. Loss of income as a result of an illness or injury that was covered by your budget holiday insurance, could even be covered if you were unable to return to work after your holiday.
With a variety of different policies and levels of cover available from many different companies, there has never been a better time to take holiday insurance, whether it be for a holiday within Australia, or overseas. Just a one off, or if you travel many times in a year; make sure you find out more today!

Destination India – Vacations And Luxury Travel

For those of you who have always wished to visit India, here are some tips on planning the most beautiful vacation of your life.

The first step towards planning an Indian vacation is to get a visa from one of the Indian consulates close to your place of residence. You would need to submit two passport size photographs, a visa form and your passport along with the visa fees at the consulate.

In the mean time you can begin planning the places you would like to visit on your trip. Depending on your time of travel to India vacations can be planned according to the climatic conditions in a particular region. The best time to visit the northern plains in Rajasthan and the beautiful beaches of Goa is from September to April, it is nicely warm and sunny and ideal for sightseeing as well as relaxation. Rains in Kerala and some other parts of the south extend from May to November, therefore it would be advisable to plan your South India vacations between December and April. If summer is your chosen time of travel India offers numerous holiday destinations such as the cold desert of Ladakh with its unique landscape and culture or the green valleys of Shimla and Rishikesh for lovers of nature and sport.

With its charming mix of tradition and modern, India is a fascinating experience. If it is luxury you are looking at, let India surprise you with the magnificent forts and palaces, which you can not only visit but can stay in as well. Treat yourself to the sights of exquisite marble temples, the sounds of the gushing seas, the smells of the spices and the rustle of the silks. Let yourself be pampered like a Maharaja and Luxury India Travels will soon be etched in your memory.

If you are travelling with children to India vacations will be a truly memorable experience. With its vast variety of wild animals and unique activities, India promises you a journey right out of The Jungle Book. Elephant rides, camel rides, Jeep safaris, toy trains with steam engines are some interesting activities for children and grown ups alike. In case the South is your destination of travel India has unique options for your stay including tree houses in the jungle and charming villas on plantations, where children can help take care of the domestic elephant.

You need not worry about your health and safety. No vaccinations are prescribed for travel to India, however one could take prophylactic treatment for tetanus and malaria. Normal precautions with regards to safety should easily see you through on your trip to India. Clothing depends on the time of the year, however cotton is the best fabric for all regions except the hills, where thicker clothing would be needed.

Holiday Lodges In Cumbria

Cumbria is a popular location to own a holiday lodge. With incredible scenery, great family attractions and friendly residents, it’s easy to see why so many people are purchasing holiday lodges in Cumbria.

Whether you’re looking for an idyllic countryside retreat or a lakeside location for family breaks, there are plenty of holiday lodges in Cumbria to choose from.

If you’re looking for a holiday lodge in Cumbria, then South Lakeland Lodges might have just what you’re looking for. South Lakeland Lodges operate a number of holiday lodge parks in Cumbria in countryside and lakeside locations. These parks include Fallbarrow, Gatebeck, Limefitt and White Cross Bay.

Each of these incredible holiday lodge parks in Cumbria have a wide range of holiday lodges for sale from some of the best manufacturers in the industry; Cambrian, Lissett Homes, Oak Grove Cabins and Wessex.

Cambrian understands how important it is for you to find your perfect holiday lodge and offer models that are of an extremely high quality. The Plantation, Lakeshore and Prospect are three incredible holiday lodge with the latter two models only being available at Fallbarrow’s exclusive Lakeside Development.

Lissett Homes have over 30 years experience creating top quality holiday lodges and have gained a reputation of being one of the very best in the industry. The Odyssey and Utopia models showcase Lissett’s talent for creating incredible holiday lodges.

Oak Grove produce holiday lodges built to the residential standard. Each holiday lodge is custom designed to suit your needs and to your specifications. Oak Grove Cabins ensure all their holiday lodges provide the style, comfort, luxury and functionality you require. The Elm and Oakdale models are truly superb.

Wessex guarantee holiday lodges completed to the very highest of standards and pride themselves on considering every detail of their holiday homes and keeping up to date with any industry innovations. The Contemporary and Deckhouse models are two excellent examples of Wessex’s incredible holiday lodge range. The Deckhouse model is only available at Fallbarrow’s exclusive Lakeside Development.

When it comes to holiday lodges in Cumbria, South Lakeland Lodges have some of the best models available on some of the best holiday lodge parks in Cumbria.

Pet Friendly Vacation Homes Rentals By Owner Can Make Your Vacation More Relaxing And Enjoyable

Vacations can be unforgettable memories if tourists find good places to stay at. More often then not, tourists are ready to pay money, if they get more room, more facilities, or privacy than that can be provided by a rented room. Several owners put up their homes for vacation rentals during peak seasons in United States. The different kinds of vacation rentals by owners are private homes, luxury villas, resort condos, ski cabins, lake Cabin, apartments, country cottage and retreats.

Vacation homes rentals by owner come fully furnished and decorated just like a luxury home. It is generally spacious and has a lot of open spaces as compared to hotels. These Villa rentals are excellent for all families whether small or large. Vacation homes rentals by owners offer facilities like kitchen, parking that can be optimally used.

To enjoy vacation with your family, you cannot imagine being without your dog or cat long enough to go on a vacation. Your pet is a part of the family and boarding your best friend can be very unhealthy for many reasons. Most dogs love to explore new surroundings and do very well on vacations with their family. Especially if you are driving to your vacation destination, and your dog travels well in the car there is no reason not to take him with you. You will need to find vacation home rentals that will accept your dog, but that’s not particularly difficult. Many people think their pup would not be welcome on vacation rental properties, but many times the owner of the vacation rental property is actually a pet owner, and understands your desire to bring your dog.

Many vacation homes rentals, apartment rentals, villa rentals, apartment rentals, cabin rentals, lake cabin rentals, cottage rentals give facilities of pet friendly vacation rentals. They have different varieties of homes rentals like beachfront luxury vacation rentals with discounts and cheap rates with facility of last minute vacation rentals deals.

Pet friendly vacation rentals can make your getaway retreat a little more relaxing with the peace of mind that your beloved dog or cat is getting the love and attention he deserves and they are not alone at home. No matter what you have planned for your vacation, you can bring along your four-legged friends for a true family trip.

Search for your favorite pet friendly vacation rentals, home, luxury villa, resort condo, ski cabin, country cottage and more at United States, Central America, Mexico.

Holiday Worship Tips For Families With Deaf Children

For the holidays many families go to worship. Here are some tips for including your deaf child and making it fun!
1.Work with your place of worship to have an American Sign Language interpreter for worship services and activities. Usually you have to search for an interpreter who knows the vocabulary and has experience with your worship services. These interpreters are out there, you just have to start your search early! Your place of worship should pay for the interpreter. At our church, after a while we started making the arrangements with the interpreter directly via email and phone, and the church paid the interpreter, this was more efficient and avoided miscommunications.
2.Here is a big tip: work with someone involved with the worship services to get copies of the agenda, scriptures, hymns, and sheet music or at least the words to the songs that will be performed at the service for the interpreter before the worship services. Sometimes it is difficult for the interpreter to hear/understand the words of songs someone or the choir is signing.
3.For really well attended services, arrive early so your family can sit in the front row in order to see the interpreter without obstruction. The location for the interpreter and the entire deaf persons family should be reserved by the church.
4.Include your deaf child in any holiday related activity, for example making advent wreaths etc. With good planning, the interpreter should attend these activities too.
5.If your family will be participating in worship services include your deaf child along with your other children. For example, at one Christmas service our family had to read a couple of passages of scripture. Larry signed a passage and the interpreter interpreted. Larry has a Bible for the Deaf and he signed the passage from his Bible. Again, explain to the interpreter the format of the particular worship service and get the interpreter scripture passages etc early.

From the time we moved to Massachusetts, when Larry was 10 years old, right through to Larrys high school and university years we attended the Presbyterian Church in Sudbury, MA. We were blessed to have Pastor George Saylor who did a great job of including Larry in church activities and services. Pastor Saylor and elder Doris Soule did all that was necessary to ensure that an American Sign Language interpreter was available and paid, for all church activities that Larry attended. Doris Soule gave Larry his Bible for the Deaf. We were very lucky to find Marion Butland to interpret at church activities and services.

When Larry and Amrit were expecting Raveena and starting a family we moved from the Presbyterian Church in Sudbury to Grace Chapel in Lexington, MA. Grace Chapel has a Deaf Ministry with many Deaf members and American Sign Language interpreters for church activities and worship services.

Please let us hear your holiday worship tips!