Hostels: The Best Way to See the World

Lots of young people get their impressions of travel from early trips with mom and dad – driving to Yellowstone and staying in a roadside motel with a pool in the parking lot, or flying to Europe and staying in a fancy hotel. Or maybe it was somewhere in between – a Holiday Inn in Orlando. Great trips, no doubt. But not the vibe you’re looking for now.

As a result, many travelers don’t realize that there’s an international network of clean beds and good times that are much cheaper than hotels, much cleaner than motels and a better time than both: Hostels.

What is a Hostel?

Hostels are small, usually individually-owned guest houses around the world often run by young people looking to share travel experiences and culture with international travelers. They’re bare bones and often divided into a few dorm rooms with bunk beds for a few or as many as 40. Many also have common areas where everyone hangs out together and a small bar (or a least a fridge) from which you can buy a local beer. And they’re geared toward young people looking to travel cheap. (Though you’ll run into the occasional crusty, 65-year-old riding his motorcycle across South America. But usually he can drink you under the table, has better stories and gives you something to aspire to in 40 years). And because hostels are generally small and cheap, you’ll find them in even the most remote corners of the world.

How Much Does it Cost to Stay in A Hostel?

Hostels range widely in cost. But generally the smaller, the more remote and the more independent the hostel, the cheaper it is. You’ll find dorm beds for just a few dollars a night in many remote locations rising up to $100 or more for a private room in Berlin. The Spicy Lao Backpackers Hostel in Luang Pranbang, Laos, for example, will run you $3.39 per night for a bunk bed in a room with four to six beds while a similar bed in the Rio Hostel in the heart of Ipanema will cost you $25 per night. Both are way cheaper than a Radisson. And you’re likely to find some form of hostel no matter where you go.

It’s About More Than the Money. It’s about Good Times

Sure, it’s great to spend a week in Laos for the cost of two beers and a salad at your local coffee shop. And you probably wouldn’t be able to see the world without hostels and your trusty travel backpack. But the best part isn’t their price. It’s the people. Unlike hotels or motels were people check in through some cold, lifeless lobby and just go about their business. Hostels are meant for sharing and making friends. Almost all of them have a community area were you can just sit down next to whomever happens to be there and share your stories of the road or find out where everyone is going out that night. You’ll party together, sleep together and often end up traveling together with the friends you meet at hostels.

Hostel Misconceptions

Don’t let the people who’ve never done hostel traveling or who’ve had a bad experience ruin your enthusiasm. You might hear that hostels are dangerous, that people will steal your stuff or that the dorms are too loud and you can’t sleep. It’s just not true. Hostels are filled with people just like you. They just want to see the world and have good times. Most hostels offer lockers to store your backpack or you can use a few luggage locks to keep your stuff safe. And sure, sometimes you have to listen to a rowdy crowd come in at 3 a.m. after a night of partying or the couple next to you hooking up. But both can be cured with a simple pair of ear plugs. Plus, if you’re only spending $7 a night, a little noise is worth it.

Where to Find Hostels

You can find hostels the same way you find everything else: Google. There are corporate hostel booking agencies that do make things easier, such as Hostels.com, Hostelbookers.com and Hostelworld.com. They’re essentially one stop shops for booking hostels no matter where you go. But you can also just do a little Googleing of your own to find that cool new place that hasn’t signed up yet with one of the booking services, or just doesn’t want to. Most of the guidebooks and their websites, such as Lonely Planet, also offer extensive lists. Or you can just do what a lot of us do and wing it. When you’re about to leave one town for the next, just ask your new hostel friends if they know a cool place to hang in the next town, and they’ll likely hook you up better than any service ever could.

So if you have $100 dollars in our pocket, just remember — that’s two weeks of lodging, food and local craft beer in a country you’ve never been to before. And hostels are what make that happen.

Ful Travel Backpacks

Ful Backpacks

Granted, calling a backpack functional art may be a stretch. It is just a backpack after all. But if there’s any company out there that pays as close attention to aesthetics as function, it’s Ful. In fact, their motto is “Create quality bags with a fashion edge.” And they succeed at both.

Ful was born in the gumbo of music, history and culture that is Memphis, Tennessee and is run and designed by a small group of people who are almost as passionate about music and culture as they are about backpacks. And they use one to – forgive the pun – fuel the other. That’s evident by everyone from Justine Timberlake and Taylor Swift, to old-school Slash from Guns n Roses and Will.i.am turning to Ful for their bags. Ful breaks its bags into a few categories – day packs and backpacks, messengers and duffels. And each is designed to reflect both cutting-edge backpack design and aesthetics.

One area where Ful shines is in accommodating your electronics. So here are a few or our favorite Ful media/laptop/tablet/music-friendly day packs.

Ful Refugee: This is one sweet bag. It’s got an easy-access, side-opening laptop pouch in the back of the bag instead of the front for added protection. It’s got a separate front pouch with pockets to store all the stuff that normally drops to the bottom of your bag.  And it’s tough, water-proof bottom keeps everything dry.

Ful Venue: If you’re just going to a coffee shop to read a few music blogs on your tablet, the venue is the one. It’s clean, geometric, rectangular design actually accommodates a 15.5-inch laptop and tablets. And it opens into two packable compartments. If you’re looking for a dependable, compact day pack that doesn’t look like every other bag out there, the Venue is it.

Ful also offers a few larger-size, laptop backpacks that fall somewhere between day pack and travel backpack. So if you’re heading to a music festival for a few days and need to bring some clothes or gear in addition to your laptop, here are a couple of Ful’s best offerings:

Ful Treble Maker: At 28.3 liters, the Treble Maker offers more than enough room for trips. Like the Refugee, its laptop compartment is in the back for added protection and it’s even got a sternum strap and water bottle pocket if you want to take it on a hike.

Ful Tennman: We’re not sure if the Tennman’s 32 liters of storage or its 16-inch laptop compartment made Snoop Dog – now Snoop Lion – turn to the Tennman, but we dig it. This is a full-on backpack – water bottle pocket, sternum strap, large main compartment – that uses a sleek, narrow design to make it perfect for ever day use or travel.

Before we go, we have to mention two more of our favorites. They don’t fall into any particular category. They’re just cool bags:

Ful Heart Throb Rolling Backpack: You’re young. You’re strong. But that doesn’t mean you want to haul stuff on your back when you don’t have to. The Heart Throb offers nearly 40-liters of storage, is super lightweight, and offers most of the features mentioned above. And it gives your back a break when you’re chasing a bus after dancing in Buenos Aires until 6 a.m.

Ful Tremelo Day Pack: We include the Tremolo simply for its cool factor. It looks like just a World War II canvas pack, but is designed with all the laptop-compatible, cutting-edge features Ful is known for. Call it vintage modern. Either way it’s cool.

So whether you’re heading to the work, school or the Berlin Festival, Ful offers backpacks that capture the zeitgeist of culture, technology, music and design.

TravelKeys.com Announces Worldwide Collection with Launch of New Website

Travel News – Shared from one of our travel partners

Specializing in luxury villa rentals, Travel Keys evolves to meet changing consumer needs, now offers over 5,000 luxury properties globally

tklogoTravel Keys, an elite provider of handpicked, inspected luxury villas throughout the world announced today that it has completed major re-branding efforts and will begin to market a new collection of worldwide luxury vacation homes through its updated website (www.travelkeys.com).

The newly launched vacation rental website reflects the company’s status as a global leader in luxury villa rentals, with one of the largest collections of private homes available featuring complimentary concierge services. Focusing solely on the luxury vacation rental market, the Travel Keys website features a collection of more than 5,000 vacation homes throughout the Caribbean, Hawaii, Europe, South America, the United States and beyond.

“For many years, we have been a regional leader for villas in the Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii. In an effort to meet the needs of our clients’ ever expanding desire for a greater selection of worldwide vacation destinations, we developed the TravelKeys.com worldwide distribution platform and brand,” said Travel Keys CEO, Bobby Gibson.

Keeping with the company’s commitment to quality and service, each of the new vacation homes has been inspected by a member of the Travel Keys team or one of its trusted local partners. Travel Keys has dispatched their team of travel professionals throughout the world for property inspections as part of their expansion. Travel Keys also brings their focus on customer service to all their new properties, offering complimentary concierge services, ensuring all guests have a professionally planned vacation and a world class experience… all without any membership fees!

“It’s truly a fascinating time for the vacation rental industry, as vacation homes continue to increase in popularity as an accommodation option. There are very few companies that operate a global collection of luxury vacation homes and we feel our business will continue to prosper if we stay true to our ideals while providing excellent service to our guests,” said Gibson.

About TravelKeys.com:

For more than 25 years, Travel Keys home rentals has been a widely recognized leader in luxury vacation rentals. The Travel Keys collection includes over 5,000 of the most luxurious, stylish and polished luxury villas and holiday rental properties in over 100 destinations worldwide. Travel Keys’ expertise and customer service has earned continued praise in the following publications: The Robb Report, Conde Nast Traveler, USA Today, Travel & Leisure, Island Villas, Island Times, Caribbean Travel + Life, Islands Magazine, Passport Magazine, Bridal Guide and more.

Buffalo Digital Ultrasound

Buffalo Digital Mammograms

Mammogram Screenings

Every year, over 200,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer. This makes breast cancer one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States, second only to skin cancer. However, over recent years, scientists have made significant advances in breast cancer screening and treatment methods, helping doctors to more accurately detect and diagnose breast cancer even in the earliest stages. Because of these advances, the number of breast cancer fatalities has actually decreased over the past 20 years thanks in large part to digital mammography and digital ultrasound. What are these advances in screening methods, and what steps can women take to help detect or even prevent breast cancer?

Doctors agree that the most effective way to detect breast cancer, especially in its early stages, is to have a mammogram X-ray. Doctors highly recommend that women have a mammogram at least once every year, especially women under 50 years of age. This will help ensure that any signs of breast cancer are detected and then treated at the earliest stage possible.

Women who are looking to have a mammogram have two main options for the test, a film mammogram or a digital mammogram. For many years, film mammograms were the only option for women. Operating much like a traditional film camera does, a film mammogram will record the images from the mammogram on a roll of film for doctors to examine after the screening.

In recent years, many doctors have begun to use a new form of mammogram, called a digital mammogram. Digital mammograms likewise operate much like digital cameras do today. This form of mammogram will record the screening images digitally on a computer. Then, after the test is completed, doctors can go back and alter the image as needed, such as enlarging the image or brightening it. This allows doctors to even more accurately detect and diagnose the earliest stages of breast cancer. For this reason, many doctors are recommending that patients use digital rather than film mammograms.

Whether you choose to have a digital mammogram or a film mammogram, doctors agree that every woman should regularly have a mammogram X-ray. No matter if you choose to have one every year, or as often as your doctor recommends, mammograms have proven to be the most effective way to detect and then diagnose breast cancer for women in the United States. Talk with your doctor to find out what are the best mammogram screening options for you.

Innovative Business Guide

From the Editors – We are huge supports of BuzzTown, we couldn’t help but share this exciting news about one of most successful business and consumer portals in Durano Colorado and the Four Corners region of Colorado.  Buzztown is always on the cutting edge of technology and social marketing innovation so this news is very exciting.  We know this is far from Panama, but we knew you’d appreciate seeing an example of travel and destination marketing at it’s best.

BuzzTown.com, the Durango Colorado based business to consumer portal, released an innovative redesigned user experience for connecting consumers to local businesses.  Instead of trying to add themselves into the growing list of business and consumer social networks, BuzzTown.com is focused on integrating users existing social networks with the latest deals, events, and happenings in their local community.  BuzzTown.com reaches the Four Corners area including Durango Colorado, Las Cruces, Grand Junction, Pagosa Spring, and other communities in the region.

The new site will focuses on the parts of BuzzTown people have used the most.

“We found people use BuzzTown to connect to businesses and make buying decisions” said Kricket Lewis, Director of Product Development and Marketing. “The redesign is focused on giving people a better, faster and easier way to do that “

In addition to connecting people to deals and events happening in their town, the redesigned site makes it easier to share that information via social networks.

“People want to tell their friends about a great deal,” says Grant Pullman, Manager of Marketing Communications at BuzzTown.com. “The new site makes sharing that information to social networks a more seamless process.”

BuzzTown is improving its services for businesses to support the redesigned site. BuzzTown now offers more assistance in creating and optimizing digital media and marketing on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ to make it easier for businesses to be found by customers searching online.

BuzzTown.com was launched in 2009 and has been helping small to medium sized businesses in the Four Corners area use the internet to grow their business since then. BuzzTown merges the best practices of digital directories, deals, reviews and relevant local information with digital marketing expertise – ads, promotions, SEO, SEM – into one great experience that helps bring local buyers and sellers together.

Tips To Choosing The Ideal Caribbean Summer Camp

Teen Sailing Camps

No matter what your interests, personality, or skill level may be, teen sailing camps offer teens the summer adventure of a lifetime.  Whether you have years of sailing experience, or are looking to learn how to sail for the first time, teen sailing camps provide teens the ideal opportunity to either acquire or perfect their sailing skills and techniques.  From the gorgeous tropical setting to the exciting training program to the committed sailing instructors, you can be sure that your teen sailing camp experience will be unforgettable.

Teen sailing camps offer teens a unique combination of learning, leadership training, community service, and other exciting activities.  Camp programs usually last for one week up to several weeks.  Sailing camps are also typically designed to visit a variety of local areas in the Caribbean, including volcanic tropical islands, untouched reefs, and secluded coves and cays.

During their time in a summer sailing camp, teens not only learn how to sail, but also enjoy other recreational activities.  For example, teens can participate in scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, and wakeboarding.  Through their sailing training and extra activities, teens have the opportunity to gain valuable leadership skills and learn how to work well in a team atmosphere.

Teen sailing camps also offer teens the chance to serve others and the environment through community service opportunities, such as reef checks or beach clean-ups.

Bobby Gibson Selected Top 25 Entrepreneur by Business to Business magazine for 2012

TravelKeys.com, an elite provider of luxury rental properties worldwide, announced today that CEO Bobby Gibson received a ranking of number 12 in Top 25 Entrepreneur by Business to Business magazine for 2012. This marks the second time Gibson has received this prestigious recognition, also ranking for the 2011 awards.

The Top 25 Entreprenuer award recognizes leaders of Atlanta’s business community based on revenue growth and profitability, as well as overall entrepreneurship, strategy, leadership style, innovation, and culture. Since joining TravelKeys.com in 2003, Gibson has been instrumental to the growth of the company by laying the foundation for a strong e-commerce luxury travel brand and worldwide travel portfolio expansion. TravelKeys.com will be honored at the Top 25 Entrepreneurs Awards ceremony on Thursday, November 8th. The Business to Business Atlanta Top 25 Entrepreneur awards are presented in partnership by Business to Business magazine and Gifford, Hillegass & Ingwersen (GH&I)

About TravelKeys.com:

For over 25 years, Travel Keys has been a widely recognized leader luxury vacation rentals. The Travel Keys collection includes more than 4,000 of the most luxurious, stylish and polished luxury villas and holiday rental properties in over 50 destinations worldwide. Travel Keys’ expertise in the luxury villa rental industry has won it continued praise in the following publications: The Robb Report, Conde Nast Traveler, USA Today, Travel & Leisure, Island Villas, Island Times, Caribbean Travel + Life, Islands Magazine, Passport Magazine, Bridal Guide and more.

About Business to Business Magazine and GH&I

For the past 20 years, Business Leader Media has provided local business intelligence to readers in several Southeast markets. Its products include magazines, websites, email newsletters, and a number of networking and awards events for businesses, ranging from the top small businesses of the South to women leaders of excellence, from catalyst entrepreneurs to business leaders of the year. GH&I was founded in 1980 as a startup firm. Today, GH&I is an 80 person full-service accounting, audit, business advisory, tax, and financial services provider. Clients of GH&I include a wide spectrum of middle market businesses including corporations, closely-held businesses, partnerships, joint ventures, and startups; and estates, trusts, nonprofits and individuals.