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How to prepare for a solo trip



Traveling alone can be an empowering experience. Here are a few tips to help you make your trip a success.

Define your itinerary
Determine the duration of your trip. This will allow you to create your itinerary as well as choose your modes of transportation and select accommodations. Once these details are sorted, you can set a budget, create a schedule and make reservations.

Do some research
Gather relevant information to make your trip as hassle-free as possible. For example, find out if you need certain vaccinations or a visa to cross over borders. Additionally, look up the country’s currency and exchange rate, review local laws and customs and write down the contact information for the American embassy in the country you’re visiting.

Make the necessary calls
Call your bank to tell them you’re going on a trip. This will prevent you from having your credit card declined or blocked while you’re abroad. Additionally, you can take this opportunity to inquire about bank fees for withdrawals and payments. You should also purchase travel insurance and research international phone and internet plans.

To book your trip, reach out to a travel agent in your area.


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Journey through Time: Norfolk to Blacksburg and Virginia Beach to Abingdon Road trips among America’s favorites



In recent years, weekend road trips have experienced a surge in popularity among families. These mini-getaways offer a refreshing escape that combines adventure, flexibility, and quality time spent together, all at a significantly lower cost compared to conventional summer beach destinations.

Gunther Motor Company carried out a survey of 3,000 regular road trippers to find out the most popular 100-weekend road trips they would most like to experience in summer 2023.

A remarkable accolade has been granted to two of Virginia’s road trip routes, with the Norfolk to Blacksburg via U.S. Route 460 journey voted as America’s 16th favorite weekend road trip and the Virginia Beach to Abingdon via U.S. Route 58 trip rated as the 42nd best nationally.

Starting in Norfolk, a coastal city known for its naval history and waterfront attractions, road-trippers can explore charming neighborhoods, visit various museums, and indulge in seafood delights. As they head west on U.S. Route 460, the scenery changes to farmlands and rolling hills. Historic towns such as Suffolk and Petersburg appear along the route, each offering unique charm and insights into Virginia’s rich past.

The trip culminates in Blacksburg, home to Virginia Tech University. Nestled in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, this college town offers a range of outdoor activities, a vibrant atmosphere, and a thriving local arts and culture scene.

In a similar vein, the Virginia Beach to Abingdon road trip along U.S. Route 58 offers views of picturesque countryside, rolling hills, and rural communities. Along the route, visitors can explore historical sites like the Suffolk Historic District and the quaint downtown of Franklin.

Continuing west, the landscape gradually transforms into the scenic beauty of the Appalachian Mountains. Towns like Galax and Marion dot the route, leading finally to Abingdon, a historic town renowned for its vibrant arts scene. Visitors can explore Abingdon’s historic district and immerse themselves in the local culture, marking a fitting end to an enriching journey.

Infographic showing America’s 100 favorite weekend road trips

America is a treasure trove of interesting and diverse weekend road trips. From the towering mountains and vast plains to vibrant cities and charming small towns, each journey paints a unique portrait of our nation’s rich tapestry. Every route has its own story to tell, fostering an exploration that unveils the heart and soul of America,” says Joseph Gunther IV of Gunther Motor Company.

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Experiential travel turns tourists into adventurers



If conventional guided tours and museum trips leave you a little itchy, or if you just want to try something totally new, experiential travel might be for you. Instead of just visiting a destination and taking in a random assortment of attractions, experiential travel immerses tourists in their environment so they can actively engage with the culture, history, and people.

Wellness enthusiasts can check out yoga retreats in Tulum or a few days of mindfulness and healing in the Dominican Republic. For those who like a physical challenge, try a multi-day biking tour through Ireland.

Experiential travel is ideal for foodies who want to experience authentic local cuisines. Book a food tour of Athens to sample local wines and some of the world’s best baklava. Very committed food explorers can embark on a 12-day culinary journey through Japan that includes everything from Osaka street food to tea ceremonies in the famous teahouses of Kyoto.

Nature lovers can travel to southern Africa to stay in the safari camps of the Okavango Delta in Botswana before heading to Zimbabwe’s spectacular Victoria Falls. The nine-day journey ends in Hwange National Park to see spectacular wildlife up close.

Military history buffs might find a life-changing and emotionally challenging experience with the 11-day Band of Brothers Tour, which follows the path of the legendary Easy Company of the 101st Airborne Division as they crossed the English Channel to liberate Europe from Nazi control. The tour begins in England before heading for the beaches of Normandy, then follows Easy Company through Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Germany.

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How to make air travel more eco-friendly



Although flying is the fastest way to get from point A to point B, it’s highly energy-intensive and emits polluting fossil fuels into the air. Here are a few things you can do to make your next flight more sustainable.

• Fly economy instead of business class. In business and first class, there’s more space between passengers, which is inefficient. In economy class, more passengers benefit from the same fuel amount, equaling fewer emissions per passenger.

• Choose an eco-friendly airline. Support airlines that take environmentally friendly routes and use new, energy-efficient planes. Budget airlines are also a great option since they offer more economy-class seats, making the best use of aircraft space.

• Take daytime flights. At night, planes’ contrails and cirrus clouds trap heat, causing extra warming. However, they reflect sunlight into space during the day, counteracting the heat-trapping effect.

• Take direct, non-stop flights. Avoiding stopovers can help curb emissions during takeoff and landing.

Finally, fly only when necessary and stay longer. You can also purchase carbon offsets equivalent to how much pollution your flight will produce.

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Seven ways to travel responsibly



Are you planning a trip? If you want to conduct yourself in a manner that’s mindful of environmental, economic, and socio-cultural concerns while you’re abroad, adopt the following behaviors.

1. Take only the essentials
Packing light reduces the weight of your luggage and can help minimize greenhouse gas emissions. It also gives you space to bring back handmade souvenirs that support the economy in the regions you visit.

2. Put trash in the right place
Make sure you clean up after yourself. If you can’t immediately find an appropriate place to get rid of your garbage, carry it with you until you do.

3. Conserve water and energy
Going on vacation doesn’t give you the green light to be wasteful. Take short showers, and don’t leave your hotel room lights on when you’re away for the day.

4. Follow the rules
Whether you’re visiting a beach, park, or tourist attraction, respect the associated rules and comply with all guidelines that are in place.

5. Offset your carbon emissions
Estimate your trip’s carbon footprint with an online calculator. Then, help counteract the total by purchasing carbon offsets from a recognized organization.

6. Share your experience
When you return home, talk to your friends and family about your adventure and give them tips on traveling responsibly.

7. Plan your next trip
When organizing your next trip, consider trying slow tourism. This concept involves traveling for a prolonged period slowly to have a more meaningful experience.

To plan an excursion aligned with your values, don’t hesitate to contact a local travel agent for advice.

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Five things to consider before driving abroad



Are you planning a trip abroad and thinking of renting a car while you’re there? Follow these tips to ensure you’re prepared.

1. Driver’s license. Depending on your destination, you may need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive on the roads legally.

2. Rules of the road. Find out about speed limits, tolls, and alcohol regulations in the country you’re visiting. If you have to drive on the left-hand side, watch a few videos on the internet. This will help you anticipate the maneuvers you may need to make in the opposite direction, such as changing lanes and going through roundabouts.

3. Signage. You may have difficulty interpreting the road signs if you’re not visiting an English-speaking country. Do your research so you know what to expect.

4. Child car seats. If you’re traveling with young children, ask the car rental agency to provide you with car seats. Some American models don’t meet the safety standards in every country.

5. Insurance. Determine if your insurance provides overseas coverage or if you need to purchase insurance through the car rental agency. Also, make sure you have sufficient liability coverage.

Visit and talk to a travel agent for valuable advice. They’ll tell you what to look for and what vehicle is best for the region you’re visiting. Have a good trip!


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Find your flight — in a parallel reality



A busy Midwestern airport has a new feature that’s straight out of Star Trek.

Instead of losing precious minutes scanning a long list of hundreds of flights to find their information, Delta passengers at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport can enter Delta’s new parallel reality experience to get an instant personalized itinerary.

Passengers scan their boarding passes and look up at a large display screen to see their name, frequent flyer status, departure gate, flight number, and flight time. Their information is invisible to everyone else — meaning that the person standing next to them sees something completely different. Passengers who don’t scan their passes only see a blank screen.

The board, which was unveiled on June 28 after years of development, uses motion sensors to detect passengers as they approach the gate, while facial recognition technology identifies those who stop to scan their passes. The specialized screen, with pixels that can simultaneously project different colors in many different directions, flashes information that is only visible where the identified passenger is standing. Up to 100 passengers at a time can use the screen to view their personalized itineraries in their preferred languages.

Detroit is the only airport in the world with parallel reality so far. Still, Delta eventually plans to roll this technology out to other airports across the country and the globe.

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Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

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Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Mountain Creative Consulting

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

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C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Card My Yard

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Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

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Cool Techs Heating and Air

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Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Independent Business Alliance

Front Royal/Warren County C-CAP

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Treatment Center

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Fussell Florist

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

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Groups Recover Together

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I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

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Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

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Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

Mountain View Music

National Media Services

Natural Results Chiropractic Clinic

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Shenandoah Shores Management Group

St. Luke Community Clinic

Strites Doughnuts

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The Arc of Warren County

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

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Warren County Department of Social Services

Warren County DSS Job Development

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

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Upcoming Events

all-day Hoopin on the Hill @ Randolph-Macon Academy
Hoopin on the Hill @ Randolph-Macon Academy
Dec 1 all-day
Hoopin on the Hill @ Randolph-Macon Academy
HOOPIN ON THE HILL Basketball Tournament at Randolph-Macon Academy This weekend, Friday (Dec 1) and Saturday (Dec 2!), come out and cheer some excellent athletes on!!! Call Jennifer Avery at 540-683-0790 with questions. We would[...]
all-day Hoopin on the Hill @ Randolph-Macon Academy
Hoopin on the Hill @ Randolph-Macon Academy
Dec 2 all-day
Hoopin on the Hill @ Randolph-Macon Academy
HOOPIN ON THE HILL Basketball Tournament at Randolph-Macon Academy This weekend, Friday (Dec 1) and Saturday (Dec 2!), come out and cheer some excellent athletes on!!! Call Jennifer Avery at 540-683-0790 with questions. We would[...]
10:00 am A Tree-mendous Hike @ Sky Meadows State Park
A Tree-mendous Hike @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 2 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
A Tree-mendous Hike @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sensory Explorers’ Trail. Explore the rich natural history of trees guided by a Virginia Master Naturalist. Discover the tips and tricks of basic tree identification and the tree-mendous roles that trees play in our environment.[...]
10:00 am Kris Kringle Market @ Trinity Lutheran Church
Kris Kringle Market @ Trinity Lutheran Church
Dec 2 @ 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Kris Kringle Market @ Trinity Lutheran Church
The Trinity Lutheran Church Kringle Market will take place on Saturday, December 2, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.  The Kringle Market is centrally located in the Newtown–Stephensburg Historic District in the Trinity Lutheran[...]
10:00 am SPCA Thrift Shop Grand Reopening @ WASPCA Thrift Shop
SPCA Thrift Shop Grand Reopening @ WASPCA Thrift Shop
Dec 2 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
SPCA Thrift Shop Grand Reopening @ WASPCA Thrift Shop
After months of renovations and hard work, the Winchester Area SPCA is thrilled to welcome you back to its thrift store, where every purchase supports the mission of caring for and finding loving homes for[...]
1:00 pm Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Dec 2 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
New Bluegrass and traditional music jam the first Saturday of each month starting Feb. 4th, from 1pm till 4pm. All levels of playing invited to attend.
3:00 pm Valley Chorale “Once Upon a Chri... @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Valley Chorale “Once Upon a Chri... @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Dec 3 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Valley Chorale "Once Upon a Christmas" Concert @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Join The Valley Chorale for a family-friendly concert featuring favorite carols, hymns and songs of the Christmas season!
5:30 pm Free Holiday Meal @ Trinity Lutheran Church
Free Holiday Meal @ Trinity Lutheran Church
Dec 6 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Free Holiday Meal @ Trinity Lutheran Church
If one has read the Surgeon General’s 2023 report on America’s epidemic of loneliness and crisis of disconnection, one can then understand the significance that a Holiday Meal can have on the community at large. [...]