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Trip alert: A unique oasis for lovers

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Leave it to Dubai to surprise the world by building an Instagram-ready oasis in the middle of a desert.

The city is already renowned for the tallest building in the world, an indoor ski slope in a mall, and the world’s highest infinity pool (a dizzying 1,000 feet above sea level), among other attractions.
In 2018, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, revealed a surprise new tourist attraction in an Instagram post.

Love Lake is two water-filled lagoons in the shape of intertwined hearts, with vegetation below (when viewed from above) spelling out the word “Love.” The attraction is located in the man-made desert oasis of Al Qudra on the outskirts of Dubai, already home to a number of artificial lakes.

Sheikh Hamdan’s father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, commissioned the project.


Work was done around the clock and in secret over the course of 20 months leading up to Sheikh Hamdan’s reveal, then continued for another year. Thousands of flowering plants and more than 16,000 trees were planted at the site and seating facilities all use eco-friendly materials, including bamboo water sinks. There’s a running track around the site, which is also home to more than 150 species of birds and other desert wildlife.

And don’t forget about social media. Signage lets you know the best selfie points, and a variety of vegetation around the lake is crafted into interlocking hearts.

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5 passport tips

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If you intend to travel internationally, you’ll need a passport. Here are five valuable tips to avoid any travel headaches.

1. Inspect it
When you receive your new passport, ensure that all the information is correct. If everything looks good, sign it with a blue or black pen. If there’s an error, immediately report the mistake so the is¬sue can be fixed.

2. Store it
Keep your passport in a safe place. Ideally, it should be stored in a cool, dry place that’s not easy for others to access. You may also want to consider keeping your passport in a waterproof pouch.

3. Check it
Before planning a trip, make sure your passport isn’t damaged and that it’s still valid. You should also verify the expiry date. Some countries require your access to be good for several months after your departure date. Therefore, make sure your passport meets the entry and exit requirements for the country you want to visit.


4. Protect it
When you travel, keep your passport in a safe place and never leave it unattended. Additionally, don’t put any personal information in your passport absolutely necessary.

5. Report it
If your passport is lost or stolen while you’re abroad, report the issue to the relevant authorities immediately. Once you get home, visit your nearest government office to apply for a new one.

Remember, if you need help understanding the passport and visa requirements for your destination country, you can ask your tour company representative or travel agent for help.

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How to prepare for a solo trip

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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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5 good reasons to book your cruise early

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If you’ve been dreaming of going on a cruise, here are five good reasons to book your trip today.

You’ll guarantee your spot
Cruise ships fill up quickly, especially those sailing to well-known destinations. Therefore, if you book early, you’ll be sure to get a seat.

You can choose your cabin
Booking your cruise in advance allows you to select a cabin that meets your needs and budget. Splurge on a suite or opt for a more budget-friendly interior cabin.

You can lock in the date
If you book your cruise early, you can choose the dates that suit you best. This is especially important if you have to take time off work or want to go on a cruise for a special occasion like Christmas or Valentine’s Day.


You can take advantage of low rates
If you avoid waiting till the last minute to book your cruise, you’ll get a better price. Additionally, you’ll have more time to shop around for the best deal.

You can make flexible payments
If you book your cruise early, you won’t get stuck paying for the entire trip in one lump sum. You’ll be able to make monthly installments instead, which will allow you to budget for your vacation.

To arrange your next cruise, contact your local travel agency.

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Traveling for English-only speakers

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Do you long to visit far-flung destinations, but hold off on your travel plans because you only speak English? There’s no need to abandon your dreams — with a little planning, the world is still wide open and waiting for you.

According to Berlitz, English is the language most widely spoken in the world, with nearly twice as many non-native speakers (about 753 million) as native speakers (379 million). It’s the default language in international business, technology, and tourism, and in many urban areas around the world or popular tourist destinations, English speakers get around just fine. If you’re a novice traveler or nervous about language barriers, consider visiting one of these countries where English travels well.

  • Belize: English and Spanish are the official languages in this beautiful Caribbean nation. About 82 percent of citizens are fluent in English, according to Travel Off Path.
  • Nigeria: More than 500 languages are spoken in this large and diverse West African country, according to Fodor’s, but the state language is English and travelers get around well in the largest city, Lagos.
  • Sweden: About 86 percent of Swedes speak English and most speak it well, according to Thrillist.
  • India: Only 12 percent of the population speaks English (which is one of the official languages), according to Thrillist, but in India, that’s about 166 million people. You’ll find English speakers everywhere, especially in big cities.
  • Malta: About 89 percent of citizens speak English in this sunny Mediterranean country, which is known for its great food and architecture, according to Thrillist.

If you dream of visiting a country with lower English fluency, don’t let the language barrier hold you back — learn a few useful phrases and download a translator app, or try a tour with a guide who knows the area and speaks the language. People get around language barriers all the time, and you can, too.

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Fishing gear checklist

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Whether you’re going on a day trip or a week-long excursion, you need to pack the right fishing gear. Here’s a checklist of everything you need to be a master angler.

Equipment
• Fishing rod and reel
• Boating license
• Map of the area
• Bathymetric map
• Fish chain
• Pail
• Tacklebox
• Seat cushion
• Dip net
• Fishing rod case
• Fishing line
• Cooler
• Hooks
• Lures and bait
• Fishing license
• Pliers, scissors and a fishing knife
• Sleeping bag and pillow
• Garbage bags
• Fish sonar
• Tent
• Downrigger

Health and safety
• Cellphone or GPS system
• Sunscreen and after-sun lotion
• Water and food
• Bailer or water scoop
• Hand sanitizer
• Insect repellent and sting treatment
• Flashlight and batteries
• Buoyant heaving line
• Personal hygiene products
• Whistle
• First aid kit
• Lifejacket

Clothing and accessories
• Fishing boots or hip waders
• Warm, windproof sweater
• Hat with mosquito netting
• Socks and underwear
• Fishing shirts
• Raincoat
• Sunglasses
• Shorts and pants
• T-shirts or tank tops


Please note this isn’t an exhaustive list. Feel free to modify it to meet your needs.

Happy fishing!

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4 fishing tips

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Whether you like to go fishing for fun or want to bring in a large enough catch to have a fish fry, here are four expert tips to ensure you have a great time.

1. Get the right lures
It’s important to choose your lures based on the size and type of fish you want to catch. The depth of the water, the environment, and the weather conditions are also key considerations. For example, using a brightly colored or oversized lure in a clear lake will look very unnatural and could prevent you from getting any bites.

2. Use suitable fishing line
Regularly inspect your fishing line to ensure it’s in good condition. You don’t want your line to break when you’re reeling in a fish or your lures to sink to the bottom of the lake. If you see any nicks in the line, change it immediately. However, it’s a good idea to replace your fishing line every year and refill your spool as soon as 3/8 of an inch of the line is missing.

3. Follow nature’s cues
Did you know that observing nature can provide you with clues about where you should fish? For example, you’ll know you’ve found a great location if you see diving seabirds or insects on the surface of the water. Be sure to limit conversations and stay alert to avoid missing any signs.


4. Learn about the area
If you want to reel in fish after fish, you need to focus on the best locations. Consequently, you can study maps, talk to local fishers or hire a guide to help you identify the best places to cast your line.

Good luck!

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Upcoming Events

Jul
1
Fri
6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Jul 1 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
…and be sure to attend our Fourth of July event!
Jul
2
Sat
10:00 am A Tree-mendous Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
A Tree-mendous Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jul 2 @ 10:00 am – Jul 3 @ 11:00 am
A Tree-mendous Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sensory Explorers’ Trail. Join Shenandoah Chapter Master Naturalist Paul Guay and explore the rich natural history of trees along the park’s Sensory Explorers’ Trail. Discover the tips and tricks of basic tree identification and the[...]
11:30 am Declaration of Independence reading @ Warren Heritage Society
Declaration of Independence reading @ Warren Heritage Society
Jul 2 @ 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Declaration of Independence reading @ Warren Heritage Society
On 2 July, at 11:30, the Colonel James Wood II Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution will read the Declaration of Independence on the porch of the Archives at the Warren Heritage Society. [...]
12:00 pm Settle’s Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Settle’s Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jul 2 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Settle's Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Log Cabin in the Historic Area. Follow your nose to the Log Cabin to see what tasty treats are cooking on the hearth. Watch as a Sky Meadows volunteer dons historic clothing and cooks delicious[...]
12:00 pm The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jul 2 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and are ready to show[...]
Jul
6
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Jul 6 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Jul
8
Fri
6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Jul 8 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
…and be sure to attend our Fourth of July event!
Jul
9
Sat
all-day Great American Campout @ Sky Meadows State Park
Great American Campout @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jul 9 – Jul 10 all-day
Great American Campout @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Don’t miss your chance to camp out in the beautiful Historic Mount Bleak backyard. See all that Sky Meadows has to offer through activities beginning at noon on Saturday and running until noon[...]
Jul
13
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Jul 13 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]