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Van life: how to find the right vehicle



Do you dream of joining the van life movement and traveling the world in a tiny home on wheels? This nomadic lifestyle with its emphasis on simplicity, freedom, and adventure can be enticing. However, if you want to hit the open road, the first thing you’ll need is a comfortable and reliable vehicle.

In general, conversion vans and small motorhomes are the vehicles best suited for van life. One important factor to consider is how much space you’ll need. If you plan to travel alone or with a partner, a small campervan should suffice. If you intend to have kids, pets, or friends along for the ride, however, you may want a more spacious model with room to stand up.

Keep in mind that the furniture and features included vary from one vehicle to the next. In addition to a modest amount of storage space, you’ll likely want a model equipped with:

• A bed or long bench seat
• A table or fold-out countertop
• A sink and water tank
• A cooler, electric cooler or mini-fridge
• A camp stove or cooking plate
• A rack for bikes, kayaks, or surfboards

If you have limited funds, consider purchasing a used vehicle (inspected by a trusted mechanic) and transforming the interior yourself using new or second-hand materials. Alternatively, various companies offer van conversion kits that are fairly simple to install. Just make sure any modifications you make to a vehicle are safe and legal.

For example, find out if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has any regulations about removing or modifying seats and other vehicle components. You should also leave the installation of electrical wiring and gas lines to a professional. In addition, make sure you don’t exceed the gross vehicle weight rating.

If you sell your home to become a full-time nomad, however, you might have a more flexible budget. In this case, you may want to invest in customizing your van to ensure it’s fully equipped and designed according to your preferences. Plus, with the right gear, you’ll be able to maximize your time off-grid.

Finally, remember to add personal touches that make your vehicle feel at home. These can include patterned fabrics, reclaimed wood, colorful lighting, eclectic decor, funny bumper stickers, and more.

Test it out
Do you want to get a taste of van life before you commit to buying a vehicle? Plenty of companies rent camper vans equipped with everything you need to enjoy a nomadic lifestyle for a few days or weeks.

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5 passport tips



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



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



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



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



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.

• 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



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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Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

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Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

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Downtown Market

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First Baptist Church

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

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G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

National Media Services

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

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Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

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Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

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Upcoming Events

6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Aug 12 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
…and be sure to attend our Fourth of July event!
9:30 am Forest Bathing Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Forest Bathing Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 13 @ 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
Forest Bathing Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Picnic Area Join Kim Strader, ANFT Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide, for a gentle walk (no more than a mile or two) where we will wander and sit. Through a series of invitations and[...]
11:00 am Monarch Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Monarch Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 13 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Monarch Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area Habitat loss has caused Monarch butterfly populations to reach dangerously low numbers. Join the Park Naturalist and Virginia Master Naturalists as they set out to collect Monarch caterpillars and[...]
2:00 pm Pregnancy Center’s Community Bab... @ Living Water Christian Church
Pregnancy Center’s Community Bab... @ Living Water Christian Church
Aug 13 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Pregnancy Center's Community Baby Shower @ Living Water Christian Church
The Living Water Christian Church of the Shenandoah Valley is having a “Community Baby Shower” in support of the Pregnancy Center of Front Royal. We are inviting the public to attend and bring wrapped gifts[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Aug 17 @ 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[...]
7:00 pm Appalachian Chamber Music Festiv... @ Barns of Rose Hill
Appalachian Chamber Music Festiv... @ Barns of Rose Hill
Aug 18 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Appalachian Chamber Music Festival - Opening Night @ Barns of Rose Hill
The Appalachian Chamber Music Festival is delighted to be returning to the Barns of Rose Hill on Thursday, August 18, at 7pm, for the opening night concert of our 2022 summer season. The festival celebrates[...]
6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Aug 19 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
…and be sure to attend our Fourth of July event!
11:00 am National Honeybee Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Honeybee Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 20 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
National Honeybee Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area The bees are buzzing at Sky Meadows State Park! Meet the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah as they perform a honey extraction. Learn about beekeeping, honeybees and the art of apiculture. Support beekeeping and[...]
12:00 pm Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 21 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area. What’s that buzzing? Meet with local apiarists of the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah (BONS) and discover the art of Apiculture (a.k.a. Beekeeping). This monthly program series examines all aspects[...]