In movies and stories, the thunder of buffalo stampeding across the American plains remains an iconic memory.
In the 1700s, tens of millions of buffalo dominated the West — and were driven nearly to extinction.
Luckily, even today, you have a chance to thrill to the thunder of hooves on the rolling plains. The iconic animal of the Old West still rumbles across the prairies in South Dakota, and you can be there for the roundup.
Every September, park rangers and volunteer cowboys round up the Custer State Park buffalo herd to give them their annual vaccinations and to check the health and size of the herd. It’s an event witnessed by 20,000 spectators from all over the world.
The Custer State Park buffalo herd spends the year wandering freely through the 71,000-acre fenced park. Along with the buffalo, there are bighorn sheep, elk, deer, mountain goats, antelopes, coyotes, foxes, and mountain lions.
The buffalo herd began in 1914 when the state bought 36 buffalo from a rancher. The herd expanded, and later the state bought 100 more buffalo from a Native American reservation. Today the herd numbers 1,450. The roundup has been an annual event for 56 years.
The 110 miles of parkland also have vast trails and scenic views.
In 2021, the roundup is Friday, September 24, 2021, with activities beginning on September 23, 2021.
American bison by the numbers – (National Bison Association and U.S. Dept of Interior)
* Estimated size of the North American herd: 385,000.
* Estimated size prior to 1600: 30 million to 60 million
* Estimated number in the mid-1880s: 700 to 1,000.
* Bison on tribal land today: 20,000
* 2025 Bison herd goal: 1 million.
* State with the largest bison population: South Dakota, 33,000
* The oldest bison herd: Yellowstone National Park, 4,800. The herd has continuously existed since prehistoric times.
* Bison bulls weigh up to 2,000 pounds and stand six feet tall.
* Baby bison are called red dogs.
* Bison run 35 miles an hour.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
• Seat cushion
• Dip net
• Fishing rod case
• Fishing line
• Lures and bait
• Fishing license
• Pliers, scissors and a fishing knife
• Sleeping bag and pillow
• Garbage bags
• Fish sonar
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
• First aid kit
Clothing and accessories
• Fishing boots or hip waders
• Warm, windproof sweater
• Hat with mosquito netting
• Socks and underwear
• Fishing shirts
• 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.
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.