Beers & Beans http://beersandbeans.com Wander With Us. Tue, 22 Apr 2014 21:14:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 A Disability Guide To Navigating Walt Disney World’s Most Popular Rideshttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/04/18/disney-world-disability-guide/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=disney-world-disability-guide http://beersandbeans.com/2014/04/18/disney-world-disability-guide/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 10:34:01 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=19368

Disney World claims to be the “happiest place on earth,” and for the most part it’s pretty darn jolly. I think the only time that I wasn’t happy at Disney World was my first visit ...

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Disney World claims to be the “happiest place on earth,” and for the most part it’s pretty darn jolly. I think the only time that I wasn’t happy at Disney World was my first visit when I was five and my parents tricked me into riding  Space Mountain, for no other reason than they wanted to ride it. I cried, I screamed and by the time I got off, I wanted more, and thus began my addiction to roller coasters. Ah, but I digress. Anyways, Disney World is pretty awesome, but what about for older people who have mobility issues, is it really that happy of a place for them too? On our recent trip to Florida, we had 48 hours to find out and we were surprised about what we discovered.

Before I go any further, I think it would be helpful if I give you a little background about how this guide came to be. This was a huge trip for Beth’s family and me, because it was their first big vacation together in eight years and my first with the whole Salvon clan. But this trip was so much more than an overdue family adventure, it was a celebration! We were celebrating a return to normalcy after several years of health scares, which culminated with Beth’s father, Bob, losing his right leg to diabetes in 2012 and her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis in 2013.

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(Photo above shows the scooter and also the scooter being put on a Disney bus going to the parks – the driver will take care of everything for you. )

To help with Bob’s mobility in the parks, we got him a scooter. Finally, unchained from his canes for the first time in a year, Bob took to the scooter like a 16-year-old in a Porsche. His new found mobility gave him some much needed freedom and proved to be invaluable for going between the parks and our room at the Animal Kingdom via Disney’s bus system. Beth’s sister, Bridgette, booked it through Buena Vista Scooter Rentals, which will deliver and pick up the scooter from your hotel. Plus, at $30/day, it was significantly cheaper than renting a scooter at each of Disney’s parks.

We rented a minivan for our 10 day trip through Holiday Autos and got a great price on a loaded Chrysler Caravan from the Orlando Airport for $35/day, which is a pretty sweet deal considering it seats seven. I never imagined myself as a minivan man before, but I did really enjoy driving this one. If you’re going to Disney World, I definitely recommend checking out their site to see what kind of deal you can get. They also have an excellent video for navigating the Orlando airport, which can be helpful for first-time visitors to the international airport because it is rather large and contains multiple monorails.

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Now that I’ve got you up to speed with everything, here is our Disney World Disability Guide. I hope you find it helpful and if you have any questions at, feel free to let us know in the comments or shoot me an email: randy@beersandbeans.com.

 Magic Kingdom

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The Magic Kingdom opened to the public on Oct. 1, 1971, nearly five years after Walt Disney’s death. The park was an immediate success and during the next four decades, the always ambitious Disney Company opened more parks in Orlando, such as EPCOT and the Animal Kingdom, as well as international destinations in Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong. For this guide, we’re going to be focusing on a handful of attractions in the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT and Animal Kingdom that we experienced firsthand.

Disney Factoid: Cinderalla’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom was based on the Neuschwanstein Castle built by Bavarian King Ludwig II above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany.

Haunted Mansion

This was our test run, and it proved to be a good example of what we’d encounter on other rides, since the moving carriage is a popular formula in the Magic Kingdom. The Haunted Mansion is Disney’s imaginative take on a haunted house. However, instead of walking, guests get a ride-through tour in Omnimover vehicles called “Doom Buggies. For people with disabilities: you’ll enter through the front entrance and follow the queuing path that sets the tone for the attraction by leading guest through a mausoleum, a pet cemetery, and skeleton organ (think Goonies) among other things.

Before getting on the ride, you’ll go from the line into the Mansion via the octagonal portrait gallery, which can accommodate scooters. When it’s time to exit that room, a cast member (Disney employee) will lead your party out the back to the exit, where you’ll be asked to park the scooter/wheelchair just outside of the exit tunnel. While the scooter is being parked your party can make its way through the exit to the ride, which runs on a track. Riders get into the moving carriages by walking on a slow moving walkaway. Disability information: Tell the attendant before you get on (in line and when getting on) that you need a full stop or else they will only slow it down more. Once you’re on the moving walkaway, it’s about 1 step up into the carriage.

Disney Factoid: Look for the headstone of Mr. Toad in the back (top left) of the pet cemetery. It was placed there as a tribute to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, which closed in 1998.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

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One of the Magic Kingdom’s rare thrill rides, Thunder Mountain has been dishing out adrenaline rushes since 1980. This roller coaster disguised as a runaway train is a bumpy affair with several good drops and turns. Set in America’s Gold Rush era, the coaster draws its inspiration from the rising buttes of Utah and Arizona’s Monument Valley. Disability information: Thunder Mountain has a separate entrance for riders with disabilities, just ask a cast member at the entrance of the ride to point out where to go. To get into the ride, you’ll have to climb into the coaster’s bucket seat, which requires riders to lift their leg up approximately seven inches and then down 1o inches.

Pirates of the Caribbean

From its addictive song ”Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” to the entralling animatronic sea battles that occur around your slowly moving boat, Pirates of the Caribbean is probably the most famous of all Disney rides. Opening in 1973, the ride is housed in a Spanish fort called Castillo Del Morro, which was inspired by Puerto Rico’s Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in Old San Juan. Disability information: Scooter riders will have to transfer to a wheelchair for the line. Once at the boat, riders must be able to take two  steps down to get into the boat and then two steps back up to get out. Unfortunately, there are no bars or railings to help with getting in and out of the boat.

Disney Factoid: The pieces on the chess board along the queuing path were carefully arranged by animator and imagineer Marc Davis. He carefully arranged the pieces so that any move will result in a stalemate, meaning that the skeletons have been playing the same game since 1973.

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
This was my first time on Buzz Lightyear and it’s now one of my favorites. Fans of the Toy Story movies will definitely want to add this their must-ride list. Even if you’ve never seen the movies, I still recommend this ride as it’s one of the more unique ones in the Magic Kingdom. You and a passenger are seated in a carriage that’s equipped with two infrared laser guns and a centrally located lever, which allows you to spin the car at will to get the best angle for blasting the array of targets that you’ll encounter during your ride. Like the Haunted Mansion, this attraction runs on rails and features a moving platform for riders to get on and off. Disability information: Guests must transfer to a standard wheelchair before going through the line. Employees will slow the ride for disabled passengers, but if needed, you can ask them for a full stop. To get into the carriage, riders have to lift their leg up 6-8 inches.

Under The Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid

A new addition to the park as part of the New Fantasyland expansion, The Little Mermaid takes guests under the waves for a musical adventure, which showcases many of the famous scenes from the animated movie. Disability information: This is another Omnimover ride, but because it is newer, the ride enables standard wheel chairs to be placed into the carriage. The queuing path for this ride has a lot of switchbacks, so if you’re on a scooter make sure to go slow, because it’s easy to get hung up on the faux rock formations surrounding the path. At a certain point in the line, you’ll be directed to an alternative path, where you’ll have to switch from your scooter to one of the park’s wheelchairs.

It’s a small world

This lighthearted boat ride takes guests on a colorful journey through all seven continents as nearly 300 traditionally dressed children serenade you with “it’s a small world in their respective language. The original “it’s a small world” debuted at 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair. Walt Disney had personally overseen its creation and following the fair, the ride was shipped back to Disneyland park and reopened in 1966. Five years later, “it’s a small world” was recreated as one of Walt Disney World’s opening day attractions. Disability information: Despite it’s age, the ride is extremely friendly for people with disabilities. Guest can enter through the exit, where they’ll then have to transfer to a wheelchair if they’re on a scooter. The wheelchair can then be loaded directly on to the boat.

Disney Factoid: Disney seamstresses sewed every inch of clothing, using authentic materials for each region, to create a faithful portrayal of each nation’s traditional attire. 

Carousel of Progress

Before I met Beth, I visited Disney World twice. Once when I was five and then again when I was 11. I’m pretty sure that I had no idea the Carousel of Progress even existed. Why? Because I craved action, and this carousel is anything but. A few years ago, though, Beth introduced me to this delightful ride and it’s now one of my favorites. Guests sit in a small auditorium and as the carousel rotates it showcases America’s progress through they eyes of a man and his family throughout the 19th & 20th century. The whole package is wrapped together nicely by the ride’s classic song “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” which was written and composed by the Academy Award-winning team of brothers Richard and Robert Sherman.  It doesn’t get much fanfare these days, but back at the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair it was all the rage. Walt Disney personally created the ride for the fair and wowed audiences with his use of  audio-animatronics. Disability information: The auditorium has spaces reserved specifically for guests using a wheel chair or scooter.

Disney Factoid: When the Carousel of Progress moved from Disneyland to Disneyworld in January 15, 1975, the ride was rewritten and re-staged with a new theme song, “The Best Time of Your Life.” However, in 1994, the show as reworked–as a tribute to nostalgia–to its original incarnation complete with “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.

Epcot

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Walt Disney had originally envisioned Epcot, or “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow,” an idea city, where people from all nations can live in harmony and reap the benefits of technological achievements. Unfortunately, Walt died before he could turn this dream into a reality. Building on some of his ideas, Disney executives created Epcot Center. The park opened in 1982 and focuses on celebrating the world’s cultures, rather than being an experimental community. With its two distinct realms and excellent entertainment, Epcot is proof that educational theme parks can exist and be successful. Like the Carousel of Progress, I didn’t have much interest in Epcot as a kid, but Beth re-introduced me to the park and now I love it just as much as the Magic Kingdom.

Disney Factoid: All of the employees at the World Showcase pavilions are actually from the countries that the pavilions represent.

Living with the Land

Like something ripped out of an episode of The Simpsons, this canopied boat ride takes guests on an educational journey through artifical biomes and a working experimental greenhouse. For me the greenhouse, which showcases innovative ways that food could be grown on our planet as well as in outer space, is the real highlight of this ride. You’ll get a first hand look at a “tomato tree”, which yields thousands of tomatoes from a single vine and is the first of its kind in the United States, among other experimental developments that The Land’s science team is working on with U.S. Department of Agriculture. Disability information: Guests using scooters or over-sized wheelchairs will have to transfer to a standard wheelchair, which can be placed directly on the ride.The boats are equipped for audio-description and handheld-captioning devices.

Disney Factoid: The plants (including the aforementioned tomatoes) and fish that grow in the greenhouse are often used in the The Land’s restaurants.

Soarin’

If you’ve ever had the urge to go hang gliding, then you’ll want to check out Soarin’. Disney uses motion-based technology to lift guests 40 feet into the air in front of a 180-degree IMAX projection dome, which plays footage that reproduces a hang-glider’s flight path soaring over California. You get the thrill of flying over the Golden State’s diverse landscape–rolling waves, ski slopes, orange groves (you can actually smell the oranges)–and familiar landmarks, like the Golden Gate Bridge. Disability information: Guests in wheelchairs or scooters must transfer to the ride system. Service animals are not permitted. Soarin’ is equipped for video-captioning devices.

Disney Factoid: The music for Soarin’ was created by Jerry Goldsmith, who’s best known for his work on Mulan and Star Trek. As for the film itself, it’s projected at twice the speed of a traditional motion picture, which adds to the films realism.

Spaceship Earth

When I was five, the Spaceship Earth scared the hell out of me. Why? Because some kid at our hotel told me that what happened in that giant silver looking golf ball was a hundred times crazy then Space Mountain. At the time, Epcot had just opened and I had no reason to doubt his expertise. So just like Space Mountain, I put up a fuss about going on Spaceship Earth. Of course, I quickly figured out the kid lied and that this was a pretty tame, if not a bit boring ride. Years passed and I re-discovered Spaceship Earth again with Beth. For those who’ve never been, it’s a slow moving ride where the carriage swings around and descends slowly as you journey through the history of communication. Disability information: Ask the attendant at the ride’s entrance where to go. They’ll direct you to a side exit door. Guests in scooters must transfer to a wheelchair, which can then be taken to the moving walkway. From there, you have to transfer to the carriage. Like other similar rides, they’ll slow the ride down and if you can’t make they’ll stop the ride.

Disney Factoid: On clear days, Epcot’s silver geosphere can be seen from an airplane flying down either one of Florida’s coast.

Animal Kin gdom

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom is proof that theme parks and wildlife parks can coexist together in an educational and thrilling way. Stepping in to the park, you’ll quickly find yourself surrounded in a world that blends recreated landscapes from Africa and Asia into a magnificent world. The Animal Kingdom is the largest of all Disney theme parks, and for good reason: it houses a lot of incredible creatures as well as some really spectacular rides.

Kilimanjaro Safaris

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I haven’t been on a safari yet, so I can’t compare the attraction to the real deal. With that said, I’m pretty sure that Disney went that extra mile to make this attraction as authentic as possible, since that’s how they roll. The ride features open-air safari vehicles, complete with illustrated game-spotting guides above the seat, that shake and lurch on the bumpy dirt road. Along the 100 acre journey, which lasts about 20 minutes, you’ll have the chance to see an array of wildlife, such as hippos, lions, giraffes, elephants, antelopes. Disability information: The ride is wheel chair accessible and guest with disabilities will enter the ride through the exit. People in scooters will have to transfer to a standard wheelchair. The vehicles are equipped for assisted-listening and video captioning devices. If you have a service animal with you, check with a staff member for boarding details.

Expedition Everest

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Until otherwise noted, this is my new favorite ride at Disney.  If you love roller coasters, then this, in my opinion is the most thrilling, that Disney has to offer. The coaster features nearly a mile of track, an 80 foot trip, twist and turns through the recreated Himalayas. Even the buildings look they were ripped from a National Geographic story on Everest and feature artifacts, totems and prayer flags from Nepal and Tibet. Disability Information: You have to transfer from your wheelchair to the ride.  They have special carriages that open up larger to make it easier to get on.

Know Before You Go: 7 Tips To Make Your Trip A Success

  • As a rule of thumb,  the newer the ride, the more accessible it will be for people with mobility issues.
  • Even if you request a full stop, attendants will first try to get you on the ride by just slowing it down. This is caused a bit of stress for us, because Beth’s dad really needed the ride to stop to get on. Eventually, when the operator saw that he couldn’t get on, even at the slowest speed, they stopped the ride. We found this to be very frustrating, since we know firsthand what he’s capable of, and they refused to listen to us. I’m sure this is just part of Disney’s policy, but, in my opinion, it puts an unnecessary blemish on the theme parks accessibility. The important thing to remember is that the attendant will eventually stop the ride for you.
  • Communicate your needs with the attendant at the front of the ride as well as with the one who helps you on to the ride. Tell the person at the entrance that you need a full stop and they may be able radio ahead to inform the ride operator of your needs.

  • Some rides have separate entrances and others do not, so you may have to negotiate several tight turns in the wheelchair or scooter.  If you find yourself in a situation like this, be sure to take it slow. Beth’s dad almost fell over with the scooter because his wheel got caught on a turn.
  • At each of the parks mentioned in this guide, the shops and bathrooms were all accessible. We noted very few doors that didn’t have a wheelchair button. And the shops were not terribly tight, so if you take it slow, they’re pretty easy to navigate.
  • One of the biggest challenges Bob faced was maneuvering through the parks, especially at the Magic Kingdom, where the crowds were the heaviest. People are so preoccupied that they don’t pay much attention and will literally walk right in front of a moving scooter without even noticing it.
  • Plan a few days. Don’t rush. Just know that the first day may be stressful, while you get a feel for things. We found the Animal Kingdom to be the best park for mobility and, ultimately, the most relaxing.

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    Did we miss something? Let us know, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!


    Disclosure: The good folks at Holiday Autos helped out with our minivan rental for the trip. As always though, our thoughts and opinions are our own.

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    Sponsored Video: Welcome to the North Facehttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/04/17/sponsored-video-welcome-north-face/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sponsored-video-welcome-north-face http://beersandbeans.com/2014/04/17/sponsored-video-welcome-north-face/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:02:46 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=19511

    Ugh…it snowed yesterday! I’m sure some of you already know that, but for those of you who live in the sunshine states–California and Florida–well, I just figured I’d let you know that it’s not quite ...

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    Ugh…it snowed yesterday! I’m sure some of you already know that, but for those of you who live in the sunshine states–California and Florida–well, I just figured I’d let you know that it’s not quite spring yet, so stop with all of those sunny Facebook updates already (I’m looking at you mom!).

    Honestly, I’ve always hated this interim period on the East Coast, when the weather just can’t seem to make up its mind, and we get jostled weekly (sometimes daily) between the high and lows of the spring season. Even our dogs get confused…for god sakes, doesn’t old man winter know that they’ve already started shedding their winter coats.

    I think the worst part, though, is the waiting. Instinctively you know warmer days are coming. Everything’s in place–the days are getting longer, buds are sprouting and baseball has started–but, yet, there is nothing you can do about the weather. Nope. You just have to wait. The only good thing about this forced seasonal transition is that it fuels my fire for exploration. This is the time that I do my planning. I scour the library stacks and internet searching for new trails, skateparks and surf breaks, and do my best to stay active. I’m like a boxer waiting for fight night, ready to explode on the world as soon as that warm weather bell rings.

    Apparently, The North Face shares my desire for long, warm days. They recently launched a spring campaign around the #LongerDays hashtag, releasing this short adventure teaser below along with the Explorer app. For those who like to track your running, climbing and hiking, and earn achievements and prizes while doing it, then you’re going to want to check out this free app. Additionally, the Explorer app also enables users to take geo located photos, giving you instant proof of your dazzling exploration finds.

    So, on that note, I think the only thing left to say is THINK. WARM. SPRING!

    Are you ready for warmer days? Let us know in the comments!


    *This video was sponsored by The North Face.

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    5 Dublin Events That Are Better Than A Pint of Guinnesshttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/04/07/dublin-events/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dublin-events http://beersandbeans.com/2014/04/07/dublin-events/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 13:25:40 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=19492

    We’ve been pretty busy around here the last few months working behind the scenes on a variety of projects for our blog as well as number of freelancing gigs. In the six years that Beth ...

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    We’ve been pretty busy around here the last few months working behind the scenes on a variety of projects for our blog as well as number of freelancing gigs. In the six years that Beth and I have been blogging, this is probably the quietest we have been on the site, but it was needed to get things in place for this year and beyond. Exciting things are on the horizon here at Beers and Beans, and we’re excited to have you a long for the ride!

    One of our biggest and most unique projects that Beth and I are involved in may be taking us back to Europe, and possibly Ireland. Unfortunately, the campaign hasn’t been officially announced yet, so I’ve been sworn to secrecy until then. But trust me, as soon as we get the go ahead, you guys will be the first to know.

    In the meantime, though, I thought I’d share a few Ireland events that I came across on the Hotel Direct event calendar while doing research for the upcoming project. I don’t know about you, but whenever we travel, I always try to incorporate local events or concerts with bands I love into our trip. Sadly, I haven’t been that successful at this endeavor, since I usually don’t find out about an event until it’s too late. This time around I’m going to try something a little different and commit my entertainment fun finds to a blog post as the ultimate reminder for you and me.

    Clontarf Viking Festival | April 19–20

    Held in St. Anne’s Park, the Clontarf Viking Festival features a large Viking village and robust battle re-enactment, the largest to ever be produced in Ireland. Additionally, festival-goers will get a taste of Viking life through an interactive display.

    A modern day Icelandic warrior 5 Dublin Events That Are Better Than A Pint of Guinness

    Channeling my inner-Viking in Iceland.

    Dublin Prawn Festival | April 24–25

    If you’re a seafood lover and you happen to be in Dublin during this weekend, then, my friend, this is what heaven looks like. Howth’s harbor will be full of food stalls offering locally sourced seafood and artisan delicacies as well as cooking demos. Additionally, the city’s top restaurants and pubs will have special menus dedicated to the festival.

    John Butler Trio | April 24

    I’ve been wanting to see these guys live for some time. I like my music unscripted and judging from everything I’ve read about the John Butler Trio these guys know how to improvise and jam. The Australian band is touring in support of their sixth album, “Flesh & Blood,” and will be at Vicar St., which was named Irish Music Venue of the year in 2008 and 2009. Alternatively, the band will be in the United Kingdom the following week, including a night at the O2 Academy in London. You may want to check the London Hidden Gems’ section on Hotel Direct to see if you can grab a sweet room on the cheap.

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    Photo Credit: John Butler Trio

    Roseanne Cash | April 27

    Honestly, I’m not too familiar with Roseanne Cash’s music, but I’ve heard good things—Elton John called her latest album, “The River and The Thread,” the “most beautiful album of 2014.” Plus, she’s the oldest daughter of Johnny Cash, so she has that going for her too. I’m sucker for live music, and I can’t think of a better way to discover Ms. Cash’s music, then seeing her live in Dublin at Vicar St.

    Shackleton Exhibition | April 1 – Nov. 1

    Beth and I are huge fans of the “Stuff You Missed in History” podcast, so much so, that we listen to it every night as we’re going to sleep. The Shackleton Exibition at Dún Laoghaire in Dublin reminds of the stories that the team at “How Stuff Works” covers. In fact, I’m going to have to go back into the archives and see if they’ve covered this early 20th-century Trans-Atlantic Endurance expedition and its leader Sir Ernest Shackleton. The exhibition features a replica lifeboat used in the difficult rescue of Shackleton and his crew as well as more than 150 photos from the ship’s photographer.

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    Photo Credit: Shackleton Exhibition

    What’s the best concert you’ve ever seen while traveling? Let us know in the comments!

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    We’re Judging a Photo Competition & You Could Win £2000 of Adventure Travelhttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/03/27/photo-competition/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=photo-competition http://beersandbeans.com/2014/03/27/photo-competition/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 21:39:39 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=19481

    In true Beers and Beans fashion, we’re kicking off the spring season with a pretty epic photo competition!

    Just last week Beth and I were talking about putting together some sort of giveaway to celebrate SPRING ...

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    In true Beers and Beans fashion, we’re kicking off the spring season with a pretty epic photo competition!

    Just last week Beth and I were talking about putting together some sort of giveaway to celebrate SPRING (it’s been one heck of a long winter here in New England), but kept drawing blanks. Then out of the blue, Beth got invited to judge this photo competition with Explore.co.uk and Blacks, an outdoor outfitter in the UK, and well the rest is history.

    Beth, along with three other travel experts and photographers, will be judging one of the four categories in competition; her category is “Fast,” and we can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!

    Here’s the official announcement from Blacks: 

    In partnership with Explore.co.uk, we are offering budding photographers and bloggers the chance to win £2000 of adventure travel. Four runners up will receive £150 to spend at Blacks.

    When it comes to outdoor gear, Blacks is synonymous with adventure. High quality clothing and accessories by brands such as The North Face, Jack Wolfskin and Montane make today’s epic adventures possible. They allow people to keep warm at -20, keep cool in the depths of the jungle and stay dry when the monsoon comes. With that in mind, we want to hear about your epic adventures, and give one lucky person the chance to win the trip of a lifetime.

    Head to Africa and see the big five, cycle the Turquoise Coast, cruise the Galapagos for wildlife, or even put the money towards an arctic adventure. The choice is yours! We are looking for the best outdoor photographs around, and want to see your top snaps in the following categories:

    • Wild
    • Fast
    • Panoramic
    • Epic

    How to enter:

    There are two ways to enter and you can submit as many entries as you like!

    1. Create a blog post showcasing your entries to the aforementioned categories, then tweet the link to @Blacks_Online using the hashtag #epicadventures. Throughout the competition, Blacks’ favorite blog posts will be shared on their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Individual category winners will be judged by the panel that Beth is part of, while the overall winner will be judged by Explore’s managing director Ashley Toft. The overall winner will win £2000 to spend with Explore.co.uk. Four runners up will receive gift cards worth £150 to spend in Blacks stores and www.blacks.co.uk.

    2. Don’t have a blog to post on, or only have one photo to enter? You can also enter via the app on Blacks Facebook page. Remember, the more times you enter the more chances you have to win!

    The contest is open to EVERYONE–Yay!–and runs until  midnight on Monday 5th May (UK Time), so 8 p.m. EST and 5 p.m. PST. You can check out the complete terms and conditions here.

    Good Luck & Happy Spring!

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    How to Travel with Bing and Earn Rewards Toohttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/03/20/travel-bing-rewards/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=travel-bing-rewards http://beersandbeans.com/2014/03/20/travel-bing-rewards/#comments Thu, 20 Mar 2014 17:49:51 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=19433

    Bing. Bing. Bing.

    Did you hear that? Well, if you’re flying, then you can finally use the bathroom. But if you’re at home, then that’s the sound of a better way to plan your next vacation. I ...

    The post How to Travel with Bing and Earn Rewards Too appeared first on Beers & Beans.

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    Bing. Bing. Bing.

    Did you hear that? Well, if you’re flying, then you can finally use the bathroom. But if you’re at home, then that’s the sound of a better way to plan your next vacation. I know what you’re thinking…Bing, really? Yep, it’s true! After spending some time with Microsoft’s search engine, I discovered that Bing just does travel better. Here’s how to tap into Bing’s travel potential and earn some rewards while your doing it.

    Planning

    Bing gives you more of what you need when researching a destination. Honestly, I didn’t realize how lackluster and ad ridden other search engine page had become until I started comparing them. I think the best way to show the difference is through a side by side comparison with one of Bing’s main competitors (who, for legal purposes, shall remain nameless) for the search term “traveling to Paris.”

    bing search engine cover up e1395336039161 How to Travel with Bing and Earn Rewards Too

    Did you notice all of the advertising? Apparently, Bing’s competitor needs to re-watch The Social Network, because like Napster founder Sean Parker says, “You don’t want to ruin it with ads because ads aren’t cool.” O.K., here’s the same search result on Bing…

    bing screenshot e1395269587431 How to Travel with Bing and Earn Rewards Too

    Now, that’s what I’m talking about it! Lots of information above the fold, plus you could even search for a flight if your heart so desired. Scroll down and you’ll find even more information–attractions, sights, related searches–before ever seeing your first ad. And if you connect your Facebook account to Bing, you can also see related updates and photos from your friends, which enables you to tap into the people you trust most for travel advice, tips and inspiration.

    Welcome to a better image search

    When you click on “Image” at the top of the page, this is what you get on Bing for the search term “Traveling in Paris.”

    Bing images e1395273738330 How to Travel with Bing and Earn Rewards Too

    Take notice of the additional options on the sidebar listed under “Discover more.” That is one of the features that I really love about Bing’s image search that other search engines don’t have. For a place like Paris, you could literally get lost perusing the different categories. Now if only you could easily pin the images that you find on Bing, to say, one of your Pinterest travel boards. Oh wait, you can, and it’s only a click away! All you have to do is click on an image to highlight it, then use Bing’s built in “Pin it” button to share the image to your travel board.

    bing image pin it pinterest e1395274689953 How to Travel with Bing and Earn Rewards Too

    Booking

    Booking engines are like the Starbucks of the internet. Every month it seems like a new one comes on the scene, rehashing what’s already been done. Don’t get me wrong, there are some innovative engines out there. Travel Pony, Hipmunk and Hotel Tonight are all exceptional niche booking sites and certainly have a place in my travel quiver. What I like about Bing, though, is that it makes comparing rates and booking a breeze, since I can do everything from the search engine. Bringing up a booking search on Bing is as simple as typing “your destination+ hotel/flight” into the search bar or going into the “more” tab above the search bar and choosing “travel.” Flight results are powered by Kayak.com, and the rate indicator in hotel searches let’s you know if you’re getting a good or great deal.

    bing flights How to Travel with Bing and Earn Rewards Too

    To access the flight details on the right hand side, just click on the blue arrow beside the booking button.

    Extras

    In addition to Bing’s, high quality, no-nonsense search, you’ll also find helpful links to check your flight status or currency exchange rates, among other things. Also, for those of you who have a Windows 8 phone or tablet/pc, the Bing Transalator app is a free download that let’s you use your camera or type the text you want to translate. The app also features free language pack downloads so you can still get your translation on even while your offline. Additionally, you can also access the Bing Transalator from your web browser by clicking on the “more” tab that I mentioned earlier.

    Rewards

    Airlines have them, credit cards have them, and now Bing has them too. Seasoned travelers love rewards programs because it enables them to save on the thing they love most: travel. The beauty of Bing Rewards is that you don’t need to be a travel hacker nor spend a dime to start earning points towards gift cards, such as Amazon, Starbucks, Sephora, Applebees, Skype and One Drive, all you have to do is SEARCH, which you’re going to do anyways, right? You can also earn points by completing daily search offers. For example, today Bing asked me: “Want to see what’s springing up around the world?” When I clicked on the notification, it took me to images of “springtime around the world.” Not a bad way to start my day, plus I earned a point too.

    Currently, I’m working towards racking up a number of $5 Starbucks’ gift cards to have for our travel days. At the moment, I think I can earn one a month, which may not seem like a lot, but every little bit we save, ultimately, helps us travel further. Better yet, the more I search with Bing, the higher my status in the program becomes. As I start climbing the ranks, I’ll also unlock exclusive earning opportunities and get access to discounted gift cards.

    20140320 153244000 iOS How to Travel with Bing and Earn Rewards Too   20140320 153019000 iOS How to Travel with Bing and Earn Rewards Too

    And there was mobile…

    During my research for this story, I discovered a CNET story announcing that Bing Rewards went mobile in January. For those of you who have an iOS or Android device that means you can earn even more points by searching on mobile. To start earning points on the go, simply download the Bing app (iOSAndroid) and then visit Bing.com/rewards on your phone or tablet.

    How will you use Bing to plan your next trip? Let us know in the comments below!

     

    This post was created in partnership with Bing. However, BingLogo How to Travel with Bing and Earn Rewards Toomy thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

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    How Not To Sabotage Your Workout Routine on Vacationhttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/03/03/how-to-not-sabotage-your-workout-routine-on-vacation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-not-sabotage-your-workout-routine-on-vacation http://beersandbeans.com/2014/03/03/how-to-not-sabotage-your-workout-routine-on-vacation/#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 11:54:58 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=19354

    Editor’s note: We are excited to publish this story from Beth’s cousin-in-law Scott Provost, who’s a personal trainer and a strength and conditioning coach for athletes.  I have picked Scott’s brain a few times for ...

    The post How Not To Sabotage Your Workout Routine on Vacation appeared first on Beers & Beans.

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    Editor’s note: We are excited to publish this story from Beth’s cousin-in-law Scott Provost, who’s a personal trainer and a strength and conditioning coach for athletes.  I have picked Scott’s brain a few times for tips about exercising and eating well, so when he offered to write a story about exercising on the road, I jumped at the opportunity to feature his advice here. You can read more about Scott in his bio following this post.

    Story by Scott Provost

    You’re finally on vacation. After all the waiting, hectic work schedules, the kids, housework and homework—in other words, the same old ROUTINE–it’s time to relax.

    Relaxing, what is that? For me, it’s the absence of responsibilities and not going through your normal ROUTINE. I know, it’s an absent concept and may be highly unfamiliar, but believe it or not it does exist. So why is ROUTINE capitalized with heightened emphasis? Because the number one barrier to getting active, and staying active once the ROUTINE (O.K. I’ll stop that now, but always know that’s the main topic of this article) sets in, is habit.

    You have a great habit of setting time aside a few times a week at specific times/days to get in your weekly physical activity, then you go on vacation to get away and relax; it’s a break from the monotony of life, and consequently your workout schedule. So, when you get home your habit is broken, you’ve put on a few pounds and now have to go through the crazy process of breaking yourself back into the routine again. It’s happened to almost everyone, including yours truly. So, how do you avoid this? Well, that is the million dollar question isn’t?

    When you get home your habit is broken, you’ve put on a few pounds and now have to go through the crazy process of breaking yourself back into the routine again.

    My answer: how can you not? It’s vacation, right? And you now have all the time in the world. Trust me, though, there is a way. What I’m about to tell you doesn’t include the usual vacation activities of hiking in scenic vacation spots, swimming, diving, biking, throwing your kids in the pool, surfing and, well, rafting down the lazy river. This is about keeping your habit on par (there’s another activity: golf) with planned physical activity also known as exercise. It’s about not breaking a habit that is going to require further energy, hassle and psychological distress to start back up again when you get home. Do you remember learning about inertia? Well, this is the same concept: a habit in motion tends to stay in motion, and a habit at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by another force which requires energy transfer and cognitive distress. Yes, that is my professional opinion evidenced by scientific fact.

    Depositphotos 24685071 s How Not To Sabotage Your Workout Routine on Vacation

    After your travel day and everything that goes along with it—the flight, renting a car, getting to the hotel, finding a place to eat—your sympathetic nervous system (think adrenaline and stress hormones) should be running wild. Now is not the time to relax, though. In fact, this is the perfect opportunity to relieve your stress. Go workout or run or do whatever it is you do. When you’re done, relaxing will have never felt so good and your body (and dopamine receptors) will thank you for it. The rest of the vacation, plan to exercise after you wake up, but, do not set your alarm to do it! You’ll hate yourself if you do, and it may be just enough to turn you off from exercising during your entire vacation.

    So the key is to just get it over with, but be sure to put some effort into it. Once you have finished, you can get busy doing nothing or whatever is you like to do on your vacation. Even if you don’t have access to a workout facility, the good news is that you don’t really need one. Body weight exercises, external resistance—via books, bags, furniture, etc.—TRX straps, which are perfect for travel and home use, and sprint circuits all can be easily used to achieve your desired effect. Trust me, I could put you through a workout that’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before with nothing more than a 10 sq. feet, a 4-inch round object and breathing techniques. The point is, you don’t need dumbbells, weights or a useless DVD trainer to get in a good workout.

    Trust me, I could put you through a workout that’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before with nothing more than a 10 sq. feet, a 4-inch round object and breathing techniques. The point is, you don’t need dumbbells, weights or a useless DVD trainer to get in a good workout.

    Up to this point, I’ve been talking about the importance of keeping your exercise routine going during your vacation. But for those of you out there whose regiment revolves more around eating well than exercising, I’ve got some tips for you too, since eating and exercise are inherently linked and follow the same habitual paths. It’s no secret that keeping up with your proper eating habits while traveling can be extremely difficult. A little comprise with your meals, however, can go a long way.

    My biggest tip for you is to save your pleasure eating for one meal a day. Theoretically and physiologically, lunch would be the best cheat meal of the day, but who doesn’t want to have a fabulous, uncompromising dinner? It’s much easier to plan a healthy breakfast and lunch than a dinner. So let’s cheat at dinner and be happy that we’re still actively thinking about our habits, instead of going through the before mentioned processes of failing to keep habits active.

    maui KO restaurant How Not To Sabotage Your Workout Routine on Vacation

    Obviously, under optimal conditions you wouldn’t skip a beat from your normal routine. But this is vacation, so it’s important to be realistic. Focus on mitigating the consequences and getting your fill of vacation and relaxation, so you can come back satisfied, rested, and ready to continue facing reality head on. If you have any questions or thoughts, or would like some ideas on how to exercise or eat on vacation in accordance with your normal routine, please e-mail me at sp3training@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you!

    Do you have a go to vacation exercise tip? Let us know about it in the comments!

    Bio: Scott Provost is a strength and conditioning coach for athletes and has been a personal trainer since 2010. He has completed four internships with some of the best coaches in the Northeast and is currently finishing his B.S. in Applied Exercise Science, with a focus in strength and conditioning, from Springfield College, which has the distinction of turning out some of the most influential and successful fitness professionals in the country. His certifications include Personal Trainer from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, Level 1 Certified Kettlebell Athletics Coach, and in the fall he is testing for the highly coveted CSCS from the National Strength and Conditioning Association as well as the Level 1 FMS. Scott has also been published for his assistance with research on two separate studies.

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    5 Things To Do In Manchester That Have Nothing To Do With David Beckhamhttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/02/27/things-to-do-in-manchester/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=things-to-do-in-manchester http://beersandbeans.com/2014/02/27/things-to-do-in-manchester/#comments Thu, 27 Feb 2014 13:07:39 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=19337

    A few years ago Manchester, England, got an approving nod from the New York Times when the newspaper named the city in its top 41 places to visit in the world. Outside of England, the ...

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    A few years ago Manchester, England, got an approving nod from the New York Times when the newspaper named the city in its top 41 places to visit in the world. Outside of England, the city’s probably best known for its two popular football clubs and, to a lesser extent, the post-punk sounds of the Smiths and Joy Division. For travelers curious to see what helped land the city the Times’ mention, we put together a few fun, cultural things to do in Manchester that have absolutely nothing to do with football or David Beckham.

    See the Stars

    Believe it or not, you’ll see more stars in Manchester than you’ll ever see in Hollywood, California, and that has everything to do with the Godlee Observatory. Located on the roof of Manchester University’s Sackville Street Building via vertigo inducing spiral staircase, this full functioning observatory has been around since 1902 and retains its original Grubb telescope as well as the rope and wheels used to move it. Each Thursday around 7 p.m., the observatory offers free access for visitors.

    Key information: Enter the building through the entrance on Granby Row. People without university swipe cards WILL need to phone the observatory at +44 0161 306 4977 to have someone let you in. The entrance to the observatory is located on floor G.

    Website: Godlee Observatory | Address: Sackville St, Manchester M1 3WA

    Spend some time with Marx and Engels

    If only the walls of Chetham’s Library could talk…actually, I guess they sort of can, since they’re full of books. Dating back to the 17th century (the building itself is from 1421), Chetham’s Library is England’s oldest free public library, and has used by the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, and musician Damon Albarn The libraries biggest claim to fame, however, is that Carl Marx and Frederick Engels wrote the first draft of the Communist Manifesto here, and patrons can still sit at the table where it was written.

    Key information: Marx and Engels worked together at the four sided wooden desk in the window alcove of the Reading Room.

    Website: Chetham’s Library | Address: Long Millgate, Manchester, M3 1SB

    Be amazed

    What happens at the Royal Exchange Theatre may leave you bewildered and wide-eyed, and that’s exactly what the performers want. Whether the theater is hosting a classic production (think William Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Oscar Wilde) or premiering one of its own, the unique design of the Royal Exchange Theater ensures that all seats are less than 27 feet from the circular stage, giving the audience views from all angles. Situated in the historic Victorian Cotton Exchange Buildings, The Royal Exchange Theatre is where amazing happens in Manchester.

    Key information: The Royal Exchange Theatre is located in Manchester city center, so if you’re looking for a place to stay nearby, you may want to check out Hotel Direct to see what they have for your visit to the city. In addition to its award winning productions, the theater also hosts, live music events, poetry readings and free exhibitions.

    Website: Royal Exchange Theatre | Address: St Ann’s Square, Manchester, M2 7DH

    Stop and smell the roses (or skate & destroy)

    Opening in 1910 as public park, Platt Fields features a variety of gardens, such as the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee gardens, a Shakespearean Garden that was reportedly designed to showcase planets from his works, and a community orchard garden. You’ll also find gardens containing ferns, heathers and roses as well as a picnic area and labyrinth. Platt Fields also features a large lake, which is popular for boating and fishing, as well as a skate park and BMX track.

    Key information: Platt Fields is located in South Central Manchester and is approximately two miles from the city center. It can easily be reached by walking or by bus from the city center. You can find detailed information about which bus routes service the park here.

    Website: Platt Fields | Address: Manchester, Greater Manchester M14 6LA

    Amble on…

    While the Northern Quarter has existed in one form or another since the gritty days of the Industrial Reveloution, its current incarnation, which came about with the areas gentrification in the 1990s, draws parallels to some of America’s hippest neighborhoods and cities, such as Greenwich Village, Brooklyn and Austin. In fact, Captain America: The First Avenger used Dale Street in the Northern Quarter to represent 1940s New York City. For the indie spirits out there, you’ll find dozens of restaurants, bars, galleries, record shops to keep you occupied, while you wander through this vibrant district.

    Key information: Popular streets in the Northern Quarter include Oldham Street, Hilton Street Tib Street, Lever Street, Thomas Street, Newton Street and Dale Street.

    Website: Northern Quarter Address: Northern Quarter (Set between Piccadilly and the Ancoats), Manchester M4 1HQ

    Did we miss your favorite spot in the city? Let us know about it in the comments!

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    Photo Competition: Win A New Nikon DSLR For Your Next Vacationhttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/02/25/win-a-nikon-d3200/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=win-a-nikon-d3200 http://beersandbeans.com/2014/02/25/win-a-nikon-d3200/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 19:36:18 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=19321

    Since there’s not a whole lot of time left to enter this photo competition, I’m just going to jump right into it. The deadline for submissions is Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, and this baby is ...

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    Since there’s not a whole lot of time left to enter this photo competition, I’m just going to jump right into it. The deadline for submissions is Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, and this baby is open to EVERYONE!

    One day we’d love to personally giveaway a new Nikon camera to one of our readers. Beth’s a Nikon user and has been for years, and we’d love to share the gift of photography with others. For now, though, we’re happy to be able spread the word about the “Wish I Was There Photo Competition” from Al Fresco Holidays, which has a grand prize of a Nikon D3200 DSLR or £400 in vouchers towards your next holiday. Additionally, 10 lucky runners-up will receive a print of their submitted picture.

    nikond3200 image al Fresco holidays e1393355406402 Photo Competition: Win A New Nikon DSLR For Your Next Vacation

    O.K., so the takeaway up to this point is that the competition ends this FRIDAY, Feb. 28, 2014, and one lucky winner will take home their choice of a Nikon D3200 DSLR or £400 in travel vouchers from Al Fresco Holidays.

    How to Enter:

    Al Fresco wants to see your best holiday photos. Here’s what they told me they’re looking for:  ”Whether it’s funny, remarkable, scenic or simply a picture of fun times at your favorite destination, we’re looking for something original that will make us smile, help us look forward to those first few days of Spring and think “I wish I was there!”‘

    There are several ways to show off of our best photo. Whichever you choose, just make sure to include the location of your photo and the reason why you wish you were back there!

    The entry methods are as follows and each one is worth 1 entry:

    •Tweet us @AlFrescoHols using the hashtag #AFWishIWasThere
    •Post your picture on Instagram using the hashtag #AFWishIWasThere
    •E-mail your photo into alfrescoholidayscompetition@gmail.com

    Want some Bonus Entries?

    To gain five extra entries and increase your chances of winning, you can write a blog post mentioning the competition with a description of your holiday and the story behind the photo!

    After you fulfill one or all of the above requirements (You can get up to 8 entries), go to the Official Wish I Was There Contest Page and mark your entries on the Rafflecopter widget.

    So, if I enter will I lose my rights to my photos?

    I know this question comes up a lot for online photo contests, so I looked into the fine print and this is what it says:

    “Copyright in all images submitted for this competition remains with the respective entrants. However, in consideration of their providing the Competition, each entrant grants a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual licence to Al Fresco Holidays to feature any or all of the submitted images in any of their publications, their websites and/or in any promotional material connected to this competition without recompense.”

    If you’d like to read the full Terms and Conditions for this contest, you can read them by clicking the link on the Rafflecopter widget HERE.

    Full disclosure:  This competition is being run by Al Fresco Holidays and not us. We’re just sharing it with you guys because we thought it was cool and a great opportunity. As always, our thoughts and opinions in this post are our own.

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    Travels with Chachy: Sheepskin Bed by Skookum Doghttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/02/21/skookum-dog-memory-foam-orthopedic-dog-bed/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=skookum-dog-memory-foam-orthopedic-dog-bed http://beersandbeans.com/2014/02/21/skookum-dog-memory-foam-orthopedic-dog-bed/#comments Fri, 21 Feb 2014 16:26:20 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=19049

    Our new Skookum Dog beds showed up in a giant box right before Christmas. Doggie intuition was in high gear because the dogs started sniffing the boxes before we even opened them.

    As soon ...

    The post Travels with Chachy: Sheepskin Bed by Skookum Dog appeared first on Beers & Beans.

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    Our new Skookum Dog beds showed up in a giant box right before Christmas. Doggie intuition was in high gear because the dogs started sniffing the boxes before we even opened them.

    As soon as I pulled the Sheepskin Bed (Memory Foam) out of the box, the dogs knew right away it was something special just for them.

    Only it wasn’t. Well, technically it was for them, but with an over crowded holiday house with poor mattresses, they were forced to share their new Sheepskin Bed with a human.

    After we plopped it on the floor and took our turns testing it out, we were shocked at how comfortable it was. Most dog beds tend to fold under the weight of a person, and if you’ve ever sat on one you can usually feel the flooring underneath you immediately which isn’t very comfy.

    Before the dogs could get their paws all over it, Bridgette, my middle sister, decided to snag the bed for herself and use it instead of the spare mattress at our parents house, which always gives her a nasty backache.

    That’s what makes this memory foam bed 100% different from any other dog bed I’ve ever seen. The memory foam is so thick that even with an adult standing on it you cannot feel the floor.

    So before the dogs could get their paws all over it, Bridgette, my middle sister, decided to snag the bed for herself and use it instead of the spare mattress at our parents house, which always gives her a nasty backache. The next day she said it was the best night’s sleep she had at their house and slept on it for the remainder of holiday season.

    The dogs had to wait a couple days to get the bed all to themselves, but judging from their silly little grins when they all piled on together, I’d say it was worth their wait. They loved it!

    Sunny, my younger sister’s Pitbull mix and Chachy’s lover, took to it quickly and used it as her go-to bed, hogging it as much as possible. Weighing in at 80 pounds, I’m sure she loved the fact that she finally had a bed that didn’t collapse under her weight.

    skookum dog 2 sfb sm Travels with Chachy: Sheepskin Bed by Skookum Dog

    Now it has a permanent position in front of our little fireplace heater where the dogs (and cats) take turns sleeping on it.

    I love that this dog bed is so high quality. The foam is 1.5 inches thick and is covered with a thick padding of soft synthetic sheepskin (another win for me since I don’t buy products made from animal skin). The bottom of the bed is made from ballistic nylon and is extremely strong. The entire bed also comes apart which makes it perfect for washing and it also has a handle at the top which makes it easy to move around. You’ll be happy for the handle too because this bed is so well made and of such high quality fabrics that it weighs approximately 9 lbs. For even more details, check out the Sheepskin Bed on Skookum Dog.

    This bed is great for dogs of all sizes, although a heavy, big dog will probably appreciate it even more. An older dog or one with arthritis would definitely love this bed. It will rest their weary bones while providing them with plenty of comfort and plush memory foam. Plus, for people who like to travel with their dog and  camp in the back of their SUVs, then the Sheepskin Bed would make a great addition to your car camping setup.

    So if you’ve been looking for a high quality dog bed that you will never need to replace, then this is it. Trust me, your dog will love you for life!

    The post Travels with Chachy: Sheepskin Bed by Skookum Dog appeared first on Beers & Beans.

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    Our Travel Guides are on Buggl…Create Your Own and Winhttp://beersandbeans.com/2014/02/20/buggl-travel-guides/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=buggl-travel-guides http://beersandbeans.com/2014/02/20/buggl-travel-guides/#comments Fri, 21 Feb 2014 01:01:20 +0000 http://beersandbeans.com/?p=19277

    Beth and I have always had a thing for guidebooks. I think it comes from our youth, when travel guides, maps and AAA triptiks were more than just vacation resources, they transported us from our ...

    The post Our Travel Guides are on Buggl…Create Your Own and Win appeared first on Beers & Beans.

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    Beth and I have always had a thing for guidebooks. I think it comes from our youth, when travel guides, maps and AAA triptiks were more than just vacation resources, they transported us from our rooms to distant lands, like Orlando, Sandusky and Los Angeles.

    In fact, on our first trip together (roughly two years before this blog), we talked about how fantastic it would be to work on one as we drank cervezas in our $15/night Antigua hotel room. We wanted to travel extensively and at that time writing guidebooks seemed like one of the best options for a wandering journalist and photographer. Then Beers and Beans happened, and we got our chance to not only share our stories and photos, but also be our own publishers.

    Blogs can be an invaluable resource for planning, but when you’re out in the thick of things there is nothing better than having an information packed, well-designed guide with you.

    Even as our blog grew, we wanted to create travel guides to share our knowledge with our readers in a concise, portable manner. Blogs can be an invaluable resource for planning, but when you’re out in the thick of things there is nothing better than having an information packed, well-designed guide with you. And as smartphones and tablets continue to grow in popularity, digital guides can now fit in the palm of your hands or be carried in your scarf pocket without the need for a data connection.

    So when Derek Bugley, of Buggl, reached out to us about his new digital guidebook start-up, Beth and I were pretty jazzed. We delved into Buggl while it was still in beta and realized quickly how great the platform is for creating travel guides. With all of the design work handled by Buggl, we could focus solely on content creation, which gave us the opportunity to expand on posts already on our blog and include additional Local Secrets that we haven’t had a chance to publish yet.

    And Then There Were Three…

    For our first collection for Buggl, we put together three guides for three different cities. The Vienna and Reykjavik guides are perfect for visitors who’ve never been or for anyone who has visited these cities, but felt they never got off the tourist track.  Our San Diego guide, on the other hand, is topic-specific, and was inspired by our visiting friends, who were always curious to taste the best of San Diego’s craft beer scene.

    The Vienna Starter Guide

    We made our Vienna city guide FREE to download, that way you can check it out and see firsthand why we’re such fans of the new era Buggl is ushering in for digital guides.Think of this guide as a starter kit for Vienna. We lay out our favorite places–cafes, restaurants, bars, sights and accommodations–so you can spend more time doing and less time planning.

    Cost: Free

    buggl vienna starter guide Our Travel Guides are on Buggl...Create Your Own and Win

    The Beer Lovers Guide To San Diego

    We love beer. We love San Diego. And it’s these two simple facts that have led us to publish this guide. For years, we’ve recommended many of these places to family, friends and visiting beer lovers. Now for the first time ever, we’ve put all of our favorites into a portable guide, which can be carried easily with you on your smartphone or tablet.

    Cost: 99 cents

    buggl sd beer guide pinterest Our Travel Guides are on Buggl...Create Your Own and Win

    The Best of Reykjavik

    Want to know where to get the best authentic Icelandic cuisine? How about the best accommodation for your budget? Or, simple the absolute best spot to capture panoramas of Reykjavik? This guide will answer all those questions and so much more. Really, it’s like having a best friend in the city, except you don’t have to buy it dinner!

    Cost: 99 cents

    buggl reykjavik Our Travel Guides are on Buggl...Create Your Own and Win

    Create Your Own and Win!

    One of my favorite things about Buggl is that its full of authors from all walks of life. In addition to having a great collection of travel bloggers on Buggl, such as Dave and Deb of The Planet D, Earl Baron of Wandering Earl, Dan and Audrey of Uncornered Market,  and Adam Groffman of Travels of Adam, there are also former tour guides, camp experts and authors who just frankly love their city and want to share their Local Secrets with other travelers.

    buggl sweepstakes e1392930714807 Our Travel Guides are on Buggl...Create Your Own and Win

    To celebrate the platform’s launch, Derek and the crew at Buggl are offering one lucky author a free airline ticket and $500 spending cash! Yep, you heard me right. All you have to do is create a guide in the month of February and you’ll be automatically entered to win. You can see all the details here or by clicking on the photo above.

    We can’t wait to see what you create!

    The post Our Travel Guides are on Buggl…Create Your Own and Win appeared first on Beers & Beans.

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