National Park Freebies – Ten Tips to Trim Your Travel Budget

Although there’s no such thing as a free lunch, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to visit one of over 400 national parks and recreation areas across America. From free admission and tours, to special programs and even transportation, there’s no shortage of freebies to be had in these beautiful public lands. And although many of these cost-saving deals are well advertised, some are held as closely guarded secrets. With that in mind, here are ten tips to help trim your travel budget on your next national park visit.

  • US Citizens with a permanent disability can get a free Access Pass, which is good for free admission to all national parks, recreation sites, national monuments and wildlife refuges. Passes can be obtained at entrance kiosks, with proof of citizenship and disability. The pass also offers a 50% discount on campsites and boat launch fees.

  • Active members of the military can also get a free annual pass by presenting their Common Access Card or Military ID (Form 1173). This pass is available to members of all branches of the military — including reservists and National Guard members — and it has the same benefits as the Access Pass.

  • Many parks have free cell phone tours. For example, In Olympic National Park, visitors can call (360) 406-5056 to get recorded information on different areas of the park. Consult the park newspaper to see if a cell phone tour is available.

  • If you’re traveling with someone who can’t walk very far, check with the park visitor center, as many times they have manual wheelchairs for loan.

  • Some parks offer free tours on a first-come basis. Over in Zion visitors can take a free 90-minute ranger-led bus tour of Zion Canyon. Seats are limited and can only be reserved in person at the visitor center, up to three days in advance. It’s always a good idea to inquire at the visitor center whenever you visit a park, as that’s how you’ll discover freebies like this.

  • While we are on the subject, rangers are an excellent source of free information, so don’t hesitate to ask them for specific suggestions. On one visit to Yosemite, a ranger clued me in that Washburn Point was an excellent stop for wheelchair-users. This information wasn’t in the park newspaper, but the ranger knew because her brother was disabled.

  • Take advantage of the free shuttle buses in many parks, as they will save you time and frustration. For example, in Bryce National Park parking is limited along the main park road, but folks that take the optional shuttle bus dodge the parking hassle and have more time to enjoy the park.

  • If you have kids in tow ask about the junior ranger program at the main park visitor center. To become a junior ranger a child has to complete activities in the free junior ranger activity book, then have them checked by a ranger. If all goes well, they are sworn in as a junior ranger. It’s a fun way to encourage kids to learn about the natural environment while they explore a park.

  • If you have a fourth grader in the family you’ll be able to save even more money this year, thanks to the Every Kid in a Park Initiative. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service all fourth graders will receive a season pass for their family, good for admission to all parks in the 2015-2016 school year.

  • Last but not least, everybody gets free admission on national park free entrance days. These include the National Park Service Birthday (August 25), National Public Lands Day (September 26) and the first weekend of National Parks Week (mid-April). There’s also no admission charge on Veterans Day, Martin Luther King Jr Day, and Presidents Day weekend.

Historic Sites in Northern Virginia for Student Travel Tours to Washington DC

Often when student travel groups decide upon Washington D.C. as their destination, the tour leaders have specific sites in mind for a visit. Many of the sites that student travel groups request the most are just outside Washington D.C., in Northern Virginia. In order to include these historic sites in a student travel tour, advanced planning is required. Usually, I advise educational travel groups to plan one year ahead for trips to the Washington D.C. area. Depending upon the site visited, special advance procedures to clear student visitors may be required.

An educational travel company needs to be retained to plan and execute an effective itinerary for Washington D.C. If popular historic or governmental sites in Northern Virginia are requested, the itinerary will accommodate these sites on one special day, or combine them effectively with other destinations on the student tour.

Here is an overview of some of the popular Northern Virginia sites for educational travel groups:

Pentagon Tour

The Pentagon is located just across the Potomac River from Washington D.C. in Arlington, Virginia. Many student travel groups are eager to see the headquarters for high-ranking officers of the U.S. Military and their aides. Because the Pentagon was attacked on September 11th, and it houses critical military personnel, it is a sensitive site. Despite the challenges to security, the U.S. government still provides student travel tours led by a uniformed and trained member of the U.S. Military. This tour has been provided to the public since 1976, when it was first initiated in celebration of our nation’s 200th anniversary. With proper advance notification, an educational travel group may schedule a one-hour tour of the Pentagon that includes about one and one half miles of walking through Pentagon corridors and grounds and a view of the highlights.

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery is another historic site that fascinates and intrigues educational tour groups. Arlington National Cemetery was dedicated as a military cemetery on June 15th 1854. Veterans from all of the wars, both foreign and domestic, are buried here and the gravesites number around 300,000. The National Park Service administers Arlington House and its immediate grounds. The U.S. Army oversees Arlington National Cemetery and Soldier’s Home National Cemetery. Educational travel groups touring Arlington National Cemetery may have the opportunity to attend a Wreath Laying Ceremony or take a Tram tour, with advance planning.

Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens

Mount Vernon, the historic estate of George Washington lies just across the Potomac River from Washington D.C. a mere 16 miles distance from the nation’s capital. Mount Vernon is exquisitely preserved. Educational travel groups will be greeted at a brand new building, the Ford Orientation Center, and will tour The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center which houses 25 new theaters and galleries that narrate the entire story of George Washington’s life. The Reynolds museum displays 500 original artifacts, and offers 11 videos and Immersion Theater as a way of learning about our founding father.

Student travel groups can experience living history by observing a working 18th Century farm and gristmill, as well as other educational programs. Student travel groups may tour the mansion, gardens, working farm, and more.

Educational travel to Washington D.C. is greatly enhanced by trips to Northern Virginia historical points of interest. Places like the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, and Mount Vernon should not be ignored on a student travel tour of the Washington D.C. area. For more information on specific points of interest in the Washington D.C. area for student travel groups, visit educationaltravelconsultants.com

Cheap Hotels in Singapore Are Crucial to Attract Backpackers and Budget Travelers

Singapore, though a small country or to be more precise a city state, it is one the most developed countries in Asia. Housing several tourist destinations, Singapore tourism offers an extensive traveling experience to travelers not only from neighboring countries but from around the world.

The green vegetation, the long coast line and the unique heritage attracts the travelers from around the globe. The picturesque view and modern architecture of the city attract travelers and in consequence Singapore has become one of the most popular holiday destination.

Emerald Hill is one the most attractive tourist destinations in Singapore. Located in the region of Newton and Orchard, Emerald Hill originally was owned by a postal Clerk named William Cuppage. Later on nutmeg plantations became official and the place acquired name and fame among travelers and nature lovers. Many high profile and influential people live in Emerald hill and nearby areas. Moreover, travelers could still see and experience influence of European architecture in various buildings erected in Emerald hill. Singapore promotes travel and tourism in large scale and in this regard Singapore tourism offers attractive tour packages to travelers around the world.

Besides being an advanced country, Singapore offers wide range of employment opportunities. However, only some make to it and rest are left in large and have some hope yet. Singapore became independent late in twentieth century. The country celebrates its national day on 9th of August. The celebration is done in big way and people enjoy celebrating their independence day. Singapore is a small country and knowing its strategic weakness it does not maintain an army which could be capable of taking offensive. The major purpose of army is to protect itself from any invasion on sovereignty.

Accommodation in Singapore is not an issue as various hotels ranging form budget hotels to cheap hotels to luxury hotels offer extensive range of accommodation facilities to travelers. Whereas, luxury hotels attract business travelers, cheap and budget hotels attract backpackers and budget travelers. National stadium in Singapore is an attractive tourist spot in where you can see astounding parade on the 9th August. Hordes of hordes flock in large numbers to participate and watch parade at the ground. Similarly, fireworks followed by dances exhibit happiness of Singapore people in profound manner. You could feel the happiness and joy felt during the celebration only once you see Singapore people celebrating it.

Cheap hotels in Singapore an effort form the government of Singapore which thinks that affordable accommodation is essential to encourage travel and tourism in the country. Existing cheap hotels in Singapore such as Raffles the Plaza, Furama Riverfront Hotel, Regent Hotel, Golden Landmark Hotel, Rendezvous Hotel, Goodwood Park Hotel, Ritz Carlton Millenia Hotel, Grand Copthorne Waterfront, Raffles Hotel, Furama City Centre, and many others offer premium quality accommodation to travelers. Additionally, some other cheap Singapore hotels namely Riverview Hotel, Grand Hyatt , Sentosa Resort and Spa, Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel, etc. are known globally among travelers.