Category: Featured

Feb
21

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The Little 5: The Fascinating Animals Not to Forget in Africa

Posted by on February 21, 2018 · Leave a Comment  

If you’re interested in experiencing a safari in Africa, chances are you’ve heard the term Big 5. Despite the term originating as a game hunting term, these animals – lions, elephants, Cape buffalo, rhinoceroses, and leopards – are considered some of the most incredible to see while experiencing a safari in Africa, as well as a favorite of conservationists who look to protect each species. However, the Big 5 and other “big” animals such as giraffes or wild dogs are not the only animals to keep and eye out for as you experience Africa.

According to Trip Savvy, Africa’s Little 5 was a term introduced by conservationists who wanted to draw attention to the smaller creatures of the bush who can be just as fascinating as the rest. Interestingly enough, the Little 5 actually correspond to the Big 5 (pay attention to the names!). Take a look at what makes these animals unique below:

Elephant Shrew

The aptly named elephant shrew is a favorite of adventurers searching for the Little 5. With a truck resembling an elephant’s, this small mammal is no bigger than a large mouse. You’ll be able to spot them hopping along the bush (or sometimes in the city!) in South Africa and Botswana. Keep your eyes peeled, though, because not only do they blend in with the sandy color of the ground, but they are one of the fastest small mammals on the planet with speeds of over 20 mph and are known to be tough to spot. If you see one, you’ll have good luck for the year!

Fun Fact: Elephant shrews live in monogamous pairs. However, the partners don’t necessarily care for one another and are only paired up (for life) for reproduction.

Leopard Tortoise

This tortoises has gold and black markings on their back resembling that of a leopard. Found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but you’re most likely to spot one just on the side of the road. Living as long as 100 years, these tortoises can grow up to 39 inches in length, making them the fourth-largest of the world’s tortoises and the largest found in all of Africa.

Fun Fact: Seeds pass undigested through the gut of a leopard tortoise, so they play a significant role in seed dispersal in Africa.

Buffalo Weaver Bird

The Buffalo weaver bird is the easiest to spot of the Little 5. There are three species of the bird – the white-headed, the white-billed, and the red-billed – and all three species are found in East African countries including Kenya and Tanzania, and if you’re in South Africa you can keep your eyes open for the red-billed buffalo weaver. For this member of the Little 5, it’s more important to keep your ears open if you want to spot one – they’re vocal!

Fun Fact: Males tend to be polygamous and control anywhere from 1 to 8 nests with 3 females.

Ant Lion

Unlike the rest of the Little 5, the ant lion can be found all over the world. These winged-insects resemble dragonflies but have hairy bodies that helped give them their name. They have a famously savage temperament, just like their lion counterpart. According to Your African Safari, the ant lion digs a funnel-shaped crater so that “when potential prey approaches, the ant lion can pretend to be an ant falling down the funnel, stimulating the prey to lurch after the fallen ant, only to discover it has been trapped, and so the ant lion catches prey in its trap. They can survive for months at a time without food and live for several years.

Because of their small size, this may be one to talk with your safari guide about and something you get help with spotting in the bush, but they are nocturnal, so recommend a night bush walk.

Fun Fact: The predatory actions of the ant lion have attracted attention throughout history and have even been mentioned in literature since classical times.

Rhinoceros Beetle

Named for their body armor, hooked horn on the head of males, and impressive strength, rhino beetles are similar to ant lions in that they are nocturnal and can be found around the world. Those in Africa typically reside in South Africa, and they can live up to 2-3 years – impressive for any beetle. The size of the horn on a rhino beetle is a good indicator of nutrition and physical health.

Fun Fact: Rhinoceros beetles have become popular pets in parts of Asia due to being relatively clean, easy to maintain, and safe to handle.

Have you seen any of the Little 5 while on safari? If not, consider a Discover Corps trip to Kenya, Tanzania, or South Africa and talk with our expert conservationist guides about how to round out your list of all 10!

Oct
26

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Ask An Alumni: A Guatemala trip through the eyes of a Discover Corps traveler

Posted by on October 26, 2017 · 1 Comment  

Nothing beats hearing one of our travelers share what a phenomenal time they had on a Discover Corps trip. We recently had the opportunity to highlight two of these travelers – both  Cuba trip alumnae – Gina and Kathleen (the world’s coolest grandma). Now we’re off to embark on a Guatemala trip with another Discover Corps traveler!

You’ve seen the promos. You’ve visited our website (and, obviously, our blog). You already follow us on Facebook. But how do you know what one of our trips is really like? Ask Discover Corps Alumni! We’ve done the legwork for you. Say hello to Lisa, who recently experienced our Guatemala trip. Not only did Lisa have the trip of a lifetime, she had two – taking another Guatemala trip just a few months after the first!

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Oct
19

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18 simple ways to keep your kids entertained on long flights

Posted by on October 19, 2017 · Leave a Comment  

Did you travel as a child? Do you remember loving every second of it? Chances are, you probably didn’t. Once you got where you were going, GAME ON! But traveling can be difficult when it comes to keeping kids entertained on long flights. Rather than anxiously awaiting your upcoming airplane fiasco, do some planning ahead. Long flights with kids can be fun flights with kids – if you play your cards right.

Truth be told, kids of any age can present patience-testing behaviors when they’re cooped up in an airplane for a painfully long time. However, the younger the child, the more prone you’ll probably be to having to deal with boredom (and other possible outbursts). Before you take off, take note of these 18 ways to keep your kids entertained on long flights. Read More

Oct
12

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14 International Foods to Try With Locals Around the World, Part II

Posted by on October 12, 2017 · 1 Comment  

You’ve taken the flights. You’ve checked into your hotel. You’re settled in. Then, sure enough, the rumbling starts. You’re hungry. It’s time to eat. Where do you go first? Which international foods should you try?

If you’ve already made your way through Part One of our international foods list, we’ve got another leg of the foodie journey waiting just for you.

You’ll find in many places that food is served family style. Take this opportunity to try local cuisine and learn more about the region and culture from the heart of their roots – the people. Fair warning, once again: Use caution when reading this list on an empty stomach… You may find yourself planning your next trip around your international foods bucket list!Read More

Oct
5

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10 things to do in Thailand (even with the kids!)

Posted by on October 5, 2017 · Leave a Comment  

One-of-a-kind sights and experiences are around just about every corner when you fancy yourself a seasoned traveler. There’s the Great Wall of China running along the northern borders of China. There are breathtaking pyramids in Egypt. There’s Machu Picchu in Peru. The list is virtually endless.

Then there’s Thailand. This beautiful southeast Asian oasis and hot pot of culture and shockingly peaceful people has more unique things to see and do than you can possibly fit into one trip. To help narrow it down a bit, we’ve gathered 10 things to do in Thailand – many of which you can do with your children, too! (If these aren’t enough, here are 16 more!)

From the lush green mountains of Phuket Island to the absolutely charming elephants found throughout the region, you’ll want to plan your next trip before your first trip even ends! Before your actual vacation, let’s take a virtual trip through some of the best things to do in Thailand.Read More

Sep
28

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This 15-year-old got a Cuba trip for his birthday – from his grandma!

Posted by on September 28, 2017 · 1 Comment  

How would you like to go on a Cuba trip for your 15th birthday? Few teens have such luck, but thanks to Kathleen G., she and her grandson celebrated by traveling! Their pick: “A Celebration of Arts & Culture,” one of our most popular Cuba trip options.

So, welcome back to Cuba! Last month, we shared with you a Cuba trip through the eyes of Gina, an adult Discover Corps traveler. Now, it’s time you “met” Kathleen (and her 15 year old grandson).

After the jump, take a look at Cuba through Kathleen’s eyes – and learn why she chose Discover Corps (in her own words)!

World’s coolest grandma? We think so.

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Sep
21

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Family Vacation Bucket List: Spotting the Big 5 in South Africa

Posted by on September 21, 2017 · Leave a Comment  

We say “South Africa,” you say “safari!,” right? Of course! Having the opportunity to spot the Big 5 animals is a bucket list item for many. And let’s be honest, it should be. When can you see leopards, rhinos, elephants, African buffaloes, and lions in their natural habitat?

When you’re ready to venture off into the wild on your very first family safari experience, planning can be stressful. Rather than spending your time coordinating numerous plans and excursions from afar, take a look at some bundled trips. These are helpful because they (usually) do all of the legwork for you – including planning, booking, timing, scheduling, and sometimes even transportation.

Adventure seekers, animal lovers, and families alike can embark on these adventures! While they’re appealing to all kinds of people, they’re surprisingly perfect for families. When you’ve exhausted the cruises, beaches, and theme parks, it’s time to really wow the kids. We’ll show you exactly how you can do that – and how easy it can beRead More

Sep
14

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Travel like a pro: Packing tips for your next vacation

Posted by on September 14, 2017 · 1 Comment  

Packing tips aren’t just for those of you who are venturing out for the first time. Ask any traveler – from absolute road warriors to those boarding their first flight – and you’ll find one commonality: Packing for vacations can be a nightmare.

First, there’s the baggage fees. Then, luggage dimensions. Oh wait – don’t forget weight restrictions. Add to that the security checkpoints and the ease of use that may or may not come with your luggage. You’ve got a potential disaster royale on your hands.

Eliminate the hassle and alleviate your worries by trying some of our packing tips on your next outing. Who knows – you might end up enjoying the planning/packing process!Read More

Sep
7

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Learning these 10 cultural norms in India will make your trip even better

Posted by on September 7, 2017 · 1 Comment  

Since we’ve introduced two new India trips, it’s a good time to familiarize yourself with some cultural norms in India. Whether you’re on our Tiger Volunteer Adventure or Tigers, Temples & Taj trip, you’re bound to interact with locals often. It’s also likely that you’ll take some of your free time to venture off the beaten path and explore like a local. And you should!

Before you immerse yourself in the country’s beautiful and historic culture, know this: Westerners tend to be a bit surprised by some of the cultural norms in India. For example, simple gestures and behaviors that are normal at home may be offensive to traditional locals here.

Part of the trip planning process should include learning more about the customs of your destination. Doing so will make your trip even more enjoyable. Take a look at our list of cultural norms in India and get ready for an extra smooth trip once you land!

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Aug
24

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10 travel apps that will make your life easier

Posted by on August 24, 2017 · Leave a Comment  

Let’s face it: Taking trips is awesome – fantastic – fun! Planning trips, usually, is not awesome – fantastic – fun (maybe because you haven’t tried the right – if any – travel apps). When you picture digging your toes into Costa Rican beaches, do you also imagine all of the scrolling, clicking, asking, searching, web surfing, reserving, and paying it to you to get there?

Of course not.

And the truth is, you don’t need to. You can avoid the hassle of managing the minutiae (easily!) in two ways.

One: Book something all-inclusive. It’s typical of all-inclusive trips to cover everything but flights.  “Everything,” meaning: Transportation to/from airports, lodging, guides, tours, sightseeing, meals, and more. That’s how we do it here at Discover Corps.

Two: Fire up your mobile device and download some of these life-changing travel apps! Okay, that may be a little dramatic-sounding, but it’s pretty accurate. Need to find directions? Want to find the actual best airfares (and get a push notification as soon as it comes up)? Need to have a translator in your pocket? Special dietary needs or wants? Last minute changes leave you needing a hotel room, same-day? Wanna see a map of a city that shows in pictures where neighborhoods and landmarks are? There’s an app for that. There are apps for all of that.

Just after the break, take a look at 10 travel apps that will make your life shockingly easy!

Fire up your mobile device and download some of these life-changing travel apps! Click To Tweet

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