Great National Parks to Visit and Enjoy in the United States

The U.S. National Park System is responsible for protecting 85 million acres divided into 424 park units ranging in size and title. These parks reflect the history of America as a land with a rich geological and human past and range from a 0.2-acre national memorial to an 8.3- million-acre national park.

Yosemite National Park
An awe-inspiring park of 1,200 miles with excellent hiking trails, Yosemite has giant Sequoia trees, towering waterfalls, unique rock formations, and fantastic cliff faces. Many visit its famous landmarks. Half Dome is 8,800 feet above sea level, and El Capitan, the world’s largest exposed monolith, rises nearly 3,000 feet.

Yellowstone National Park
The first named as a national park, Yellowstone, offers diverse geography extending across Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Renowned for its fantastic geysers, such as Old Faithful, this 2.2 million-acre park has splendid lakes and mountains and buffalo-filled valleys. 

Glacier National Park
Located on the border of Montana and Canada, Glacier National Park is frequently called the “Crown of the Continent” because of its splendid array of natural beauty. A 50-mile drive through the park on the Going-to-the-Sun Road provides a truly spectacular view. 

Grand Teton National Park
Towering 13,770 feet, Grand Teton mountain finds its reflection in Jenny and Jackson Lakes. Home to grizzlies, black bears, bison, moose, and antelope, this park has beautiful waterfalls and fantastic views of the Tetons. Golden aspens brighten the park in Autumn. Visitors can visit another national park on the same vacation if they travel a few miles north to Yellowstone, which adjoins Grand Teton. Kayakers and rafters enjoy the Snake River that runs through this park. Those interested in history can visit Mormon Row and Menor’s Ferry in this same area. 

Theodore Roosevelt National Park
In western North Dakota’s Badlands is President Theodore Roosevelt’s National Park. This president is credited with the establishment of five national parks. The Antiquities Act of June 8, 1906, permitted Mr. Roosevelt and future presidents to proclaim specific landmarks as historical and other structures and objects of scientific or historical interest as national monuments. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Another beautiful national park is located in the expansive Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. This area has a history of settlers dating back to the prehistoric Paleo Indians. Millions of people visit this beautiful park that is free to enter. Scenic drives lead to Cades Cove or onto the path toward Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. There, visitors can engage in several outdoor activities such as fishing, biking, and hiking. Bikers can ride on the Cades Cove Loop in the middle of the week between May and September, while hikers can trek to Rainbow Falls or Abrams. During these months, the road is closed to vehicles.

Tips For Entrepreneurs To Master Social Media

Most business owners recognize how important it is to have a social media marketing strategy. There are so many things that social media marketing consists of, and that can cause some entrepreneurs to focus too much on things like creating amazing content. Creating amazing content is very good, of course, but it is also important to focus on the general aspect of social media marketing. Fortunately, there are several things business owners can do to help ensure they are successful with social media 6as a marketing tool for their business.

It is very important for business owners to ensure that they make a commitment to social media by creating great content every day, growing their audience, and working to increase engagement. Sometimes it can be challenging for a business to make a good social media presence, and several entrepreneurs give up on social media pretty quickly. Researchers have found that it can take a whole year for a business to get going with social media and post consistent content that their audience likes. So, in order to be one of those businesses that make it past that first year, entrepreneurs should make a plan for their content with goals and a mission statement.

Another very important tip for businesses that want to make it on social media is for them to show off what makes them special and unique. Social media engagement increases when an entrepreneur shows they have a personality with real meaning behind their content. For social media success, business owners should remember that their audience wants to see more than a product. They want to connect with someone who shares their point of view. That is why it is also good for business owners to listen to customers and engage with them on posts because this will create even more comments, engagement, and new followers.

Another great tip for business owners is to be sure not to overwork themselves by trying to create content on every social media platform there is. The reason that multiple platforms are not a good idea is that it is very time-consuming and may cause average results on each platform, while more focus on one or two platforms can cause excellent results.

Changing Your Mindset Can Help Your Small Business

When a small business grows, the owner needs to grow too. What worked to get the business started may no longer be a best practice. Meanwhile, it may have become an entrenched habit. 

Fear of Change.

Most people fear change. Especially if things are going well, they hesitate to do things differently because they worry they will mess everything up and not be able to fix it again. 

This fear is not entirely irrational. The fact that it’s reasonable is why we have sayings like “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

But being too risk-averse leaves money on the table and artificially limits growth. Here are some ways to embrace change sanely so small business owner can change their mindset.

Ask Why.

During good times when things are humming along nicely, instead of resting on one’s laurels, small business owners should review the policies and practices. They should think about company history and ask themselves why those policies and practices were implemented. 

The goal of this exercise is to simply understand the business, not necessarily to make changes yet. Asking why things are done a certain way can help the boss recognize when things have changed in an important way. 

Find Alternatives.

When a small business owner is too conservative, they wait until something bad happens before making changes. This guarantees that decisions will be crisis-driven.

A better method is to make it a habit to look for alternatives. Staying aware of other ways to get it done means there is a backup plan. Having a list of alternatives means that a business hiccup doesn’t turn into a crisis. Instead, the business just uses one of the alternatives on the list.

The alternatives will be options that serve the need in question but maybe aren’t quite as good as the preferred method. Maybe they cost a little more or take a little longer. Those details are why they are not the top method. But knowing what else will work prevents business processes from breaking down should something change.

The success or failure of a small business often hinges on the mindset of the owner. The single best way to ensure success is for the owner to make sure their mindset is not the limiting factor to success.

Traveling on a Budget

If you love traveling but don’t have the funds to do it at luxury prices, you are not alone. There are very few who can actually afford to spend thousands on vacation. That doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of a great experience. You can travel on a budget by utilizing a few smart tips. Here are 4 to get you started.

1. Plan Ahead

Taking the time to research your destination thoroughly is key to a successful trip within means. First, start by deciding exactly how much you have to spend, including transportation, accommodations, meals, and cultural excursions. 

It is recommended that you prepare a spreadsheet, either by hand or on your computer, that details every category of expense and what you are willing to spend on each item. Do this and commit to sticking within that budget. One of the categories should be “contingency.” This is like an emergency fund for anything unexpected that you may or may not need to use.

2. Travel During Off-Peak Season

You would be amazed at all you can do and see during a destination’s off-season. The best part about this plan is that you will definitely get to know the local culture better and won’t have to stand in long lines to do things like visit a museum or heritage site, dine at a good restaurant, or hike a popular trail. For instance, Reykjavik in Iceland is awesome in late fall when the days are shorter, and the weather is cool and damp. 

3. Fly or Travel by Rail Overnight

Redeye flights are those that you take late at night that arrive at your destination the next morning. You can sleep on the plane and save money on a hotel room the first night. These flights generally cost less and aren’t always full.

The same is true for rail travel. First, see if you can get a rail pass, such as a Eurail Pass that allows unlimited travel for a given period of time. Then, when going from one city to another, take the overnight train and save another night of hotel costs. 

4. Share Accommodations

There are a variety of different options for sharing accommodations that will result in considerable savings over staying in a decent hotel. Hostels are dormitory-style “hotels” where you basically get a clean bed and a storage locker. These places are great for those who plan to be out exploring most of the day and night.

Small hotels with shared bathrooms are generally fine. You have a private room, but you share the toilet and showers.

Staying with a family is another great option. The pensions in Italy come to mind. These are large apartments or homes with single rooms that might or might not have ensuite bathrooms. You also have access to kitchen facilities where you can store and cook food from the local street markets (another savings tactic). There will be an area of the home where the family lives that is generally private and not accessible to the guests. The concept is similar to a Bed and Breakfast, where some places may offer you a continental style breakfast each morning included in the cost of the room.

Bottom Line

With a bit of research and planning ahead, it is entirely possible to take an epic vacation without breaking the bank. Make good use of the internet to research the costs and reviews of everything you want to do. Put your budget in place and start making arrangements well ahead of time. You won’t regret the time you put into finding the most affordable options.

A Look Into the Caribbean for Vacation

The Caribbean is a tropical vacation destination about which most people only dream, and those lucky enough to visit agree that it is beyond deserving of its remarkable reputation. A land made up of gorgeous beaches with silky sand and turquoise water, majestic mountains, exciting volcanoes, colonial history, Arawak culture, delicious cuisine including dishes seasoned with pure West Indian spices, and so much more, it is the ideal place for all different types of travelers. No matter which area of this eclectic and enchanting region you choose for your trip, you can expect to be greeted with warmth, beauty, fun, and island charm.

Popular Caribbean Vacation Destinations

Jamaica

Jamaica, the birthplace and home of reggae music legend, Bob Marley, is one of the most well known countries in the Caribbean. Famous for Seven Mile Beach, Montego Bay, the Blue Mountains, and of course, its capital city and chief port, Kingston, this paradise is an excellent choice, especially if you love jerk chicken, steel drums, and thriving nightlife.

Aruba

Living up to its gem shape, this island offers an unforgettable treasure trove of a trip. Aruba’s weather is perfect and pleasant year round, even remaining untouched by cyclones and hurricanes, and its serene beaches and coral reefs are only a small portion of the beauty it has to offer.

Trinidad and Tobago

Despite being a bit less developed than the rest of the islands, Trinidad and Tobago lack nothing in the way of wonder, beauty, and exhilaration. You can relax in quiet coves, lounge on secluded beaches, and even take part in the famous Pre-Lenten Festival, a dazzling, carnivalesque party full of bright colors, vibrant music, and unforgettable dancing and celebration.

Additional Caribbean Vacation Destination Options

The Caribbean Sea contains a myriad of tremendous vacation spots to consider for your next journey, so it may be difficult to decide; however, you can easily gather information online about each one and their features, before you even exit your front door.

Characteristics of Sustainable Travel

Many people feel a great desire to travel the world referred to as wanderlust. The motives behind this longing can range from needing a change of scenery to wanting to see the land of one’s ancestors.

While travel has become easier than ever, we must keep in mind that our planet is in danger. Irresponsible tourism is one of the contributors to climate change and environmental damage. If you’re planning another trip, care for the land you visit by practicing sustainable travel.

Sustainable travel is a conscious decision while vacationing to make choices that won’t have negative consequences on foreign land. Characteristics of sustainable travel include:

Caring for the Community

Are you using a travel agency that cares for the country you’re visiting? Many nations struggle with resources such as food or medicine. Some companies create tourist hot spots by destroying forests to build big hotels. Look for a place in which to stay that not only provides you with an enjoyable trip but also cares for the environment.

Respecting Native Cultures

There is beauty in learning about a country’s customs and interacting with natives. Such memories will often stand out the most when you reminisce on your trip. Choose an itinerary that won’t hurt the natives or the land on which they live. It’s the least that can be done for them, as they are welcoming you to their home with open arms.

Shopping Local

Consider purchasing what you need from local marketplaces instead of choosing familiar store names when buying something on your trip. When you support small businesses in these distant countries, you give money to human beings instead of large companies thriving worldwide. This can put a plate of food on the table of a local family.

Sustainable travel does not have to complicate your trip. While it involves modifying a few vacation habits, it also teaches a great deal about the land you are visiting. Enjoy a new adventure without the guilt of climate change by choosing sustainable travel.

What to Look For When Hiring Employees

Hiring employees can be intimidating, especially if you are just starting out as a business. The slightest error in judgment can be an expensive mistake for your company and can mean substantial setbacks for your business’ growth. Fortunately, hiring employees is not rocket science, either. There are universal traits that you can use to efficiently screen job applicants. Here are three of them. 

Longevity and Commitment

Look for signs on an applicant’s resume that they stick around and don’t just jump ship after some time. Losing an employee can be expensive for a business. There is the cost of looking for a replacement and then providing onboarding support and training. A good way to gauge if a candidate has long-term potential is their list of certifications and courses are taken. An applicant with a graduate degree or a number of certifications may indicate a passion for the industry and professional growth. 

Enthusiasm 

Look for employees who are enthusiastic about their profession or field. Their resumes are likely decorated with past internship roles and completed certification courses in a specific field. They might also talk about hobbies outside of work that can also be applied to their profession. Enthusiasm encourages an employee to actually contribute meaningful work to a company rather than just do the bare minimum tasks to earn a paycheck. 

Cultural Fit 

You want to bring onboard employees who fit the mission statement and values that your company champions. You want them to enjoy your work culture and contribute to it in a positive way. If you bring in technically skilled employees but do not represent the values and persona that your existing workforce has, it may lead to internal conflicts that affect the growth of your business.

Academic credentials shouldn’t just be the sole basis for making the final decision when hiring employees. Use the three metrics above to find the people who can help you grow your company. In addition, you can also put your new hires on a skills test wherein they can complete a task to illustrate their core competencies.

Hotels That Are Handling COVID-19 Well

The travel industry is one that has seen a constantly changing environment in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the hotel industry being no exception. Leading hotel brands have been forced to adapt, through better social distancing and cleaning policies to improved cancellation policies.

Which hotel chains have proven the best at adapting? Which chains have made guest safety a priority over their bottom line and been the most consumer-friendly?

Two major hotel brands have shown exemplary leadership, especially in booking and mask policies. Information on these chains and their policies follows.

Overall COVID-19 Handling

Hilton and Hyatt have ranked the highest overall, with Marriott a close second. Many brands changed their policies about masks in late July 2020. These brands have also continued to offer booking flexibility at a time when many other brands have scaled back flexible booking.

Health and Social Distancing Scores

These chains had specific policies that included:

Social distancing between guests in common areas

Room blocking policies in between guests or after staff cleaning

Mobile check-in and express check-out that eliminate or reduce contact

Mandatory staff mask policy

Mandatory guest mask policy even if not required by the state

Trained on-staff health coordinator or leader

Required staff health checks

Enhanced cleaning procedure policies

Despite being initially slow to adopt these policies, Hyatt has had a strong mask policy and trained health leaders. Hilton has also shown strong leadership in these areas.

Flexible Policies on Booking and Cancellations

When the pandemic first disrupted travel plans, some chains decided to offer flexibility by allowing guests to cancel or change their bookings without fees. Later, some chains would extend these policies to new bookings to encourage more travelers to book. In the summer of 2020, the virus’ seeming abatement led to chains rolling back these policies.

Hilton has managed to stay at the lead among the chains because of a change and cancellation policy that has remained generous during the pandemic.

In Summary

Similar criteria to the performance of airlines during the pandemic can help travelers make smart travel decisions. Many consider it essential for businesses like hotels to be held accountable for safety measures. Marriott, Hyatt, and Hilton have performed well on safety protocols and flexibility.

How to Ensure Your Team Follows Your Lead

A lot of people think being a leader means asserting yourself and taking control of a situation, but that will only take you so far in the workplace. Instead of asserting your control over your employees, you need to ensure that they will follow your lead, which is more about working with them and earning their respect. Yes, an assertive personality will help you in the office, but following these tips will be much more useful.

Show Respect

In order to earn someone’s respect, you need to show respect for them. Treat all of your team member fairly, listen to them if they have suggestions or concerns, explain all of your decisions, and show that you trust them to do their jobs and make the right decisions. That goes much further than simply expecting your staff to do what you tell them because you’re in charge.

Lead By Example

Instead of just telling your employees what you expect of them, show them. You are just as much a member of the team as they are, and you need to be willing to put in just as much work. Your staff will respect you much more if you see yourself as one of them.

Take Responsibility For Your Team

As a leader, you need to take responsibility for your own team. If something goes wrong, own up to it yourself instead of throwing your team under the bus. Even if the mistake was made by just one person, you should still be ready to take responsibility for what happened. Don’t make an example out of that one person if any disciplinary action needs to be taken, either. Do what needs to be done behind closed doors and keep working as a team.

Keep in mind that the inverse applies as well. When everything works out well with a project, give credit to your team and show them that you appreciate their hard work.

Admit When You’re Wrong

Finally, you need to remember that you are only human and that you make mistakes. Some people think that this will undermine your authority, but it actually does the opposite. No matter what you say, your team will know when you mess up, and they will lose respect for you if you don’t own up to it or play it off as a success. If you’re willing to admit when things go wrong, your team will respect you enough to give you another chance and help you fix your mistakes.

What to know about entrepreneurship in 2022

If you have your eye on an entrepreneurial path in 2022, you can avoid some common mistakes by taking cues from successful entrepreneurs. For instance, the most important lesson all entrepreneurs teach is that you should pursue something that inspires you with passion. This is something you’ll be doing every day for many years to come. You can avoid burnout by making sure you’re doing something you love.

Look For Lending Alternatives

While a small business loan can help you launch your startup, it will also increase your business’ debts. You’ll be in a much better position if you start your business without borrowing. Try using your own disposable income to help you finance your business. You can also start a crowdfunding campaign to help you raise more of the capital you need. Another option is to look for investors who believe in your business.

Invest in the Hiring Process

Starting out, you should hire as few employees as possible to keep your operating costs down. Later, as your business grows, you can add more employees to the payroll. When you do fill a vacant position, keep in mind that your employees will be representing your brand. Look for skilled candidates with positive attitudes and energetic personalities. You’ll want your employees to engender trust and present a friendly demeanor when interacting with your customers.

Stay Dedicated

While it may seem as though established entrepreneurs find success right out of the gate, each one of them has gone through their own struggles. Everyone fails in the beginning. You should be equally prepared to fail and make mistakes before you see your business succeed. This can take several years, so you should look for ways to stay inspired and dedicated. If you can be persistent and learn from overcoming obstacles, you’ll be better prepared for success when it does come to you.

You should also take the opinions of others with a grain of salt. Even when you’re not intentionally seeking out insight from others, the people in your life will be happy to offer their advice. If you find the advice valid, follow it. However, be wary about letting their negativity influence you. Instead, keep your thoughts focused on your plans and the potential for success.

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