How can you find the best deals on travel? How can you separate the travel deals from the scams? What's your favorite leisure activity? Walking and hiking? Cycling? RVing and camping? Crafting? Genealogy? Check out resources here on these topics and more.

Travel Deals & Scams

Traveling should be fun and carefree but all too often the "good deal" doesn't turn out to be much of one. How can you keep the fun and carefree in your travels? Do your homework up front and then be prepared for the unexpected.

  • If you're planning to visit Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or other location in the Western Hemisphere, be aware that new passport requirements went into effect in 2007 and 2008. This Traveler's Checklist from the U.S. Department of State will help you make sure you have the appropriate documentation for traveling outside of the U.S..

  • Are you an AARP member? If not, you might consider joining. The travel discounts available to members—airlines, automobiles, cruises, entertainment, hotels and lodging, vacations and tours—are worth checking out.

  • Travel Tips has tips from the FTC to help you avoid unpleasant and costly surprises.

  • TravelSense from the American Society of Travel Agents has Travel Tips, Consumer info, descriptions of Destinations, and more.

  • Should You Use a Travel Agent from Findlaw.com provides answers about working with a travel agent.

Travel Scams

Some "deals" are actually scams. These resources will help you avoid various scams.

Travel Insurance — Do You Need It?

Travel insurance can have several components that can be included in a single policy or purchased separately. Because policies can vary widely, read them carefully (especially the fine print) to see what is covered and what is excluded. These are the major types of travel insurance:

  • Trip cancellation/interruption will cover you if the cause of the cancellation/interruption is on the policy's list of acceptable reasons. Some policies only cover medical reasons. Pre-existing medical conditions may be excluded. Make sure the policy includes supplier default which pays if the company that you booked the trip with goes out of business.

  • Baggage insurance/personal effects will cover you if your baggage or personal effects are lost, stolen or damaged during the trip. This is very expensive insurance — about $50 per year to insure $1000 worth of personal belongings for a week. Before purchasing this insurance check out what other coverage you may already have such as off-premise theft in your homeowners/renters policy. If you are taking expensive equipment on your travels, look into adding an endorsement to your homeowners/renters policy.

  • Emergency medical assistance/emergency medical evacuation covers medical treatment and transportation elsewhere for treatment. Before purchasing check out what your health insurance already covers particularly for traveling abroad.

If you are considering purchasing travel insurance, most experts recommend that you should first check your homeowners/renters and health insurance policies to see what they cover. Then you can decide if you need to purchase travel (or other) insurance to fill in any gaps.

These resources have more information about travel insurance.

Travel Insurance Benefits from FindLaw.com describes the different types of travel insurance and what they cover.

Travel Insurance: What You Need to Know Before You Buy from Frommer's provides tips to help you decide if you need travel insurance.

Activity Interest Groups and Resources

There are thousands of sites covering thousands of hobbies, recreational activities, and other leisure time pursuits. This section can only cover a very small percentage of these sites.

The section below contains resources for these activities:

Walking, Hiking and Trekking

In Oklahoma:

Neighboring states also offer great hiking experiences, please explore these sites for more outdoor adventures, all these sites contain valuable information to help you safely enjoy and explore the natural beauty of the area.

Elsewhere

  • Find walking events and clubs at the American Volkssports Association site.

  • trails.com has hiking trail reviews, gear reviews, beginning backpacking info, articles, and more.

  • Peak to Peak has links to hiking, backpacking, trail, and wilderness sites. Links include international, U.S., and commercial—books, gear, tours, lodging, etc. Plus clubs/organizations, forums, and more.

  • AllTrails has trail maps, reviews, and apps. Browse trails near popular cities and parks. Search for trails by name, city, or park.

  • Find Hiking activities at recreation.gov. This site is a one-stop site for information about publicly-managed (primarily federal agencies) recreation sites. Other links include state tourism sites, reservations, national recreation trails, national scenic byways, and recreation maps.

  • TrailLink.com provides a database of rail-trails, canal towpaths, greenways, and non-rail trails. Provided by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the database contains information on surface types, access points, locations, distances, services, reviews, photographs, and links.

  • American Trails provides information about trails by state. Information is grouped in categories such as biking/mountain biking, equestrian trails, greenways and community trails, hiking/running trails, long-distance trails, rail trails and canal trails, and other resources.

  • National Park Service: Find a national park by activity, location, or by name.

Camping and RVing

Our RV Guide provides you tools and resources to make your RV experience pleasant.

Elsewhere:

  • National Parks Guide from the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior allows you to search for a national park by name, location, activity, or topic.

  • Recreation.gov is a one-stop site for information about publicly-managed (primarily federal agencies) recreation sites. Other links include state tourism sites, reservations, national recreation trails, national scenic byways, and recreation maps.

Cycling

In Oklahoma:

Oklahoma Biking contains information on urban and rural trails and will help lead you to the right trial for you!

The Oklahoma Bicycle Society was founded in 1973 to promote all things biking in Oklahoma and has some great information for those of you looking to get out there on your two wheels.

Elsewhere:

  • Find Biking activities at recreation.gov. This site is a one-stop site for information about publicly-managed (primarily federal agencies) recreation sites. Other links include state tourism sites, reservations, national recreation trails, national scenic byways, and recreation maps.

  • TrailLink.com provides a database of rail-trails, canal towpaths, greenways, and non-rail trails. Provided by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the database contains information on surface types, access points, locations, distances, services, reviews, photographs, and links.

  • American Trails provides information about trails by state. Information is grouped in categories such as biking/mountain biking, equestrian trails, greenways and community trails, hiking trails, long-distance trails, rail trails and canal trails, and other resources.

  • Bicycle Helmet Use Laws from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Arts and Hobby Groups

Other resources:

  • Festival Network Online lists music festivals, art and craft shows, home & garden shows, art festivals & fairs, and specialty events. The site is mainly focused for professionals but anyone can search the database for free.

  • FairsandFestivals.net is a searchable database of arts/crafts shows, festivals, and fairs. Search by dates, zip code, or state.

  • Art & Crafts Resources from the ipl2—annotated links in numerous categories knitting and quilting.

  • Music Resources from the ipl2—annotated links in numerous categories genres, musicians and composers, performance, and more.

  • Performing Arts Resources from the ipl2—annotated links in various categories such as dance, drama and performance, and more.

  • Photography and Film Resources from the ipl2—numerous annotated link.

Genealogy

Oklahoma Resources:

Other Resources:

  • Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet has over 250,000 links that are organized in over 180 categories. This is an excellent resource.

  • Olive Tree Genealogy has free databases of ships passenger lists, Palatines, Huguenots, Mennonites, Native American Genealogy, USA Genealogy, Canadian Genealogy, military records, and more. Plus tutorials, help pages, and resource guides.

  • AfriGeneas is a site covering African American genealogy, in particular researching African Ancestry in the Americas. It also hosts an African Ancestry research community.

  • Genealogy resources — The Home of Jewish Genealogy.

  • State Specific Resources is a directory of annotated links for genealogy resources compiled by state archives and state libraries. It includes an annotated list of international resources. It's maintained by the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Ind.

  • American Family Immigration History Center provides a database with information on the immigrants and ship's crews who arrived at Ellis Island and the Port of New York between 1898 and 1924. It also has other genealogy information and family scrapbooks.

  • FamilySearch.org is provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is an online search of its Ancestral File and International Genealogical index, census, and other vital statistics sources. It has a directory of family history web sites and much more.

  • GeneaNet—Genealogical Database Network is a universal register of worldwide genealogical resources—net-based or not, free or fee-paying.

  • U.S. National Archives & Records Administration has a genealogy section with information such as forms, tools, & aids, topics, links, FAQs, and more.

History Buffs

Elsewhere

  • Best of History Web Sites has annotated links to over 1000 history web sites.
  • eHistory has over 130,000 pages of historical content, 5300 timeline events, 800 battle outlines, 350 biographies, and thousands of images and maps.
  • History Resources from the ipl2—numerous annotated links.

Cyber Fun for the Active Mind

Use it or lose it applies to the mind as well as the body. These sites provide stimulating entertainment that will help you use it.

If you like crossword puzzles, then here are two sites that provide daily puzzles: WebCrosswords.com and BestCrosswords.com.

For another type of word puzzle, try Crickler. The creators call it a crossword puzzle for the computer age. The site also has a puzzle called Enigma – try to unscramble a quote by swapping 2 letters at a time.

Jigzone provides free online jigsaw puzzles. You can choose the level of difficulty from 6 to 247 pieces—the bigger the number the smaller the pieces. Choose the puzzle of the day or from the gallery with over 800 pictures and 32 puzzle cuts. We have hooked many friends on this one. You do not need to register or sign in to work the puzzles.

Word of the Day from the Oxford English Dictionary Online. Add a new word to your vocabulary.

You can also find many fun games in the app store on your tablet, smartphone, or other digital device.