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The Grand Canyon: 10 Things to Know Before You Go

The Grand Canyon is located in northwest Arizona and arguably the worlds most popular and natural tourist attraction. The massive Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and at its deepest point, is more than a mile from rim to river. Most of the Canyon lies within the Grand Canyon National Park and is managed by the National Park Service. It incorporates three geographically separated areas: the South Rim, the North Rim and the inner Canyon. As you plan your vacation to the Grand Canyon, be prepared for everything.

1. You must decide how you will get there. Will you drive across country as a family road trip or will you fly to save time and money? Taking in mind the rising gas prices across the nation, and decide which one will benefit you more, both physically and economically?

2. Self vs. Travel Agent. How much time do you have to properly research and plan a vacation? You must decide if you should find a travel agency to help plan out your vacation to the great wonders of the Grand Canyon. Travel agencies can save you both time and money, because planning the best vacations is what they do for a living.

3. Child friendly environments. Depending on the ages of your children, you need to know that your destination is suitable for children. With babies, find out if the hotel or resort where you will be staying offers cribs or childcare during your visit. Is a Grand Canyon vacation the right choice for your children?

4. Pets care. Many people enjoy taking their pets along with them on vacation. If you do, make sure your hotel or resort allows pets on the premises. Also be sure some of your destinations are pet friendly too so you aren't leaving your pet locked up in a room all day while you are out having the time of your life. If you decide not to bring your pet, find a pet sitting service or boarding facilities with a good reputation. Most animal hospitals offer boarding, but if yours does not, then ask your veterinarian for a referral to a reputable pet care provider.

5. Protect your home. A visit to the Grand Canyon averages four to seven days. Those are days that you will be away from your home. Talk with your neighbors and ask them if they can keep an eye on your house while you are gone, or ask a family member or friend to check in on your house every now and then. You want to prevent your home from being targeted by burglars.

6. Pack appropriate clothing, such as: a bandanna or a hat (for sun and weather protection), cut off pants for hiking, gloves, jacket, pants (heavy duty), rain coat or poncho, shoes (suitable for hiking), socks (cotton or wool for hiking), sweat shirt or sweater.
7. First Aid Precautions. Accidents happen, when they do, you can be prepared by keeping a personal first aid kit at hand. What you should take with you to meet an emergency situation depends on your family, where you are going and how long you will be staying. The minimum items to be considered would be: Antiseptic, Ace bandage, Band-aids, Burn ointment, Chap stick, First aid tape, Foot blister pads/powder, Gauze compresses, salt tablets, sharp knife and sun tan lotion.

8.Miscellaneous items. Compass, maps, water, ear plugs, eye wash, fire starter, blanket, flashlight (with new batteries), waterproof matches, paper/pencil, sewing kit, antibacterial soap, sun glasses, toilet paper, moist wipes.

9. Sun screen. SPF 15 or higher. Protect yourself and your family from sun burns.

10. Toiletries. Laundry bag, mirror, sleep wear, sanitary supplies, shaving articles, soap, tooth brush, tooth paste, wash cloth.

Never carry all of your credit cards with you or a large amount of cash. This can lead to excessive spending, theft or simply losing it. When traveling, your best bet would be travel checks or a travelers' debit card, that will replace funds if lost or stolen. Losing all your money or having your funds stolen can end a great vacation in a heart beat. You should prepare yourself for anything, even if it requires over packing, and don't forget to have a safe trip.