Tools for

Click Here to Add to Your Favorites

Travel Information and Arrangements

Preparations: Luggage, Travel Clothing, Gear, Gifts,...

Tips: Photography, Packing,...

Shop OnLine  -  SAVING   Time  +   Gas  =   Money     


Meet Your Host
Ted Grellner

 photograph of author hiking in the crater of Haleakala

Welcome to

I am standing inside Haleakala, an enormous crater-like valley on the island of Maui, Hawaii, within which are several smaller cinder cones. It stretches almost 6 miles behind me and 3 miles across.

It had been a dream of mine to be able to return to hike Haleakala National Park which was finally realized as a side trip following a professional meeting in Honolulu. This has been my "M.O." for many years: whenever given the opportunity to travel on business, I would add a side trip such as this to explore an interesting destination. I was constantly using the internet to research these side trips and have generally always come up with something fun and interesting to visit.

This 1/2 day hike on the Sliding Sands Trail was certainly one of those adventures. It started at the 10,000' summit and descended approx. 2000' to take you down to the first of the cinder cones within.  (We won't talk about what the return trip back up was like)

While hiking down into this valley, I recalled my first visit to this park which had been many years ago, immediately following graduation from high school; my first BIG trip.

(My father took us on vacation only twice during our short time with him. Only two because on the second, my sibling and I fought so much in the car that he swore he would never relive the experience! And he didn't.)

So, here I am on my first big adventure into the Pacific and the view that day turns out to be only 100 feet because the area was totally enshrouded in fog. My disappointment was magnified by the fact that I was a budding photographer then.

A second visit was on a vacation I took while stationed in the Far East. The view that day was a brief but clear one of this vista behind me until yet another cloud bank rolled in off the Pacific, but it was long enough to create an intense desire to see more. Hearing that the early NASA astronauts had trained here before going to the moon, and the availability of cabins within the valley to hikers for overnight use, my mind was made up. I didn't know how to hike, but some day I was going to do it!

Some years later I was introduced to hiking while on a couple of multi-sport vacations. At the time I was a long distance runner and expected hiking to be a sport of mere lightweight effort until doing a hike that ascended a half mile, in only a couple of hours; this caused me to rethink my opinion of the sport. Once I was exposed to the incredible photographic opportunities that hiking afforded me, there was no turning back.

By the way, the climb back up to the summit of Haleakala took 3 hours.  I was more tired after doing this hike than any marathon I had done previously; undoubtably the altitude had something to do with it.

So why build a website? 

Have you ever had lots of time to spare while getting ready for a trip? I didn't think so. Neither have I because invariably I never start soon enough. Procrastination is a very common affliction of travelers. Don't know if it is because the reality of the trip doesn't really hit home until too late, we underestimate the magnitude of the job of preparing for travel, or we know what we are in for and can't bear to start.

It is bad enough to be taking a standard, nothing special type of trip that only requires the usual set of  "stuff" to pack, then doesn't it figure that you still forget something major? How about trying to get ready for a sports adventure that requires some specialized gear with no major outfitters in your home town?  You have the makings of a disaster if you don't start early enough, not to mention a lot of wasted gas driving all over town looking in vain.

HELLO INTERNET SHOPPING! Yes, the World is your oyster when you can surf specialty shops for gear online, but then where do you look? More time needed for searches. Tick-tock-tick-tock...when do I have to leave?

Let's back up a few steps to the start:  Where to go on vacation? More searches and trips to the bookstore for travel books. Once a destination is decided upon, what will the weather be like there? Where to stay, how to get there, what can I take on the plane, do I need a passport or immunizations, what can I bring back into the U.S.? Random questions just keep coming at you from all directions. Should you just give up and pay a tour operator to take over since the to-do list is seemingly endless?

The process of creating many interesting and fun trips over the years made me think about what it was that made them so successful. It came down to the fact that each trip didn't just happen. The more homework I did to find those interesting places and activities in advance, the better and more fun the trip would be, but it took a lot of time to do so. Was there a way to put this trip planning process together in a website that could make it quicker and easier? And how to organize it?

Then, when you start looking into what goes into travel preparation, the number of things you have to do and remember is enough to make your head hurt! Forget any one detail and you would be beating yourself up at your destination: "How could I be so stupid!" But you aren't; there is just too much to remember.

So, I have designed the major sections of this website to match each step in planning a trip and preparing to travel. The many web resources will help to reduce preparation time, serve to remind you of things you may need, and present the opportunity to easily find and order them.

Have you ever compared the time spent shopping a brick-and-mortar store with doing it online? I find that I can browse through so many more items online, more quickly than I can in a store, not to mention commuting time and gas wasted, nor whether the stores will even carry your item. Go to a store online and you are now shopping the biggest store they offer with the greatest selection.

I think by now you get the idea. Bottom Line: This site is all about saving time while preparing as thoroughly as possible. Hope you like it.

Oh, and by the way. There is no additional charge to you to shop the businesses on this site; it costs no more than if you were to go to them directly.  But the purchases you make through this website not only help to support it, but will ensure the business' continued presence on this site for your convenience.  Thanks.

If you have any requests or suggestions for additions, just email me.

Thanks again,

Ted Grellner

P.S.  In the photo above, I'm not really as "pregnant" as I look.  I had a black video camera bag cinched tightly around my waist, with bag in the front.  Nice look, eh?