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Blogs Just Released - Travel

Travel Blogs

08 April 2020

Travel Blogs
  • 30 Ways You Can Travel the World Without Leaving Home
    08 April 2020

    Original content owned & copyrighted by Green Global Travel.

    Whether you don’t quite have the budget, are too busy, or stuck in quarantine, sometimes it isn’t always an option to hop on a plane and travel to all the places you want to.

    Fortunately for us, we live in a day and age where technology can teleport you to other worlds with just a quick search, exposing you to other countries and their culture, sights, sounds, and history.

    To satisfy your wanderlust, we compiled a list of some of the best ways to travel the world without leaving home so keep reading and get ready for your virtual adventure!

    Ways You Can Travel the World Without Leaving Home
    1. Best Virtual Tours and Online Exhibits
    2. Best Wildlife & Nature Cams
    3. Best Online Classes
    4. Best Performances
    Best Virtual Tours and Online Exhibits

    Virtual Tour of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

    In this virtual tour you will get to explore both the Indigenous People‘s Perspectives and Canadian Journeys gallery of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

    Throughout the 20-minute video you will be led by a Museum guide who will describe the various displays and how they relate to different perspectives and ideas surrounding human rights.

    You will get to see the 360-degree “basket” theatre made up of 13 Spirit Panels inspired by Indigenous youth, glowing alabaster rampways, artifacts like an 800-year-old moccasin print, and hear the bold story of Viola Desmond, a Canadian human rights defender.

    Cost: Free

    READ MORE: Arctic Animals: 30 Species of Arctic Birds, Mammals & Whales

    Photo by Eduardo OrtegaVirtual Tour of the Museu de Arte De São Paulo 

    The Museu de Arte de São Paulo was founded in 1947 and is Brazil’s first modern museum featuring more than 8,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs, costumes and objects from various periods of African, Asian, European, and American history.

    With online exhibits like Art in Fashion: MASP’s Rhodia Collection, Art from Brazil until 1900, and Histories of madness: the drawings of Juqery,  there’s hundreds of artworks for you to admire.

    Another cool thing about this museum that can be experienced through the virtual tour is the way some of the artworks are held up by clear Perspex frames making them appear as if they are floating.

    Cost: Free

    READ MORE: Caribbean & Latin American Art: History & Travel Guide

    Image provided by MMCAVirtual Tour of The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul

    One of Korea’s most popular and beloved museums, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) is filled with contemporary art from around the globe.

    Google’s virtual tour allows you to examine different art pieces spanning across six floors of the museum.

    As you go through the tour you can zoom in to better appreciate the intricate details of each piece and get a description telling you about the art including the artist, date of creation, and facts about the piece.

    Cost: Free

    READ MORE: 12 Odd Intangible Cultural Heritage Practices UNESCO Protects

    © Trustees of the British MuseumVirtual Tour of the British Museum

    The British Museum in London offers a virtual tour allowing you to view hundreds of different artifacts up close.

    Through the tour, you can pick different regions of the world and different time periods as far back as 2,000,000 BC to discover everything from Egyptian mummies to African rock art and more.

    Along with a photograph of the artifact you can read a description about the piece along with listening to an audio file describing facts surrounding its history.

    Google Street View also provides other ways to virtually experience the British Museum.

    Cost: Free

    READ MORE: The 25 Best Places to Spend Christmas in Europe

    Pergamonmuseum, exterior view, © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Maximilian MeisseVirtual Tour of the Pergamon Museum, Berlin

    Museum houses three of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s collections: the Antikensammlung, Vorderasiatisches Museum, and the Museum für Islamiche Kunst.

    With this virtual tour you will get to experience pieces from the Pergamon Museum, one of Germany’s largest and most visited museums.

    Home to magnificent ancient artifacts including the Market Gate of Miletus, the Pergamon Altar, the Ishtar Gate and Processional way from Babylon, and the Mshatta Façade, the history is endless.

    Experience centuries of masterpieces and learn about their origin as you scroll through more than 1,500 different artifacts, paintings, sculptures, and more.

    Cost: Free

    READ MORE: Exploring the 2000-Year-Old Roman Ruins of Jerash, Jordan

    Photo credit to English HeritageStonehenge Virtual Tour: Inside the Stones

    Often regarded as one of the world’s most famous prehistoric monuments, Stonehenge is believed to have been constructed from 3,000 BC to 2,000 BC and is located in Wiltshire, England.

    English Heritage has created an interactive tour complete with videos, descriptions, and photos that allow you to dive into the history of this incredible monument.

    Along with the tour, you can switch to a live view where you can experience the skies above the stone circle and the movements of the sun, moon, and planets.

    The website also offers an abundance of reading where you can learn more about Stonehenge’s history, landscape, reconstruction, building process, and more.

    Cost: Free

    READ MORE: 10 Ancient Archaeological Sites (for Your World Travel Bucket List)

    Image by Pete Linforth from PixabayPyramids of Giza Virtual Tour

    Travel to Egypt to explore the last standing wonder of the ancient world with Google Maps’ virtual tour of the Pyramids of Giza.

    Through the self-guided virtual tour, you can zoom in to see photos of the stunning structures and learn facts about them like how over 2 million blocks were used in the pyramids creation and in its entirety took over 20 years to build.

    You can also virtually walk around the area on street view to feel as if you are actually standing at the sight to get magnificent views of the pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, Menkaure, and more.

    Cost: Free

    READ MORE: The 20 Safest Countries in Africa to Visit

    Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from PixabayVirtual Tour of the Great Wall of China

    Get a chance to experience walking along one of the most remarkable ancient structures in the world with this virtual tour of the Great Wall of China.

    Believed to be the only human-made structure visible from space, the Great Wall covers over 3,000 miles across various provinces in northern China.

    Through this virtual tour you will get 360° views of the breathtaking scenery as you travel from Jinshanling to Simatai and experience over 2,000 years of history.

    Cost: Free

    READ MORE: Top 7 Things To Do in China for Nature Lovers

    Image by Dave Parkinson from PixabayTaj Mahal Virtual Tour

    Known as the crown jewel of India, the Taj Mahal is a gorgeous display of architectural design, history, and culture that can now be experienced through a virtual tour.

    As you take the 360° tour around the Taj Mahal you will be able to get an up-close view of the intricate, hand-carved details that help make the structure so beautiful as well as the immaculate landscapes that surround the site.

    Built over 350 years ago and recognized as one of the new seven wonders of the world, this is a virtual tour sure to have you in awe.

    Cost: Free

    READ MORE: 50 Fascinating Facts About Indian Culture (by Region)

    Photo Courtesy of EABMachu Picchu Virtual Tour

    A sort of architectural mystery, Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel nestled 2,430 meters above sea level and was built around 1450 AD, before the Inca had access to iron, steel or wheels.

    The impressive structure can be experienced through YouVisit’s virtual tour where you are led by an audio guide who explains the sites history as you travel through different overlooks.

    As you are led through the different sections, be sure to take advantage of the 360° tool to take in the gorgeous views of the tropical mountain forest that surrounds the site.

    Cost: Free

    READ MORE: The Effects of Mass Tourism (How Overtourism is Destroying 30+ Destinations)

    Image by Flavia Padula from PixabayChrist the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro Virtual Tour

    One of the new seven wonders of the world, the Sanctuary of Christ the Redeemer is an incredible monument symbolizing faith, love, and the history of the Brazilian people.

    Through Google Arts & Culture’s two online exhibits you can learn about the icon and its history as well as seeing up close photos highlighting the artistry that went into the creation of the world’s largest art deco statue.

    If you scroll to the bottom of the page you can also take a virtual tour of the monument and surrounding area through street view to take in the incredible sights and views of Rio de Janeiro.

    Cost: Free

    READ MORE: 20 Best Festivals in the World (for your World Travel Bucket List)

    Image by Heidelbergerin from PixabayPetra, Jordan Virtual Tour

    Whether you are interested because of its incredible history or just to see where Indiana Jones stood in the Last Crusade, this virtual tour shows one of the oldest, and most captivating cities in the..

  • 5 Best and Safe Menstrual Cup Alternatives to Use
    08 April 2020

    If you’re not comfortable using a menstrual cup during your period, why not try its alternatives? These menstrual cup alternatives on our list would bring you so much comfort! Period while traveling can be quite disturbing, annoying, uncomfortable, and difficult. Mostly, women travelers choose menstrual cups throughout their period, and...

    The post 5 Best and Safe Menstrual Cup Alternatives to Use appeared first on Two Monkeys Travel Group.

  • Au Pair Scams – Tips on How to Avoid Being Scammed to Work as an Au Pair in Europe
    08 April 2020

    Lately, some readers have been messaging our Facebook page (Two Monkeys Travel) or Kach for visa advice and legit checks. One reader almost paid PHP 23,000 to an “agency” to get her visa processed, but it was a scam judging from the e-mail, profile, and messages of the agent. If...

    The post Au Pair Scams – Tips on How to Avoid Being Scammed to Work as an Au Pair in Europe appeared first on Two Monkeys Travel Group.

  • Trekking in Nepal – all you need to know
    08 April 2020

    Nepal is an amazing country for trekking. There are hundreds of trekking and climbing routes of different length and difficulty. No wonder every year it attracts thousand of mountaineers and hikers from all over the world. In the last year we’ve spend 6 months in Nepal and have done several […]

    The post Trekking in Nepal – all you need to know appeared first on Stingy Nomads.

  • Discover Ogasawara Islands – Beautiful islands in Japan
    08 April 2020

    Travel your way | Best things to do | Best travel destinations | Road trip planner | Best countries to visit | Cheap places to travel
    Discover Ogasawara Islands – Beautiful islands in Japan

    Ogasawara Islands also known as the Bonin Islands. This islands in particular is Chichi Jima and all around me surrounded around this boat is the Pacific Ocean the sea. We have so much beautiful marine life underneath the ocean here this is called the Galapagos of the east for a reason there’s so many unique species just indigenous to this area.

    Let’s Discover Ogasawara Islands

    I’m really excited to see what’s underneath the sea here, I’ve never done an episode like this so I’m pretty excited to start let’s go dive in Ogasawara is a scuba diving jewel in the Pacific. It’s a 24 hour ferry ride 1,000 kilometers from central Tokyo ferry is the only way to get there no flights so you have to be committed to staying for a week.

    Discover Ogasawara Islands – Ogasawara Islands Map Ogasawara Islands Map

    The main island almost all dives depart from Ogasawara village the main town the island history is ternational tied with whaling but since it was returned to Japan in 1968. It’s become a sanctuary for wildlife and it shows with the incredible diving under the Pacific.

    Bonin islands Village

    Some are world war ii wrecks like a first dive in Futami Bay. Our dive master gives us an overview of our first dive. The dive site floor depth is 33 meters or 108 feet. It’s a Japanese submarine chaser number 50 kou Sante was built by Hitachi zosyn in November 1943 sunk by Allied forces less than a year later in July 20th 1944.

    Diving In Bonin Islands

    Descend slowly and equalize the pressure by swallowing or pinching your nose visibility is good but it gets a little tougher to see near the bottom where the wreck rests an old world war ii helmet the ship has been taken over by the sea.

    It’s a sand tiger shark shit’ll juanny in japanese now they say they’re harmless the divers but I see a shark I try to get out of the way but I’ve lost sight of them. They could be anywhere down here 25 metres below the surface.I mean I could a was it dangerous at all we saw they were not one, not two but three sharks down there very big ones and they’re gonna be here for just a couple more weeks. They’re here and none day it’s not Michael gonna eat or no yeah so the Sharks are gonna be here for just another couple weeks.

    I was somewhat nervous they had big teeth. I do not want to be eaten so maybe let’s just not do that again but it was still pretty cool ten minutes later I was still pretty impressed that was just awesome the beauty of this island. It is not just below the sea the deep blue color of the Pacific year is called bone-in blue. It’s so clear in the shallow parts.This is truly a paradise. It is the blue color that we often see in dreams with white sand beaches and sunshine. You will very easy to fall in love with the Ogasawara Islands after you come here.

    The southern island is called Minami Jima. It’s where sea turtles go to lay their eggs and a wildlife preserve for birds.The weigh-in is under the rock arch the water here is a warm 27 degrees Celsius 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Minami Jima is famous because this beach is where a lot of the turtles will lay their eggs.

    When they hatch there’ll be a lot of these little baby turtles making their way into the protected sea through the tunnel over there and it’s just an amazing sight to see we won’t get to see that today. The center of the island is sandy like a little desert perfect for laying eggs if I were a sea turtle. We didn’t see one little guy make his way into the sea.

    Islands Turtle

    It’s important not to disturb the wildlife in any way so we cheered him on it’s not easy to swim through the waves to the open sea with those little arms.But with a lot of effort he made it and we saw him leave us heading north with happy travels.

    Little guy the captain knows a spot to see one of Ogasawara’s friendliest visitors. We travel 30 minutes to the north.Above the water one jump so high that I thought she was trying to fly. Anna’s is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most formally known as the Bonin Islands.

    Islands Dophin

    The animals and marine life are very friendly not scared of humans like in the Galapagos which is why this place is called the Galapagos of the East under water. Not disturb him or he’ll just cruise away like that. This small white tip reef shark is patrolling the neighborhood. Some beautiful sea turtle swimming majestically in the waters above .

    Beautiful fish

    The beauty of scuba diving is that you can feel like you’re flying around just like the marine life most parts of the sea here have incredible visibility even at deeper recreational diving depths.


    On one dive we encountered a school of manta rays on their way somewhere else .Here’s one we often see a sushi maggara but this time, he’s the one looking for a meal.

    Trumpet Fish

    The trumpet fish shadows another fish looking for a good meal.

    It’s an odd couple. We have to remember that we’re just visitors in the fish world down here once we encountered a mature tiger shark, the non friendly kind.

    Mature Tiger Shark

    It’s rare to see such large ones in the area and he took off when he saw the odd-looking scuba divers. Good news for us advanced divers here often explore the caves.

    Mature Lobsters

    You can find a lot of unique marine life like lobsters hanging out in the cracks these lobsters came out to welcome us or shoo us away. It’s a fun peaceful world 25 meters under the sea shall.This is beautiful place. It’s worth the 24 hour ferry ride and one week’s day if you ask me one week isn’t enough.

    [Author : John Daub ]



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  • Au Pair Scams – Tips on How to Avoid Being Scammed to Work as an Au Pair in Europe
    08 April 2020

    Lately, some readers have been messaging our Facebook page (Two Monkeys Travel) or Kach for visa advice and legit checks. One reader almost paid PHP 23,000 to an “agency” to get her visa processed, but it was a scam judging from the e-mail, profile, and messages of the agent. If...

    The post Au Pair Scams – Tips on How to Avoid Being Scammed to Work as an Au Pair in Europe appeared first on Two Monkeys Travel Group.

  • Airport to Airport: What to do when you are an Inadmissible Passenger?
    08 April 2020

    One of the scariest things to experience is getting denied to enter a country. Even though you have a valid passport, a visa, or proper documents, the immigration authorities could still deny you entry to their country. “Airport to Airport” is a term used when a passenger was not allowed...

    The post Airport to Airport: What to do when you are an Inadmissible Passenger? appeared first on Two Monkeys Travel Group.

  • Photographing Amsterdam – A Guide to Travel Photography
    08 April 2020
      Submitted by: Alysa Tarrant   From: Voyaging Herbivore   Read more: Click here for full post  Overview: Amsterdam is absolutely stunning and can be an absolute blast in the right weather. There...
  • 8 Ways to Escape the Boredom of Self Isolation
    08 April 2020

    So how is everyone doing? Times have certainly been challenging as we are all stuck indoors. Many of us have turned to our computer screens for fun and entertainment but binge-watching Netflix gets old fast. We have turned to other things to fill the time like: Working on our cooking skills Learning a new craft […]

    Read the original post 8 Ways to Escape the Boredom of Self Isolation on The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog.

  • A Traveler Diary: A Rendering Collection of a Traveler's Thoughts. (First thought).
    08 April 2020
    What's is it Like to be a Traveler? Imagine going from one place to another: wanderlust across the globe. It is like going into a mini adventure looking for a treasure, but you find more treasures than you expected along with a new map leading to another treasure. It just keeps going on and on like that indefinitely. Imagine the knowledge, the acquaintances, the experience, and the memories you acquire while venturing around the world. Those are the real treasures. Every day, you wake up as if you are a whole different person with a new identity and a different place that you call home. It is true once you see the glamorous view of Hawaii's beauty. Thoughts run into your mind. That's my new home. I belong here now, and I would never leave this place again, but once you stand in the mountaintop of the Assiniboine mountain and explore its charming existence, you would be a dripping fountain of delight. Now Canada feels like home. As you are situated on the British Columba’s mountain while the wind is howling you with its feathers touch; the trees are dancing, and the birds are singing welcome home. Then later you discover, you are just a traveler that belongs to nobody and have no home. You leave your mark and pieces everywhere, and now, anywhere can feel like home. It is basically like I belong to everybody, and I belong to nobody scenario. You and I are travelers, and we are free. It is neither here or nor there. We belong to ourselves, but places can barrow us from time to time. This is just a glimpse of what “A Traveler Diary: A Rendering Collection of a Traveler's thoughts” is all about. There is more to come and so much to share. I hope you enjoyed this. If you do, your friends might, too. Please share. I would really like to know what's a traveler means to you? #TravelerDiary #CollectionOfThoughts

Luxury Travel Blogs

08 April 2020

Luxury Travel Blogs

Australia Travel Blog

08 April 2020

Australia Travel Blog
  • A Guide About the Best Melbourne Street Art
    08 April 2020

    Street art is unarguable, next to coffee and food, a cultural icon of Melbourne CBD. Its many laneways boast some of the best Australian Street Art featuring the artworks of hundreds of local and international street artists. As an art lover, I am always keen to explore new artworks in the city, and I always […]

    The post A Guide About the Best Melbourne Street Art appeared first on Rocky Travel.

  • Jacqueline Harvey’s 4 Favourite Books for Easter
    07 April 2020

    Under normal circumstances, many of us would currently be planning to head off at the end of the week to celebrate Easter with our family and friends. I remember what a special time Easter was with my own grandparents – every year my grandfather would bake Hot Cross Buns for the family to enjoy. They were delicious (except for the yucky peel that I would prodigiously pick out). It’s funny but now that you can buy just about any variety of hot cross buns from choc chip to apple and walnut, fruit free and traditional, I still hanker for Pop’s home cooking and these days would leave the peel right where I found it!

    In 2020 Easter has taken quite a different turn. None of us could have forecast that we would be separated from our loved ones by a virus that has brought the world to a standstill. Being mostly confined to our homes is not something we’re used to but is absolutely necessary to ensure that when it’s over everyone we love is still here. I have a five-year-old niece who I’ve been reading to via FaceTime. Of course, I’d much rather be sitting beside her but FaceTime and phone calls still allow us important contact with friends and family. We can still send Easter gifts too.

    While chocolate is always popular, this year I recommend buying books. Children of all ages need books and stories now more than ever – to escape, to learn and to help them to think about the world in different ways. Books will definitely last longer than chocolate and while they won’t fill
    your grandchild’s tummy, they will fuel their imaginations and have the power to spark a love of reading that will potentially last a lifetime.

    Some of my suggested books for Easter for the young and young at heart

    Bluey: Easter Fun!

    This book is based on the hit ABC KIDS TV show! Bluey and Bingo love being creative! Get making with loads of egg-cellent Easter activities for the whole family.

    Bluey Easter Fun

    There are more Bluey activity and board books to keep young fans entertained for hours.

    Buy from Amazon | Book Depository | Dymocks 

     

    The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

    The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy is a reminder of what truly matters, as told through the adventures of four beloved friends.

    The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse

    A beautiful book to share with all the family. 

    Buy from Amazon | Book Depository | Dymocks 

     

    Funny Stories

    Funny Stories is a bumper book of funny stories from a favourite Australian author, Morris Gleitzman.

    Funny Stories Morris Gleitzman

    Swap a bomb for three ice-creams on a train, bounce on a vampire’s bed, eat a pizza that makes you fearless, read the secret diary of a dog, unleash the awesome power of chips, save ten lives with a paper clip, surprise your mum with a chainsaw, use a demolition ball to defeat a bully, live in a house that gets wiped clean more often than a bottom … and lots more!

    Buy from Amazon | Book Depository | Dymocks 

    Alice-Miranda At School 

    A gorgeous hardback edition of Alice-Miranda at School to celebrate ten years since the pint-sized heroine bounced into our lives.

    Alice Miranda At School 10th Anniversary Edition

    There are another 17 books in the series abounding with mystery, adventure and lots of fun.

    Buy from Amazon | Book Depository | Dymocks 

    Jacqueline Harvey loves writing books full of adventure, mystery, quirky characters and lots of laughs. One of Australia’s most popular authors for children she is best known for her Alice-Miranda, Clementine Rose and Kensy and Max series of books, which have sold over one million copies in Australia alone. The animated movie Alice-Miranda Friends Forever premiered in 2019 with a second film, Alice-Miranda A Royal Christmas Ball set for release at the end of 2020.

    A highly experienced teacher and presenter, she has delivered thousands of talks and workshops at schools and festivals around the world.

  • 5 Must Visit Places Around Ireland
    07 April 2020

    Throughout Ireland there as some beautiful cities and towns, friendly people who love a chat (even if you can’t understand what they are saying to you) and some truly special countryside so listing these must visit places around Ireland was hard. It is a country that reminds me very much of the state in Australia that I grew up in,...

    The post 5 Must Visit Places Around Ireland appeared first on aussieinwanderlust.com blog.

  • Traditional hot cross buns
    06 April 2020

    Planning to serve up a treat on Easter morning? My soft and fruity traditional hot cross buns are something the whole family will love.

    These traditional hot cross buns are loaded with spices and fruit. Borrowing on my love of Japanese milk bread they have a light soft texture combined with the familiar sticky glazed exterior. if you’re a bit unsure about working with yeast, this recipe has been thoroughly tested both by hand and with a bread maker, with various flour qualities and different yeast techniques so you can make it with confidence for your Easter celebrations. Without the crosses they make a great brunch option or addition to the picnic hamper all year round

    It’s starting to feel a lot like … Easter

    With Easter right around the corner, I might usually be sneaking a pack of traditional fruity hot cross buns into my weekly shop for a morning treat. I’d normally only bake homemade for breakfast on Good Friday but things are anything but usual this year. The celebratory treat has been in short supply along with many other items on our supermarket and bakery shelves.

    This Easter we won’t be gathering with friends and extended family. Eater services are cancelled across the country and much of the world, so it’s even more important to keep the normality where we can and savour the connection with loved ones and tradition.

    It feels a long way from family at the moment but my sister in law prompted me from New Zealand this week to send over a hot cross bun recipe that would make a special treat for the family on Easter morning. On top of being delicious, it also needs to be able to be put together with what’s in the pantry so I’ve left it flexible with your choice of fruit. It also doesn’t need bread flour, if you have it you can definitely use it but this works out perfectly well just with supermarket brand plain flour.

    The version I settled on is based off my spiced fruit bread which is always a popular weekend breakfast but it’s tweaked a little including replacing the water with milk for a softer bun. Japanese milk bread is my favourite, it’s super soft and delicious, and has been a huge inspiration on my bread making over the past year. While this isn’t a typical ‘milk bread’ recipe it does enjoy several of the advantages in flavour and texture.

    Taming the yeast

    I’ve been baking most of our bread for a couple of years now. Although I only started because I developed a reaction to something used as a preservative in commercial loaves I now love the process and find the kneading and steady pace quite relaxing. You can’t hurry yeast but the flavour and texture of homemade bread are well worth that extra effort.

    That said I do understand that if you don’t bake with yeast regularly the idea can be a little daunting.

    Firstly I’d recommend making sure you get hold of instant yeast. Although I do still sometimes foam it in the liquid when kneading by hand it is extremely forgiving and can be thrown directly in with the dry ingredients just like you would with a raising agent like baking powder. I’ve made a batch both ways in the last few weeks with no noticable difference in final result.

    The only part of leaven bread or baking with yeast that is a bit fussy is the waiting time. It is generally around 90 minutes for the first rise, 45 for the second and then half an hour to bake. When you look at how long bread takes to make most of it doesn’t involve you actually doing anything but you do need to be around at the end of each of the steps.

    How to make hot cross buns

    While there are yeast-free recipes and Easter muffins, there really is nothing that beats a traditional hot cross bun with its pillowy soft inside, golden glow, packed full of fruit and shimmering in its sticky glaze. While it’s probably fortunate for my hips that the holiday comes just once a year, if I’m going to indulge I want it to be worth it!

    There are three main techniques you can follow when making these buns or bread in general and I use all three from time to time, the good news is that this recipe works well with all of them so you can take you pick based on what equipment you have on hand.

    The breadmaker

    The breadmake is going to involve the least amount of time doing anything because you put all the ingredients except the fruit directly into the bowl, set it to make a leaven dough, add the fruit about 20 minutes later when it beeps and then wait. The breadmaker mixes the ingredients, does the kneeding work, the first rise and then punches it down. When it’s done you remove it, shape it into an even shape, cut into 12 even pieces, roll and place on the tray for the final rise before baking.

    If you have a breadmaker handy it’s an easy and convenient option with less cleanup and you really don’t lose anything in flavour or texture by doing it that way.

    I had a Panasonic one for over a decade which I loved but when I replaced it a few years ago I went with a cheaper version from Kogan, it works fine and looks good in stainless steel but the motor has already slowed and I’ll be going back to this model by Panasonic when it’s time to replace it. I make almost all our bread so it’s an appliance I find worth having, it’s not a necessity for every cook or kitchen.

    The bread hook

    If your stand mixer has a bread hook attachment that is another option to save some energy and a little mess. You’ll mix it up as if you were doing it by hand and then the hook does the kneading for you while you have a cup of tea. You can mix, process and do the first rise all in the bowl of the mixer so there’s no extra cleanup with this option either.

    My CuisineArt stand mixer was a bit of a splurge many years ago now but one I expect to have for a long time to come, they are incredibly durable and a total workhorse, albeit a very pretty one. Together with the dough hook it’s a good option for breadmaking especially if you have the space on your counter to keep it set up as they are quite heavy to lift in and out of the cupboard.

    By hand

    While I have listed this option last it’s not the last resort. I love making bread by hand, there’s a real sense of satisfaction and it’s not difficult. I pop on a podcast or some music for the kneading stage and get to it. It takes about 15 minutes for the initial process to get everything added, mixed and then the 10-minute kneading so it’s not overly time-consuming. You’ll want to thoroughly clean your benchtop before and after kneading but really there is not that much mess either.

    Which of the three options you go with really depends on what you have available and what you need to multi-task. If you don’t have a breadmaker or stand mixer with the hook attachment then they aren’t essential, you might be like me and still make it by hand half the time anyway.

    Traditional hot cross buns
    Yield: 12
    Prep Time: 30 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Additional Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
    Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes

    These fruity Easter buns have a soft fluffy texture and a sticky glaze.

    Print
    Ingredients
    • 340 millilitres milk
    • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
    • 3 tablespoons oil
    • 4 1/2 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon bread improver (optional)
    • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 1/2 cups sultanas or mixed dried fruit
    • 5 tablespoons plain flour
    • 0.5 teaspoons flavoured essence (optional)
    • 4 - 4.5 tablespoons water
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    Instructions PREPARING THE DOUGH
    1. Warm milk until it is lukewarm, add the yeast and stir. Let it stand for 10 minutes.
    2. Add the remaining ingredients to a large mixing bowl, then pour in the milk and yeast mixture
    3. Mix with a butter knife or spatula until it starts to come together then use your hands until fully combined
    4. Turn the dough out onto a clean floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. It will be smooth and elastic.
    5. Wipe your bowl and oil lightly, add the ball of dough back and cover with a couple of clean teatowels.
    6. Allow the dough to rise for around 90 minutes. The time it takes will vary based on the temperature of your kitchen
    SHAPING THE BUNS
    1. Line a banking tray with low sides with baking paper
    2. Tip the ball of dough back onto a floured surface and punch it down
    3. Briefly knead just enough to return the dough to a smooth flattened circle and divide it into 12 equal pieces
    4. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and place on the tray with the smoothest side facing up
    5. Cover the tray with a domed cover topped with clean tea towels. An alternative is to cover with oiled plastic wrap for this stage.
    6. Allow to rise for a second time, this will take around 45 minutes
    MAKE THE CROSSES
    1. Heat then over to 180 celsius
    2. Mix the extra flour with flavouring and water in a small cup or ramekin. You are looking to create a smooth paste that can be piped, a similar consistency to icing.
    3. Add the last of the water slowly so you don't end up with a paste that is too runny.
    4. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle or a small plastic bag and then cut a small hole in the corner.
    5. Pipe down the length of the buns in the tray, then across the width, it's much faster and ends up neater than individual crosses.

    BAKING THE BUNS
    1. Bake for 30 minutes at 180 Celcius
    2. Remove from oven and immediately brush with glaze
    Notes
    • The time on the recipe is when making the buns by hand. It includes around 15 minutes for the initial mix and kneading, 90 minutes for the first rise, 10 minutes to form the buns, 45 minutes for the second rise, 5 minutes to pipe the crosses and 30 minutes to bake.
    • When preparing the dough you can skip step one and add the milk and instant yeast directly to the bowl if you prefer, that is the advantage of instant yeast. This is a habit from when instant yeast could be hard to get but I still find this step gives me a more consistent result regardless of the temperature of the day.
    • The bread improver is a product you'll find in the supermarket along with the yeast and flours, I add it if I have some in the fridge but it's not essential. It is used to help gluten development and can be useful with breadmakers especially if they aren't kneading quite as efficiently as they used to. If you don't have it, leave it out, there is no substitution required.
    • The tiny amount of flavoured essence in the paste for the crosses is also optional. I used butterscotch this year with a maple glaze, in the past, I have used orange with an orange glaze.
    • Not everyone likes their hot cross buns glazed but that sticky finish is part of what makes a traditional hot cross bun. This year I used maple syrup as I had a bottle in the cupboard, other alternatives are reducing fresh orange juice and sugar to a sticky syrup in a small pan on the stove or melting 2 T or smooth apricot jam on the stove and brushing those over the buns straight after they come out of the oven.
    © Toni Broome
    Category: Baking

    The post Traditional hot cross buns appeared first on 2 Aussie Travellers.

  • Spicy Thai Pumpkin Soup
    06 April 2020

    Pumpkin soup makes a nutritious and satisfying meal. It’s inexpensive to prepare and packed with flavour. This spicy Thai pumpkin soup is made extra special with the addition of red curry paste, aromatics and by finishing it off with fresh lime and a touch of coconut cream.

    Some soups take hours of soaking and simmering ingredients to create their rich deep flavour but his one can be ready in just over half an hour if you take the shortcut of using prepared or purchased stock and Thai red curry paste. If you prefer to make those from scratch we have some tips on that too.

    I love this for a winter’s lunch or easy supper with crusty bread rolls warm from the oven. It’s very versatile and can easily be dressed up for company or prepared in a hurry as a comfort food if you’re feeling a bit down or think you might be coming down with a cold.

    While chicken soup is a more traditional choice when you are feeling a bit under the weather, pumpkin soup is an excellent alternative. Mum would make it for us to cure all kinds of ill’s and I’m sure that explains why I still find it so comforting today.

    A bowl of basic pumpkin soup is always good but this spicy version takes it up a notch. Teaming the vegetables with a kick of chilli and garlic make this spicy Thai pumpkin soup a winner for flavour and it’s a great immunity booster too.

    There’s a lot to love about pumpkin

    Not only is pumpkin a versatile and delicious vegetable but it provides a good range of nutrients and other benefits as part of a balanced diet.

    These are just a few reasons to consider adding more pumpkin to your diet.

    1. It’s high in fibre which is linked to positive weight management, gut health and heart health
    2. It includes 3 types of antioxidants; alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. These help to protect the body’s cells from damage by free radicals
    3. It contains beta-carotene which your body turns into an abundance of vitamin A. Vitamin A strengthens your immune system helping it fight infections, promotes healthy skin and it also supports eye health as we age.
    4. It’s also packed with vitamin C further helping the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells
    5. And as a final bonus, it’s low in calories being comprised of up to 94% water depending on the variety you choose.
    Spicy Thai Pumpkin Soup Recipe
    Spicy Thai Pumpkin Soup
    Yield: 6 cups
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Total Time: 35 minutes

    A spicy pumpkin soup bursting with flavour from the chilli, garlic and Thai curry aromatics

    Print
    Ingredients
    • 1.25 kg pumpkin (around 1/3 of a medium pumpkin such as a Kent or Jap)
    • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 medium onion, diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1-litre vegetable stock
    • 3 fresh Kaffir lime leaves (optional)
    • 2 Tablespoons Thai red curry paste
    Instructions
    1. Heat oil in a large saucepan or stockpot on the stovetop.
    2. Add the chopped onion and finely chopped or crushed garlic to the pan and fry off gently until softened.
    3. Add the Thai red curry paste and allow to cook for around 2 minutes, this allows the aromatics to release their oils and flavours to meld together.
    4. Now add the chopped pumpkin, 5-8 cm cubes will cook quickly and evenly but don't fuss getting them exactly right, they just need to be roughly the same size so they cook evenly.
    5. Add the stock and the kaffir lime leaves if you are using them.
    6. Cover and bring the pot to a gentle simmer and allow it to cook for around 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is very soft. You want to be able to mash it easily against the side of the pot.
    7. Remove from heat and blend until smooth with a stick blender.
    8. Serve hot. I like to dress it with a drizzle of coconut cream and a scattering of pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and fried shallots. Finely chopped green onions or coriander if you like it also work well.
    Notes
    • The soup is delicious made with a rich vegetable stock but we also enjoy it with a low sodium chicken stock. Whether you make your own or use a pre-made alternative to speed up the process the recipe will work well.
    • Thai red curry paste is a mix of... make your own or use a packaged alternative, there are some excellent options available.
    • The kaffir lime leaves in the soup during cooking are optional. They do add to the flavour and aroma but if you don't have easy access to them you can easily leave them out. A squeeze of lime juice at serving time is a good alternative that will brighten the Thai spice flavours and really make them pop.
    • If you don't have a stick blender you can blend it in a food processor or blender. If you are doing that you'll need to allow it to cool first or it can explode giving a nasty burn. Just add the amount you want to serve back to the pan and heat it when you are done.
    • This recipe keeps in the fridge for several days and can be frozen. Allow it to defrost in the fridge and reheat on the stovetop for best results but a microwave will work if that is what you have available.
    Nutrition Information: Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 cup
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 113Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 590mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 3g
    © Toni Broome
    Category: Dinner

    The post Spicy Thai Pumpkin Soup appeared first on 2 Aussie Travellers.

  • Disrupting the disruptors: how Covid-19 will shake up Airbnb
    06 April 2020

    Airbnb created an industry and changed the face of many neighbourhoods. Now it’s facing the challenge of the coronavirus

    Airbnb was built on the premise of bringing the world closer together. Tourists could travel like locals, while locals could cash in on their desirable neighbourhood properties by letting those visitors in. Last year the company was estimated to be worth more than US$30bn. It is scheduled to go public in 2020. Then came the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Travel is suspended. Australians are almost entirely confined to their homes. Now the once heralded disruptor is seeing a collapse in bookings. The hosts who have become reliant on income-generating properties to pay their bills are being bled dry by a lack of business, and already-suspicious neighbours are up in arms over the potential that short-term renters may spread the virus.

    Related: Coronavirus world map: which countries have the most cases and deaths?

    Related: AirBnb hasn’t lived up to its utopian claimsJay Owens

  • 10 Best Things to do in Airlie Beach
    05 April 2020

    10 Best things to do in tropical Airlie Beach Considered the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Airlie Beach is the onshore travel hub to explore the Whitsunday Islands.  Get this guide, jampacked with things to do when visiting Airlie Beach. Airlie Beach is the mainland town amidst a tropical archipelago of 74 tropical islands […]

    The post 10 Best Things to do in Airlie Beach appeared first on Aussie Mob.

  • 50 Things Travellers Can Do When They Can’t Travel
    05 April 2020

    Here are 50 ideas for what caravanners and travellers can do during the coronavirus. We hope to promote positivity, good self care and community spirit.

    The post 50 Things Travellers Can Do When They Can’t Travel appeared first on Our Wayfaring Life.

  • 17 Ways to ‘Travel’ Australia From Your Camp Chair (When You Can’t Leave Home)
    05 April 2020
  • 8 Best Easter Movies for Kids
    05 April 2020

    After eating hot cross buns and going on an Easter egg  there’s nothing better than snuggling up for a family movie!

    Here are some great child-appropriate films with an Easter or rabbit-theme! You should be able to find many of these movies available on DVD as well as on Netflix, Disney+, Stan or other movie streaming and download services. 

    Easter Movies 1. It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown 

    This Easter classic is fun for fans of the Peanuts comic series.

    It’s The Easter Beagle Charlie Brown

    Peppermint Patty and Marcie attempt the art of decorating Easter eggs, while Snoopy searches for a new home for Woodstock. All your favourite characters make an appearance, including of course Charlie Brown. 

     

    2. Easter Parade 

    Two icons of the silver screen, Fred Astaire and Judy Garland, take you back to a glamorous era of old-school Hollywood musicals.

    Easter Parade

    It was a box office smash when it was first released in 1948 and contains lots of Irving Berlin songs and tap-dancing!

     

    3. The Dog Who Saved Easter 

    The Bannister family leave for an Easter holiday and Zeus the dog heads to doggie daycare for the weekend.

    Easter Movie The Dog Who Saved Easter

    During his stay, a criminal comes in and tries to wreck the business—but the fearless pup steps in to save the day.

     

    4. Peter Rabbit 

    Though Peter Rabbit is not strictly about Easter, there is a lot of bunny mischief in this retelling of Beatrix Potter’s ‘Tale of Peter Rabbit’.

    Easter Movie Peter Rabbit

    Peter Rabbit follows the adventures of a rebel rabbit who meets his match when the vegetable garden he and his floppy siblings ravage gets a new owner.

     

    5. Hop Easter Movie Hop

    In this comical coming-of-age tale, the Easter bunny’s son, voiced by Russell Brand, pursues his rock-star dreams in Hollywood.

     

    6. Rise of the Guardians 

    Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost, the Sandman and the Easter Bunny join forces to save the world.

    Rise Of The Guardians

    The Golden Globe-nominated flick stars Hugh Jackman, Chris Pine, Isla Fischer, and Alec Baldwin.

     

    7. Zootopia

    While this adorable Disney movie isn’t about Easter, it is about a very smart bunny!

    Zootopia

    Officer Judy Hopps, the first bunny on Zootopia’s police force, jumps at the chance to crack her first case–even if it means partnering with scam-artist fox Nick Wilde to solve the mystery. 

      8. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit 

    I love Wallace and Gromit! Stop-motion British cartoon characters Wallace and Gromit try to help a quaint English town with their rabbit infestation, then discover these are not your usual bunnies. 

     
     
     
      Wallace And Gromit Curse Of The Were RabbitBest hot cross buns in Melbourne that deliver Best Easter eggs you can get delivered Best TV shows on ABC Kids and ABC Me Best Educational TV Shows on Netflix, Stan and Disney+

    This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links there is no extra cost to you and I earn a small commission that helps me to provide free, valuable and useful information for you! Thanks Joyce

Europe Travel blog

08 April 2020

Europe Travel blog
  • Sticky Toffee Pudding: An Indulgent British Dessert
    07 April 2020

    When we first moved to the UK, I was quite tickled (and somewhat confused) by the term “pud.” After giving quizzical looks to many a server who asked “any pud this evening?” following our main course, I finally figured out that “pud” was short for “pudding,” and Brits use the term to refer to all desserts. Confusingly, pudding also refers to a sweet or savory dish that is boiled or steamed inside of a cloth or animal intestine – examples include spotted dick which is a steamed cake dotted with dried fruit (it’s a pudding in both senses of the word) or black pudding, a type of blood sausage. My very favorite British “pud” is Sticky Toffee Pudding – a delicious date cake served with a rich caramel sauce.  

    The caramel sauce puts the "sticky" in sticky toffee pudding. Skewering the cake and pouring the sauce over top ensures that every nook and cranny of the cake gets infused with sauce.

    How to Make Sticky Toffee Pudding

    Traditionally, this decadent dessert was steamed, but my favorite recipe for it is baked, which makes it a little more accessible to the average home cook. The base recipe is similar to a typical yellow cake with a few key additions – molasses (known in the UK as black treacle) and dates that have been soaked in boiling water and then mashed with a fork. If you’re not a big date fan, don’t let them scare you off from making Sticky Toffee Pudding, they melt right into the cake and you can’t even tell that they are there (don’t even think about skipping them, they make the cake super moist). While the cake is baking, you make a super simple, booze spiked caramel sauce. Once the cake comes out of the oven, pour half the sauce on the cake and save the rest for serving. Sticky toffee pudding is best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.  


    Dates are a key ingredient in sticky toffee pudding
    The simple batter can be made in a stand mixer or with a handheld electric mixer.
    Once they've been soaked and mashed, the dates melt right into the cake. They provide richness and spice notes...but you won't even know they're there.
    The toffee sauce is simple and delicious
    Add bourbon (or another liquor) to your toffee sauce for extra "oomph" Sticky Toffee Pudding Makes Social Distancing Better!

    During these uncertain times, I can’t think of a more comforting, delicious, dessert (pud!) to make and enjoy while you’re social distancing. If you’re feeling a little cooped up at home, perhaps this will give you a little taste of traveling to the UK without leaving your kitchen. If you’re reading this in the future, know that this can be shared with friends…but you may not want to because it’s so darn tasty!

    Sticky toffee pudding pairs perfectly with Netflix!

    What to Drink with Sticky Toffee Pudding

    Because it’s quite sweet, sticky toffee pudding pairs with most wine and beer about as well as toothpaste pairs with orange juice. If I were you, I’d finish your drink before indulging in the pudding…and then maybe after you’re finished, have a wee dram of a single malt whisky from Scotland. 

    Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe

    Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake Ingredients

    For the Cake

    6 oz pitted dates, roughly chopped
    2/3 cup boiling water
    6 tbsp butter
    ¾ cup light brown sugar 
    2 large eggs at room temperature
    2 tbsp molasses
    1 ¼ cups flour
    1 ½ tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp kosher salt
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/3 cup whole milk

    For the Toffee Sauce

    ½ cup butter (1 stick) 
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 ¼ cup heavy cream
    1 ½ tsp salt
    1 tbsp molasses
    Glug of bourbon, scotch, dark rum (really, any brown liquor you like)

    Preheat oven to 325° F. Generously butter an 8x8 baking dish.

    Put dates and boiling water in a bowl and set aside. 

    While the dates are soaking, cream six tablespoons butter and ¾ cup brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by the molasses. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold in the 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, then 1/3 of the milk. Repeat until all the flour and milk are gone. 

    Use a fork to mash the soaked dates into a pulp and stir in vanilla. Add the dates with their liquid to the batter and stir to combine. Bake in prepared dish for 50 minutes, or until the cake has risen and the center is firm to the touch.  

    While the cake is baking, make the toffee sauce. Melt ½ cup butter in a medium heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown 1 cup brown sugar, 1 ½ tsp salt, and half of the cream. Once the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is bubbling, stir in the molasses and continue cooking until the mixture has a rich golden color and smells like caramel (3-4 minutes). Take the pan off the heat and stir in a glug of your liquor of choice and the rest of the cream. Keep warm. 

    Once the cake has finished baking, remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes or so. Skewer the cake all over with a toothpick, then pour half of the toffee sauce over top of the cake. Allow it to sit for a few minutes to absorb the sauce. Serve while still warm with the remaining sauce (I like to put it in a little pitcher on the side so that people can add as much or as little as they’d like) and vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  

    Remember that we are always available to you and your friends and family to help you dream about travel to Europe, and create amazing trip plans when it’s safe to travel. We are here for your custom trip planning to Italy, France, Ireland, the UK and all of Europe. We are experts in creating custom travel itineraries and leading small group trips to European destinations. We also book European cruises! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. — We’re always available to talk about travel! 

    Chelsea is one third of the Euro Travel Coach team (and is the daughter of the other two thirds of the team, Greg and Betsy). She has a passion for food and wine and has a background in hospitality. She attended Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration and interned with two of New York City's best restaurant groups while she was in school. After graduation she worked at the number one wine auction house in the United States, Chicago's Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. There, she organized various wine centric events for HDH's most valuable clients. She and her husband moved to Copenhagen, Denmark in 2016 and then to Bristol, UK in 2018 and have traveled extensively during their time living in Europe. Her expertise in food and wine and her experience living abroad helps her to find amazing accommodations, delicious restaurants, and unique experiences for Euro Travel Coach clients.

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  • Top 10 Cities to Visit in Italy
    07 April 2020
    Italy no doubt is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. This splendid country is celebrated for its artistic treasures, contemporary fashion, breathtaking landscapes and of course for its divine traditional cuisine. If you are planning to...
  • Keller Vienna Restaurants: Are They As Good As They Seem?
    07 April 2020

    Keller Vienna Restaurants. Do you find cutting your Schnitzel beneath vaulted ceilings an irresistible thought? Located mostly in the city center, Vienna’s romantic keller restaurants let you fork up history and (food) culture in one big bite. However, the ongoing international stair run down the Kellers has created two types of cellar restaurants: those that cut it with guidebooks and travel agents, and those that quietly cut through the noise. To find out what to expect from each restaurant, check the list below, ranked by international popularity.

    Before that, let me share Vienna Unwrapped reader Kathy Amundsen’s email, which inspired me to flesh out my initial advice to her.

    I went to school in Vienna in 1974. I dated an Austrian, and he took me to a very romantic keller. Before my return trip to Vienna I am interested in finding it again. From what I remember they not only served wine, but I had steak tartars. It’s been many years and I simply cannot remember the name of this place. It was a place tourists (or American students) didn’t typically go. Do you know of this place?

    1. Zwölf Apostel Keller Vienna

    Keller Vienna Restaurants. Extending across three underground levels, the landmarked baroque building amasses superlatives. Set in Vienna’s medieval quarter, the almost 1,000-year-old Stadtheuriger (urban wine tavern) boasts Vienna’s only preserved gothic fountain parlor. Throughout its medieval halls, Zwölf Apostel Keller mixes warm wood panels and rustic chairs with raw brick vaults. Among the Keller’s signature dishes is the famous 12 A House Platter of meat dumpling, greave dumpling, smoked pork, carraway roast, black pudding and vienna sausage with hot cabbage salad and bacon pieces. If all this makes you feel like in a historic movie setting it may well be intended.

    As with many large restaurants buzzing with steady tourist streams, food, service and hygiene quality at Zwölf Apostel Keller regularly suffer if you believe customer reviews. Expect daily wine tavern music from 7.00 pm.

    Address: Sonnenfelsgasse 3, 1010 Vienna

    Opening Hours: daily, from 11.00 am to midnight

    2. Rathauskeller

    Keller Vienna Restaurants. More sumptuous and even larger than Zwölf Apostel Keller, Wiener Rathauskeller exudes an almost Imperial atmosphere: In the Vienna City Hall’s underground ceremonial rooms fin-de-siècle elegance meets vaulted ceilings and savory Austrian cuisine. Because of its well decorated large halls hosting up to 800 people, Rathauskeller is a popular location for local private events and for the Austrian Dinner Show targeted at tourists. While the 19th-century neogothic Knight’s Hall usually welcomes tour bus groups, you will find a mixed group of locals and tourists in the smaller Ziehrer hall. Among the keller’s most praised dishes is the succulent Zwiebelrostbraten (roast prime rib with fried onions).

    Address: Rathausplatz 1, 1010 Vienna

    Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 11.30 am to 3.00 pm; 6.00 pm to 11.30 pm; closed on Sundays

    3. Augustiner Keller

    Keller Vienna Restaurants. Who wouldn’t want to experience the old world charms of an ancient monastery cellar right underneath glitzy Albertina museum? Run by Josef Bitzinger, VP of Tourism at the local chamber of commerce, the cellar of the former Augustine monks welcomes hungry sightseers in search for real Vienna on their plates. Like in the other cellars, wine tavern food, from cold meat platters to crispy pork knuckles and gulash, dominate the scene, along with home made draught beer. In the past years, the keller has not always scored top on food quality and customer service. From Wednesday to Saturday evenings, fiddlers and accordion players fill the space with Viennese Schrammel wine tavern music.

    Address: Augustinerplatz 1

    Opening Hours: daily, 11.00am to midnight

    4. Melker Stiftskeller

    Keller Vienna Restaurants. Quite legitimately, the 600-year-old former wine storage depot of Melk Abbey could have maintained its historic decorations. Since 2017, however, the six spacious halls proudly display their time-honored wooden benches, bare brick vaults, cast-iron lightings and fresh green cushions, along with a few modern elements. And that’s that. As for the menu, the Melker Stiftskeller goes along with the general keller tradition of hearty Austrian cuisine, from crispy pork knuckles to gulash and Wiener schnitzel with potato salad. Especially in the spring and autumn make use of seasonal offers.

    Although the restaurant consistently promotes its rooms for local private events, the international travel community has long got wind of the atmospheric place.

    Address: Schottengasse 3, 1010 Vienna

    Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 5.00 pm to midnight; company holiday from 7th June to 2nd August

    5. Esterházy Keller Vienna

    Keller Vienna Restaurants. In this keller Vienna’s warriors against the Ottomans found the perfect ammunition in 1683: Because the original wine cellar was close to the city walls and main fighting areas, cellar owner Prince Esterházy supported the warriors with generous quantities of free wine. For centuries, the Hungarian Esterházy family was one of the most loyal aristocratic families to the Habsburg Emperors. Among the wine tavern’s most prominent guests were Austrian composers Joseph Haydn, artist in residence at the family castle in Eisenstadt, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

    Today, the urban city Heuriger serves traditional Austrian food to a mix of locals, travelers and tourist groups. While most visitors praise the food, there seem to be occasional glitches with the service. To be clear, gone are the days where this was a locals’ haunt and insider tip. Unusually for a wine tavern you also get beer. As for entertainment, not only does the keller have live traditional folk music, some musicians would even show up at your table, and in some instances ask for a set tip.

    Address: Haarhof 1, 1010 Vienna

    Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 4.00 pm to 11.00 pm; Saturday, Sunday and public holiday 11.00 am to 11.00 pm

    6. Brezl Gwölb

    Keller Vienna Restaurants. Just off Am Hof square traditional Brezl Gwölb hides where Ledererhof alley snakes through between Drahtgasse and Färbergasse. In fact, Ledererhof was the former leather makers’ guild, and later on a bakery that produced one of the first lye pretzels in Vienna. Dating from the 13th-century, the gabled house boasts a baroque façade with two delicate relief medallions. Inside, Brezl Gwölb’s three basement levels display an equally elegant setting underneath their vaulted ceilings, such as columns and red velvet upholstery. During warm summer evenings and for lunches consider eating out in the cobble stoned alley, with a view of the last remnant of Vienna’s city wall.

    The restaurant’s classic Austrian menu includes a few lovely dishes such as Styrian beef stew (Steirisches Wurzelfleisch) and a fluffy cream strudel (Milchrahmstrudel). Unlike the other Kellers’ usual folk music, classical music plays in the background. 

    Address: Ledererhof 9, 1010 Vienna

    Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11.30 am to 1.00 am

    7. Gmoa Keller

    Keller Vienna Restaurants. In shocking contrast to the cellars packed with historical flair, Gmoakeller manages without the knick-knack. In fact, the word Gmoa means Gemeinde (community) in Viennese dialect. Where legendary owners Aunt Mitzi and Aunt Grete let bowling balls roll and jazz bands play, a neat row of resopal tables now lines up in a white-washed brick vault lined with dark wood panels. Being older than neogothic Rathauskeller, at 160-years of age, Gmoakeller tells a tale of Viennese community life:  In the 1940s, the former Wimmer tavern turned into a trusted neighborhood forum, where local news were exchanged and families even deposited their apartment keys.

    Today, the ground floor in its original tavern style hosts a good mix of Viennese and travelers. On Friday and Saturday evenings, a mixed crowd supplies the cellar’s minimalist framework with modern community vibes. What to eat at Gmoakeller? Even if you are not a fan of its legendary roast liver with onions, Gmoakeller’s well executed fine Viennese cuisine will not disappoint.

    Address: Heumarkt 25, 1030 Vienna

    Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 11.00 am to midnight; closed on Sunday

    8. Altes Zechhaus

    When out in the Vienna Woods, the Krug family’s Altes Zechhaus represents the best address for wine cellar romantics and great food. Located in the Renaissance vintner village of Gumpoldskirchen, the 16th-century Heuriger (wine tavern) and former meeting point of the local guilds offers cosy space where wine has matured for decades in old barrels. Unlike the often frenzied business of Vienna’s popular kellers, local stalwart Altes Zechhaus focuses on quality food from the region, and excellent wine from its own vineyards at its doorstep. Although my own experience has always been good, there have been reviews about occasional service hiccups.

    By the way, the wine cellar is not the only fantastic space – do also climb up to the Heuriger’s gothic attic, or out into the courtyard.

    Like at many Heurigen, thanks to obtaining a full restaurant license, the menu has long extended into that of a proper restaurant. Especially in the spring and autumn, go for seasonal specialities such as baked porcini mushrooms and fresh asparagus dishes.

    Address: Kirchenplatz 1, 2352 Gumpoldskirchen

    Opening Hours: In line with a traditional Heuriger, Altes Zechhaus has specific opening periods – consult website;

    explore more Restaurants in Vienna
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    The post Keller Vienna Restaurants: Are They As Good As They Seem? appeared first on Vienna Unwrapped.

  • The Heartbeat is Strong: Mountain Music Fest
    06 April 2020

    Do you love spending your free time outdoors in the nature? Do you like listening to music in the open space, outside of your room, city traffic and club atmosphere? What about taking your friends and family with you to such place?

    Mountain Music Fest is a whole-day family music festival where, besides music, you can find a lot of different adventures, sport activities, creative workshops, adrenalin activities, as well as kid’s contents. In the sea of beautiful music festivals, here’s one more to find its place on your bucketlist – a place of a unique energy and positive vibes, nestled in the mountain resort of Western Serbia!

    A few words about boutique festivals & MMF

    Boutique (or niche) festivals have been growing in number and popularity in recent years. These festivals flip the mechanics of big festivals on their heads by purposely keeping the scales low — thereby subverting the need for growth.

    In a smaller environment, unique spaces and experiences can be curated and, more importantly, when there’s no expectation of headline acts, the music can be anything at all. Locations vary from farms to container yards. In a crowded market, boutique festivals cater to an audience that wants an experience that is more easygoing and relaxed at events where lineups are more often curated to tastes.

    Combining this with appealing ‘extracurricular’ activities in the Wonder Forest, such as adventure park, yoga, archery and dozens of workshops for kids, Mountain Music Fest is a unique festival not only in Serbia but in the whole area of South East Europe.

    Website

    When: August 21-22, 2020

    Where: Divčibare, Serbia

    Why: Cause it’s a whole-day family music festival where, besides music, you can find a lot of different adventures, sport activities, creative workshops, adrenalin activities, as well as kid’s contents.

    Vibes:

    Photos: © Mountain Music Fest, thx to Matija Tripkovic

    The post The Heartbeat is Strong: Mountain Music Fest appeared first on Indie Voyager.

  • Best Scandinavian Cities for a Weekend Trip
    06 April 2020
    An adventure should be a requirement when the weekend strolls upon you. If you do not want to pack a bag, hop in the car and just escape for a weekend, then you are doing life wrong. Remember, you are...
  • Malta on a Budget: Travel Guide
    05 April 2020
    The European island nation of Malta may be small, but it is one of the best places to travel when you are on a low budget. Malta is home to three World Heritage sites with a beautiful coastline. The rich...
  • Tips For Avoiding The Most Common Hassles At European Car Rental Agencies
    05 April 2020
    Failing to plan well before leaving for Europe is one of the reasons the car rental stands in Europe are a hassle, and putting off attaining important documentation until you are in Europe can be more than a hassle —...
  • Daily Dose of Europe: Living History  
    04 April 2020

    In my travels, I love to connect with people — including ones who actually lived through the local history and make it real for me. I can’t wait to get back to Europe and have more of these unforgettable experiences.  

    Travel dreams are immune to any virus. And, with so many of us stuck at home, I believe a daily dose of travel dreaming can actually be good medicine. Here’s another one of my favorite travel memories — a reminder of what’s waiting for you in Europe at the other end of this crisis.  

    On one of my earliest trips to Europe when I was just 14 years old, a family friend in a dusty village on the border of Austria and Hungary introduced me to a sage old man. I remember thinking he was a caricature of a classic old Austrian, with a handlebar moustache, a wardrobe that looked like it was stolen from a museum, and an intricately carved pipe. Spreading lard on rustic bread, he shared his eyewitness account of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, which sparked the beginning of World War I. I leaned forward with awe as he described the motorcade, the archduke and his wife in an open car, the explosion of gunfire, and the hysteria that followed. That encounter, beside an onion–domed village church and in the shadow of the Iron Curtain, helped spark in me a lifelong interest in history.  

    Decades later in Prague, I walked with my Czech friend Honza down the path that he walked in 1989 with 100,000 of his countrymen, demanding liberation from their Soviet overlords. Stopping in front of a grand building, Honza said, “Night after night we assembled here, pulled out our keychains, and all jingled them at the President’s window, saying, ‘It’s time to go home now.’ Then one night we gathered…and he was gone. We had won our freedom.” Hearing Honza tell this story as we walked that same route he did all those years ago made me understand — and really feel — the jubilation of a small country winning its hard–fought independence. 

    As an advocate of freedom, I made a pilgrimage to the Gdańsk Shipyard where the Polish shipbuilders’ union, Solidarity, was born, marking the beginning of the end of the USSR — and communist rule of half of Europe. Standing at the gate under a “Solidarity” banner hanging where the big letters “LENIN” once were, I met a retired worker who walked with us to the adjacent monument. As my guide translated, the man told us of the part he played in this pivotal fight for workers’ rights.  

    He explained that when Solidarity negotiated its way to victory in 1980, one of their conditions was that the Soviets let Poland erect a monument to workers killed a decade earlier while demonstrating for those same workers’ rights. The government agreed, marking the first time a communist regime ever allowed a monument to be built to honor its own victims. Lech Wałęsa called it “a harpoon in the heart of the communists.” The towering monument, with three crucified anchors on top, was completed just four months after the historic agreement was signed. It was designed, engineered, and built by shipyard workers — and our new friend was one of them. The trio of 140–foot–tall crosses still honors his martyred comrades today on Gdańsk’s Solidarity Square. When you visit, there’s a good chance that someone who helped build it — someone who stood up to tyranny and helped change history — will be there to tell the story.  

    In Northern Ireland, my guide Stephen made his country’s struggles come alive for me when he took me to Belfast’s Felons’ Club. Stepping through a black metal security cage to reach the door, he whispered, “Membership here is limited to those who have spent at least a year and a day in a British prison for political crimes…but I think I can get you in.” Once inside, I was spellbound, listening to heroic stories of Irish resistance while sharing a Guinness with a celebrity felon. His gift of gab gave me a deeper under-standing of their struggles. The next day I walked along the green–trimmed gravesites of his prison–mates. Because of my time at the Felons’ Club, I better understood what these people sacrificed — why they starved themselves to death for the cause of a united Ireland. 

    My uncle Thor lived through the Nazi occupation of Norway. He took me into Oslo’s grand City Hall to show me the huge “Mural of the Occupation” and share his story of those dark days with the visual support of powerful art. Walking slowly, with a soft voice, he narrated the story scene by scene in the present tense — as if the mural told his personal experience as it was happening: “The German blitzkrieg overwhelms our country. Men head for the mountains to organize a resistance movement. Women huddle around the neighborhood well, traditionally where news is passed, while traitors listen in. While Germans bomb and occupy Norway, a family gathers in their living room. As a boy clenches his fist and a child holds our Norwegian flag — we love it so much — the Gestapo storms in. Columns lie on the ground, symbolizing how, by closing newspapers and the university, Germans did what they could to shut down our culture. Finally, years later, the war is over, prisoners are freed, and Norway celebrates its happiest day: May 17, 1945.” Thor’s voice cracked as he added, “Our first Constitution Day after five years under Nazi control.” He finished by waving his arm wide and saying, “And today, each December, the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in this grand hall.”  

    We can go to places like Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Northern Ireland, or Norway to do some sightseeing yet learn nothing of their people’s lives or their struggles. Or we can seek out opportunities to connect with people who can share eyewitness stories. Travel can — and should — change our perspectives and broaden our worldviews.  

    (These daily stories are excerpted from my upcoming book, For the Love of Europe — collecting 100 of my favorite memories from a lifetime of European travel, coming out in July. It’s available for pre-order. And you can also watch a video clip related to this story: Just visit Rick Steves Classroom Europe and search for “prague communism”).  

  • Warsaw: The Polish Capital on the Rise for Tourism
    04 April 2020
    When you are Warsaw, forget goofing with your laptop. Be focused on the fact that you are in the Polish capital city. The climate is heavenly, beautiful people walking around and almost everyone seems to be outdoors, to enjoy the...
  • Daily Dose of Europe: Estonia — The Song of Freedom
    03 April 2020

    I was a piano teacher before I was a travel teacher. And I find a special spirit in Estonia, where the people celebrate their cultural identity by singing. 

    Travel dreams are immune to any virus. And, with so many of us stuck at home, I believe a daily dose of travel dreaming can actually be good medicine. Here’s another one of my favorite travel memories — a reminder of what’s waiting for you in Europe at the other end of this crisis.  

    In Tallinn, my guide Mati suggests that we visit the cemetery just outside of town. As we arrive and step out of his beat-up Soviet-made car, I realize this is no ordinary cemetery. The lovingly tended tombs are scattered throughout a dense pine forest.  

    “Estonia is a thickly forested country,” Mati explains. “Many Estonians see trees as spiritual. Since ancient pagan times, we have buried our loved ones with the trees. We are people of the trees. This is one way we are still connected with our pagan past…still uniquely Estonian.” Walking under these towering trees makes me think about the Estonians’ connection to their land and heritage.  

    It’s amazing what a stretch of water can do. The Baltic Sea separates Estonia from Sweden and Finland. The struggles of the last couple of generations couldn’t be more different on these opposite shores. When I visited the Baltic states back in the 1980s, labor was cheaper than light bulbs. While I was touring museums, an old babushka would actually walk through the museum with me, turning the lights on and off as we went from room to room.  

    Those days are long gone. Estonia’s busy capital, Tallinn, is like a petri dish of capitalism. Since winning its freedom in 1991, the country has blossomed. Mati brags that Estonia has the strongest economy, most freedom, and highest standard of living of any republic that was part of the USSR. He says that by some measures, Estonians are now one of the freest people on Earth.  

    Mati points out the great irony of Russia’s communist experiment. Russia, once the supposed champion of radical equality — as far as Leninism and Marxism were concerned — is now infamous for having the worst inequality. In the dirty derby of unequal wealth distribution, Russia is one of only a few countries to actually beat the US. Estonians are better off today than Russians not because they have more money per capita (they don’t), but because the wealth in this country is distributed much more evenly. Mati, who’s spent half his life under communism and half under capitalism, says, “Politics. It’s all about the distribution of wealth.”  

    Mati drives us back into Tallinn to explore the Old Town. Strolling the street in need of a coffee break, we step into a courtyard. At the entry the landlord has hung a photo of the place back in 2000. It looked like a war had hit it. Today, while it looks much the same, it’s inhabited by thriving businesses. 

    The courtyard’s trendy little café has wicker chairs rocking on the rough cobbles. The first seat I eye seems empty, but it has a vest hanging on it. So I look for another empty spot…it has a vest, too. I really, really need coffee. Then I realize that on the back of every chair hangs a different vest. They’re not saving anyone’s seat, they’re just decor. Noticing my confusion, Mati explains, “Estonian chic.”  

    Over coffee, I ask Mati more about the USSR. Mati spent time in the USSR military, driving Soviet officers around the Crimea. Estonian boys got this plum assignment because they were considered smarter (and therefore safer drivers) than village boys from the interior of Russia. 

    With Finland within distance of rabbit–ear antennas, Estonians were the only people in the USSR who got Western TV during the Cold War. Mati remembers when the soft–porn flick Emmanuelle aired. No one here had seen anything remotely like it. With that single broadcast, there was a historic migration of Estonians from the south of the country to Tallinn, where they could receive Finnish TV. He said, “Nine months later, we Estonians experienced a spike in births.” 

    In Mati’s youth, the entire USSR — one–sixth of the world — was theoretically open to him, but he had no way to get a plane ticket or a hotel room, so in practice travel was not possible. The other five–sixths of the world was simply off–limits. In 1950s and 1960s, the USSR ordered all Estonian recreational boats destroyed because they were considered potential “escape vehicles.” It was an era in which Estonia was virtually a prison. 

    When Mati was young and asked his grandmother where his grandfather had gone, she said, “He’s a tourist in Siberia.” Because loved ones were routinely imprisoned in the far east of the Soviet Union, that was the standard answer to shield kids from knowing about the hell their family members were living in. After Estonia’s independence, Mati learned that his grandma had a bag packed under her bed for the surprise visit from the local police that she both dreaded and expected.  

    In the early 1990s, after the fall of the USSR, a kind of Wild West capitalism swept the country. The country’s first millionaire was a clever entrepreneur who dismantled the physical trappings of Soviet control and sold it as scrap metal. Mati and five friends made good money by importing classic American cars and selling them to rich Russians. But one day, four of Mati’s friends went to Russia to collect payment on a car and were killed — riddled with machine–gun bullets. Mati decided to drop his car business and become a tour guide. 

    Mati says, “The Russian mob makes Sicily’s mob look like a church choir. Putin directed the KGB back then. If you think Putin doesn’t understand how to hold on to power, forgive me, but you are a fool or you are blind.”  

    Mati and I visit Tallinn’s huge Song Festival Grounds, which looks like an oversized Hollywood Bowl. Overlooking the grassy expanse, with the huge stage tiny in the distance, Mati explains that in 1988, when Estonia was breaking away from the USSR, over 300,000 people — a third of the country — gathered here to sing patriotic songs. 

    Mati says, “Stuck between Russia and Germany, we were almost invisible. Our national songfest was a political statement. We are so few in number that we must emphasize that we exist. We had no weapons. All we could do was be together and sing. This was our power.” 

    Their Singing Revolution, peaceful and nonviolent, persisted for several years, and in the end, Estonians gained their freedom in 1991. The Song Festival Grounds, still used for concerts today, is a national monument for the compelling role it played in this small country’s fight for independence. Traveling with Mati through Estonia, I’m reminded that I simply inherited freedom. For many, freedom has to be earned. 

    (These daily stories are excerpted from my upcoming book, For the Love of Europe — collecting 100 of my favorite memories from a lifetime of European travel, coming out in July. It’s available for pre-order. And you can also watch a video clip related to this story: Just visit Rick Steves Classroom Europe and search for Estonia.)

Dubai Travel Blogs

08 April 2020

Dubai Travel Blogs
  • A Traveler Diary: A Rendering Collection of a Traveler's Thoughts. (First thought).
    08 April 2020
    What's is it Like to be a Traveler? Imagine going from one place to another: wanderlust across the globe. It is like going into a mini adventure looking for a treasure, but you find more treasures than you expected along with a new map leading to another treasure. It just keeps going on and on like that indefinitely. Imagine the knowledge, the acquaintances, the experience, and the memories you acquire while venturing around the world. Those are the real treasures. Every day, you wake up as if you are a whole different person with a new identity and a different place that you call home. It is true once you see the glamorous view of Hawaii's beauty. Thoughts run into your mind. That's my new home. I belong here now, and I would never leave this place again, but once you stand in the mountaintop of the Assiniboine mountain and explore its charming existence, you would be a dripping fountain of delight. Now Canada feels like home. As you are situated on the British Columba’s mountain while the wind is howling you with its feathers touch; the trees are dancing, and the birds are singing welcome home. Then later you discover, you are just a traveler that belongs to nobody and have no home. You leave your mark and pieces everywhere, and now, anywhere can feel like home. It is basically like I belong to everybody, and I belong to nobody scenario. You and I are travelers, and we are free. It is neither here or nor there. We belong to ourselves, but places can barrow us from time to time. This is just a glimpse of what “A Traveler Diary: A Rendering Collection of a Traveler's thoughts” is all about. There is more to come and so much to share. I hope you enjoyed this. If you do, your friends might, too. Please share. I would really like to know what's a traveler means to you? #TravelerDiary #CollectionOfThoughts
  • [Video] Basic Signs and Symptoms of Coronavirus – Covid-19
    08 April 2020

    On this video are the basic signs and symptoms of Coronavirus, the Covid-19, a virus that has been term the Wuhan Virus and the Chinese Virus given its origin. These variables should help an individual know they might be having contracted the Coronavirus.

    The symptoms are only a guide, however, as the severity varies greatly between persons depending on a variety of risk factors.

    Watch the full Coronavirus course for FREE at: https://www.ProCoronavirus.co.uk/ (optional certificate and CPD credit are available for a small fee if required). Symptoms to watch out for may include: headache, tiredness, nasal congestion, sore throat, diarrhoea and muscle aches.

    The post [Video] Basic Signs and Symptoms of Coronavirus – Covid-19 appeared first on Dubai Tour Pro.

  • [Video] Coronavirus Global Live Updates — Covid-19 Monitoring
    06 April 2020
    Credit: Payette Forward

    Thanks to this video, you can see and monitor the global development of the 2019 Coronavirus also called the Chinese virus or the Wuhan virus as it originated from Wuhan, China.

    The video is a LIVE World Map Stream of the the Coronavirus throughout the world, broken down by country. Specifically, you can see on the videi numbers of cases, recoveries, and deaths in the China, Italy, the US, the UK, and other countries throughout the world.

    Support the team behind this technology by purchasing a COVID-19 Ribbon T-Shirt through Teespring: https://bit.ly/covid19-tshirt. Stickers are available too: https://bit.ly/coronaviru wes-sticker

    The post [Video] Coronavirus Global Live Updates — Covid-19 Monitoring appeared first on Dubai Tour Pro.

  • [Video] Dubai To Carry Out A 24-hr Sterilization of The City Combating Coronavirus – See How This Affects Residents
    05 April 2020
  • [Video] How To Prevent Getting and Spreading Coronavirus According World Health Organization (WHO)
    04 April 2020

    Coronavirus is a deadly one. Already, so many lives have been lost. We all can stop this exponential spread following the simple but indispensable step on the video by World Health Organization (WHO). Follow them and save your life and those of many others. Let’s punctuate Covid-19 together.

    Steps To Prevent Getting and Spreading The Coronavirus
    1. Wash your hands with soap and water for about 20 seconds frequently.
    2. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.
    3. Cover your cough with your tissue or the bend of your elbow.
    4. Avoid crowded places.
    5. Stay at home if you feel unwell – even with a slight fever and cough.
    6. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical help early – but call by phone first.
    7. Stay aware of the latest information from WHO.

    DubaiTourPro.com mourns with those mourning, empathizes with those devastated, traumatized and pained. You’re not alone and you shouldn’t forget that “every cloud has a silver lining”.

    The post [Video] How To Prevent Getting and Spreading Coronavirus According World Health Organization (WHO) appeared first on Dubai Tour Pro.

  • The Top 20 most Important Traveling Life Hacks And Tips:
    03 April 2020
    Things will get better soon, and everything will go back to normal. Coronavirus will end because we humans know how to survive, and soon, we will eradicate it. I understand that many of you are struggling with money and probably soon will need to travel either for business or for a gateway. For all the adventurous and wanderlust lovers, out there. AwesomeTraveler have prepared for you some tips where you can save so much money and make your travel a much better experience. Be ready to venture and prevent some common mistakes with preparation. You might find some helpful tips for traveling abroad and maybe domestically. Let’s dive in: 1- Always search/book your flights in incognito/private browsing: As a trick some airlines and flight search engines use cookies on their websites that register your visits. If you notice you probably see the price increase after a couple of visits. It is a tactic used to encourage an impulse buy before the price increase. You can avoid that by using incognito/ private browsing because the cookies can no longer detect your data. Therefore, the price would still the same. By using this trick, utilizing the right search engine, and the best day to fly, you can save a whole lot of money. Note: Wednesday is the best day of the week to flay because it is usually the cheapest. 2- Expedia and Rakuten Rewards: You can find a good deal flight, car rental, and hotels in Expedia and combined with Rakuten Rewards you can save a lot of money. Rajkuten Rewards formally known as Ebates offers up to 25% cashback from 40 different online retailers. Also, Skyscanner app is a good one to find cheap flights. Side note: you can also get a travel credit card reward because later on, as you earn more points, you can travel for free, such as Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. 3- Always check the flight status 24 hours ahead: By doing so, you can change your seat. If you are like me who prefers to sit by the window, then this tip can be helpful for you. You can call and ask to put it into a better seat. Otherwise, the seat will be assigned to you automatically. It is also helpful because sometimes you can actually get an upgrade for free. Yes, it is rare, but it is possible. 4- Pack light: I would not recommend you packing a lot of clothes and unnecessary stuff into your luggage. First of all, you probably would be worried if you acceded the weight allowance, so keep it light. That way you could also have a little space just in case if you bought something and want to bring it back home. You could also pack a small bag as a backup. Note: if you are a traveler like me, you can make a list of what you need to take. This way you can make sure that you do not forget anything and also only take what’s needed. 5- Mark your luggage as fragile: This trick can be applied even if your luggage is not fragile because they are more likely to be handled more carefully. They also put it on the top pile of the storage compartment in the plane. This means that you would get your luggage first, and head to enjoy your trip without waiting much longer. 6- Inform your bank and credit company that you are traveling: I am sure a lot of us traveled without notifying their bank about their travel, and then end up with their card being declined and unable to use it because the bank assumes that the card might be lost or stolen. When your card is used in other countries/city that hasn't it usually been used, the system recognizes it as an unusual activity. Therefore, block the activity. You could save yourself the trouble and inform them beforehand. Therefore, you don’t need to call them later, so they reactivate your card. 7- Use a credit card instead of using your cash: Bill currency exchange can take both time and money. Most of the time, using a credit card is cheaper and more convenient. First of all, if you lose the cash, they probably are gone forever, but if you lose the credit card, you can call your bank and cancel it immediately, so nobody can use it. Even if some did, you cal also call and have them get your money back. In addition, you do not need to worry about the hustle looking for a bill currency exchange location, but instead you can look for the nearest atm machine. The international transaction fees can add up when purchasing, so make sure to have a company that has low transaction fees. Just in case, if you want to look at the currency rate at a certain date, you can use Statistical Data Warehouse because they have a reliable currency Converter. You can also compare it to the international fees of your credit card. It is usually somewhere in between 3-5 dollars. There are also some currency converter apps on your phone that you can use, such XE Currency Exchange. I know that StarlingBank in the UK does not have a transaction fee for both withdraw and wiring internationally. In addition to that, here is a list of other banks that has either zero transaction/ low transaction: · Ally Bank® · Aspiration · Capital One · Citibank · Discover Bank · HSBC Bank · TD Bank · USAA · Wells Fargo Note: you should make a farther research about those banks to know more about their policies. 8- Scan all your important documents and send them to yourself: (or you can also print a backup copy). You will never know sometimes you might lose your passport/Identification card. It is important to be prepared just in case if anything like that happens. You should also include any important itinerary, such as reservations, health insurance, location, emergency numbers…etc. This way if you got your stuff stolen/ lost them, you have a backup plan. I would prefer using your email as a backup storage for your important documents rather than printing a copy because they might get lost also or water damaged. 9- Have a brief knowledge about the culture and the law of the places you are visiting: It is important to know about both cultures and the laws because sometimes, you can put yourself into situations that are probably acceptable in your home country, but it is unacceptable in other places. You can also learn some keywords and important phrases if you are going to a place you do not know their language. 10- Download the directions beforehand in google map: Not many know this, but you can actually download all the directions and use them offline. This can be helpful as you don’t need to worry about finding an internet source while you are heading to your next adventure. I would prefer using Maps.Me rather than Google Map because if you download a destination, it also gives you the time it takes and offers reviews and ratings for the place, such as restaurants. Note: this can be also a safety reason as you can download the way to your hotel/home, so you can find your way back if you have no WIFI or signal, especially if you got lost at night. 11- You can charge your device from the stay-in room: May TV has converter USB in the back. You can plug your phone and charge it from there. It is a good tip to know just in case if you forget to bring a USB converter for your phone. 12- Carry a charging case: I hate it when my phone ran out of battery during my trip. I cannot take videos, photos, check the time…etc. I rely on my phone for most of the digital things I do, so I always make sure to carry a portable charging case with me on every trip I go. You should, too. Thanks to UtilityHacker, you do not need to worry about your phone not being charged, especially while camping. You can transform the heat energy into electricity to charge your phone. How cool is that you can enjoy make a barbecue while charging you phone simultaneously. Click here for more. 13- Use internet tethering for your network provider: You can use your phone for example as a router or a modem to enable the internet for your other devices, such as your tablet, computer…etc. All you need to do is to ask your network provider for the service and use your phone hotspot from the setting. It probably would cost extra, but worth it. Especially, if you are a YouTuber, blogger, or a bossiness person who needs the internet most of the time; then this tip is for you. In some places, you may not find a hotspot and others it is probably more expensive. You would not worry about the internet anytime and anywhere because it is in your pocket. Side note: to save yourself money, you bravely utilize your own hotspot, coffee, or other places to use Foursquare: https://foursquare.com/qrivi/list/wifi-passwords. It is a website where many people share Wifi in different places. You can search for the password of a certain location, and you might find someone who posted the password of what you are looking for. 14- Live in a hostile: I only known about hostile experience a few years ago. I wish I had known it earlier. From my experience, it can be better than living in a hotel/motel and cheaper. The reason why is that because you meet a lot of people who are taking the same journey as you; opening communication can be much easier. In addition, some hostiles offer breakfast, tours, and other services, which can make your travel even better as you do not need to worry about food or being board if you are traveling alone. Sometimes, if you have nothing to do at a certain time, you could either take a tour that they offer or simply hang out with the people who are staying there. 15- Make sure to use app transportation: I would recommend using both Uber and Lyft because their rating can very. Sometimes, for a certain trip Lyft is cheaper than Uber. Other times, Uber is cheaper. You can also search for other apps locally in where you are staying For example, Saudi Arabia has both Uber and Careem. They do not have Lyft, but they have an alternative. It is important to check for other transportation apps realted to the country you are going to if you want to save some money. 16- Helpful apps to get food: If you are in a strict diet and want to target a specific kind of food, such as vegetarian, vegan, halal food, and the list goes on. It is important to have a specific app for that as it makes searching much easier and faster. It eliminates the stress of searching online. Here is a list of apps that makes it much easier to find your preferred food provider: - vegans and vegetarians’ restaurants: Happy Cow: (good for both vegans and vegetarians, but also gluten-free restaurants), Forks over knives, and vanilla bean. - Halal Restaurants: Zabihah (useful for anywhere in the world to find halal restaurants and supermarkets), Hoobie, Halal dining club, and halal trip. - Kosher Restaurants: Kosher GPS, and My Grocery Master (apple store). Side note: you can save an Oatmeal in the bag because it is the best backup meal if needed. You can save money by asking the closest restaurant/coffee shop to give you a hot water; just pour into the Oatmeal and enjoy. You can also pack a lifeStraw as it can contaminate water drinkable. It is important especially if you are going hiking, biking, or camping. 17- Useful apps to find a traveler just like you: Those apps are just like dating apps except instead of finding a lover, you can find a travel buddy. They have option where you can share your adventures, stories, and hobbies, so other travelers can get to know you and visa versa. Thus, you can find a local traveler to get to know them through the app and plan adventures together. I recommend trying those two apps: Travel buddy and Travello. Side note: you can hang out with locals and make new friends using this app called Party with a local. The best important thing is they are all free. Who does not like free stuff, am I right? 18- You can have a longer layover for a couple of days: When I was going to the United States, I took the United Emirates airlines. My first layover was to Dubai, I purposely made it 4 days layover. I stayed in a hotel and met couple of friends. We saw Khalifa bridge, Ferrari world, water adventures, and many more. I would recommend you to do that If you are able to, so you can visit a lot more places. 19- You can use other platforms to save your photos and memories: Just in case if you lost your camera or phone, you have a backup plan that you save your photos, videos, and any memory that is related to your current trip. You can use OneDrive for Microsoft, Prime amazon photo, cloud app, shoebox…etc. There are many apps out there; you can choose based on the phone you have and preference. 20- Global Entry: global entry is a trusted traveler program that identifies the person as low risk traveler. You can apply for it online, so you can skip waiting on-line for the immigration process. All you have to do is wait for a couple of days for approval. If they accept you, then you are good to go. It cost a bit of money depending on the location you are heading, but it might be worth it for some of us. Claimer: none of those are sponsored. They are gathering information about my experience and other travelers.
  • You Can Find Happiness Beyond The Gardens' Walls Part 1
    03 April 2020
    Washington Park: Washington Park has a unique stunning beauty located in Portland Oregon; there are a lot to discover in the park that includes Museums, public arts, amphitheaters, zoo, and gardens. My main focus in this blog are the Japanese and Chinese gardens. However, part 1 only talks about the Chinese garden, and part 2 will cover the Japanese Garden. Chinese Garden: AKA (Lan Su Chinese Garden) The Chinese Garden is quite tranquilizing. As soon as I entered, it spoke to me. The situated buildings spoke to me; the fish and the water spoke to me. The trees within it spoke to me and awaken my soul. It is mesmerizing how the artisans of Suzhou are able to condense such thriving beauty in a small space. It was made to be a resemblance of the Humble Administrator’s Gardens in Suzhou. Because of that and the existence of the Chinese town, Portland is proud to announce itself as a sister city to the Suzhou city in China. The admission is $12.95 for adults, $11.95 for seniors (62+), Students (6-18 and with college with ID) $9.95, family pass (two adults, two students) $37.95, and finally children five and under for free. In the picture above, the tower of cosmic reflection (Tea-house), a remembrance of Distance Fragrance Hall in Humble Administrator’s Garden, offers visitors an opportunity to blend in with each other’s while sipping some Chinese tea and eating snakes. It is also a great way to enjoy the calming atmosphere and learn more about the Chinese culture. If you ever like any of the traditional Chinese tea they generously offer, there is a small tea store where you can buy it. Within sight of the Lan Su Garden, flowers and trees are everywhere in every kind. Wait until you see the Flowers Bathing in Spring Rain and Fish Pavilion combined with the stonework and waterfall creates such a harmonious exotic scenery. In the middle of the garden is all water creating what known to be Lake Zither. It has many colorful fishes that caught my eyes. I found peace and joy as I looked at them calmly swimming around the lake. It is a home for many Koi and goldfish, and you can clearly see them once you cross the rainbow bridge. If you take a good look, you could see some of them hiding under the water lilies looking for shade. Not to forget the Fall of Brocade Clouds (Scholar’s Study), it is the most substantial building of the Lan Su Garden as it provides entertainment and educational activities throughout the year. Fall of Brocade Clouds is an epitome of adroit Chinese arts, such painting, Chinese Collagraphy, poetry, and music. One interesting activity it beholds is Portalnd Rose Society, which displays Rose's of many kinds and also educate the visitors about how to grow them and take care of them. On a final note, Chinese garden is not like any other gardens we usually see. It is inconceivable more like a heaven on earth. The whole structures of buildings, decorative stonework, planets, waterfall, and poetry are all aligned elegantly creating such a pleasant utopia. It is worth for you to see, and I am voting for you to see it. For you to enjoy, I left you some more pictures represented in a slideshow:
  • Feeling Down or Depressed? Catalina's Island Gateway Can Spoke The Joy Within You.
    03 April 2020
    What is this place and why Catalina Island is a perfect getaway? Catalina Island located southwest of Los Angeles, California. It is one of the most beautiful and adventurous places that I have ever been to. It is not only because of Catalina's glamorous views, but also because of its unique weather and compelling entertainments. The weather in winter is slightly cold, and it is a quite getaway to enjoy the place with a reasonable price. You only need a jacket to venture in the Avalon most expeditious activities, such as zip lining, paddle boarding, and parasailing. It is also possible to snorkel and scuba dive in winter with a wet suit. Off course, you can enjoy all these activities during summer if you are able to pay more money and enjoy the tourist crowd. As already mentioned, the view of Catalina is breathtaking. There is nothing better than enjoying a hot beverage from a local coffee and roam around the Island with either a rented bicycle or a golf cart. Some also prefer to rent a hummer or a jeb as it becomes much easier to drive up-hillside while contemplating the pleasant ocean horizon from one direction and the divine nature from the other. Not to mention the instance when you paddle board through the Catalina's canyon and the sun's light shine upon your little pupils and behold with delight. Parasailing was the foremost of the visit since it was incentive experience. It felt scary before gliding into the sky, but as I went up and glimpsed at the calming sea it felt like nothing better. As the paragliding wings raised up, everything gradually felt smaller and my eyes captured Catalina's island beauty. How do you get there? Since it is an island, you could only get to it through the sea or air. The best place to start with is mainland ports where you buy a ticket for a passenger ferry or ride a helicopter. Either choice feel like an adventure depending on your own preference and convenient. The trip takes only an hour in a passenger ferry and about 15 mins by a helicopter. To sum up, there is more to mention about Catalina's brimming activities and god given nature. However, what already discussed is probably enough to excite you to want to visit and discovers more about Catalina's wonder.
  • [Video] Residents in Naif district of Dubai undergo door-to-door Coronavirus Screening
    02 April 2020
  • Art Dubai Goes Digital in Its Mission to Bring Culture to the Masses
    30 March 2020

    Dubai has developed in so many different ways across the past couple of decades and one area which the city has become truly renowned for is its commitment to arts and culture. While the location is home to a host of impressive galleries, its devotion to artistic endeavors is probably most evident during its annual […]

    The post Art Dubai Goes Digital in Its Mission to Bring Culture to the Masses appeared first on Dubai Travel Blog.

Asia Travel Blog

08 April 2020

Asia Travel Blog
  • Travel Guide & Top 10 FREE Things to Do in Krakow, Poland
    08 April 2020

    Krakow / Cracow (or Kraków which is pronounced as “Kra-kuff” in Polish) is Poland’s 2nd largest city, and before its court was relocated to Warsaw in 1596, this was actually the country’s official royal capital.

    With that in mind, this region naturally has a rich culture and a well-preserved medieval core. Apart from those, it also holds a high relevance to historical events such as those that are related to World War II (think Auschwitz among many others) — therefore, when I got the chance to travel to this wondrous destination in Central Europe at the start of this year, I immediately jumped on the opportunity to do so!

    And in the end, it was an experience that I will forever cherish…

    So if you’re ever planning on including this in your upcoming Eurotrip (which you should!) please look no further because it is in this post that I will divulge with you an ultimate travel guide to Krakow, as well as a list of the top 10 FREE things that you can do in this wondrous city!
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    Free Things To Do in Krakow

    #1 – Do the Royal Road or Royal Route to visit Krakow’s historic center (Old Town)

    The medieval ‘Old Town‘ (Stare Miasto) is where you will see most of the popular tourist attractions in Krakow. In fact, you would find here Europe’s largest market square, and as a whole, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Because of that and more, it was an absolute joy to walk through this area.

    In order to explore this historic center better, I advise going through the Royal Road or Royal Route which starts at the northend of Old Town, through the center, and then down to the south on Wawel Hill. To give you an overview of how this route goes like, you can see this map. Now as the name goes, it is called as such because it was once the route of royal processions, parades, receptions and funerals.

    For this, there are tons of landmarks to see but the most notable of them would be:

    • St. Florian’s Gate or Florian Gate (Polish: Brama Floriańska)
      Located north of the Royal Route, this is one of the best-known Polish Gothic towers that used to be the main entryway to the Old Town. Towering at 33.5 meters tall, this is the only remaining city gate out of the original 8 that were built in the Middle Ages (the rest were taken down during the modernization of Krakow). You will also see near this landmark the Kraków Barbican which is a fortified outpost that used to be connected to the city walls, and which is also one of the few remaining relics of fortifications that used to exist in the city.
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    • Floriańska Street or St. Florian’s Street (Polish: Ulica Floriańska w Krakowie)
      This is a 335 meter stretch that leads to the Main Square and it is one of the most famous streets in the city. Nowadays, it has become a major tourist attraction since apart from the shops and restaurants that adorn this street, there are also a number of notable kamienica-style buildings (historic town houses) located here with their gorgeous colors of pastel yellow and peach.
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    • Main Square (Polish: Rynek Główny)
      This is the market square that is deemed as the largest in Europe at roughly 40,000 m2! The landmark highlights of this place would be:
      • Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) – This was once a major center of international trade with a variety of exotic imports. Today, it is still used as a center of commerce but mainly for small stalls that sell trinkets and souvenirs. If you want to see  an exhibit of Polish paintings and sculptures, head on to the upper floor of this cloth hall to see the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum in Krakow (admission is FREE on Sundays; otherwise, you’ll have to pay about 14 PLN or $4~ / Php 170~).
      • Town Hall Tower (Wieża ratuszowa) – Built by the end of the 13th century, this is the only remaining part of the old Town Hall because it was demolished in 1820 when the city wanted to open up the Main Square.
      • Adam Mickiewicz Monument – This is a statue of Adam Mickiewicz who is the greatest Polish Romantic poet in the 19th centuty and one of the best known bronze monuments in Poland.
      • St. Mary’s Basilica (Kościół Mariacki) – An iconic Gothic structure in the Main Square which is famous for its wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss (Wit Stwosz) and for its trumpet signal called as Hegnal mariacki. This is a traditional five-note Polish anthem that is played every hour by a trumpeter (previously by the town guard; but, ever since the 19th century it is done by active members of the fire brigade). TRIVIA: The noon performance is broadcasted to all of Poland and abroad via radio. Entrance here is free so if you’re a Roman Catholic, feel free to participate in a mass too.
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    • Wawel Hill
      This is a complex full of buildings and fortifications atop a limestone outcrop by the left bank of Wisla or Vistula river. Back when Krakow was still the royal capital of Poland, Wawel was the official seat of the Polish monarchy; hence a political power center. In here, there are 3 things that you must see:
      • Wawel Cathedral (katedra wawelska) – This cathedral is a famous site for coronations of Polish kings and its underground crypts hold the remains of a number of Polish royals and famous Polish religious artists. One curious feature that you will see next to the cathedral’s entrance is the “real” bones of Smok Waweleski — a mythical dragon of Wawel. (Of course, as much as I’d like to believe that they were bones of a dragon; in truth however, they are fossilized bones of a whale or mammoth. Irregardless of this fact, it is believed to hold magical powers so it’s quite an ‘attraction’.)
      • Wawel Castle – Since this was where the kings of Poland used to reside, the Castle has become one of the most important historical sites of the country. These days though, it is transformed into an art museum of sorts where you can witness its stately halls and exquisite chambers.
      • Wawel Dragon’s den (Smocza Jama) & Wawel Dragon Statue – You will find several caves under Wawel Hill and as legend goes, this is where the cruel dragon, Smok Wawelski, once lived. This is obviously a tourist trap… but it sells to the kids (and the young-at-heart) with an entrance fee of 3 PLN (or less than a dollar / Php 35~). If you do decide to venture into this space, you will find at its opening a bronze sculpture of Smok that often breathes fire which is an amusing thing in its own way.

        There’s an interesting tale about this dragon that helped brought forth the name of the city. As the stories have it, Smok found joy in eating sheep and young local girls. Every attempt of killing him had always been unsuccessful… until a poor cobbler named Krak made Smok eat a sheep injected with sulphur. This eventually made Smok explode at some point after he drank some water. As expected, Krak was given the honor of marrying the city’s princess because of his gallant act — which then made him king. To possibly savor his victory, he built his castle above the dragon’s home, which made the citizens build a city around it and then calling it after their king: Krakow.

    #2 – Explore the other churches

    The truth of the matter is, there is a great number of Catholics who visit Krakow because of its good density on places of worship that are absolutely awe-inspiring. Apart from the more well-known Wawel Cathedral and St. Mary’s Basilica in the Old Town, there are also several other churches that you should see.

    My top 3 picks would be:

    • St. Peter and Paul Church
      Dubbed as oldest baroque building in Poland, you can take the free audio guides that they provide so that you can learn more about the history of this place. Otherwise, you should come visit here during Thursdays because they typically demonstrate the longest ‘Foucault pendulum’ in Poland that shows the Earth’s rotation. If you don’t mind shelling out some money (60 PLN / $15 / Php 700+), come here during Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday during 8PM (from May to October) in order to enjoy classical music concerts. This is located at Grodzka Street in the Old Town.
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    • St. Andrew’s Church
      This is an interesting church because it’s a rare surviving example of a European fortress church. I say this because it used to be a place where Krakowians would flee into when Tatars were trying to conquer the city. Additionally, it has a well-preserved Romanesque architecture! (This is also located at Grodzka Street).
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    • Corpus Christi Basilica
      This is located in the Jewish quarter and though the exterior might not grab your fancy, I kid you not: the interior of this church is very impressive with a mixture of Polish Gothic and Polish Baroque — in fact, it is often referred to as having the most beautiful Baroque stalls in Central Europe.

    #3 – Lounge around Krakow’s parks and squares

    There is ample nature surrounding Krakow. Apart from the gardens that you will find in Wawel, you could also explore Planty. This is a large park that surrounds the entire Old Town (it’s the green space that you will see in the map that I mentioned in #1).

    TRIVIA: Planty was built after they tore down the medieval walls and fortifications (except for the Florian Gate and Barbican). Today, it has an area of over 5.2 acres and it contains 30 smaller gardens that each have their own styles, monuments, and fountains.

    Another option would be visiting the Botanic Garden of the Jagiellonian University that is located east of the Old Town. It has over 5,000 species and varieties of plants along with 3 greenhouses in which various plants from different climates are kept and housed.

    #4 – Take a walk around the river

    The banks of the Wisla river passes through Krakow so the boulevards beside it are perfect for lounging and strolling. Feel free to do a jog around the vicinity, or even hold a mini picnic as you escape the crowd in the city. Often times, there are even events that are being held here.

    While you’re at it, set foot on the Kladka Bernatka footbridge that lies between Kazimierz and Podgórz.

    If you don’t mind spending, there are several barges and boat stops that would enable you to take boat rides or take a meal as you cruise through.

    #5 – Lose yourself in the streets of Kazimierz

    As mentioned previously, this is the Old Jewish quarter of Krakow and its heritage is tremendously interesting along with its rustic features. You see, as per history, the king during 1495 expelled the Jews of Krakow to the nearby royal city of Kazimierz — this rather ushered a bustling era of prosperity in this district. However, there have surely been bumps on the road, and then there was the Nazi invasion in 1939 too. Certainly, this place holds a lot of history and it’s a must to see especially if you want to feel like you’ve been transported back in time!

    For the places that you shouldn’t miss out on:

    • Corpus Christi Church
      (Already discussed above in #2)
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    • Synagogues of Kraków
      Right in the heart of Kazimierz, you will see a complex of 7 main synagogues — monuments of Jewish sacred architecture. Today, only two of them are active (the Old Synagogue and the Tempel Synagogue) whereas only one serves as a house of prayer (Remuh Synagogue).
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    • Szeroka Street and Nowy Square
      Szeroka is the heart of the old Jewish District in Kazimierz and you will see it clearly given how its medieval atmosphere still lingers. (It’s actually more of an elongated market square though, rather than a street.) Meanwhile, Nowy Square (Plac Nowy) is where you can locate Kazimierz’s pubs and restaurants. It may look unkempt but it has its charm especially since this is where the hip and bohemian crowd of the district would often hang out. (It’s possible that you’ve heard of Krakow as a party destination, and it is here where you can find some great nightlife).
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    • Schindler’s List filming sites
      Oskar Schindler was a German industrialist and spy who saved 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories — this story was perfectly portrayed in the movie Schindler’s List. If you’re into this kind of history, there are various spots around Kazimierz where the movie was filmed! It could be quite tough to spot these places so I will discuss a way for you to see these spots with a tour guide (for FREE) in point #8 of this list.

    #6 – Venture out to Nowa Huta

    Photo by Piotr Tomaszewski, fly4pix.pl / CC
    Nowa Huta (which means “New Steelworks”) is a fascinating district. This was established by Stalin after WWII for the people working in the huge steelworks, and it is one of the only 2 planned socialist cities that have ever been built (the other one is in Magnitogorsk in Russia).

    Why was this built? Well, they had an aim of creating a perfect communist type of society — but such was never fully realised since the plans overall were inefficient and even ironic.

    Henceforth, this area is currently somewhat poor; but with its unique past, it remains to be a tourist destination in Krakow. Besides, its architecture which is typically ‘socialist realism’ (humongous buildings around green parks) can easily give you a different feeling from what you would have seen in the Old Town. So — it can be quite a sight for you.

    TIP: It’s best to visit here during the day and not at night.

    #7 – Climb Kopiec Krakusa

    Photo by WiWok / CC
    If you want a beautiful view of the main city, take the time to go up to Krakus Mound (Kopiec Krakusa) that is situated in Podgórze district (3km south). I advise that you only go here if the skies are clear, or else you won’t really have a good panoramic view of Krakow.

    TRIVIA: This is one of the two ancient man-made mounds (together with the nearby Wanda Mound), and its purpose remains to be a mystery much like the Stonehenge; however, memorial purposes have been ascribed on the mounds so it is assumed to be a resting place of their mythical founder: King Krak or Krakus (the dude who killed the equally mythical of a being: Smok — the dragon).

    #8 – Better yet… join Krakow’s FREE city tours!

    There’s a certain joy in exploring a city on your own; but often times, we would need a guide especially if we desire for more detailed information. Locals are, after all, the best people to learn new stuff from.

    Thankfully, much like any other European city, there are FREE city tours that you can take! The most popular one that I know of is CracowFreeTours.com and they offer:

    • Old Town Tours
    • Kazimierz Jewish Quarter Tour (included are stops to Schindler’s filming sites among many others)
    • Communist Era Tour
    • Communist Architecture Nowa Huta Tour
    • Secrets of Krakow by Night
    • Polish Food Tour

    #9 – Enjoy the FREE museums!

    Take advantage of the free days in Krakow’s museums. Always check their website before you visit; otherwise, let me save you the trouble by listing out the museums that I know of which offers free entrance on certain days:

    • Schindler Factory Museum: to see not only Oskar Schindler, his workforce, and his factory but to also see a great exhibition of Krakow during the Nazi occupation
      FREE every Monday except the first Monday of every month (but entry is limited to for safety reasons)
    • Rynek Underground Museum: to see a multimedia recreation of Krakow 700 hundred years ago below the market square of the city
      FREE on Tuesdays except first Tuesday of every month
    • Wawel Hill
      FREE entry everyday to Wawel Hill, and for Wawel Castle & Cathedral it is free on Mondays & Sundays on select exhibits in certain times/months
    • Old Synagogue (History Museum): (the one in Kazimierz)
      FREE on Mondays
    • The National Museum in Krakow – Main Building: the main branch of Poland’s National Museum
      FREE every Sundays
    • Archaeological Museum of Krakow
      FREE every Sundays

    #10 – Visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

    Much like what you might already know about World War II history, the Auschwitz concentration camp is the principal and most notorious network of German Nazi extermination camps. It consisted of Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II (Birkenau), and Auschwitz III (Monowitz) — in 1947, Poland put up a musuem on Auschwitz I and II (the largest of the concentration camp complexes) and these have now become a UNESCO World Heritage site.

    As it is, the preservation of this site is a haunting reminder of what transpired in the past, and though it is heart-wrenching to visit this place, I feel that a person needs to visit this place even once in order to learn from the past and to never forget how we should NEVER let this happen again.

    This has actually been the most emotional tour that I have ever been on… and there are no words that can ever describe the emotions that I felt as I walked through this camp. Still, there are SO many things that I want to tell you: what I felt from this tour, and why you should come — but I’ll save that for a separate post.

    For now, what you should know is that it’s FREE to visit these sites. A lot of people would often go on guided tours to this places (which I have personally done and recommend) but if you’re on a budget, dropping by this place is easy. You would only need to pay for the bus tickets to arrive in Auschwitz-Birkenau and the admissions will then be free-of-charge.

  • How Will Life After The Pandemic Ends?
    08 April 2020
    How Will Life After The Pandemic Ends?

    Everyone is talking about coronaviruses and their impact on the world. For ordinary readers like me, this is overwhelming. No one talked about life after the Pandemic ends?.

    There must be something good in this situation, right? Are we destined to return to the dark age and die from a terrible death? I do not think so. Our human fear of nature has been assumed.

    It is time to look at life after the pandemic from the perspective of optimists. This is what this article will discuss.

    The Value Of Hugging Or Shaking Hands

    Once these are over, the price of these suction cups will increase. We will move from a free hug movement to paying off our debt of gratitude.

    Humans will never embrace each other in the same way. Every hug will start with a romantic movie, such as Seattle’s “Sleepless Night”. I used to hate the man who embraced me. Now, we will hug him every time we meet.

    Going out

    Do you remember that hobby? It seems to be his age when the lock was prepared for the criminal who stole Slurpee’s 7-11.

     

    Who knows that exports can be good? This is better than looking at the device’s screen when ignoring the device’s companion. After all, we will oppose technology. Hanging in the park will defeat “Do you want to zoom in?”

    When we were outdoors, our thoughts were restored.

    Nature provides us with vision; it blends us with human nature, which allows us to develop on this beautiful planet.

    Visiting neighbours is an opportunity to talk to your partner without hindering your relationship. I expect the garden to be very crowded, and natural rest will be as rare as the gold bullion nuggets during the downturn.

    Work at home

    It takes several years to work from home to become the norm. Angry people all over the world are angry about the coronavirus. Coronavirus tells us that working from home is still beneficial.

    When all this is over, when you tell the team that you work from home, you do not have to be shy anymore. Domestic employees are no longer lazy.

    Our part-time employees will use vacations to make our business a reality, and you do not have to worry about being absent from the office and feeling ashamed.

    Fortunately, the coronavirus forced us to change the way we do business, which is convincing for potential entrepreneurs, family parents, remote workers, freelancers, boys and girls who want entrepreneurs to sit in Pj’s home in casual clothes blessing of. When making a video call with an unsuspecting customer (its honour!), There is only underwear below.

    Wash hands

    I will be honest here: the handwashing procedure is lazy and lacks some skills. Thanks to the coronavirus, I filled the patient with something better than the doctor who washed my teeth because they were fed with ice cream.

    After that, all of us can wash our hands. Soap gifts can save our lives, this idea has disappeared before these crown times.

    Unrewarded salary

    Qualified personnel who regard the annual award as their right will thank them after the coronavirus. After finishing work, just finding a job seems incredible. Rewards are a privilege, and I thank Coronavirus for reminding us of all this.

    During this period, everyone should give up at least one thing, and those who are eligible for the award will donate it to the employer who held this event in the form of a black swan this year and hope he can survive.

    Financial buffer

    After all this, the amount of buffer we need to stay in difficult times will change. Many of us are trapped in a storm that does not have enough money to cope with no one can see.

    Buffering money during a Pandemic is a great stress reliever for anxious people who want to fight invisible killers in the air.

    We will not save or invest in the same way again. We will be more cautious and consider random events that may close a deal or keep us at home for a few weeks.

    The post How Will Life After The Pandemic Ends? appeared first on See Pakistan Tours.

  • Bored of self-isolation? These travellers are winning at it!
    08 April 2020

    If you’re still complaining about the lockdown or just bored, you should totally check these fun-loving new-age travellers nailing social distancing. They even make it look super cool, it’s impossible!

    “The lockdown had me thinking about skiing the whole time, so I decided to do it. Without leaving my living room.” – Philipp Klein Herrero

    Philipp says he was about to go skiing with his family and it was supposed to be the big adventure of the year. Why wait until the lockdown is lifted when I can ski right now in my own room? – thought Philip who just couldn’t get skiing out of his head. He not only went ahead and did it, but also made a quirky video that proves that a true, fun-loving traveller is never really indoors.

    “Hello, my name is Tim and I’ve been asked to handle Cowboy Museum’s social media while the museum is closed. P.S: Just learnt that I should use hashtags and ‘at’ for the post to reach people. #HashtagTheCowboy”

    National Cowboy Museum’s security guard Tim handles the museum’s social media during quarantine and the world is totally in love with his amazing sense of humour and his whimsical attempts in using the hashtags and symbols right. Quarantined in the museum with sculptures, photos and a friendly bull (who’s too cute for words), Tim proves that you don’t anyone else to be happy. If this is not the kind of posts we should be seeing right now, I don’t know what is.

    Morning! Just catching up with a coworker on what they did this weekend. Sounds like a bunch of bull to me. Lol! #HashtagTheCowboy Thanks, Tim pic.twitter.com/Sc41zG826N

    — Nat'l Cowboy Museum (@ncwhm) March 30, 2020

    Also, please don’t let him know what engagement means in marketing. There are a lot of people for it but we only have one Tim. #ThanksTim

    Here’s a sculpture by Frederic Remington called The Bronco Buster cast in 1918. What do you guys think of it? Seth in marketing told me that asking questions on the social media is good for “engagement.” Let’s get engaged! LOL! Thanks, Tim I’m very happily married to Tina though pic.twitter.com/lMTxUpfTeJ

    — Nat'l Cowboy Museum (@ncwhm) March 20, 2020
    “COVID-19 will stop me from climbing? How silly!” – Climb Girls

    Ever checked Climb Girls on Instagram? These badass female climbers just can’t let self-isolation stop them from climbing. In John Wick style if asked “What do you need to climb? A cliff? A vertical rock? A mountain?”, “My living room”, this climber might say.

    View this post on Instagram

    "Are ya silly I'm still gonna send it" Credit: @brittanyemac

    A post shared by Climb Girls (@climb_girls) on Mar 29, 2020 at 6:02am PDT

    “Or my table.”

    View this post on Instagram

    "L’arrampicata ai tempi del COVID-19…." #stayhome Credit: @ellyintothewild

    A post shared by Climb Girls (@climb_girls) on Mar 22, 2020 at 6:24am PDT

    “I am doing a limited edition print sale of travel images to raise funds for @GlobalGiving to help stop coronavirus’s spread and give communities on the front lines of the crisis the resources they need.” – Jimmy Chin

    Meanwhile, Jimmy Chin is conducting a photo auction to raise funds for health workers in the frontline of COVID-19 war and daily wage workers who might be in need. Goodwill aside, Jimmy Chin is known for capturing dramatic photos that tell tales.

    View this post on Instagram

    Doing a limited edition print sale of this image along w prints from some of my favorite photographers to raise money for the medical workers on the front lines and others in need. 100% of proceeds go to @GlobalGiving to help stop coronavirus's spread and give communities on the front lines of the crisis the resources they need. ————————————————————————-• Archival Digital C prints on matte paper • 9 x 12: $85 • Prints will be safely shipped and protected with a vellum sheet taped to chip board • Hand stamped authenticity cards will be included ————————————————————————- Head to www.giveworld.com or hit the link in my bio to purchase a print and support.

    A post shared by Jimmy Chin (@jimmychin) on Apr 1, 2020 at 1:00pm PDT

    There is so much goodness in the world that you’ll miss if you blink! Follow Pickyourtrail for more such travel-inspired quarantine entertainment, or check interesting travel itineraries to book when the world switches back on.

    The post Bored of self-isolation? These travellers are winning at it! appeared first on Pickyourtrail Travel Blog.

  • Famous TED talks that will change your perception about travelling
    07 April 2020

    You can travel the world with almost no money, travelling shapes your personality, and you need not be a billionaire to travel — say these relentless travellers who learnt life-altering lessons by making the road their homes.

    They learnt the lessons by living them, but we can watch them from the comfort of our couch thanks to these TED talks.

    1. How to travel the world with almost no money

    Tomislav Perko, a stockbroker crippled by the financial crisis decides to travel the world with the little money he is left with. Not only does the journey change his perception towards life, but also leads him to write a book on how to travel with less.

    2. Travel More & Buy Less

    “One should have a passport full of stamps rather than a house full of stuff”, says Luis Vargas who has worked 20 years in the space of mindful travel. Filled with interesting stories up his sleeves on how travel can be transformative, Luis explains why he will choose thoughtful travel over a materialistic lifestyle any day.

    3. How I climbed a 3,000-foot vertical cliff — without ropes

    A timid kid who’s afraid of heights grows up to climb the 3000-foot El Capitan without ropes. And no, Alex Honnold says he didn’t do it for the ‘thrill’ of it. In an inspiring talk, Alex narrates what was going on in his mind during this nail-biting expedition.

    Read more about his journey: Meet Alex Honnold, the real-life Spider-man who can fuel your thirst for adventure travel!

    4. The real reason I travelled to 196 countries

    Having travelled solo to 196 countries and bagging two Guinness World Records on the way, Cassie De Pecol assures there’s more to travel than meets the eye. She also reveals the interesting reason why she started documenting her journey which wasn’t the plan at first.

    5. How travelling shapes your personality

    TV anchor Gulhan Sen who hosted the famous show of “Gülhan’s Guide to the Galaxy” talks about how one’s perceived sense of identity differs from reality and how travel proves effective in calibrating one’s place in the world.

    6. How a tea seller travels the world

    As a tea seller who has travelled to 16 countries from what he earned by selling tea, Mr Vijayan from Trivandrum talks about how he managed to do it and why money won’t confine people if they have the will to travel.

    7. Learn to travel — travel to learn

    Sometimes it takes an accident to realize one’s purpose and place in this world. Luckily for Robin Esrock, the accident happened when he still had time to turn his life around for good. In a spell-binding talk, Robin talks about one such accident that marked the beginning of his one-year solo backpacking journey to 24 countries.

    8. Life Lessons from the Youngest Person to Travel to Every Country

    Life does not look the same from every angle. Lexie Alford, with the World Record for being the youngest person to set foot on every country in the world, reveals interesting insights about what it means to see the world from the perspective of a 21-year-old girl.

    Find more travel-inspired movie, series and book suggestions on Pickyourtrail.

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  • Walking Tours of Saigon – The Best of the Bunch
    07 April 2020

    In order to experience the best that Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) has to offer, you need to get out of the car and away from the tour bus and get out onto the pavement. Seeing Saigon by foot allows you to smell the delicious food, experience the sights first hand and snap unreal pictures that will blow your friends and family away. walking tours of saigon

    While the days can be stiflingly hot, you can beat the heat by taking your tour early in the morning or later in the evening, when the sun goes down (as with the food tour below).

    Truly experience Saigon with one of these walking tours – here are our top picks for your next trip.

    Saigon Street Eats – Eat like a local

    When it comes to walking tours, my first thought is always “food!” Having a local show you around an area is always a big help when it comes to choosing the best and most flavorful cafes, food carts and restaurants nearby. A street food tour is the best way imaginable to combine history, culture and delicious grub.

    Saigon Street Eats is owned by Barbara and Vu, and they are dedicated to showing you the best street food in the city. They boast that “you’ll try everyday Vietnamese dishes, some with a little taste of France, some with a little taste of China. There’s even a little taste of Korea!” Tours start daily at 5:30pm, so get ready to stuff your belly and learn from a local.

    Tails and Trails – Alternative history with a twist

    If you are looking for a fantastic history tour in Saigon, look no further than the dynamic team at Tails and Trails. They believe that history should never be boring, and they write interesting tours that cover the highlights but also take you off the beaten track. walking tours of saigon

    Their three-hour tours take you on a “journey through the myths, fiction, and non-fiction, of Ho Chi Minh City, unveiling its rich history and modernizing present. Soak in the sights, learn some Vietnamese phrases, and delve into the psyche of the nation.” They offer their tours on the free tour model, and so everyone can afford to take part in their phenomenal tours.

     Saigon Free Walking Tours – Pay what you wish!

    Free walking tours are sweeping the planet, and Saigon is no exception. The free tour model is brilliant – enthusiastic and educated guides take you on an intriguing walk through the city, and at the end, you pay them what you think it was worth! Saigon Free Walking Tours offers a four hour Saigon City Tour, a full half day that will allow you to see the major sites with a skilled local guide.

    On this tour, you will see the People’s Committee Building, the Saigon Central Post Office, and the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, all of which are breathtaking examples of French colonial period architecture. Tours then visit one of either the Reunification Palace or the War Remnants Museum before finishing at the Ben Thanh Market.

    Cyclo Tours – Join the slow tour movement

    Ok, so strictly speaking a cyclo tour does not fit under the walking tour umbrella, but we would be remiss to not at least mention the ever present cyclo as a perfect tour option. While some drivers do speak a bit (or a lot) of English, when it comes to an in-depth and fluent English tour of the sites, a typical cyclo that you hail on the street might not fit the bill.

    Thankfully, the specialized team at Urban Adventures HCMC has put together a 5-hour tour of the best sites in the city with their Cyclos and Markets tour. Visiting historic buildings such as the Reunification Palace, the Opera House, City Hall, and Continental Hotel, as well as three local markets, this tour will help you experience the best that Saigon has to offer, all from your perch on a Cyclo.

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  • 3 Great Day Trips From Saigon – Let’s Go!
    07 April 2020

    If you are planning a trip to Ho Chi Minh City (still commonly referred to Saigon by locals and tourists alike), you will be inundated with a long list of options for activities to engage in, foods to eat and cultural sites to visit. While Saigon itself has enough going on to occupy a traveller for a few days, a week or even a fortnight, there are plenty of fascinating day trips possible to places nearby that are sure to entice you. day trips from Ho Chi Minh

    Here are our top recommendations for day trips from Saigon! 

    Take a Journey to the Cu Chi Tunnels

    While Cu Chi is technically a district of Saigon, this heavily forested jungle could not feel further away from the chaos and frenzy of the central city. During the Vietnam War (often referred to in this country as the American War, for obvious reasons) this area was one of the most infamous battlegrounds in the region. A huge series of interconnecting underground tunnels acted as the Viet Cong base of operations during the 1968 Tet Offensive.

    This intricate series of tunnels is now a major tourist attraction, with tourists from around the world coming to traverse the labyrinthine tubes and discover their supply routes, underground hospital and living quarters. Most Westerners are aghast at how cramped and close the tunnels can get – at their narrowest diameter, even children have to squeeze through with effort. day

    Tours and packages are available to the Cu Chi Tunnels from a myriad of providers in the city, and the trip usually takes half a day.

    Spend Some Time in the Mekong Delta

    While an intrepid traveller can delight in spending a week or more traversing the waterways of the Mekong Delta, many people elect to do this as a day trip. This lush green delta is often referred to as the “rice bowl of Vietnam” because of its abundant produce, fresh seafood and countless rice paddies. A stunning maze of backwater villages, floating markets and vibrant aquatic life, do not miss out on an excursion to the Mekong Delta.
    Most one day tours will usually include Cai Be and the bustling transport hub of Vinh Long. Cai Be is famous for its floating market, where locals and tourists alike buy fruits, vegetables, prepared food and even souvenirs (albeit, at very different prices). This is truly a photographer’s dream, as the colors pop and many of the local people are enthusiastic about a photo opportunity (although some may rightfully charge for the privilege).

    Make a Pilgrimage to the Cao Dai Holy See Temple

    Vietnam is a country with many religions – the animism and local religions of the hill tribes of the North, a strong Buddhist presence in the centre and a sizeable Catholic following in the South, mixing all throughout with Taoism and Confucianism. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you mixed all of these together? Well, if you journey to the Cao Dai Holy See (located 4km east of Tay Ninh, in the village of Long Hoa) you won’t have to merely imagine this combination.

    Cao Dai (which translates to Highest Lord) is a monotheistic religion that was founded by 1927 (and was granted official religious status in the country in 1997). With saints that include such varied individuals as the Buddha, Confucius, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Pericles, Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, Victor Hugo, and Sun Yat-sen, Cao Dai is often fascinating to outsiders.

    One of the most unique religions in the world, a visitor’s first experience with a Cao Dai temple can feel like a bit of a psychedelic adventure. That said, it is always important to remember that this is a solemn religious site for those who practice this faith – in order to remain respectful, do not take pictures of people without their permission (rarely granted) and dress modestly (no shorts of vest tops).

    Day trips are possible on one’s own, or with many different travel companies operating in Saigon and throughout the Mekong Delta region.

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  • Five Delicious Foods You Should Eat in Saigon
    07 April 2020

    If you are planning a trip to Ho Chi Minh City (still commonly referred to as Saigon by locals and tourists alike) your taste buds are truly in luck. People around the world are increasingly savoring Vietnamese cuisine, delighted by its delicate balance of sweet, salty, savory and sour. While the different regions of the country have delicious, unique and tantalizing local specialities, Saigon’s food is some of the best in the world. foods you should eat in saigon

    Here are our top five suggestions for delicious foods that you should eat while you are in Saigon!

    Pho (Beef noodle soup) – Undoubtedly the one dish that most foreigners associate with Vietnamese food, pho is practically a religion to the people who love to slurp this noodle soup. A gorgeous beef bone broth filled with rice noodles, rare steak, tripe, tendon and other meaty bits, studded through and through with bean sprouts, fragrant basil, mint and chillies. Every region of the country has their own special pho (a dish that originates in the North), but the Saigonese will swear that theirs is the best. Eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, head to Pho Bo Vien Thap Cam for a delicious hearty bowl served in an authentic street food atmosphere. Fancy something more famous? Try Pho 2000, located near Ben Thanh Market – this is where Bill Clinton tried his first bowl of pho back in the year 2000!

    Banh Mi (French bread sandwiches) – Another dish famous around the world, Banh Mi translates directly to “French Bread.” These sandwiches became popular during the period of French rule in Vietnam, with local French expats demanding the crusty white baguettes that they were used to at home.

    Local Vietnamese people began experimenting with charcuterie and bread, and created their own mixture of rich pate, luncheon meat slices, pickled carrots and radish and fresh herbs. The result? A bold, decadent and addictive sandwich. Visit Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa for the best in Saigon.

    Bun Rieu (Crab Stock Noodle Soup) – You could be forgiven for thinking that pho was the only noodle soup game in town, as it is so famous abroad – but you would be wrong. There is an entire world of delicious noodle soups in Vietnam, and a personal favourite in Saigon is Bun Rieu. With a broth made from savoury crab meat and shells, tomatoes and rice vinegar, the dish is slightly sweet and beautifully tart. Bun noodles are rounder and thicker than pho noodles, and in Bun Rieu they are pared with golden fried tofu, spiced meatballs, chunks of pork, cubes of congealed pig’s blood, and a hefty serve of crab meat. For some of the best in the city, head to 47 Quan at 90 Dien Bien Phu Street.

    Bun Thit Nuong (Pork Noodle Salad) – One of things that Vietnamese food is best known for is its pairing of various different flavours and textures into one dish – and bun thit nuong demonstrates this perfectly. A cold bowl of vermicelli rice noodles are combined with lettuce, fresh herbs and skewers of juicy grilled pork, and then topped with fish sauce, chives and pickles. If you are lucky enough to be offered bun thit nuong cha gio (the same above, but with added fried spring rolls) go for it! The additional crunchy texture kicks this dish up into the stratosphere.

    Banh Cuon (Steamed Crepes) – Although Banh Cuon originally comes from the North of Vietnam, it is increasingly popular in Saigon. The term directly translates to rice cakes, but they are a lot more like steamed rice and tapioca flour crepes, a sort of noodle wrapped role filled with delicious savoury flavours. Often featuring minced pork, dried shrimp, mushrooms and tofu, they are served with lettuce and beansprouts, banh cuon are dipped in nuoc cham, the sweet fish sauce a chilli dip beloved by all in the country.

    By sampling the items on this list you will truly be experiencing the best that Saigon has to offer. Bon Appetite! 

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  • Museums and Galleries in Saigon – What to Check Out While You’re There
    07 April 2020

    Spending time in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)? Once you have slurped some delicious street noodles and walked through the stunning French colonial architecture, it is time to hit the museums. Saigon boasts some of the finest galleries and museums in Southeast Asia, and it is well worth visiting at least one or two while you are in the region.

    Saigon’s museums afford you an opportunity to peek into the history of this thriving modern culture, from the Bronze Age to the tragedy of the 20th-century wars. Enjoy art, artifacts and photography as you learn all about Vietnam as a modern state.

    Here is a rundown of the best museums and galleries in Saigon.

    War Remnants Museum

    Formerly known as the Museum of Chinese and American War Crimes, The War Remnants Museum is home to a vast collection of weaponry, anti-war posters, and truly disturbing photography. Many Western visitors to Saigon have a morbid curiosity about the brutal decades of war that Vietnam was plagued with throughout the 20th century. While the horror and atrocities committed against the Vietnamese people have been well documented in the media, but this museum forces Westerners to confront the personal stories of local people. This is a must see for any visitor to Saigon.

    National History Museum

    Visit this stunning French colonial building for the architecture, stay for the interesting collection of Vietnamese historical objects. Built by the Société des Études Indochinoises in 1929, The National History Museum houses valuable relics that demonstrate the past civilizations of Vietnam. You can see interesting objects from the Bronze Age Dong Son civilization (2000 BC), the Funan civilization (1st to 6th centuries AD), all the way to the Cham, Khmer and modern day Vietnamese. Well worth your time, and located in an idyllic spot near the botanical gardens.

    Military Museum

    Walk just a short distance from the History Museum to find the Military Museum. A small collection, this is nonetheless an interesting museum is devoted to Ho Chi Minh and his attempt to liberate the south from the US. Make sure that you spend sometimes in the museum’s outdoor gardens in order to see U.S., Chinese and Soviet war objects, including a US-built F-5E Tiger with the 20mm nose gun, still loaded and a South Vietnamese Air Force Cessna A-37.
    HCMC Museum

    This stunning neoclassical building was built in 1885 and was formerly used as the Gia Long Palace and then the Revolutionary Museum. Focussing specifically on the history of Saigon, The HCMC Museum is dedicated to presenting archaeological artifacts, ceramics, cultural objects, old city maps and an interesting perspective on the city’s past, present and future. Though not open to the public, the building sits atop a vast network of military tunnels and bunkers used in during the wars.

    Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine

    Interested in medical history? Do not miss this lovely museum, known for its detailed and quaint exhibits about traditional Vietnamese medicine and Chinese philosophy (and located in a lovely little building). Stocked with traditional ingredients, potions, remedies and fertility rites – Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine is a quirky and interesting way to spend an hour or two of your time.
    Fine Arts Museum

    Another pretty building built in 1929, the Fine Arts Museums boasts wide corridors, stained glass, handcrafted tiles and a gorgeous yellow and white color scheme. The building houses an impressive collection of art, including some modern pieces, alongside historical pieces that date all the way back to the 4th century. You can rest your gaze upon Funan-era sculptures in wood and stone of Vishnu, the Buddha and Ganesh, alongside Cham art that dates from the 7th to the 14th century.

    Ensure that you meander around the grounds, as the lovely central courtyard is worth a visit, and you can also see a collection of outdoor statuary. Visit the Building No 2 in order to see rotating exhibits and traveling collections.

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  • 11 travel shows on Netflix that will take you on adventures you have never heard of
    06 April 2020

    You may not be able to travel now but that doesn’t mean you should stop exploring. Bring the world to you by watching these best travel shows on Netflix, for if you’ve got the spirit of a traveller, no walls can confine you from travelling.

    These contemporary travel shows feature some very real adventures like nothing you have ever seen before. (Except 4, 6, and 8, all other shows can be streamed on Netflix).

    1. The Kindness Diaries 2 Seasons, 26 Episodes, IMDb: 8.1/10

    Leon Logothetis goes on a world expedition meeting strangers who prove through their deeds, kindness still exists. He finds ways to repay the same throughout this heartwarming journey.

    2. Night On Earth 1 Season, 6 Episodes, IMDb: 8.3/10

    Through terrific artwork and gripping storytelling, this show brings the life of majestic nocturnal animals to light.

    3. Our Planet 1 Season, 8 Episodes, IMDb: 9.3/10

    A visual treat featuring breathtaking sceneries and living creatures from around the planet which also documents the impact of climate change on them.

    4. Departures 3 Season, 42 Episodes, IMDb: 9/10

    Two bored people take on the road along with their cameraman, bantering on varied cultures, food habits, and lifestyles along the hilarious journey.

    5. Somebody Feed Phil 2 Seasons, 12 Episodes, IMDb: 8.1/10

    Philip takes viewers on a culinary tour around food capitals like Bangkok and Mexico, leaving them inspired to go there one day and experience the food first-hand.

    6. Lost Cities With Albert Lin Disney+ H, 1 Season, 6 Episodes, IMDb: 8.6/10

    From Petra’s pillars to Stonehenges, Albert Lin goes in search of mysteries and legends lost in the depths of history and time. Being a tech-savvy storyteller only makes Lin more irresistible to watch.

    7. Tales By Light 3 Seasons, 12 Episodes, IMDb: 8.3/10

    Intriguing tales narrated only by the likes of lights and cameras. Inspiring photographers teach viewers live lessons on what it takes to capture a meaningful memory that will stand the test of time.

    8. Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown 12 Seasons, 51 Episodes, IMDb: 8.8/10

    Explorer and Chef Anthony Bourdain leads us on a privileged journey towards unravelling offbeat parts of the world we never knew existed.

    9. Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father 3 Seasons, 13 Episodes, IMDb: 7.7/10

    Jack invites his father on a trip to rejuvenate their bond. The feel-good series then finds a fun-loving son exploring the world with his straight-faced yet whimsical father.

    10. Chef’s Table 6 Seasons, 26 Episodes, IMDb: 8.6/10

    A culinary extravaganza where world-renowned chefs turn up to showcase their best and personal favourites, narrating interesting cooking tales while doing so.

    Must-watch: The Crocodile Hunter Disney+ H, 5 Season, 78 Episodes

    Many adventurers may come and go but the world can never see another true explorer with a heart for wildlife and a penchant for badass adventures. This show is a must-watch for everyone who likes a sense of purpose in their adventures. You can stream this show on Disney+ H.

    Like this idea? There are more shows available online such as An Idiot Abroad, Long Way Round, Globe Trekker etc, all adventurous and some hilarious. Happy watching!

    Let your spirit of adventure wander this vast world until the time comes when you can go live the experience yourself. Here’s the much-needed muse: Pickyourtrail holiday packages to bookmark your first vacation post quarantine.

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  • Hiking the Markha Valley Trail in Ladakh
    06 April 2020

    Ladakh’s natural mountain barrier and harsh winters make it one of India’s most remote frontiers. The natural beauty of the landscape has made it a popular summer destination for both local tourists and foreigners, who are attracted by the allure of Himalayan peaks, Buddhist festivals and sites like Pangong Tso, a high altitude lake featured on the popular Bollywood film 3 Idiots. After years of isolation, much of the state is now open to tourism and accessible by 4×4 or motorbike. If you want to discover Ladakh before roads and technology and to see the traditional Ladakhi life, you need to hike.

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    View from Kongmaru-la Pass.
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    With Remote Lands you’ll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you’ll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own.

    After warming up on the Sham Valley trek, I decided to take to one of Ladakh’s most famous hikes — the Markha Valley Trek. Only a few hours drive from Leh, the Markha Valley is remote and roadless (apart from its access points). The hike takes you along the Markha river, past remote villages, through barley fields and across the 5200m Kongmaru-la Pass. The entirety of the trek takes place within the Hemis National Park, a large area of natural beauty in the heart of Ladakh. Along the way, it’s the perfect opportunity to experience Ladakhi culture, try cooking local foods and get a taste of what life in a remote Himalayan valley is like. I set off for the 5-day hike at the end of September with my local guide Chostar and my hiking boots ready for adventure. 

    The trek starts with a drive out of Leh, the road snaking through the valley where the Indus reaches the Zanskar rivers. It’s a bumpy journey by 4×4, although the scenery is spectacular. We leave the car just before the village of Kaya, and begin to hike up into the valley. It would be 5 days before we’d spot another vehicle.

    Markha village.

    The whole of Ladakh is high — Leh, city where you’ll likely fly into is at 3,500m, and you’ll rarely go lower than that throughout your trip around the territory. The Markha Valley trek takes you to over 5,200m, although the ascent is gradual and with correct acclimatisation in Leh and the help of a local guide, you are not likely to have any issues.

    From Kaya, Skiu is our next village stop, the trail now is steady and the landscape is alive and colourful. In this late September weather, the fauna along the Markha river is painted shades of gold and maroon. The village of Sara is our destination for our first night, where we are staying in a local eco-homestay, which uses solar power for lighting and warm water in the evenings. On arrival we are served local beer made from fermented barley, it’s pungent and strong – the locals love it but it can be an acquired taste for a visitor.

    The sunrises on Day 2, and after a breakfast of local flatbread with homemade apricot jam – we are off to Markha, a village in the heart of the Markha Valley. The path for the first few days of the trek is steady and the climb is gradual. We enjoy listening to our guide Choslar speak about local Buddhism, and his experiences exploring the Markha region in winter, a time when only the most adventurous trek.

    Markha village is made up of traditional stone houses set around barely fields. It’s harvest time, and piles of drying barley sit where in summer there would be green lush fields. A hike later in the season means fewer visitors on the trail, but also the landscape and locals have begun preparing for the harsh winter months, some have already left to spend winter in the city. In Markha we stay with a local woman called Padma, in her house on the edge of the village. In her garden, we collect fresh peas and spinach and made the local dish of chu-tagi — with pasta-style dumplings in a vegetable sauce – around the fire as the temperature drops in the evening.

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    Local in Hankar Village.
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    The next day we leave Markha and follow the river to Hanker, the final village in the Markha valley and the most beautiful. Hanker is a traditional Ladakhi village with flat-roofed houses used to store bales of barley. Next to each house is a shelter for animals — although they now graze in the fields which form a sunken valley around Hanker. Above us we can see the 6,400m peak Kang Yatze.

    Halfway to Hanker we pause to climb unto Techa Monastery. The two gompas here date back to the 11th century, and a monk from the large Hemis Monastery in the Indus Valley lives here for a year before another takes over. The monk Tenzin serves us sweet milky tea, before showing us the unique paintings on the walls of the old gompas. A few hours along the river we pause again at Umlung village, where 3 families live. The barley harvest is in full swing here — with the elder of the community tying bales of the staple crop together. Barley is the core crop of Ladakh. The local butter tea is mixed with barley powder, and its used to make bread and local dishes such as chu-nagi and momos. The Indian influence has meant that rice has also become an important part of the Ladakhi diet in less remote areas, where it is transported from the Southern Indian plains. But here, barley is still a key part of the diet, particularly during winter when the roads at the edges of the valley are inaccessible.

    View from Hankar village.

    The young mother of the family serves us local apple juice and we continue to the Mongolian-like steppes of lower Hanker, where horses roam in open pastures below snowy mountains. The view is sensational, but we climb to Upper Hanker where it’s even better. We are greeted by our homestay family for the evening. They are a three-generation household, and like many of the young people in this area, most of the third generation are living in Leh for work or elsewhere in India for study. We make momo’s and then step outside to watch the blankets of stars above our heads at these clean, high altitudes.

    On the days leading to Hanker, the Markha Valley trail is relatively flat and moderate. It’s here the hiking became more difficult. For 6 hours we walk up a rocky valley, the sun bursting down as we made our way towards Nemaling. We stop for lunch on the edges of a mountain lake. A herd of Yaks are grazing and drinking nearby, and a statue of the Khamtrul Rinpoche, the leader of the Drukpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, the main religion in this area of Ladakh.

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    The autumn colours of the lower Markha valley are behind us, and at almost 4,500m in altitude, the landscape is open and barren. With rocky mountains framing the open plains and small, dry shrubs around provide food for the yaks and other animals which graze here in the summer months.

    We reach Nemaling a few hours later and are treated to warm bowls of Maggi noodles — a Ladakhi favorite. Nemaling camp is located at 4,800m in altitude, and there is no village at this height, so during the summer months, some intrepid locals set up camp for passing trekkers. It’s not as comfortable as a homestay, but the layers of blankets keep me warm as the temperature plummets below freezing during the night. During the summer, a group of herders from Markha village bring their goats and yaks to live on this open plain. At dusk, they gather their herd from the hills and pile them into pens at the base of the Kongmaru Pass.

    Hiker on the trail in the Markha Valley.

    The next day we awake to snow scattering along the ground, and the high Himalayas which frame the Nemaling camp covered in a fresh layer. The area is stunning, and it only gets more spectacular as we climb up to the Kongmaru Pass, where we can glimpse at a panorama of the Karakoram range. At 5,200m, the wind is harsh and freezing — and it’s hard not to notice the lack of oxygen in the air. The sun is now hidden beneath clouds as they move and gather over the peaks, constantly changing to give us different perspectives of the landscape which lives around us. Our ascent begins, through red and emerald valleys stained from the minerals in the rock, until we finish at Shong Sumdo — where electricity cooling beers and a car to take us back to Leh awaits.

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    Nowhere in Asia has such a diversity of wonders — tribes, mountains, deserts, beaches — and for travelers willing to go a little further, India is alive.

    The post Hiking the Markha Valley Trail in Ladakh appeared first on Travelogues from Remote Lands.

UK Travel blogs

08 April 2020

UK Travel blogs
  • 5 Ways to Travel Without leaving Home!
    08 April 2020

    Whoever said he/she can’t travel from home, should get a life. I mean it’s virtual but still? We all know that everyone is experiencing a pretty unusual time right now as the coronavirus or COVID-19, the world’s greatest health crisis of our existence, is happening at the moment. The infection...

    The post 5 Ways to Travel Without leaving Home! appeared first on Travel Center Blog.

  • Fairytale Places in Europe you must visit
    08 April 2020

    2020 is not exactly a great year for travel lovers (or for that matter, anyone!) So I decided to put this article about fairytale places in Europe together to inspire your travel plans for when the lockdown is over and we are all able to travel freely once more.

    Spend this time, putting together your travel bucket list and making plans to tick those bucket list trips off once you are able to do so safely.

    I called on my travel friends for a little help writing this article and asked them about their favourite fairytale places in Europe. They had so many great suggestions from fairytale castles, to colourful or quaint towns and cities steeped in history and folk tales.

    Bibury, The Cotswolds, England

    Suggested by Dale from Wander Her Way

    British writer William Morris described Bibury as “the most beautiful village in England” and it’s easy to see why.

    This diminutive village in the Cotswolds has a population of just over 600, yet it is one of the most visited places in the whole region due to its quaint beauty and storybook charm.

    Bibury is most famous for Arlington Row, a small lane lined uniformly with limestone cottages that dates back to the 14th century. Arlington Row is often cited as the most photographed spot in the English countryside.

    Aside from the idyllic Swan Hotel, a few pubs, and a working trout farm, there isn’t much else to Bibury. But the biggest part of Bibury’s charm is just strolling around enjoying the scenery!

    Lake Bled in Slovenia

    Suggested by Charlotte of The Runaway Millenial

    Lake Bled is a fairytale town of mountainous peaks and vivid alpine lakes, nestled in the Julian Alps in North Western Slovenia.

    The most notable feature is the tear-shaped isle visible anywhere from the shore. Standing on the only naturally occurring island in Slovenia is the Church of the Assumption a small museum and the Provost’s House offering elevated views of the lush green mountains and emerald waters. 

    Folklore dictates that Lake Bled was created by fairies in a fit of revenge against losing their dancefloor to farmers and their grazing sheep. A child’s tale or not, there’s no denying its natural beauty.

    San Marino

    Suggested by Jurga from Full Suitcase

    If you like fairytale-like places and European castles, make sure to add San Marino to your bucket list. This tiny Republic surrounded by Italy is the 3rd smallest country in Europe and the 5th smallest country in the world.

    The nicest place to visit is the City of San Marino itself. Set high on the hill, this medieval town with picturesque cobbled streets, historic buildings, and stunning castles looks like it comes straight from a fairytale. 

    Don’t miss the Three Towers of San Marino, the symbol of the Republic that’s also depicted on the national flag and the coat of arms of the country.

    The first two towers – Guita Tower and Cesta Tower – can be visited inside, whereas Montale tower can only be admired from the outside.

    Make sure to climb both towers all the way to the top – the views from here will take your breath away!

    Eltz Castle in Germany

    Suggested by Kelsey from Sights Better Seen.

    You’ll feel like you walked right into one of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytales when you see Eltz Castle (or “Burg Eltz” in German)! Located near the Rhine and Mosel Rivers in Germany, the castle is still owned by part of the family that occupied it in the 12th century.

    You do have to walk about 15 minutes to get to Eltz Castle, but it’s well worth it! You can also take a bus, but if you’re able, I really recommend the short hike – it’s beautiful. Expect to spend about 2-3 hours exploring the castle’s 80 rooms and wandering the grounds. Enjoy your visit to this magical place!

    Vajdahunyad Castle, Budapest

    Suggested by Or from My Path in the World

    You probably don’t expect to find such a unique place in the middle of a big European city, but the Vajdahunyad Castle will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale.

    While it’s not entirely a hidden gem in Budapest, it doesn’t get as much credit and fame as other landmarks in the city (and it should).

    Dating back to the late 19th century, the castle was built to celebrate 1,000 years of Hungarian architecture, which means that it’s essentially one big beautiful mix of architectural styles and details.

    Strolling around Vajdahunyad Castle’s courtyards and admiring these details is completely free, but you can also pay a small fee to visit the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture, which is housed inside the castle.

    Bran Castle, Romania

    Suggested by Dominika from Sunday in Wonderland

    One of the must-see fairytale places in Europe is definitely Bran Castle in Romania. But here the fairytale becomes a bit scary.

    This picturesque castle is considered as an inspiration for creating one of the scariest mansions in the world of literature. According to some theories, Bram Stoker, the Irish writer, was inspired by pictures of this Romanian castle to create the home of the popular evil character that everyone knows – Count Dracula.

    Although the real history of the Bran Castle is totally different and has nothing scary in it, today many tourists visit this mysterious place to feel the shivers on their back. This castle is extremely popular in the Halloween period, but it’s open to visitors during the whole year. Visiting the Bran Castle is a must-stop point on any Transylvanian road trip.

    Sergovia, Spain

    Suggested by Paulina from Paulina on the road

    If you are looking for unique, fairy-tale places in Spain, well, you definitely should head to Segovia. Located at 1 hour from the Spanish capital, Segovia is a perfect day trip from Madrid.

    You may wonder what is Segovia famous for? The city is famous for its historic buildings. These are the three most important ones: its midtown Roman aqueduct, its cathedral (one of the last ones to be built in Europe following a Gothic style), and the castle, which served as one of the templates for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle.

    If you go for a short hike to Mirador de Alcazar, you will have the best view of the scenic castle. If you want to extend the fairy-tale atmosphere, I recommend staying at the Parador de Segovia, one of the best Paradores in Spain.

    Ljubljana, Slovenia

    Suggested by Emily from Wanderlush

    If there were ever a city taken straight from the pages of a fairytale, it’s Ljubljana.

    Slovenia’s capital is so petite and pretty, it really doesn’t feel like a major city at all (having a population of just over 200,000 people, most of whom get around on bicycle or foot, certainly helps). Everything about Ljubljana screams romance and fable – including its founding story, a legend that involves dragons, damsels and of course, a prince charming. Ljubljana’s main square doesn’t feature a statue of a military hero but of a poet, France Prešeren.

    And then there’s the Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture. Charming stone bridges crisscross the Ljubljanica river that runs through the heart of the city. The Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, with its pink-and-white façade, dominates the centre, while rows of Amsterdam-style apartments with ladder windows stretch along the river banks. There’s a central market modelled off Ancient Athens, and of course the iconic Vurnik House, also pink and decorated with beautiful mosaic-like paintings (a collaboration between the architect, Ivan Vurnik, and his Viennese wife).

    Like all fairytale cities, Ljubljana is crowned with a magnificent castle, Ljubljanski grad. Handsome as it is, Ljubljana also has a darker side – visitors should also take the time to learn about Slovenia’s socialist history as part of Yugoslavia at the National Museum of Contemporary History.

    Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

    Suggested by Ivan from Mind The Travel

    In idyllic Bavaria, 73 miles southwest of Munich, there lies one of the most fairytale-like castles in Europe.

    Built in 1869 by mad King Ludwig II, the Schloss Neuschwanstein never served a real strategic purpose but was a private summer hideaway born straight from the king’s imagination. Sadly, but the enigmatic King Ludwig II never got to enjoy it; he mysteriously died by drowning in nearby Lake Starnberg.

    Surrounded by incredible natural beauty, the castle seems to have been 
    taken straight out of a fairy tale, and visitors may recognize the castle 
    as it actually served as Walt Disney’s inspiration for Cinderella’s 
    Castle.

    If you only have time to visit one castle in Germany, then Neuschwanstein should be it. The inside is just as impressive as you would imagine from the real-life Disney castle.

    If you want to step inside the spectacular grandeur and the opulent interior, make sure to buy your tickets online ahead of time. Visitors may only visit the Schloss Neuschwanstein as part of a guided tour that lasts around 35 minutes and costs €13.

    Nevertheless, you can spend a whole day exploring the area around the castle without bothering to get inside. With stunning viewpoints and jaw-dropping landscapes, it will keep you busy all day!

    Sinaia, Romania

    Suggested by Stella Jane from Around the world in 24 hours

    Sinaia, Romania is one of the most charming towns in all of Eastern Europe.

    Even though it’s just a short train trip away from Romania’s bustling capital, Bucharest, when you arrive in Sinaia, you’ll feel like you’re stepping into a fairytale.

    That’s because Sinaia is located right in the picturesque  Carpathian Mountains. As you walk through the trees covering the mountainside, you feel like a witch might pop out of any corner. 

    The centerpiece of Sinaia is Peles Castle, the summer home of Romanian King Carol I. Every visitor to Sinaia must see this ornate beauty, covered with delicate murals and timber frames.

    You can explore the lovely gardens and enjoy the views of the mountains, and you can take a tour of the castle and see its stunning art collection. It is truly a castle fit for a fairytale prince or princess.

    Colmar, France

    Suggested by Soumya from Travel Books Food

    With so many fairytales places to choose from in Europe, one of my most favourite ones is Colmar in France.

    With its half-timbered coloured houses, cobbled streets and its old-world charm, Colmar will capture the heart of anyone who visits it.

    The canal along La Petite Venise adds to its beauty and to top it off, it is one of the recommended stops on the Alsatian wine route.

    It becomes even more magical during Christmas time and it is definitely one of the must-visit Christmas markets in Europe.

    Hluboka Castle, Czechia 

    Suggested by Martha from Quirky Globetrotter

    Rumoured to the inspiration for Rapunzel and her heavenly locks, Hluboka Castle in Czechia is definitely a memorable stop on your storybook adventure.

    Tucked in the southern hills of Czechia, Hluboka Castle stands out with it’s stark white and yellow exterior.

    Princess melodies pirouetted through my brain as I waltzed through the grounds of Hluboka Castle. The grounds and castle were nothing short of exquisite.

    Unlike other castles I visited, Hluboka Castle had a serene greenhouse and conservatory where royalty could bask in the sun without leaving their lavish quarters.

    Whether or not this estate inspired real fairytales, I definitely was daydreaming of the day when my own prince or princess would come sweep me off my feet. 

    Tossa Del Mar, Spain

    Suggested by Oksana and Max from Drink Tea and Travel

    Tossa del Mar is one of the most picturesque beaches along the Costa Brava coast.

    The soft sand is a stark contrast to the large rock formations on either side of the beach. Whilst the water is a clear turquoise and calm, which makes it very inviting for swimmers. 

    However, one of the most fairytale-esque things about Tossa del Mar is the castle which overlooks the beach from atop one of the rock formations.

    Tossa del Mar Castle and Museum is known for its buildings which date back to the Roman and Medieval times.

    From the beach, there are lots of lovely little streets which lead up to the fortress at Tossa del Mar and there are fabulous views of the beach and the village from the vantage point of the fortress.

    Sintra, Portugal

    Suggested by Christine from Live Love Run Travel

    Sintra is full of fairytale castles that look like they came straight from a princess movie.

    With multiple castles and palaces to visit, Sintra is an easy 

  • 29 Travel Hacks to save money, travel smarter, further and safer
    08 April 2020

    Hands up! Who loves a great travel hack? After spending the last 16 years backpacking, I’ve picked up many travel tips and tricks along the way but I always love learning new travel hacks.

    So I asked my travel writer colleagues about their favourite travel tips and advice to save money, travel smart and travel safer. From packing hacks to tips for meeting other travellers and saving BIG on flights and accommodation, my travel friends have come up tumps today!

    But before we take a look at all of their favourite travel hacks, I wanted to tell you about the Smart Travel Super Bundle which is on sale March 4th & 5th 2020.

    This is an incredible resource for any travel hackers, first time travellers or those starting a new adventure like a solo travel trip, an RV road trip or going abroad with a baby of a young family for the first time.

    This particular travel bundle is made up of 30 products – 13 e-books, 10 e-courses, 5 printables and 2 workbooks, collectively worth $1286.58. But for 2 days only, it is available for $47! That’s a 96% discount!

    I’ve had bought similar bundles before and they are always amazing value.

    Whilst anyone who has an interest in travel hacks and learning to travel smarter may benefit, from looking at this years content, I’d say the following groups of people are most likely to benefit from this bundle:

    • Families looking to take an adventure with their kids and need some tips for how to make this happen in the most stress-free way possible
    • People thinking of taking a road trip in an RV or a campervan – there are so many useful resources here even including an RV maintenance course!
    • People wanting to travel on a budget, with resources for saving, budgeting, accommodation and flight hacks and tips on finding the best deals when you travel.
    • First-time solo travellers who help to plan and book their first trip as well as deal with solo travel anxiety!

    >> Read my full review of the Smart Travel Super Bundle here <<

    If you’re interested in getting the bundle, you can get it HERE. If you’re a little early, you will be offered the chance to sign up for a reminder when the sale launches. Remember it only runs for 2 days.

    >> Get the Smart Travel Super Bundle On Sale Now <<

    Right now, let’s get back to those travel hacks…

    The Best Travel Hacks to Save money, Travel Smarter and Travel Safer Budget Travel Hacks
    Make the most of big sales

    By Elisa from World in Paris

    I always save lots of money by doing some of my bookings during big sales like Black Friday, Cyber Monday or the January sales. For example, during Black Friday there are always big discounts with flight companies and hotel companies whilst big online marketplaces for tours, and activities prefer to let the tour owners decide to propose discounts or not.

    My main strategy is to place all these big sales on my calendar and write down “shopping lists” with all the things that I need to book or buy for my next trips. I also subscribe to the newsletters of my favourite marketplaces so I am always informed when random sales come up.

    Travel Off-season

    Suggested by Holly from Four Around The World

    One of our favourite ways to save money is travelling off-season. This means avoiding school holidays and peak holiday seasons such as Christmas and Easter or over summer. This gets a little trickier if you have kids and limited to school holiday trips. However, you can still be creative and go for destinations where it will be off-season during your school holiday period.

    Not only will you find flights are cheaper during these less popular travel times, it often means cheaper accommodation and transport. Keep an eye out for travel deals as well.

    Get a Local Sim card to save on data roaming fees

    Suggested by Allison of Flights To Fancy

    My local Aussie mobile provider charges exorbitant roaming costs which I simply refuse to pay, but there is a way to stay connected while you are away for next to nix.

    Just grab yourself a local SIM, pop it into your unlocked phone and you are good to go in seconds.

    I purchased a Metfone Cambodia SIM card in Siem Reap for less than USD$5 and I have used local SIMs in Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia and the USA saving myself thousands of dollars in the process.

    Get a Travel friendly debit card

    Suggested by Milene and Paul from Surf and Unwind

    If you want to avoid paying crazy expensive exchange fees when you travel abroad, you should definitely consider opening an account with an online banking service such as TransferWise, Monzo or other similar services that may be available in your country.

    TransferWise, for example, is super easy to use and the whole process from opening an account, receiving a debit card to topping up is super easy.

    It’s widely accepted, from Brazil to the Philippines, and, because they use real mid-market exchange fees, you’ll end up with more money to spend on your holiday.

    Take Free Walking Tours

    Suggested by Or from My Path In The World

    As much as I love exploring a city on my own, I also like to take free walking tours.

    Apart from the fact that they’re a budget-friendly activity (usually, it’s customary to leave a small tip), they provide an opportunity to get to know a destination through the eyes of a local guide.

    Plus, if you’re travelling alone, taking a free walking tour is a great way to meet other travellers.

    Carry water and snacks when going out for site seeing

    Suggested by Sapna Kapoor from My Simple Soujourn

    Sometimes we feel hungry while exploring a new city. Most of the time the price of snacks and drink prices is higher near popular tourist attractions. Moreover, when we are looking for something to suit our taste we waste time going from one shop to another. Even then sometimes we don’t get the items of our choice.

    I hate the fact that sometimes the price of a simple water bottle is higher near tourist attractions.

    I always carry a water bottle in my bag when I go out for the day. This helps me to save money and time. I can always splurge the money saved on these for something else for a memorable experience.

    Flight Hacks
    Use Air miles

    Suggested by Hayley Plotkin from Ready Set Jet Set

    Before I was a travel blogger, I booked free travel using credit card points to go all over the world. On my backpacker budget, travel credit card points allowed me to snag international flights for free and only pay the taxes.

    If you pick the right card, you get a sign-up bonus usually worth enough to get you to Europe and back, and then can keep earning 2X or 3X points on categories like travel and dining that you can apply back towards your flights, hotels, etc.

    Seriously, I never pay for flights. Points are the best travel hack there is!

    Get a premium credit card with airport lounge access

    Suggested by Julie Laundis from Wandering Sunsets

    Complimentary access to airport lounges is one of the greatest travel hacks! With many premium credit cards offering unlimited access to select airport lounges, you no longer need to be flying business to access the lounge before your flight.

    For frequent flyers, this is one credit card perk that is worth splurging for an annual fee. Whether you are grabbing a meal and a glass of wine before a long flight, or stretching your legs during a long connection, airport lounges really make for a much more comfortable and pleasant travel experience. 

    Use the Hopper App

    Suggested by Julianna of The Discoveries Of

    My top travel hack for saving you money is to use the Hopper app. I’ve been using it for a couple of years and now check it religiously before I book my flights.

    The benefits of using Hopper are two-fold. First of all, if you add in your destination and dates, the app uses AI to tell you if your flights are likely to get more expensive or cheaper if you wait to book, as well as giving you information on when the best time to book your trip is.

    Secondly, because they’re app-based and not picked up on price comparison sites, airlines often give them brilliant deals that are much cheaper than you’d find elsewhere. 

    Sign up for flight email alerts

    Suggested by Nikki from She Saves She Travels

    One of my favorite travel hacks is signing up for email alerts for the best flight prices. Yes, our email inboxes are stuffed full. But what if you could save 50%, 60%, or 90% by this one hack?

    Sign up with airlines directly or get an affordable subscription for airfare deals (typically under $50 per year). By spending a small fee, you’ll get airfare errors and flash sales.

    The subscription fee will be worth it after just one trip! My favorite subscription sites are Fare Drop and Next Vacay. I booked a budget trip to Turks and Caicos with Next Vacay and got over 40% off my flights!

    Packing Hacks
    Take Carry-on only

    Suggested by Whitney at Designs For Travel

    The best travel hack is to pack carry on only!  You can fit everything you need, for any length of a trip, into one carry on suitcase.  With some good planning and organization, you may even have extra space in your bag to shop along the way.

    Travelling with a carry on suitcase (and a handbag) makes travelling so much easier.  It will save you lots of time and money- no more standing in lines at the front of the airport, spending extra money, or waiting around to collect your bag when you arrive.   Practice the hack of carry on only – try it once, and you will never want to check a bag again!

    Check out this list of backpacks with wheels

    Use solid shampoo

    Suggested by Larch from The Silver Nomad

    Whether you are travelling with hand luggage only, or taking a suitcase with you, carrying bottles of shampoo and conditioner can be a bind. Either you have to take bottles under 100ml or you run the risk of them leaking in your case.

    Instead, grab a solid shampoo from Lush; ‘Honey I washed my Hair” is a great shampoo and conditioner or try Friendly Soap’s Travel soap which is shampoo, body wash and laundry bar in one!

    Solid shampoo bars don’t have to be put in your liquids bag when going through customs, they are lighter than your full bottles, will last longer, will make you smell amazing and you won’t feel guilty for adding to the plastic pollution.

    Line your backpack with a plastic bag

    Suggested by Lavinia from Continent Hop

    If you’re travelling to a country where it rains unexpectedly and you have a backpack that is not waterproof, then it is quite easy to ensure your belongings don’t get wet by using this simple trick.

    Use a wide plastic bag and place it inside the backpack so that all of your items can then be placed inside the bag.
    Leave space so that you can then securely fold the top to avoid water entering the bag.

    Even if the backpack gets wet, all your items are sure to stay dry! 

    Use packing cubes

    I wouldn’t travel without packing cubes again, they save me so much time and stress. I’m naturally a little untidy and when I’m moving bases frequently, my hotel room can begin to replicate a war zone when I want to find something lurking at the bottom of my bag.

    Packing cubes have solved this for me. I use 2-3 for clothes (underwear / tops / trousers and dresses,) 1 for tech and 1 for laundry. Occasionally I also use one as a shoe bag.

    Bring a Filter Water Bottle

    Save money on buying bottled water and help reduce unnecessary single plastic use by getting a water bottle with a filter. It will keep you safe, save you money and is super convenient. you can even fill it up from a river or stream so its also perfect for hiking. An absolute backpacking essential.

    Bring a powerstrip

    Suggested by Megan from MeganStarr.com

    One of the best things to pack for your trip is a power strip.  No matter where you’re going, investing in a lightweight power strip with both plugs and USB ports is wise because you won’t have to invest in more than one adapter and won’t have to scramble around finding more than one power outlet in the wall. 

    I have been travelling with a power strip in my carry-on luggage for years and it has been the number one tip I give to people whether they are looking to plan their packing list.  

    Use the Eagle Creek Garment Folder

    Suggested by Heather from Raulerson Girls Travel

    A great new travel hack to packing I recently discovered is the Eagle Creek Garment Folder. This handy packing tool helps keep dresses, slacks, and dress shirts compact and wrinkle-free.

    It aids you in packing more with less space taken up in your luggage by compressing your clothes after you folded them in layers.

    The garment folder comes with a lightweight folding board with instructions on how to pack and fold your clothes. The folders come in three sizes-small, medium, and large which can hold up to 12 items, so you don’t have to limit your travel choices.

    Solo Travel Hacks
    Take a free walk with the International Greeter Association

    Suggested by Paula from Expert Abroad

    With a motto of ‘Come as a guest and leave as a friend‘ there is so much to love about the International Greeter Association.

    There is no better way to get an insider’s view of a place you are visiting. People who volunteer are known as ‘greeters”. They are locals who are passionate about their hometown and love to show it off.

    Along with making a new friend, greeters offer great insider tips and can really make your holiday something special. The association operates in 122 destinations so be sure to check before your next trip.

    We had our first greeter experience in Paris and loved it so much we are now volunteers in..

  • Smart Travel Super Bundle Review – Learn to travel further for less
    08 April 2020
    • Would you like to save money on flights?
    • Are you planning a family road trip?
    • Do you want practical advice to help you budget for a trip?
    • Or the know-how to save money along the way to travel for longer?
    • Maybe you are nervous about your first solo trip? Or your first trip with a baby?

    The answers to all of these queries can be found in the Smart Travel Super Bundle from the team at Ultimate Bundles! A collection of insanely useful travel resources, travel hacks and no-nonsense travel advice from travel experts.

    I first discovered Ultimate Bundles when they released their Genius Bloggers Toolkit. A similar concept but this time the resources were to help bloggers in every aspect of running their online businesses. I thought the deal was too good to be true so I resisted getting it for the first few years.

    Last year I took the plunge and I was totally hooked from the offset. I learnt so much and now I’m a huge fan and will be buying this every year going forward.

    So when I heard they were also releasing a travel bundle I was ridiculously excited! I couldn’t wait to tell you all about it!

    In this Smart Travel Super Bundle review, we will be taking an in-depth look at what this bundle of goodies contains and how it can benefit all travel fans – whether you are a skint first-time solo traveller or a family taking your first adventure abroad!

    The Smart Travel Super Bundle Review What is Ultimate Bundles?

    Ultimate Bundles is a company which sells bundles of e-products from E-books to E-courses and printables.

    Each bundle will have a theme. For example, they have bundles about photography, managing your finances, aromatherapy, productivity, blogging, homemaking, women’s health and much more!

    Most of the bundles are only available during flash sales. That means you only have a small window to purchase them BUT you will be getting an insanely good deal.

    Because they only offer the bundles for a short period of time, they are able to do so at incredible discounts.

    They have a few ‘evergreen bundles’ which are available for a longer period of time – usually for 12 months.

    Current evergreen bundles you can purchase include;

    What is the Smart Travel Super Bundle?

    The Smart Travel Super Super bundle is a bundle of E-products perfect for travel-lovers and those who want to travel more but may find barriers in their way.

    The resources within this bundle will help you overcome those hurdles as well as teach you the best travel hacks to make travelling further, for longer for less money, a reality.

    This particular bundle is made up of 30 products – 13 e-books, 10 e-courses, 5 printables and 2 workbooks, collectively worth $1286.58.

    For 2 days only, it will be available as a flash sale.

    How much does the Smart Travel Super Bundle Cost?

    You can nab it for just $47 On March 4th and March 5th 2020.

    Thats $1286.58 worth of products at a 96% discount!

    If you’re a little early, no problem, click here and you can register to get a notification when the deal goes live so you don’t miss out!

    Is the Smart Travel super bundle legit?

    I get it. It sounds too good to be true.

    Thats why I resisted buying my first bundle for so long.

    But I heard some bloggers I really respect raving it about it and I got curious. My first bundle blew me away with how much value it provided.

    I previously wondered why the course owners would be willing to give away such valuable information for such a low price point. But now that I have developed some of my own products on my other website, I get it.

    Awareness and word of mouth are as important as anything when you are a course owner. And that’s what these course owners were achieving by including their courses within these bundles. By raising awareness of their products, they can sell more of them at full price for the rest of the year.

    Once I understood that I was willing to give it a try and I am hooked. The blogger’s toolkit was amazing value for money and so I fully expect when this travel bundle launches, it will be too. I’m really excited about it!

    Is there a money back guarantee?

    Yes Ultimate Bundles offers a 30-day happiness guarantee. If you’re not happy, you get your money back!

    Is the Smart Travel Super bundle right for me?

    Have a look over all the content listed below and decide if the bundle is right for you. Some of the products are valued at up to $197 so if you want that product alone, this is the cheapest way of accessing it!

    However, chances are there will be multiple resources within the bundle that will benefit you.

    In general, I think the people who are going to gain the most benefit from this particular bundle are

    • Families looking to take an adventure with their kids and need some tips for how to make this happen in the most stress-free way possible
    • People thinking of taking a road trip in an RV or a campervan – there are so many useful resources here even including an RV maintenance course!
    • People wanting to travel on a budget, with resources for saving, budgeting, accommodation and flight hacks and tips on finding the best deals when you travel.
    • First-time solo travellers who help to plan and book their first trip as well as deal with solo travel anxiety!
    An Overview of the Smart Travel Bundle

    You will find all of these goodies within your bundle…

    • Camping, RV & Road Trips (7 products worth $547.92)
    • Family Travel (7 products worth $216.44)
    • Making Travel Affordable (6 products worth $276.98)
    • Mindset (4 products worth $70.25)
    • Planning & Packing (6 products worth $174.99)
    • Bonuses (4 bonuses worth $72.49)
    Highlights of the Smart Travel Bundle

    These are the products that really stood out for me as being incredibly valuable;

    • Wanderlust Families: Long-Term Travel E-Course worth $97.00. This is an essential course for any families thinking of taking a family gap year
    • Finance Your Detour: A Budgeting Program to Help You Travel More eCourse worth $57.00. Find out how Dan and Camille saved $125000 to pay off a $100K debt and travel the world longterm.
    • Fix It Yourself: RV Maintenance eCourse worth $197.00. Perfect for anyone planning a long road trip – learn how to fix your RV on the go.
    • Baby Can Travel Anywhere: A Travel Guide Made for Parents Perfect for any new parents nervous about their first time travelling with a baby.
    A Detailed breakdown of what is in the Travel Smart Super Bundle Camping, RV & Road Trips (7 products worth $547.92)
    • 25 Things to Consider When Buying Your First RV or Travel Trailer (eBook)
      Will help you figure out what is and isn’t important to you and narrow your choices to a manageable number.
    • 90 Day Family Road Trip: Your Big Fat Easy Button to Explore Fulltime Travel (eCourse) worth $197.00
      This truly unique online course will equip you with the know-how to not only RV with your family, but truly connect and thrive in the process!
    • Backpacking Essentials: Everything Hikers Need to Know Before Their First Backpacking Trip (eCourse) worth $97.00
      Pack all the right gear, clothes, food and show you how to stay as safe and comfortable as possible on the trail.
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    • Fix It Yourself: RV Maintenance (eCourse) worth $197.00
      Ed Wilcox, certified RV technician, will teach you how to fix your RV so you can save money, time, and hassle.
    • Ultimate RV Campers Bundle (Printable)
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    • The Family Camping Handbook (eBook) If you’ve always wanted to try camping as a frugal family vacation but are nervous because you have little ones or don’t want to feel stuck with hot dogs, this is your ticket to real food success in the woods.
    Family Travel (7 products worth $216.44)
    • Baby Can Travel Anywhere: A Travel Guide Made for Parents (eBook)
      Your step by step instruction guide to plan and execute your first trip with your baby with ease.
    • Family Travel: Packing Checklists and Flying Survival Tips (Printable)
      Detailed packing checklists for travelling with kids from birth and tips for flying with kids including what to put in carry-on bags, getting through security, travelling with car seats and more.
    • How To Turn Any Homeschool Curriculum Into A Family Travel Adventure (eCourse) worth $79.00
      Enrich your homeschool by planning stay-cations, family days out or epic family adventures based on your homeschool curriculum.
    • Kid’s Travel Journal & Activity Book (Workbook)
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    • Pack Up & Leave: Travel Tips for Fun Family Vacations eBook
      Want to take a stress-free and affordable family vacation? Let Jennifer Flanders, a seasoned globetrotter and mother of 12, show you how! This book is jam-packed with tips to make travelling with children more fun, enjoyable, educational, and EASY.
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    • Wanderlust Families: Long-Term Travel (eCourse) worth $97.00 Yearning to travel abroad long-term with your family and don’t know how? This course can help you tackle every aspect of planning your adventure so you can turn your Dream Life into your Real Life.
    Making Travel Affordable (6 products worth $276.98)
    • An Intentional Travelers Guide to Unconventional Budget Accommodations (eBook)
      This book will help you crack the code to meaningful, impactful and low-cost trips by tackling one of the biggest trip expenses: lodging.
    • Finance Your Detour: A Budgeting Program to Help You Travel More (eCourse) worth $57.00
      A budgeting program and tool that teaches the same strategies and budgeting process that allowed them to pay off debt, build a financial runway, and travel full-time. 
    • Canadian Free Flyers Economy Plan (eCourse) Learn how to earn travel points and redeem them for maximum value.
    • The Affordable Flight Guide: How to Find Cheap Airline Tickets and See the World on a Budget (eBook)
      A how-to guide for finding cheap flights. 
    • The Frugal Flyer: Eliminate the Cost of US Flights from Your Budget So You Can Travel More and Be Happier! (eCourse) worth $147.00
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    • 7 Mindset Shifts To Take You From Daydreamer To Full Time Traveler – e-book
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    • Overcome Travel Anxiety (eBook) Will help you eliminate anxiety from your life, give you the confidence to start planning an adventure, and support you as you take steps outside your comfort zone in order to explore the world. 
    • The Adventure Traveler’s Handbook (eBook)
      Provides practical tips and inspirational stories for both new and experienced outdoor explorers.
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    Planning & Packing (6 products worth $174.99)
    • A Female Guide to Solo Travel (eBook)
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    • DIY Herbal First Aid Travel Kit: The Herbal Remedies You Need to Pack Before You Leave Home (eCourse) worth $97.00
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    • Family Travel Planner (Printable)
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    • How to Plan a Trip (eBook)
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    • Our Next Adventure Planner (Printable)
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    • Summer Outfit Packing List Bundle (Workbook) Includes the lists, outfit combinations, and shopping links you need to make getting packed for your next vacation a breeze.
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    Travel Bonus Gifts

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    • FREE pack of travel size items from Puro Co, $15 value
    • FREE 2oz bottle of Digest-Support Herbal Supplement, $15.99 value
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    Hopefully, this Smart Travel Super Bundle review has helped you decide if this bundle of travel resources is for you..

  • Best Backpacks on Wheels For Travel in 2020 – Wheeled Backpacks Compared
    08 April 2020

    Looking for the best backpacks with wheels for travel? Look no further, we’re comparing the best travel backpacks with wheels today and I’ll show you how to choose the perfect wheeled backpack for you.

    Over the last 16 years of backpacking, I have had my fair share of backpacks and suitcases and currently, I own (and love) the Osprey Women’s Aura Ag 65 Backpack.

    However, these days I suffer from a bad back when I travel which has had me lusting after wheeled backpacks instead.

    Backpacks on wheels are perfect for travelling as they work in just about every scenario. Cobbled alleyway? Put it on your back. Long walk to get to your hotel? Use it as a wheeled case. You get the best of both worlds!

    So I turned to my travel blogging colleagues and asked them which were the best backpacks on wheels for travel?

    It’s helped me to narrow down my options and choose the best wheeled backpack for me.

    I hope after reading their wheeled backpack reviews, that you will have a better idea about which is the best backpacks with wheels that will suit your own style of backpacking…

    Best Backpacks on wheels for travel in 2020 Best wheeled backpacks for travel at a glance The best backpacks on wheels for travel as suggested by travel bloggers The Cabin Max

    Suggested by Sinead from Map Made Memories

    I love my Cabin Max backpack with wheels. My bag has visited over 33 countries and has survived bouncing across cobblestoned historic cities, being dragged across beaches or forest floors and up and down staircases all over the world. It has been squashed into every sort of vehicle.

    Cabin Max has proved to me that they make tough, durable bags. The extendable handle is strong and packs away into a secure zipped cover. The small wheels are sturdy and have not cracked or chipped during my travels.

    My hybrid bag has two sections with an array of different sized, practical pockets.

    Adjustable side clips help the bag to squeeze down to cabin bag proportions. I love the fact that I can carry my bag like a backpack when I want to or, in hot climates or when I am particularly tired, I can pull my bag.

    The adjustable padded backpack straps zip away into their own protective pocket.

    Pros 
    • Excellent value for money as Cabin Max bags are more affordable than other wheeled backpacks
    • Available in carry on sizes 
    • Available in a range of colours
    Cons
    • No waist strap for extra support and comfort when carrying as a backpack

    Read other reviews of the Cabin Max HERE

    The Antler Urbanite

    Suggested by Daniel from Layer Culture

    If you are looking for a quality backpack with wheels that you can travel with and not have to check it in at the airport, the Antler Urbanite is a great choice.

    I have travelled all over the world with this backpack and have moved around with confidence knowing I can rely on the backpack’s sturdy materials.

    The Antler Urbanite is made from crinkle nylon which offers you a hard-wearing fabric that is not only waterproof but can withhold the strain of any adventure you may be thinking of embarking on.

    I use it more as a business backpack due to its specifically designed carry-on dimensions and formal external styling.

    Another great feature, however, is the sheer amount of pocket space for holding items.

    For me, its ability to carry a large capacity makes it by far the most strongly constructed backpack I have owed.

    Pros

    • Doubles as a backpack and suitcase with wheels
    • TSA-Approved Lock included
    • Comes with a laptop/document sleeve
    Cons
    • Fairly heavy compared to other backpacks
    • Colours available are not so desirable 
    • The outer pockets are bulky when filled
    • Only available in UK currently

    Read Antler Urbanite Reviews online HERE

    Osprey Fairview Wheeled Travel Pack 65L

    Recommended by Delilah from Our Travel Mix

    The Osprey Fairview Travel Pack comes in various sizes. The non-wheeled option comes in 40L and 70L, and the wheeled version comes near their biggest size at 65L.

    The best feature of the Fairview Travel Pack is its design. The pack is manufactured specifically for women, being shorter and length and wider. This means the pack is a lot more comfortable to carry, and the hip belt fits snug around the right place. The padded shoulder straps and mesh back panel give added comfort.

    While there technically isn’t a correct way to pack your bag, there are better ways than others. Being a front-loader, packing is a lot easier with the Fairview compared to a top-loader. There’s also a 13L detachable day pack which you can clip onto your front to better distribute the weight of the bag when it is on your back.

    Pros

    • Designed for women
    • Front-loader
    • Padded straps and a mesh back panel
    • Detachable 13L day pack
    • A full bag will be less than 20 kg

    Cons

    • Wheels weigh the backpack down
    • 5L less space than Osprey’s non-wheeled equivalent
    • Too large for a carry-on item

    Read Osprey Fairview reviews online HERE

    Osprey Farpoint 65 L wheeled backpack

    Suggested by Lee from The Travel Scribes

     Most travellers and backpackers will tell you that Osprey is the gold standard in the industry, and the Farpoint series is the star in the Osprey line-up, winning a slew of awards.

    The larger end of the spectrum, the Farpoint 65 litre, sees you get a great ‘convertible’ case, essentially a wheeled bag that becomes a backpack, giving you the best of both worlds!

     You’ll love that you can drag it along the airport terminal but, when you’re faced with cobblestones or a muddy journey, sling the pack onto your back.

    What’s more, Farpoint 65 L is a very smartly designed bag, giving you pockets for all your niggly items plus you can even attached the Daylite pack, to give yourself even more room!

     Pros
    • Very lightweight, especially for a wheeled backpack
    • Front-loading back which means it is far easier to load and unload your luggage, even without packing cubes
    • Very comfortable shoulder pads with good padding and the hip belt is well-positioned for both men and women
    • Has strong compression straps on the front, to help you pull the contents together
    • Clever, functional pocket storage –the top zippered pouch is great for last-minute items (especially all your ‘liquids’ and passport)
     Cons
    • Because of the telescopic handle, the inside base is a bit awkward as its not flat, making it slightly more difficult to pack
    • The front mesh pockets can’t be accessed when the straps are clipped over, meaning your water bottle and shoes wouldn’t be accessible
    • The handle is ‘single stem’ making it a little bit uncomfortable to pull for extended periods
    • While the top pouch is great for items in airports, it can be very accessible for pickpockets and thieves

    Read Osprey Fairpoint reviews online HERE

    Please note the Fairview and Farpoint are very similar. the main difference is the fit. The Fairview is better suited for smaller body frames and usually suits women better than the Farpoint.

    The Osprey Ozone 75

    Suggested by Bridget at The FlashPacker

    The Osprey Ozone 75 is the perfect backpack on wheels for longer trips, its roomy 75L capacity easily able to accommodate all your clobber. And with deceptively robust construction for its weight, you are less at the mercy of baggage handlers.

    Pros
    • Super lightweight, tipping the scales at 2.4kg
    • Multiple storage compartments to organise your packing, including an easy-to-access front compartment and a stuff pocket at the top of the pack. It also features a rear pocket for magazines and papers with a pocket for a retractable ID card.
    • Internal and external compression straps to secure your items
    • The bag unzips to allow you to pack the bag like a suitcase. This zip is lockable for security
    • Comfortable ergonomic handle and robust wheels make this travel bag a joy to manoeuvre
    • Comes in colours other than grey or black (mine is a lovely shade of burgundy!)
    Cons
    • Not carry-on size. This is one that you’ll have to check in folks!
    • Does not convert to a strap-on backpack

    Read reviews of the Osprey Ozone HERE

    The Onli Travel Bag

    Suggested by Michelle from Travel After Five

    I had the opportunity to try the Onli Travel Bag this past year, and I think it is an awesome option for someone looking for a backpack with wheels.

    The Onli Travel Venture Rolling Pack is a one-bag solution that comes with two separate backpacks that zip to the roller bag, so you only need to carry one bag while travelling.

    This is especially great if you are travelling for work, and need to use a carry-on, but also want a backpack for the office.

    Overall, the Onli Travel Venture Rolling pack is a really unique solution that’s worth checking out. 

    Pros
    • Zip-off backpacks, so you don’t need to carry your entire suitcase while sightseeing.
    • Two backpack options, so you can choose the size of your bag dependent on your day.
    Cons
    • The number of flexible options can be overwhelming at first, and it takes a few moments to understand all of your configurations with this system.
    • Currently only available in the US

    Read Reviews of the Onli Travel System HERE

    High Sierra Composite V3

    Suggested by Allison from Flights To Fancy

    I love my High Sierra Composite V3 rolling backpack. Whether I am making one of my monthly trips to Melbourne for work, traipsing through Cambodia for two weeks, catching a high-speed train between Osaka and Tokyo or navigating a precarious boarding on the ferry from Phuket to Koh Lanta, my trusty High Sierra has never let me down.

    In an effort to travel lighter, The Hubs and I treated ourselves to one of these beauties each about two years ago. We have used them extensively for every trip since.

    The High Sierra Composite range has multiple styles and choices. I have the smallest size from the original range in blue and The Hubs has the same in black.

    I’m not going to lie, fitting 2 weeks of clothes into a 37-litre capacity bag takes some practice, but I feel like I have finally nailed it. If you are not so confident go for one of the larger sizes. Some retailers even offer bundle deals so you can buy all three sizes together a little cheaper.

    Pro’s
    • The 56cm is carry on compatible
    • Larger sizes available
    • Competitive price
    • Separate compartment for shoes or wet items
    • Sperate compartment for paperwork and/or laptop
    • Large zippered opening for easy access and package
    • Comfortable straps when used as a backpack
    • Telescopic handle for easy wheeling
    • Water Resistant Fabric
    Con’s
    • Only 2 colour choices
    • Heavier than some at 2.3kgs (56cm size)
    • Currently only available in Australia
    Caribee Skymaster 80L

    Suggested by Bella from Passport and Pixels

    The Caribee Skymaster is the wheely backpack suitcase all-in-one for people who can’t pack light.

    As a photographer I always carry loads of extra gear – plus I always pack for every eventuality and find it astonishing how some people manage to travel with hand luggage only. If you’re one of those people, look away now. This thing is a beast!

    It’s got a massive 80L of space, so if your airline lets you bring 23kg you’ll be able to make the most of it. But it’s super rugged, with really thick fabric, strong zips and sturdy wheels.

    On the front, there’s a zip-off day pack which is great for day trips or to fill with souvenirs on the way home.

    And it has both wheels and a handle to pull it along, and a zip-away backpack section with comfy straps and waist support for when you need to carry it. If you fill it full, that’ll be a challenge – but it’s really great to have the option for difficult surfaces like beaches and gravel roads.

    Pros
    • It’s big enough to fit everything you could possibly need
    • It’s really rugged
    • The zip-off day pack is super helpful
    • Even though it’s basically a massive suitcase, it also looks and performs like a backpack, so you can turn up with a lot of stuff and still pretend you’re a cool backpacker
    Cons
    • The size means it’s hard to carry for long when it’s full
    • Having wheels AND straps makes the bag itself heavier than regular suitcases or backpacks
    • You’ll probably end up wheeling it most of the time, which means you  may be better off just using a normal suitcase if you’re not going anywhere off-road
    • Only available in the UK currently

    Read reviews of the Caribee Skymaster HERE

    Image Title Price Prime Buy
    Cabin Max Carry on Luggage Rolling Backpack with Wheels 22x14x9" PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    Osprey Ozone Wheeled Carry-on 42L/21.5, Buoyant Blue PrimeEligible Click to buy here
  • How To Avoid Getting Sick With Coronavirus When Travelling
    08 April 2020

    Update February 25th: There are now 83770 confirmed cases and 2707 deaths with an overall mortality rate of 3%. There have been a worrying amount of cases in countries such as Japan, Iran and Northern Italy lately. As a doctor and a traveller, I am very concerned. But probably not for the same reasons you are. The mortality rate for young, healthy people is actually very low (0.2% under 40 and 0.4% under 50, most deaths are occurring in the elderly >80.) However, our elderly and immunocompromised are at risk because of the rapid rate of spread and lack of available vaccine (which we do have for regular flu.) It is more important than ever that we take sensible precautions when we travel and keep up to date on WHO advice.

    Unless you’ve been hiding under a very large rock or taking a digital detox on a deserted island, you can’t have failed to have heard about the latest health crisis – Novel Coronavirus?

    This virus emerged in Wuhan City in the HUbei Province of China in late 2019 and has started spreading rapidly with over 10,000 cases in China and 213 deaths.

    It has started to spread beyond China and there are 98 cases internationally at the time of writing. It has been declared a global health emergency why the World Health Organisation.

    Understandably, people are concerned about travelling, particularly to Asia.

    And whilst it would be sensible to avoid travelling to China (and many flights have been cancelled anyway) there are currently no restrictions for travel elsewhere in Asia.

    Update 25th February: WHO is advising avoiding all but essential travel to China. There are also some travel restrictions in certain affected regions In Italy, South Korea and Iran. Italy is restricting people from arriving or leaving affected areas. Current countries considered higher risk are; China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, Northern Italy, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. This includes some areas where there are lots of flight transfers from affected regions. If you return from any of these destinations and develop symptoms of cough, sore throat, fevers and shortness of breath (even if mild) You should self-isolate and get medical advice. In the UK, Contact NHS 111.

    The sad fact is, that we could actually catch Coronavirus by staying at home since there are now cases in the UK, US, Canada and Australia. So regardless if you are travelling or not, you need to take some sensible precautions and get informed about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

    In this article we will be looking at the risk to travellers and how you can help protect yourself from getting sick.

    Who am I to be giving you this advice?

    As well as being a travel blogger, I am also a general practitioner doctor based in the UK. The clue is in the blog name!

    I have had no specific training on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus but I am trained in dealing with similar viruses. I am also in a better position to interpret medical advice than your average travel blogger.

    This article will be useful for anyone who is travelling and worried about Coronavirus but you should also stay up-to-date with the World Health Organization advice as they will be updating it as the situation progresses.

    What is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

    Coronaviruses are commonplace and you may well have had a type of coronavirus in the past – usually it just causes a common cold.

    However, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus is a particularly nasty strain of Coronavirus which often causes a pneumonia.

    At the time of writing this, it has resulted in 213 deaths with the death toll expected to rise.

    How dangerous is the Coronavirus?

    Coronavirus can make you feel very sick but the vast majority of people will survive it – the death rate is about 2% currently. Most of these deaths have been people who are elderly or immunocompromised.

    The biggest problem with Coronavirus is how fast it spreads. As well as protecting ourselves from getting a nasty illness, we need to work together to help slow down the rate of spread to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities that do have a higher mortality rate if they contract it.

    Therefore, everyone needs to take Coronavirus seriously and do everything in their power to reduce the risk of transmission.

    But equally, you shouldn’t panic. If you are young and healthy and get Coronavirus, you are probably going to feel rotten a while, you will have to segregate yourself until you are better and it is going to suck. But there’s a 98% chance you will be ok.

    People panicking puts a greater strain on our health systems who are already under additional strain.

    Who is at risk?

    Whilst anybody who comes into contact with the Novel Coronavirus is at risk, there are some people who are at more risk than others. The following people are more susceptible to infection in general and may suffer worse symptoms if they contract Coronavirus;

    • Diabetics
    • People with chronic lung disease
    • People with chronic kidney disease
    • Anyone with a suppressed immune system
    • The elderly
    What symptoms does Coronavirus cause?

    The following symptoms are common with Coronavirus;

    • High fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath

    The virus has an incubation period of 2-14 days. So if you come into contact with Coronavirus, you may develop symptoms up to 14 days later.

    What should I do if I have symptoms and have travelled to China recently?

    If you have returned from China within 14 days and exhibit any of the symptoms above, you should seek medical advice.

    Stay at home and limit contact with other people. Only leave the house when you are going to seek medical attention and then try to wear a face mask or scarf to cover your nose and mouth if you will be sat in a waiting room where viruses are spread easily.

    Make sure you wash your hands frequently and throw all tissues straight in the bin when they’ve been used.

    Whilst you should seek medical help it’s important not to panic either. Chances are you have a regular virus with no need to worry. Even if you do have Coronavirus, most healthy people will be fine in the long run.

    It is important to take it seriously but not to blow it out of proportion either. Mass panic is the last things we need and will put a lot of burden on our already burdened health system.

    What should I do if I come into close contact with someone who has Coronavirus?

    If someone you have been in close contact with gets diagnosed with Coronavirus, you are at significantly more risk of getting it yourself and may not show symptoms for up to 14 days.

    To reduce the risk of spreading it, try to stay home, avoid close contact with others and take care of your hygiene to reduce risk of transmission to your loved ones.

    Are travellers more at risk of getting Coronavirus?

    Yes and no. If you are not travelling to China, theoretically your risk would be the same whilst travelling as it would be at home. BUT travellers are actually a little more susceptible for the following reasons

    • The sheer number of people you come into contact with when you’re out exploring everyday, moving between accommodations every few nights.
    • Often when we travel, we let our own health needs slip a bit. We do less exercise, eat what we fancy, drink more alcohol and probably get less sleep. This makes us more susceptible to infections in general.
    • Confined spaces like airplanes are breeding grounds for infection.
    How can we lessen the risk of getting sick from Coronavirus when we travel?
    • Try to avoid touching your face too much – you can spread infection from surfaces this way.
    • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time taking care to wash between fingers which is an area that people often miss when they are in a hurry.
    • If you do not have access to water and soap, use a hand gel with at least 60% alcohol content.
    • When you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue but make sure you throw the tissue straight in the bin otherwise it can spread the virus.
    • If you feel you are getting sick, do not travel. Planes are one of the worst places to spread viruses.
    • If you get sick, stay in your hotel and avoid contact with other people unless you are seeking medical attention.
    • Take care of your general health when travelling. This means;
      • Not drinking too much alcohol and having plenty of alcohol-free nights
      • Try to get 8 hours of sleep each night
      • Pace yourself. Travelling too fast can be exhausting and leave you feeling rundown
      • Eat plenty of fruit and veg
      • If you’re somewhere where its hard to get your dose of greens, consider a vitamin tablet
      • Use a filter water bottle to keep tap water safe to drink – staying hydrated helps our immune system.
      • Avoid smoking – it reduces your immune system.
    • Always check the latest travel advice with the World Helath Organisation before you depart from any trip. Keep updated whilst you are away.
    • Always keep in touch with loved ones and let them know where you are.
    • ALWAYS have travel insurance with good health care cover. Make sure it also includes medical evacuation. Nomads are a trustworthy insurance company that I recommend for this. I also recommend getting it as soon as you book your trip as then you are likely covered for cancellations for example if Coronavirus spreads and travel becomes restricted. Have you got yours yet?!
    Do face masks help?

    Possibly a little but not as much as you’d think.

    They help with hand to mouth transmission – you are less likely to mindlessly touch your mouth with hands that may carry the infection.

    However, they do not prevent inhaling the virus, especially if not worn properly.

    In fact, wearing the same mask over and over can harbour infection.

    They are best used by people who have the virus to prevent transmission to others. Although in theory, those people should be self-isolating anyway…

    If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends and family. Staying aware of how to keep ourselves safe and reduce the spread could save someone’s life. Just hit the social share buttons at the top and bottom of this article.

    Read these travel health articles next:

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    The post How To Avoid Getting Sick With Coronavirus When Travelling appeared first on The Globetrotter GP.

  • Long Haul Flight Essentials To Make Flying a Breeze
    08 April 2020

    Over the past 16 years of travel, I’ve taken my fair share of long haul flights. I even lived in Australia for a few years which meant flying back and forth between Australia and the UK so I’m well versed in long haul flight essentials!

    Packing the wrong things or NOT packing the right things for your long flight can make the difference between an enjoyable flight and a flight from hell. So I put together this list of long haul flight essentials to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes I did when I first started taking long flights.

    Basically I made the mistakes so that you don’t have to!

    Today we’ll be discussing all the long flight packing essentials that will keep you entertained, healthy, well-slept and looking your best.

    If you haven’t left yourself long to pack then most of these long haul flight essentials are available for next day delivery with Amazon Prime. You can get a 30-day free trial with Amazon here.

    No time to read it now? No worries, pin it for later!

    Long Haul Flight Essentials Packing List Flight essentials you cannot leave home without

    These are the things you should double and triple-check that you don’t leave home without. Trust me, I was that girl who left her passport at home on a flight to Australia. Biggest headache ever (…Dad I am forever grateful!)

    • Your passport (if it’s in a pretty cover, CHECK INSIDE!)
    • Visas
    • Boarding Passes
    • Hotel Address and rental car details
    • Purse
    • Phone
    • Prescription medications (plus a copy of your prescription.)
    Long Haul Flight Essentials for getting some shut-eye

    If you’re anything like me, a flight is just a good excuse to sleep excessively. I try to get a window seat, take a comfy pillow, stick my ear plugs in and I’m out like a light.

    But not everyone falls asleep on a flight so easily. These are the things you need on a long flight to give yourself the best chance of getting some kip…

    A travel pillow

    An absolute essential when you are travelling. I never go anywhere without a trusty travel pillow. I usually tie mine onto my hand luggage so it doesn’t take up precious space.

    My only decision is whether I take a traditional square pillow (perfect for camping and when hotel pillows are sub-par) or a U shape pillow (perfect for flights and bus journeys.)

    Luckily this problem has now been solved. You can get clever 3-in-1 pillows which fold into a traditional square, u-shaped pillow or a back support shape. Your travel woes sorted!

    A travel scarf

    Another item I never leave home without is a travel scarf. Useful on a flight as a blanket or a secondary pillow. But it can also be used as a fashion accessory, a sarong, an emergency towel or to wear as a headscarf in religious buildings.

    Scarves can even be used to hide your passport or bank cards now with travel scarves that have in-built secret pockets – clever huh?!

    Image Title Price Prime Buy
    100% Cotton Scarf Shawl Super Soft Lightweight Scarves And Wraps For Men And Women. Unisex. (Grey Stripe) PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    SUNBABY Women Boho Shawl Beach Towels Rectangle Polyester Scarf Travel Sarong Wrap Swimwear Cover Up Beach Mats (Navy Pink Flower) PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    Bellonesc Women Scarves Fashion Lightweight Sunscreen 100% Silk Scarfs for Women PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    Oversized Blanket Scarf for Women Travel Tartan Wrap Plaid Square Warm Wrap Shawl Scarves PrimeEligible Click to buy here

    Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

    Eyemask

    For flights during daylight hours or for occasions where your neighbour’s spotlight is distracting you from sleep, an eye mask can help con your brain into thinking it’s snooze time.

    Noise cancelling ear plugs

    Screaming children, snoring neighbours, drinks trolleys rattling up and down, there are many noises that will distract you from sleep. So do yourself a favour and pack some noise-cancelling earplugs to get some restful sleep. This is an essential on long haul flights.

    A comfy jumper

    I am always freezing cold or far too warm on flights. There never seems to be a happy medium. So I’ve learnt that you need to wear lots of layers so you are ready for anything. I usually wear yoga leggings or harem trousers with a strappy top, long sleeve t-shirt and then either a hoodie or an oversized snuggly jumper.

    Long haul flight essentials to keep you entertained

    Even if you get a few hours sleep, you will likely have plenty more hours to while away on your long haul flight. So make sure you pack plenty of things to keep you entertained…

    A tablet or travel laptop

    If you are travelling for pleasure only, a tablet will probably suffice. I recommend the Ipad. If you travel for work as I do, you might prefer a small laptop. Download a film or some games or get Lightroom so you can edit your travel photos on your flight.

    Check out these laptops suitable for travel bloggers and digital nomads

    Image Title Price Prime Buy
    New Apple iPad (10.2-Inch, Wi-Fi, 32GB) - Space Gray (Latest Model) PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    All-New Fire HD 10 Tablet (10.1" 1080p full HD display, 32 GB) – Black PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0" 32 GB Wifi Android 9.0 Pie Tablet Black (2019) - SM-T290NZKAXAR PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    Apple iPad Pro (11-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Space Gray (Latest Model) PrimeEligible Click to buy here

    Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

    A kindle

    I secretly quite enjoy travelling as it’s one of the rare occasions I have time to sit down and become totally involved in a book.

    I love my kindle for travel as it’s super light, waterproof, and perfect for reading in bright light (with no sun glare) or in the dark, whilst storing a huge variety of books and magazines so I never run out of books to read.

    If you love reading when you travel, check out Kindle Unlimited – a subscription costing the price of 1 book a month allows you to download as many books as you like which can often be very cost-effective if you read frequently. You can get a free trial here.

    The latest kindle is also audible compatible so if you prefer to listen to stories or podcasts, you can. Audiobooks are still pretty pricey but it can work out more affordable with an Audible subscription allowing you to download 1 free audiobook each month and offering free podcasts and access to various deals.

    A decent pair of noise cancelling headphones

    Listening to your music through some quality headphones which cuts out the screaming children will make your flight that much sweeter.

    A guidebook

    Obviously I am a huge advocate for using travel blogs for travel planning. However, I still love a proper travel book and they are a great way to kill some time on a flight. You can also download Kindle versions if you want to save on space. Lonely Planet books are my guidebooks of choice.

    Not a book you’d take away with you, BUT, I highly recommend the New York Times Range of 36 hours in… books. I have 36 hours in Europe – it is great for travel planning as they have some really quirky suggestions for places to eat or things to do on a city break.

    A Power bank

    I never travel without a power bank which helps keep all my tech charged so I never run out of battery in my phone, laptop or kindle. I recommend getting one with multiple USB ports so you can charge multiple items at once.

    A good playlist

    I use my phone for both listening to music and podcasts. Make sure you download a good playlist (and a podcast or two) so you can listen offline. I use Spotify for this but Amazon Prime music also offers a great subscription programme for music lovers.

    Read next: Get my best flight hacks

    Long Haul Travel Essentials to keep healthy Compression socks

    Sitting still for long flights can make you susceptible to blood clots in your legs. Also, many people suffer swollen ankles after long flights. Therefore it’s important to wear compression flight socks to keep you safe from DVTs but also prevent you from getting uncomfortable swollen legs.

    Keeping hydrated and regularly stretching your legs can help too.

    Refillable water bottle

    Usually, drinks are handed out on flights in the tiniest of plastic cups. Not only is this bad for the environment but it never really quenches my thirst – I drink a lot of fluids! So a refillable water bottle is a useful travel essential for a long haul flight.

    I’d recommend either a collapsible bottle which won’t take up much room in your bag or a water bottle with a filter if you are travelling somewhere that you can’t drink the tap water.

  • The Best Cameras for Backpacking in 2020 – For ALL budgets
    08 April 2020

    Choosing the best camera for backpacking can be tricky when there is so much choice on the market now. It can be really overwhelming trying to choose the right backpacking camera for you.

    Trust me, I’ve been there! I can be incredibly indecisive (which stems from being a total perfectionist) and I’ve been the one debating for weeks, months even, over which camera to buy. By the time I finally made a decision, a new model had been released and it was back to the drawing board again!

    Does that sound familiar?

    But over the years, I’ve taken a fair few different cameras travelling with me and so now I have a good grasp on what is important in a camera for backpacking. Which makes it (slightly) easier to pick!

    To make your life a lot easier, I’ve done the research for you. I’ve put together this article with 15 of the best cameras for backpacking in 2020.

    I’ve split them into the following categories to help you whittle your choice down:

    • Best compact cameras for backpacking
    • Best action cameras for backpackers
    • Best mirrorless cameras for travel
    • Best DSLRs (that don’t weight a ton) to take backpacking.

    Knowing it can still be hard to choose, I’ve also narrowed it down further with winners in each category: Cheapest and lightest, best waterproof camera, most rugged, best for professionals and best in each price range.

    It’s a long article so use the table of contents to navigate to the cameras best suited for your needs! Any questions, please pop them in the comments below.

    My top 5 picks for the best camera for backpacking
    Image Title Price Prime Buy
    Sony Alpha a6500 Mirrorless Digital Camera w/ 2.95" LCD (Body Only) PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    Sony RX100 VII Premium Compact Camera with 1.0-type stacked CMOS sensor (DSCRX100M7) PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    PANASONIC LUMIX DC-ZS70K, 20.3 Megapixel, 4K Digital Camera, Touch Enabled 3-inch 180 Degree Flip-front Display, 30X LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR Lens, WiFi (Black) PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    GoPro HERO8 Black - Waterproof Action Camera with Touch Screen 4K Ultra HD Video 12MP Photos 1080p Live Streaming Stabilization PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    Sony a7 III Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera Optical with 3-Inch LCD, Black (ILCE7M3/B) PrimeEligible Click to buy here

    Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

    Features to look for when choosing a camera for backpacking Cost

    This is often the number one deciding factor when it comes to buying a camera for backpacking. We may all want the professional standard Sony A7iii but with a hefty price tag it’s not affordable for everyone.

    I think realistically, to get a camera with really good quality images (better than you can get with your smart phone) you should try to aim to spend at least $300. However, I have included options below this in this article.

    Build

    Backpacking with a camera carries risks. Your luggage can sometimes take a bit of a bashing on long bumpy journeys or in dusty environments. Therefore the build of the camera is important.

    Also, factors like a good grip and well-positioned buttons are also important. I’ve included links to customer reviews so you can check out what people are saying about the build before you purchase.

    Size and weight

    Backpackers need to travel light and so the size and weight of their chosen camera are obviously important. Often it’s a trade-off between size and weight vs quality of the camera but there are now cameras out there bridging the gap like the Sony RX100 Vii compact camera and some of the smaller mirrorless cameras.

    Waterproofing

    Whilst most cameras are not completely waterproof, a degree of water resistance is important for those times when you get caught unawares in a rain shower.

    There are also plenty of completely waterproof cameras out there. They may not produce the same quality of image but they are perfect for active holidays and snorkel or dive trips.

    Dust proofing

    Similarly, a camera which is dust proof or dust resistant is worth considering if you are looking to take your camera backpacking in the desert or on safari.

    Battery life

    Super important for travel photographers who are always on the go! Battery life should always be considered when buying a camera for travel but remember, you can always buy spare batteries which is what I do.

    In general, DSLRs have a better battery life than Mirrorless cameras however you pay for that with weight and bulk.

    Aperture

    For cameras without interchangeable lenses, the aperture will be important. This is the amount of light the camera is capable of letting in.

    Look for the F-number. A very small F-number like F2.8 (or even better F1.8) will let lots of light in making them better at night photography when light sources are limited.

    It will also help you create photos with lovely bokeh – that’s when the background is blurred out and only the foreground is in sharp focus – perfect for portraits.

    With mirrorless and DSLR cameras, the aperture is determined by which lenses you use. Lenses with a small F-number are generally more expensive.

    Zoom

    If you are buying a Mirrorless camera or DSLR this wont matter as it will be determined by the lenses you use.

    However, if you are using a compact camera with an inbuilt lens, you want to choose one with a large focal range. This means that you can take both wide-angled photos and also use zoom to get nice close-ups.

    I would choose a camera with at least 200mm focal length but any more is a bonus. The Panasonic Lumix ZS70/TZ90 has an absolutely huge focal range so if zoom is important to you, choose this one!

    Sensor size

    Cameras with larger sensors can record more information within a photo. Therefore it follows that cameras with bigger sensors usually have better image quality.

    However, a large sensor will mean a larger camera so it is always a trade-off between size and quality.

    Right, so now you know what you are looking for? Let’s have a look at some of the best travel cameras out at the moment…

    (Remember you can use the Table of contents to skip to the cameras most relevant to you and your needs.)

    The Best Cameras for backpackers in 2020 The best compact cameras for backpacking

    Compact cameras are brilliant for backpacking because they are small enough to fit in any backpack without weighing you down. They are ideal for backpackers who want to take hand luggage only or want something small and discreet.

    The quality of compact cameras is now incredible and you can often get many features you would normally only expect in a DSLR or mirrorless camera. In fact, the Sony RX100 VII is such a quality camera that many professionals would be happy using it as their go-to compact camera.

    The Sony RX100 VII

    This compact camera is not the cheapest but is perfect for backpacking. The Sony RX100 VII is super compact whilst also offering lots of manual settings and quality images and video that you would expect with much larger professional cameras.

    This would be the perfect camera for backpacking if you want a camera which can take professional quality photos without having to carry a heavy DSLR or mirrorless camera.

    Pros
    • 24-200mm F2.8-4.5 Zeiss zoom lens – perfect for almost any scenario.
    • 180 degree angled screen – perfect when you need to get low or high to take a picture.
    • Touch screen – useful for manual focusing quickly
    • Capable of taking RAW and JPEG photos
    • Super Slow-Mo – up to 40x
    • Fantastic real-time tracking and eye auto-focus for photos and videos.
    • Super high-quality 4K video with 20FPS
    • The minimal focal length is just 9mm – perfect for macro shots.
    Cons
    • Not cheap
    • Battery life is only 260 shots so you are likely to need a 2nd battery.
    Sony RX100 VII Premium Compact Camera with 1.0-type stacked CMOS sensor (DSCRX100M7)
    • 20. 1MP 1. 0 Type stacked CMOS sensor, Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* 24 200 millimeter F2. 8 F4. 5 large aperture high magnification zoom lens
    • 0. 02 sec. High AF speed, 357 point focal plane Phase detection AF and 425 point contrast detection AF
    • Up to 20 fps blackout free shooting, using up to 60 times/sec. Af/AE calculations
    • Ai based real time tracking for stills and movies, and touch tracking. Real time eye AF for human (stills and movies), and for animal (stills only)
    • 4K video with s log3 and Interval Shooting. Microphone jack and vertical position data recording. Active mode image stabilization in 4K video recording, and Movie Edit add on compatible
    The Canon Powershot G7X Mark II

    This Canon Powershot G7X Mark II is a mid-range priced compact camera that would be great for backpackers who want a quality camera that takes high-quality shots but doesn’t want to spend a fortune on bells and whistles.

    Pros
    • Great low-light performance with F1.8-2.8mm lens
    • Tilting touch screen
    • Image stabalization for sharp hand-held images
    • Plenty of manual options
    • Supports JPEG and RAW images
    Cons
    • No viewfinder.
    • Only 1080P video
    • Limited zoom range 24-100mm
    Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Digital Camera (Black) + SanDisk 64GB Memory Card + Point & Shoot Case + Flexible Tripod + USB Card Reader + Cleaning Kit + LCD Screen Protectors – Deluxe Accessory Bundle
    • This Photo4Less Top Value Camera With USA Warranty and manufacturers supplied Accessories Kit includes:
    • Canon PowerShot G9X Mark II Digital Camera (Black) - Sandisk Ultra SDXC 64GB 80MB/S C10 Flash Memory Card - 12-Inch Flexible Tripod with Flexible, Wrapable Legs, Quick Release Plate and Bubble Level (Red/Black)
    • Point & Shoot Camera Case - Hi-Speed SD USB Card Reader - LCD Screen Protectors (Clear) - Tri -Fold Memory Card Wallet - 5 piece Cleaning Kit - Lens Cleaning Pen
    • 20.1MP 1 High-Sensitivity CMOS Sensor - DIGIC 7 Image Processor - 3x Optical Zoom f/2-4.9 Lens - 28-84mm (35mm Equivalent) - 3.0 1.04m-Dot Touchscreen LCD Monitor
    • Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 60 fps - Built-In Wi-Fi with NFC and Bluetooth - Extended ISO 12800 and 8.2 fps Shooting - Dynamic IS and Time-Lapse Video Function - In-Camera Raw Conversion, Picture Style
    Canon Powershot IXUS185

    If you are on a very tight budget then the Canon Powershot IXUSS 185 could be a good shout. For the price, it performs well. But it’s worth considering that low-budget cameras like this offer similar quality to many high spec smartphones now.

    That said, smartphones don’t offer much zoom capacity and this little camera reaches a very decent 224mm, suitable for most travel scenarios. It also offers a very respectable 20megapixels.

    That said, I personally think it’s worth spending a little more to get superior quality photos from your backpacking camera.

    Pros
    • 20 Megapixels (this is where you may notice a difference compared to smartphones)
    • A good zoom range 28-224mm F3.2 -6.9
    • 1280×720 video
    • Easy to use for beginners
    • Small and slimline – it won’t take up much room in your backpack
    Cons
    • Image quality is good for price but cannot match the other compact cameras in this article.
    • Wouldn’t perform well at low-light photography
    ..
  • The Best Laptops for Travel Blogging as Recommended by Travel Bloggers.
    08 April 2020

    Choosing the best laptop for travel blogging is a decision you don’t want to get wrong.

    Travel bloggers rely on their laptops for their income and so getting a laptop which frequently malfunctions or becomes a hassle to take away with you, is a situation you want to avoid!

    Therefore, I’ve put together this list of the best laptops for travel bloggers based on recommendations by other travel bloggers (any myself obviously!)

    My 3 top picks for the best laptops for travelling

    If you’re short of time, these are my top 3 picks for the best laptops for travel bloggers:

    • The Macbook Air – best for those who do a lot of photo editing but are also looking for something light, compact with great battery life. Also, perfect if you are an iPhone user as the two sync up.
    • The Macbook Pro – best for travel bloggers who are also videographers, graphic designers and professional photographers.
    Image Title Price Prime Buy
    Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD Storage) - Silver PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    New Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB Storage) - Silver PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    Microsoft  Surface Pro 6 (Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB) PrimeEligible Click to buy here

    Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

    Why take a laptop travelling?

    Whilst for the average holidaymaker, a laptop for travel is not a necessity, for many people who work remotely such as travel bloggers, choosing the right laptop suitable for travel is important.

    I have been travelling with a laptop for the past 2.5 years and I couldn’t imagine going abroad without it now! We are stuck at the hip – sad but true! 

    As well as working remotely from my laptop, I also use it for the following:

    • Watching films and Netflix
    • Editing and uploading photos on the go
    • Playing games on long journeys
    • Taking notes about my trips to use later.
    • Taking online courses and reading E-books – I’m always taking some course or other to keep my blogging knowledge up to date!
    Do I need a laptop for travel?

    If you are not a travel blogger, travel photographer, digital nomad or online business owner, then you probably don’t need a laptop for travel.

    A simple tablet like an Ipad or Kindle Fire will be sufficient for reading e-books, watching films and playing games. You can also transfer, store and do basic edits for photos on the IPad.

    However, if you need to work or edit many photos on the go, you will likely get frustrated with the limitations of a simple tablet and then you should consider buying a laptop for travel.

    What features to look for in the best laptops for travel.

    There are certain laptop features that are particularly important for travel bloggers who are often on the go. They need something reliable, robust, small and light but also something powerful enough to keep up with their online business needs.

    Here are a few of the most important features to consider. You will need to decide which features are the most important for you and your travel blogging needs;

    Price

    Whilst blogging can be very profitable, many bloggers when they first start out are on a shoe string budget. Therefore many travel bloggers will be limited by cost when choosing a laptop for work.

    Laptops suitable for travel vary between about $300 and $2000 but be aware that if you choose a laptop at the lower price range, it will likely be slower with less storage and will probably weigh considerably more.

    You can probably get a laptop with all the features you need at the higher price point but since accidents can happen on the road. Make sure you get it insured.

    Size and Weight

    For me, the weight and battery power are two of the most important features in a laptop for travel blogging. I am moving between hotels a lot and I need something light and small that can fit in almost any day bag.

    I have enough heavy photography equipment to contend with without having a brick for a laptop too!

    Battery power

    Battery power is also incredibly important to me.

    When I am travelling, I will often take long bus journeys or flights which gives me the perfect opportunity to catch up with some work. I need to know that my laptop has enough juice to keep me occupied the whole journey.

    My Macbook Air has 13 hours of battery life! Pretty impressive right?!

    Screen resolution

    Travel bloggers spend a long time editing photos, creating graphics and editing videos. They need a screen which is bright, vivid and clear. If you can, choose a laptop with a retina screen – they are lovely to work with!

    Keyboard quality

    Travel bloggers will spend many hours typing long articles on their laptops. They need keys which are robust and can handle the abuse! Cheaper laptops will often have problems with keys falling off which can be a nightmare when you are on the road.

    CPU

    The CPU is the core processor and is arguably the most important factor when considering which laptop to get. It is essentially how powerful your laptop will be which determines how well and how fast it functions.

    Often it is a trade off between weight and CPU as laptops which are more powerful are often larger. For example the size of the processor is the main difference between the Macbook Air and Pro. The Pro is more powerful but as a result, it is also heavier and larger and has slightly shorter battery life.

    RAM

    If you are running lots of apps at the same time or doing any photo or video editing, choose a laptop with more RAM which allows for more applications to run simultaneously. 8GB will be sufficient for most travel bloggers.

    The build

    A travel bloggers laptop is probably going to get knocked around a fair bit whether it be in the luggage hold on a flight or whilst taking long bus journeys. It needs to be robust enough to cope with this without malfunctioning every time it gets a little knock.

    I am pretty clumsy and I must confess I have dropped my laptop on the floor more times than I care to remember. Every time, I’ve been worried it will malfunction. Not once has it had a single issue after being dropped.

    What phone you are using

    On press trips, travel bloggers barely have time for lunch let alone keeping detailed notes. Therefore many bloggers will record voice memos or make quick notes on their phones. They may even use their phones for some photography.

    Therefore, having a phone which syncs with your laptop is a lifesaver. therefore if you have an iPhone, I would highly recommend choosing a Mac for a stress-free life!

    I recently switched from an iPhone to a Samsung phone and now I cannot wait for my upgrade time so I can switch back to iPhone purely so I can start syncing my tech more easily.

    Which are the best laptops for travel bloggers? My personal favourite laptop for travel blogging

    I previously travelled with an Ipad. It was back in the day when Ipads weren’t quite as powerful as now and I certainly found it limiting for getting work done.

    These days, tablets are more advanced and come with attached keyboards so I wouldn’t completely rule them out. One of the bloggers I’ve asked to recommend their favourite laptop actually recommended the Ipad Air!

    But that said, like many travel bloggers, I do a lot of work with lightroom and photoshop and can type up to 5000 words in a day so I need something a little more powerful. These days my laptop for travel blogging is my trusty Macbook Air.

    In fact, I love the Macbook air for travelling so much that I’ve just bought my 2nd after my first has finally worn out! I pick it up tonight – how exciting!

    The Macbook Air is super light – at just 1.25kg I barely know it’s in my bag. It’s also extremely thin meaning it can fit into the smallest of spaces – great as my bag is always jampacked with all of my photography gear!

    The graphics and retina display means that editing my photos is an absolute pleasure. It’s powerful and I can run many applications at once, jumping between each. Yes, it’s not QUITE as powerful as the Macbook Pro but I’ve never had any issues.

    It also has a brilliant battery life – up to 13 hours! It was this which swayed me from the Macbook Pro which has up to 10-11 hours. The additional battery power, weight and size convinced me that the Macbook Air was the way forward again.

    I personally chose the 256GB version as I take so many photos so need all the space I can get. I also chose the gold version – my last one was rose gold and people are constantly stopping to admire my laptop when I’m working in cafes!

    New Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB Storage) – Gold
    • Stunning 13.3-Inch Retina Display with True Tone
    • Touch ID
    • Dual-core 8th-Generation Intel Core i5 Processor
    • Intel UHD Graphics 617
    • Fast SSD Storage
    • 8GB memory
    • Stereo speakers with wider Stereo sound
    • Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
    The best laptops for travel as voted by travel bloggers
    Image Title Price Buy
    New Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 128GB Storage) - Space Gray Click to buy here
    New Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB Storage) - Silver Click to buy here
    Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB) - Microsoft Surface Pro Black Signature Type Cover- Black Click to buy here
    Lenovo Ideapad 330 15.6" Anti Glared HD Premium Business Laptop (AMD A9-9425 up to 3.7 GHz, 8GB DDR4 Memory, 256GB SSD, AMD Radeon R5 Graphic, DVD-RW, HDMI, Windows 10 Home) - Purple Click to buy here
    HP - Spectre x360 2-in-1 15.6" 4K Ultra HD Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 16GB Memory - 512GB SSD - 15-DF0013DX (Renewed) Click to buy here
    Huawei Matebook 13 Signature Edn. Laptop - 13" 2K Touch, 8th Gen i7, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, Office 365 Personal 1-Year, Gray
  • What to take to the beach – your ultimate guide
    08 April 2020

    The last thing you want to happen when you get to the beach is to realise you’ve left a beach essential at home. So when you are planning what to take to the beach, use this guide to make sure you have everything you need for a blissfully relaxing day in the sun!

    My problem as a solo traveller is often deciding what to take to the beach – do I take my camera and get some nice shots of the beach sunset? Or do I go without any valuables so that I can swim in peace knowing my valuables aren’t at risk of being stolen?

    Fortunately, I have discovered a few brilliant ideas to solve this dilemma which I will share with you today. They make deciding what to take to the beach MUCH easier!

    No time to read it now? No worries, pin it for later!

    So here is my list of things you need for the beach to have a perfect summers day.

    What to take to the beach – your beach packing list Practical things you need to take to the beach A sand-free, quick-dry, antibacterial beach towel.

    Hands up who seems to always get sand absolutely everywhere?

    Yep, me too.

    However, one thing that helps me limit the damage is to use a sand-free beach towel. One quick shake and the sand is gone meaning that my beach bag stays sand free at the end of the day.

    When choosing a beach towel, make sure you get one which is quick-dry and antibacterial specially if you are travelling between places and need to pack your towel away each night.

    These days there are some really nice beach towels that are practically fashion statements as well as functional items.

    Here are just a few you can choose between;

    Image Title Price Prime Buy
    KOLLIEE Sand Free Beach Towels Flowers Portable Colorful Compact Beach Towels Absorbent Pool Towels Sand Proof Beach Towels for Adults Girls Women Kids 31x63 inch PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    Genovega Mandala Microfiber Pool Beach Towel - 74"x34" Quick Fast Dry Sand Free Proof Outdoor Travel Rack Swim Micro Fiber Blanket Thin Yoga Mat Personalized Women Men Adults Boho Bohemian PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    FAFANCY Microfiber Beach Towel - Oversized Quick Dry Sand-Free Absorbent Beach Towels for Kids and Adults - Best Lightweight Thin Towels for Swimming Pool, Camping, Vacation - Extra Large 63x35 Blue PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    Elite Trend Microfiber Beach Towel for Travel - Oversized XL 78x35,72x72,63x31,71x31Inch Quick Drying, Lightweight, Fast Dry Towels, Sand Free PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    Mumu Sugar Sand Free Beach Mat Oversized 82" x79 "Sand Proof Beach Blanket Outdoor Picnic Mat for Travel, Camping, Hiking and Music Festivals-Lightweight Quick Drying Heat Resistant PrimeEligible Click to buy here
    Dock & Bay Lightweight Beach Towels for Travel - Cancun Green, Extra Large (200x90cm, 78x35) - Pool Towel, Sand Free Beach Blanket PrimeEligible Click to buy here

    Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

    Reef safe sunscreen

    So much of the world’s coral has been damaged and discoloured over the past few decades that we should all be trying to limit the damage we do to our environment.

    Sunscreen is one of the things which is damaging our marine coral but luckily there is an alternative – reef-safe sunscreen.

    Make sure you put this on your beach packing list!

    If you plan to be doing a lot of swimming in the sea, make sure you use this sunscreen to help protect our planet. You can keep your other sun screen for days around the pool instead.

    Sun Bum Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion | Vegan and Reef Friendly (Octinoxate & Oxybenzone Free) Broad Spectrum Moisturizing UVA/UVB Sunscreen with Vitamin E | 8 oz
    • ORIGINAL SPF 30 SUNSCREEN LOTION . This is the stuff we use every day. It’s the formula that started it all. People say it smells like summer. We like that. Whether we’re spending a lazy day at the beach or just hangin’ out, our Original formula is definitely our fav.
    • MOISTURIZING SUN PROTECTION. Dermatologist and Sonny approved, this non-comedogenic sunscreen delivers UVA/UVB protection and is packed with Vitamin E. Our oil-free, water-resistant and reef friendly SPF 30 Lotion is great for all skin types.
    Plenty of water

    Did you know on an average day, we should be consuming 2 litres of water a day? When you go to the beach, you are more likely to get dehydrated so you need to drink more than this – closer to 3-4 litres.

    Therefore when planning what to take to the beach, make sure plenty of water is on the list!

    Save money and help the environment but getting a reusable water bottle with a filter so that you can fill it up from any source (except the sea) safely.

    LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle with 2-Stage Integrated Filter Straw for Hiking, Backpacking, and Travel, Blue
    • Reusable LifeStraw Go BPA-free water bottle filters water while drinking; great for travel, backpacking, camping, and emergency kits
    • Award-winning LifeStraw hollow fiber membrane water filter removes bacteria and protozoa from lakes, streams to ensure safe, clean drinking water
    • 2-stage activated carbon filter reduces odor, chlorine and leaves zero aftertaste
    • Removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites without chemicals, iodine or batteries
    • Durable, 23-ounce, leak-proof bottle made of BPA-free Tritan and features a food-grade silicone mouthpiece; replacement filters available separately
    A swimsuit

    Putting a swimsuit on your beach packing list goes without saying really! You’re going to want a dip in that inviting water, especially on a hot day! Here are a few of my swimsuit picks;

    Tempt Me Women One Piece Swimsuit High Neck V-Neck Mesh Ruched Swimwear Black L
    • High neck design with a padded push-up bra and neck hook closure provide support and shaping.
    • The see-through mesh style and deep plunge back design amp up the bathing suit, to be more flirty, awesome, and chic.
    • Excellent quality: The smooth fabric material is stretchy, comfortable, and soft, ensuring you will thoroughly enjoy wearing it. Note: Regular size: XS,S,M,L,XL. Plus Sizes: 14 Plus, 16 Plus, 18 Plus, 20 Plus.
    • The ruched pattern in the torso accentuates your curves and hides any imperfections perfectly while still being flattering.
    CUPSHE Women’s Fresh Leaves Printing Cross Padding Bikini Set (M)
    • Fabric: Chinlon,Elastane
    • Design: Cross at front and tie at back
    • About Cup Style: With padding bra
    • Garment Care:Hand Wash and Hang Dry. Recommend with Cold Water. Do not Use Bleach.
    • The pattern is one of a kind - The exact pattern you receive will be slightly different than the one shown.
    CUPSHE Women’s Shirring Design V-Neck Low Back One Piece Swimsuit (X-Large (USA 16/18), Plum)
    • Fabric: 80% chinlon,20% spandex
    • Front shirring with Lining
    • About Cup Style:With padding bra
    • Garment Care:Hand Wash and Hang Dry. Recommend with Cold Water. Do not Use Bleach.
    • Please Refer To Our Detailed Size Chart below the product description Before You Purchase.
    A hat

    Avoid heat stroke and don’t forget to pack a sun hat!

    Lanzom Womens Big Bowknot Straw Hat Floppy Foldable Roll up Beach Cap Sun Hat UPF 50+ (X-Khaki)
    • Top quality skin-friendly straw material. Soft comfortable and breathable design. Hand washing only.
    • An essential accessory for your Outdoor Travel/Holiday/Beach playing. Folding Packable design for easy storage in a handbag or backpack when it is not in use. Convenient carrying along!
    ..
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