Best “walking cities” to travel to in the world

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Sometimes the only way to really get to know the city you are visiting is to take it all in at your own pace. That means strolling around the streets, getting a feel for the people and atmosphere of the place. While some cities are not ideal to walk around because of their hills (hello, San Francisco), others can be enjoyed under the power of your own two feet. We’ve done the hard part and trekked across many of the world’s cities to give you our definitive recommendations on which of them to wander around.

New York, USA

Let’s start with a biggie, New York City. Taking a taxi or a bus around this city just won’t do it the justice it deserves. Walking around the streets of Manhattan really lets you see all that is going on. You can grab a pizza on the corner of a street, or head into one of the many bars, restaurants, or cafes to give yourself a quick rest before you march on through the city. Of course, you will have to get out and walk through Central Park, so why not extend your walk? No trip to New York would be complete without walking around several of the huge department stores the city has to offer.

London, UK

London is a huge metropolis, but unlike many cities, its streets are narrow and intertwining. This means that if you take a bus or taxi tour, you are going to miss things because they can’t fit down all of the streets. Down some of these little side streets are many little pubs and historic buildings. You’ll want to get a closer look at some of the ancient architecture that you just don’t get to see from the window of a moving vehicle. We recommend getting up at daybreak to really take in the city at your own pace before the working residents start bulldozing their way around the sidewalks and walkways.

Paris, France

Paris, the city of love. What better place to go for a romantic stroll than the French capital city? Take your partner and go for a long walk along the river Seine before ending up frolicking through the Tuileries gardens. The gardens are located beside the Louvre art gallery so make sure you stop by after you’ve experienced the beauty of the gardens. Walk through the streets and enjoy the smell of bread and coffee as you walk past some of the finest cafes Paris has to offer.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is a historic city; its streets are a reminder of how we used to live hundreds of years ago. The cobbled stones and narrow alleys can be found all over the city, helping to transport you back to the medieval times. Prague doesn’t get too hot, even during the summer so you can comfortably walk around the city without getting burnt or sweating buckets. With several concert halls and clubs, walk around this city will fill your ears with the sounds of the Czech culture.

These are some of the best cities to stroll around at your own pace. You can just drop yourself into the city and absorb the culture through the sights, smells, tastes, and people that surround you. To get a sense of the history of these places then take a guided walking tour to learn more when you visit. If you are looking to visit a city for your next vacation, then consider walking around one of these cultural hotspots.

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10 great road trips around the world: readers’ tips

Our tipsters drive through Transylvania bear country and the bayous of Louisiana, stargaze in Chile and enjoy the solitude of Siberia

This is a wonderfully underrated road-trip destination. From Bucharest, take Road 1 towards the Carpathian mountains, to the well-preserved medieval towns of Braşov and Sighişoara. On the way, you’ll often be surrounded by dense, dark woodland and craggy peaks, where there are bears and wolves, and pass the time spotting castles and horse and carts. In Zărneşti, we stayed at Pensiunea Hora cu Brazi (doubles from £28 room only) near Piatra Craiului national park and enjoyed a slower pace of life, sitting in the farm’s garden and enjoying the homemade and traditional food, wine and spirits.
Sam Wallis

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What should you absolutely not do when visiting France

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We’re going all continental now as we jet off to the beautiful land of France, AKA the country of love. This land might be blessed with one of the most delicate languages and some of the best cuisine found around the world, but have you found yourself asking the question what should you absolutely not do when visiting France? Thankfully, we have them all for you right here!

Shop at souvenir stalls

Souvenirs and trinkets can be the perfect way to take all the memories from your vacation back home to share with your friends and family. Plus, if they’re fortunate, you might even pick up a gift or two to share! However, if you want to make the most of your French experience, then you will want to try and avoid these stalls. They are dotted all around the country but are mainly found in the cities. “Why should they be avoided?” we hear you ask? As with most countries, they are overpriced and will leave your wallet feeling considerably lighter.

Visit without learning the language

We aren’t suggesting you take a degree in French and become fully fluent before your vacation. However, before taking a trip to France you might want to think about learning some of the simpler words, such as “Bonjour” for “Hello,” “Au revoir” for “Goodbye,” and “Merci” for “Thank you.” Just like many countries in Europe, the French pride themselves on being polite. Not knowing some of their basic words might make the locals feel as though you’re being rude. Not a good start.

Begin a conversation without a greeting

This ties in with the previous point but is still very much as important as trying to learn a touch of the French language before your big trip. In many countries around the world, it’s acceptable to walk up to someone and dive right in with a question. However, in France, things are a bit different. People like others that are polite and ask for their help rather than assuming they are there to offer up their time. As an added bonus, you might be more likely to receive the help you’re looking for if you’re polite. It never hurts to have manners.

Spend all your time at the Eiffel Tower

Yes, the Eiffel Tower is one of the biggest selling points for a trip to Paris. No one could blame you for wanting to see the structure with your own eyes. That doesn’t mean you need to spend your entire vacation hanging around the famous spot. There is so much more that Paris has to offer, let alone the rest of the country. Spending all your time here is one of the things you absolutely shouldn’t do on a trip to France as you could miss out on all the other wonderful sights across the French landscape.

Get the Metro at rush hour

Unfortunately, like many countries around the world, France is no stranger to pickpockets. So if you want to use their public transport and stay safe, then your best bet is to avoid overcrowded trains throughout the rush hour. They are a huge target for thieves, and you could find yourself on the receiving end of a robbery if you’re not careful. If you have no choice but to board the train at his time, then ensure you have your bag tightly closed as well as keeping it close to your chest at all times.

A trip to France can be one of the most exciting experiences of our lives. After all, the culture is so different to many we see all around the world. As long as you avoid the things you should absolutely not do when visiting France, then you’re set to have yourself a brilliant vacation.

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The cheapest countries that you can visit

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We all need a break now and then. Whether you go alone, with family or with friends, you can’t beat a great vacation. It’s the perfect way to forget about work and get some rest and relaxation. However, while a vacation might be great, they aren’t always affordable. The cost of travel and accommodation can be intimidating, plus there’s the matter of how much you’ll spend while abroad. Luckily, some countries are a lot cheaper to visit than others. Consider visiting these places if you want to save yourself a few bucks.

Indonesia

More than 13,000 islands make up the Republic of Indonesia, so you’re pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to somewhere to stay. That’s not why you should make your next vacation an Indonesian one, though. The exchange rate has never been better, with $ 1 now worth the equivalent of 14,000 Rupiah. To put that in perspective, it was worth 5,000 Rupiah less five years ago.

You can find excellent accommodation for just $ 20-30, and they don’t skimp on quality. A lot of these places are located in pool villas or by the beaches, which are amazing by the way. If you want to spend your time soaking up the sun, the white sand beaches here are perfect, and they offer some of the best diving and surfing facilities in the world. All for a low price, of course. The only thing you won’t find affordably priced are the drinks, but you don’t need to get tipsy to have a good time.

Bulgaria

If you’re looking for a European vacation this year, we recommend going to Bulgaria. The country has long been one of the best places to visit for an affordable break, However, with the conversion rate continuing to improve, now is the best time to travel there. For those of you who enjoy a drink or two on their vacation, Bulgaria has got you covered. It has some of the cheapest drinks around, and a full winery tour might only cost you $ 5. That’s quite an experience for just a few bucks. It’s less than you’d pay to see a movie back home.

A vacation in Bulgaria is the epitome of relaxation. Not only are there beaches to lounge on and hiking routes to explore, but the locals are incredibly friendly too. They’re so laidback, which is probably a refreshing change from what you’re used to at home. It’s enough to make you feel guilty about spending so little money in their country. When they’re offering rooms for $ 20 a night, though, how can you turn them down?

Colombia

Colombia doesn’t have the best reputation, but you shouldn’t believe everything you read in the media. While there are some areas in the country that you’re best off avoiding, Colombia is also home to some of the world’s most amazing sights. It’s incredibly cheap too. Ever since 2014, the US dollar has improved in worth dramatically. Whereas before $ 1 equaled 1800 Colombian Pesos, it’s now equivalent to 2900 Pesos. That’s a pretty steep increase which isn’t so great for locals, but benefits anyone looking for a cheap vacation.

With an exchange rate like that, you can afford to stay in beautiful, traditional guest houses for no more than $ 30. You can also dine on some of the best local cuisine for a fraction of that. When you consider how much there is to see in Colombia, from the colorful Caño Cristales to the Lost City of Teluna, there’s no reason not to pay a visit to this South American country. Besides, where else provides the opportunity to bathe in volcanic mud for such an affordable price?

Are you convinced now that being on a budget doesn’t have to stop you from having a great vacation? If you’re not too fussy about where you want to travel to, a cheap break abroad is entirely possible.

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An old flame: a return trip to the beaches and mountains of Çıralı, Turkey

This low-key south-coast village with family-friendly beaches, natural rock fires, mountain walks and fantastic food proved just as special on a second visit

The second time you visit an area is always a test. You are presumably going back because you enjoyed it the first time. Will the second visit live up to expectations? We were first recommended Çıralı, on the Turkish coast south of Antalya, by a friend who had lived in Kardamyli in Greece. It was apparently very similar: a beautiful but low-key resort, surrounded by mountains and lots to explore. He was right: we loved it.

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Amazing international honeymoon destinations

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So, they’ve popped the question, you’ve said yes (eeek!) and you’re getting ready to plan for your big day! Pretty exciting, right? Planning a wedding is one of the most incredible experiences you’ll ever get to enjoy, but we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t stressful. There are deadlines to meet, budgets to keep, and a whole heap of guests to entertain. Eventually, the whole thing can get on top of you. Luckily, the big day itself will be one of the most memorable days of your life, and you can top the whole thing off with a beautiful honeymoon that will allow you to relax and unwind with your new husband or wife. But where do you go? Well, you just have to go international…

Paris, France

In the words of Audrey Hepburn, “Paris is always a good idea!” This is especially true when it comes to your honeymoon, because Paris is all about the luuuuurve. With romantic walks along the Seine, trips up the Eiffel Tower, and food that will truly get your taste buds tingling, more and more couples are choosing to ditch the beach and opt for a city break honeymoon instead. If this is what you’re into, Paris should be at the top of your list. You just need to Google pictures of the city to understand why…

Fiji Islands

If you’ve found yourself getting increasingly stressed about your wedding day, you probably want to just chill out and enjoy your time with your new husband or wife during your honeymoon. You want to just sit back, relax, and enjoy what nature has to offer. If this sounds right up your street, why not fly to the Fiji Islands for your honeymoon? With ridiculously beautiful beaches that are full of golden sands and crystal clear water, these islands are a tropical paradise. If money is not an issue, you should definitely check out luxury villas that sit above the sea. They are truly a sight to behold.

Kenya, Africa

Your honeymoon should be one of the most memorable experiences of your life, which means you need to go to a memorable destination. If you’re struggling to find the right one for you, you might want to consider Kenya. As one of the coolest destinations on this planet, you could spend your honeymoon going on safari and walking with the elephants. Make sure you get some binoculars to ensure you can see the lions and tigers and giraffes, but also make sure you take your sense of adventure.

Dubai, UAE

If you’re looking to spend your first days of being a married couple in the life of luxury, we have a feeling that Dubai may be the place for you. Known to be the playground for the rich and famous, this oil-haven is laden with some of the most expensive hotels in the world, as well as some of the greatest food and attractions. You could spend your days just lazing on the beach, exploring the designer stores, or you could even grab a dune buggy and roll up and down the desert. The opportunities are endless!

Bali, Indonesia

Bali is becoming an increasingly popular destination among newlyweds, because it offers everything you could possibly want for the honeymoon of a lifetime. There are beaches to make use of, there are jungles to explore, there are temples to traverse, and their are luxury lodges to stay in. While Indonesia may be a long flight away for some of you, it will definitely be worth it. After all, you’ve gotta go international.

Are you still looking for the perfect honeymoon? Well, instead of choosing a destination that is close to home, why not look a little further afield?

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Hotels in America that are most dog friendly

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Taking a vacation can be great, but seeing our four-legged friend’s face at the doors as we head off with our packed bags can be heartbreaking. So why not bring them with you? Believe or not, several hotels now allow you to take your dogs, too. Now, we can enjoy our vacation with the entire family at the hotels in America that are most dog friendly.

The Peninsula, Beverly Hills

If you’re looking for the ultimate relaxation hotel for you and your dog than look no further. While you are enjoying the hotel’s rooftop pool and fancy cars on offer, your pooch can be soaking up a pawdicure or doggy massage. This is all before they choose a meal off the specialized dog menu that includes a dog-friendly burger or pooched salmon (gettit?). To top it all off, your little pup can enjoy all of this from the comfort of their complimentary dog bed.

W South Beach, Miami

The Sunshine State is famous for just that – its incredible weather. So if you’re looking to soak up the rays and want your best friend there for the ride, this could be the hotel for you. The W South Beach hotel has everything you could need for your furry friends, including litter boxes, leashes, and pet beds. Plus the beach is just a short walk away meaning the entire family can enjoy fun in the sun. If you need some time to yourself, the hotel can also arrange pet sitters or dog walkers to keep your pooch company.

Aloft, Asheville

This could possibly be doggy heaven. “Why?” we hear you scream? Sit back and let us explain. The hotel has added artificial grass over the entire rooftop to create its own puppy path to explore. Plus, Aloft also works with the local pooch bakery that can deliver fresh-baked local treats right to your room. As if that wasn’t enough, the hotel is also located right next to a variety of mountain walks as well as many dog-friendly restaurants meaning you never have to be parted from your companion.

Topnotch Resort, Stowe

The Topnotch Resort is perfect for those looking to give their dogs an outdoor adventure teamed with a chance to relax and unwind. Not only can you take it all the sights and sounds of the local hiking trails, but you could also sign your dog up for a spa treatment or Reiki massage. As if that wasn’t enough, the hotel has a range of dog-friendly baked goods available to snack on after all the adventures of the day. Don’t feel left out, the Topnotch Resort has plenty of treatments available for owners, too!

W Hotel, Scottsdale

There is no stopping these American Dog-friendly hotels. The W Hotel runs doggy yoga as well as pooch boot camp classes to get you and your little friend active. Plus, they are greeted with an exclusive welcome pack that includes treats, a toy, and a dog tag as well as a letter explaining all the pet-friendly activities in the area. If you head down to San Francisco, you could also enjoy another hotel in the chain that even offers up bedtime doggy beer!

These hotels in America that are the most dog friendly almost sound too good to be true. In fact, it seems as though our four-legged friends will have an even better time than we will. No longer do we have to worry about waving goodbye to our pooches; they are part of the family too and should be there for all those special memories!

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What should you absolutely not do when visiting the UK

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A trip across the pond to the UK is a brilliant way to see the home of the Royals and the land of tea and crumpets. Plus, there is much more to the country than the capital, London. However, there are several little bits us tourists might not know before taking a trip. So here are the things you absolutely not do when visiting the UK.

Drive around the cities

The cities of the UK are great. London, Manchester, and Edinburgh are all so different from each other and will help you see what the country has to offer. However, you might not want to use a car if you aren’t familiar with the streets. The cities in the UK can be dangerous places for motorists as it’s every person for themselves. Thankfully, most cities have extensive public transport systems. Just take the tube system in London – you won’t even need a car to get around! If you want to keep safe and enjoy yourself, perhaps leave the car at home.

Assume everywhere is England

England is the largest country in the UK, but it isn’t the only one. In fact, the UK is made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and everywhere is extremely proud of their own country. Yes, England may have been what drew you to Great Britain in the first place. However, this isn’t to say everyone will appreciate you calling their homeland “England.” After all, it would be like assuming Canada and America are the same places. They just aren’t.

Forget about your coins

In America, the coins can seem pretty meaningless. Quarters and nickels, who needs them? Well, in the UK you will want to remember that these coins are highly important. That’s because £1 coins can be used anywhere just like $ 1 bills. If you forget about their existence, you might find yourself with a pocket full of change. Before long you could spend your entire vacation weighed down by all the extra change until you are left needing another suitcase to get it all back home.

Randomly talk to strangers

Brits are funny. They love to tut and moan about the weather among other things, but they rarely like to speak with random strangers. Why? The people of the UK like who they know and keep it at that. In other countries, it can seem reasonable to strike up a conversation with the locals. However, when taking a trip to the UK, you don’t want to try and make friends. People will usually think you are strange and leave you talking to yourself in the street. It’s odd, but it’s normal to the Brits.

Stand on the left

There is a rule when it comes to using escalators – you don’t stand on the left. This area of the moving stairs is reserved for those in a rush or looking to burn a few extra calories on the way to work. If there is one thing you don’t want to do when visiting the UK, it is annoy the workers in the city. They are a hardened bunch of individuals that will fight you even when you’re down, especially if you make them late. If you don’t want to run up and down the escalators, simply stand to the right and hold onto the rail.

The UK is a fabulous place to visit any time of the year. Plus, you can finally find out why they talk about tea so much. Who knew it could taste so great over the pond? With this list of things you should absolutely not do when visiting the UK, you’ll blend in in no time.

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Dazzled by Donegal: an activity break that’s big, bold and brilliant

The challenge: can north-west Ireland match Canada and New Zealand for an epic adventure? After surfing, riding and kayaking, our writer found the answer on a sea-stack climb

The conversation started at the indoor climbing wall – an attempt to list the world’s wildest and most adventurous destinations. New Zealand and British Columbia were contenders, as was Newcastle on a Friday night. Then Tim, who runs an ethical outdoor gear company called Gather Outdoors, suggested Ireland. I thought about that one. “Ireland can be wild,” I said, “but it’s not adventurous.”

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The best beaches in America to head to for the summer

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Ahhhh, the American summer. Does it get much better than sitting in the sun with a good book to read, a cold Coca-Cola in your hands, and a view of the sea in front of you? We think not. However, those who don’t live by the sea will know just how irritating it is when people say things like that last sentence (oops, sorry). However, we think it’s about time you packed up your car, filled up your tank, and took a trip across America to check out some of the most beautiful beaches this wonderful country has to offer. We won’t take no for an answer!

Coronado Beach, San Diego – California

California is famous for its beaches, and it’s really hard to single them out because they’re just that good! However, if we had to pick, the Coronado Beach in San Diego is one of the coolest beaches in the state. With year-round sun and hot temperatures, it’s the perfect place to just go and chill on your day off. As if that wasn’t cool enough, the surf here is unlike any other beach around. So, grab your board and ride the waves – and then dry off on the sand after!

Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin – Florida

Have you ever wanted to chill out on a private island? The Caladesi Island State Park gives you that opportunity. Visitors can access the golden sands through a shuttle ferry, or you could even walk it if you’re feeling particularly energetic that day – and the end result will truly blow you away. For a minute you’ll forget that you’re in the United States and think that you’ve been transported Down Under. However, we can confirm that you will just be in Florida! A very beautiful part of Florida.

Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island – South Carolina

If you’re the kind of person that likes to go to the beach and get active, the Beachwalker Park in Kiawah Island will be for you. Although it’s not the kind of place you’ll want to sit and sunbathe, this beach is a haven for water sports enthusiasts and nature lovers. In fact, you might even be able to incorporate the two! Why not grab your paddle board and float atop the beautiful water while looking out for rare birds and wildlife? I mean, you don’t get much better than that.

Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island – Hawaii

You know the screensavers that don’t look real? Well, the Hapuna Beach State Park beach is basically one of those. To look at, this beach just doesn’t look like it really exists, and you might be wondering if you’re hallucinating. Yet, we can confirm that the beautiful golden sand that is in front of you is not just a figment of your imagination. With the green backdrop, the palm trees, the crystal clear waters and the blue eyes, you will get a true taste of Hawaiian life… and we want seconds.

Coopers Beach, Southampton – New York

When you think of New York, you probably think of the Big Apple with its bright lights and bustling streets. Because of this, many people forget that New York is a whole state with little towns, villages, and beaches. One of the best beaches in New York has to be Coopers Beach in Southampton. With incredible dunes, luscious beach grass and rocking waves, this beach is the perfect haven for checking out the surf or just enjoying the sun.

Are you looking to check out what beaches America has to offer this summer? Well, look no further, because we’ve got your back!

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Kala festival, Albania: party time in what feels like a paradise

A new arrival on the festival circuit, Albania is tempting younger holidaymakers to dance on its beaches and explore beyond its pristine shores

Just how seriously the Albanian ministry of tourism was taking Kala festival – the first international event of its kind in the country – became clear the moment we stepped off the boat at Saranda to find a police escort waiting to accompany our coaches on the winding, mountainous transfer. That and the arrival of prime minister Edi Rama the following day, for an impromptu poolside press conference with the organisers at our hotel.

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The top five places history lovers should visit

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Although we like to look towards the future and what some of the science lovers have in store for us, we find history much more exciting than driverless cars. Yep, we love nothing more than looking back into the past and seeing how our ancestors used to live – because everything was completely different. The architecture was like nothing we could ever imagine, the fashion was not the kind of fashion you would see walking down a runway, the food was natural and authentic, and their way of life was not governed by technology. If you’re the same, you might want to check out these cool places across the world.

Athens, Greece

When you think of ancient history, there’s a high chance that you think of Ancient Greece – with their chariots and their pottery, their mythology and their columns. In fact, the lives of those in Ancient Greece have fascinated historians and everyday people for centuries, and if you’re one of those people, you might want to check out the epicenter of Ancient Greek life. Athens is home to the famous Acropolis, the first ever Olympic stadium, the beautiful Parthenon, and all of the columns you could possibly wish for. You know you want to.

Petra, Jordan

Jordan isn’t the kind of destination that anyone would want to visit, but it’s the perfect location if you’re into your history. This gorgeous location is commonly linked to the quest for the Holy Grail and has often been featured in the many Indiana Jones’ movies. In fact, Petra is considered one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and features incredible red rock that is steeped in history. It really does have to be seen to be believed.

Rome, Italy

You had the Greeks, and now you have the Romans! Ancient Rome is considered one of the most fascinating eras in history and is the site of various historical monuments that entice millions of visitors every single year. You can check out the Colosseum, the Catacombs of San Callisto, the Roman Forum and much more. If that wasn’t enough to tempt you, you can also break up your sightseeing with oodles of pizza and gelato. Do you need any more persuading?

Machu Picchu, Peru

If you fancy getting in a workout and enjoying history at the same time, then a trip to Machu Picchu in Peru would not go amiss. Although it will take you four days to trek there, the result at the end of the hike is well worth it. The remains of this civilization will completely blow you away. It’s been perfectly preserved and is crawling with the hints of history. The city is also surrounded by gorgeous mountains that will really leave you speechless.

Cairo, Egypt

When you think of Ancient Egypt, you probably think of pyramids, pharaohs, sphinxes, and desert landscapes – and that’s exactly what modern Cairo has to offer. Although you might need to ignore the cars that drive past the pyramids, the real deals will showcase just how incredibly these structures are. Wander around the desert and truly immerse yourself into the lives of those who lived in Ancient Egypt.

Are you a history buff looking for a brand new adventure? Well, we think we have your next destinations sorted for you…

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What should you not do when visiting the USA

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America, the land of the free. There is so much to see all across this beautiful land that it can be hard to take it all in. However, on your adventures, you might find yourself asking the question: what should you absolutely not do when visiting the USA? Although the states are all so different from each other, there are some general rules us visitors should probably remember…

Forget to tip

This is one rule you absolutely want to remember when visiting America. In many countries around the world, it is normal not to tip waiters or waitresses. However, in the USA this isn’t the case. Here, employees usually rely on the extra income from customers which is one of the many reasons they pride themselves on customer service. So if you’re eating out then don’t forget to throw a few dollars extra onto the table as a tip before you leave.

Underestimate the size

If you come from Europe, then it might seem normal to drive for a few hours and be in a different country. In the USA, you could drive for hours and still be in the same state, let alone far enough away to consider it a vacation. So if you only have a few days to take in the country then don’t assume you can cram in a whole heap of things to do up and down America. Instead, focus on one area at a time and perhaps consider getting a flight to continue your adventures?

Mess with the cops

Of course, joking around with the police in any country probably isn’t a good idea. However, this is a particularly bad choice when visiting America. Unlike other countries, you are expected to stay in your vehicle if you are pulled over and might be treated as a threat if you get out or make any sudden movements. Plus, they aren’t happy go lucky people in the streets either. These men and women are there to keep people safe and don’t have time to mess around.

Get in people’s space

Americans love their personal space. But here you have to be more conscious about how close you are than other areas of the world. In many countries, it can seem reasonable to give a kiss on the cheek or even give a stranger a hug when you meet for the first time. However, when visiting America, you want to make sure you don’t get too close. If you do, Americans will probably think you’re being strange and rude before leaving the conversation.

Try and compare your country

Many Americans are extremely proud of their country. So comparing your country to their land could have disastrous effects. Of course, the people of America love to hear all about new cultures. However, they most likely don’t want to listen to any ways that your country could be better than theirs – even if it is. So keep the personal opinions to yourself, and you should be set to have a pleasant trip!

America might seem like a big scary place, but there is no need to be afraid. Instead, it’s time to stop worrying about the things you should absolutely not do when visiting the USA and start planning all the wonderful things you CAN do. After all, this should be the vacation of a lifetime!

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Strokes of genius: the beauty and calm of wild swimming

From tranquility in the Lake District and Brecon Beacons to lovely lochs in the Cairngorms, six enthusiasts reveal their top spots for a wild swim

Suzanna Cruickshank
When I first moved to the Lake District I was a big walker but then I started swimming and realised all those feelings you get from climbing a mountain – the sense of peace, the satisfaction – you can get from swimming for five minutes in a lake. Swimming is a different way to appreciate the beauty of the area; it’s a view that you’re not sharing with anyone else because you’re on your own out there.

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The 5 things you should always pack for a vacation

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Unfortunately, there’s a bug going around right now and were not sure how to get rid of it. In fact, we’re not sure we want to get rid of the travel bug! Yep, we’re having way too much fun exploring the world and seeing what new and exotic destinations have to offer. However, going on vacation and traveling around the world isn’t all positive – because we don’t think we will ever enjoy packing our bags. How do you know how many pairs of shorts you should take? It makes sense to take underwear for two weeks even though you’re only going for one week, right? Well, to make things easier, take a look at the 5 things you should always pack for a vacation…

An electronics adaptor

Let’s be honest; we can’t go a single day without checking our phones and scrolling through Instagram. Yet, you often find yourself crying in the dark when you realize that the country you have come to doesn’t have the same plug sockets as you do – which means that your phone charger doesn’t work. Because of this, it’s important to remember an electronics adaptor for the country you are going to, to ensure that you can be zapped up all day, every day.

Sun lotion

There are some people in this world who seem to burn at the smallest sight of sunlight, and those rays can get even stronger if you’re going abroad. Of course, getting sunburn on your first day of vacation can ruin the rest of your trip. You have to cover yourself up, you have to stay out of the sun, and you might even start peeling for all of your vacation snaps! To avoid this, ensure that you pack sun lotion before you leave. Although you can buy sun lotion at the airport or at your destination, these are normally much more expensive. Save your pennies for the ice cream.

First aid kit

If you’re the kind of person who always finds themselves in the wars, it may be best to carry a first aid kit with you at all times. It’s best to carry basic items such as band-aids and gauze just in case you have to mend yourself. Going to the hospital in another country can be scary and time-consuming, so it’s important to be prepared for all eventuality. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t be careful and take care of yourself!

Copies of important documents

It’s amazing how many people don’t make copies of their important documents when they travel, but it really could get you out of a sticky situation! Although many of us don’t like to think about losing our passport or our credit card while in another country, it can happen – and you need to be prepared for any eventuality. Obtaining a new passport can be a lengthy process, and can keep you in a strange country for weeks. However, many countries will allow visitors to fly in and out of their country with a photocopy of their passport if their passport has been lost or stolen. Don’t get caught out!

Wet wipes

Never underestimate the power of a good wet wipe! These nifty little things are the perfect travel companion because they offer many uses. You can use them on yourself, on your children, or even in your hotel room. Yep, they can take off makeup, wipe off food, and even help deal with the dust situation, and can make you feel more at ease during your vacation. What could be better than that?

Packing for your vacation is never fun, and we all try and put it off until the last minute. Yet, if you know what to pack – it can be a little easier!

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A local’s guide to Edinburgh: 10 top tips

The Scottish capital’s big draw is its festivals but the quieter corners are alive year round – with stylish cafes and bistros, moody bars and thriving art spaces

Dovecot Gallery and Tapestry Studio

The Infirmary Street Baths, built in 1885, were the first public swimming baths to open in the Scottish capital, with the aim of improving public health. Today, the Dovecot Gallery occupies the old Ladies Baths space, while the Dovecot Tapestry Studio is in what was the main pool. Dovecot Gallery will appeal to anyone with a passing interest in contemporary art, but craft and textiles enthusiasts are especially well catered for. Exhibitions showcase art forms such as weaving and jewellery, and summer’s major show is Liberty Art, Fabrics & Fashion (28 July-12 January 2019), exploring 140 years of Liberty London. The tapestry studio, which makes tufted rugs, is not open to the public but can be observed from a viewing balcony.
10 Infirmary Street, dovecotstudios.com

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The best locations for a destination wedding

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If the love of your life has just popped the question – well, we’re pretty darn jealous. Ahem, we mean… Congratulations! The idea of spending the rest of your life is probably filling your socks with so much joy right now you don’t really know where to turn, and the idea of planning a wedding is something you just don’t want to think about. We get it; it’s stressful. It’s even more stressful if you live in a country where the sun rarely makes an appearance. If you want beauty and guaranteed sun for your big day, check out these best locations for a destination wedding…

Italy

Italy is one of the most romantic destinations on the planet, and although Romeo & Juliet didn’t exactly work out, they are still considered the patrons of love – so that’s gotta stand for something, right? More and more couples are choosing to have their big day in Italy because the country is so diverse. There are bustling cities with some of the greatest hotels, there are beautiful vineyards with space for your aisle, and there are even incredible beaches for you and your guests to get your feet sandy. If you need any more persuading, just think of all the fresh and fancy wine you could drink.

Greece

If you and your betrothed love a bit of culture in your life, Greece should definitely be added to your list of possible wedding destinations. Although they may be a little behind the times in terms of technology and modern traditions, that’s exactly what some couples want from their big day. Good food, authentic music, and people who generally just want to enjoy your day and the beautiful surroundings that Greece has to offer. From the whitewashed buildings to the views of the ocean and the Greek people who are more than willing to stuff money into your wedding dress, absolutely nothing could go wrong.

The Maldives

If you haven’t Googled what the Maldives looks like yet, you should probably do that ASAP. However, youa might want to sit down before you do it because your legs are guaranteed to go all wobbly. With little else but the sea and sand around you, the Maldives is the perfect wedding choice if you want something utterly breathtaking and private. You can stay in a lodge overlooking the ocean, get hitched on the beach, and spend the next few days in paradise with your new husband or wife. I mean, do you need any more reasons?

Hawaii

Hawaii is the kind of place that is on everyone’s dream bucket list, so why not turn your dream vacation into your dream wedding? With tropical beaches and forests, Hawaii has everything you could want for a romantic and beautiful wedding day. If you live in the US, this could also be the perfect alternative for you if you don’t want to fly too far away and don’t want to shell out the ridiculous airfare for your guests. Get married on the beach and finish off your reception with a luau – because there are leis for everyone!

If you’re looking at wedding venues in your home country and wondering when something will wow you away, it might be best just to give up your search and look for something that is a bit further afield. Luckily, there are so many romantic wedding destinations to choose from – the hardest decision you will make is choosing which one is ‘the one.’

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How to arrive not looking jetlagged

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If you love to travel as much as we do, you’ll probably have a love/hate relationship with airplanes. On the one hand, you’re totally stoked that this flying vessel is taking you to another dreamy destination, but on the other hand – jet lag exists. Yep, while we’re sure there is some kind of scientific explanation for changing time zones (okay, yes there is), we’re not too happy with this fact. Although your body is used to being asleep and awake at certain times, this is thrown into disarray when you fly across the world, and it’s not cool. In fact, it makes you look like a mess. Don’t worry; it’s not just you! Here’s how to arrive not looking jet-lagged…

Take a nap

Now, you don’t need to tell us twice to have a nap, but sometimes it’s difficult to have a nap – especially in the middle of the day. However, one of the best ways to combat jet lag before it even occurs is to take a nap during your flight. This allows you to build up reserves of sleep that will come in handy when your body tries to fall asleep while you’re walking through the airport. Getting more sleep than you need will also make the visible signs of tiredness less prominent, which means you won’t be carrying extra baggage under your eyes.

Get into the sun straight away

Let’s be honest; the sun makes anyone look better. Yet, it seems as though daylight can also help your body recuperate from jet lag. Not only does this sunlight trick your body into thinking it should be wide awake (even if it’s the middle of the night back home) but this little sunshine hit can also bring color into your cheeks and light back into your eyes. If you can, sit outside of the airport for ten minutes before going to your hotel. You can thank us for that tip later!

Avoid alcohol

Although it can seem like a great idea to get comfortable and loose on your flight, choosing to drink alcohol is probably one of the worst things you could do for both the inward and outward effects of jet lag. This alcohol will just dehydrate your body quicker and sometimes inhibit your ability to sleep. This is the complete opposite of what you want for your trip – so ignore all of your cravings, and choose a soft drink instead. If you can, choose water! Why? Well, that’s coming up next…

Drink warm water

Whenever you are flying anywhere, it’s important to always drink more fluids than you’re used to. Sure, this will mean you have to use the grotty airplane restrooms more often, but it will work wonders when you land. Because the recycled air is much drier in an airplane, your body will dehydrate much quicker – and dehydration does not make you look your best. Of course, drinking cold water will immediately improve your complexion and make you feel more awake, but many natural healers believe that drinking warm water throughout your flight is the way forward.

Jet lag can be the difference between an epic start to your vacation and a 12-hour nap that makes you miss your whole first day. As if that wasn’t enough, it can also make you look a though you’ve just taken part in 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. It’s not great. Luckily, there are ways to arrive not looking jet lagged!

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8 of Scotland’s best beaches and coastal treasures

The ‘Scotland the Best’ author has been touring the country for 25 years in search of its finest places. Here’s his pick of beaches and seaside villages

Making a feature of Scotland’s less-travelled coast is a responsibility and a challenge. Even its quieter corners are seeing a tourist boom. Much of the rural north-west, deserted in the romantic imagination, is to all intents “full”. Skye, where accommodation is booked months ahead and camper vans form tailbacks on single-track roads, may be reaching crisis point. Some say we should think of the isle as we do Venice – under threat from the rising tide of tourism. Parts of Edinburgh are becoming an ordeal to visit, and that’s before the festival crowds arrive.

But no one wants to turn off the tap. Scotland has what tourists want in buckets: diverse and magnificent landscape, history, first-class culture, friendly people and, now, much improved food and drink. Scotland gets tourism and turns out to be really good at it. All we have to do is work out how to manage all these lovely visitors so we don’t kill the capercaillie that laid the golden egg.

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The foods in Italy you must eat

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Fancy a vacation in Italy? The European country is famed for its historic sights and rich variety of artwork, but there’s something people love about Italy more than anything else – food. You’ve probably already heard of and tasted some of the best-known foods that the country has to offer. However, you’ve never truly sampled the cuisine until you’ve been to the place it originated from. From pizza to pasta and everything in between, this is what you should be ordering on your next Italian vacation.

Ribollita

It’s ideal to start off an Italian dining experience with a first course, and for that, we would suggest ribollita. This soup is delicious when the vegetables have recently been harvested. The mix of flavors will have you wondering how you ever managed with plain old tomato soup back home. The traditional dish is great for vegetarians because it uses bread rather than meat (unlike American versions of the soup). It’s amazing how much of an effect a change like that can have.

Ossobuco

Follow that soup up with a plate of ossobuco. This dish is a piece of veal shank that’s simmered until it’s at just the right, soft texture. It’s not always easy to find in restaurants because of the long cooking time, so if you spot it on your Italian vacation, then you should take the opportunity to try it out. It’s unlikely you’ll have ever tasted meat quite as tender as this, and it goes great with a gremolata. This is a condiment that combines parsley, garlic, and lemon zest to give your meal a tangy twist. You’re best chance at finding this dish will be in the region of Lombardy, where these kinds of rustic dishes are created all the time.

Truffles

There aren’t many places that serve truffles as a dish. The fungus is certainly a rarity around the world, and thus it’s a delicacy that many people want to try. Lucky for the Italians, then, that truffles grow in several areas across the country. Places like Umbria and Tuscany are no stranger to truffles, and if you visit during the fall, you can sample some of the best dishes they have to offer. You might be wise to start with a dish that is lightly sprinkled with truffles, so that you can get used to the smell and taste. It’s not necessarily for everyone, but if you take a shine to it, your palate will be very appreciative.

Carbonara

You’ll find carbonara served in many Italian restaurants across the States. Just like lasagna or spaghetti bolognese, it’s a fairly standard dish in Italy, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get right. Until you’ve visited Rome and tried one of their carbonaras, you’ll never know what true taste perfection is like. The best restaurants don’t thicken the carbonara sauce or use bacon, instead preferring to cook the simple ingredients in the most delectable combination possible. If there’s anything that’s served in the U.S. you should try in Italy, it’s this. Well, this and pizza. You can’t beat quality Italian pizza.

Gelato

What’s a main course without dessert? Gelato is the sweet treat of choice in Italy, and it’s clear to see why. It contains less fat than ice cream and has more intense flavors too. So, it’s basically a dessert that’s good for you. Okay, maybe we wouldn’t go that far, but you don’t need to make excuses for yourself if you want to have a scoop or two. The only trouble you’ll have is trying to pick what to have. The variety of flavors on display, many of which are made with fresh fruit, are usually so diverse that you’ll struggle to make a decision. We could think of worse ways to spend your time.

Are you hungry now? These delicacies have certainly got our mouths watering, and we’re considering booking ourselves a vacation to Italy. Doesn’t that sound like a good idea?

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Spots to see in NY for “Seinfeld” lovers

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If you had to go to one bucket list destination right now, where would it be? If you chose New York City, you’ve come to the right place! Over the years, we have watched some of the greatest shows and movies that take place in the Big Apple and wondered what the heck we had to do to go there. Although shows such as Friends and Gossip Girl have all won us over, no show has given us New York cravings better than Seinfeld. Yep, if you’re a true Seinfeld lover, you just have to visit the Big Apple at some point in your life. When you do, you need to ensure that you visit these epic Seinfeld spots…

The Yankee Stadium

Although this is a must for any Seinfeld fan, this is also a must for any Yankees fans – period. The Yankee Stadium is one of the most famous spots within the Seinfeld storyline and allowed George Costanza to grab his paycheck at the end of the month. Sadly, the stadium used in the actual show has since been torn down, but a new and improved stadium has replaced it. Hurrah! Alongside the actual stadium (which truly is a sight to behold), a tour of the Yankee Stadium will also give you an epic insight into the world of baseball through their museum, and you can even stop off at the restaurant on the way out to stock up on fuel for the rest of the day.

The NBC Studios

When it comes down to it, the NBC Studios in New York are the epitome of television. Over the years, some of the biggest shows have been recorded here, and the walls are steeped in history. Let’s not forget the floors have also been stood on by some of the most famous people in show business! In terms of Seinfeld, the NBC Studios were a huge part of Jerry and George’s life. This was where they first pitched their show, and it was their dream to perform there. If you go there now, you might even strike out and grab yourself free tickets to the recording of the day. Fingers crossed!

Monk’s Coffee Shop

Can you even have a sitcom without a coffee shop? We think not. Friends would have been nothing without Central Perk. Gilmore Girls would have been nothing without Luke’s Diner, and Seinfeld would have been nothing without Monk’s Coffee Shop. However, you might have to barge fellow Seinfeld lovers out of the way for a table at this place, as fans from across the world descend on this coffee shop every year. Yet, when you get inside it will truly be worth it. You can pretend you’re one of the gang for the day.

Al’s Soup Kitchen

Although we’d love to say that there’s no soup for you, there is actually a lot of soup for you at Al’s Soup Kitchen. This New York spot stands on the corner of 8th Avenue and is one of the busiest food spots in the city. People travel far and wide to see what George and Jerry got up to during the famous soup episode – and the soup is actually pretty incredible! It’s fresh every single day, and the owner just loves to add new and unique flavors into the mix.

H&H Bagels

If you love bagels and Seinfeld, a trip to H&H Bagels will not go amiss. As the famous workplace of Kramer (although we’re not sure how much work he actually did) this little shop has since been crawling with Seinfeld fans. Although this can be a little off-putting, it’s one of the most iconic Seinfeld landmarks in the city, so it would be silly to miss it. Plus, the bagels are yummy!

Are you a Seinfeld lover? Well, we think you should probably pack your bags, buy a plane ticket, and travel to New York City ASAP. We promise you won’t regret it.

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The last (plastic) straw: travel and its environmental responsibilities

Some airlines, hotels and tour operators are now addressing the issue of plastics pollution but activists believe the solution requires everyone to take a stand

For decades the image of a brightly coloured plastic straw in a cocktail against a backdrop of sea and sunset signalled one thing – carefree holidays. But 2018 is the year the travel industry will say adios not just to plastic straws but all single-use plastic.

Today, those little plastic tubes are a symbol not of fun times but of the catastrophic damage our throw-away culture is doing to the planet. Photographs of straws littering the seabed and beaches are on every news site and eco-conscious social media account – along with a litany of grim statistics and stark warnings: 480 billion plastic bottles sold worldwide in 2016; one trillion single-use plastic bags used every year; more than half a million plastic straws used every day around the world. If we continue to generate plastic waste at the current rate approximately 12 billion tonnes will be in landfills or the natural environment by 2050.

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Spots to see in NY for “Friends” lovers

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So no one told life was gonna be this way? Nope, us neither. Especially when we learned that Friends was finally set to come to an end back in 2004. The show first aired nearly 25 years ago but we still can’t help but scream “PIVOT!” and dream of the Joey special whenever we get the chance. So if you’re heading to New York, don’t forget to add these Friends spots to your itinerary.

The Pulitzer Fountain

There is no better place to start than at the beginning is there? So here we are. The opening credits would be nothing without that iconic fountain scene that made so many of us want to grab our friends and get dancing. But don’t hold your breath. The actual fountain they used is in a studio in California. However, it was designed off this very fountain. Move out kiddos – we’re coming for our turn, and you’re in the splash zone.

The Plaza Hotel

This hotel must be one of the most famous buildings in the world thanks to its many movie and TV show appearances. However, we aren’t here to talk about the contenders; we want the main man. The Plaza Hotel is where Chandler and Monica toast to their engagement, so why not take a visit to the very walls where the famous scenes were shot? If you really want to push the boat out, you could even book a night or two to take in the atmosphere fully.

The apartment

Although the actual filming inside may have taken place on the other side of the country, the apartment building was shot loud and proud in New York. Now you too can take in the sights as you track down the very apartment building that made it all happen. Thankfully, the neighbors are all fully dressed meaning you can take in the view in peace. After all, you couldn’t go to New York and not see the Friends apartment, could you?

The American Museum of Natural History

Surely Friends must have used a real museum for Ross? Nope, you’re out of luck again. Although the New York Museum of Prehistoric History may not exist, there is the perfect replacement when it comes to getting all your dino needs. The museum has a huge prehistoric section on offer, and you can enjoy it all in peace and quiet without the deafening screams of a moist maker in the background. Perfect.

Grab a coffee

Sadly, beneath the apartment blocks lays a restaurant. And the commemorative Central Perk that popped up for the show’s 20th anniversary has since disappeared. However, New Yorkers are known for their love of coffee, and there are so many coffee shops on offer all around the city. Why not spice it up and take one to go so you can enjoy the views of Central Park with your beverage? This way you can have the best of both worlds. We can almost taste it now!

Friends has been, always was, and always will be one of the best shows in existence. Period. And as much as they try and tell us it’s over, we will keep bringing the legendary show back to life! So next time you take a trip to the Big Apple don’t forget all these awesome spots for any Friends lovers out there.

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Attractions for film lovers in Los Angeles

Who doesn’t love the idea of settling down with a good film at the end of a long day? Feeling sleepy? Put on a movie. How about you’re sad? A film will sort you out. Happy? Movie. There is no end to it all. So if you’re planning a trip to the capital of movie madness then why not take a look at these attractions for film lovers in Los Angeles?

The Walk of Fame

Ah yes, the Walk of Fame – is there any better way to start this list? The Walk of Fame has been around since 1960 and has since grown to include over 2,600 names on stars spread over 15 blocks. A trip to this incredible street is the perfect way to bring all those much-loved movies to life from all the years gone by. You might even see someone new adding their star to the walk!

Paramount Pictures tour

If you’re a film lover looking for attractions in Los Angeles, then look no further than Hollywood’s original major film studio as you tour around the grounds that have bought so many great productions to life. Here, you’ll get to see some of the iconic props from over the years as well as maybe getting the chance to bump into one of the many stars.

Warner Brothers tour

Yes, there are more tours to get your movie taste buds tingling. The Warner Brothers tour give you the chance to see many of the great props up close and personal, as well as learn all about the script making process, and even step foot on some of the famous sets, such as riding a broomstick from Harry Potter. How do we get there?!

The Egyptian Theater

All that walking has got us feeling pretty tired. Perhaps there is somewhere to catch a film? Look no further. The Egyptian Theater has been around since the beginning of the 1920s and has been the home to some of the greatest Hollywood movies over the years. It is based on Ancient Egyptian architecture and continues to show many great hits as well as several new releases to help stretch your love of movies even further.

The Margaret Herrick Library

Have you ever fancied looking through some of the greatest scripts that have been written over the years? What about several original movie posters and even some of the original costumes used in some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters? You’re in luck! This library has all of that on offer and more for you to explore as you discover some of the true pieces of Hollywood history.

Hollywood and Highland

Who doesn’t love a two in one movie experience? Here, the TCL Chinese Theater has hosted some of the biggest movie premiers and even has the handprints of many actors who have left their mark over the years. Moving next door, you can find the Dolby Theater. If you’ve ever wondered what an Academy Award looks like you can now find out as this theater has hosted the Oscars for the last 16 years.

The Hollywood Heritage Museum

If you’re the type of film buff that can’t help but delve head first into the history of it all, then we may have found the perfect place for you to spend your time: the Hollywood Heritage Museum. The museum houses all the memorabilia that was there at the birth of the silent movie era as well as showing how it has all progressed over the years. It’s well worth the trip.

Los Angeles is home to several of the greatest movies in the world as actors flock from afar to become part of the action. Now, you can find yourself taking it all in at these attractions that will hopefully help quench your film thirst.

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A local’s guide to Poznań, Poland: 10 top tips

Polish musician Daga Gregorowicz reveals the rebellious side of her home city, with its buzzing bars, street art and excellent, cheap restaurants and local cafes

Under the tourist radar and just the right size to explore, Poznań is full of surprises, from cafes in hidden courtyards to riverbank summer pop-ups. Its bourgeois facade masks its anarchic, rebellious side, and it has friendly people, an entrepreneurial spirit and artistic vibe. I also appreciate its intimacy whenever I return from tours, and its flat, bike-friendly geography giving the sense that everything is nearby, including the countryside. With all that, I think Poznań – halfway between Warsaw and Berlin – might be the best starting point for tourists new to Poland. After all, this is where our country was founded, back in the 10th century.

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Travel | The Guardian

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Beautiful monuments you have to see in DC

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Fancy a trip to Washington DC? If you’ve never been to the capital of the United States, then you’re missing out. There are so many amazing sights to see that you might struggle to fit everything in during your visit. If a vacation in DC is on the agenda, then these are the monuments that you absolutely have to see while you’re there.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Martin Luther King Jr. made a huge impact on DC back in 1963. During the March on Washington, the activist made his “I Have a Dream” speech which has now gone down as one of the most iconic speeches in history. If that’s not enough of a reason to see this memorial, then we don’t know what is. It’s located in West Potomac Park, just outside of the National Mall where a variety of other must-see monuments reside.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

One such monument is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This landmark covers two acres in the National Mall and is dedicated to members of the U.S. armed forces who fell during the Vietnam War. More than 58,000 names have been inscribed on the memorial, which has stood since 1982, and it ’s touched the hearts of the many thousands who visit it. Seeing the names of so many people who lost their lives can be quite depressing, but the wall is a moving tribute to those who fought for their country.

Other monuments have since been erected as part of the memorial. These are the Three Servicemen and Vietnam Women’s statues, which are located close by. They’re not as popular as the wall, but are worth a visit to remember everyone involved in the conflict.

Lincoln Memorial

One of the most prominent monuments in Washington DC is the Lincoln Memorial. It’s a building that many associate with the capital, and is one of the most popular landmarks in all of North America. As you might be able to guess, the memorial is dedicated to a man considered by many to be one of the United States’ greatest presidents – Abraham Lincoln. Thousands of people visit the monument on a daily basis to learn more about the man and see the statue of him that overlooks the Reflecting Pool.

The memorial has done more than pay tribute to Lincoln. It’s actually been a part of history itself. That iconic speech that Martin Luther King Jr. made during the March on Washington? Done right on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Washington Monument

You can’t visit Washington DC to look at monuments and not go see the Washington Monument. The clue is in the name. This obelisk stands at the foot of the Reflecting Pool opposite the Lincoln Memorial, and was erected in honor of George Washington. The monument is an impressive sight to see, especially as its the tallest stone structure to have ever been built. While you’ll probably catch glimpses of it during your time in DC, it’s still worth giving it a look up close.

Titanic memorial

One of the iconic monuments to see that isn’t located on the National Mall is the Titanic memorial found at Channel Park. It was originally erected in Rock Creek Park in 1931 to pay tribute to the men who died on the Titanic so that women and children could live. However, it was moved in ‘68 to its current location to make way for the Kennedy Center. While there may not be much to the statue, it’s iconic pose should strike a chord with most visitors, and remind everyone that Titanic wasn’t just an award-winning film.

Tempted to book yourself a mini vacation in Washington DC now? If you’re someone who loves a bit of historical sightseeing, a visit to the capital is definitely in order.

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20 of the best group trips for solo travellers

Striking out on your own needn’t be lonely or expensive. We round up group trips that increasingly cater for solo travellers and waive single premiums
The highs and lows of travelling alone

Med Sailors runs skippered sailing holidays for 20- to 35-year-olds, many of whom travel solo. Everyone shares a bunkbed cabin with someone else of the same gender; each yacht sleeps eight and travels in a flotilla of up to eight boats, so there is plenty of socialising. The yachts island-hop around Greece, Turkey, Croatia, or Italy (and the Caribbean too), making ports of call at villages and historic sights. Guests can try watersports, such as wakeboarding, join in the weekly regatta and enter a fancy dress contest on the last night. Each boat has large sunbathing decks, snorkelling gear and paddle boards.
• From £495 for seven nights half-board, flights extra, medsailors.com

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Travel | The Guardian

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Best countries to visit for history buffs

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When many of us go on vacation, we like to learn a little bit about the country we are visiting. Thankfully, there is a whole world of history just waiting to be discovered. While we can read and learn about times gone by, there is no substitute for going to these places and really feeling what the world was like often hundreds of years ago.

Italy – Rome, and Pompeii

The Colosseum in Rome is one of the most famous structures to have survived Ancient Roman times, and it is still largely intact. You can step into this colossal arena and imagine what it was like to have thousands of Romans baying for your blood as you took on the mighty gladiators. You can head to Pompeii on a day trip from Rome and uncover just how the Romans used to live. Pompeii was unfortunately at the base of a volcano that erupted and perfectly preserved much of the town as it was back in the Roman times. You can walk along the streets, entering the houses and imagine how the inhabitants used to live.

Greece – Athens

Athens was the world’s center for the arts and philosophy between 508 – 322 BCE. You can visit the city that is widely regarded as the birthplace of democracy, and you can enter the ancient citadel of the Acropolis of Athens during your visit. Many of the great philosophers from history were born here, including Plato and Socrates and you can get close to the history through the many museums in the city.

Cambodia – Angkor Wat

Visitors to Cambodia must check out the temple of Angkor Wat. This temple has been preserved since the 12th century and is considered to be the largest religious monument in the world. There are faces carved from stone on the outside of the building that are so detailed it will leave you wondering how they were so capable of such skillful masonry 800 years ago. The inside walls are decorated with engravings and visitors are able to roam inside the temple walls to transport themselves back in time.

Egypt – Cairo

The pyramids in Egypt are some of the most iconic structures in human history. Their unusual shape and design really exhibit what you can achieve if you are a tyrannical empire forcing citizens into slave labor. These giant pyramids were built as a final resting place for some of the rulers of the time, where they would be mummified and buried with their treasures. Amazingly, visitors are allowed into these ancient structures to see what was buried within.

Poland – Auschwitz

One of the reasons many people study history is to learn from the mistakes of our ancestors. One of the worst atrocities the world has ever seen is the Holocaust that resulted in the deaths of millions of Jewish people at the hands of the evil German rule leading up to the Second World War and during the conflict. Auschwitz, in Poland, is home to a well-preserved concentration camp used to house and execute Jewish people. Visitors are allowed onto the sight, and it serves as a harrowing reminder of how awful people were treated in relatively recent times.

If you have an interest in human history then thankfully there are still some surviving ancient structures for you to go and check out. They are mostly in disrepair, but that doesn’t take away from the sense of awe you feel when stepping inside. Sometimes they are places of triumph and other times you cannot escape the feeling of deep sorrow.

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Most romantic honeymoon destinations in Europe

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Isn’t love the greatest? Sure, Romeo and Juliet had their thing going on. Yeah, Beyonce and Jay-Z are basically perfect in every way. Of course, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell make our hearts melt, and Homer and Marge made us believe that love can exist even in the most dysfunctional of marriages – but we still believe that our love trumps them all. Because you’re basically the best thing since sliced bread (you’re so welcome), you deserve the honeymoon that reflects just how romantic you are. So why not choose a romantic European getaway?

Santorini, Greece

If you haven’t Googled what Santorini looks like, you need to stop what you’re doing and do that right now. We’re serious. As one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe, Santorini features beautiful white-washed houses, striking blue roofs, cobbled streets, impressive views, and (most importantly) yummy Greek food. Not only will you get to bask in the beauty of your new husband or wife, but you will also get to bask in the beauty of Santorini. It’s a win-win situation.

Venice, Italy

I mean, you knew this one was going to come up on the list, right? Venice is arguably one of the most romantic destinations in the world, and perfect for newlywed couples to become even more enchanted with each other. Take a relaxing gondola-ride down the narrow waterways, visit some of the most impressive churches and cathedrals known to man, take a trip over to Murano and Burano to take in all of the colors, and finish your day off with a good ol’ pizza and a scoop (or ten) of gelato.

Monaco

If you’re used to the finer things in life, you might want to take yourself to wear the beautiful Grace Kelly found her fairytale ending. With a whole host of glitz, glamour, and luxury, Monaco is the perfect romantic European getaway for couples who are looking to relax their days away. Sip cocktails on the beach, take a yacht out into the ocean, spend time in your lavish hotel, or walk the Grand Prix racetrack if that’s your thing. Just remember your pocket money…

Sicily, Italy

There are many couples who just can’t decide what they want from a honeymoon. On the one hand, they want to laze on a beach and relax with their new husband or wife. On the other hand, they want to see what the city has to offer! So, what do you do? Well, Sicily is the perfect option for you. This Italian island features beautiful beaches and bustling cities which means you can explore the best of both worlds. As if that wasn’t cool enough, the food is bellissimo!

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Lord Byron once called Dubrovnik “The Pearl of the Adriatic” – which means it’s kind of a big deal. As the setting for many Game of Thrones episodes, Dubrovnik is the perfect mix of beautiful beaches, baroque buildings, and intense barricades. Walk the walls of Dubrovnik as you hold the hand of your loved one, and chill out with views of the Adriatic Sea. Although you might want to be warned… because you won’t want to go home.

Although you can go skiing or bungee jumping for your honeymoon, you might not thank yourself when you have a broken leg. So, keep it simple and keep it romantic! If you’re stuck on places to go, you need not look any further. These romantic honeymoon destinations in Europe should be right up your street.

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10 of the UK’s best waterside pubs: readers’ travel tips

On canals, coast and riverbanks, readers pick their favourite pubs for a drink in the sunshine while taking in the action – or lack of it – on the water

Waterside pubs are an amazing link with the past on the UK’s 3,000 miles of canals. One of the very best is the Admiral Nelson at the locks near the entry to the Braunston tunnel. The very cosy interior is supplied with a pile of foodie books by an enormous fireplace. You can watch the stream of canal boats and colourful work boats with their gorgeous decorations as the locks are operated, two boats up and then two down. There is a ghost in the part of the pub that was once the canal worker’s morgue. She walks through the wall into the bar, apparently. The Nelson has always been a meeting point for boaters with stories of canal trips around England, and has been for 300 years.
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Kate Holbrook

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Travel | The Guardian

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Most children-friendly destinations in the world

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The sun is out, and we can’t help but think about getting away on vacation. Is there any better way to enjoy the summer? Traveling the globe with a family may seem tough, but it won’t be any longer with these most children-friendly destinations in the world. It’s time to get exploring!

Amsterdam

You may have heard of the grown-up stories from this Dutch city, but did you know that this is one of the top children-friendly destinations too? Yup, you heard us right. The city offers up a ton of outdoor activities from the incredible zoo to bike tours all through the streets. After all, Amsterdam was designed for cyclists. To top it off, there is the incredible Anne Frank House to add some history to your visit, as well as the canal system that offers a completely unique way to get around.

Florida

Of course, how could we leave the Sunshine State off the list could we? Disney is one of the biggest attractions in Florida, but there are also several other options that make this vacation great for children. The Florida Keys are a great place for snorkeling if you have little ones that love to get in the water, while the Shark Tooth Beach gives a chance to get closer to these magnificent creatures than you ever thought. As if that wasn’t enough, the various ‘gator parks provide an opportunity to see these prehistoric animals up close.

Turkey

This country is known for its incredible sunshine and crystal clear waters on offer. However, what about the fact it has practically been designed around children? The water parks are the perfect place to start on your search to have fun. There are also so many attractions on offer, such as aquariums and indoor reptile centers for the days you want to get out the sun. If you really want a way to cool down, Turkey also has an indoor snow park! What could be better?

Wales

This country is perfect for anyone wanting to explore the British countryside. Why? The rolling hills and greenery are the perfect playground for all kids big and small. If outdoor adventures are your thing, then look no further. There are miles of hiking trails all throughout the valleys in addition to cycling adventures and climbing opportunities. Plus, the country is filled with boardwalks meaning that stroller will no longer be an issue. If you’re lucky, you might even get to enjoy one of the classic Great British summers!

The Canary Islands

Here you have a choice of many islands as you lap up the Spanish sun. There are seven main islands to choose from, with Tenerife, Lanzarote, and Fuerteventura being the most popular. You will certainly be set to create memories that last a lifetime here thanks to the black sand beaches. The islands also offer hotels with plenty of kids clubs meaning the little ones can be kept amused all day if you fancy some adult time. If that wasn’t enough, these islands also have adrenaline-filled sports from surfing to abseiling and everything in between.

Seeing the world is something many of us dream of doing, and now we can see it all thanks to these most children-friendly destinations in the world. The best memories can be made on vacation, and now it’s time to start creating even more with our loved ones in tow!

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Royal Wedding trip guide (for people not from the UK)

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ll know that there is a pretty special event coming up. No, it’s not your yearly vacation or your birthday (although that is kinda important), it’s the royal wedding! Sure, were pretty upset that Prince Harry will finally be off the market, but we can’t wait to see the dress that Meghan Markle wears on the big day. As these two lovebirds exchange their nuptials, you can guarantee that people from around the world will descend onto London to share the excitement. So, it’s probably best you know where you’re going and what you’re doing…

Where to stay

Because the royal wedding is kind of a big deal, there will be thousands of people making their way into London in the run-up to the main event, and they will all be looking for somewhere to stay. Most tourists will try to stay as close to the center of London or Windsor as they could possibly be – which means it’s best to avoid it. It’s best to stay clear of these two hotspots and venture into the outskirts of London. This way, you can find the hotels that haven’t already been booked up, and those that are a little cheaper.

How to get around

It doesn’t matter if you’re two or ten miles away from London, you’re still going to be able to get around. England has one of the best train and underground systems in the world – and it’s super easy to use! You can buy yourself an Oyster Card (no, it doesn’t taste like oysters) and make your way around London and the surroundings as you hop on and off the public transport. You can either take yourself off to a traditional English pub to watch the events unfold with a glass of Pimms in your hand, or you could stand outside Buckingham Palace and join the hubbub of people all celebrating the marriage.

Where to go

For one day only, the pubs in and around England are staying open extra late to celebrate Harry and Meghan, which means it’s the perfect opportunity to see what all the fuss is all about and try your very first bite of bangers and mash. Although almost every single pub in the UK will be showing the wedding on their television screens, you might also want to check out the other celebrations that are on offer. If you fancy rubbing shoulders with the married couple themselves on the day, you can make your way to Madame Tussauds, where you can see the new waxwork figures of Meghan and Harry as they are unveiled! Once you’re done, make your way to one of the many open-top bus tours in London and Windsor to see the celebrations from above and take some epic pictures. If you’re lucky, you might even stumble upon a British street party, where you can hang with the locals and wear a union jack around your neck. You know you want to.

If you’re going to the UK to witness the royal wedding in all of its glory, you’re going to need a little help – because you’re not the only ones. The best way to get the ultimate royal experience is to plan in advance. Book your flights, book your hotel, and plan where you want to go and what you want to do before you leave! Trust us; you’ll thank us for it after…

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10 of the best lesser-known UK lidos

With the UK in the midst of a heatwave and the school holidays approaching, our lido expert, whose forthcoming book covers over 100 outdoor pools, picks 10 that are near or on the way to popular holiday hotspots

If you’re spending all, or part, of the holidays at home this year checking out one of the UK’s 120 or so publicly accessible outdoor pools should be high on your holiday hit list. With local authority cost-cutting threatening closures, many of these pools are now run by volunteers, having been saved by their communities.

And don’t be deterred if the heatwave doesn’t last – many of these pools are heated, and swimming in the rain can be a glorious experience. Southern England has by far the greatest density of lidos in the UK, but here are 10 lesser-known gems across the country, all near or on the way to holiday hotspots.

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This Arizona restaurant will have you eating in an underground cave

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Enjoy going out for dinner but bored with all the restaurants in your area? Even with different decor, most dining establishments can get repetitive with how they look. We want going out for food to be an experience worth remembering, but so many restaurants have lost sight of that. Until now, at least. If you’re not local to Arizona, you might want to invest in a plane ticket, because they’ve opened one of the most exciting restaurants to launch in years. Ever wanted to eat your dinner 21 stories below the surface of the Earth?

In the Grand Canyon Caverns

Arizona is already famed for its Grand Canyon, one of the biggest landmarks in the United States. The site attracts more than six million people a year, but some of those people might now be making their way over to Grand Canyon Caverns. Located 2 hours away from the national park by car, the Caverns has recently become host to a new and incredibly unique dining experience.

The Caverns Grotto is located 200 feet underground in the Grand Canyon Caverns, which has already been well established as a spot for sightseeing. Regular tours run through this area, but now you can take in the views while you dine on some great, authentic food too.

Underground dining

Set in one of the biggest rooms in the cave, the restaurant sits atop a wooden platform that offers 360-degree views of the Caverns’ breathtaking interior. It’s not often you get to enjoy some sightseeing with your meal. You’d certainly be hard-pressed to find a dining experience that can match the one at Caverns Grotto.

The “classic American comfort food” at the restaurant is served through a pulley system leading up to the surface. Buckets are filled with the food which, once cooked, are lowered down to the diners. Applying electronics 200 feet underground isn’t exactly easy, and it would cause damage to the Caverns, so it’s easier if they cook everything up above.

Limited availability

The chefs won’t have to worry about having too much work on their hands, because the restaurant can only cater to a select few people at a time. The dining space underground isn’t huge, and as such, there are just four tables on the deck. It means bagging a reservation might take a bit of time, but the wait will be worthwhile. Wouldn’t you rather it be quieter down in the Caverns so you can savor the peace and beauty of the caves more?

Paying out

As you might expect, a meal down in the Caverns doesn’t come cheap, but it’s more reasonable than you might expect. Per person, lunch at the restaurant costs $ 49.95, while dinner is an extra $ 20 more. These prices do include a tour of the cave, which would usually cost you $ 22, and the dinner menu is an all-you-can-eat buffet. That’s not bad going for a meal which won’t be like anything you’ve ever experienced before.

The inspiration

Owner John McEnulty said the inspiration behind the establishment came after he visited the Blue Bayou Restaurant in Disneyland. He was blown away by how realistic the setting was, and it struck him that he could offer the public an even more authentic dining experience. It quickly became apparent that he had the perfect space for the restaurant within the Caverns. Being close to the elevator but away from the tour routes, it’s the optimum location for enjoying a meal several hundred feet underground.

If this sounds like an unmissable experience to you, you’d best reserve a table while there are still spaces available.

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‘I don’t think anybody is going to be disappointed’ – Taron Egerton and the Kingsman: The Golden Circle stars assemble for the world premiere in London

Movie fans have not been short of either comic book adaptations or spy movies in recent times yet when Kingsman: The Secret Service hit cinemas three years ago its sharp script, bags of humour and fizzing energy ignited a passion in audiences.
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Visit the locations from Dan Brown’s novels

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The Da Vinci Code was one of the most successful novels ever upon release, and Dan Brown has become one of the world’s most popular authors. Despite his work causing controversy, he is definitely someone who has done well for himself. His books are epic and fantastical, following the adventures of Robert Langdon, a professor of religious iconography at Harvard University. The novels are basically treasure hunts that take place over a 24-hour period and involve a lot of important religious symbology and overtone.

The books Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and Inferno were wildly successful, and have been adapted into movies. Brown himself says that the books should be used as a way of exploring faith and our approach to it. There are also plenty of wonderful and exotic locations in the books, most notably in Italy. We’re going to take a look at some of the leading locations from Dan Brown’s novels below.

The Louvre – Paris

Paris’s seminal art museum The Louvre takes center stage in Brown’s most successful novel, The Da Vinci Code. In fact, so popular was the novel that the museum actually offers a Da Vinci Code tour to visitors! You can walk in the footsteps of Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu, as they embarked on one of the greatest discoveries ever. Without supporting or rejecting the controversial hypotheses of the novel, The Louvre manages to offer an immersive and fun experience for visitors. And, let’s be honest, this is a pretty darn awesome art museum even without the Da Vinci Code link!

Boboli Gardens – Florence

It’s not just The Da Vinci Code that features amazing and exotic locations though, Inferno is another popular Robert Langdon novel to do the same. And, one of the prominent locations in the novel is the Grand Boboli Gardens, a giant park behind Pitti Palace. One of the most beautiful public gardens in the world, even Langdon couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty of the place! There is also a large grotto here, specifically, Grotta del Buontalenti, one of the most famous landmarks and artworks in the park. You really have to see this to believe its beauty and intricacies, and, even the characters in the novel are in awe of it.

Grand Canal – Venice

Venice is one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations, and for good reason. Langdon and his new partner Sienna arrive in Venice and head to the Grand Canal en route to Saint Mark’s Square. It’s clear, though, that this legendary waterway is the true star of the city, and Venice herself sits astride it. Crossed by only four bridges, the canal comes alive with activity from boats, gondolas, and fishing boats. Not wanting to miss out on something so breathtaking, Robert and Sienna hire a boat to take them along the canal on their way to the iconic square.

The books don’t quite do Italy, or Paris, justice, but they do a pretty good job of showing some of the most beautiful and unforgettable places in the world. There is no doubt that these are locations that play a big role in the history, religion, and culture of these places, and they need to be experienced as much as possible. Brown obviously has a love for these locations, and wants to show us how amazing they are – and we think he does a pretty good job of that.

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Swiss Alps: old huts to chic chalets

Surrounded by Alpine peaks and wild flowers, once abandoned farming huts have been converted into cool, ultramodern holiday cabins

After a long ascent via hairpins through smaller and smaller villages in the Swiss Alps, the bumpy track around the mountainside eventually petered out into a stony path, indicating we had reached the end of our journey.

I had the sinking feeling that we were in the wrong place. There should have been a collection of high-design chalets around here somewhere, all floor-to-ceiling glass and exposed concrete, according to the website images. But all I could see were a handful of dilapidated wooden farm sheds.

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Travel | The Guardian

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The unicorn-themed ‘Inflatable Island’ in the Philippines that went viral

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The unicorn craze is still well and truly in full swing. With everything from unicorn frappés to hair color and even cakes – could things get any more magical? Apparently, yes. Would you trust us if we told you there was an entire floating island dedicated to the mythical beings? You have to see it to believe it…

Setting the scene

Subic Bay is found on the west side of the Philippines. It was once known for the extensive beach, tiger safari tours, and the incredible open-water marine park. With temperatures regularly hitting above 85 Fahrenheit, or 30 Celsius, this picture-perfect location has become a popular destination for many people jetting to the country. However, there is another island that has floated over, and it is making quite the storm…

Unicorn madness

Perhaps you have fallen for the unicorn craze over the last couple of years? The bright colors and cheery outlook on life have made these creatures some of the most popular in the world. We’re all about that unicorn life. So how would you react to look out your window and see an entire island made of unicorns floating in the sea?

Phenomenal size

We’re not just talking about your average small pop-up island here. Oh no, this island is officially the biggest floating playground in Asia! It measures at a staggering 44,000 square feet. That’s the equivalent to eight basketball courts side by side – wowza. Could the life of a unicorn get any better? Hold your horses (or unis); we think it just did.

The course

The floating island doesn’t just look incredible; it is some of the most fun anyone can have on the water. The course is made up of all kinds of obstacles including jungle bars, a Tarzan swing, and a water trampoline. As if that wasn’t enough, you can even send your friend to meet the unicorn on the inflatable human launcher. Now you’ll be able to get closer to those rainbows than you ever thought.

The fun doesn’t stop

Believe us when we say that the floating island is only the beginning of this incredible adventure. As well as a unicorn-packed inflatable course, this island also has a perfectly matched pink and purple beach. Here, you can sit back and take in the sights and sounds while relaxing under the shade of an umbrella on your matching bean bag. The floating island really does come straight out of a fairytale.

Meet the creatures

If the island wasn’t enough to float your boat, then be sure to check out the Unicorn Island. Here you can get up close and personal with their giant mythical horse called Baba in addition to Climby the sea unicorn and a wavy dinosaur. At last, we can meet the magical creatures of the sky that have kept us captivated for so long. Life couldn’t be more magical if it tried.

Perhaps you have never imagined yourself jumping around a giant floating unicorn-themed island in the sea before, but we bet you have now. You’ll have to excuse us while we head off and jump on a plane. See you there – if you can catch us!

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City Scooters

In many cities a new kind of ridesharing is taking off. For just a couple of bucks, you can activate a lightweight electric scooter, ride it to your destination, and simply leave it there. But as reporter Aditi Roy found, while gaining popularity, the dockless vehicles are also generating controversy from SF to LA to DC.

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Pagan paradise: Glastonbury without the festival

What’s Glastonbury like without the bands and the fans? As the festival takes a year off, it turns out there’s still plenty to enjoy, from ethical taxidermy to wall-to-wall druids

‘Summer here is something to behold,” says Kevin Mitchell from behind the counter of Knight’s, his chippy on Glastonbury’s Northload Street. “Hippies, druids, goddesses in their finery, people dressed as elves: you never know who – or what – is going to walk through the door.”

Knight’s has been run by the same family on the same site since 1909, although the building itself is medieval, constructed from stone taken from Glastonbury Abbey after it was sacked by Henry VIII. If that stone could talk, it would tell of a town much changed from its roots as a place of Christian pilgrimage to its present reality as the new-age capital of England.

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Travel | The Guardian

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World-schooling: people who travel around the world with their kids

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How often did you sit in school wishing you were somewhere more exciting? Going to the same building and spending most of your day learning can be a real drag, especially when you’d rather be out doing something a lot more fun. No matter what people do to try and make school more exciting, it still ends up being pretty boring. Well, if you’ve wished for a way to change things up and give your own kids a more stimulating education, then we’ve found the thing for you – world-schooling.

What is world-schooling?

World-schooling is pretty much exactly what it says it is. You travel the globe with your children and educate them about everything there is to see in the world. It’s a bit like home-schooling, only much more exciting (and expensive). It’s about more than taking your kids on vacation for a few weeks and introducing them to a new culture. Most world-school children are out of mainstream education for a year or two, if not forever. You’re essentially responsible for teaching them everything you think they need to know, which can put a lot of pressure on your shoulders. When done well, though, it has plenty of benefits.

Good geography skills

It’s amazing how bad some people’s geography skills are. Even those who have received a full school education can’t point to many different countries on a map. At best, they might be in the know about American geography, but that’s about it. How better to improve your geographical knowledge than to see where everywhere is for yourself?

Pick up the language

It’s more important than ever for children to learn foreign languages. The world is becoming increasingly connected, and being multilingual can be hugely beneficial for the younger generation. If you spend a good amount of time schooling in one part of the world, it’s likely that your child will start to pick up on the language, especially if you help teach them. Learning from experience is much easier than sitting in a classroom having the words drilled into you.

One big history lesson

Everywhere you go, you’re surrounded by history. Towns and cities all around the world are filled with museums and galleries that showcase the local history. However, you don’t even need to go to these places to learn everything. Each country has its own unique culture that’s been shaped by history, and immersing your child in that will open their mind to the way that different people live. Traveling is one big history lesson.

Artistic expression

Being surrounded by all these different cultures can also be hugely beneficial for your child’s creativity. When they’re in an art class at school, they might not know how to create anything outside of the norm. However, when children are world-schooled, they see for themselves how people have produced artwork using their own unique styles. If creativity runs in your family, then this is the best way to inspire them to follow their artistic dream.

Learning acceptance

One of the most important lessons that a child can learn from being world-schooled is accepting others. Depending on where they’re raised, a kid might grow up not being surrounded by other ethnicities and religions, which can be harmful to them in later life. Exploring the world will show them first hand how other people dress and what they believe in. Doing this while they’re young will show them there’s nothing wrong with being different, and that they should appreciate everyone for who they are.

World-schooling isn’t for everyone. After all, traveling around the world doesn’t come cheap, and a lot of people can’t afford it. Even if you can manage a year, or just a few months, though, it can do your children a world of good.

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Bromley’s X Factor winner Matt Terry on how he’d change the show and who his celeb crush is

Bromley’s X Factor winner Matt Terry, who won last year’s TV singing competition, talks about his most frightening moment, why his success was meant to be and the sacrifices his family made to help him achieve his dream.

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The zipline that will take you an hour back in time

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Traveling between countries has become so predictable. You can catch a cruise or flight to almost anywhere these days, but where’s the excitement? We humans have a habit of getting bored of things so quickly that we never stop thinking about how to make things better. It’s that endless drive for improvement that spurred Englishman David Jarman to create the Limite Zero zip line that takes you from Spain to Portugal. The unique selling point? It takes you back in time!

How does it work?

Okay, so this zip line might not be a time machine, but it still technically does what it advertises. Due to the one hour time difference between the two countries, every time you travel along the zip line, you’re technically going back an hour in time. How’s that for déjà vu? It’s not often that you can cross through time zones as easily as this.

Making the trip

The zip line starts in Sanlucar de Guadiana, a localidad in Andalucia, Spain and ends in the Portuguese town of Alcoutim. Set more than 2300 feet in the air, the trip only lasts about 60 seconds, but passengers can reach speeds of around 50mph when flying high over the Spanish countryside. The zip line covers a distance of 720 meters, 150 of which is made up the Guadiana River which separates the two nations.

Once people land in Alcoutim, you’re free to explore the local area. There’s no time limit on your trip, so they can stick around for several hours if you want to experience what the town has to offer. When you’re ready to return, the service provides a ferry that’s just a five-minute walk from the landing zone. These ferries run regularly and are free to use, because the cost of them is included as part of the zip line payment. How much do you have to pay? Only 18 euros (which is around $ 22).

First of its kind

The Andalucia to Alcoutim zip line is the first of its kind ever to be created. The proximity of the two countries meant that setting up a structure like this was possible, although not necessarily an easy feat. However, Jarman admits that “I love a challenge” and that a zip line was the best way to “unite both places.” There had been a lot of discussions before his intervention about building a bridge over the river. However, no plans for this ever came to fruition, so Jarman took it upon himself to bring the two countries together in a much more exhilarating way.

Terms and conditions

People wishing to use this zip line have to abide by certain conditions. For instance, no-one under the age of 14 is legally allowed to use it. Those between the age of 14 and 16 must have parental guidance, and need to be collected by their represented adult once landing in Alcoutim. The zip line also has a weight restriction of 242lbs.

These limits are liable to change should the weather conditions force them to reconsider safety precautions for certain individuals.

We wish that traveling from one country to another could always be as exciting as this. There’s nothing like an adrenaline rush to make crossing over borders an experience you’ll never forget.

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10 of the best Moscow restaurants – chosen by the experts

For a taste of modern (and old Soviet) Russia, World Cup visitors should try these restaurants, markets, cafes and canteens, offering new twists on traditional Slavic cuisine – at affordable prices

‘Moscow is in the middle of a food renaissance,” says Karina Baldry, a Muscovite chef and an author, now a Londoner. Whereas a decade ago rocket salads, Argentine steaks and sushi were all the rage, now – because of economic sanctions and a renewed patriotic mood – high calibre chefs are rediscovering their Slavic roots. They have started to use forgotten or newly created ingredients, such as local marbled beef and Russian mozzarella, and old cooking methods, involving the use of pechka ovens. For most Russians, eating out is still a special occasion, so even the most “democratic” places (a popular term to refer to more relaxed, less exclusive places) invest in expensive design, fabric napkins and table service. With some 12,000 restaurants in this sprawling city, we asked six Muscovite gourmands for their favourites.

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5 books that are perfect for a beach vacation

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You count down the days, the hours, the minutes and even the seconds, and then eventually… It’s vacation time! Yep, it’s finally time to pack your swimsuit, leave all of your sweatshirts behind, slather yourself in sun lotion, grab a pina colada, and make your mark on the beach. Although we love nothing more than frolicking on the beach and topping up our tan, we also love to stick our red noses in a good book. But which one do you choose? Here are 5 books that are perfect for a beach vacation…

Into the Water – Paula Hawkins

Okay, we’re gonna level with you, we’re kinda obsessed with thrillers. For some reason, we just can’t get enough of asking us ‘Who Dunnit?’ and Paula Hawkins’ Into The Water is the best thriller to sink your teeth into. Yep, if you want to find yourself on the edge of your beach chair, this book will do just that. After two women are found mysteriously murdered on the edge of the river in the middle of a town that is stuck in its ways, one former resident has to make her way back to the town to learn more about her own story – while uncovering some pretty dark secrets about the town and the deaths.

The Rules Do Not Apply – Ariel Levy

You might already know who Ariel Levy is, as she is a famous journalist-turned-author who has since written down her memoir in this awesome book. The Rules Do Not Apply follows her life after the death of son, and the problems of reaching for too much in life. She will show you that life isn’t always about getting what we want all of the time, and will make you truly appreciate what you have in life. This will be even more important when you realize how lucky you are to be sitting on a beach and drinking margaritas on a Monday afternoon.

The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing – Mira Jacob

If you fancy sinking your teeth into a 512 page-turner, then The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is definitely for you. This story follows the life of Amina – a thirty-something photographer who finds herself giving up her dream and her life in Seattle to care for her sick father in Albuquerque. Amina soon finds herself revisiting old memories and an old life she tried to forget and understanding a family history she was kept away from. As a poignant reminder of the importance of family, this beach vacation read will fill your heart.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Gail Honeyman has written a book that you won’t want to put down, which means you might have to rearrange your sunset dinner reservations. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine follows the life of (you guessed it!) Eleanor Oliphant, an accountant from Glasgow who lives a pretty ordinary life. You know, apart from the fact that she lives completely alone with just a weekly pizza and a bottle of spirits for her company. However, she also has a terrible path to contend with – something that soon makes it way up to the surface and disrupts her seemingly perfect life.

The Chalk Artist – Allegra Goodman

After dropping out of college, Colin James finds himself stuck in limbo. Where does he go from here? What does life have in store for him? He eventually finds a job in a local restaurant, waiting tables, and chalking the streets of Massachusetts in his free time. On another side of the city, Nina Lazare is busy teaching her high school students and living in the shadow of her tech-boss father. As the pair find their paths crossing, neither Collin or Nina realize quite how important they will be in each other’s lives. As a realistic depiction of love, class, and companionship, this one will put a smile on your face while you top up your tan on your beach vacation.

Looking for the perfect beach vacation read? Look no further! It’s time to get your book on!

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A traveller’s guide to seeing the Northern Lights

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Let’s be honest, the world is a weird and wonderful place – but we would say it’s more wonderful than weird. Although we may have built concrete jungles in every country on the globe, there are still incredible wonders that showcase what mother nature has to offer. We can now take helicopters over active volcanoes, we can often witness double rainbows in the sky, and there are even flammable ice bubbles under frozen lakes! Yet, one of the greatest natural phenomena of all time just has to be the Northern Lights. If you fancy checking this out, you’ll need this traveler’s guide…

Where can you see them?

Although we wish we could see the Northern Lights from our bedroom windows, it just doesn’t work that way, and they only appear in certain areas of the world at certain times of the year. Thankfully, there are various destinations around the globe who offer views of the Northern Lights, including Swedish Lapland, the Norwegian Coast, the Dalton Highway in Alaska, Fort McMurray in Canada, the Hebrides in Scotland, Southern Iceland, Rovaniemi in Finland, Greenland, and Stewart Island in New Zealand. However, just because you travel to these destinations doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a sighting. The Northern Lights do what they want!

When can you see them?

Most of the time, the Northern Lights appear in the winter – although there have been reports of summer sightings. Yet, if you want to up your chances of seeing this incredible spectacle, it’s best to book your trip for the winter months. To get the best sighting of this multi-colored sky display, the night will need to be perfect. You will need to be away from light pollution, the lunar cycle will need to be perfect, the cloud cover will need to be minimal, and solar activity will also play a part in whether you catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. Because of this, it’s best to book a longer trip so you can give yourself multiple chances of seeing the lights.

How do I spice up my trip?

Catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights will most likely fill your heart with warmth (even though you’ll be standing in freezing temperatures) and will allow you to create lasting memories of a place – but sometimes it’s not always easy to spot them on your own. If you want to spice up your trip to see the Northern Lights, you might want to spend money on a guided tour. This way, you will be taken to a Northern Lights hot spot, and given all of the information you could possibly want to understand what’s going on. During the day, you can also go on tours to explore what your chosen destination has to offer. You could visit Father Christmas in Lapland, you could hike the local hills in Scotland, or you could choose to visit the Golden Circle in Iceland. There’s just so much room for activity!

Will I need to wrap up warm?

Considering you will only normally see the Northern Lights in the winter and in destinations that are often covered in snow and ice, it’s fair to say that it will be incredibly cold! This means you will need to wrap up incredibly warm for your trip to see the Northern Lights. The likelihood is that you will spend hours out in the freezing cold, and will need to wear multiple layers to ensure that you can stay out long enough to catch the natural phenomena.

If you’ve always wanted to see what the Northern Lights has to offer, now is a better time than ever to book your flights and see them for yourself. Just remember to keep in mind this traveler’s guide!

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A local’s guide to Vilnius, Lithuania: 10 top tips

‘Vilnius, the G-spot of Europe: Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it, it’s amazing’ … a bold claim from a recent tourist ad that went viral

The poster produced by two students referring to Lithuania’s capital as Europe’s G-spot really sums the city up: it is not where you thought it was. It is not in eastern Europe, not even in central Europe, but the capital of a Baltic state in northern Europe.

Founded in 1323 by grand duke Gediminas, who attracted Jewish and German tradesmen and merchants with generous tax exemptions, for centuries it became a destination for those fleeing religious persecution (there was even a Scottish Calvinist community in Vilnius) or tough trade guild regulations. The city’s coat of arms features Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travellers.

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Travel | The Guardian

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Game of Thrones filming locations you can visit in real life

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HBO’s fantasy drama Game of Thrones is a massive hit with fans. It has become one of the most watched TV shows in history, and is the most pirated TV show ever. The drama is intense, and many of the scenes are incredibly violent. That all makes for great TV, but it is all set to some amazing real-life backdrops that help to set the scene and transport the characters and viewers to the fictional world of Westeros and beyond. If you want to get closer to the show check out some of the real-life Game of Thrones locations you can actually visit.

Dubrovnik, Croatia – King’s Landing

King’s Landing is an incredibly important location in Game of Thrones. It is where the ruling monarch will sit on the Iron Throne, and it is the closest thing Westeros has to a sprawling metropolis. Filming for King’s Landing was done in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik. King’s Landing is where Cersei had to do her walk of shame, as well as the fighting arena where Prince Oberyn Martell met his demise fighting The Mountain in the most bloody of fights. As well as being the location for King’s Landing, fans of Daenerys Targaryen will be familiar with the city as it is where The House of the Undying was shot.

Northern Ireland – Various

Northern Ireland has been the location for many of the scenes in the seven seasons so far of the show. Ballintoy Harbor is where Theon Greyjoy returned to his birthplace of The Iron Islands. The Dark Hedges is the iconic setting of the Kingsroad where many of the cast are spotted entering or exiting King’s Landing. The home of the Stark family, Winterfell, was shot primarily at Castle Ward and fans can head to the historic site and utter the famous words “Winter is coming” if they really want to feel like a Stark.

Iceland – Beyond The Wall

Many of the scenes shot beyond The Wall were actually filmed in Iceland. Fans of snow (both the weather and Jon) can head to this Nordic country to take in some of the most beautiful scenery found in the world. Famous locations from the show include Jon and Ygritte’s love cave, the wilding camps, as well as the location where Brienne bests the Hound in hand-to-hand combat. Fans should head to Lake Myvatn for scenes beyond the wall. Tours are available from the capital city of Reykjavik that will take you to where Drogon attacks a herd of goats and many of the scenes used as backdrops for the white walkers.

Spain – Dragonstone

In season seven few could hardly believe that the location used for Dragonstone was real. The perfect sand and the crazy rock formations looked almost too unnatural to be real, but they are and can be found beside the small town of Zumaia. That long winding pathway Jon Snow meets Daenerys Targaryen on is also very real and is a short trip to the west of Zumaia at San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.

Those were some of the most incredible filming locations Game of Thrones used that people can go and visit. While other locations may have used a large amount of green screen and special effects, these places are true to their depiction on the hit fantasy series.

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Creative ways to spend your time on a layover between flights

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The idea of packing our bags, sweeping through the airport in a pair of oversized sunglasses, and glamorously boarding a plane can be wonderful, but in reality, it usually involves a pair of sweats and lots of fidgeting. Plus, the layover between flights can just prolong the pain. Have no fear; all the time on the ground doesn’t have to be wasted as there are plenty of creative ways to spend your layovers.

Get up and moving

If you have just been sat on a plane for hours, you may not want to spend the next few sat in an airport lounge waiting for your connecting flight. Now, you don’t have to. The time in between flights is a great way to get active before your next stint on the plane. To top it off, many airports now have built-in gyms or yoga studios that offer up the perfect space to exercise. If not, find a quiet area and get stretching. It will feel so good.

Get out and about

If you have a long layover and you’re struggling with things to do, then why waste your time in the airport? This is the perfect time to have a whistle-stop tour of the local area without having to fork out on expensive stays. You could take it all in by booking a tour, heading to the local museums, or taking a walk and seeing where you end up. It’s like you get two vacations in one thanks to your brief visit to a brand new city.

Pack some games

Many airlines let passengers take a backpack or handbag on as a carry-on. Some items are a must, but there is always room for some layover entertainment. Why not fill some of it with a board game or two? After all, Monopoly alone can take hours. Board games won’t take up too much room (especially travel versions of them) and will give you a chance to unwind before cramming yourself back on the next plane.

Make new friends

Chances are you’ll be surrounded by people all going to the same place. If you are looking for a creative way to spend your layover time or you’re traveling on your own, then the airport can be the perfect place to make some new friends. Who knows, you could be sitting next to someone that knows some hidden gems where you’re headed. All it takes is saying “hello” and you could have made yourself a new travel buddy.

Get drawing or writing

Sometimes inspiration for creativity just takes finding a new space to work. If you’re suffering from writer’s block or looking for something new to draw then watching the world pass by at the airport can offer up plenty of new ideas. Maybe it is an overheard conversation? Or perhaps it is the view out of the window? Whatever it is that gets the creative juices flowing – this could be the perfect source of inspiration.

Freebies

Many airports offer up freebies of all kinds that are yours for the taking. It could be using the free wifi to call a loved one, catch up on emails, or watch a movie, or using the complimentary amenities on offer. If you’re lucky, there could be a free spa that will help you relax before the next part of your trip. Or there could be a games area that has foosball, air hockey, or any other arcade games. Before you know it, you’ll hear your flight being called.

Layovers don’t have to be boring. In fact, they can be the perfect opportunity to catch up on the creativity you have been missing in your travels. No longer do you have to find yourself watching the clock. Now, you could be wishing the hours would last even longer.

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Coolest filming locations in the world

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Hollywood has a habit of making locations look and feel super cool. Sadly a lot of the time these amazing places are actually just film sets or the product of some very clever computer-generated images. There are some locations though, that simply cannot be faked and are too amazing to change in any way, take a look our pick for the ones that rock the most.

Dubrovnik – Croatia

Many of the scenes in HBO’s fantasy drama Game of Thrones were filmed on location in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The shots for the city of King’s Landing were filmed here, and most of the central characters have at some stage made the journey to the fictional city to bend the knee at the feet of the ruling King or Queen. It was the scene of the horrific fight between The Mountain, Gregor Clegane and The Viper, Oberyn Martell. Many characters have been betrayed in the city and Dubrovnik is the stunning location that allowed it all to happen.

Skopelos – Greece

One of the best things about the 2008 musical movie Mamma Mia! was the location the film was shot in. The blue seas and white sands of the Greek island of Skopelos were a feature for many. The intricate streets the characters found themselves in were like something from a magazine in the ‘60s – so vibrant and unique. Many people will not forget witnessing some of the cast singing their head off as we’d never seen them before. Many started booking flights to Greece as they wanted to have their very own Mamma Mia! moments.

Matamata – New Zealand

New Zealand was the location for the wonderful set of fantasy epic trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Its rolling hills and mountains are something that can easily take your breath away because of their beauty. Besides the natural wonders, there is another location that many tourists in New Zealand have to go to no matter what. Matamata is a town in the Kaimai Mountains, and there are hobbit homes left behind from filming. People can kick off their shoes and take tours of the quaint Shire and feel as though they are Hobbits too, just like Frodo and the gang.

Angkor Thom – Cambodia

Angelina Jolie played the titular character in the 2001 fantasy adventure Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. No film called Tomb Raider would be complete without some tombs to explore, and this film didn’t disappoint. The filmmakers chose to shoot some of the movie at the Hindu temple of Angkor Thom in Cambodia, which is still standing from the 12th century. The temple features large faces carved from the stones and is as full of history as it looks.

Ait Ben Haddou – Morocco

Ait Ben Haddou is one of the locations used in the historical action movie Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridius. The ancient location is used as the city where Maximus gets sold into the slave trade, and it looks as though it has been plucked from history and placed in the modern day. This location is available to visit, and it will make you feel like you are stepping into the movie yourself.

There are hundreds of amazing locations across the world and thanks to modern technology we can witness them in some of our favorite movies and TV shows. The best thing about these real-life filming locations is that if you really want to, you can go and visit them.

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Frida Kahlo’s neighbourhood: exploring vibrant Coyoacán, Mexico City

Ahead of a major Frida Kahlo exhibition at London’s V&A museum we visit the artist’s bohemian district – from her house to the cantina where she drank, and from arts venues to fantastic markets and restaurants

• Plus: four more Kahlo stops

Coyoacán was once a hard-to-pronounce place, little known outside of Mexico City. Now it is an almost-obligatory destination for most visitors. Blame it on Frida Kahlo-mania. The artist’s birthplace and final residence, now the Museo Casa Azul, is here on a quiet residential street between similar still-private homes built around the turn of the 20th century. The folk art-filled museum, open as such since 1957, now draws queues that snake around the tree-lined block (advance online purchase of tickets is advisable). But this was not always the case.

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Best places to travel on a budget

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Traveling can be an expensive way to spend your time, but often it is the most memorable. Finding a way to travel for less, is the ideal way to maximize how much of the world you can see in your lifetime. While it can be costly getting to some places depending on where you are coming from, these places won’t break the bank when traveling on a budget.

Karpathos, Greece

Greece is a beautiful country; there are wonderfully blue waters, and white sands that help to make it one of the prettiest places in the world to be. Throw in a delicious cuisine, and you’d be crazy not to visit there at some stage of your life! Karpathos has many beaches that are free to enter, and you can take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea. There are ancient ruins to visit, such as Agia Fotini and Agia Sofia which are runs of ancient chapels from many years gone by. Then there is the Roman cistern, which is a cave dwelling from the time of the Roman Empire. There are a host of activities such as snorkeling and windsurfing that are available for travelers looking for a bit of action. The food is cheap, which is important because you will eat a lot of the delicious cuisine, so much that your clothes might burst at the seams.

Porto, Portugal

Portugal is experiencing a travel boom at the moment so you’ll have to get in there before the prices skyrocket. The coastal city of Porto offers travelers plenty of sun as well as a healthy dose of culture. You can visit the baroque church of Torre dos Clerigos which helps to provide a great overlook of the city thanks to the sky-high tower attached to it. You can ride the vintage tram service that runs through the city if you don’t feel much like walking. The weather is often fair and even in the winter months, the temperature shouldn’t dip much below 62 degrees during the day. The 60 Euro cent cups of coffee are a good barometer of the day to day expenses in Portugal. If that doesn’t appeal to the travel budgeter in you we don’t know what will.

Havana, Cuba

If you are traveling with a buddy, then you should check out Cuba as it can be an affordable location to visit when sharing the costs of accommodation with a friend. You could spend $ 10 on drinks if you head to a tourist spot in Havana, but if you head to a local bar, the same drinks will probably set you back about a dollar. Avoiding the tourist economy is the way forward in Cuba, as this way you will get to immerse yourself in the country’s history and culture as well as saving yourself some much-needed pennies for the road. You can get cheap meals for around $ 4, and coffee is even cheaper than in Portugal, many cups are available for as little as $ 0.10. There are hundreds of vintage cars that are dotted all around Havana that add to the vibrancy and color of the city. Just walking around the city and taking in the street art and street life is the best way to get the most out of Havana while keeping your costs low. Taxis are cheap and charge $ 1 per kilometer traveled.

Traveling for less is becoming harder and harder these days as travel itself becomes more popular. These are the places we think you will be able to head to without spending lots of money but still have an absolutely amazing time.

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Best food festivals in the world

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Food is great, it tastes amazing, and it releases positive hormones throughout our bodies that makes us feel good. It is any wonder that we keep going back for more? Even after our stomachs are telling us they are full up! The best thing about food is that each country has its own special cuisine and often there are very different taste sensations available throughout all of the regions in the world. Many festivals celebrate food, and we’re bringing you some of the best.

Pizzafest – Napoli, Italy

Talking about food without bringing up pizza is hard. The gooey cheesy meal is many people’s favorite thing to cram into their mouths, and Napoli in Italy is where they were created. Pizzafest is held yearly in September and celebrates all things pizza for about two weeks of the year. Head to Napoli to experience the original recipe for yourself and make sure your clothes have elasticated waistbands as you can expect to eat a lot of pizza during that time.

Le Salon du Chocolat – Brussels, Belgium

Belgium is considered by many to be the home of chocolate, so it makes sense that they would have one of the best chocolate festivals in the world. They hold the festival, Le Salon du Chocolat, every year in March and there are more than 130 participants making chocolate for all of the festival goers. Some of the biggest names in Belgian chocolate making will be at the festival exhibiting all of their amazing skills and offering samples to taste. There are even people wandering around wearing dresses made from chocolate.

Bacon Festival – California, USA

Bacon has to go down as one of the greatest discoveries ever made by mankind. It is the smell that is guaranteed to get you up in the morning as it will be driving your taste buds so crazy you won’t want to be asleep anymore. In Sacramento, California, bacon lovers will convene to share their love of bacon in all shapes and sizes. There will be straight up bacon, bacon flavored ice cream, bacon milkshakes, and bacon donuts. Any kind of bacon you can think of, and many that you can’t, will be available at this meaty festival.

La Tomatina – Valencia, Spain

One of the most fun food festivals in the world is found in Valencia, Spain. While there isn’t too much tasting involved thousands of people flock to the streets of Buñol, Valencia, to throw tomatoes at a huge wagon and each other. It has been held since 1945, and there are very few rules to participation. You cannot throw hard objects, and you must squash your tomatoes before throwing, that’s basically it. The event is staged purely for entertainment reasons but is for sure the most fun you can have a food festival.

Tokyo Ramen Show – Tokyo, Japan

Ramen is arguably the most popular food Japan has to offer, and many college students would claim the low-cost, but high-flavor noodles are a necessity. Fans of the fast cooking food will be able to enjoy all of the varieties of flavors that Japan has to offer, and after the first six days, the vendors are all swapped for new ones, offering even more noodly goodness.

Food is for everyone, and thankfully there are hundreds of food festivals across the world. No matter what your preference is you are likely to be able to find a festival that celebrates your favorite food as much as you do. We think those are the best food festivals available to food lovers across the globe.

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10 of the best surfing schools in the world

What sets these surf schools apart is a commitment to excellence when it comes to tuition, which will help you to catch a wave from Portugal to Hawaii, South Africa to Norway

Surf camps provide a taste of the surfing lifestyle and include accommodation and transport, as well as social activities where you can meet other surfers. One company offering this is Lapoint, which has camps in six countries, including the Portuguese fishing town of Ericeira, 50km north-west of Lisbon – where there is a vibrant surf scene. Head coach João Durão began teaching at 19 and believes the quality of the instruction is as important as having fun, so there are theory lessons, fitness training and one instructor for every six students.
Seven-night break from €499, includes five lessons, accommodation, breakfast and yoga, two- and three-week packages available, lapointcamps.com. Flights extra, as with all the schools mentioned here

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The most innovative food truck dishes you’ll find

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Food trucks have grown in popularity over the past ten years as they are able to provide customers with quick and convenient food, but with restaurant quality flavor. Food trucks seem to be having competitions against each other over which one can create the craziest dish, while still being super tasty. We have found some of the most innovative dishes to have been created in food trucks across the world.

Sizzling watermelon

So you go to a food truck to get a dish that’s full of carbs and end up walking away with a portion of watermelon. What happened?! There is a dish from a food truck that brings together watermelon, chili, and Pop Rocks. The chili makes it burn, and the Pop Rocks make it explode on your tongue but thankfully the watermelon is there to cool things down. A very original dish found on the Canadian TV show Eat St.

Korean/Mexican fusion

A food truck in Los Angeles has combined the flavors of Korea and Mexico to create a supercuisine. It offers the warming comfort of Mexican food with the tangy BBQ spice from Korean cuisine. The result is incredible, and if you are ever in Los Angeles, you should track down the Kogi BBQ truck. Make sure to ask for the Kogi Kimchi Quesadilla, and wash it down with the chocolate Tres Leches Cake for dessert.

Griddled mac ‘n’ cheese

Many people thought it was difficult to improve on the comforting perfection that is mac ‘n’ cheese, but one food truck has now managed to make the dish portable. By coating it in breadcrumbs, they can mold the mac ‘n’ cheese into a long rectangular shape before they throw it on a griddle pan to seal it. Now you’ve got a mac ‘n’ cheese shaped like a candy bar that you can take away with you and eat while walking down the street. Perfect.

Bugzz

There is a crazy food truck in Holland that is offering up bugs from a food truck, and people seem to be loving the idea. They justify the food choice by commenting that 80% of the world’s population eats them, so why shouldn’t humans? They claim the bugs have more iron than spinach and offer vital vitamins found in other foods. We think we’d rather just eat a bit more spinach than get our vitamins this way, but whatever floats your boat! The truck offers fried bugs on sticks, as well as a portion of larvae as a french fry substitute. The truck is an eco-friendly food provider, with sustainability at the heart of their actions.

Red velvet bread pudding

Let’s finish off with something sweet because that’s when you’re supposed to have your dessert, right? Another of Los Angeles’ food trucks offers up a host of sweet treats for its customers, and the pick of the bunch is their red velvet bread pudding. It combines the sweet gooeyness of the bread pudding with delicious red velvet, and it couldn’t be tastier if it tried.

Some of the best food trucks are available in the USA as the industry goes from strength to strength. If you’re ever hungry and are passing a food truck give it a chance as the likelihood is that it will be one of the tastiest meals you’ve ever eaten, even if you’ve never heard of the dish before.

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The best cities in the world for music fans

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Music fans come in all shapes and sizes, just the same as music genres come in a variety of tones and beats. Many cities in the world house great venues that allow local artists to become global superstars, and then come back to their hometown and sell out the big arenas. Some of the best cities for music can be found all over the world, here are some that welcome music to help their vibrant hearts continue to beat.

Manchester, UK

Manchester is home to one of the largest rock bands to ever come out of the UK, Oasis. In truth lots of bands have come from this city including, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, even Take That. The city is famous for music and has many great venues and stadiums that the biggest acts in the world regularly play at. It has hosted famous acts such as The Spice Girls, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, and Kendrick Lamar. It doesn’t just host global superstars though, there are many smaller venues around for up-and-coming bands to learn their craft in. If you like music you will be able to find a decent venue that will be playing a genre that you love, make sure you check it out.

Ibiza, Spain

Ibiza is full of clubs, and anyone who loves dance music should at some point in their lives try to get to this Spanish party island. Some super clubs host thousands of people at a time just wanting to hear the world’s best DJs battle it out. It has also moved recently to accommodate fans of other genres too, and Ibiza Rocks now makes the island a vacation destination for music lovers who aren’t purely into dance music. Ibiza’s attraction is to pair sunny weather with some of the world’s best music, seems like a great combination to us.

New Orleans, USA

Speaking of a party, heading to New Orleans will guarantee you have a great time. The city is synonymous with jazz music, and there are plenty of venues ready and willing to blast out some fine tunes from their trumpets. It is considered to be the birthplace of jazz by many and must be visited to understand the atmosphere the city is able to generate. The jazz coming from New Orlean evolved and became the early form of Rhythm and Blues which was full of energy and vibrancy, and in recent years it has developed a hip-hop culture and a heavy metal base. There is something for most music lovers in this city.

Vienna

Lovers of classical music will no doubt be aware of Vienna. Classical music composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms spent many years working and living in the city, honing their craft. Now there are outdoor performances to be enjoyed around Vienna as well as the wonderful theaters with some of the best acoustics in the world. Theatres such as the Theater an der Wien, Volksoper, or the Staatsoper. Vienna is also considered to be home of the waltz dance if you fancy moving your body to some of the best classical music in the world.

Many great cities across the world are famous for their musical backgrounds. This rich history with music leads to many fans flocking to them to get closer to the music they love. Those were our picks for the best cities in the world music fans should make a trip to whenever they get the chance.

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Fast-tracked to Amsterdam’s high life and new hotels

Now only a non-stop train ride from London, the Dutch capital offers calm beauty and eco innovation amid the beery hedonism

I stood for a long time staring at the sign in the lobby of the Conscious Hotel, in Amsterdam’s Westerpark. A very long time. “Eco Sexy!” the sign read, like the Tinder bio of a freshly divorced vegan, or the aftermath of a tragic word bomb, with two fatalities and one jaunty exclamation mark. Eco Sexy also appears on the website, and in various emails. They are very pleased with this phrase, to the degree that I asked a Dutch speaker if perhaps there is some glitch in the translation. There is not. But – and don’t worry, I hate myself for saying this, no need for you to as well – in using this phrase, these words stapled together, they have a point.

Related: 10 of the best insider’s tips to Amsterdam

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How traveling can drastically improve your interpersonal skills

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If you’re currently reading this as you sit in the fetal position in the corner of your room, with your door locked and headphones on to block out the loud and irritating people on the other side of your wall, there’s a high chance that your interpersonal skills aren’t too great. It’s just a hunch, but we think we might be right. If you’re aware of this fact and want to do something drastic to make you the most sociable person in the world with the ability to talk to anyone and anything that you come across, why not buy a single ticket to a destination of your choice, pack your bags, and work your way around the world? Here’s how traveling can drastically improve your interpersonal skills…

We’ve been taught to be closed off

Although you may not be the kind of person to strike up a conversation with the person you begrudgingly sit next to on the train, you’re not alone – because they won’t strike up a conversation with you either! This is because we have all been taught to be closed off in the world. We avoid eye contact to avoid the risk of stranger danger, we don’t talk to people we don’t know in case they turn out to be dodgy, and we just about manage to say “thank you” to the shopkeeper who beeped through our goods. Yet, traveling the world will force you to ignore all of these lessons that you have been taught in life, and will force you to speak to people you don’t know for directions, or even force you to speak a different language.

You get to enjoy the life you have been given

Okay, it might not seem like it right now, but your life is properly pretty darn great. You’re healthy, you have a roof over your head, and you’re relatively happy (you know, apart from the whole sitting-in-the-corner-avoiding-people thing). Yet, we live in a world where we are used to instant gratification and rarely have time to stop and enjoy the life that we have been given. If we have to wait for our food, we impatiently tap our foot in annoyance, if our train is delayed we all moan as if the world has come to an end, and we stop enjoying what life has to offer. When you go traveling, taking the time to actually enjoy what you’re doing might actually give you the chance to actually enjoy the company of others who share the same values as you do.

Non-verbal communication is all of the rage

Interpersonal skills are not just about actively speaking out loud and conversing with others – non-verbal communication is also all of the rage! When you travel to a new country, there’s a high chance that you can just about say, “hello,” “goodbye,” and “thank you,’ and little else. Of course, this makes living and traveling within an unusual country pretty difficult. This is where non-verbal communication comes into play. If you want a specific item on the menu, you will probably point to the item in question. If you need directions to a famous waterfall, you might use hand gestures and whooshing sounds to indicate that you don’t know how to get there. By being able to communicate without words, you will drastically improve your social skills.

Forcing yourself to be social and have great interpersonal skills is one of the only ways to improve yourself as a person. After all, would you actively take yourself out of your corner and speak to your neighbor on a normal day? This is why you need to book a ticket, and wave goodbye to your corner!

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Are you ready for the danger of Mount Everest

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Many people are aware that climbing a mountain is no easy feat, especially the most iconic peak in the world, Mount Everest. Ofen it is presumed that you’ll need to be an expert climber to simply just make it on the mountain itself. Can a humble hiker make it, or is it only a place for experts?

The climb

If you want to climb Everest specifically, you’re going to need some solid climbing experience to help get you to the top. You’ll need to have experience using crampons (the spiky shoe attachments) and weeks worth of climbing experience on challenging ascents, up to about 8,000 meters. It will probably take around three years to gain enough experience to feel confident about your chances on Everest. You’ll also need good levels of cardio training as, due to the altitude, the air becomes very thin and many people require the use of oxygen to complete their journey to the summit.

The nearby mountain

Mount Everest is just one peak in a region of peaks around Nepal, Tibet, and China. While Everest may be the end goal, there are many climbs nearby that will give you great experience for climbing the beast itself. In Nepal, you can get yourself onto several peaks that are ideal for trekking which won’t require much climbing skill. As an added bonus there are not the huge access fees on these peaks as there are with getting onto Mount Everest. We recommend heading to Mera Peak, Lobuche Peak, and Island peak as Everest alternatives, or warm-ups.

Base Camp

If you’re determined to get onto Everest but don’t want to put in the time learning to climb then, you can get to Everest Base Camp which is a common hiking trail. They are substantial trips, however, and can last between 7 and 14 days. From the Nepal side of the mountain, you will find a variety of hikes that are challenging and, importantly, beautiful and diverse routes. If you want to get to Base Camp on an easier route, you can head there via Tibet, which is the north side of the mountain. China has actually built a road to Base Camp from here, but that doesn’t mean it will be plain sailing. You’ll still take almost a week getting there as your body will have to gradually acclimatize to the altitude that keeps on rising the closer to Base Camp you get.

Immerse yourself

It would be a shame to visit the most iconic peak in the world and miss out on some of the cultures that reside there. The Sherpa community live in nearby villages in Nepal, and if you take a trip up the mountain, you are likely to have the pleasure of their company as they help to guide you up the mountain. Often they will invite you to their village once you’ve managed to navigate your way up and down Everest successfully. Visiting their home towns and villages is an incredible experience, and they are so welcoming you’ll feel like you’re a part of the family. Just a part of the family that doesn’t speak the same language!

So yes, you can visit Everest. Even if you aren’t the strongest climber, you’ll find some treks and hikes that should help to prepare you for a climb in the future. Or you can simply enjoy the approach to Base Camp and look up at the magnificent mountain from below.

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How to stay safe when traveling solo around the globe

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Traveling is an incredible way to see the globe, as well as offering up the chance to experience a whole host of new situations. This can be even better if you pack your backpack and head off solo. However, there are some important tips to remember while on your own that will help to keep you safe.

Listen to yourself

Have you ever been somewhere and just had a bad feeling about your surroundings? There is a good reason: our bodies pick up on anything unusual without us even realizing. So if your gut is saying that it’s time to go, it’s better to be safe than sorry. That goes the same for people too – never go anywhere alone with someone you don’t trust.

Research ahead of time

Before you jet off on your adventure, it’s best to get an idea of whereabouts you will be heading. There may have been a recent disaster, or the country could have unknown dress codes that you don’t discover until you get there. By doing all your research, you minimize the risk of any unexpected disasters, so you are free to enjoy your travels.

Trusted car rides

Getting into the car with a stranger sounds like a bad idea, right? So why are we so willing to climb into a taxi? When you’re alone, it’s even more important to make sure you know who you are going to be driving with. Some companies offer a rating system so you can check them out beforehand, while others may provide women-only services for the solo female traveler.

Think about luggage

Yes, we admit it, we have overpacked before jetting off. However, if you are going alone and planning on heading all around the world, do you really want to be lugging a great big heavy suitcase behind you? Chances are you’ll want to spend your time out enjoying yourself, not working out how to try and get your bag up 10,000 steps to the top of an ancient temple. To avoid this issue, just take the money, ID, and belongings you will need when you head out and leave the rest in a safe place back at home.

Be confident

Sadly, people with bad intentions will often pry on those that look lost or confused. If your eyes are stuck to your phone as you try to navigate the winding streets on your new adventure, then the chances are you’ll stand out from the locals. Keep your chin up, walk tall, and act as though you know precisely where you are. That way, pickpockets and other people up to no good will be more likely to leave you alone. Bonus!

Get insured

One of the biggest traveling mistakes is thinking you don’t need to worry about any kind of insurance. Although no one wants to have to make a claim, imagine how much worse it could be if you are ill or something gets stolen while you are traveling alone. Travel insurance doesn’t have to be expensive either. It’s peace of mind for you and your loved ones back home.

Social media savvy

Yes, uploading all your beautiful travel snaps could seem like a brilliant idea. You can share your memories with all your friends as well as make some of them jealous. However, you could also be opening up the door to people know where you are, and they know you’re alone. Instead, it’s probably best to save the uploads until you are back and you can show everyone in person.

Traveling can be an incredible experience for anyone that decides to jet off around the world. The sights and scenes are breathtaking, even without a travel buddy. The world is your oyster, go and enjoy it. Just remember to stay safe!

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Leros: the Greek island with just a touch of Italy

This Dodecanese gem has 20th-century Italian influences as well as the classic repertoire of secret beaches and laid-back tavernas

‘It is an unusual island,” said my friend Yannis, slightly self-consciously. “We are a bit different from our neighbours.”

Yannis, a cafe owner, is right: Leros is unusual, but in a good way. It is just a few miles from Turkey, but a million tourist miles from Kos and Rhodes, its Dodecanese siblings. It has mostly slipped under the holiday radar, which is a shame because it has everything we all want from a Greek island – beaches, fishing villages, tavernas, ruins – plus an extraordinary modern history. And for that we can thank Mussolini.

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Travel | The Guardian

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7 pastel-colored places around the world that are picture-perfect for summer

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As much as we love Jon Snow and the way he says, “Winter is coming” – we kinda hate winter. Yep, the cold temperatures are alright for a few days as you get the chance to wear your latest chunky knit scarf and your adorable bobble hat, but it soon becomes too much. You get cranky, you shiver all of the time, and you just can’t seem to get warm. Because of this, nothing makes us happier than when we see the first little hints of spring. The blossom is breaking through the trees and you can remove your huge Canada Goose jacket and replace it with a cool and hip denim jacket. Spring is here and that means a whole new color palette for us to snap on Instagram. You’ll love these seven pastel-tinged places around the world that are picture-perfect for the upcoming summer

Notting Hill – London, England

If you’re looking to update your ‘Gram with beautiful photos of springtime, a trip to Notting Hill in London is a must. Don your edgiest outfit, grab a cup of coffee, stand in front of the amazing multicolored houses, and get your bestie to snap a cool photo of you – because that photo is going to get maaaaaajor likes. Once you’ve seen Notting Hill in the spring, make sure you return for a summer visit to check out their iconic Notting Hill Festival.

Big Sur – California

We’ve all watched The O.C. We know how cool California is. Yet, to truly take in the pastoral wonder that is the Big Sur – you kinda have to get out your credit card and rent a car. As you travel down the roads of this West Coast highway, you will come across pastel color after pastel color. From the light aquamarine of the ocean to the sandy yellow of the beaches, to the deep oranges of the incredible sunsets. You can’t miss it.

Koon Seng Road – Singapore

Let’s be honest, Singapore should be on your bucket list – because who doesn’t want to wander around the Gardens of the Bay or check out the epic street food?! Yet, if you’re gonna book your flights across the pond, make sure you book to travel in the spring so you can get some major spring inspo from Koon Seng Road. All of the buildings along this road are painted in lush hues of pinks, blues, and purples, and feature some pretty awesome architectural detailing.

Piazzale Michelangelo – Florence, Italy

I mean, who hasn’t already booked their flights to Florence, am I right? Well, when you arrive in the spring, be sure to check out the Piazzale Michelangelo – but make sure you do it at sunset. You might have to push a few people out of the way because everyone has the same idea, but it’ll definitely be worth it. From blues to oranges, to purples and more, every single pastel sunset is different in this area, and the ancient buildings of this plaza will look even more incredible in the pastel light.

Lavender Fields – Provence, France

Thanks to Miranda Priestly, we all know that florals for spring are a little cliche, but we kinda don’t care what the dragon lady has to say (sorry, Miranda). If you fancy a trip to France in the spring, make sure you check out the Lavender Fields of Provence. These purple fields look absolutely breathtaking against the clear blue sky – and most of the time you can’t even see where the lavender fields end and where the sky begins. Frolick away, my pretties!

Bo-Kaap – Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa is the kind of place where anything is possible – which means that you can take in an epic conglomeration of culture, art, nature, food and more. Yet, if you really want to see what Cape Town has to offer, take a trip to hip neighborhood of Bo-Kaap, where every single home is an epic shade of the rainbow. From luminous green to Barbie pink, to sunset orange. It’s there.

Santorini – Greece

In the words of Chandler Bing, could this place BE any more perfect? We think not. Santorini is famous for its whitewashed buildings, bright blue spires and roofs, and cobbled streets that let you wander across the hillsides to check out the island below. It really is somewhere that needs to be seen to be believed. As if the white and blue tones weren’t enough, the red sandy beach and the bright colors of their famous Greek salads will provide you with every color of the rainbow.

Looking to put a spring into your step this spring? Check out these awesome pastel places around the world…

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10 things you should never get on a plane without

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If you’re just as obsessed with traveling as we are, you’ll know that packing for a vacation is one of the hardest things to do. Sure, you can get excited about wandering around temples, frolicking on a beach, exploring rainforests and other fun activities, but if you haven’t packed the right essentials you might be turning as red as a tomato on the beach, being bitten within an inch of your life in the rainforest, and walking around with broken shoes in the temples. It’ll be a mess. Want our help? We travel all the time, and these are the 10 things we never get on a plane without.

A multi-functional carry-on

Gone are the days of simply taking a backpack as your flight carry-on – the world of traveling has advanced. Nowadays, you can buy awesome multi-functional bags that is a mix between a backpack and a tiny suitcase. Despite their size, these kinds of carry-on cases have enough space to carry everything you need for the plane journey, as well as being both practical and fashionable.

Wireless earbuds

There’s nothing worse than opening your bag to find that your headphones have got caught up in all of your other belongings, or saturated with the hand lotion that popped open mid-flight. This is why we always opt for wireless headphones that you can simply keep in your pocket – away from anything that might hurt or harm them. Nowadays, these kinds of headphones normally have a 6-8 hour charge on them, which is perfect for a mid to long-haul flight.

Comfortable and supportive socks

It’s no secret that sitting on a plane for hours on end is not comfortable in the slightest, which is why should always take it upon yourself to try anything to be comfortable. One of the best ways to do this is to wear your most comfortable and most supportive socks. This way, your feet will feel warm, toasty and soft as you sit in the stagnant air of the airplane.

A multi-purpose toiletry bag

If you hadn’t already guessed, we’re all about using things that can be used for different purposes, which is why you should get a multi-purpose toiletry bag. When you’re traveling a lot, it is not practical to carry various different bags for different categories of cosmetics and toiletries. By buying yourself an all-in-one bag that has separate compartments, you will save yourself a lot of hassle.

A toothbrush you’re used to

During ours travels, we’ve realized that the toothbrushes you receive in hotels or on long flights are often painful and uncomfortable – which is why it’s always important to travel with a toothbrush you’re used to. Whether you want something a bit fancy, or whether you’re used to a cheap dollar toothbrush from the local store, it’ll save you a lot of hassle and bleeding gums.

A multi-purpose wallet

You might be wondering what other purpose a wallet could have – but it’s actually pretty nifty! You can now buy wallets and purses that double up as battery packs for your cell phone, which is perfect for a long flight or a day of traveling. Instead of finding yourself with no battery, you can simply plug it into your purse and charge it up as you go.

A personal backpack

You may have your multi-purpose carry-on, but this bag is not practical for wandering around small side streets, checking out traditional markets, or even surviving a flight. This is why a personal backpack is one of the 10 things we never get on a plane without. This is where you can carry everything from your water to a good book, to your sunglasses, to your headphones and more. By using a personal backpack, you can separate your important flight essentials from your luxuries.

A fancy phone case

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all of the items you need to take on a flight, which is why it’s best to keep as many things as possible together. This is why it’s a good idea to invest in fancy phone cases that have space for important cards such as ID or bank card. This way, you do not have to fumble around for a purse if you need these items, as they will always be with your phone.

Comfy clothes

Just as you don’t want to step on a plane without comfy socks, you also don’t want to step on a plane without comfortable clothes. When you’re stuck in one position for a few hours, the last thing you want is to be constricted by your clothing. So, steer clear of tight clothing such as denim, and opt for looser items such as leggings, sweaters and more.

Quality skincare

There are a few issues with airplanes; they’re not totally clean, and they’re extremely dry – and these factors can wreak havoc on your body. If you find your skin feels dry during every single flight, then start arming yourself with quality skin care, such as hand lotion and cleansing lotion to avoid bacteria.

If you travel as much as we do, you’ve learned what works and what doesn’t when you’re in-flight – and after many years, we’ve come to the conclusion that these 10 things are essential. Trust us!

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7 tips to planning a music festival trip with your girlfriends

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Summer is finally on the way, and all those music festivals are about to hit. After years of dreaming, you and the girls are finally off on your adventure! But there are some things to remember before loading up the car and setting off.

Which bands matter?

You’ll be making a list and checking it twice as you sit with your besties and decide who is a top priority to see. Sadly, there could be two bands on at the same time. As much as it would be great to see them, no one can be in two places at once. It’s all about working out who will be the best to see as well as who goes on tour more than others before making your final decisions. Plus, you may have to sacrifice seeing one of your bands in favor of your friends.

Final check

As much as you have planned, many festivals may change their lineup shortly before the big event. It’s time for another night of gossiping as you go through the schedule one more time. Has anyone been added? Is someone missing? Although everything may not go according to plan, at least you know when the main ones to see will be playing. Who knows, the festival may have even kept one of the leading acts a secret until the final few days. The suspense is too much to handle!

Expect the unexpected

Of course, the headliners may have been the ones to draw you to the festival in the first place. However, there are plenty of other bands and musicians in the lineup, too. One of the best parts of heading to a festival is getting a chance to enjoy all the new music on offer that you may never have heard before. By being open to new plans, you could soon discover a new favorite band. As well as new music, you could walk past a stall or food truck that is offering up a brand new experience. After all, you only live once.

App check

Smartphones are wonderful inventions, and now there are many apps to give us even more excuse to be on our phone. Before heading off to the festival, have a look and see if there is an app available to download. It could include a planner for your time away, or even offer up unique camera option to capture the perfect moments with your squad. Plus, everything will then all be in one unique place without the worry of losing those precious memories or that ever important schedule.

Keep hydrated

It’s all too easy to forget to drink water, but spending all day in the sun and walking around can quickly leave you dehydrated. Team that with any drinking and it could spell a recipe for disaster. The last thing you’d want after forking out on the tickets and planning all the details is to miss your favorite bands down to something so avoidable such as dehydration. Many festivals will let music lovers carry an empty bottle around with you to keep yourself topped up at all times.

Portable chargers = lifesavers

Many festivals now offer up opportunities to charge your phone while your out and about with their various outlets dotted around. However, what happens if you haven’t had a chance to get some juice and you’re wandering around the festival grounds all day? Plus, there is always the chance that you could get split up from your group. What if your cell dies? Having a portable charger means you’ll be able to keep on top of taking all those incredible pictures, as well as having a backup just in case you need someone in an emergency.

Shoe worries

Yes, those new high heels look beautiful. Are they suitable for a festival? Probably not. Going to a festival is the perfect excuse to buy a new pair of shoes, but it’s vital to think about how comfortable they will be after walking around for hours. Will you still be able to enjoy yourself with massive blisters? Chances are, it will be a good mood ruiner. Instead, opt for something that will be comfortable to wear all day rather than something that will look good in an Instagram post.

The most important thing to remember while at the festival is to have fun. After all, why else would you be there? Music festivals offer atmospheres like no other and create everlasting memories with your girlfriends. Now you all know how to make the most of your time away.

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Thinking about study abroad?

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If you currently feel like you’re in a rut, with no idea where you want to go with your life or what you want to do – don’t worry, because a lot of people are in your situation! After all, adulting is pretty darn daunting. What may be making your rut even worse is the fact that you live in the same town you were born in and grew up in, or even just in the same country. It gets pretty monotonous after a while. What you might need is to simply pack up your bags, gather all of your belongings together, and set up shop in a brand new country. Need some more motivation to do so? We’ve got it right here…

Making a difference

For many people, the idea of living abroad is something they dream about for many years. They envision days on the beach, sweltering heat, making new friends, embracing a new culture, and living the best life they can possibly live. Yet, it seems as though these ideas don’t have to be all in your head – as new research has noted that moving abroad and living in a new country will allow you to have a better sense of self. Indeed, this new research undertaken by Rice University with the help of Columbia University and UNC has found that setting up your life in a new country can increase your sense of “self-concept clarity.”

The study itself

Yet, how did these researchers manage to come to that conclusion? Well, these experts conducted a whopping six studies to come to their conclusion and investigated the lives of 1,874 people from America and those in international MBA programs. This way, they were able to test the differences between those who lived in their home country, and those who live abroad. This idea is also backed up by the famous German philosopher, Hermann von Keyserling.

What they discovered

As they went about their investigations, the research teams discovered that those who lived abroad had been able to think about new. By reflecting on themselves and the difference between their old and new lives, those who lived abroad were able to think about what makes them who they are, and how they are different to others. From this, they were able to identify the idea that living in a different country affects how a person thinks about themselves as a whole and increases the clarity of these thoughts. Yet, this wasn’t all that they discovered. The research teams also found that those who lived abroad could also experience a more satisfactory lifestyle that would often increase happiness, decrease stress, or help them find the perfect career to lead the perfect life.

Considering all of the information this study has unveiled, it’s fair to say that we’ve already packed our bags and have booked our one-way flight to the country of our dreams. What are you waiting for?

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A local’s guide to Kraków: 10 top tips

It’s Kraków’s striking medieval old town, one of the finest in Europe, that attracts visitors, but the city’s youthful restaurants, bars and cultural hangouts are well worth checking out, too

Hotel Forum was a monstrous concrete carbuncle of a hotel built during the Soviet era (started in 1978, it took 11 years to complete) next to the Vistula river in the middle of the city. It represented unprecedented luxury in Poland at the time, and featured a swimming pool, mini golf and a casino. But it only stayed open for 13 years – a design fault led to the basement constantly flooding, and it stood decaying and abandoned for many years. The long-term fate of the building is still uncertain, but five years ago, a group of creatives set up Forum Przestrzenie, a contemporary cultural centre with a bar and a good kitchen, which is now one of the hippest venues in the city. Local beers cost about 8zl (£1.65), pizzas from £6.30. Alongside concerts, movie screenings, food and fashion shows, locals come to relax on deckchairs and enjoy the sunset, with Wawel Castle across the river. DJs provide extra ambience. It has a very relaxed atmosphere in a retro setting.
Ul Marii Konopnickiej 28, forumprzestrzenie.com

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