20 of the best UK hotels, B&Bs and campsites for walkers

After a day’s hiking, a cosy place to bed down for the night feels like heaven. All these boltholes are in walking country and many offer extras such as guides, pick-ups and picnics

At the foot of the imposing Cadair Idris mountains, the Old Rectory in Tal-y-Llyn offers access to Snowdonia’s quieter southern reaches, as well as good walking around the nearby market town of Machynlleth, including Glyndŵr’s Way National Trail. Two of the B&B’s four attractive lake-view rooms have big, free-standing baths, ideal for an end-of-walk soak, or muscles can be soothed in the hot tub outside.
Walks An easy 2-mile trail loops around Tal-y-Llyn lake – look out for otters. A tougher haul is the climb up 893-metre Cadair Idris along the Minffordd Path via Llyn Cau (6 miles).
Double from £100 B&B, rectoryonthelake.co.uk

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Travel | The Guardian


Top places you can get up close and personal with your favorite animals


Adventure Aquarium – Camden, New Jersey

Most people dream of one day swimming amongst dolphins and sharks (we say MOST people, others are completely petrified of it) and some zoos and aquariums do offer this, but it is quite staged and seems uncomfortable for the animals involved. However, at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey you can swim amongst these animals in their natural habitat, without disturbing them. In their Adventure Aquarium, visitors are offered the opportunity to don your snorkel and enter the Shark Realm Exhibit, where you can get up close and personal to nurse sharks, sandbar sharks and more. After that, you can then swim over to the Stingray Lagoon, full of impressive Stingrays which you can swim with and feed. How cool is that?

Adelaide Zoo – Adelaide, Australia

Adelaide Zoo in Australia offers a plethora of interactive animal experiences that will give you hands-on experiences with some of the most dangerous animals in the world. One of these is the Nile Hippo experience which lets you bond with their pair of hippos, assist the zookeeper in checking out the health of the hippos, take part in their daily mouth check and help with feeding time. But if that doesn’t float your boat, you could enroll in their Big Cat Interactive program, which lets you get closer than ever before to their lions and tigers.

Cincinnati Zoo – Cincinnati, Ohio

The Cincinnati Zoo has become well-known for offering some of the most impressive interactive animal experiences in America. They offer everything from up close and personal animal meet-and-greets to their Junior Zookeeper pass option (yes, this really does mean that you get to hang out with baby animals) and their most popular Elephant Extravaganza. This option gives you the chance to meet their incredible elephants, who paint you a picture using just their trunk – and then you finish it all off by giving them an adorable bubble bath. Of course, it is pretty expensive, but all of the money raised from these experiences goes to help and protect elephants out in the wild.

ZSL London Zoo – London, England

The ZSL London Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the world – and one of the most incredible. It offers a variety of interactive experiences where you can hang around some of your favorite animals, and even offers the London Zoo’s Keeper for the Day program. This means you are trained as a professional zookeeper for one whole day, where you can get up close and personal with the giraffes, gorillas, penguins, lions and more. You feed them and look after them – although this does include cleaning out their enclosures, too!


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10 of the best historical walks in the UK: readers’ travel tips

From a Tolkien trail in Lancashire to Gloucestershire’s war poet walks, our tipsters reveal trips through landscapes brimming with history

Start the Tolkien Trail at the hamlet of Hurst Green, home to three pubs and no shops, and head north towards the 500-year-old Stonyhurst College, which schooled Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Gerard Manley Hopkins and at which JRR Tolkien stayed numerous times throughout his life. The area around the college is said to have inspired the Shire, the land of the Hobbits. The five-mile circular route features the so-called Cromwell’s Bridge, which the New Model Army crossed to meet the Royalists at Preston in 1648. Magnificent views of Pendle Hill, famed for its witches, and Clitheroe Castle also star in this magical walk.

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Travel | The Guardian


Everything you need to know before scuba diving for the first time


If you’ve ever fancied yourself as the next best thing to Ariel from The Little Mermaid, you may have thought you’d like to try your hands (and fins) at scuba diving. And you can! You don’t have to live near the sea or go on holiday to scuba dive – although it would be a bonus,. You can still scuba dive in your local swimming pool (within reason. Don’t just turn up with your scuba gear and expect to be let in). So if you want to don your flippers, check out these 5 things you need to know about diving.

You don’t need to buy all of the equipment

You know what they say, ‘all the gear but no idea.’ Well, if you turn up to your first scuba diving session with all of the equipment you’ve seen online, you will be the laughing stock of the scuba school. Many people love to keep it simple when they go scuba diving and prefer their own mask, fins, and snorkel (because you can go scuba diving without the air tanks and wetsuits!). After you’ve tried the basics with your standard snorkel and dive a bit deeper, you will need air tanks, inflatable vests, and wetsuits; but these will be provided by the scuba school. Don’t go buying it all yourself.

You don’t have to be an Olympic swimmer

Diving isn’t limited to athletically toned Olympians or those that work out every day (because for starters, who even enjoys exercise?!) Although it is desirable that you can swim at least the length of a swimming pool and not be completely out of breath, there is no exact requirement. No matter your size, weight, or physique, you can all have a go at scuba diving. There are certain medical requirements that could affect your ability to scuba dive, so always check with your doctor before you try it out.

You get to see another world

Yep, the underworld. Not the creepy underworld we see in movies and horror stories – more like The Little Mermaid…under the sea. Most people try their hands at scuba diving because they are attracted to exploring below the surface of the ocean. Because we never see the underwater world too often, having the opportunity to explore the little nooks, crannies, colors, shapes, and animals of the sea is an opportunity you just can’t pass up.

If you want to dive on your own, you need be certified

If you try out scuba diving on holiday, with a diving school, and you absolutely hate it – this won’t affect you (but we doubt this will happen). However, if you find a new-found passion, and want to carry on the sport by yourself, you will need a certification. When you first start scuba diving, you will need to be properly trained as it can be dangerous if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. You will then have to take a test to ensure you have the knowledge and practical skills to do it yourself. Just like you need a license to drive on land, you need a license to drive – or dive – in the water.

Don’t hold your breath

When you’re scuba diving, it can often be a common reaction to hold your breath – which is completely understandable. However, this can be dangerous (as we all know what happens when you hold your breath too long). When you’re scuba diving, it’s important to keep your breathing as normal as possible to maintain your bodily functions while under water. Although it may seem strange and unnatural, you have to do it.


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Take me to the lake: breathtaking lakes from around the world


There’s something whimsical about a lake that cannot be explained in words, you just have to be there in order to experience the magic. Perhaps it’s the dazzling ripples or the reflections in the water, or perhaps it’s the overall ambiance that’s in the air. It almost seems like people get a certain clarity when they go to the lake for a vacation or just if they want some relaxed time alone. There are millions of lakes around the world from small ponds to large reservoirs, but don’t mistake these for oceans, because these extensive bodies of water hold a certain presence and some might say an undeniable charisma that you can’t help but admire them. We’ve selected 6 of the most breathtaking and stunning lakes from around the world that you just have to visit.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is one of the most famous and beautiful lakes in the world and has also been mentioned much in pop culture. With crystal-clear blue waters and the surrounding mountains, this big freshwater lake that is located in Sierra, Nevada is the biggest alpine lake in the northern part of the U.S. The area is also a great tourist attraction for people visiting Nevada and California. In the winter, many people pay a visit to the ski resorts that are found in the area.

Pehoe Lake, Patagonia, Chile

While it might be a long and bumpy road to get to the Chilean lake, it’s definitely worth the ride. Once you arrive at Pehoe Lake in Patagonia, you will experience the magnificence that can only be found in far away places. Located in Torres del Paine National park, this beautiful lake has a neat combination of colors that mostly appear during sunset and sunrise.

Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand

It doesn’t really matter where you go to in New Zealand, you are bound to see nothing but stunning, literally out of this world scenery. The magical place called New Zealand holds some of the world’s most magnificent wonder, including Lake Wakatipu, which is the longest lake found in New Zealand. The way the colors change from turquoise to deep blue and vice versa is best viewed from above, so you might want to consider taking a helicopter ride.

Lake Lucerne, Switzerland

Nope, this is not photoshopped, this is an actual place in Switzerland. The country has an array of breathtaking lakes, but this one in specific caught our attention due to its natural beauty and historic value. The history of the area goes way back to the mid 19th century and in some way it feels like nothing has really changed in the best possible way.

Crater Lake, South Central Oregon

Located in the southern part of Oregon, Crater Lake is hands down the main attraction anyone can find at Crater Lake National Park. It’s mostly famous for the deep blue waters and its clarity. In fact, if you want to see the most spectacular shade of blue, then you must pay a visit to Crater Lake. It’s name originated from the fact that the lake was formed when thousands of years ago the  volcanic Mt. Mazama just collapsed and formed this deep lake.


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A backpacker’s guide to Chile: a one-month itinerary

From historic Santiago to boho Valparaíso and into staggeringly beautiful mountains and desert, this is a pulse-racing trip. Explore Chile with our guide on what to see and where to stay

Squeezed between the Andes and the Pacific and stretching from the Atacama Desert to the glaciers of Patagonia, this strip of a country opens its secrets to backpackers prepared to push into the lesser-known quarters: to the lava fields of Conguillío national park with its monkey puzzle trees, or to the wild beaches of Hueicolla. Along the journey you can sip bitter-sweet pisco sours, squirm at salty raw piure (bizarre red-fleshed sea creatures) and fill your boots with world-class Chilean wine.

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Travel | The Guardian


5 best stand up comedy clubs in NYC


We all love a good laugh once in awhile (okay, all the time. Did you know laughing burns calories?!) and there’s no better way to laugh your socks off than visiting a comedy club. Whether you watch world-renowned comics or comedic newbies, you’re bound to hear something funny – or, at least, we’d hope. New York City is one of the best places in the world to see stand-up comedy because it’s home to some of the most incredible comedy clubs! Don’t believe us? Check these out (and be prepared to roll on the floor laughing, laugh out loud, laugh your derriere off etcetera etcetera):

Comedy Cellar – MacDougal Street, New York City

Comedy Cellar in New York City is often regarded as the biggest apple in the Big Apple. With its brick walls, low ceilings, and small audience space, this cellar has become world-renowned for its high class and intimate stand-up comedy gigs starring some of the most prolific comedians in the business. With comedians like Amy Schumer, Chris Rock and Louis CK turning up out of the blue to play their own set, visitors are always leaving with a smile on their face (and some tired cheeks). The Comedy Cellar is also one of the most prominent comedian hang out spots in New York, and they all congregate up the stairs at the Olive Tree Cafe. So if you want to rub shoulders with some of the best in the comedy business, buy your tickets in advance for the Comedy Cellar – because they sell out quickly!

Gotham Comedy Club – West 23rd Street, New York City

No, you won’t get to see Batman shading The Joker with his jokes in this club – although that would be pretty cool. Is that a thing? Can we make that a thing? The Gotham Comedy Club offers weekly comedy shows, but the weekend is where it’s at. During the weekends, this comedy club features some of the best up and coming comedy headliners for the audience to laugh their heads off. This is one of the best ways to see new talent and see something like never before. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any comedy veterans here. If you’re lucky, you might turn up on the day Jerry Seinfeld turns up to test out his new material. You know, as you do.

The Stand – Third Avenue, New York City

There’s nothing we love more than a roast. And we don’t mean the odd British meal that involves batter on a savory dish (I mean, whaaaat?) We mean the kind of roast where comedians battle against each other to rip each other apart in a hilarious fashion. Although a small venue, The Stand has made a name for itself since its opening in 2012, and now offers some of the best comedians in New York – including Mark Normand, Joe List, and Bonnie McFarlane. The roast occurs every Tuesday evening and is hosted by the incredibly funny, Luis J Gomez. It’s not to be missed.

Village Underground – West 3rd Street, New York City

The Village Underground comedy club is the Comedy Cellar’s sister located just around the corner. The only way we can describe this relationship is that the Village Underground is the epic work-in-progress of the Comedy Cellar. With the similar brickwork and small space, the club is almost identical aesthetically. However, rather than offering some of the most famous and in-demand comedians in the business, this club offers some of the best up-and-comers, who play regular slots in the club. These comedians will make you laugh through their one-hour set before they then land themselves on your Netflix list (so make sure you’re wearing colorful clothes when you go so you can spot yourself on TV!)

Carolines – Broadway, New York City

Considering it’s located on Broadway (which is just hella busy all the time) it’s no surprise that Carolines is one of the biggest stand-up comedy venues in New York City. With space for just over 300 audience members, Carolines offers comedy shows all throughout the week, but the piece de resistance is always the weekends. Every weekend, this club manages to book some of the most famous, professional and in-demand comedians – who all believe this gig to be a highlight of their career. So you want to be there, and so do the comedians!

If you’re looking for a bit of laughter during your next trip to NYC, check out these comedy clubs for all of the best laugh out loud moments. You won’t regret it.


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Bite the bullet train and head to Japan

Instead of lazing by the Med, Jay Rayner decided to take his family to Japan. It wasn’t an entirely selfless act … food played a major part, naturally

Getting to eat the good stuff in Tokyo can be a challenge. The problem isn’t finding the right places. The concierge team at the city’s hotels work harder than most making restaurant reservations, and ours at the Mandarin Oriental is no exception. They have sent us to a bustling, wood-lined izakaya, or food pub, down a side street in the city’s Akasaka district. Here, smoke pirouettes from the grills in the open kitchens, the beer, like the air conditioning, is beautifully chilled and the tables are crowded with locals.

The problem is that the place is so very local, so very Tokyo, that quite reasonably no one here speaks English, and we speak no Japanese apart from the good manners of “hello” and “thank you”. Or so we think. Suddenly our 18-year-old son, Eddie, is sorting the order. He can do numbers and a few other phrases, enough to get an omakase request – roughly, the chef’s choice – under way. We are served blocks of silken tofu under umami-rich tangles of dried fish, plump, gossamer-skinned gyoza and tempura-ed fritters of sweetcorn. Thanks in part to Eddie, we do eat the good stuff.

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Travel | The Guardian


How to plan a trip in the last moment


Sometimes, you catch the traveling bug off guard, and you just have to take yourself away for a couple of days to explore a new place, travel to exotic lands, or spend some quality time with people you love. However, planning a last minute trip can be super stressful. The prices go up, the time limit goes down, and there’s so much to do when you are up against the clock. When the world is your oyster, but you have no time do plan it, how do you sort out a last minute trip without pulling your hair out?

Work out your budget

The first step in planning a last-minute trip is working out your budget. Naturally, every single country in the world varies in price, so working out how much you can afford to spend is the most important aspect of planning your trip. Look at your savings, at how much you could potentially use, and the maximum budget for your trip. This way, you can cross off the destinations which don’t fit your budget and circle the places that do. If you haven’t got a huge amount to work with, all-inclusive holidays are always a great option – pay one upfront fee, and you won’t need any spending money, so you’ll never go over your budget.

Keep an eye out for any last-minute deals

Although it is true that the later you book, the more the prices rise – it’s not necessarily true for all vacations. Many travel booking sites offer ‘last-minute deals’ where the airlines and the hotels offer reduced prices to fill up their flights and hotel rooms. Sign up to get travel alerts from these sites, so you can always get the best deals as soon as they come out.

Be flexible about where you want to go

At the end of the day, the world is a pretty massive place. Unless you travel to a new destination every month, there are bound to be hundreds of places you still haven’t visited – so be flexible when deciding where you want to go. Because you are booking last minute, you may find that you can’t travel to the exact place you want to go. If this is the case, look up places that are similar to your desired destination and see if you can go there instead. Or pick somewhere completely random – just because you can! Grab a pin, open up a map, close your eyes, and stick it in. Go there!

Keep it simple

If you book a vacation months in advance, you have months to sort out the right flights for you, the perfect hotel, trips or excursions, and what you want to see while you’re there. But if you’re booking a spur of the moment trip, you don’t have time to do that – nor do you need to. Keep your trip simple and let the spontaneity in you decide where you’re going next. This will make the whole trip run smoothly.


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Actually good movies about traveling you need to watch


If you love seeing the world or want to be inspired to travel, then watching movies about traveling is a must. They can be the best way to relive your own experiences or think about where you’re going to book a ticket for next. The possibilities are endless. But there are so many movies out there that claim to be the ‘ultimate’ travel movie – so which one is the best? Well, here are our top five that definitely need to be added to your watch-list.

Into the Wild

Okay, so full disclosure (and spoiler) – this movie doesn’t end very well. But the whole concept behind the movie is utterly beautiful. This story is based on a true story and follows the life of Christopher McCandless, who graduates from college and leaves his life, and money behind in search of a simpler life full of nature and travel. He travels through America and eventually finds his way to his last resting place – Alaska. The scenes are beautiful and make us realize that simple lives aren’t the end of the world.

The Motorcycle Diaries

The Motorcycle Diaries follows the life of Che Guevara during his youth. Set in South America, we embark on a journey with Che through deserts, across grassy plains and into the depths of the rainforest to find his life’s calling. The movie will inspire you to find your own life’s calling, and travel as far and wide as possible to figure it out – because the world is truly magnificent.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Although this movie was dubbed a flop – it has since received a hugely positive reaction, and many people have taken the advice of the lead character. This movie centers around Walter Mitty, a middle-aged professional who hates his job, hates his life and constantly dreams of a more adventurous life; like the photographer he is constantly in contact with. So he goes in search of his friend, travels across continents, and visits different countries and cities. The most beautiful part of this movie is that he truly finds himself and comes out of his shell.

The Way

Just to warn you: this movie will definitely make you cry. But also inspire you. The Way follows the life of Tom – an American man whose son dies while walking the Camino trail. In order to pick up his son’s ashes, he has to travel to France. However, he decides to finish off what his son started and hiked the trail himself. He covers the incredible ground, learns so much along the way and makes lifelong friends that completely change his outlook on life.


Whether you like or dislike Reese Witherspoon films usually, this movie is a must-see. Wild focuses on Cheryl Strayed whose life has turned to pieces – she is a drug addict, her mother has just died, and she has no control over her destiny. To try and get her head together, she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail to reset herself and finally come to terms with what she wants in life.


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Bilbao baggings: the ultimate picnic road trip

It’s no surprise that a region with so many Michelin-starred restaurants is also home to world-class food producers. Time to fill up the picnic basket for a Basque country food odyssey

Price aside, eating at a one of the Basque country’s many Michelin-starred restaurants and sitting on a sea wall with a picnic have more in common than you’d imagine. The region’s greatest chefs – including Eneko Atxa, Elena Arzak, Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz, and Victor Arguinzoniz of Asador Etxebarri – all say the fertile land and seas, fresh produce, independent artisans (cheesemakers, winemakers, bakers), plus a culture with food at its heart, make for a transcendent gastronomic experience. It’s this holistic convergence that made Bilbao the destination of choice for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants event this summer.

You’ll remember a meal in one of the Basque country’s restaurants for a lifetime. But visit the region’s artisan producers yourself and you’ll get the ultimate picnic – and a lot more euros left in your pocket. I set off on my epicurean treasure hunt from Bilbao, visiting shops, food producers, and wine and beer makers, to enjoy the tastiest treats and finest drink in the most scenic picnic locations.

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Travel | The Guardian


You’ll want to get lost in these mysterious forests


There is nothing like a walk through the woods. Birds chirp, the air feels cleaner, and the way that the sun filters through the trees and the leaves is simply divine. Forests have this sublime magical quality about them, and you can feel the magic within flowing out of the ground. That must be the reason that they are so relaxing to walk through! However, not all forests are created equally, with some garnering much more attention than others due to their unique flora and fauna. Here are five incredibly beautiful forests which will take your breath away.

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Madagascar

This forest, located on the Western side of the African island of Madagascar, not only has beautiful jungles replete with lemurs, lizards, and hawks, but also is home to a unique geological formation. Called “Tsingy” (meaning “the place where one can not walk barefoot” in the local Malagasy language), these are giant limestone hills which have been eroded by the wind and the rain so much that the hills are now razor sharp! Because of this, it is nearly impossible to walk there except with special equipment. However, because there are so few humans in the area, the park has seen an explosion in bird and lemur populations!

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica

This forest is one of the last remaining virgin rainforests in the world. First settled as recently as the 1970’s, the Costa Rican government knew that they had to preserve it for future generations, and to keep the 70,000 tourists who visit the forest every year happy. And happy they are. With over 500 animal species and 2,500 plant species, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is one of the most bio-diverse placed on the planet. This is helped by the fact that the reserve is actually a cloud forest, meaning that there is some level of cloud cover all day every day across the canopy. If you want to go see this forest, the best way to see it isn’t to hike through it, but to zip line over it!

Hoosier National Forest, Indiana

Designated a national forest back in 1935, this forest has seen 12,000 years of human habitation. The Hoosier National Forest is relatively unknown as it is located in the rolling hills of southern Indiana, but that just makes it all the more intimate. With a collection of hickory, oak, buckeye, and sycamore trees, as well as the fact that so few people go there, this quintessential American forest is one of the nicest and most preserved in the entire nation.

Comprising over 260 miles of hiking paths, creeks, and streams, this immense park is not only easily accessible at any time, it is also completely free to enter.

Dragon’s blood forest, Socotra

Located on the Yemeni island of Socotra, this forest, just like everything else on the island, looks like it came from outer space. The trees which make up this forest are called dragon’s blood trees due to the red sap which comes out of them when the bark is cut.

Due to the fact that these trees are located on a desert island off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, it’s really nice that these trees are able to provide so much shade. They have an almost umbrella like appearance, with a huge head of leaves at the top being supported by a strong system of branches at the bottom.

Crooked Forest, Poland

Located close to the German border on the Polish side lies the Crooked Forest. And the forest definitely deserves its name. Comprised of several acres, it is not this forest’s size which makes it so compelling.

Instead, it is in fact the strange shape of the trees in the forest. Every single tree is crooked and bent near its base, and nobody’s quite sure how or why. But one thing is for certain – it was done by man. Some prevailing theories are the German tanks bent the saplings in World War Two, or that they were curved in order to be used for wood to build boats.


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The most romantic spots in the world


When you’re truly in love, you will find romance wherever you and your partner are in the world. However, there are a myriad of breathtaking spots that make for a dreamy romantic trip together, perhaps to celebrate an anniversary, honeymoon or to make a proposal. Here are 5 of the world’s most romantic spots.


Bali. The legendary Island to eat, pray and love. It’s also a stunning place for a couple to celebrate their love and enjoy views that will leave them speechless.  The Udug Hanging Gardens Hotel is known to be one the best with its Panoramic Deluxe Pool Villa.   Check out a photo or two before you book, and you’ll be completely convinced that this is the most romantic place in the world.

Easter Island

Easter Island provides what is the absolute epitome of sunsets. The sunsets over the Pacific Ocean in and of themselves make the Island incredibly romantic. The gorgeous Island also has unique statues that make it all that more charming.  This romantic destination is ideal for couples who want to see the world together and experience an unforgettable adventure.

Ushuaia, Argentina

Ushuaia is the most southern city in the world. Which means it is literally located at the end of the world. So if you tell the love of your life that you would go to the end of the world for them, and really mean it, then this is place for you. The Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse offers a perspective you never thought was possible. This place is where you and your partner will start everything together.

Bangkok, Thailand

Exploring the temples, cruising the rivers on a tuk-tuk, taking in the culture in the street markets and having a gourmet meal while enjoying the view of the Bangkok skyline screams romance. This city never sleeps and never fails to keep travelers busy and excited.  Thai massages are among the world’s best and are the perfect way to end a romantic afternoon together. Bangkok is a romantic getaway for those that want both culture and big city life.

Paris, France

Well, Paris is actually known to be the city love, so there should be no confusion here as to why it’s one of the most romantic places in the world.  This enchanting city is wonderful to visit all year around. Talking a stroll through the city streets, indulging in the chocolates and pastries from the endless bakeries and visiting the Eiffel tower are only a few of the unique romantic things to do in Paris.


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A backpacker’s guide to Sri Lanka: a one-month itinerary

The crowds head for its Cultural Triangle but Sri Lanka’s sights also include quieter national parks, hiking trails and beaches. Explore it with our guide on what to see and where to stay

Few countries in Asia can offer such variety in a relatively small area, or are as easily navigable by bus and train – or even in your own tuk-tuk. Away from the main sights it’s easy to escape the crowds: instead of Mirissa, whale watch in quieter Kalpitiya – a laid-back destination for kitesurfing – and opt for Wilpattu national park over Yala national park for similar wildlife trips. In the hills, take the train to Haputale, rather than Ella, for less-trodden trails to scenic mountain viewpoints.

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Travel | The Guardian


Not only Coachella: check out these unique festivals from around the world


Festivals are the epitome of culture. They are magical events with one-of-a-kind dancing, colors, enthusiasm, and vibrancy. Here are the 5 most unique festivals around the world.

Saint Patricks Festival, Dublin

Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated annually on March 17th in honor of Saint Patrick, who died on this day. It is a festival for all Irishmen, as well as those who feel Irish within. Saint Patrick would baptize people and rid paganism, which is why the Irish believe that it is because of him that there are no snakes on the island.  During this festival, stores are covered in decorations of green shamrocks, a plant with three leaves that represents this special day.  Everything in this festival is green since it is the national color of Ireland. People wear all green, including costumes and wigs, and carry bagpipes and organize parades full of Irish music.  The celebrations go all day long and there are fireworks throughout. They eat traditional Irish food such as mashed potatoes and corned beef. This is the day all Irishmen wait for all year long.

Night of the Witches, Mexico

If witches and wizards were to have a home, it would without a doubt be in the Mexican town of Catemaco.  A shaman of the area in 1970 thought to host a convention about witchcraft. From then on, hundreds of shamans come every year from all over Mexico to participate in a cleansing ceremony in order to rid them of their negative energies from the previous year.  The streets are full of vendors selling all kinds of healings and magical potions. Sorcerers and spiritualists sell traditional remedies. The festival starts on the first Thursday night in March and continues on for the entire weekend.

Dragon Boat Festival, China

The Dragon Boat festival is also known as the Duanwu Festival.  It has been celebrated in China for over 25,000 years. The Fifth day of the Fifth lunar month marks that start of all of the events. According to a legend, Qu Yuan, a Chinese patriot threw himself into the Mi Lo river to protest the corrupt government. Locals threw rice patties into the river in order to save him from being eaten by fish, which is why a tradition began of eating rice dumplings during this festival.  People also drink realgar wine during this period and dragon boat races. Dragon lanterns light up the city during this festival of fighting off evil spirits and finding peace.

Carnival of Venice, Italy

This carnival goes back all the way to 900 years ago. It was one time of the year where there were no rules. Everyone was free to do as they pleased without feeling bad since they were disguised under a mask. It is celebrated in various ways throughout the cities of Italy, however the most popular is the Carnival of Venice because of its masks.  The people of Venice started wearing masks in the 15th century in order to rid sexual and social differences. Venice today comes alive with its masks, jugglers, bands, entertainers and colorful boats along the canals. This festival makes fairy tales come alive.

Las Fallas, Spain

Las Fallas in one of Spain’s most unique annual festivals. It occurs in Valencia and actually means the fires in Valencian. It originates in the 16th century when the start of spring would be celebrated as a pagan ritual. The goal of this festival is to both make and destroy dolls and puppets made of out wood, cardboard, papier-mache and plaster. They are life like and represent satirical scenes.  These dolls are set on fire at 12 am on the dot. The last ones burnt are awarded prizes. The spectacle of 300 dolls being burnt at the same time is unforgettable.


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Top scuba-diving locations in the world


If you’re bored of life above water (we don’t blame you), you might want to take a trip down under – nope, not to Australia – but under the sea for an epic scuba-diving experience. However, with a heck load of water and sea all across the world, finding the right place for you to scuba-dive can be a tough job. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 scuba-diving locations around the world. You can thank us later; you know after you’ve swum with the fishes…

Ambergris Caye, Belize

When you think of diving destinations, you probably don’t think of Belize straight away. But the more you delve deeper (pun intended) you’ll soon realize it’s the perfect scuba-diving destination. Behind the Great Barrier Reef, Belize offers the second largest natural coral reef in the whole world which is just one of the reasons you need to visit here. The water in Belize is so clear you won’t have any problems spotting the teeming schools of fish and wildlife, especially when you head over the the small island of Ambergris Caye – although you’ll need to keep your eyes out for the hammerhead sharks and stingrays.

Silfra, Iceland

When people think of Iceland, they normally think of, well…ice, for one. However, in the summer, the ice melts and Iceland is covered in incredible mountain ranges, green plains, and some of the clearest water known to man. Silfra in Iceland is located in the middle of two continental plates so you can literally dive between America and Eurasia – the only place in the world you can do so. Although this area is not full of exotic wildlife, the underground landscape is something not to be missed.

Darwin Island, Galapagos

We don’t need to tell you what kind of discoveries Charles Darwin made on this island – and these discoveries mean the island is teeming with wildlife. In fact, 20% of the marine life found around Darwin Island cannot be seen anywhere else in the world! With everything from sea lions, to penguins through to hammerhead sharks, marine iguanas and more, you’ll definitely need your underwater camera ready for this dive. Although the currents are strong in these waters, the views make up for that little extra push.

Anacapa Island, California

Just a pre-warning, diving in Anacapa Island will be cold. Very cold. So if you don’t mind donning a wetsuit, gloves, hood, and boots, this dive is well worth it. The water here will give you around 50 feet worth of visibility so you can see the incredible views in front of you. You can explore shipwrecks, dive underneath underwater arches, play with the sea lions, make your way through the kelp forests and swim with the rays. Do all that, and you’ll forget how cold it is.

Bonaire, ABC Islands

Bonaire is the ‘B’ within the Netherlands Dutch Caribbean ABC islands, located off the coast of Venezuela. It’s becoming an increasingly popular diving destination for beginners, intermediates, and experts who want to see the best of what the sea has to offer. With over 469 species of fish residing in this ocean, you won’t be short of things to see. From seahorses to squids, to reef fish and colorful corals along its 86 diving sites, there is something for everyone.


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A locals’ guide to Kathmandu, Nepal: top 10 tips

The gateway to the Himalayas has been a backpackers’ haven since the 1950s. Now recovering from the 2015 earthquake, it offers a magical mix of chaos and beauty

For most visitors, a trip to Nepal begins in Thamel. This labyrinth of streets and alleys lined with souvenir shops, bars, hotels and restaurants has been the hub for backpackers since the country opened itself to outsiders in the late 1950s. Of the city’s handful of green enclaves, the Garden of Dreams is a serene spot in which to escape the bustle of the streets. Just across from the former royal palace (which is now a museum), the garden, with its pavilions and ponds, is the perfect spot to unwind with a book or take a nap on the lawn mats.

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Travel | The Guardian


Visit these cities if you absolutely love brunch


There really is nothing quite like brunch. It’s always there for us, to energize us throughout the day, to give us a reason to want to wake up on the weekend, to catch up with our best buds, and most importantly, to allow us to take the best shameleInstagramram pictures. These 5 cities do not just serve brunch, they are brunch.

Austin, Texas

If you’re in Austin, Texas then you’ll know that Tex-Mex in the morning is totally in the clear.  People in Austin don’t start their weekend mornings without a legendary breakfast taco, stuffed with scrambled eggs, bacon, chorizo, sausage and hot sauce. It’s best enjoyed with a coffee instead of a margarita during brunch. This city seriously know’s what’s up when it comes to brunching.

Sydney, Australia

Although you probably think that Australian breakfast does not go further than vegemite toast, most cafes actually have their own version of a full English breakfast, including eggs, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, and sausage. But Sydney is a city with many international influences and depending on where you decide to brunch, you’ll also find some sweet dishes such as ricotta hotcakes topped with honeycomb butter and banana. You won’t be disappointed.

 Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv has much more to offer than just sunny beaches and non-stop nightlife, it happens to be one the best cities for brunch. The combination of the laid-back attitude of the locals together with the fresh produce and urban culinary scene makes for an addictive brunching culture within this city.  Here you will find unique Israeli breakfast dishes that are served all day such as Shakshuka, a Mediterranean spicy tomato and egg dish, as well as omelets served with healthy spreads such as tuna, tahini, cheeses, and avocado.

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town has got you covered when it comes to brunch. They’ve got cafes running 24 hours a day that look like they came right from Los Angeles and bakeries that look like they came straight from Europe. Basically, Cape Town has got it going on. You will find everything your brunch obsession desires while overlooking the sea, from freshly squeezed juices to pear french toast and BLT croissants.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is a city that takes modernisation and technology to the next level. And that’s exactly why going to brunch here is like no other. They’ve got stacked buttermilk pancakes with every flavor and topping you could possibly imagine. Be sure to try the Four Cheese Fondue Pancake at their famous Butter restaurant for a brunch experience you won’t forget.


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A backpacker’s guide to Ethiopia: a one-month itinerary

Full of natural wonders and ancient culture, this vast country is also home to booming cities and a youthful population. Explore it with our guide on where to go, what to see and where to stay

Ethiopia has astonishing landscapes, ranging from the flat-topped mountains of the north to the otherworldly multicoloured salt flats and lava lake of the Erta Ale volcano in the Danakil Depression; rich flora and fauna(this is the country where residents and hyenas live in peace); and ancient cultures, including the the city of Axum (one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in Africa), the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and Africa’s oldest mosque, Nejashi. It also has one of the continent’s fastest-growing economies (second only to Ghana), with booming cities and a young population. For all this, it is yet to attract large numbers of tourists, and visitors can often find themselves alone in this amazing country.

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Travel | The Guardian


The best New York pizza places you can find


Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good pizza? Wherever you go in the world, you won’t need to travel far to find a cheesy slice. Whether you like a thin crust, stuffed crust, an Italian-style pizza, a calzone or Chicago-style Pizza, New York has some of the best pizza joints around. But with so many to choose from, choosing which one to try out is a bit of a mammoth task. So here’s a lowdown of the 5 best pizza places in New York.

Roberta’s – 261 Moore Street, Brooklyn

If you’re feeling adventurous, then Roberta’s has the pizza – but be warned, there are often hour-long waits (especially if Bill Clinton decides to go there again, as he’s done many times before!). Although this pizza place does serve your average Margherita or pepperoni slice, they pride themselves on their creative toppings. They import authentic spices, vegetables, and cheeses from all across the globe to make all of their pizzas different, and they’re not scared to try anything new. Past pizzas have even had the likes of kale, caciocavallo cheese, and honey on them.

Motorino – 139 Broadway, Brooklyn

Some people just loved the charred crust of a wood-fired pizza (we definitely do), and Motorino chars their crusts to perfection – and use it as a developed flavor that compliments their pizza toppings. Expect the likes of Brussels sprouts, spicy sausage or stracciatella to balance out the bitterness of the crust, and you’ll honestly think you’d gone to pizza heaven. But if you want to keep it clean and simple, there’s nothing better than their traditional Margherita, complete with basil leaves.

Paulie Gee’s – 60 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn

If you’re looking for a good sit-down menu, Paulie Gee’s is the one for you. Their menu is full of cheesy puns (get it?) with references to a whole load of American pastimes and popular culture. One of their most celebrated pizzas is the Brunch Pizza – complete with melted gouda, Canadian bacon, and maple syrup. Here at Paulie Gee’s, they’re all about the taste, so don’t expect an Instagram-worthy beauty shot here.

Prince Street Pizza – 27 Prince Street Avenue, New York

If you’re fed up with the traditional triangle pizza slices, then Prince Street Pizza offer you some of the best square slices in the business. The owners take their inspiration from Sicilian and family recipes, with a twist. You can either go for their world-famous Spicy Spring Pie complete with Fra Diavolo sauce, fresh mozzarella, and pepperoni or try one of their wacky boozy pizzas. Who doesn’t want to try a vodka pizza sauce?

Lucali – 575 Henry Street, Brooklyn

Lucali has gained worldwide recognition for its incredible pizza slices – and Jay-Z and Beyonce even skipped the Grammy Awards once to eat here! Lucali only has two options on the menu: a calzone or a pizza. But to be honest, you don’t need any more option than that. With their thin and charred crust, special sauce, mozzarella and the toppings of your choice, you and Lucali can join forces to create the perfect pizza.


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10 of the world’s best street food stalls: readers’ travel tips

Originally cheap meals for workers, street food offers a true taste of local lives and specialities

In the Taiwanese town of Jingtong, I tried what is widely known as “stinky tofu”. At the back of a roadside stall, I sat on a low seat and watched three squares of tofu being cut into four before being plunged into a wok of hot oil. It was served in a bowl with soy sauce and picked sliced cabbage and carrot. It was surprisingly good, not greasy and, although there was a slight smell, it was no worse than a strong blue cheese. With a chilled lime drink, I paid about £2.
Helen J

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Travel | The Guardian


The best travel apps you need on your phone


Before the dawn of the smartphone if you wanted to travel to a different country you’d have to buy yourself a phrase book and then a map or two to help you find your way when you inevitably got lost. Nowadays all of that travel information is right on hand in your pocket, you just need to know what apps to have on your phone to make sure you can travel with ease. We’re looking at the essential travel apps to download to your phone, just make sure you bring your passport along for the trip too!

Google Translate

If you’re visiting a country that speaks a different language, it might be hard getting around and understanding what’s going on. With Google Translate you can download the entire dictionary for offline use in the language of the country you are visiting, having it on hand to translate anything you read. There is an added feature that will really come in handy for people who use this app. If you point your phone at some foreign text, Google Translate will magically convert it to your mother tongue, meaning you can easily understand what’s on the menu without having to type it all into the app.


Chances are, if you are visiting a new place you aren’t going to have your car with you. You ’ll still need to find your way around this new place though and possibly the best way to do that is through Uber. If you don’t know what Uber is, it is a mobile taxi service that essentially summons a driver to your location through your phone, and they’ll take you where you want to go. It can often be cheaper than regular taxi services, and you’ll be able to get picked up within minutes, meaning you won’t be stranded in a strange and scary place trying to find your way back to your hotel.


If you don’t want to solely rely on taxis getting you around, then try out the Citymapper app. It is designed with commuting in mind, so it can offer you the best routes to and from anywhere in the city you are staying in. You can even download the maps to make it available offline, helping avoid the expensive data roaming charges many service providers like to extort from us when we visit other countries.


If you want to try and fit in with the locals, or at least not stand out too much, you might want to try leaning some of the local lingo. Duolingo is a language learning app that’ll have you comprehending the basics in no time. It is broken up into small chunks, meaning you won’t be overwhelmed with new words right from the off. The app makes a game of the learning experience, making you come back for more and more until you’re a pro at your new language. It comes with a wide range of languages, all of the most common in the world as well as plenty of lesser-spoken languages.

These apps can help to take away the stress of visiting a new country where you are unfamiliar with the language and how to get around. You can simply refer to the apps on your phone to make sure you never misorder a dish from the menu or get lost in a foreign land again.


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Best Beach Books And The Towns They’re Based In


Are you someone that enjoys sitting back with a good book at the beach? It’s pretty relaxing lying there with the sun shining down on you as you escape into a brilliant new world. Of course, what’s better than reading a book at the beach? Reading a book that’s set at the beach. If you’re looking for somewhere sunny to spend your next vacation, the places featured in these great reads might be the best place to visit.

French Riviera (Bonjour Tristesse)

“Bonjour Tristesse” has been around for quite a while now. It was written back in the ‘50s, making it a classic by today’s standard. Centered around a teenager enjoying summer in the French Riviera, it’s a story full of love, revenge and betrayal – a true drama. It was considered a bit raunchy when it was first released, but it’s no “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The French Riviera is not only the perfect setting for the story, but it’s also a great place to enjoy the book. There’s nowhere more elegant to sit by the coast and enjoy the juicy story.

Australia (The Bodysurfers)

Robert Drewe is a big name in Australia, and after reading his work, it’s clear to see why. “The Bodysurfers,” which is a collection of short stories set on the country’s glorious coastline, recreates the breathtaking landscape perfectly. You’d never need to visit the country to know what it’s like to chill out on the beaches there, but you absolutely should. You can learn about the happenings of the Lang family all while soaking up the golden sun. What could be more perfect?

Rodanthe (Nights in Rodanthe)

Nicholas Sparks is pretty much the king of the modern-day romance novel. Loads of his works have been turned into films, and they’ve all done pretty well for themselves. One of the author’s best is “Nights in Rodanthe,” which follows two divorced singletons as they fall in love on vacation. Their romance is rocked by the realization that going home will mean having to leave each other, and is partly inspired by real-life events. As the title suggests, the story takes place in Rodanthe, a town in North Carolina. The coastal location has a very small community, so it’s ideal if you want some peace and quiet to enjoy your book.

Martha’s Vineyard (The Identicals)

As a New York Times bestselling author, Elin Hilderbrand knows a thing or two about writing. Her book “The Identicals” proves that. Set around Massachusetts, the novel explores the relationship between two twin sisters. Although their differences broke them apart over the years, they’re forced to face their issues when a family crisis brings them together. As with Sparks’ novel, “The Identicals” borrows elements from Hilderbrand’s own life, including the use of twins and the setting of Martha’s Vineyard. The island is a popular destination in the summer, with its population more than quadrupling on a yearly basis. People can’t get enough of all the coastal opportunities on offer.

Florida/Cuba (The Old Man and the Sea)

Ernest Hemmingway is one of the most respected writers of his generation. He’s given us many great works, including the short novel “The Old Man and the Sea.” As the story is about a fisherman, part of the book is set out to sea, most notably in the Florida Straits. The areas near this stretch of water like Fort Lauderdale and Fort Pierce make for great vacation spots, although you can’t pass up the chance to visit Cuba either. You’re sure to be engrossed in the story of Santiago and his quest for a large marlin as you enjoy the intense Cuban heat.

There’s nothing like escaping into another world thanks to a good book, especially when it’s set somewhere in real life. Not only do these coastal reads offer us a great story to get engrossed in, but they also give us fantastic inspiration for our next vacation.


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Unconventional ways to save money while traveling


When you’re at home, you most likely know how to save money by shopping at the cheapest stores and which attractions are free.  So there’s no reason not to use this knowledge on holiday too.  The internet can be very useful in finding out where the best places to go are for saving money. Upon arriving you can also befriend locals and ask them for tips. This is not only a great way to save money, but it also gives you a more comprehensive understanding of the culture in the city you’re visiting. The smaller less-known restaurants and attractions that are off-the-beat-and-track are often the best both for your experience and wallet.

Travel Points

Most of your travel budget goes towards accommodation and transportation, so if you want to save money, you’ll have to find ways to get cheaper hotels and flights. And that’s where travel hacking comes in.  Hotel points and air miles are the way to go, as they can get you either free or discounted prices. For all the money you’ve already spent, you might as well get something back for it.It’s a simple and smart way to save money and allows you to travel like royalty without having to search for the cheapest flights and hotels.

Find cheap transportation

While traveling abroad, there are many ways to save money on transport. However, it all depends on what you’ve got in mind for your trip.  Perhaps booking a train ticket ahead of time is your best bet, or maybe getting a monthly rail pass will save you the most money. You have to do your research and figure out what makes the most sense.  Mainly in Europe, first-class train tickets are much more expensive than the regular cabin and are not all that different or more comfortable. Traveling by bus if you are not rushing will save you even more money. And if you are traveling with a group, sometimes renting a car and splitting the costs is the most efficient way to go, which also has an added element of comfort and freedom.

Choose your destination wisely

If you’re tight on money then you will need to consider your next travel destination very wisely.  Just because you’ve been wanting to go to a specific place, it doesn’t mean that other cheaper options are not worth seeing too. Do your research and find out what will offer you the best deal as well as an unforgettable experience.  Often the average popular tourist spots are very commercial and crowded anyway.

Work while traveling

Working while traveling is a great way to both save money and make money while you’re abroad. It makes the most sense for someone who is traveling for a long period of time and has more time to spend abroad. If you are traveling for just a week, this is not an ideal situation. But many solo travelers go away for months at a time, and if this is you, then working at a hotel or hostel for example can provide you with a free place to stay as well as extra cash to enjoy the your holiday during your time off, especially since this type of work is in shifts. Working at a restaurant as well will give you some free meals. And if you have a specific niche, such as singing then try performing at a bar. If you’re talented at yoga, offer some classes.


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A cook’s tour: Kappabashi Street, Tokyo’s Kitchen Town

With its handmade chefs’ knives, ornate chopsticks and bento boxes, the Tokyo street where restaurants buy kitchenware is also a great place for tourists to pick up souvenirs

The first thing you notice when entering Tokyo’s Kappabashi Street is the towering chef statue. His 11-metre-high head, with a thick moustache and a crisp white chef’s hat, has come to symbolise this neighbourhood, known locally as Kitchen Town.

The name fits as the 800-metre-long street is lined with more than 170 shops selling everything a professional or home cook could dream of. A short walk from two of Tokyo’s most popular tourist destinations – Sensō-ji Temple in Asakusa and Ueno Park – the district has been supplying the local restaurant trade for nearly a century.

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Travel | The Guardian


Some tips before you leave for your vacation


Going on vacation is the best, especially if it means taking time away from the stress of work. While you may think you’re ready to go soak up on the sun on your summer break, though, there are some things you should make sure to do before you go. Getting these out of the way will allow you to relax once the vacation starts.

Alert your neighbors

By this, we don’t mean make them jealous about the amazing vacation you’re about to go on. It’s important to keep your neighbors in the loop about your plans so that they’ll be more alert of any suspicious activity while you’re gone. Tell them the dates that you’ll be away and ask them to pick up your mail if possible. It’s a good idea to leave them a set of house keys, as well as contact information, so they know how to reach you quickly if something happens. You can always entrust a close friend with this stuff if you’d prefer, but a neighbor will be able to see if someone tries to break in.

Be cautious

Speaking of which, it’s ideal to take extra precautions when you’re going to be out of the house for more than a few days. While you’ll likely have some valuables with you, some will still be at home. Find somewhere safe to store these, ideally in a place that can be locked. A good way to give off the impression that you’re still home is to have your lights on a timer, so they come in the evenings. You could see if your neighbors will do this manually for you, but that might be asking too much.

Obviously, the most important thing to remember when it comes to taking precautions is to ensure that everything is locked before you go. There’s no such thing as being too paranoid when it comes to safety. Check every door and window before you leave for your vacation.

Save some energy

When you’re not going to be at home for a week or two, the last time you want is to waste money on things you aren’t using. Be sure to lower the thermostat so that you conserve energy, and check that everything is switched off at the wall. There’s no point leaving your television plugged in when you’re not watching it.

If you have any taps that drip, ensure that these are fully turned off before leaving. A few drops of water can build up quite a lot when you’re not at home for several weeks.

Clean out the kitchen

If you’re going to be away for a week, you don’t want to leave anything in your refrigerator that’s going to spoil. That’s just asking for trouble. Make sure to throw any fresh food in the trash and take the garbage out too (otherwise, your house is going to stink). If something needs tending to that can’t wait a week, be sure to deal with it before you leave.

That goes for your bathroom, too. Pour some baking soda down the drains and the toilet, so you’re less likely to have the scent of stagnant water filling your home. Your vacation ending is bad enough without having to deal with that as well.

Pay your bills

Bills are a huge stress that you don’t want to be worrying about when you’re on vacation. If you know that some will be due while you’re away, sort them out beforehand to avoid the hassle. It will give you peace of mind and also prevent you from coming back to any urgent notices.

Vacations are a time for relaxing, even if they usually end up causing us some stress. While navigating the airport or dealing with family dramas might put a damper on your summer break, worrying about your house doesn’t have to.


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Would you go on a group honeymoon?


Let’s rewind for just a few minutes to those pre-wedding days. A bit part of the wedding festivities (and also let’s face it, a big part of dealing with the post-wedding blues) is to plan your honeymoon with your new hubby or wifey. It’s a good chance to get away, just the two of you, to relax and take a break from the everyday life. Let’s face it, it’s supposed to be one of, if not the most romantic vacation the two of you will ever embark on. So it does seem a little bit odd that you would throw in a bunch of your friends or family members, to that perfect equation.

When you envision a honeymoon, usually the first picture that pops in your head is an extremely romantic getaway , whether it’s an exotic island with an overly-priced resort or a more adventurous trip, that can still be very romantic if you only decide. You usually don’t see a newlywed traveling with an entourage. However, who is to decide how a honeymoon should look like? Who said that bringing along a group of your very best friend couldn’t be the perfect formula for the most unforgettable honeymoon, or if you want, a ‘groupiemoon.’ We guess that it really depends on the type of people you and your partner are. How much room your friends take in your everyday life and how important it is for you to get some alone time.

There really isn’t a right or wrong answer, obviously, and if the idea of a ‘group honeymoon’ sounds way too far fetched to you, it’s totally understandable. However, if you put aside what is considered ‘normative’, then maybe you will find out that there is actually some sort of magic in taking along your closest people, at the end of the day, there is nothing normative anymore, especially in the wedding world, which is great news by the way.

If you decide to shake up tradition and give your honeymoon a social twist, then there are certain things you can do in order to assure you do it right and in a way that will fit your needs as a traveling couple:


No matter who you decide to travel with, make sure to set realistic expectations before you even embark on your trip. The more things will be out in the open and on the table, the less disappointments both sides would experience.

Alone time:

Make sure to guarantee a good dose of alone time for you and your partner. Whether you decide to take a break from the group every two days or go on at least two romantic dinners on your own, just make sure you won’t look back and regret that you didn’t find time for yourselves.

The guest list:

Invite only the people you know for certain you can spend time with, in a far away place, without having them get on your nerves. A group honeymoon could be the best experience of your life, but on the other hand, could be your worst nightmare if you don’t spend it with the right people. Remember, these are your peers and family, not the people you chose to spend the rest of your life with.

Let’s talk about the budget:

Make sure all parties know what to expect in terms of who pays on what and how much. It’s important to have clear and realistic expectations, otherwise it could turn out to be very uncomfortable.

The wedding high of being surrounded by the most precious people in your life and feeling of that love doesn’t need to end after you walk down the aisle, and the party can definitely go on after the heels are off, but just make sure you go about it carefully and consciously. Oh, and don’t forget to take lots and lots of selfies.


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Wild swims and mountain walks in Norway

The last leg of his Scandi tour takes Kevin Rushby to Norway. On this odyssey, he’s discovered the best things – swimming in fjords, spectacular hikes, wild camping – are free
• Scandi tour: part 4, part 3, part 2, part 1

Heading west from Åre by rail, we watch the forest and softly rounded fells roll by, all the way up to the border town of Storlien. I’m with my daughter, Maddy (15) and we’re intrigued at this crossing point: a forlorn old railway station in the high wilderness along the Swedish-Norwegian border. With twilight stealing in, we switch trains and set off, charging downhill into Norway.

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Travel | The Guardian


Take a national parks road trip this summer


The United States is home to so many amazing national parks. The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite – they’re all filled with natural wonders that are worth checking out. Getting around to seeing all of these can be difficult though. When you can only take a week or two off at a time, you want to make the most of every opportunity. Fortunately, by going on a national parks road trip, you can explore more than a few of America’s best sights without having to miss out.

Why a road trip?

There’s so much to see in the United States, a lot of which we’ll never have time for in our lives. If we could spend our free time traveling instead of working or studying, then we gladly would. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t get very far on vacation without money to fund everything.

By going on a road trip, you’re allowing yourself a chance to see more of the world without taking too much time away from your life at home. While you don’t always get to spend as long as you’d probably like to at each location, it’s still enough to see the wonders that each place has to offer. Plus, exploring America’s national parks on a road trip is much more exciting than simply flying out to visit somewhere. You’re likely to have a more memorable experience being out on the road with friends or family, and come away with a greater sense of accomplishment too.

Where exactly should you go on a road trip, though?

The Grand Circle

This road trip will take you through the states of Arizona, Nevada and Utah, focusing primarily on the latter as you explore national parks like Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon. Across the space of two weeks, you’ll drive through much of Utah, with stops in Arizona for the all-important visit to the Grand Canyon. If you’re able to, you can stretch the road trip across a longer timeframe so that you can enjoy all that these places have to offer. Likewise, you can also shorten it to just one week, giving yourself enough time to see the national parks mentioned here, as well as Zion Canyon and Kaibab.

It’s recommended that you start somewhere like Las Vegas, although you could also begin in Salt Lake City or Phoenix. By opting for the former, you’ll also give yourself a chance to enjoy a day or two in Nevada’s famed Sin City.

Yellowstone & Arches

If you want a bit of variety with your road trip, why not give the Yellowstone & Arches road trip a try? You’ll explore a good number of states, including Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho, as you move from the Arches National Park to the Dinosaur National Monument. The biggest attraction on this route is Yellowstone National Park, home to the United States’ largest supervolcano. The presence of the Yellowstone Caldera has resulted in many attractive geothermal features, such as the Old Faithful geyser and Grand Prismatic Spring that many visitors love to see.

Yosemite & Big Sur

For an experience around California, this is the road trip to try out. It’ll take you to Yosemite National Park, home to a landscape sculpted by ancient glaciers where every corner is perfect for a photo. Yosemite Valley, Nevada Falls and the Cathedral Range are all places of interest here, so you’ll want to stick around long enough to get a good look at the national park. There are plenty more places to see on this road trip, though, including Sequoia Canyon, Point Reyes and Big Sur. If you want to spend a day relaxing by the coast during your travels, the latter will give you somewhere to chill out.

Everyone needs to go on vacation at some point, especially when things at home are stressing you out. Road trips might not offer you the chance to completely shut off from the world, but they’ll give you an experience you won’t soon forget.


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Taste of the riviera: a new food festival in south Devon

The sea off Torbay brims with fish but the British are not big fans. Hoping to tip the scales is Fresh, a new food event later this month

It’s 6am and Brixham fish market is all a-flap with brill and bass, scallop and hake, turbot and lobster. A total of 40 species, and an auctioneer selling them as fast as he can speak. Every morning, up to 50 tonnes are landed at, or freighted into, England’s biggest fishing port by value. I spy a line of crates full of inky blobs: cuttlefish, 96% of which are exported to Italy, Spain and France.

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Travel | The Guardian


Why you should visit Abu Dhabi ASAP


Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. With a population of just over 1.1 million, the city is incredibly wealthy, dealing in several precious materials including oil. Not only is the city one of wealth but it’s one of beauty too – it’s definitely somewhere you must visit at least once in your lifetime! Here are some of the reasons why:

The Heritage Village

If you’re in Abu Dhabi, it is absolutely imperative that you make a visit to the Heritage Village! It gives tourists a glimpse into traditional Abu Dhabi life before it was all about business and making money. With tropical plants and camels roaming free, ready to be caught for you to ride, the village will actually allow you to feel like you were born and bred in the city, which is a lot of fun.

Saadiyat Cultural District

If you’re after a cultural trip, there’s nowhere better to visit than the Saadiyat Cultural District, an area of Abu Dhabi that is chock full of museums and galleries, all displaying some of the Middle East’s best works of art! It’s not just the contents of these buildings that will take your breath away either, but the buildings themselves too! One of the galleries has been referred to as “the second Louvre.”

The lifestyle

The lifestyle in Abu Dhabi is like nowhere else in the world; it’s all incredibly laid back and relaxed, luxurious and enjoyable! A lot of people travel to Abu Dhabi so that they can experience some of this otherwise unobtainable lifestyle for a couple of weeks or so. Soak up the sun, spend every day on the beach and shop until you drop in the city of wealth and wonder.

Qasr al-Hosn

The stunning gardens of Qasr al-Hosn are definitely worth visiting if you’re staying in Abu Dhabi. The gardens have lots of beautiful tropical plants and palm trees for you to stroll through, as well as some national archives to visit, some traditional architecture to look at and peacocks strutting around the gardens too.

It’s beautiful

Above all else, Abu Dhabi is an absolutely beautiful city to visit. The buildings are high-rise, made of glass and in interesting shapes and sizes, there are tropical plants and flowers scattered here, there and everywhere. The beaches are full of soft, white sand and the sea is crystal clear. If you’re looking for somewhere to visit based on beauty alone, then Abu Dhabi is the place for you.


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Replace your summer travel destinations with these less-frequented locations


Summer vacation is something many of us look forward to each year. It makes all of the hard work during the year worth it to be able to go and explore some of the world. Lots of us will check out many of the world’s biggest hotspots. Places like Rome, Cairo, and Paris are destinations that millions of people head to each year, and in the summer it can get pretty busy as every man, woman, and child seems to have chosen to visit the same place as you. We have a few lesser-known alternative locations to suggest instead of visiting the mega-packed tourism hotspots.

Granada instead of Barcelona

Barcelona seems like a city that is one of a kind. The laid-back atmosphere combined with the modern conveniences a huge city can offer is a nice mix and keeps people coming back year on year. Granada in southern Spain is basically Barcelona, but without the insane crowds of people. You can still experience amazing architecture, and there are plenty of food markets for you to leave the city feeling quite full in the belly. This city is frequently overlooked by many foreign tourists who flock instead to Barcelona, but Granada offers just as much without the hoards of people.

Ljubljana instead of Venice.

Venice in Italy is a world-famous tourist destination. The streets of water and romantic bridges bring many people to the Italian city, almost losing that sense of an intimate retreat as there are about another thousand couples all doing the same thing. Instead of Venice try Ljubljana, the capital of the European country, Slovenia. Ljubljana can offer plenty of rivers and romantic boat trips as well as plenty of gothic architecture to help transport you back in time. You won’t find swathes of people crammed into the streets like you would in Venice, but you will still get a wonderfully romantic experience in this old city.

French Riviera instead of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik has seen its levels of tourism increase greatly in recent times. Many of the scenes in the fantasy TV show Game of Thrones were filmed there, which opened people’s eyes to how beautiful this historic city is. As more and more people head there each year, it has quickly become an overcrowded summer destination. So, where to go instead? Try heading to the French Riviera, as you will get the same historical feeling but across many locations. That means that tourists are not all condensed into just one place, allowing you to enjoy the Mediterranean coast at your own pace. There are many towns along the coastline, including the Principality of Monaco, Cannes, and Nice that will offer the same vibe as Dubrovnik.

Choquequirao instead of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu in Peru is one of the most amazing places to visit in the world. At the top of the mountain are the remains of an ancient civilization, the Incas. Unfortunately, because it is so interesting there are more and more people heading there each year. That causes it to be overpopulated with tourists who often leave behind huge messes that have to be cleared by locals. Another well-preserved site belonging to the Incas can be found at Choquequirao, also in Peru. You’ll challenge yourself with a more difficult trek, but your reward will be practically untouched ruins without the huge numbers of tourists getting in the way.

It is important to see many of the most amazing places in the world, just to say that you’ve been there and done it. The consequence of heading to the world’s best-known tourist destinations is dealing with the large number of people also visiting. If you want a bit of culture but are sick of being bothered by people on vacation, try these lesser-known alternatives to the world’s favorite travel destinations.


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Rich pickings: a harvest-time foodie break in the Abruzzo

The sunbathed slopes of ‘Rome’s larder’ make for a perfect food-lover’s getaway – and for those after more of Italy, we’ve picked four more culinary trips

Abruzzo is a rugged region east of the Italian capital, which has for centuries been known as Rome’s larder. And, as we head towards September, the next few weeks make a great time to raid it. It’s soon the start of the olive picking season and the last summer tomatoes hang heavy on the vines.

The scraggy, sunbathed slopes are surprisingly fertile, and are ripe with Abruzzese culinary traditions – perfect for a foodie weekend. I stayed at Fireflies and Figs, a small retreat in the Maiella mountains, an hour inland from Pescara airport. Hosts Fern Green, a food writer and stylist, and her husband Jono, worked as private caterers in Corfu, Fez and Spain before settling on this steep slope five years ago.

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Travel | The Guardian


Best Michelin star restaurants in the world


Food has become a much more sociable thing in recent years, and this has been greeted by an increase in popup restaurants and gastropubs. There are so many great dishes, and food cultures are emerging all across the world. Many of us now consider ourselves to be foodies, and we always look at ways of getting the best and most delicious food we can.

That’s why it’s always good to look into the Michelin star restaurants around. There are loads of these all over the world, and the likelihood is that most of the big cities in the world you visit are going to have at least one Michelin star restaurant. These restaurants offer some of the finest food in the world, prepared and cooked by some of the most talented chefs. This is a list of some of the best Michelin star restaurants in the world for you to try out.

The Fat Duck, England

The Fat Duck is a restaurant run by Heston Blumenthal and based in a picturesque 16th Century building. The restaurant has three Michelin stars and is world famous for its incredible 14-course taster menu, as well as its quirky Alice in Wonderland theme. The Fat Duck is considered the cutting edge for Michelin star restaurants and is one of the finest restaurants in the UK. If you ever get a chance, you simply must go so you can check out the innovative and enjoyable dishes on offer.

Alinea, United States

This incredible Chicago eatery was opened in 2006 and is run by chef Grant Achatz. Due to the unique food on offer, and the unconventional approach to transforming iconic dishes, this is one of the best Michelin star joints in the world. Achatz himself is one of the great personalities of the chef and restaurant world, and his establishment is still hugely popular in Chicago. If you’re looking for somewhere with world-class food, amazing service, and a unique approach, Alinea is the place for you!

Arzak, Spain

The Spanish do some pretty incredible cuisine, and Arzak is one of the places that produces the best. In fact, the Spanish city of San Sebastián, where this restaurant is based, has the highest number of Michelin star restaurants per capita in the world! There is a wealth of choice here, but Arzak stands out from the crowd because of its blend of traditional Basque dishes, and a more modern approach to preparation and presentation. The food is sensational, and the flavors are fantastic – if you are ever in the area, this is the perfect place to go and enjoy some world-famous Basque cuisine.

Il Pagliaccio, Italy

Nobody does food quite like the Italians, and Rome is the heart of cuisine and culture in Italy. Take a trip to one of the greatest cities in the world, and visit this Michelin two-star restaurant on the banks of the River Tiber. The place is key for modern, tasty cuisine, and the presentation is impeccable. Not only do you get to enjoy exquisite food, but you can also have a romantic walk afterward as well. Sensational.

These are a few of the best Michelin star restaurants we have encountered in the world. They give you a great selection of some of the best cuisine from all across the world. If you can try out any of these restaurants, we definitely recommend you do so – it will change the way you look at food and the experience of dining out.


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Why Chernobyl should be your next destination?


If you’re planning your next vacation, there’s probably a high chance that you’ll be choosing your destination based on its reviews on TripAdvisor, the attractions that are nearby, the beaches, and whether your friends and family have ever been there. You’re probably not choosing your destination based on whether it has been the site of a nuclear disaster, been considered dangerous to humans, or otherwise abandoned, right? Well, there are some people who are choosing the Chernobyl exclusion zone as their next vacation destination, and we can kinda see why.

Why choose Chernobyl?

If you’re the kind of person that loves to explore new and exciting places, you might spend hours planning your next destination, taking yourself away from the tourist areas, and experiencing something few have ever experienced before. While it’s easy to take a trip to Europe and explore a long-forgotten city that has yet to be taken over by hordes of tourists, it’s just as easy to take yourself back in time – to the time of the Soviet Union. So why not take a visit to Chernobyl and be one of the few people who has ever done so? It’s an adventure!

Taking the tour

Access to the Chernobyl exclusion zone is restricted to those who have not sought permission to enter because the area still carries large amounts of radiation – which can be harmful to humans. Yet, there are many tours and companies who offer you the chance to visit the zone as part of a group, and you will be guided through all of the interesting hotspots, and given information about the Chernobyl disaster. It is forbidden to enter this zone without express permission, and this can often make you feel as if you’re entering a forbidden lair…

How far can you go?

So, the big question! How far can you go into the Chernobyl exclusion zone? Amazingly, you can wander around the the main reactor itself. While it is one of the most radioactive places on earth, it has since been deemed safe for those who are not going to be staying long. This is why you will often be shuffled along the tour when you get to this main area. Nevertheless, it is an incredible sight to see, and one that you should not miss during your lifetime. As if that wasn’t cool enough, you will also feel as though you are in a weird and wonderful science experiment as you wander around the Chernobyl exclusion zone. This is because scientists and researchers in white coats constantly wander around the area taking samples and checking the radiation. Because of the radiation risk, they have to change positions every so often to ensure that the radiation levels do not prove to be too much for them.

Going by the rules

If you’re the kind of person that loves to break the rules and go off on a tangent, you will not be safe in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. This place is extremely dangerous for those who visit – and not just because of the radiation. Due to the large scale of the abandoned area and the destruction, it is easy to get lost or find yourself in an area where there is falling debris. Because of this, it’s important that you stick to the rules at all times. Do not try and give your tour guide the slip, do not go off on your own, and listen to all of their instructions. This is extremely important.

If you’re looking to visit the Chernobyl exclusion zone, it’s important to realize that this isn’t your average day trip. It may scare you, it may make you feel uneasy, and it may make you feel extremely unsafe – but it’s also magical. Seeing the destruction before your eyes is something that will haunt you forever and make you realize how lucky we are.


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Athens city guide: what to see plus the best bars, hotels and restaurants

Tour classical sites with locals and discover the guesthouses, restaurants and bars being opened by young entrepreneurs in a city buzzing with creativity

The revival of Europe’s classical capital has attracted plenty of artists, curators and digital nomads. But it’s entrepreneurial young Athenians who are opening pop-up restaurants, design collectives and guesthouses, regenerating derelict buildings in rough-around-the-edges areas such as Pangrati, Kypseli and Keramikos. Messy and unpredictable, Athens fizzes with an intense energy that burns bright into the night.

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Travel | The Guardian


What should you absolutely not do when visiting Spain


Fancy a vacation in Spain? It’s one of the more popular destinations over in Europe, and it’s clear to see why. It’s the perfect place to top up your tan and discover a new and exciting culture. However, whenever you venture somewhere new, you have to be mindful of the way things are done. Spain has its own way of doing things, and ignoring these could cause offense or worse. To avoid getting on the wrong side of the locals, there are several things you should never do.

Don’t be in a rush

Many visitors to Spain travel to the country for a relaxing vacation. With that in mind, you shouldn’t be bothered by the carefree way that everything is run. The people of Spain aren’t in a rush, so you shouldn’t be either. That can be difficult to adapt to, especially if you enjoy eating your meals early. Plenty of restaurants don’t serve lunch before 1 pm, and dinner before 9 pm. That’s a long time to wait if you’re used to doing things whenever you want.

Don’t lose your patience with someone if they’re not serving food when you want it, or they’re taking time to get your meal to you. Adopt the local’s appreciation for relaxation and enjoy yourself, rather than making a scene.

Don’t disrespect the food

Speaking of food, there are certain things you should remember before you start dining in Spain. Firstly, don’t try to add anything to your meals, such as pepper or ketchup. Servers won’t appreciate you changing their food, and if it’s home-cooked, they may even be insulted.

Secondly, meals are supposed to be something that you enjoy, rather than a necessity to prevent starvation. That means you should never casually eat in public, whether on the street or public transportation. Wait until it’s meal time and fill up, so you’re not snacking later on. In Spain, people tend to make lunch their biggest meal, so follow tradition and stuff yourself silly in the middle of the day.

Lastly, don’t forget that Spanish people are incredibly passionate about food. Even if you’ve eaten something better elsewhere, keep that to yourself. You don’t want to cause an uproar.

Don’t dress down on the streets

When you’re visiting somewhere hot like Spain, you want to wear as little as possible. Clothes are not your friend in that intense heat. However, be careful about how many clothes you take off. While lounging around in bikinis and board shorts is perfectly acceptable on the country’s many beaches, it’s considered inappropriate to wear that stuff anywhere else. Walking around town in a bikini will get you a lot of negative looks from people on the street, and it could even land you a fine.

It’s not just beachwear that you should avoid wearing out in public. There are other fashion regulations to keep in mind, such as wearing respectful clothes if you’re visiting somewhere sacred like a monastery or church. More importantly, though, never wear a soccer shirt that doesn’t match the city you’re visiting. The people of Spain are hugely passionate about the sport, and they won’t appreciate seeing you walk around in a rival team’s uniform.

Don’t get caught out

If a supposed plainclothes police officer ever approaches you, always proceed with caution. Ask to see someone in uniform to verify what they’re saying. Do this politely, in case the person you’re talking to is an authentic police officer, but keep your guard up. Although crime rates in Spain aren’t high, there are still people who try their luck with oblivious tourists. No-one wants to lose their belongings on their vacation.

With such great weather all year round, Spain makes an ideal vacation whenever you’re looking for some sunshine. Just remember not to step out of line while you’re there and you’ll have a fantastic time. Also, be sure to explore during your trip. There’s more to see in the country than just sandy beaches.


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It’s not over yet: 20 great late-summer escapes in the UK

Not ready to pack away the shorts and flip-flops? With more warm weather forecast, we pick fun day trips and minibreaks for the final weeks of this memorable summer

Summer and autumn
The idyllic traditional seaside town of Wells-next-the-Sea has a long beach, colourful huts, crab fishing in the harbour and, opening early September, Wells Maltings a cultural hub and gallery in a tall brick and flint building. One of its first shows, Connection: Open 2018, will feature artists connected to East Anglia. The Albatross, an 1899 sailing boat moored at the quay, is now a floating boozer, with food and B&B rooms. The Blue Skies campsite (pitch £14 plus £4 per adult) is a couple of fields from the coast path, and the Coasthopper bus stops outside.

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Travel | The Guardian


How to use your boarding pass for extra discounts while on vacation


Have you ever put much thought into what your boarding pass does? While it might just seem like a slip of paper you use to gain access to your flight, it’s actually the key to a plethora of different discounts. Who knew? Holding on to your boarding pass once you’ve landed at your destination could prove to be extremely useful. These are some of the benefits you can expect to find while on your vacation.

Singapore Airlines

One of the best airlines to travel on if you’re looking for discounts is Singapore Airlines. They offer plenty of great deals, including many in Australia. In the country, your boarding pass will earn you a Destination Privileges card at Burnside Village which can then be used for money off of many local shops. It will also reward you with exclusive discounts at Adelaide Casino and a free Adelaide Oval tour (when you take part in their Commonwealth Bank RoofClimb).

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to great deals, though. In Singapore itself, there are hundreds of discounts available to you within one month of traveling. You can get money off of gallery visits, city tours, safaris, and plenty of amazing restaurants. The boarding pass will even get you discounts on the accommodation you stay in, so you really don’t have to pay full price for anything. All you have to do is show your pass everywhere you go, and the offers will be applied.

Korean Air

Fancy visiting South Korea but want to save money? Flying there with Korean Air will get you all the discounts you need for your vacation. For the first seven days after your flight, you can get money off attractions like the Korean Folk Village, Lotte World, and Samsung Everland. What’s more, you’ll also get discounts on the National Theater of Korea, food and drink at several restaurants and certain car hire companies.

It’s not only in the home country where these offers are applied, though. As long as you’re flying with this airline, you can get money off in countries like Russia, Japan and Australia. Even the United States has some boarding pass benefits, including 25-65% off at all premium outlets in the country. You also have more time to take advantage of these bonuses when flying from South Korea, because they last between 10-30 days.

Alaska Airlines

In the mood to go skiing? Alaska Airlines has got you covered. With 12 different resorts across the United States and Canada providing boarding pass discounts, you’re pretty spoilt for choice. You can try out the Steamboat Ski Resort in Colorado, Sun Valley in Idaho or Whitefish Resort in Montana and get a free day of skiing at all of them. Hitting the slopes isn’t always the cheapest thing to do, so this is a fantastic way to save yourself some money.


Another airline worth checking out is Alitalia which flies to and from Rome. If you’re in the Italian capital to absorb some history, then you’re in luck. Your boarding pass can earn you discounts on various galleries and museums across the city, so you can give yourself an education in Rome without having to break the bank. It’s not as cheap as sightseeing, but now you can afford to do both.

Boarding passes are no longer just that scrap of paper you get rid of once you’re free from the airport. They’re an incredibly useful thing to hold onto, no matter where you are. Whichever airline you plan on flying with for your vacation, it’s a good idea to check if they offer any discounts where you are traveling to. It could make your time away a whole lot cheaper than you might have imagined.


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Best beaches around the world that aren’t packed with tourists


A day at the beach is always good fun. It’s a chance to soak up the sun and relieve some of the stress that’s getting you down. Unfortunately, everyone has the same idea as you, and finding somewhere quiet and secluded can be challenging. If you’re looking for a place to top up your tan where tourists won’t constantly hound you, you might want to visit one of these beaches.

La Sagesse Bay (Grenada)

Grenada’s tropical climate means that a day on the beach is almost essential when you’re in the country. Grand Anse Bay, one of Grenada’s best-known spots, is ridiculously busy throughout the year. However, things are a lot quieter just a few miles down the road. La Sagesse Bay, which is just as beautiful as its neighbor, is a nice, secluded spot rarely touched by these hordes of tourists. It’s not unpopulated, but it’s far quieter than Grand Anse Bay. The serene atmosphere here means you’ll definitely get some peace and quiet.

Ko Adang (Thailand)

Thailand’s beaches get crazy during peak season. However, if you’re in the country and looking for a quiet day by the sea, Ko Adang has got you covered. The island belongs to the Tarutao National Park and is favored for the local species in the area. Many people who come here do so to go bird watching, but you won’t be judged for lounging on the beach. The island is very secluded from the rest of Thailand, which is partly why it’s so quiet. If you don’t mind the challenge of getting there, the white sand and clear waters will be worth your while. Plus, there are opportunities to go snorkeling and scuba diving here where you’ll discover some beautiful coral reefs.

Colombier Beach (St. Barths)

The longer it takes to get to a beach, the less likely it is to be filled with tourists. Colombier Beach on St. Barths requires a 30-minute hike to reach, but you’re in for a treat once you make it there. The beach looks almost untouched because it’s not often that people put in the effort to visit it. With almost crystal clear water and sand that’s warm to the touch, this secluded spot is sure to give you the beach break you deserve. Plus, the half-hour walk is pretty scenic, so it’s worth the added time to get there.

Whitehaven Beach (Australia)

As one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, you’d think that Whitehaven Beach would be more popular than it is. However, it seems that its seclusion has prevented others from visiting the gorgeous shores. It’s their loss, because Whitehaven Beach has some of the purest sand and clearest water you’ll ever find. It’s a visual masterpiece, especially where the currents and sand have created an incredible swirling effect in the water. It’s easy to get here via a tour boat, and they’ll typically provide you with a stinger suit if you plan on going swimming. While the beach is beautiful, it is sometimes home to deadly jellyfish. You’ll want to be a little cautious in the water.

Grenen (Denmark)

Scandinavian countries probably aren’t your first thought for a beach vacation, but Grenen in Denmark is one of the best and quietest. If you don’t mind not swimming in the water (it’s prohibited), you’ll be able to relax on one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Go there at the right time of year, and the weather will be reasonable enough for lounging on the sand. Plus, you’ll be greeted by the seals who enjoy relaxing on the beach, even with tourists hanging around. What more of a reason do you need to go there?

Going to the beach should be about relaxation. No-one wants to deal with the stress of being surrounded by a bunch of noisy, intrusive tourists, especially if they’re on vacation. At least you now know where to go when the crowds become too much.


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Most beautiful airports in the world


Whenever we go on vacation, we seem to spend hours in airports. We’re always advised to get there well in advance so that we don’t end up running late, but that usually just means we’re sitting around for ages. It doesn’t help that our flights always seem to be late too, so we’re just waiting there even longer. Although being stuck in an airport can be a drag, some of them are a lot more exciting to explore than others. If you’ve never seen these beautiful airports for yourself, it might be time to book yourself a vacation.

Kansai International Airport (Japan)

Fancy a weekend break in Japan? The country is known for its technological innovations, and it’s no different with their airports. The Kansai International Airport in Osaka is a work of genius. It took over three years to build and is located on an artificial island in Osaka Bay. Yes, it’s an airport on the water. The structure was built using incredibly resistant materials, so if a natural disaster strikes, it’s unlikely to be affected. This airport is worth seeing just for its bizarre water-based setting, although the modern infrastructure is also pretty great to look at too.

Madrid-Barajas International Airport (Spain)

The architects definitely had a vision in mind when they built the Madrid-Barajas International Airport in Spain. In particular, their plans for Terminal 4 were something not often found in an airport. They wanted the infrastructure to convey peace and tranquility for all passengers passing through it, which isn’t an easy thing for an airport to do. However, they managed to pull it off by using integrated steel and bamboo, a rather bizarre mix of materials. The end result is something that’s environmentally friendly and allows a lot of light into the building, which creates a pretty calming atmosphere.

Beijing Capital International Airport (China)

When Beijing was chosen for the 2008 Olympics, China knew they had to dazzle in every possible way. That included their airport, which would be the first thing that visiting athletes and tourists would see when they landed in the city. The airport’s Terminal 3 was opened in 2008 and just like in Madrid, natural light is an important feature. The ceiling is formed of mesh skylights which bring down splashes of red, yellow and white. It’s a pretty great sight to behold and a wonderful way to be introduced to the city.

O’Hare International Airport (Chicago)

Few airports have a design quite as mind-blowing as O’Hare International. We love a good injection of color, and this is one airport that has that in abundance. Natural light is great, but so too is a neon tunnel where you’re surrounded by every color under the rainbow. This airport isn’t always the easiest to navigate, but it’s worth getting lost in to see this beautiful sight.

Menara International Airport (Morocco)

If you visit Marrakech, you’ll always fly to the same airport. While Menara International might be the only airport in Marrakech, the architects responsible for it made sure that it’s one of the best out there. All it takes is a glimpse of the outside to see that. The intricate design of the roof is incredibly eye-catching, and it filters the light down to passengers making their way inside. The efficiency of the inside is super important when it comes to an airport, but what good is that if the outside isn’t attractive?

Your impression of airports might be big spaces with blank walls and lots of iron, but that’s a design of the past. As airports are built or redesigned, a greater focus is now placed on creating something that will entice passengers coming in and out of the city. If you’re going to spend hours there, you want something nice to look at.


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Destinations that are unexpectedly romantic


In the market for a romantic vacation with your other half? Whether it’s your honeymoon, first trip together, or you just want somewhere to put you both in the loving mood, there are some truly amazing destinations out there. You’ll want to stay in these places forever once they cast their spell on you. Unfortunately, every vacation has to end eventually, but the memories you’ll take back with you will be more than worth it.


There’s something so captivating about natural beauty. Norway is home to some of the most incredible sights you’ll ever encounter, from snow-capped mountain ranges to vast lava fields. Of course, you can’t forget the best of them all – the Northern Lights. Seeing this with your own eyes will leave you speechless and definitely more appreciative of the finer things in life. That includes the person you’re with. We couldn’t think of a better way to spend your night than cuddled up with the one you love under the Northern Lights.

South Africa

You can’t get bored in South Africa – it’s just not possible. There’s too much for you to do there. You can lounge on their golden beaches, visit the various wildlife reserves and even go diving in the coral reefs. It’s the experiences we share together that often cement our love for one another. Getting to do these things that might not necessarily be accessible to you at home will give you a wealth of new memories to cherish forever.


Why fly across the world when you can have your perfect romantic getaway in the United States? A visit to Tree House Point in Washington could be precisely what you need to get away from the stress of life and spend some quality time together. You get to stay in a treehouse built out in nature, but you get all amenities that come with a standard hotel room. It’s like camping for the people who don’t want to rough it up in the woods. You can go for beautiful walks with your significant other, get massages or just chill out in your charming new abode.


Washington isn’t the only state worth visiting – why not give Alaska a try, too? Like some of these other places, it has stunning scenery that you don’t want to pass up. It’s not everywhere that you get to see glaciers, is it? Plus, there are some incredible activities on offer here, including dog sledding, whale watching, and relaxing river cruises. It’s the perfect place to appreciate your surroundings and remember that life doesn’t always have to be loud and busy.

South Korea

Not necessarily the first place that comes to mind when thinking of romantic destinations. However, South Korea makes for a great vacation for you and your sweetheart. Jeju Island is known as the Hawaii of South Korea because of the prevalence of white sand beaches and volcanic trails. There’s nowhere better for a summer getaway. On top of that, though, there are gorgeous waterfalls and fields of flowers that will make you feel like you’re in paradise. There’s even a Teddy Bear Museum for when you need an injection of cuteness on your travels. You’ll come back from here more refreshed and loved up than you’ve ever been before.

Any destination can be a romantic spot when you go there with the person you love. If you need a little inspiration to get in the romantic mood, though, these spots should do the job perfectly. You’re sure to have an unforgettable time here with the one you love.


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Sainte-Maxime: Saint-Tropez’s low-key little sister

Bypassed by superyachts and ignored by paparazzi, the little town of Sainte-Maxime across the bay offers a classy French Riviera break without the glitz and high prices

There are more bakers and butchers than nightclubs and nail bars in Sainte-Maxime, just north of Saint-Tropez in Provence’s Var département. And colourful fishing boats land the day’s catch right on the harbour.

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Travel | The Guardian


‘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.
This Is Local London | Film and TV


Newgrange: Ireland’s stone age wonder


Have you ever heard of Newgrange? It’s been around since the stone age, but it’s not too well-known outside of Ireland. It’s one of several mounds found in Brú na Bóinne and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its historical significance. Why was it built and what exactly does it represent? That’s something we think we’ve found the answer to.

An ancient tomb

Newgrange is essentially a glorified graveyard for our ancestors who died thousands of years ago. Although the people who lived during that time had very simple houses, their tombs were often glorious things intended to last forever. That’s why materials like bone and stone were used to create Newgrange, but their own houses were made from wood and clay.

These weren’t just tombs to people 5,000 years ago. They served multiple functions, including as a place for people to gather and to worship their ancestors. Over time, developments were made to adapt the design of these tombs, primarily to include the solar alignments. Newgrange is the only one of these mounds to have a special opening above its entrance to allow sunlight to filter through, and it makes for a rather unique experience.

Solstice monument

Just as Stonehenge has an association with the solstice, so too does Newgrange. People gathered in the tomb during the winter solstice to watch as the sunlight filtered through into the darkness. On this day, the innermost chamber (which is about 19 meters from the entrance) would fill with light for 17 minutes.

It’s an experience that people can still have now, although gaining access on the day is difficult. Given the available space in the tomb, only a small batch of people can relive the moment every year. It’s an unfortunate restriction, but for those lucky enough to gain access, there’s nothing that quite compares. To be in that space sharing an experience that your ancestors would have also had is pretty amazing.

End of an era

While Newgrange was once used as a tomb, things had to change eventually. Otherwise, bodies would still be put to rest there now. Things changed once the Irish got their hands on bronze and the desire to be buried individually became popular. Although the tomb was still honored and worshipped by the people, it lost its original purpose and tradition slowly changed. Eventually, the mound was sealed up, and the dead were left alone for good.

It wasn’t until 1699 that the tomb was once again opened after being discovered by one of William of Orange’s men. Now, it’s a popular tourist attraction for locals and visitors who want a glimpse of life in the stone age. Entry only costs you $ 5-15, so if you’re interested in seeing what Newgrange has to offer, it’s worth the money.

We may think we’re advanced now, but the creations of our ancestors can still be hugely surprising. Even if they didn’t have the tools and materials available to us, they were still able to create mindblowing masterpieces that show they know what they’re doing. It makes you wonder just what they’d be able to come up with if they were still alive today.


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Summer on the lake: ‘It’s as Canadian as ice hockey’

In Canada, the summer ritual of decamping to the lakeside is passed down through generations – especially in Ontario ‘cottage country’, where our writer’s great-grandmother built a hideaway in the 1890s

It’s 9pm on a sweltering summer Friday. There’s neither a soul nor a breath of breeze on Lake Muskoka, 120 miles north-west of Toronto. On a long wooden dock, we load our scruffy 1966 Cutter, one of the first fibreglass runabouts on the lake. Ripples from the shifting weight erase its perfect reflection on these otherwise glassy waters. This is the final leg of our weekly 2½-hour pilgrimage from the city: we put in the groceries, then the overnight bags, and finally Belly the basset hound, who often misjudges the leap between the dock and the boat gunnels. Against a purple, orange and cyan sky, I take the helm and turn the key to fire up the old outboard. Then we push off for a weekend in Ontario cottage country, an experience that is as Canadian as ice hockey.

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Travel | The Guardian


Wish you weren’t here: how the tourist boom – and selfies – are threatening Britain’s beauty spots

Poldark, Instagram and the heatwave have led to a 20% spike in tourists to Cornwall this year. While crucial to the local economy, the crowds are proving overwhelming. Can a balance be found?

On the narrow footpath down to Porthcurno beach, I am conscious of adding to the gridlock. Overcrowding on the Cornish coast has been making the news this week, and as I stop to talk to husband and wife Aiden Fisher, 59, and Lesley Whatley, 60, holidaymakers troop past, laden with backpacks, bodyboards and tote bags stuffed with towels and plastic spades.

“I’ve been coming here since I was a child,” says Fisher, his feet sinking into the sand as he holds his walking boots. “It does seem busier now – and more international, too.”

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Travel | The Guardian


6 must-see places in Montenegro


Planning a vacation to Europe? While countries like France, Spain and Italy are all well-established vacation spots, some other places in Europe don’t get the credit they deserve. Why not do something a little different this year and take a trip to Montenegro? Located in the south of the continent, the country is full of breathtaking spots that you don’t want to miss out on. Spots like these, for instance.


It’s designation as a UNESCO town is already a good sign. It’s a tourist hotspot, and rightfully so. The 2000-year-old town is steeped in so much history you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. Fans of classic architecture will love exploring the town up close, although you can appreciate it from afar too. It’s a long climb up to the fortress on the mountain, but the effort is worth it for the view. Your camera will be grateful for all the attention it gets.


While Kotor is vibrant and full of life, Perast is its sleepy companion. The town, which also has UNESCO status, is only home to a small population, which means there’s often a friendly atmosphere wherever you go. If you’re looking for some relaxation on your Montenegro vacation, this is the place to go. Cars can’t enter the town, so things are always on the quieter side. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do here, though. You can swim in Boka Bay and get a boat over to one of the islands, just to name a few things.

Sveti Stefan

If you’re all about exclusivity, Sveti Stefan will suit your needs. The small island resort offers one of the more luxurious experiences available in Montenegro, although it comes with a price. If you can’t afford to stay in the resort, it’s still worth seeing though. The island is connected to the mainland by a small bridge atop the country’s gorgeous blue waters. While the beach around the resort might cost you, it’s free little further away, so you can still laze in the sun and enjoy the views.

The Ostrog Monastery

Do you ever see something and wonder how on earth it was made? The Ostrog Monastery in Montenegro is one of those buildings that will have you scratching your head. This gorgeous structure was built into the side of Ostroška Greda in an unbelievable feat of craftsmanship. It almost looks as though the mountain has slowly been sucking the building in over the years. This is one of those things that needs to be seen to be believed and is well worth checking out on your Montenegro vacation.

Lake Skadar

Nature lovers will get a kick out of visiting Lake Skadar. It’s the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula and is home to some of the most diverse wildlife you’ll ever find. Birds flock to the lake, and the surrounding villages and towns are full of gorgeous Montenegrin architecture. You’ll easily be able to spend a day here enjoying the sights and basking in the beautiful surroundings without a care in the world. That’s what vacations are all about, right?


Any trip to Montenegro needs a stop off in Budva. It has such great proximity to everywhere else that it would be worth your while finding accommodation in the town. That way, you’ll never have to travel too far. Plus, the gorgeous beaches and cobblestone streets are worth exploring every inch of, and you can’t expect to do all that in one day. There’s a reason this is one of the country’s busiest locations, because everyone knows it’s the place to visit. Don’t miss out on your chance to discover its charm.


We all have different expectations when we go on vacation. Some of us want to relax, while others are in the market for something with sightseeing on the agenda. Luckily for you, Montenegro offers that and so much more. It’s the perfect place for your next trip abroad.


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The best place in America to buy a vacation home


Ever considered buying a vacation home? They’re not for everyone, and some of us definitely can’t afford one. However, if you’ve got the money going spare, buying one of these might be a worthy investment. There are a lot of benefits that come with pouring your money into a home away from home, but what location do you pick? Somewhere by the coast, or up in the mountains? Do you get a place in the center of town or more on the outskirts? You don’t need to keep worrying about the questions, because we’ve found the answers.

Where to set your sights

If you’re in the market for a vacation home, then there’s one place you need to check out – Panama City Beach in Florida. Just one look at this place should make you fall in love. The white beaches, clear water, and gorgeous weather are the perfect combination for any vacation. Whenever you need to get away from the world for some relaxation, Panama City Beach has got you covered.

While it’s an ideal vacation spot for some time in the sun, that’s not the only reason why you need to buy yourself a second home here.

Renting it out

When you purchase a vacation home, you don’t intend on staying there all the time. You might go there a few weeks a year or, if you live nearby, take trips there at the weekend. Apart from that, though, the house will remain empty. If you’ve got a savvy business mind, you’ll know that this is the perfect opportunity to turn your new vacation property into a money maker.

Many people rent out there vacation homes during the weeks and months when they’re not staying there. It prevents the house from being abandoned for too long and at risk of being broken into. Plus, it’s a great way of bringing in some extra income. You’ve shelled out money for this new house, so you need it to start paying for itself.

Why is Panama City Beach the best place to do this over everywhere else, though?

Future investment

Simply put, Panama City Beach has the highest return on investment for rental properties compared to everywhere else in the country. The cost of renting out a house compares favorably to the cost of owning it, which means it’s worth keeping it on the market. Moreover, Panama City Beach is incredibly popular with tourists, especially when spring break season comes around. People flock to the area to take advantage of its gorgeous weather and great atmosphere, so there’s an almost constant need for somewhere to stay throughout the year. If you own one of the properties in the area, you’d likely have someone staying there constantly.

Moving to Florida

Even if Panama City Beach isn’t right for you, there’s probably somewhere in the Sunshine State worth investing in. On a list of the best 150 rental cities in the country, Florida appears more than any other state in the top 25. It’s the best place in the United States for beach vacations, which is why rental properties here are such a hot commodity. If you think you’re ready to hire out your new vacation home to other tourists, this may well be the place for you. The income that your investment brings in will be more than worth it.

If you haven’t already started looking for vacation homes to purchase in Panama City Beach, what are you waiting for? Not only will you find a new place to stay in a beautiful part of the country, but you’ll also have an amazing investment property on your hands. It’s a win-win situation.


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Open and shut case: why the package holiday is back

Cost, convenience and the Love-Island effect mean ready-made holidays are back in fashion, with giant operators Thomas Cook and Tui opening swish new hotels

The last time I went on a package holiday France had just won the World Cup. It was 1998, the peak of the package’s popularity, and my mates and I celebrated the end of our exams with a week in Magaluf. We had a brilliant time but it wasn’t an experience I’ve ever felt the need to repeat – until now.

Twenty years on, France have won the World Cup once again and packages seem tempting again. When I confess this, friends look at me askance and make jokes about piña coladas. One is moved to reminisce about her own youthful package holiday; she is still traumatised by the coach excursions.

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Travel | The Guardian


How to legally stay in Europe for more than 90 days


If you want to travel to Europe, you’ll need to get yourself a visa to make sure you’re legally allowed to roam around, there is just one problem though. They only last for 90 days so if you want to visit for longer, you’ll have to leave and come back, right? There are ways you can stay in Europe for more than 90 days, without breaking the law. Here’s how!

The rule doesn’t apply to all of Europe

There is one simple way of navigating around the 90-day rule, go to somewhere in Europe where the rule doesn’t apply. The 90-day visa applies only to the region in Europe known as the Schengen Area. This covers many countries, mostly those members of the European Union. There are several places in eastern Europe that do the visa does not apply to, countries such as Belarus, Croatia, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine.

Then there are a few other countries such as Cyprus and Albania where it does not apply, and crucially the UK and Ireland do not fall into the Schengen Area. You can hop between these countries following your visit to make sure your trip lasts longer than just three months

Job-seekers visa

If you apply for a job seekers visa, you will be given 6 months grace to try and find yourself a job while in Europe. You’ll need to hold a university degree, but this will allow you to live in Europe for up to six months while searching for a job. You’ll need to apply for this visa in advance of entering the region though, so make sure if you’re planning on going for longer, or even staying forever, that you apply well in advance.

Working holiday visa

If you want to travel to Europe to soak up some of the cultures and are planning on an extended stay, you’ll probably need to pick up some work to make sure you can continue to fund important things like food and shelter. You can apply for a working holiday visa which will allow you to stay but will have to prove that you have enough savings to sustain yourself should you fail to get a job. You’ll need to have around $ 5,000 in the bank to prove that you are serious about things. Several countries, such as Italy, Sweden, or France offer long-term visas that allow you to stay there for an extended period of time as long as you have a job to go to when you get there.

Infinite loop

The Schengen Area requires you to leave after 90 days and will take 180 days to reset, allowing you to renew a new 90-day visa. During this time you can stay in the UK for 90 days then head to the Balkan region for another 90 then you’ll be able to re-enter the Schengen Area. You can continue to do this for as long as you want or can afford.

If you really want to visit Europe for more than 90 days without breaking the law there are a few things you can do to make sure you are there legally. There are more places in Europe than just the Schengen Area, so you can explore those regions whole you are doing your 180-day visa refresh. With this knowledge, you can hang out in Europe as long as your budget will allow you, as long as you don’t mind moving around occasionally.


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How to do a weekend in Malibu


Although many people live in Malibu, California, it is seen by lots of Americans as a great place to go for a weekend vacation as there is so much to do there and the weather is basically always amazing. Maybe you’ve been considering heading down to Malibu to check out the beach and atmosphere, but you don’t know where to begin planning. We have a few tips that’ll make sure you can have the perfect weekend trip to Malibu.


One of the most important things about any vacation is the food you choose to eat. It can be a tough decision as many places look good, but you don’t want to end up eating somewhere unpleasant, especially if you are only there for the weekend. If you stay in the Malibu Beach Inn, you won’t even have to step foot out of your hotel for breakfast. You can head to the Carbon Beach Club restaurant inside to have a filling breakfast that offers lots of healthy options.

There is one place in Malibu you must check out when it gets to lunchtime. Lily’s Malibu has been pulling in customers for over 15 years now, and the burritos are the reason why. The restaurant is just a short trip from the beach and is the ideal spot to recharge your batteries after a busy morning lounging around on the sand.


If you are going down to Malibu for a special event, maybe a wedding anniversary or a big birthday then the Malibu Beach Inn is where you’ll want to stay. It features in the list of worldwide leading hotels, and the excellent service you receive will justify the nightly price of $ 595. The rooms come with balconies that overlook Carbon Beach, and if you are feeling a little tense, you can participate in the daily yoga classes offered on the beach each morning.

Things to do

You don’t want to travel all the way down to Malibu without having anything to do, luckily there’s plenty on offer for everybody in Malibu. You can chill out on the beach, work on your tan or head into the water by renting a boat or going on fishing and whale watching trips. If you haven’t got your sea legs yet you might want to check out what is on offer on the land. There are canyons that are ready to be explored, and then, of course, there is the famous Malibu Pier. From this vantage point you can check out all of the people surfing, and there are a bunch of shops and restaurants onhand to make sure you can easily fill your time.

If you want to try your hand at celebrity spotting, there are tours of the famous people’s homes or check out the old disused Paramount Ranch that used to be a big part of movie studio’s sets. While they don’t film there much anymore, you can go and check out this Wild West style ranch to make you feel as though you’re in your very own Spaghetti Western film.

There is plenty to see and down in Malibu over the course of a weekend getaway. Whether you want to experience the food, weather, or laid-back atmosphere, there is something for everybody in California’s favorite vacation spot. You can surf the waves or enjoy five-star luxury, the choice is yours.


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A foodie homage to Catalonia: a tour of its unsung delta

Exploring the food and drink of the Ebro delta, our writer follows sustainably caught tuna from sea to plate, visits a ‘wine cathedral’ and samples Spanish sake

I’m snorkelling in the Mediterranean, three miles off the Catalan coast, and for a heart-stopping split second I’m eyeball-to-eyeball with my dinner – a 250kg bluefin tuna that shoots out of the deep blue abyss like a torpedo a metre below me. Our group of 30 or so snorkellers is surrounded by hundreds of the fish. When they swim past, they are moving so fast we feel the force of their wake and scream with excitement. I’d heard of fishing for your supper before … but never swimming with it.

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Travel | The Guardian


Tips for saving money while on vacation


You’re excited about going on vacation, you’ve been saving up for months to be able to get away for a while, but that means you can’t spend as much cash as you would like to when you get there. If you aren’t careful, you can spend a ton of money without realizing it when on vacation, so staying on top of your finances is a must when you’re away. We have got some helpful tips to make sure you save as much money as possible while still having a great vacation.

Flight snacks

You aren’t allowed to bring drinks through airport security anymore, but that is not the rule for food. Stuff a load of flight snacks in your carry on luggage to make sure you don’t have to spend a fortune on the airplane snacks. The markup on these food items is considerable, so you’ll be saving yourself almost the equivalent of a taxi ride from the airport just by avoiding buying these. You can make your own trail mix using granola and dried fruit, and that will keep you going throughout your flight. Many airports now have places you can fill an empty bottle with water after you get through security, saving you a couple of dollars buying that too.

Your own two feet

You can save yourself so much money by avoiding using public transport where possible. If you are visiting a city, then walk around it, immerse yourself in the atmosphere from the street, rather than in the back of a taxi cab. If where you are planning on heading to is too far to walk, look into renting a bicycle or scooter, they are considerably cheaper than a cab will be and you can go at your own leisurely pace through your vacation destination.


We need to talk about souvenirs, ask yourself if you really need to buy them at all. Have you noticed the other souvenirs you bought people just lying around their homes getting covered in dust? They are a nice gesture, but your vacation is for you, not your loved ones back home. If you really must get souvenirs to bring home then make sure you shop around. The prices will vary from location to location and don’t leave it until getting to the airport to buy them, they will be incredibly overpriced in the airport store.

Don’t pack too much

If you really are prepared to save some money make the brave decision to only bring carry on luggage with you. The price of checking in a case can be pretty substantial, sometimes as much as a flight. By packing light, you can ensure your money will be better spent when on vacation, maybe on a nice dinner or something. When looking for hotels, find one that has laundry facilities to allow you to pack fewer clothes.

Coffee lovers

If you have to start your day with a freshly brewed coffee, then the cost can really add up when on vacation. There is a solution though! You can buy a small French press coffee maker, meaning all you’ll need is some beans, and you should be good to brew fresh hot coffee every morning for a fraction of the price it will cost at the local cafes.

The cost can really add up when you are on vacation, so being able to save some money here and there will go a long way. Try following these tips to ensure your vacation doesn’t bankrupt you, or leave you having to wait years before you can afford to go on another one again.


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What should you absolutely not do when visiting Canada


Canada is famous for its hospitable and friendly citizens. While it is often assumed that Canadians do not offend easily, it is probably best not to try and push people too far when you’re visiting their country. We have found some of the most common mistakes made by people who visit Canada and have compiled a list to make sure you don’t fall into the same trap as others.

Don’t stick to the cities

Canada is pretty big, there is more to see there than just the city lights of Toronto, Ottawa, or Quebec. The geography is pretty diverse, so there is plenty of wildlife to see and nature parks to hike through. Make sure to research where you are heading to as there are cougars, bears, moose, and wolves that can all hurt you if you come across them. Don’t head out of a city into nature walk without being prepared. The weather is a bit unpredictable and can change from a lovely sunny day to a snowstorm in an instant. Be prepared for all kinds of weather!

Don’t compare them to Americans

Canadians often pride themselves on being different to their American neighbors, so pointing out the similarities between the two nations is unlikely to win you any friends. While on the face of it they might sound a little like Americans, and their cities can have an American feel, Canadians are proud to be different. Their history, politics, and social dynamics are different, and you should take care not to be insensitive to that fact.

Don’t complain about the temperature

Sure, Canadian winters can be pretty harsh, but you don’t need to remind the locals of that fact when you visit. They are more aware than anyone how cold it can be, so telling them how cold you are is not likely to endear them to you. The temperatures can get as low as 5℉ on a daily basis but can reach extremes as low as -40℉. Make sure you bring windproof clothing if you visit in the winter as the wind chill can make it feel even colder.

Don’t rush onto public transport

Sure, you’ve been standing on the platform for several minutes, but that doesn’t mean you should just barge your way onto the next train. You should allow the people to get off the train first; otherwise, you’ll only be adding even more chaos to rush hour. Hopping on the train before giving everyone a chance to get off is considered to be pretty rude.

Don’t assume Toronto is the capital

Just because it is the city that you have heard of the most, doesn’t make it the capital. Much like New York in America, Toronto is commonly mistaken to be the Canadian capital. The capital of Canada is none other than Ottawa, so if you’re traveling anywhere in Canada outside of Toronto, make sure to remember where the capital city is!

Although Canadians are incredibly polite and friendly people, they have several customs that they are proud of and can take offense if they are not followed. Thankfully, after reading this list, you’ll now be able to blend in perfectly without making anyone angry.


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The biggest secrets behind Edinburgh Castle


Have you ever dreamed of living in your own castle? Perhaps you’ve imagined yourself gliding down the elegant stairs with a shawl around your shoulders just like a Disney queen? Or maybe you’ve dreamed of dancing in the great hall with Dumbledore and Hagrid? Well, there are countless castles around the world for you to peruse… but only for the day. You know, unless you marry a prince or princess. One of the most famous castles in the world is Edinburgh Castle, but did you know this fortress holds deep secrets within its walls?

It has a checkered history

Although we now accept witches, wizards, muggles, and squibs – there have been some members of the royal family who haven’t been so accepting of witchcraft. During the reign of King James V, witchcraft was considered one of the biggest sins in the world and was associated with evil. Because of this, society would burn witches at the stake in an attempt to rid them from our world, and that’s exactly what happened to Janet Douglas. Although it was clear that Janet was not a witch, the speculation was enough for King James V to take her and her family at the stake.

There’s a high chance it’s haunted

Do you believe in ghosts? Well, even if you don’t, you might change your mind after visiting Edinburgh Castle. Underneath this huge castle are large tunnels that snake their way around the castle and into the surrounding area. When they were first discovered, the royal court decided to send a bagpiper down into the tunnels to see what was down there. The idea was that those above the tunnels could track where he was using the sound of the instrument. However, the bagpipes soon went silent, and the body of the bagpiper was never found. To this day, visitors to the castle report that they can often hear the faint sound of bagpipes underneath the floor…

The royals lost the crown jewels within the castle

When England, Scotland and Wales joined forces, there was no longer any need for the Scottish crown jewels to be on display in the castle. So, the royal family decided to lock up the jewels in a chest and place it in a safe place in Edinburgh Castle. However, they soon forgot where this safe place was, and they were lost for more than 100 years! It wasn’t until Sir Walter Scott, and a few of his merry men made it their mission to find the jewels once and for all. Luckily they did, and the jewels have been out for the public to see ever since.

There’s a myth surrounding university students

As well as being famous for its castle, Edinburgh is also famous for its prestigious university – but the two rarely mix. In fact, there has been a long-held myth with the university students of Edinburgh that if they were ever to set foot inside the walls of the castle, they will fail all of their exams. While there is obviously no evidence to suggest that this is true, almost all of the students here avoid the castle like the plague, at least until they graduate completely.

The KGB altered the structure of the castle

Scottish castles and the KGB don’t seem like a great mix, but it seems as though Mikhail Gorbachev of the KGB actually altered the structure of the castle in 1984. During King James IV’s reign, he used a small window in the Great Hall to spy on those who walked inside of his home. When Gorbachev was set to visit the castle centuries later, he asked for this window to be filled in – for his safety. Although they did do this, Gorbachev later canceled his visit.

Edinburgh Castle is steeped in history, but we have a feeling you probably didn’t know all of these secrets they try to cover up…


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Walking paths less trodden in the Yorkshire Dales

Steering clear of the famous three peaks our writer joins an expert guide to explore the lesser-known hills and valleys of the Yorkshire Dales

‘Have you noticed anything?” my guide Jonathan asks me.

We stop for a moment. There’s a lot to notice. I gaze across meadows speckled golden with buttercups. Dry-stone walls carve the fields into tiny fiefdoms, each with its own stone barn. The low hill we’ve just descended is washed by a panoply of greens. Somewhere above us a skylark is singing its little heart out in a worthy attempt to fill the broad valley with song. Nothing strikes me as untoward.

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Travel | The Guardian


China’s most popular tourist attraction


If you’re the kind of person that just can’t sit still, there’s a high chance that you just love to find new and exciting destinations to visit. So, where are you going next? Well, if you want our advice, you should definitely go to China. Of course, you don’t need to take our advice, but this country has so many attractions to visit. You could walk the Great Wall of China, you could check out the Terracotta Army, or you could wander past the Summer Palace. However, if you’re planning on visiting The Forbidden City, these are the things you must know before visiting China’s most popular tourist attraction…

It’s the largest imperial palace in the world

Pretty neat, huh? The Forbidden City is one of a king for various reasons, but the main reason is that it’s the largest imperial palace in the world. It took a whopping 1 million workers to build this impressive 7,750,000-square-foot palace! This is because the palace is so much more than one simple building. Instead, there are 980 intricately designed buildings, complete with nearly 9,000 rooms, as well as 90 courtyards and quarters. Do you reckon they need a little extra space? Getting a little squashed, isn’t it?

24 emperors lived there

We would do anything to live in this palace, but we don’t think we have enough cash to fit the mortgage. Alongside this, the palace is not actually in use any longer – but has since been handed over to the government and has been in its hands since China became a Republic in 1912. Before that, however, 24 emperors called this place home. In 1406, Emperor Yongle decided to make a palace that would top any other palace, and it was completed in 1420. The palace than moved from hand to hand, until it was handed over.

It’s full of treasure

Considering The Forbidden Palace is one of the most famous attractions in China, it should come as no surprise to learn that it’s full of treasure. In fact, there is nowhere else in the world that holds as many ancient Chinese artifacts and documents! With intricate and colorful pottery and bizarre statues, this palace is well worth a visit just to get a glimpse of these things.

You can’t see the whole thing

Although the Forbidden City is the most popular tourist attraction in China, you can actually only see 60% of the palace with your own eyes. If you try to explore the other 40%, you will be greeted with large railings and security guards, This is because the 14 million people who trundle through the palace every single year have had an effect on the palace, and it is need of repair. These important repairs are said to be completed in 2020.

It’s covered in Chinese architecture

As soon as you set your eyes on the Forbidden City, you will be amazed at how beautifully detail the whole palace is. The buildings are covered in ornate gold finishings, as well as wooden carvings that take you back in time to the 1400s. Amazingly, this tourist attraction has taken the world record for the largest collection of medieval wooden structures in the world, and you can see them up close and personal. Well, we’re sold.

There are no trees in the outer court

When you go to the Forbidden City, you’ll see just how beautiful the palace looks up against the trees of the Inner Court. Yet, it may surprise you to know that there is absolutely no greenery in the Outer Court. Although there has been no confirmed reason for this, many historians believe it gives those who wish to gatecrash the palace fewer chances to hide. Makes sense.

Looking to visit The Forbidden City? Well, you can’t go without checking out these must-see facts.


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The best towns and small cities in the US: Missoula, Montana

With forests, mountains and Native American reservations nearby, this town is a goldmine for the adventurous, and there’s a homespun arts scene, too

In this series: Eugene, Oregon | Chapel Hill, North Carolina | Portland, Maine

Ten years ago, if you wanted to live in a town on the edge of a mountainous wilderness, surrounded by people prepared to let you be whoever you wanted, you moved to Boulder, Colorado. Everyone did, and property prices became unaffordable. Now you raise your eyes a little further north, and keep your wagon rolling on up to Missoula, Montana, a town about as isolated as the most voracious reader of Henry David Thoreau could hope for.

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian


The most affordable countries to study abroad in


So you’re thinking about studying abroad? There’s a lot to be said for boosting your education in another part of the world. It exposes you to new cultures and offers an experience you could never have back home. However, while studying abroad might seem like an exciting prospect, it can set you back a fair bit concerning money. There’s no need to worry though. Some countries are surprisingly affordable to live in for when you want to take your education to the next level.


If you’ve thought about studying in Asia, then Taiwan might be the place to go. Costs here aren’t too crazy, with accommodation averaging around $ 2,500 per year, while tuition fees are upwards of $ 3,000. There are more than 40 universities on offer covering a vast range of subjects, more than 100 of which are taught in English. If you don’t mind being a long way from home, Taiwan could be the perfect place to study abroad. You can even get in some Mandarin lessons while you’re there and return home with a whole new language in your repertoire.


Another country that has very reasonably priced tuition (averaging $ 2,000 to $ 3,000 per year), this cultural hub can offer you one of the most exciting experiences abroad. There are plenty of historical sights to see and explore during your free time, as well as an excellent nightlife scene. Warsaw, Poland’s capital city, has regularly been named one of the best cities for students because of its affordability, with yearly living costs around $ 8,500. If you’re hoping to save a little money, you might want to try learning Polish before you study there. People who study in Polish and pass the entrance exams can go to college for free.


Students have long celebrated Germany as an excellent place to study. Its popularity has continued to rise over the years, and we think we know why. If you’re an undergraduate, then you don’t have to pay tuition fees, apart from if you’re studying in Baden-Württemberg. Living costs are a fair bit higher here than in other places, averaging around $ 10,000 on a yearly basis, but the lack of tuition fees makes this country highly affordable. Plus, there are few places better for the ultimate educational experience. Germany is rich with culture, but it also knows how to throw the best parties.


For students looking to stay on this side of the globe, you might want to set your sights on Argentina. This South American country also has no tuition fees for anyone looking to study at a public university, with private establishments charging around $ 5000 per year. One of the significant benefits of Argentina is its affordable living costs, with rent available from just $ 350 a month. You’ll probably only need $ 5000 to last you throughout the academic year. Not only is Argentina affordable, but it also has some of the most incredible sights. If you’re the outdoors type or you love exploring, you’ll have a great time here.


There aren’t many countries that come cheaper to live in than Malaysia while still offering a world-class educational program. You can easily survive on $ 3,000 to $ 4,000 per year in the country, with the same amount usually required for the courses on offer. Kuala Lumpur has regularly ranked near the top for affordable student cities, so it’s clearly doing something right. What’s more, many international colleges have campuses in Malaysia, meaning you can earn a degree from an institution respected around the world.

Everyone deserves to see more of the world, and studying abroad is a great way to do that. Never let the cost stand in the way of such a unique experience, because there are so many places to attend at an affordable price. This is something that money can’t buy.


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