Great places to see wildlife in the UK: readers’ travel tips

Wildlife can thrive in city centres, as well as in reserves, wild moors and remote islands; you just need to know what to look out for, say our tipsters

Cuckoos, kingfishers, water voles, marsh harriers, seals and fantastic views from the coffee shop: inside the M25! Take a bow, Rainham RSPB reserve. A two-mile walk around the reserve (which is only a 20-minute stroll from Purfleet station) yields rich rewards, and even spectacular views of Eurostar trains. Spring is particularly noisy, with warblers of all sorts, and winter, with large flocks of lapwings and a gazillion ducks, is spectacular. There are also rare bearded tits, comfortable hides, simple walking, kids’ events and a great coffee shop with a small playground. The Thames views are wonderful: the sun filling the cafeteria, which has huge windows over the reserve and the river with basking seals, makes one forget the nearby big smoke.
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This carpet cleaner quit his job and now makes six figures traveling around the world


Wouldn’t you just love to quit your job, go traveling around the world, make a huge salary in the process… Oh, and meet the love of your life?! Well, for British man named Jack Morris, that is exactly what has happened. The former carpet cleaner has completely turned his life around, and it all started with a one-way ticket to Bangkok, Thailand.

Quitting his job

According to The Daily Mail, Jack Morris is a 26-year-old Brit, who used to work as a carpet cleaner. On impulse one day, he decided to buy himself a one-way ticket to Bangkok in Thailand – and quit his job in the process. He had no idea what the future was going to hold for him, he just knew that he wanted to have a whole load of fun seeing the world. Little did he know how much lay in store for him, however.

@doyoutravel

Meeting the love of his life

As if getting to see all that this wonderful world has to offer us wasn’t enough, Jack Morris stumbled across a 23-year-old called Lauren Bullen on a beach in Fiji. As you do! Lauren is originally from New South Wales in Australia, and it was pretty much love at first sight for the pair. They quickly became full-time traveling companions, along with being boyfriend and girlfriend. However, this was just the tip of the iceberg for Jack Morris. Things were about to get so much better.

Bringing in the big bucks

As if traveling the world and meeting the love of your life isn’t impressive enough for the 26-year-old former carpet cleaner, he now brings in a six-figure salary with his girlfriend Lauren. The pair get paid to see some of the greatest sights in the world, but they also have a little side hustle (as if being social media superstars wasn’t enough). They have their own business selling Lightroom presets to those who want to make their Instagram photos pop as much as their own. With a combined follower count of nearly 5 million over their two accounts, it seems as though the world will be their oyster (quite literally) for some time to come.

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Two years before

This luck may all be thanks to one decision Jack Morris made two years before. He said that he was strapped for cash and so decided to take the plunge and invest in a good quality camera to see whether he could snap some photos he could sell. Morris was hoping his investment would pay off, but he probably never dreamed it would amount to running a six-figure business with his new girlfriend by his side. It just goes to show that following a dream really is the key to success.

It’s unlikely Jack Morris is missing his life back in Britain, as a carpet cleaner, as he is now literally living the dream. So, where’s next for the pair? Turns out they’re heading to beautiful Bali. Not that we’re jealous or anything!

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Changing travel: the sustainable startups boosted by awards from Booking.com

Ten eco-minded startups to receive assistance from a €2m fund, including a social enterprise training trekking guides in Nepal

Digital travel firm Booking.com has announced the sustainable travel startups that will receive financial assistance from its 2019 Booking Booster programme. As part of the programme – which has a fund of €2m – awards have been made to a variety of organisations, from a social enterprise training at-risk women to become trekking guides in Nepal, to a hotel school helping young people in Indonesia kickstart their careers.

Each organisation’s plans were judged by a panel, including Booking Booster ambassador, Livia Firth. At the awards event Firth spoke about the importance of supporting sustainable travel. “Whoever we are and wherever we work – whether in startups, established companies, policymakers or members of government – we have the power to make a difference every day,” she said. “Today we know that we can also make a huge difference when we book a trip.”

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Things to do in Luxembourg


Vacationing in Europe gives you the perfect opportunity to explore an amazing continent full of history, culture, and wonder. One of the more unusual places in Europe to visit is Luxembourg, but it’s a place that might not have made your list normally. This Western European nation is surrounded by Belgium, France, and Germany, and is one of the top capitals of the European Union. If you’re planning to visit Luxembourg, you’ll want to know about all the great things you can do while you’re here.

Firstly, you need to cast aside your aspersions of a dull, lifeless city filled with Eurocrats and not much else. Luxembourg has plenty of treasures to uncover and is well worth a visit, provided you know what you want to do before you visit. So, your next visit to Luxembourg needs to contain these things in order to make it memorable.

Things to do in Luxembourg

Check out the Old Town

Most lovely European cities have a picturesque Old Town that is literally steeped in historical and cultural significance, and Luxembourg is no different. The Old Town here is a really amazing throwback and blends wonderfully with the newer areas of the city – it’s idyllic, picturesque, and serene, and you will definitely be glad you checked it out. In fact, you could do a lot worse than making sure you’re part of a walking tour of the city. This is the best way of getting to see and experience all the amazing parts of Luxembourg and learn more about the city (and the country).

Don’t miss the amazing tunnels

The great thing about Luxembourg is that it’s small, so it’s easy to navigate, and all the attractions are in the same kind of area. Make sure you head over to the ruins of the ancient castle in the Old Town and uncover one of the great secrets of Luxembourg. Below where the 10th Century castle stood, there is 17 kilometers of tunnels carved into the rock, that was used for things like defense and storage. Known as Casemates du Bock, the tunnels were opened to the public in the 1930s, and are well worth the visit. These are one of the fabulous tourist attractions in Luxembourg, and the open ends offer a sensational view of the city, as well as the valley below.

Things to do in Luxembourg

Take a wine tour

Who doesn’t love a bit of vino?! Well, if wine is your tipple you’ll have an excellent opportunity to take a wine tour while you’re here. There are so many excellent regions, and Luxembourg produces highly respected white and rose wines. There are some cool wine museums and wineries here that you can visit, and many of them offer tastings. Try to pick up a ticket for one of these cool tours, they actually only start from around €7 – the perfect budget outing you can enjoy and experience the best that Luxembourg has to offer.

Visit ‘Little Switzerland’

There’s an area of Luxembourg known as Little Switzerland, and it’s one of the most beautiful areas of the country. You’ll be able to go walking across canyons and soaking up some of the wonderful nature on show in Luxembourg. You can walk along the banks of the river, and visit the Predigtstuhl, one of the famous rock formations here. This is a wonderful opportunity to experience some of the great beauty off Luxembourg, as well as getting out and about and being healthy.

If you’ve never been to Luxembourg before, it’s not too late to discover this small and wonderful European nation. There is actually much more to do here than you might imagine, and we’ve just listed a selection of some of the best things. Overall, this is an excellent place to visit and has plenty to offer travelers.

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Best water parks in the world


Water parks are great for making adults feel like they’re kids again, and for making kids have a ton of fun. The whole family can splash around in the pool or set their pulses racing by enjoying the water slides. There are plenty of water parks all over the world, and we reckon we’ve discovered the best of the best. Check out these amazing water parks found across the globe.

Typhoon Lagoon – Florida, USA

Disney isn’t content with taking over the movie business and is pretty high up on the list of amazing water parks too. Typhoon Lagoon is considered the best water park in the United States and given the competition that’s pretty impressive. There are water attractions aplenty as everywhere you turn offers you thrills and spills.

Not only can you get your heart racing with the slides but there are wildlife attractions to bring you face to face with some amazing marine life. Shark Reef is where you’ll want to head to meet those animals, but that’s not all, there’s also a giant raft ride on Gangplank Falls. Then as if that wasn’t enough you can even take surf lessons in their wave pool.

Typhoon Lagoon

WetSide Water Park – Hervey Bay, Australia

Water parks bring in thousands of people every year, and for a relatively small fee, you can go inside and have the time of your life. One thing that sets the WetSide Water Park apart from the others is the fact that this Australian attraction is completely free for anyone wanting to visit.

It won’t cost a cent to enjoy most of the park which is based around educating people about water and the wildlife that lives in it. There is a small cost for those who want to ride the wave machine on a board, but for $ 6 you can’t really have an issue.

Waterbom Bali – Kuta, Indonesia

Indonesia has become a hotspot for backpackers in recent years, but there is plenty here for families too. Waterbom Bali has some of the most original rides found anywhere in the world, and the park really pushes the boundaries. You can enjoy the Water Blaster, where you take aim and fire water balloons at riders, or get competitive against a friend on the Twin Racers ride. There’s, of course, a lazy river to take in, plus Asia’s steepest slide.

Waterbom Bali

Siam Park – Tenerife, Spain

There can be no real dispute that Siam Park in Tenerife, Spain, is the greatest water park in the world. According to TripAdvisor, it has been the top water park in the world for five years in a row. There are plenty of adrenaline pumping slides and rides for people to get their pulses racing, but there’s so much more.

To contrast the thrilling attractions there are family-friendly areas and even some spots for peace and quiet. There are over 30 rides for guests to enjoy, meaning you’ll probably end up not doing any twice in one day there’s so much choice. Siam Park also has its own wave pool, and even holds a world record for the largest ever man-made wave.

These are some of the best places in the world to get wet and wild at a water park. If you can’t have fun or enjoy yourself at these amazing locations then perhaps water parks really aren’t your thing.

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‘Instant calm to the soul’: the magic of Cape Clear, Ireland

Whether in search of peace, or adventure, this tiny County Cork island is a haven for escapists

Cape Clear, Ireland’s most southerly island, has been my getaway for almost 30 years. It is the place where I forget which day of the week it is. It’s where I go to imagine a world without Brexit and Trump. The island has a spirit that brings instant calm to the soul. I once had the good fortune to live there for four months. It was then that I first began to write, finding the serenity to hone the craft that would eventually lead to my first novel.

Related: Hot tubs, saunas and seaweed soaks on Ireland’s west coast

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Great destinations for a 2-day weekend trip


Sometimes in life, we don’t have time for a full-blown vacation, but we can put some time aside for a weekend trip. You don’t have to fly to the other side of the world to have a great time, and these local hotspots are perfect for a 2-day weekend trip.

New York City

The city that never sleeps has to be on your weekend getaway list because there is just so much to see and do. You can spend the entire weekend sightseeing, or you can go on a culinary adventure across the Big Apple. With more restaurants and bars than you could possibly imagine you can have a fun-filled weekend and be back in time for the meeting on Monday.

The best thing about New York City is that you can get there any way you want. You can fly into any of the major airports or flying isn’t for you then the train is a good option, while driving isn’t out of the question. There are plenty of indoor activities like the museums and Broadway shows for when the weather isn’t great, and then there’s Central Park for when the sun’s shining.

Photo: Unsplash.com

Chicago

If you’re considering the north-east of America, then you might as well think about Chicago. You’ll find great pizza here, though New Yorkers might prefer to call it a pie, but there’s more to Chicago than pizza. There is the iconic Field Museum to take in some of the history of the Windy City, but the best way to see this city is by taking a bike tour.

You’ll come across all the iconic locations like the famous ‘Bean’ installation, plus you’ll coast past Lake Michigan and wonder why all cities don’t have beaches. Wander into Millenium Park and lose yourself for an hour or two in the 25-acre open area and then head to Michigan Avenue to shop til you drop.

Nashville

Nashville is the home of country music, and there is so much to see and do here. You’ll have to check out some music when you’re here of course, and you can head straight to the Grand Ole Opry for a tour. Nashville is best enjoyed on foot, and you should make use of any of the walking tours on offer to tourists.

They will take you along to the best spots in town, including City House, the Tennessee State Museum, the riverfront, and Nissan Stadium. In the evenings make a reservation for the Bluebird Cafe to see the next big thing in country music doing their thing. The Bluebird Cafe is where acts like Garth Brooks made their names, and you’ll find stars of today such as LeAnn Rimes performing today.

Photo: Unsplash.com

San Diego

There’s not much to dislike about San Diego. It has great year-round weather and around 70 miles of coastline for visitors to enjoy. If you’re looking for somewhere to surf, then you couldn’t pick a better spot for the weekend than San Diego.

You can head there to surf or equally, it’s perfect for relaxing on the beach with some tunes and a cooler. It won’t take you long to find somewhere to eat thanks to the countless Mexican restaurants and to top it all off there is a bustling nightlife for the evenings.

These destinations are perfect for getting away for the weekend. There is so much to do that your only regret will be not taking more time to take in these wonderful weekend hotspots.

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How to feel more at home when you’re at a hotel


You’re either a hotel type of person or not. Some find staying in hotel rooms uncomfortable, mostly finding it hard to relax and unwind in an unfamiliar room. Whereas for others, it can be an exciting experience, almost like a haven for you to get the best night sleep you’ve had in ages.

It’s no surprise that some people find hotel-living a difficult thing because living out of a suitcase can be a bit of a tiresome chore. Even if you’re in the most beautiful paradise location, sometimes you can never feel truly settled. Homesickness can sink in, and all you’ll be longing for is the comfort of your own room, in your own home.

Well if you’re that type of person, here’s some of our best tips and tricks in giving your hotel room that touch of home comfort.

Photo: BURST

Unpack and get organized

Rule number one – unpack your suitcase! A lot of people fail even to remove the contents of their luggage and place them into the storage provided – but this is a necessity if you want to feel genuinely comfortable.

Sanitize

If you’re a bit of an OCD clean freak that’s stressing about the cleanliness of your room, then first things first – sanitize! Always, ALWAYS check the bed sheets…and possibly bring along some sprays and cleaners to go over main areas, i.e. floorings, bathrooms, etc. Plus, sanitizing wipes are great for going over surfaces, remotes, door knobs, phones that kind of thing.

Bring some candles along

If you love your candles, then why not bring along your favorite smelling candle from home to fill the room with a relaxing ambiance. If you struggle to relax in a hotel, then candles are a fantastic way to destress your worries and get into a healthier positive mindset.

Prepare the iPad

Hotel TV can be a bit limited, and the screen is more than often in an awkward place – some don’t even have one! So if you’re a bit of a night-owl and like to unwind in front of the telly watching one of your shows, then bringing along your iPad can make a big difference to your hotel room stay.

Bring your favorite treats

Most of the time, hotel refreshments just don’t cut it. If the minibar isn’t up to scratch, it’s always nice to bring along some of your favorite goods – this could be a couple of mini bottles for a well-deserved nightcap, or. one of your favorite night time teas or morning coffees. Everyone knows having your favorite beverage and snack for the morning time is an essential.

Photo: BURST

Remember the right toiletries

It’s also necessary to bring all of the right toiletries too. Go through your daily getting-ready regime properly, and make sure you don’t forget any fundamentals to ensure your morning runs as smoothly as it would at home. Forgetting your particular shampoo, skincare care and dentist care can be all it takes to annoy you in the morning time.

Whatever the reason, no stay at a hotel should be a challenging experience. In fact, it should be the total opposite -a pleasant, relaxing, and enjoyable break from home. You are ultimately paying a price for your stay, so follow our tips and make the most of it!

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What are the differences between flying economy and first class?


Some may have had the luxury of experiencing the grandeur of first class, but for others, it remains a great mystery. If you have already been fortunate enough to turn left into the exclusive cabin then you know how wonderful the experience can be, but if you are yet to fly first class, then the encounter is still just a little sneak-peek behind the red curtain before you’re told to return to your economy seat. Peasants!

However saying all this, the golden ticket to first class does come with a considerably costlier price tag, so we want to put it up for debate as to whether it is actually worth it. Let’s discuss the differences between flying economy and first class.

Photo: Unsplash.com

Do you get the star-treatment?

As a first-class traveler, you’ll be offered access to a first class lounge, where you will have a space to grab a pre-flight drink, relax, and unwind before boarding. Here you’ll enjoy the time away from the busy and overcrowded areas from economy class queuing. You’ll also board the plane as a priority before the economy-class passengers.

Depending on the airline and the type of ticket you hold, you might be offered other premiums like your own private lounge space, concierge service, meals and snacks, and even showering amenities. If the hustle and bustle of pre-flight organization causes you stress, then getting a first-class ticket just for the quiet calm of a lounge might be worth it. On top of all this, the beverages are usually free too…

What food and drink is on offer?

Offers vary across different airlines, but if you are flying long-haul, then you will be offered unlimited meals and drinks at no charge. A special high-quality menu is provided to first-class passengers, with the food tasting significantly better than most meals provided in economy-class. Some services even offer formal tableware for that extra luxury experience.

Do you get extra comfort?

A lengthier long-haul flight usually means you’ll more than likely be having a nap at some point, so are the first class seats really that much comfier for you to feel cozily at home? Well, it all depends. Airplane models vary with the design of the cabin, but all first-class tickets will offer a seat with more legroom and a bigger, wider, and comfier chair.

If you want to pay that little bit extra, there are also first-class private suites available with luxury features such as a sliding privatized door, a large touch screen TV, storage space, and even a chair that reclines into a bed.

Photo: Unsplash.com

Is it worth the price?

The answer to that question depends on several factors – the length of the flight, the airline you are flying with, the benefits on offer, and most importantly, the price you are paying. If you are able and willing to pay the extra cost, then perhaps the perks and privileges may well be worth it.

However, always remember that there may be opportunities for you to fly first class without having to pay the price. Sometimes an airline may offer a discounted upgrade, and frequent flyers can use their miles to upgrade too. It’s always a good decision to take your chances and ask about the upgrade options at the check-in desk. You never know what they might have up their sleeves for you…

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Art in the open: the joys of Jupiter Artland sculpture park

The innovative sculpture park near Edinburgh is reopening for summer, marking its second decade with new commissions and an art and music festival

‘You imagine what you desire,” reads an arty light sculpture in the grounds of Jupiter Artland. It’s my first visit to this privately owned sculpture park five miles west of Edinburgh and I’m feeling rather overwhelmed – Jupiter is a destination that challenges easy definitions. It has more than 100 acres of fields and woods, with views across rolling countryside to the Pentland hills, and dozens of permanent installations. Several of these artworks incorporate small buildings, islands or terraced slopes.

On a hilltop stands a huge, nebulous, humanoid steel sculpture by Anthony Gormley. From it I can see as far as the Forth Bridges. There’s also a terrifying caged hole by Anish Kapoor called Suck, but my favourite work is Stone Coppice by Andy Goldsworthy, where quarried boulders nest in the branches of growing coppiced trees. Wandering through another part of the estate, I see Goldsworthy has fixed harvested branches from the coppicing upright inside a stone-walled shed to create a linked work, Coppice Room.

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How to see the Seven Wonders of the World an a budget


The Seven Wonders of the World are there for all of us to admire but sometimes getting there is a little out of our price range. They are some of the most visited places on Earth, but we are left wondering how because they are so expensive to travel to. Luckily we have some tricks that will make sure you can check off the Seven Wonders from your bucket list at a fraction of the cost.

How to see the Seven Wonders of the World an a budget

Get your timing right

The first thing to consider when looking to book a trip to visit any of the Seven Wonders is to look at the time of year. If you’re heading there in peak time, then you’re going to be spending way more money than if you go at a different time of the year.

Most of the Seven Wonders are cheaper to visit from April to June, except for the Taj Mahal, which is cheaper to visit in November. Heading to these wonders during the off-season means your bank balance will be healthier and you’ll also be able to enjoy them with fewer people around.

Book ahead

No matter what time of the year you decide to go, you’re going to have to buy tickets to the Wonders. Why not save yourself both some time and some money by booking them in advance. Most places will offer you some discount for advanced bookings so why not take advantage of that when visiting the Seven Wonders?

Keeping your eye out for any promotions the attractions are offering is another way in which you can save yourself some much-needed cash.

Spread them out

Some people try to take in the Seven Wonders in one trip, but that usually means they don’t get to spend much time looking at them. Plus, if you’re booking yourself a round-the-world trip, then you know that cost is going to add up.

Traveling isn’t all that cheap so maybe take your time and visit one at a time. That way you can take them in at a slower pace, plus you don’t have to frantically travel to the next destination, which adds more stress and cost.

How to see the Seven Wonders of the World an a budget

Shop around

One of the most important things you can possibly do to save yourself some money is to shop around, especially when it comes to accommodation. These attractions are all surrounded by hotels just waiting to charge you an arm and a leg for the pleasure of staying with them. Not much further afield will be cheaper places to stay, or you could go even cheaper and look at hostels or B&Bs.

If you’re traveling on a budget, you’ll want to save money where you can and your accommodation, along with your travel, are likely to be the most expensive. Making real savings on these will make the Seven Wonders of the World accessible for those traveling on a budget.

Many of us want to see all of the world, but sadly we just don’t have the cash. Following these tips will help make sure you keep costs low but still get to witness some of humanity’s greatest achievements.

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Audio recording reveals Boeing resisted angry calls from pilots for 737 Max fix in November

Weeks after the first fatal crash of Boeing's popular 737 Max aircraft in October, American Airlines pilots angrily pushed Boeing to fix the anti-stall software that has now been implicated in two deadly crashes, the Dallas Morning News reported.
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Where to experience the ultimate safari adventures


Imagine waking up to the sound of a lion, or looking across the plains while you eat breakfast, to see a giraffe eating her own breakfast from the trees. Seeing animals roam around or even hunt right in front of you is something that is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and a safari is usually on most people’s’ bucket lists! So, if you want to see the wild in action, where is best?

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

When you imagine a safari, what you are likely picturing are the endless plains of the Serengeti National Park. It is the site of the start of the annual great migration where over two million wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle travel from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara between May and December, and if you time your trip to experience this, you won’t regret it! You may also be lucky enough to spot lions, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, crocodiles, baboons, and a whole lot more. No wonder this is the most popular safari destination in the world.

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Kruger National Park, South Africa

If you want to get up close and personal with the Big Five (elephants, lions, rhino, leopard, and buffalo) then Kruger National Park is a pretty good option! There are so many options to tailor your safari perfectly to what you want, for example, you could stay in a tent for an authentic experience, or upgrade to a luxury lodge for a more romantic trip. You can choose a jeep, walking, boat or even hot air balloon safari or one tailored to children and families.

Chobe National Park, Botswana

One really popular option for Chobe National Park is a photographic safari, where your guide is also a professional photographer and who will teach you the tips and tricks to capturing the best photographs of these incredible animals such as zebras, buffalo, elephants, lions, and endangered African painted dogs. There are some fantastic bird species in Chobe, so alongside your game drives, be sure to check the skies too!

Chobe National Park, Botswana

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Set across over 1,500 square kilometers, the Masai Mara National Reserve is a fantastic place to visit for a safari adventure. Over 40% of Africa’s larger mammals live here, from lions and leopards to elephants and zebra. Not to mention, of course, the incredible Great Migration which ends up here. If you visit in the dry season, between June and October, you are likely to catch some of the migration before it heads back to the Serengeti National Park, as well as a whole host of other incredible animals.

A safari will be an incredible experience that you will never forget. It’s so unpredictable, and you never know what you are going to see – photographs just won’t do it justice. Whichever park you choose, all you really need is a knowledgeable guide to get the most out of it. Although a lot of parks will let you do a safari on your own, it’s better (and safer!) to go with a reputable guide. So, get booking! But beware: they can be quite addictive…

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Hot tubs, saunas and seaweed soaks on Ireland’s west coast

Sea swimming has become a big thing on Ireland’s wild Atlantic coast, as have fun and creative methods of warming up after a bracing dip

Ireland has some extraordinarily beautiful beaches: Derrynane in Kerry and Connemara’s Glassilaun easily hold their own against Caribbean counterparts. Unfortunately, the country’s weather can rarely do the same, often making a trip to the coast a damp proposition. However, rather than escaping the harshness of the climate with a visit to warmer climes, a new generation of Irish people are embracing their cold seas – but doing it from the vantage point of mobile saunas and seaweed-filled whiskey barrels parked on the shore.

This Scandinavian-inspired solution to an Irish problem is reimagining the country’s beaches, where summer water temperatures peak at around 15C. The renewed popularity of traditional year-round sea swimming at Dublin’s Forty Foot and Galway’s Blackrock Diving Tower has inspired dozens of new swimming communities across the country, including Rise & Swim in Cork and Dublin Sea Swimming.

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The scariest rollercoasters in America


Roller coasters are all about getting your blood pumping and your adrenaline rushing. They are designed to scare you, and for some people, there is no greater feeling in the world than jumping on a roller coaster and watching the world whizz by. If you love a thrill, then check out the scariest roller coasters in America.

Kingda Ka – Six Flags, Jackson, NJ

Let’s start things off with the world’s tallest roller coaster. Kingda Ka at Six Flags in Jackson stands at 420 feet high, and it doesn’t mess around in getting its riders to that height. That’s because the roller coaster is also the second-fastest in the world and races to 128 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds.

The roller coaster will take you up 45 stories before dropping you back down almost instantly thanks to a 90-degree drop. You won’t get long to appreciate the view as you’ll be crashing toward the ground in a dizzying 270-degree spiral.

Kingda Ka

Time Traveler – Silver Dollar City, Branson, MO

Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, introduced a new roller coaster to their customers in 2018 and it’s a complicated one. Not only are there dozens of loops, twists, and turns that you’d expect from most roller coasters, but you’re also spinning the entire time you go around the course.

This is the first, and so far only, roller coaster to have three inversions, a double launch, and a 95-foot vertical loop. There is also a 90-foot free fall and it’s all set to the backdrop of a wild west, 1880s-style theme park.

Superman: Escape from Krypton – Six Flags, Valencia, CA

This ride launches you from a standing start to 100 mph all the way up a 415-foot tower. The scary part? From the perspective of the rider, it looks as though they’re being launched all the way to Krypton as you go straight to the end of the track.

Then as you reach the end, you stop and hurtle back toward the ground at breakneck speed. Superman: Escape from Krypton was the first roller coaster in the U.S. to reach triple-digit speeds and it takes a brave person to ride it.

Valravn – Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH

Valravn is a ‘dive coaster’ which basically means there is no floor and it feels more like you’re flying than any other roller coaster. This ride at Cedar Point, Ohio, will leave you suspended while staring at a 90-degree drop for what feels like an eternity before plunging you toward the ground.

Because there is no floor, there is nothing in front of you as you dangle off the edge of the drop. As there are fewer cars, it really feels as though it’s just you hanging in the sky waiting for the ride to take you wherever it wants to go.

Valravn

These roller coasters will make sure you leave the theme parks with memories you’ll never forget. The rides are so scary that they will be permanently etched into your brain and you’ll want to go on them over and over again.

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Everything there is to know about volunteering overseas


Some people don’t just want to travel the world, they really want to immerse themselves in foreign cultures. One of the best ways to do that is through volunteering overseas as you get to help people out, make a bunch of friends, and live in another country. Here’s everything you need to know about volunteering overseas.

Start with a plan

Hoping to share some love around isn’t enough when you go volunteering, you need to put things in place to get the best out of it. You want to feel good for volunteering abroad but if the work you’re doing isn’t going to help the community should you do it?

It’s important to research all volunteering organizations in the countries you’re planning on living in. Make sure the company is actually going to do some good and aren’t just going to use your free labor to make themselves richer.

Voluntourism

It isn’t cheap

Volunteering overseas can actually end up costing you a lot of money. Even though you’re there for the good of the communities you’re trying to help, you can’t expect a free ride. All volunteering groups will hope for some money from you, so make sure to research where your money goes and what they do with the funds they raise. It might not be something you can afford to do on your own, so you could always try some fundraising techniques to get you there.

Volunteering overseas is addictive

Once you go on your first overseas volunteering trip, you’ll find that you want to do another as soon as possible. It’s very similar to getting bitten by the traveling bug, and you’ll be itching to go somewhere else to help out other communities.

A large part of volunteering is the friends you make and experiences you have. They are moments in your life that will stay with you forever, but one trip likely won’t be enough. Be prepared to dedicate a large part of your life to helping people out!

Some places need your help more

It’s great to help out in popular hotspots like Costa Rica, but there are countries that are less glamorous that potentially need your help even more. Lesser-known volunteering places that are in desperate need of some help include Bosnia, Sri Lanka, and Ethiopia. Your contributions to these societies will arguably go further as fewer people are choosing to volunteer there.

Farm volunteers

You won’t change things overnight

It’s important to have some perspective when it comes to volunteering overseas. When you get there, you might be shocked by the living standards, but it’s important to now that you won’t be able to change everything during your visit. Of course, you’ll be contributing to a great cause and will be making people’s lives better, but the bigger changes will come later.

Rome wasn’t built in a day so you can expect the much-needed changes in the communities you volunteer in to take a little while. Never give up hope though as there will come a time when volunteering won’t even be needed in these communities.

When you head overseas to volunteer, you shouldn’t go blindly. Make sure you plan your trip, know what your time will bring to the community you’re visiting, and enjoy the experience.

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10 of the best UK B&Bs for vegetarians and vegans

Not a sausage in sight – well, only veggie ones – at the B&Bs we’ve selected to celebrate the start of National Vegetarian Week

A gothic house built in 1859 and set in 80 acre grounds, this Lake District guesthouse has 18 rooms, with views over the Vale of Esthwaite, Windermere and the fells beyond. Inside rooms are wood panelled, with antique furniture and print-heavy decor; outside the grounds include orchards and an organic vegetable and herb gardens, used in the veggie continental or cooked breakfast. Beyond the gardens, walking trails head up to Tarn Hows (one mile), or the villages of Ambleside (six miles) and Windermere (nine miles). The guesthouse also hosts classical and contemporary jazz concerts and all-inclusive yoga retreats (from £295pp for two-nights).
Doubles from £95 B&B, yewfield.co.uk

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Ultimate survival guide for music festivals


Going to a music festival is something we should all do at least once in our lives, but there are some things you should know before you go. Prepare yourself for some fun in the mud as we give you our ultimate survival guide for music festivals.

Sleep exhaustion

If there is one thing you can pretty much guarantee is going to happen to you at a music festival, it will be not getting enough sleep. There’s just too much going on at night for you to even think about turning in. You’ll have to come to terms pretty early that you’re going to be tired. The best thing you can do is book an extra couple of days off work afterward so you can sleep all of the partying off.

Photo: Pexels.com

Drinking water

You’re most likely going to be standing in the sun for long periods during the festival so you’ll be losing a lot of water. Then you’ll most likely be dancing around a bunch plus all the drinks you might be having will also dehydrate you.

Most festivals have places where you can drink water, and you should take advantage of those at every opportunity. For every strong drink you have, you should have some water in between, that way you’ll still keep your hydration levels up which will make you feel miles better.

Wet wipes

Most festivals don’t come with shower facilities, or if they do, there’s a line a mile long to use them. You’re going to want to clean yourself as much as possible as you’ll get covered in dust or mud after a long day in a field.

One of the best tips we can give anyone going to a festival is to bring wet wipes with you. That way you can clean all of your vital areas without having to hope and pray that there’s a shower available to you.

Pick one that suits your taste

Make sure you go to a festival that suits your taste in music. You’re less likely to have a good time if there are a bunch of bands or artists around that you don’t like. The whole point in going to a music festival is to enjoy the tunes, right? Don’t just go to a festival because it’s close to where you live, or the tickets are cheap, make sure there are going to be acts there that you’ll enjoy.

Photo: Pexels.com

Agree to disagree

Lots of people go to music festivals with their friends. If there’s a group of you going then you aren’t likely to all agree on which acts to see. Most festivals announce their lineup well in advance so you and your friends can arrange which acts you’re going to see together and which you’ll see alone. Don’t be afraid to miss out on some time with your pals just to see an act that you really like, this might be the only chance you get to see them live.

With these helpful tips, you can make sure to survive just about any music festival you find yourself at. You’ll be able to keep the party going for longer by following this survival guide.

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10 great walks on Britain’s tiny islands

In this extract from her new book, Islandeering, Lisa Drewe braves the tides to walk around the cliffs, beaches and historic coastal trails of her favourite small isles

In a nutshell A rollercoaster route along the rocky dragon’s spine of one of the UK’s most exhilarating islands, full of natural wonders
Distance 7.8km
Walking time 2 hours
Difficulty/terrain Moderate/rocky foreshore, easy paths and steeper scrambles

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Travel | The Guardian

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The most dog-friendly cities in the world


Traveling solo is fantastic, but traveling with someone you love is even better, and if that someone you love happens to have four legs and a tail, then check out these dog-friendly cities.

New York City, New York

NYC is all about their K9 friends! Home to the enormous Central Park, your pup will love exploring the miles of green space. In fact, New York is so pro-dog that you can get a $ 500 tax credit at the end of the year if you choose to adopt a dog from the shelter, rather than buy from a breeder. You go, New York!

Dogs of New York

Rome, Italy

Sure, Rome is known for its romance, but the love between a dog and his owner is something even more special. You’ll notice a whole load of dogs roaming around Rome, not only because the fountains are like huge water bowls, but also because it is not a legal requirement to use a leash, so they can run free. There are plenty of parks for zoomies, and as long as your dog is a good boy, he will be allowed in a large percentage of coffee shops.

Seattle, Washington

A fun fact about Seattle and dogs is that there are actually more fur-babies than human babies. So, if you are someone who thinks dogs are a million times cuter than babies (guilty!), this is a city you are going to love. There are a whole host of dog-friendly hotels of all budgets, 14 off-leash parks, and even places such as Greenwood’s Voff Bark & Brew and Ruff Lounge which are social clubs for dogs and their humans – have a beer while your dog makes friends.

Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv is a fantastic tech hub full of super cool shopping, art, and food – the only way it could be even more perfect, is if you take your dog along with you! Luckily dogs are welcome in most places (as they should be!) from malls to cafes and on public transport, which is perfect for getting you both to one of the over 70 dog parks that are in the city!

Tel Aviv dog

Geneva, Switzerland

If you are a dog lover, you will understand how heartbreaking it can be to know that some owners are not kind to their pets and not all dogs are looked after the way they deserve to be. Geneva has the perfect way to handle that, as they require all dog owners to pass a written and practical test to obtain a dog license.

Santa Barbara, California

We all know that dogs love to hit the beach as much as we do – so much water to splash in, people to meet, other dogs to sniff and an abundance of room to run around. However, Santa Barbara takes it one step further with a dedicated dog beach where dogs can be kept off their leash to enjoy themselves as much as you do.

So don’t feel as though you have to leave your furry friend at home – take him on your next adventure with you. We’re sure he’ll love it.

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Canal and river boat holidays in Europe: readers’ travel tips

From navigating quiet forest rivers in Germany to chugging along France’s canals fuelled by cheese and wine, our tipsters explore idyllic waterways

Winning tip: Burgundy Canal, France
This waterway winds past chateaux and vineyards that will tempt you to stop everywhere. Pick up a barge at Chagny and follow the canal south – stock up with cheese, bread and wine for lunch as many locks close from noon to 2pm. Waking to dawn sunlight on the water and sitting on deck with a glass of Chablis (but not necessarily at dawn!) are pleasures we quickly got used to.
Several companies rent boats at Chagny from about €1,300 a week and sleeping 10, including Locaboat and Happy Charter
Nigel

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Swap these overrated tourist destinations with these hidden gems instead


When you have the whole globe at your disposal, choosing where to travel can be a little overwhelming, and so often we find ourselves choosing the most obvious choices. However, this doesn’t always lead to the best experiences. Queuing up to see historical monuments can ruin the vibe a little, and a beautiful sunset doesn’t have the same tranquil feel if you’re sitting 3 feet away from a noisy family! Instead of heading for overrated tourist destinations, here are some hidden gems for you to enjoy that are just as good – if not even better!

Say ‘no’ to Barcelona and ‘hello’ to Lisbon

Barcelona is an incredibly vibrant city, but unfortunately, that does mean that it is saturated with tourists. In fact, the city has put a limit on tourists, so that there are only a certain number of flights that can head into Barcelona, plus a cap on how many hotel rooms can be sold. It’s hard to enjoy everything the city has to offer when you can’t move for other tourists! A good compromise is to head to Lisbon in Portugal instead. You’ll still get to enjoy lovely beaches, but with more space to lay your towel! Plus just as much art, culture, and architecture.

Photo: Unsplash.com

Head to Flores instead of Bali

Are you even a travel aficionado if you haven’t yet at least considered heading to Bali at some point?! There’s a reason that Indonesia is such a popular place to visit, but the problem with Bali is that it is so oversaturated with tourists that you don’t really get the real experience. If you want to enjoy the real side of Indonesia. Head to Flores instead, which is an island just to the East, which boasts stunning lakes, shimmering waters and volcanic land to explore. Be sure to check out Komodo island – home to a whole load of adorable Komodo dragons!

Go to Atrani rather than Cinque Terre

Even if you don’t recognize the name, you will have seen the photographs all over social media, of colorful houses sitting on top of cliffs, and their view of impossibly blue water. Although Cinque Terre looks like an Instagram dream, you can get a lot more authentic experience by heading to Atrani instead. There is still plenty to see and do; however, you will be immersed in the culture, and won’t be surrounded by other tourists. Enjoy local restaurants (without the obscene tourist markup!), beautiful walks and relax by the sea – plus take that iconic photo, but with a unique twist!

Photo: Unsplash.com

Not only will you get the benefits of everywhere being a little quieter (and often a little cheaper too!), but your stories and photographs will be so much more unique than the same cliched shot of pretending to hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa! By swapping to more hidden gems, you will likely enjoy your trip more, and with the money you save, you can visit even more of these fantastic swaps!

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Best places in the world for seeing amazing wildlife


The world is a magical place filled with amazing sights and creatures. Some of us are lucky enough to have nature on our doorstep but others are not, and the only jungle they see is of the concrete variety. There are places all over the world that are amazing to visit wildlife and here are some of the best of them.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

There is a hugely diverse array of animals on this tropical island and few humans ever come into contact with them. In fact, it is largely only visited by biologists who study these animals, everyone else more or less has to stay away.

There are some amazing animals to be found there including exotic birds, mammals, and reptiles. It is possible to visit the islands, but people who are not natives are unable to buy a one-way ticket to these amazing islands.

Best places in the world for seeing amazing wildlife

Borneo

Every year there are more and more species of animals being added to the list of inhabitants and the last count was well over 400. The island is the third largest in the world and is home to the Sumatran rhinoceros, Asian elephant, and a dwindling number of orangutan. Bird lovers can come here to take in the hundreds of different varieties, but there’s more.

There is a mountain to climb to get a bird’s eye view of the island, and if you take to the waters, you can enjoy watching the marine life flourish below the surface. You can even watch the sea turtles laying their eggs on the beaches if you time it right.

The Pantanal, Brazil

The Amazon rainforest gets plenty of plaudits for being one of the best places to see wildlife in the world, but there is somewhere in Brazil that’s arguably better. The Pantanal gives wildlife lovers the chance to see some of the regions most celebrated animals up close.

Tours come in the form of river cruises, which means you can wade through this wetland by boat, taking in the wonderful jaguars, giant otters, tapirs, and anteaters in safety. There’s no need to fight through a dangerous jungle, and you get to see an abundance of wildlife, it’s a win-win.

Best places in the world for seeing amazing wildlife

Kanha Tiger Reserve, India

Tigers are the biggest of all cats and also arguably the most striking thanks to their distinctive pattern. Being able to see a tiger in the wild is an experience that few people in the world have had. They are so elusive, but there’s more to this tiger reserve than stripey cats.

It is the home of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, and you’ll find all of your favorite animals from the tale here. There are sloth bears, leopards, Indian wolves, Bengal tigers, and even jackals. While it’s never guaranteed when it comes to wildlife, your best chances of seeing tigers is between March and May because the forest dries out and tigers stay near water.

There are many places all over the world to see wildlife, even in your backyard. To see some of the world’s most exotic animals check out these places and we reckon you won’t regret it.

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Sculpture from the saddle: a cycling and art tour of Belgium

Only in bike-mad Flanders could they create an installation like Limburg’s Cycling Through Water, part of an art trail designed to regenerate the region – and be seen from a bicycle

A ring-necked duck swam by at eye level, the water rippling beside me without spilling over the high metal sides of the Cycling Through Water bike path.

This 212-metre concrete path is 1.5 metres deep and slices a pond in two, allowing cyclists to pedal straight through it. From a distance, the position of the path creates the illusion of people magically gliding through water. I pedalled along, steering with one hand, the other dipping into the water. Then I nearly fell over – a dyspraxic Moses.

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Medellín, Colombia is a hidden gem of a destination you will adore


While every destination is unique in some way, there are some that are less popular than others for a whole variety of reasons. However, there are some destinations that are completely underrated, and Medellín is one of them. Here is why Medellín should be in your wishlist of places to visit.

Medellín, Colombia

A Colombian valley

Colombia, in general, has many underrated areas, but Medellín is one of the most notable. Medellín sits in the center of the Aburrá Valley and is the second largest Colombian city. By being in one of the most central areas of the Andes mountains, you can see them surrounding the city in all their splendor. For many avid travelers, it’s all about the surrounding landscapes, and for others, it’s about cityscapes. Well, in Medellín, you have it all. There is a plethora of lush greenery surrounding the city, and the city itself offers some beautiful artistry. Medellín used to suffer as tourists avoided the area due to gang-related activity, thankfully the crime rates have significantly decreased, making it much safer for those wishing to visit.

The locals are friendly

It is part of the local culture to be hospitable, which means that any tourists and people passing through, will be treated with the utmost respect and warmth. Obviously, everyone is different, and people practice culture differently, but on the whole, it should be an inviting area to visit.

The unique architecture

Their situation in the world means they have a particular kind of culture that they even have a name for, it’s called ‘paisa’ culture, and it means something very specific. ‘Paisa’ culture is a very particular style where Spanish and southern American styles have come together to create this ingeniously cool looking architecture. It’s unlike anything you could have imagined, but it works really well. As well as being a fantastic blend of cultures, there is also some tremendous authentic Colombian cuisine to be discovered.

The weather is amazing

Possibly one of the most significant selling points of any place is what the weather’s like… Well the weather in Medellín has been classed as having the perfect temperature. The best part of that is it is all year round! So no matter what time of year you go, you’re in store for some uplifting sunshine. Obviously, it has to rain sometime, and most of their rainfall is during the months of April, May, and November. It has been dubbed the city of flowers because every day feels like spring.

Medellín, Colombia

Attractions

Medellín also has so much to offer in the way of attractions, this includes their famous botanical gardens, exhibiting beautiful lush greenery. They also have an outstanding aquarium that features some fantastic freshwater fishes you won’t easily see anywhere else. These are some of the world’s most exotic fish from the Amazon river, so they’re well worth the time to go visit.

Medellín is Colombia’s best-kept secret and is truly an enjoyable experience to be had. It is jam-packed with city-life with plenty of places to see and tour around. There is so much to discover if you have the time.

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This is why Macau should be your next destination in Asia


Macau has been widely overlooked in comparison to many other regions and actually has a whole lot to offer. When people say they want to travel to China, they’re often referring to Hong Kong, which as a famous city has a lot to offer, but it’s fame and popularity have often dwarfed the reputation of other surrounding regions. Macau is incredibly advanced and built up, with an incredible mixture of extra-cultural influences that create the unique place it is today. Here’s why you should forget anywhere else in Asia you were planning to go and go here instead.

Macau

UNESCO World Heritage Site

There’s nothing we love more than a heritage site, as it highlights a significant cultural symbol in the world. It has a complex history but was once the home of a sophisticated trading network that hosted countries from all over the world. This site is held as a symbol of the specific relationship that China and Portugal had over this territory. UNESCO outline how this is a symbol is a reminder of inter-cultural exchange and resilience. It’s a pillar of cultural blending and tolerance, and the surroundings exemplify this by showing Buddhist temples and Catholic churches next to each other.

Blended culture

Macau was a Portuguese territory as a result of the Ming dynasty leasing the land as a trading post. This was all the back in 1557, and the territory was only returned to the Chinese governing body in 1999 under the agreement that the embed rules and culture would be maintained for 50 years. The Portuguese influence is evident within the architecture, and it is still strong today. However, Macau was then free to run its economy, and since 1999 has rapidly developed and it is now one of the world’s most prominent resort cities, with a money gaming industry that rivals Las Vegas.

Amazing adventures

Macau isn’t just a city, and it also offers some of the most thrilling activities such as bungee jumping from the Macau tower, skywalking along it or taking a turbojet ferry. There is so much to do there; it’s practically impossible to get bored. Aside from the thrill rides, there are also some more, calmer, more inspiring experiences to be had. You can go on a dolphin watching cruise or go to see the House of Dancing Water show, either will be an incredible experience.

It is rich

Not only is it rich, but it is actually the wealthiest city in Asia, which is insane but it doesn’t end there. Macau has been speculated to eventually knock Qatar out as the richest place in the world and take the top spot! This is due to the recent developments and their ability to control their own economy.

Macau

Their food is amazing

They have some seriously unique food creations, one of these is their world-famous egg tarts. These are a Portuguese influence but are an incredible experience you cannot miss out on. After all, when you go traveling it’s always best to try the native food rather than western recreations.

So, hopefully, Macau will be next on your list of places to go visit, just remember to find those egg tarts!

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Top hiking places in Japan


With how popular it is to go traveling these days, it can be invaluable finding somewhere truly breathtaking that isn’t completely overrun by eager tourists; even if you are one yourself. Japan is one of those places that many people forget about, especially when Japan is famous for a few key things. When most people think of Japan, it’s probably the fact that it’s one of the world’s most innovative and technologically advanced countries in the world, as well as the home to some specific pop culture inventions. However, one of Japan’s best-kept secrets is that it is home to some of the world’s most phenomenal views, and the best part is, you can reach them on foot! So, read on to discover the top hiking trails in Japan.

Mount Mitake

Mount Mitake is one of the most scenic hikes, and it had been rated somewhere between an easy and medium hiking difficulty. This is great because it means you don’t have to be a pro to do this trail. Experts have suggested that this trail is best walked in either the spring or the autumn, due to the natural beauty these seasons bring. It’s a shorter trail and only takes two hours if you start from the city. This particular trail is through the mountains of Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park; a national park is never to be bypassed.

Mount Mitake

Mount Yoshino

Mount Yoshino is a UNESCO world heritage site and is a big part of the ‘Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range’ along with Kumano and Mount Koya. This place is home to over 30,000 cherry blossom trees which adorn the roads leading to the mountain. This small place may be out of the way, but it has a rich and ancient history which may surprise you.

Iya Valley

Iya Valley can be located between two mountains in the depths of Shikoku island, one of Japan’s smaller islands. This is a particularly exciting trail, filled with valleys and rope bridges called Iya Kazurabashi. This is the light adventurer’s dream, as the trail will continually change from hopping over stones to being in the middle of the ancient Japanese countryside. Ivy Valley is not for first-time hikers or inexperienced adventurers; this trail is ‘rocky’ at best but can be a thrilling experience and memory.

Rebun Island

The northern Rebun island also belongs to a national park and is home to some unique flora. This island offers some beautiful views from the trails and can be reasonably accessible for the inexperienced hiker. The best time to visit this area is in the summer months, as the winters can be incredibly harsh and you may not want that kind of an icy challenge. You can also find maps of their most popular trails, color coded so you can easily choose your difficulty level. Each experience will be unique.

Rebun Island

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest mountain, and they have four tracked trails that you can choose from. As with hiking up any mountain, you should be experienced and have taken plenty of safety precautions. Once you have done this, you can enjoy the novelty of mountain hiking, and it will be an experience you’ll never forget.

Japan has kept its trails and countryside authentic and truly beautiful, and no matter which one you choose, you will experience something truly unique.

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Spain by train: from Barcelona to Seville via Madrid

As well as taking in these fantastic Spanish cities, this two-week itinerary also explores the ancient towns and dramatic landscape of Andalucía

In this compulsively fly-drive, time-crunched era it may seem implausible to travel by rail to the southern extremity of Europe – but the craziest trips are sometimes the best. You can forget about ferries, car-hire rip-offs, driver fatigue, traffic jams and parking problems; and enjoy instead a variety of scenery and serendipitous conversations on platforms.

This trip uses fast trains to reach Andalucía and slow(er) ones to get around once there. The minimum length for this trip is 10 days (four getting to Andalucía and back) but it is better spread over two or three weeks, especially if you also want to visit Barcelona and Madrid.

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How to travel with hand luggage only


Traveling light can be tough, especially with all the wonderful amenities we’re used to in day-to-day life. Packing light can really benefit your trip; wherever you may be going, it limits how heavy your luggage is and minimizes the possibility of losing a whole load of stuff. Besides, if you’re going traveling and you pack light, it stops you from worrying about what shorts go with which top, and it focuses your mind on the task at hand.

Get the right bag

This is probably the most vital part, is making sure you have chosen a bag that fits the hand luggage specification. Dimensions can change per airline, so it’s usually safer to go via the smallest, so you don’t get caught out. Don’t worry though, because they are all very similar; they’re just incredibly strict. You can check specifications online and then, if you don’t already have a bag that fits the requirements, then you will need to go purchase one. If you don’t follow this step, then your bag won’t be classed as hand luggage, and your efforts will have been for nothing. So, get the correct bag.

Photo: BURST

How many clothes to take

It can be tempting to take all of your very best items of clothing, but honestly, there’s no need. Make sure you pack clothes that can all be put together with each other. Don’t worry yourself over fashion sense; you’re going traveling, no one cares. Some experts have suggested using the ‘rule of three’ which is one pair to wear, one pair to wash and one pair drying. This essentially means you only need three of everything, even if you’re going away for two weeks as they’ll be on an effective rotation system.

It’s all in the roll

It’s not just what you pack; it’s how you pack it. This means that doing the usual fold that you do at home just isn’t going to work as well when you’re going traveling. We like to say that it’s all in the roll, while this may not be a great aesthetic for at home, it’s perfect for this. Rolling all your clothes into your bag will not only prevent creases, but it will also save on space.

Only pack necessities

What we mean by this is more the unnecessary bottles of items. You do not need to pack shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream and so on – not even the teeny weeny travel ones. The travel sizes are costly for the actual quantity, so that’s a money saver right there. More importantly, this is something you can purchase when you’ve reached your destination, and you won’t need to try and get it through airport security either. So, think twice before putting in anything you can purchase at your destination.

Photo: BURST

Entertainment

Last but not least, okay well it’s the least important, even if it might be a bit painful without it. However, technology has come a long way, and we now have the ability to pre-download TV shows, eBooks, movies and so on. This means ditch the physical copies, you don’t need your favorite magazine, and you don’t need to read those paperbacks. This saves space and allows you as much entertainment as your heart desires.

Traveling with only your hand luggage is much easier once you understand that most of what you’re planning on packing isn’t necessary at all. It will allow you to relax and enjoy your destination. Happy traveling!

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Destinations that you should visit as soon as possible


When it comes to choosing your next travel destination, how do you do it? Do you consider the weather? Activities you might like to do? Where can you get a good offer on flights? How about the places that might not be there forever? It might sound dramatic, but there are a few places on the planet that are set to disappear in one way or another, so if you want to visit them, you’d better go soon!

Venice

One of the most romantic places in the world, Venice is idolized as a beautiful travel destination, and many people are desperate to enjoy an iconic gondola ride on the canals of this stunning city. However, the very thing that makes Venice such a desirable destination is the very thing that is set to destroy it – in fact, in the near future, this floating island will find itself entirely covered by the canals, and the romantic area will be nothing but water. If you’re planning a proposal, a honeymoon or just a getaway to Venice, you need to book it soon!

Photo: Unsplash.com

The Great Barrier Reef

Diving and exploring the Great Barrier Reef is on a lot of bucket lists and for good reason – it’s a beautiful underwater world, full of colorful coral and unusual wildlife that has to be seen to be believed. Unfortunately, experts believe that there is only a decade left to enjoy this stunning part of the world, due to pollution and the rise in sea temperatures. The reef is dying at an alarming rate, and we don’t yet know what impact that will have overall, but at the very least it’s an incredibly sad loss to the world.

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is one of the most popular archeological structures in the world, and some say that it is even visible for space; however, it seems that that might not be the case forever. Walking the Great Wall is something that pops up on a lot of bucket lists, and as such, the area is always full of tourists who want to do just that, however, so many people walking across it daily is really taking the toll.

Photo: Unsplash.com

Machu Picchu

This historic mountain in Peru features ancient Incan ruins which can be explored. It takes around 4-5 days to walk the Inca Trail, and it is a tough walk, especially up the steep granite staircase known as the ‘Hike of Death.’ However, despite work undertaken to try to protect this UNESCO World Heritage Site, it still sees a worrying influx of tourists every day, which is threatening to collapse the ancient ruins.

It’s so sad to think that there will be a time, in the not so distant future, when these beautiful destinations are no more. Perhaps our grandchildren will get to see them, perhaps our great-grandchildren, but in generations to come they won’t be so lucky. We owe it to the world to do what we can to help protect these spaces and to experience them while we can.

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Locanda on the Weir, Porlock Weir, Somerset: B&B review

The inventive food at this stylish restaurant-with-rooms is a real treat after walking on Exmoor or the South West Coast Path

Porlock Weir, a coastal hamlet a couple of miles west of Porlock village, has much to recommend it: sweeping views of sea and wooded hills, cute cottages, fishing boats in the tidal harbour. Some love the otherworldliness of its beach, though it’s not the place for a relaxing stroll: its “shingle” is actually large, grey and pinkish stones on which you don’t so much walk as hop precariously from one boulder to the next. And now Porlock Weir has another draw: stylish rooms and Italian-influenced dining at Locanda on the Weir.

Pio Catemario has been a passionate foodie ever since he was a child growing up in Naples and hanging around the family kitchen seeing how favourite meals were prepared. It was the chance to indulge this passion that led him and partner Cindy to take on the run-down Café on the Weir, overlooking the beach and harbour. They updated the beige interior (“It looked like a 1980s nursing home,” says Cindy) and relaunched the property as a restaurant-with-rooms last year.

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Best beaches for people who love to surf


Ever since people began standing on boards in the ocean, surfing has grown into one of the biggest adventure sports in the world. The best thing about it is all you need is a board and beach! Not everywhere in the world with a beach is great for surfing, but these are the best.

Pantin, Spain

This beach is one of the most famous for people who surf outside of Asia and the Americas. It has held the Pantin Classic Pro since 1988, and its rocky bottom increases the difficulty. The beach is a spot for experienced surfers, but one that must make it onto your bucket list if you love your thrills to go along with your surfing spills.

Pantin, Spain

Bingin Beach, Bali

It’s not all about the surfing when you go to an exotic location, and some of your time will be spent relaxing. Bingin Beach in Bali is a great place to both surf and relax as it’s a nice quiet beach with plenty of breaking waves. You’ll be surfing right over the reef, so when the tide is high make sure to look down below for some stunning views.

Newcastle, Australia

The Gold Coast is perhaps one of the most famous surfing hotspots in Australia, but head to Newcastle if you’d like great waves with less of the crowds. There are several beaches along the coastline in Newcastle, and each one comes with its own set of unique conditions.

If you want an all-year-round challenge, then Newcastle is really the place for you. There’s the added bonus of cheap accommodation that typically won’t set you back much more than $ 25 per night. Once you’re done in the water, there’s plenty to see in this historic Australian city to add to the memories.

Pipa, Brazil

Want to head somewhere that has world-class waves but none of the backpackers getting in the way? Pipa in Northern Brazil is perfect for keen surfers who just want to spend time with their board and the water.

You won’t have to worry about battling for waves here, and the great thing is once you’re done surfing the chilled out town is just 10 minutes by foot away. Beginners and experts will have fun here and if you keep your eyes peeled you just might spot a dolphin or two looking to join you.

Pipa, Brazil

Weligama, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has become a hotspot for surfers in recent years. It’s easy to see why when you get there as the cost is cheap and the waves are ideal for just about everyone. Beginners can have great fun closer to the beach, while out to sea there are some monster waves for experts. If you’re looking to brush up on your skills, you can take on the smaller waves yourself, or get some tips from one of the 500 surfing schools along the beach.

If you’ve been looking for a new surfing spot, then check out these places dotted all over the world. They offer something for everyone, and you won’t be disappointed by the surrounding areas once you get there.

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Want to camp on an active volcano? Here’s how


When most people think of camping trips, they probably think of boy scouts or an innocent family trip to discover the great unknown. Camping can be a cheaper alternative to staying in hotels, especially when your planned activity is rather costly; it can be a shelter when exploring wilder terrains or just something you can do in your backyard. However, some people have a need to find weirder and wilder places to camp, which is brilliant, because we have the perfect place in mind.

Nicaragua’s Telica Volcano

In the country of Nicaraguan is the incredible Telica Volcano which now hosts many avid campers from around the world. This is an active volcano that erupted in 2015, but thankfully no one was seriously hurt, and everyone was successfully evacuated. The awesomeness of it being an active volcano means you will get to experience the might of it first hand, with a unique twist. Nicaragua is based between north and south America, with Costa Rica bordering it to the south and Honduras to the north.

Telica Volcano

Camping up the volcano

This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience unless you get a taste for it. However, there are plenty of tour guides who will take you up the volcano for a small fee. The journey is not for the faint-hearted, although many tourists who have done the trek up there have rated it an excellent experience. The volcano is your ultimate destination, but it is not the whole experience, the trek itself will open your eyes to some of the strangest and most impressive things you will ever witness, from boiling mud pools to wandering ox.

The overnight experience

The real height of the experience is camping at the volcano. People have reported that you will feel the shaking of the volcano beneath and that, the closer you get, the hotter it is. That’s the same for the trek itself; one experienced traveler even suggested that taking four liters of water was definitely not too much. There’s practically nowhere else where you get to sleep on an active volcano. At the campsite, it’s not strange to see random wisps of steam exiting the ground beneath you, oh and hot red lava flowing from the depths of the volcano’s mouth. However, some hopeful tourists were disappointed when they couldn’t see the lava, as sometimes it’s not visible; it depends on the day and relies on pot luck.

Camping on Telica Volcano

Other excursions

That’s not the only reason to go to Nicaraguan; the whole area is surrounded by jungle landscapes, which many keen travelers also endeavor to explore. The Volcano sits 3,481 feet above this terrain, looming above all the residents, both human and animal alike. There are a variety of excursions to choose from. There is even one where you can choose to go hiking for an entire two weeks and visit six volcanoes at this time. This is a country rich in exotic landscapes that you can experience in a unique way.

So, if you’re looking to walk on the wild side and undertake a unique camping experience on an active volcano, you now know where to go!

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20 great boutique music festivals Europe summer 2019

Small but mighty, here’s our pick of the best music and arts festivals around Europe this summer
Tell us about your favourite small European festivals

Bulgaria’s Rhodope mountains, close to the Greek border, make an atmospheric setting for this multi-genre music festival. It’s a scenic escape with four stages showcasing underground electronic music and acoustic bands, plus zip-lining, a giant hammock in the forest, yoga and other wellness activities – along with hillside gatherings for sunrise. The resident choir from the local village of Polkovnik Serafimovo (around 100km south of Plovdiv) also performs in traditional dress with Kukeri dancers.
6-9 June, €150.50 (plus camping for €6.50pp), meadowsinthemountains.com

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Discover the red beaches that will leave you stunned


The idea of red sand seems like something out of a fantasy film, but it is a genuine thing, and you can travel to see them too. Your typical beach will famously sport yellow or white sands, some of the most famous are those in Hawaii and the Caribbean. It’s the conventional view of paradise. However, if you’ve seen it all before or just prefer the idea of seeing something extraordinary without sacrificing the novelty of the beach, then red beaches should be on your list of things to see. Red beaches are rare and difficult to find, but if you look in these places, you’ll be in for a treat.

Cavendish Beach – Canada

If it’s red you want, then Cavendish beach has it. It has a vast length of red coastline, contrasting against the beautiful blue Canadian sky. The redness in the sand has been described to be a result of high iron levels. The more iron, the darker the red. One expert suggests that the iron creates a rusting effect in the sand, giving it a unique hue.

Cavendish Beach

Rabida Island in Ecuador

Rabida island is part of the famous Galapagos islands, which are a top tourist favorite when it comes to exotic landscapes and brilliant wildlife. Rabida island has one of the most breathtaking red beaches there is to see. These beaches are said to be the home of the brown pelican, so if you watch closely, then you’ll be able to spot them nesting if you’re lucky. That’s not all, you will also find an abundance of the usually-friendly sea lions, which might give you one of their adorable smiles. This beach is said to have been the result of volcanic activity hundreds of years ago which may have been the cause of the iron deposits in the sand. Either way, the depth of the color is astonishing and worth the trip.

Porto Covo Beach in Portugal

Portugal doesn’t just have great weather and fantastic nightlife, it also has red beaches! The color isn’t as vibrant as the color’s found on Rabida island, but it is certainly a sight to be seen. If you want somewhere stunning to put your feet up and relax in the sunshine, then Portugal is the place to be.

Kaihalulu Beach – Hawaii

This beach is isolated, despite being right in the middle of a town. This is because it is incredibly challenging to get to, with only a narrow and slippery ledge to walk down. It is very secluded because people have genuinely hurt themselves trying to get to it, so it’s kind of a ‘proceed at own risk’ kind of endeavor. Of course, once you do make it, the reward is one of the most stunning red beaches you will ever see. You will also be on your own, mostly, private beach where you can enjoy the novelty of Hawaii’s red beach.

Kaihalulu Beach

While these may not be the cheapest of endeavors, they are something you will remember for a lifetime, so it is well worth the expense. Red beaches are incredibly rare, and you’ll be lucky to experience one.

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Great places to visit in the US


It’s easy to forget how vast the U.S is and just how much it has to offer. From state to state there is something fantastically unique at every turning, all you have to do is go and find it, and that’s where we come in. Sometimes we can get caught up in traveling to various obscure places in a random corner of the planet, which can be amazing, but you may end up missing something spectacular that might seem too obvious, or even too easy. Our advice to you is to visit the breathtaking places at least once, and we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Yellowstone

We’re pretty sure you’ve heard of it, and now it’s time to go finally see it. Yellowstone has been voted number one as the best place in the U.S to go, and it’s no surprise. Yellowstone is a natural wonderland, from the world-famous ‘Old Faithful’ geyser to the ‘Grand Prismatic Spring.’ Yellowstone has some astonishing natural curiosities, the grand prismatic spring is the largest hot spring in the United States, and features some gobsmacking natural colors that will blow your mind. While it will cost you a small buck to get in, everything else is totally free.

Photo: Unsplash.com

New York City

If you’re a New Yorker reading this, then you’ve officially made everyone jealous. However, it’s no secret that pretty much everyone wants to visit this incredible city, a place that has inspired many artists from across the world, with movies, songs and shows all based in and around. The city itself is filled with so much, just from being able to stand and muse at Time Square, or visiting one of their incredibly tall skyscrapers. Everyone wants a piece of the big apple, and you never know, you might bump into your favorite actor or even get to be an extra in a random scene!

Yosemite

Yosemite is one of America’s oldest national parks after its creation in 1890. This national park gets over 4 million tourists a year, making it one of the most popular attractions around. It’s not difficult to understand either, from the old and beautiful Sequoia trees to the sheer cliffscapes, this place has some incredibly unique rock formations that will keep geologists entertained for decades. If you’re an adventurous spirit, then you also have the option of experiencing the beauty of Yosemite up close and personal. Experts have suggested going a little earlier than most people, to really experience the beauty of the place without the constant hustle and bustle of other keen tourists.

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is as amazing as everyone says it is. This is a vast and impressive natural wonder, with a variety of popular viewpoints to emphasize the scale. Some of the most popular places to experience the Grand Canyon are Mather point, Yavapai point, and Moran point. Travelers have highlighted Yavapai point as one of the most impressive viewpoints, so that might be a great one to prioritize. The Grand Canyon is not somewhere you want to miss, and if you have a fair few spare bucks, you can even pay for a helicopter ride across even more!

Photo: Unsplash.com

These are only a few of the best places to go in the U.S., but boy are they impressive, no doubt you will make some amazing memories along the way.

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A local’s guide to Palma de Mallorca: 10 top tips

The Spanish island’s seaside capital punches above its weight when it comes to restaurants, art and culture – perfect for a late-spring or early-summer getaway

I love the maze of Moorish-feeling little streets in the historic district between Plaça de Cort and the seafront. If you just wander towards La Seu, the cathedral, you always come across something surprising. A lot of the old mansions have been done up and are now hotels, cafes and restaurants, which is great to see. You only need to walk for 10 minutes or so to see all sorts of architectural styles and you get a sense of the history of Palma going back over 1,000 years. You emerge from this labyrinth of lanes and suddenly the bay opens up before you. I still find it magical.

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Great places to travel solo


There are so many perks to traveling solo. You can do what you want when you want without having to run it by someone else. You have the opportunity to make more friends. You get to learn about yourself. And, in most cases, you will become a stronger and more confident person. So now you know why to travel solo, where should you go?

Australia

One of the most popular places for backpackers, you are sure to find other solo travelers wherever you go, so although you will be on your own, you certainly won’t be lonely! Learn to surf on some of the gnarliest waves in the world, or go diving at the Great Barrier Reef. If you are looking to backpack long-term, Australia is full of jobs for travelers to make some extra money to fund the next round of travel.

Photo: Unsplash.com

Canada

Canada is known for being home to the friendliest people in the world, so it is the perfect place to go traveling on your own. If you don’t come back having made a friend or two, you’ve done something wrong! Another huge perk of Canada is that there is so much to see and do and the landscape is so diverse that you could climb mountains, explore lakes and beaches, and visit cities, all in one trip.

Italy

Italy offers so much in terms of architecture, culture and, of course, food which makes it a vibrant and exciting place for solo travelers to explore. Be sure to visit Rome, Venice, Florence, and Milan if you have time for the perfect mixture of art, fashion, romance, and delicious dining. You can hop on a plane to Italy and feel right at home here.

Indonesia

There are so many reasons that Indonesia holds such a draw to solo travelers, from the stunning views to the mixture of cultures. Head to Bali to visit breathtaking temples, swim with jellyfish on Kakaban Island, experience the incredible color-changing lakes in The National Park in Dieng Plateau, and meet orangutans in Borneo.

Norway

Norway is an incredibly beautiful country, and we think that the fjords should be on everyone’s bucket lists to see – photographs just do not do them justice! Of course, the Northern Lights are also visible at certain times of the year, so that should be on your list too. It is also billed as one of the safest countries in the world so ideal for traveling around on your own.

Photo: Unsplash.com

Thailand

Another staple destination for solo travelers and groups alike, Thailand has something for everyone. Bangkok is a city of hustle and bustle, with noise, color, and excitement around every corner. For a little bit of relaxation and to recuperate from Bangkok, head to one of the islands to spend some time in paradise. Each island has a different feel, so make sure you research before deciding if you want a party island or a secluded haven.

Whether you are a seasoned solo traveler, or you are just contemplating traveling on your own for the first time, hopefully, this has helped you with some places to add to your list!

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4 underrated romantic destinations you need to take a loved one to


Traveling can be one of the most romantic things you can do with a loved one. It can also be a real test of your relationship – after all, if you can still love someone when you’re both jetlagged, a bit haggard from the journey, someone has forgotten something important, and someone else refuses to ask for directions, you might just be in it for the long haul! Instead of just taking your beau to somewhere cliche like Paris, why not check out one of these underrated romantic destinations instead.

Zanzibar Island, Tanzania

With stunning turquoise waters, untouched white sand, and beautiful coral reefs, Zanzibar is an intimate haven, perfect for a romantic couple. For a bit of adventure, why not go snorkeling or diving, and be sure to enjoy some local food from the Darajani market. If you are animal lovers, be sure to check out Changuu to see some absolutely enormous tortoises, keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, and, of course, head out on a safari. There is just so much to see and do in Zanzibar; it’s a beautiful romantic destination.

Photo: Unsplash

The Azores, Portugal

Some of the views in the Azores have to be seen to be believed and experiencing a sunset on one of these nine islands is one of the most romantic things we can imagine! Take a romantic bike ride with your love to experience the stunning views, and cool off afterward at the hot spring in Ponta da Ferraria. Be sure to head to São Miguel to see if you can spot any whales or dolphins too. This is a romantic trip full of activities and adventure and certainly one to remember for years to come.

Puglia, Italy

The unimaginative among you may book a break to Venice or Rome for a romantic Italian trip, but if you want something a bit different and underrated, Puglia is the place to go. You still get to experience the important parts of Italy, such as delicious food, fantastic culture, breathtaking scenery, and passionate locals, but you can also explore the Gargano National Park which is full of rare and beautiful flora and fauna. Alternatively, get active together and climb the summit trail of Gargano mountain.

Photo: Unsplash

Puerto Rico

Right in the middle of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico has a lot to offer a couple, whether you want to soak up some history and culture, relax by the beach, or get active. El Yunque National Forest is worth a visit as it is the only tropical rainforest that is part of the National US Forest System and home to bats, birds, lizards, and tree frogs. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could go spelunking at the Rio Camuy Caves, or a night kayak tour to experience the Bioluminescent Mosquito Bar for some fantastic stories to take home and share!

So, either book a surprise trip for you and your other half or print this out and leave it somewhere to drop a hint… Who needs Paris, anyway?

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Top travel podcast recommendations


If you’re anything like us, the times you’re not actually traveling, are spent dreaming of traveling and planning your next big adventure. Whether you’re stuck in traffic or sitting at your desk, podcasts are a great source of entertainment, and there are a whole load of fantastic travel podcasts that will help with (or make worse!) your wanderlust!

The Rough Guide to Everywhere

Yes, it’s that Rough Guide! The joy of this podcast comes from feeling as though you are sat in a bar with friends, swapping stories and anecdotes about your travels. Greg Dickinson hosts the first two seasons, and Rebecca Hallett takes over for season 3 before passing the reins to Neil McQuillian. It’s a must-listen for any avid traveler.

Photo: BURST

Amateur Traveler

During each episode of this podcast, Chris Christensen focuses on a specific destination and over the course of around an hour he discusses their appeal, along with locals from the area, or people who are pretty well-versed in that particular destination. It’s great for travelers who aren’t sure where to head to next.

Taste Trekkers’ Find Dining Podcast

If you are someone who travels with their taste buds, you will love Seth Resler’s chats with big names in food from across the world. Find out the best places to eat in every city from food bloggers and chefs alike! What’s better than seeing the world? Eating your way around the world, of course.

The Skift Podcast

The Skift is a podcast about travel as an industry, rather than exotic locations and wanderlust, but it’s fascinating to hear about the latest trends in travel, as well as how the editors of this travel media company see things changing in the next few years.

Photo: BURST

Indie Travel Podcast

Craig and Linda Martin host this 30-minute podcast, which offers advice, stories, and guidance. Find out what to pack in your under-seat carry-on bag, the top five things to do in London, and things you wanted to know about Prague and the Czech Republic to name just three episodes!

Coffee Break (Italian/French/Spanish)

These bite-sized language lessons are the perfect length to listen to while you sip your morning coffee. It’s probably not the kind of podcast where you will subscribe and listen to every episode religiously, but it’s ideal for checking out the back catalog of wherever your next trip is going to be, to nail the basics of the lingo.

We travel there with Lee Huffman

If you want to explore a destination beyond just the tourist attractions and see where the locals hang out, then this podcast was made for you! Lee Huffman talks with locals about their homes and uses their unique perspective to help travelers uncover some hidden gems.

If listening to these doesn’t have you checking for cheap flights, we don’t know what will! Travel podcasts are pretty different from many other types, as you may not want to listen to every episode from a particular host (although there will be some exceptions of course), but if you are booking a trip, or especially interested in a destination then we’re sure there will be plenty of offerings in this bunch.

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10 of the world’s best hotel spas


If you’re looking for the ultimate relaxing break, you can’t do much better than a luxury spa hotel. However, not all spa hotels are made equal; luckily, we’ve put together 10 of the very best.

Thalasso del Forte at Forte Village Resort – Italy

A stunning spa with five pools at the heart of it, this spa uses thalassotherapy and traditional Indian healing techniques, alongside beverages from a herbalist-manned health bar to create a holistic approach to wellness.

The Spa at Canyon Ranch – Arizona

If you want a side of fitness with your spa experience, this incredible 80,000 square-foot ranch is the place for you! Medical professionals help to create a custom fitness program to complement your treatments, and even offer a sleep lab to analyze your sleeping patterns.

Canyon Ranch

Spa at Chiva Som International Health Resort – Thailand

There are an incredible 200 spa treatments on offer here, and staff ranging from acupuncturists to naturopaths. They offer fitness programs alongside relaxation, and there is even a training chamber which claims to increase your ability to burn calories.

Spa at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora – French Polynesia

Nothing screams (or quietly whispers!) relaxation and luxury like Bora Bora, but to really indulge, book a spa treatment in your own bungalow. Or for a stunning view, the Kahaia suite in the spa itself has an outdoor terrace, which overlooks Mount Otemanu.

Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora

Wellbeing and Thermal Spa, Grand Resort Bad Ragaz – Switzerland

There are so many reasons to visit this spa hotel, from the incredible views of Lake Constance and the Alps, the accolade of being the leading medical spa in the country, and the first ever Swarovski glass-covered steam room!

Spa at Rancho La Puerta – Mexico

The oldest spa in North America, there are no frills on these treatments; instead, they focus on tried-and-tested classic treatments such as herbal wraps, rather than gimmicky offerings.

Wellness Spa at COMO Shambhala Estate – Bali

The focus here is on holistic wellbeing, and your treatments are customized to your own personal needs. Traditional Balinese healing and Ayurvedic practices are at the heart of the spa, and it sees many celebrities and pro-athletes as guests!

Remede Spa at St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort – Puerto Rico

With a beachfront location, you can choose to have your treatments in a thatched-roof cabana by the water. Many of the ingredients used are from the local El Yunque Rainforest, and you can unwind with private yoga sessions.

St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort

Aman Spa at The Connaught – England

Based in London, this is a stylish hotel with award-winning spa facilities. The ionized pool is very popular and treatment use ingredients based on your “Ayurvedic dosha,” or your personal makeup. It is the very first Aman Spa outside of an Aman resort.

Spa at the Chedi Andermatt – Switzerland

Another Swiss entry, this modern, minimalist spa has an incredible hydrotherapy zone, 100-foot indoor pool and enormous floor-to-ceiling windows for guests to bask in the stunning views.

So where are you going to head? Or should we say, where are you going to head to first! With so many to choose from, you’ll want to add them all to your bucket list.

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Alternative city breaks: Malmö – restaurants, nightlife and arts venues

Cycle-friendly with affordable food and free cultural events, the underrated Swedish city is a great alternative to traditional Scandinavian escapes

‘Who comes to Malmö on holiday instead of Copenhagen? Nobody, ever.” Niklas Najvik, of the Astrum electronic music collective, is marvelling at how well his home town fits my plan to explore “underrated” cites. “Malmö is the most overlooked city there is,” he says, while the rest of his collective nod in agreement.

Malmö, at the southern tip of Sweden, is just a 30-minute train ride across the Øresund Bridge (yes, the bridge from TV series The Bridge) from Copenhagen airport (Denmark) and, as a regular visitor to Copenhagen, I have been as guilty of overlooking it as anyone. But, having got to know the city over a few spring days, I won’t be making that mistake again.

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24 hours in Budapest


Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, is the perfect European weekend break; there is so much to see and do, and it won’t cost you a fortune. However, if you only have 24 hours to explore this magical city, here is what we recommend you do!

Photo: Unsplash.com

Soak up some culture

Budapest is comprised of two parts, ‘Buda’ and “Pest,’ which are either side of the Danube River, connected by a chain bridge. On both sides, there is plenty to see and do, but you should definitely check out the Hungarian Parliament Building and Heroes Square for some great photo ops! The best way to make sure you are seeing the most of Budapest in such a short time is to jump on one of the many free walking tours that are arranged. If you were here for a few days, we would recommend just roaming around, but if you only have 24 hours, you’ll want to hit all the sites, so a walking tour is a must.

What to eat

If you only have 24 hours in Budapest, you need to make sure you eat the most Hungarian things you can. The Hungarian’s love a buffet, so this is the best way to get value for money. However, you should also try and grab some goulash, strudel, and lángos (which is deep fried dough covered in yummy toppings) to get a real taste for the city. Street food is pretty popular too, but remember that the further away from the river you are, the cheaper things will cost.

Relax in a natural thermal bath

One of the most famous parts of Budapest is the naturally heated thermal baths, and the most popular of these is Szechenyi. There are 15 pools on the inside of varying sizes and temperatures (from a toasty 40 degrees to almost freezing), but the best are those on the outside that are beautifully warm all year round, with colored lights, and even a bar. Even in the coldest months, if you can brave the chilly run from the changing rooms, this is something you have to experience. They also have ‘Spartys’ on Saturdays, which are parties in the outdoor pools complete with music!

Photo: Unsplash.com

Head to a ruin bar

Once you’ve dried off, there is only one place in Budapest to end your night! Ruin bars are quite possibly the coolest part of Budapest; they are old derelict buildings that have been made structurally sound and then filled with all manner of bizarre and random objects. From old cars and disused fairground rides to pallets and bathtubs to sit on. Szimpla is the oldest and best of these and is actually the third best bar in the world, according to fellow travelers. There are several rooms, each entirely different – some with DJs, others live music, some only serving certain types of drink or shisha. It’s unlike anywhere you’ve ever seen before!

As you can see, you can squeeze loads into just 24 hours in Budapest, so stock up on Hungarian Forint and book the next flight out. You won’t regret it, although you may wish you had a little longer…

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Amazing castles you can stay in


If like us you have ever wondered what it was like to sleep behind the stone walls of a mid-century European castle, then we have great news for you! More and more historical castles around Europe are being transformed into luxury accommodation for you to visit.

They host an array of gloriously magnificent rooms, are packed with fascinating ancient history, and sit surrounded by rolling landscapes of gorgeously kept gardens. What’s more, you’re invited to come and stay! Here’s some of our favourites.

Ashford Castle, Ireland

Built in 1228, Ashford Castle resides on Ireland’s second largest lake. The original features of the castle still amaze, with suits of armor, gilt mirrors and oak paneling preserving the castle’s ancient past still deep within the history of its walls. It’s been occupied by plenty of famous inhabitants including the brewery Guinness family.

What does it offer? Lake activities, a luxury spa, 140 hectares of wooded parkland to explore.

Ashford Castle

Amberley Castle, England

This East Sussex castle resides in the quaint village of Amberley in the South Downs countryside. The 900-year-old castle is steeped in fascinating medieval architecture and artifacts, and pristine landscaped gardens surround the grounds. It’s stunningly picturesque and tranquil, perfect for a relaxing stay.

What does it offer? Luxury accommodation. Rooms complete with four-poster beds and whirlpool bathrooms.

Burg Wernberg, Germany

Dating back from the 12th century, this stunning castle is host to a distinct gothic charm that invites you to come and explore its rich European history. The castle was eventually converted into a hotel in 1959, sitting high above the land of the Bavarian hills for you to wander and gaze upon.

What does it offer? Panoramic views of the Bavarian countryside, exquisite cuisine from local produce.

Château de Bagnols, France

Located in the hidden countryside of central France, the aesthetics of the castle are everything you would want. A moat surrounds its walls, and a drawbridge lowers to allow visitors to cross into its grounds. On top of this, it’s enriched with an important history of the French Revolution from the 16th century, and the walls hang a spread of beautiful historical art.

What does it offer? It’s a five-star hotel, with lavishly decorated boutique rooms filled with antiques.

Château de Bagnols

Abbaye de la Bussière, France

Built in the early 12th century in Burgandy, Abbaye de le Bussiere was home to Christian monks. The place has an air of pure calm about it, situated within six hectares of delightful Burgundian parkland. Inside its walls, you’ll see dramatic high ceilings, striking reflections from stained-glass windows and grand sweeping staircases.

What does it offer? A Royal experience. A castle with splendid interior and Gallic food to satisfy your hunger.

These castle hotels are waiting for you. The prices may be a bit on the expensive side but if you are a history-lover interested in living like an ancient Royal for the night, then chances are a stay at one of these is a bit of you!

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Travel insurance ‘will not cover’ cancelled Sri Lanka holidays

Policies would pay out only if Foreign Office warned against travel, though airlines and tour operators ‘will consider’ requests to postpone

Holidaymakers who want to postpone travel to Sri Lanka in the wake of the bomb attacks that killed 290 people will not be covered by their travel insurance. The UK Foreign Office (FCO) updated its travel advice for Sri Lanka on Monday to include details of the nationwide curfew and pending state of emergency. However, the Guardian understands it is unlikely the FCO would issue a warning advising against all travel to Sri Lanka: such warnings area rare and usually region-specific.

Reflecting the increased threat, the FCO’s current advice states: “Security has been stepped up across the island and there are ongoing security operations. These may continue for a number of days and the situation remains dynamic. Please follow the advice of local security authorities, hotel security staff and your tour company. The airport is operating, but with increased security checks and long queues for taxi pick-ups.”

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Top Diving spots in Australia


Australia is one of the many places the people go to find an adventure of a lifetime. This incredible country is unique in many ways, the fact that it’s so huge it has several different time zones depending on which part you’re in, that people can’t remember whether the capital city is Sydney or Brisbane – it’s Canberra – or just because it’s home to some of the world’s most unique landscapes. When most people think of Australia, they’ll likely think of surfing, barbecues and, of course, diving! So, with diving being one of the coolest activities you can do ‘down under,’ where are the best diving spots in Oz?

The Great Barrier Reef

This has got to be top of the list, because if you’re going to go diving in Australia, then you would be mad not to start here if you get the chance. The reef spans a whopping 2300 kilometers and is home to some of the most amazing sea life you will ever witness. As a result of its popularity, there is an abundance of diving companies which will run the excursion for you. Cairns is probably the most popular place for accessing the Great Barrier Reef. Alternatively, if you want to travel to the center of the Great Barrier Reef, then you’ll be able to experience a more secluded and less touristy area of the phenomenon. You will get to swim with wild manta rays, witness the array of colors of the reef, and swim with all the fish you ever could have dreamed of.

Great Barrier Reef

Townsville and SS Yongala

If you’re looking more further south for a diving experience, then you’re in luck. If you visit the uniquely names southern city of Townsville, then you will have the opportunity to go diving to a famous wreck. The SS Yongala sank to the depths of the ocean and one of the best ways to explore it is to go diving! Diving to the SS Yongala has been branded one of the worlds best diving experiences as you witness the utter wreckage of a once amazing ship.

The Whitsunday Islands

Going diving in the Whitsunday islands can be tough but only because there are 74 islands to choose from, how would we ever choose? Anyway, this gives you a wealth of choice of which part of the ocean you want to experience. These islands are between the northeast coast of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef, and there are hundreds of excursions to the Whitsunday islands, from cruises to sailing adventures. It’s a must see area and a fantastic place to go diving.

Whitsunday Islands

Southern Queensland

Southern Queensland is the home of some breathtaking sights, here you can find the fantastic loggerhead turtles and some incredible dolphins swimming around doing their thing. There’s nothing better than seeing these majestic creatures enjoying their natural habitat.

Whether you’re going north or south, there is always something fabulous just around the corner. After all, this is all exclusive to diving, just imagine how much more is out there to do when you start looking around. There’s no denying that Australia has some of the most amazing landscapes and wildlife in the world.

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Affordable hotels in the Hamptons


The Hamptons is home to Beyonce and Jay-Z, Neil Patrick Harris and Robert Downey Jr, so it’s no wonder it is such a fantastic and sought-after vacation spot! You’re just 90 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of New York City, but you might as well be on another planet. Think stunning beaches with breathtaking dunes, quirky boutique stores, and the iconic Montauk Point Lighthouse. Thankfully you don’t have to have the budget of a celebrity to be able to afford to stay here if you know where to look! Here are some fantastic but affordable hotels in the Hamptons.

Ocean Surf Resort Inn

Rated number one budget hotel in the Hamptons, this is a fantastic pick for families who want a cheap but cozy hotel right on the beach. It’s clean with friendly staff and you are only a five-minute walk from various restaurants and a family fun center, or you can choose to save even more by using the kitchenette in your room which features a microwave oven, toaster, refrigerator, and stove. You can enjoy the private balcony with your room, and the heated pool is perfect for cooling down in.

Ocean Surf Resort Inn

Hotel Indigo East End

If you’re looking for a more boutique option, this hotel has been remodeled from a Best Western and offers a fitness suite, a spa, a bar and restaurant, and an outdoor lounge area. You are close by to the Hampton Bays, a local waterpark and a few wineries too! The rooms are stylish and chic, with flat-screen TVs, and coffee makers, as standard but without a hefty price tag! This is an excellent choice of hotel that balances luxury and style with cost, so you can treat yourself without ending up mazing out that credit card!

Harborside Resort Motel

As the name suggests, this accommodation is ideal for those who like to fish or explore the water. You’re situated right by the marinas and fishing charters, and for boat lovers, the motel offers a wash-down service and use of the boat launch. If you’re more of a fan of contained water, the pool is perfect for enjoying a paddle or relax on a lounger. The rooms are basic but come with everything you need, and the staff is friendly.

Harborside Resort Motel

Hyatt Place Long Island East End

This hotel chain is another family-favorite with free breakfast, both indoor and outdoor pools and spacious, comfortable rooms. You’re just a stone’s throw from the Long Island Aquarium and Splish Splash Water Park which are ideal for days out or stay at the hotel and hire sporting equipment too. Enjoy the view of the Peconic River as you are ideally placed on the Fork to head to either The Hamptons or Long Island if you wish.

So now you know that a trip to the Hamptons doesn’t have to mean your credit card gets a battering, what are you waiting for?! Live like a celebrity for a long weekend, especially if you have saved enough on your room to splash out a little in other areas!

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Boutique beat: 20 of the best UK music festivals for 2019

Our pick of this summer’s smaller festivals features cool sites in the countryside, as well as art, crafts, yoga – and great sounds

Returning to Gilcombe Farm (a couple of miles from Bruton village’s train station), for a fifth year, Shindig still aspires to be a party with friends rather than a full-scale festival. There’s an onsite pub, local stalls and several smaller performance areas rather than one main stage. The lineup so far includes Estelle, Huey Morgan, Benjamin Zephaniah, DJs Kenny Dope, Nu-Mark and Audio Bullys, plus circus, comedy, wellbeing activities and workshops for children and teens including breakdancing and djing. Festivalgoers are also encouraged to Get Fruity, the theme for this year’s fancy dress.
23-26 May, adult £154.45, teen (13-17) £79.90, under-12s free, shindigfestival.co.uk

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Outdoor adventures to enjoy across America


We don’t want to toot our own horn, but America is one of the best places in the world when it comes to outdoor adventures. There are so many different environments, from beaches to mountain tops, lakes to volcanos, and everything in between and with each place comes something new to see and do. Whether you are a seasoned outdoor explorer or someone who is usually a couch potato but wants to try something new, there is something for everyone! Here are what we think are the best outdoor adventures to enjoy across America.

Hot air balloon in Albuquerque

Seeing the world from the sky is pretty incredible whatever way you do it, but the most relaxing (And arguably romantic!) is via a hot air balloon. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in October is a fantastic time to go as you will be surrounded by the unusual sight of hundreds of other balloons, but even if you head up on a different day, you’ll find a tranquil yet exciting experience unlike any other.

Photo: Unsplash.com

Go diving in the Florida Keys

From one extream to the other, head under the sea to explore some amazingly unique attractions, such as abandoned shipwrecks and stunning coral reefs. The best time to do a diving expedition is between April and July as you will miss the hurricane season peak and the water will be warm. Head out with a guide to make the most of the experience.

Hike around the Pacific Northwest’s National Parks

Every National Park is worth a visit, especially if you are a fan of the great outdoors, however, some of the best and superlative are based in the Pacific Northwest so if you want to hit a few in one trip, then this is the area to head to! Crater Lake National Park in Oregon boasts the deepest lake in the US, whereas North Cascades National Park is home to stunning untouched wilderness.

Camp along the Pacific Coast Highway

The PCH is a fantastic road trip where the terrain seems to change constantly, and there’s always something to see or do. The best way to really enjoy this wonder is to camp along the way, stopping off to explore places such as Malibu, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and LA. Beach campsites are cheap, but the memories will be priceless!

Photo: Unsplash.com

Hit the slopes in Colorado

If you want to spend some time cruising down some varied terrain, on a snowboard or skis, there is nowhere better in the US than Colorado. With stunning views, a range of slopes ideal from beginners to experts and resorts to suit all budgets, Colorado is the place to be if you’re looking for some snow adventure.

If this post doesn’t get your itching to go on an adventure, then there is something wrong with you! You don’t have to be super sporty to try some of these adventures; all you need is an adventurous spirit and some enthusiasm. So, what are you waiting for?!

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The world’s best food festivals


Food festivals may well be one of our favorite things on earth. Who wouldn’t want to spend the day exploring the different sights, smells and tastes at an event solely evolving around offering you delicious food?

There’s hundreds and thousands of different food festivals located around the globe waiting to fill your mouth with exciting stuff, each specializing in a particular type of food or cuisine. If you’re a big foodie and love to travel, then perfect…You have come to the right place! Here’s a list of some the world’s best food festivals to tantalize your taste buds.

Warning – may induce severe hunger. Our mouths are literally drooling.

Wildfoods Festival (Hokitika, New Zealand)

This festival is located in the small town of Hokitika on the west coast of New Zealand, and offers visitors some rather odd things to eat, to say the least. From seagull eggs to insects, this event specializes in eccentric foods that attempt to blow your mind in how something sounding so gross can actually be delightfully delicious. This one’s for you if you have an adventurous taste palette and don’t squirm easily.

Wildfoods Festival

Salon de Chocolate (Quito, Ecuador)

Although there are plenty of renowned chocolate festivals around the world, Quito is perhaps considered the best. Thousands of visitors gather each year to get a taste of some of Ecuador’s tastiest high-quality chocolate. There’s also plenty to see and do with cookery classes and competitions. This one’s for you if you love chocolate – so that’s pretty much everyone then?

Dumpling Festival (Hong Kong)

AKA The Dragon Boat festival. This holiday date takes place on the fifth day of the fifth Chinese lunar month, with restaurants, locals and tourists coming together as one to feast on tasty dumplings. The festival takes to the streets, offering up the best-tasting variety of dumplings made from glutinous rice and plenty of different fillings. This is for you if you’re looking to explore and celebrate a National cultural heritage.

Vegetarian Festival (Phuket, Thailand)

Mostly taking place on the island of Phuket, this festival is part of a nine-day Thai celebration for the promotion of mind and body detoxification. Locals take to the streets to celebrate, conjuring up some of Thai’s tasty vegetarian dishes using soybean and protein substitute products instead of meat. This one’s for you if you’re not a meat-eater and want to find out some fantastic new Asian recipes.

Pizzafest (Naples, Italy)

Did someone say pizza? Yes please. Pizzafest is one of the world’s biggest pizza festivals, taking place every year in Napoli’s Caracciolo in which over 500’000 visitors will come to eat more than 100’000 pizzas. The celebrations include recreations of historical recipes and pizza-making competitions. This one’s for you if you’re feeling extra hungry. Dig in!

Pizzafest

Bacon Festival (Sacramento, California)

The Bacon festival offers the very best of bacon – all from farm-bred organic hogs and made with the very best natural ingredients. There’s plenty of strange dishes on offer – bacon ice cream, bacon salad, and bacon cocktails. It’s also advised that all of this is washed down with the very best beverages from the local breweries. We’re not gonna say no to that now are we? There’s even a Kevin Bacon tribute band that plays. This one’s for you if you want to have some good old’ fashioned community fun.

 

Food festivals are the perfect way to try some of the regional grub. There seems to be more and more cropping up each year so keep your eye open for what ones that may be near you on your travels. Top tip – go when you’re feeling extra hungry. You’ll be in heaven.

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20 great agriturismos and farm stays in Europe: readers’ tips

The agriturismo movement started in Italy but readers have had breaks on working farms from France to Iceland and Croatia to Crete

This country is dotted with amazing organic farm stays but we love Pri Plajerju in the Trenta valley. There’s something pure and timeless about Slovenia and this farm. It has self-catering apartments, but we sleep in the hayloft – it’s incredibly good value. The hay beds are warm and cosy and it’s magical after a day walking the Soča trail. The mountain scenery is mind-blowing; you can help feed the animals in the morning, and the home-cooked food is fresh, filling and always served with a smile. It almost makes me want to move to the country.
Apartments from €70, barn beds €15pp, eko-plajer.com
Jo

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Cheaper and less touristy options to jet off to


There appears to be a trend when it comes to travel destinations, with people following the typically trodden paths without deviating from what’s safe and known. However, many travelers want to discover a country’s culture by immersing themselves and finding true authenticity as opposed to traveling the tourist track. Of course, there is no right or wrong way, and many have their preferences, for example, it’s likely safer sticking to prearranged excursions, so it’s each traveler to their own. So, where are the cheaper, less tourist-oriented areas that would be amazing to see?

Albania

Many travelers have hailed Albania, expressing that so many people miss the opportunity to visit this beautiful country merely because they never thought of it. Places in Alania include Theth National park, Himara beach, and Berat. It has also been revered for its incredible affordability. The national park is home to some fantastic animals including the golden eagle and European wildcat. Overall, it has beautiful weather, stunning landscapes and mesmerizing architecture. It’s definitely one for the ‘to do’ list.

Photo: Unsplash.com

Laos

Like most far-eastern countries, Laos is steeped in an equally impressive and dark history. When people visit far-eastern countries, Laos is not generally first, or even second on their list, which is great because it has retained so much authenticity, rather than creating tourist attractions. Laos has beautifully lush landscapes, and they also have stunning caves as well as an impressive national park. Due to these places being quiet in terms of regular tourists, it means there aren’t massive premiums on these experiences. This is a great place to discover the far-eastern culture, but you should always research the differences first, so nothing takes you too off guard.

Belize, Mexico

As with many countries, it’s where you go. Mexico has glorious weather and amazing things to discover. The hotels on the coast have low prices along with more affordable food and drink. There is always the option to spend a little money, but instead of falling prey to the money-spinners, go find the extraordinary caves, or look for the ancient Mayan ruins. There is so much to be found on a budget; all you need is the willingness to discover!

Wales

While most Americans want to jet off to London, that can cost a fortune. Wales is renowned in Britain for their phenomenal rolling hills and mountains, their strange language and the vast quantities of sheep! Prices are amazing in Wales, particularly on the coastal towns, if you stay in Llandudno, then you’re a short drive from beautiful waterfalls and the incredible Snowdon trek. If you’re really desperate to say you’ve been to England, then all you need to do is cross their famous bridge which is only a couple of hours away, and voila, you’ve done two in one. That will cost a bit more in travel, but the choice is yours.

Photo: Unsplash.com

There are some breathtaking sights that you would never have dreamed of, and sometimes they’re not the most traveled places, which is incredible because it means going there will be that bit cheaper you can beat everyone to it! Of course, don’t tell your friends because they might catch on!

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Pet-friendly hotels around the globe


Driving away from the kennel after dropping your dog off is a pretty “ruff” way to start a vacation! It’s hard to enjoy yourself knowing your furry best friend is missing you, so the best way to deal with it is to take him along for the adventure. Luckily there are some pretty amazing pet-friendly hotels across the world who want to make sure your favorite four-legged friend has as much of a good time as you. These are just a few of them…

Fairmont, San Francisco

For just a $ 75 fee, your furry friend can come along to this iconic hotel and will be treated to facilities just as luxurious as their human counterparts. Not only will a water bowl and a comfortable bed be waiting for them in the room when you arrive, but they can even order from their own room service menu!

Pet-friendly hotels

Kai Kinugawa, Japan

There are currently more pets than young children in Japan, so it only makes sense that hotels are catering to them. This hot spring hotel offers their guests the chance to book a dog room which comes with essentials such as bowls, beds, and towels for the pooches, as well as an outdoor run for them to get some exercise, and a private hot spring bath for both pet and guest to relax in.

The Hoxton, Amsterdam

Hoxton hotels chain have actually gone as far as to design a website specifically for their K9 guests, called Hox Hounds, which thankfully has a translation button to help their owners understand. There is no fee for bringing a dog with you at these hotels, and they will provide a bowl, bed, toilet bags, and a spare collar and lead.

The Langham, Sydney

Sure, there are other pet-friendly hotels in Sydney, but the Langham claims to be the only five-star luxury accommodation. It will cost you $ 85 per pet to bring them along, and the cat, dog or bird needs to be under 44lbs. There is a pet-sitting service if you need to pop out, and they can spend their time reclining on a luxury pet bed, enjoying something from the pet-specific in-room menu, which features treats such as beef, salmon, and a special bird mix of crudites!

Dog in hotel room

Kimpton Hotel Monaco, Seattle

Although you’re probably looking at taking your dog on your trip with you, at this hotel as long as it is small enough to fit through the door, it can stay! So feel free to bring your llama, snake or piglet with you, and they will be provided with essentials such as toys, beds, water bowls, and even treats, regardless of animal. At most of the 60 hotels run by this chain, you’ll be greeted by the Director of Pet Relations who is a dog, and in this specific destination, there is a delicious dining menu for dogs from beef stew to a frozen Pupsicle.

So, next time you book a trip, instead of putting your furry friend in a kennel, choose somewhere pet-friendly and make some memories – you’d be barking not to!

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Too posh to pitch? Easy bikepacking in the Peak District

To our writer’s delight, the tent is already up, the food sorted and route plotted on this new camping and cycling trip in the Peaks

Twigs crackle and mud splatters as I weave and bounce through the woods, but my sleeping bag stays firmly fixed to my handlebars. When the GPS points to a hidden path, we take it and discover our lamp-lit bell tent sheltered by a sycamore tree. There’s a flickering fire, a hamper of goodies and two chairs awaiting our weary limbs. It’s a magical sight, especially after 45km of mountain biking through the Peak District. “Glass of wine?” asks my boyfriend Tom.

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Cities with the best live music pubs


We all go on vacation to do different things. Some like to hike. Others like to rest and put their feet up on the sun lounger. Some are big-time adventurers, and others are historical buffs. However, one thing we share in common is that we all want to have a good time. And what’s the universal way for us all to have a good time? What’s the best way for us all to unwind? Listen to the music of course.

Across the world, there are cities known for their exceptional live music. Whatever the genre, whatever the sound, these cities host an exciting array of live music nights at some of the world’s most renowned venues with the world’s most prestigious musical acts.

Take a look at some of these cities considered to have the best live pubs and bars. Do any of them get your feet tapping?

Photo: Unsplash.com

Dublin, Ireland

Most likely to hear: Folk, singer-songwriter, instrumentals.

It’s the quaint local pubs that make Dublin a must-go-to for live music. There’s a real sense of community across the night-life in Dublin, and the sense of harmonising fun is electric. You’ll soon be up singing, swinging and swaying yourself — the perfect place for unwinding to beautiful acoustics with a drink in hand.

Berlin, Germany

Most likely to hear: Electronic, punk, dance

Berlin is a city where it seems anything goes. It’s a real cultural hub where culture and music are never afraid to push boundaries. Berlin nightlife is one of a kind, and you’ll find pubs, bars, and clubs playing a whole host of underground dance and rock music. The city is perfect if you’re looking for thumping club bass and dark electronic beats.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Most likely to hear: Blues, soul, jazz, funk

Often considered the live music capital of the world, New Orleans is the renowned birthplace of jazz. The music scene is not just alive at night, it’s heard all day long, from street-musicians, to live pub nights, to astounding jazz event nights. New Orleans live music is part of the city’s spirit, and it oozes class.

Photo: Unsplash.com

London, England

Most likely to hear: Hip-hop, punk, jazz, alternative

London’s music scene is thriving. Venues from traditional pubs, swanky bars, to large arena clubs all seem to value younger underground artist across a wide range of genres. The musical hotspots are dispersed around the city, with local hubs including Camden, Soho, Shoreditch, and Brixton that all flourish with eclectic sounds.

Paris, France

Most likely to hear: Classical composers, jazz, indie-rock

Paris is known for drawing in crowds of young creatives with a passion for making it big in the international music scene. This means the city is alive with a whole host of musical sounds including upcoming DJs, hip-hop artists and more traditional musical styles like jazz and blues. Paris has a real avant-garde party feel.

If live music is what you’re looking for out of your next vacation, consider these cities as the place to go. You’ll hear an assortment of genres, whatever the sound or whatever the mood. They won’t disappoint, and they are sure to entertainment you from sunrise to sunset.

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Countries with the best music festivals


Music festivals are a staple event for any fun-seeker and big-time dancer looking to boogie the night away. Unlike concerts or live gigs at venues, music festivals tend to give a spectacular once in a lifetime experience for those listening and watching to the artist right there and then – with thousands of happy people around you – even if you are in a muddy field.

There are hundreds of exceptional music festivals all around the world – from dance to pop, from rock to hip-hop. There’s plenty out there. We want to give you a guide of some of the countries that are considered to have some of the best. Get your wellies and shades ready!

USA

The Best Festivals: Coachella, Burning Man

Woodstock festival held in the Catskill Mountains in 1969 was highly-regarded as a pivotal moment in the world’s popular music industry. After this, the United States had a lot to live up to. We’ve not been disappointed though. Coachella, CA attracts thousands of festival-goers each year with its glamorous celebrity-spotting vibes and its annual lineup of the world’s best pop, rock, and dance artists. Also Burning Man, NV continues to become more and more popular with mainstream visitors for its unique focus on the arts community, peace & harmony and self-expression.

Burning Man

UK

Best Festivals: Reading & Leeds, Glastonbury

The UK caters to international interests, hosting a wide variety of music festivals. There seems to be an annual event created for nearly every type of musical genre. Some of the best festivals include Reading & Leeds which continue to draw in crowds to its rock and alternative line up, while Glastonbury is often regarded as the best festival in the world, having hosted some of the most prestigious international acts – Dolly Parton, David Bowie, Beyonce, Oasis. Glastonbury is the largest greenfield festival in the world with a capacity exceeding 175’000.

Spain

Best festivals: Primavera Sounds, Benicassim International Festival

Spain is the perfect location for the best summer festival. With its sunny Mediterranean climate, festival-goers are attracted to Spain’s musical festivals for their mix of chilled vacation vibes and their top lineup headliners. Benicassim continues to be one of the best festivals on the International circuit, hosting the best names in pop, rock, and electronica, while Primavera Sounds is also notably popular with festival-goers for its laid-back take on the best urban artists in pop, rock, and underground dance music.

Belgium

Best festivals: Tomorrowland, Pukkelpop

Belgium festivals are the place to be for travelers and those interested in soaking up some European culture. The country attracts festival-goers for its extravagant theming and immersive experiences. Tomorrowland has become one of the largest music festivals in the world, hosting the best international names in electronic dance music. It’s even reached such great popularity that it has other spinoff festivals – TomorrowWorld in the US, Tomorrowland Brasil and Tomorrowland Winter located in the French Alps. Pukkelpop is another award-winning music festival located in Belgium, attracting festival-goers all across the globe for its eclectic host of genres – dance, pop, rock, alternative, hip-hop, heavy metal, and so much more.

Tomorrowland

Music festivals bring their crowds together lovingly as one like no other type of event can. There are truly some remarkable festivals out there with an appeal for everyone. So find the right one for you. You’re certainly invited, come along! Remember to bring your dancing shoes.

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Peru: take the high road to Inca glory

Macchu Pichu sees a million visitors a year, but another great pre-Columbian monument remains little-known. We join the first supported trek on the Incas’ Royal Road

Climbing from the ancient Peruvian pilgrimage site of Chavín, we pass fields of quinoa flowering purple in a last burst of energy before they are harvested. There are bunches of maize hanging from the farmhouse rafters in shades of gold and red, and the small village plaza has plants that would not be out of place in an English country garden: hibiscus, hollyhocks and astrantia.

And then we are above the village and the tree line and come to the Royal Road of the Incas, the Capac Ñan, which stretches for an astonishing 1,500 miles from Ecuador to Bolivia – down the length of the Andes, and their empire.

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Great things to see in India


India is the most breath-taking of cultural experiences. Everywhere you go and wherever you look, there are new unthinkable things to see and learn about. The country is truly a unique and fascinating place, with a rich history and magnificent culture waiting for you to experience.

You’ll get to marvel at the beautiful architecture and wondrous ancient temples, experience fascinating festivals and set your sights on stunning natural scenery. India is a must-see country for travelers. Here are some of the top things we think there are to see in India.

See Ranakpur Jain Temple

Situated in a remote North Easterly village, the Ranakpur Jain Temple dates back to the 15th century. The temple is remarkably captivating, supported by over 1’400 intricately detailed pillars in which no two one is the same. It’s relatively unvisited by masses of tourists, so it’s a great hidden spot of ancient history to venture around.

Ranakpur Jain Temple

Relax on Palolem Beach

If you like to break up your trip with a relaxing beach day, then Palolem Beach in the state of Goa is the place for you to be. It’s got a clean sandy beach, tropical palm trees, calm waves, nightlife, excursions, and water activities. There’s also an array of affordable beach huts to hire too.

See the Indian Himalayas

The Indian Himalayas offer incredible sights of beautiful scenery, with numerous tracks and paths allowing you to trek the best view spots. The Western ranges from Kashmir to Nanda also feature quaint communities for you to stop off and explore too. Be careful of the snow leopards!

Ride the ancient railways

Indian railway systems are certainly an experience. Taking to the tracks is a must-do thing to do, whatever part of the country you are in. You can hop on board the desert crossing from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer, or ride through the mountainous terrains from Kolkata to Darjeeling. You could even experience one of the longest train routes in India on the Grand Trunk Express from New Delhi to Chennai.

Visit Akshardham

Located near the Yamuna River, this temple is another one to see. It towers above the landscape with vast domed ceilings, impressive architecture, and exquisite carvings. Akshardham complex is also a great place go before or after sunset when it’s beautifully lit up.

Akshardham

Explore the medieval city of Orcha

This a unique little medieval town dating back to the early 16th century with an abundance of temples, forts and palaces for you to explore. Its derelict streets and ancient ruins make it a magical place to visit. One tip – visit early before any tourist buses and coaches arrive to have it all to yourself and see it in its full glory.

Celebrate the festivals

India certainly has no shortage of festivals. From kite flying to camels, there’s usually some sort of festival to be joined depending on where or when you visit. Most of them are wonderful sights to see – like the lighting up of a million clay lamps at India’s biggest festival Diwali, or the vibrant color powder throwing of Holi which is crazy fun.

India truly does have an endless array of places to visit. Whatever it is you like to experience on vacation, India’s lavish cultural heritage is something everyone should experience. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.

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Top 5 reasons to visit Bora Bora


Bora Bora looks and sounds just like paradise, and so it is no wonder that it is so popular with honeymooners or those just looking for a romantic, luxury getaway! If simply looking at photographs is not enough of a reason for you, here are five other reasons to visit Bora Bora.

Breathtaking views

The lagoon is what dreams of made of, with stunning turquoise water which looks out onto Mount Otemanu. The beach full of golden sand and the palm trees are plentiful – it’s such a colorful scene that you’ll feel like you’re dreaming with the contrast turned up! Every morning you will wake up to the unbelievable view and start your day in paradise.

Photo: Unsplash.com

Under the sea

The water is stunning from the land, but it’s even more incredible when you get up close and personal with the residents! Snorkeling or scuba diving in the waters will open up a whole other world, full of stingrays, manta rays, reef sharks, and beautifully colored tropical fish. Book a guide to show you the best places to spot these creatures and create some unforgettable memories. With the weather being quite balmy, you will welcome the coolness of the water, and a lot of it is very shallow (although the deeper areas give a different shade of blue which is just beautiful), so ideal for a paddle to cool down!

Peaceful moments

One of the most appealing things about Bora Bora is that it’s never crowded with tourists. In fact, the whole French Polynesia gets the same amount of visitors that Hawaii sees in a week, over the course of the entire year! That means you can really relax without hoards of other people, and the beach really does feel like a secluded paradise, even in the peak season.

Luxury accommodation

You won’t be slumming it in Bora Bora; it’s all about the luxury experience. Staying right on the beach is incredible of course, but the most iconic accommodation choice is a private overwater bungalow – there’s a reason that these are the photos all the brochures show. You’ll be immersed in the beauty of this stunning island from the moment you look out your window every morning. A lot of the interior design of the accommodations blends Polynesian culture with contemporary touches for a perfect balance. You won’t want to go home!

Photo: Unsplash.com

Absolute paradise

Due to the lack of tourists, the area is unspoiled and pure. No vast high rise hotels are blocking the view, and everything is set up for relaxation and an amazing experience. There is an abundance of spas offering exquisite treatments, and you can enjoy mouthwatering French delicacies while watching the sunset over the water. There are no hotels offering tacky entertainment, but it is still family friendly.

So, if you’ve never considered Bora Bora as a potential travel destination, perhaps this post has changed your mind! If it was your other half who needed persuading, perhaps leave this tab open on their computer… We are sure it won’t take much to convince them at all.

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Whitworth Locke, Manchester: hotel review

The grand 19th-century buildings of this aparthotel and co-working space reflect the city’s past while offering a vision of future city-centre hotels

Like a swollen river, Manchester city centre is breaching its banks. Property money is flooding in and central Manchester is being redrawn, as unprofitable, arty activity is swept out into Salford. Ancoats, to the east is being reinvented as an (oddly sterile) neighbourhood of indie bars and restaurants and swanky flats, while Oxford Road – a drab student corridor – promises, as the waters recede, to emerge as a green hub of tech-entrepreneurship.

Who benefits from all those cranes on the skyline is a point so moot it will be one for historians to discuss, not travel journalists. But any immediate pluses come with caveats. Juries are out. At street level, this city is as gritty as ever.

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Travel | The Guardian

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Best travel accounts on Instagram


Does anyone else find themselves scrolling through Instagram for inspiration on what to wear, what to eat and where to go? We are always struck with intense wanderlust when we see beautiful beaches, colorful cities or mystical mountains, and it feels so much more natural to look through social media for our next vacation idea than to check out an old fashioned brochure! So, if you need some travel inspo, here are the best accounts on Instagram for travel.

ExpertVagabond (@ExpertVagabond)

Proving that it’s never too late to start traveling, Marr Karsten had never even left the US when he quit his job as a freelance photographer in 2010. He then spent the next seven years traveling all over the world, covering over 50 countries from Tanzania to Italy and Hawaii to Russia. Although he has since gotten married and very recently had a baby (in Poland where he and his fellow photographer wife were traveling), he still spends half of the year traveling, so there is still plenty of content to give you itchy feet!

Photo: @ExpertVagabond

Wander Reds (@WanderReds)

One thing we love about Alvaro is his ambition! He wants to become the youngest Spaniard to visit all 197 countries of the world, and he’s not too far off it. His captions are captivating, asking questions of his audience about things such as their dream jobs or whether it’s better to travel solo or with others. There is so much more to this account than just beautiful photography. Alvaro is an absolute inspiration as he started off juggling his travel plans with a 9-5 job (relatable right?!) although eventually, he was able to quit and travel full time (the dream).

The Road Les Traveled (@lesleyannemurphy)

If you recognize Lesley, it may be because she was a contestant on the ABC show, the Bachelor, however now she is a full-time travel blogger and yoga lover. She has over 407,000 followers who love to follow her luxury adventures to far off tropical paradises or staying in quirky accommodation. Although a lot of what she does might be out of reach for the average Joe, there is still plenty that is obtainable.

Photo: @lesleyannemurphy

Alex Strohl (@Alexstrohl)

With one of the largest followings on Instagram (2 million at the time of writing), there’s no way we couldn’t include Alex and his breathtaking photography of the adventures he goes on. From his home in Montana to Iceland, Portugal, and beyond, the vibrant colors of his shots will have you reaching for your credit card! Alex’s travel photography is so good that it actually been used in Vanity Fair and Land Rover campaigns.

Next time you find yourself wondering where to book next, hopefully, these Instagram adventurers will inspire you a little. Instead of visiting the same beach every year, try somewhere a bit off the beaten path and really enjoy a new experience. Of course, nothing is stopping you becoming the next big travel influencer online, so get booking those trips and snapping those candids!

The post Best travel accounts on Instagram appeared first on Worldation.

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Best LA restaurants to spot celebrities


Let’s face it, when we visit LA there are two things we want to happen: to spot celebrities going about their lives, and to be discovered by a movie director and to become a celebrity in our own right. We can’t help you with the latter, but we do have some hot tips on the best LA restaurants to go celeb spotting!

Gracias Madre

This vegan heaven is always swamped with paparazzi outside, as the inside of this stunning white space is full of celebrities such as Ellen Degeneres, Jessica Alba, and Selena Gomez, drinking gorgeous craft cocktails and enjoying organic Mexican food.

Gracias Madre

Catch LA

This Insta-worthy restaurant is the West Hollywood version of a super hip NYC eatery and celebrities love it! IF you are lucky enough to get in (they are very picky and tend only to take the elite, rich or famous!) you might be eating sustainable sushi alongside the Beckhams, Paris Hilton or Mariah Carey!

Urth Caffe

A popular LA establishment with several locations, you can enjoy a healthy meal using sustainable ingredients while you spy on the stars. Be sure to visit the one at Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood for the best chance of seeing celebrities such as Katy Perry, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Lana Del Rey.

The Restaurant at the Chateau Marmont

Food is secondary at this country club, as the focus is certainly more on the famous clientele and the drama they cause. In fact, right back in the ‘30s, stars such as Clark Gable and F. Scott Fitzgerald regularly engaged in debauchery and now you can spot celebrities such as Sienna Miller, Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears!

The Polo Lounge

Back in the day, guests to the Polo Lounge included Marilyn Monroe and the Rat Pack, so if it was good enough for them, it’s good enough for us! Now you are likely to spot Janet Jackson, Taylor Swift and Leonardo DiCaprio to name just three! Even without the celeb sightings, it’s a fantastic place to visit, with a beautiful sunny patio space, and jazz music to enjoy as you eat.

The Polo Lounge

Musso and Frank Grill

If you want the chance to spot Brad Pitt, Nicolas Cage or Mila Kunis as well as enjoy a stiff martini and a medium-rare steak, then the Musso and Frank Grill is the perfect place! Charlie Chaplin and the Warner brothers themselves were regular visitors to this iconic establishment and the dark, noir vibes make you feel as though you could be in a movie. This has an entirely different atmosphere to many of the other restaurants which are all about light, airy modern looks, so it’s certainly worth a visit.

If you are lucky enough to spot your favorite star having food, remember to be respectful. Some celebs dont mind being asked for autographs or selfies, but most people wouldn’t like to be interrupted if they were in the middle of a meal with their family. Always be polite and kind and don’t just shove your phone at them and demand a picture. Happy spotting!

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How to escape: Why a cabin break can refresh the soul

Simplicity is key to a cabin stay and while few of us go the full Thoreau, retreating to a spartan, isolated setting is more appealing than ever

A few years ago, I lived in a cabin for several months. It was in a glade at the bottom of a steep-sided cwm (valley) in the Black Mountains, south-east Wales. The single room was furnished with a bed, a table and a chair. Water came from a nearby spring, and I had a wood-burning stove, a gas ring for cooking and an outside, composting toilet. The front deck overlooked a brook, which provided the ambient soundtrack to my dreams.

I lived a pared-down life in a pared-down house. I woke at first light and went to bed at sunset. I cooked everything in one pot and chopped my own firewood. There was no electricity and no wifi. I couldn’t even tune the radio. I had to cross a fence and walk 200 metres up a bracken bank to get intermittent mobile reception. Quietly, I cut myself adrift from all forms of media – and who doesn’t feel like doing that these days? There was, correspondingly, a lot of time: time to read, observe the birds and watch the trees “dreaming out their old stories to the wind” as Thomas Gray wrote. There was time to listen to rain on the tin roof and, for me, time to write. I left with the first draft of a book.

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Travel | The Guardian

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How to pack lightly for long trips


Whether you’re going abroad or up the road, if you’re going away for a while and you can’t nip back home to do a cheeky swap, or pick up that small but essential item you forgot, then you need to pack smart. This will also help when it comes to the volume of possessions that you take with you, as you will need to look closely at what is essential and what can be left behind.

The bag itself

You will need to consider what type of bag or luggage carrier you’re using, as this will affect how you pack and how much space you have. Whether you’re going hiking in Machu Picchu or simply going on a long-haul business trip, there us an appropriately sized luggage-carrier and then there is going too far. When choosing your carrier, you’ll need to consider the weight of your bags, so be sure to keep a close eye on when you’re going overboard. So, start by limiting how much you can actually bring with you by limiting the space in your luggage.

How to pack lightly for long trips

Folding appropriately

One major tip is to use the most space-saving and effective fold. Generally, it is recommended to fold your item in half and then roll it up, and this also prevents creasing that a typical fold would typically cause. There are various ways in which you can roll your clothes up, but we recommend keeping it simple while finding your preference. This is recommended no matter what your activity or destination, it has even been keenly recommended for home use as well.

Lightweight technical gear

Fashion isn’t always going to happen when you need to pack for a long trip; in fact, it’s best to scrap it altogether. There are various ranges of lightweight jackets and footwear, amongst other items, which will be much lighter and just as warm. Some fashion brands have actually adopted a more technical look to promote sales, so sometimes fashion can be incorporated into technical, except you’ll get 100% of the benefits. As for footwear, while it might be tempting to bring a pair for every occasion, don’t! Take between two and three pairs which can be multi-purposeful but do not exceed this limit.

Travel-sized items

They were invented for a reason, although many experts would suggest not purchasing any toiletries until you reach your destination. That way you will never have to give up space for something you don’t need to return, and you may finish and throw away if you’re smart. However, other necessities such as toothbrushes, towels, etc. all come with a travel size option, and you should use it. For example, a basic microfibre travel towel folds up much smaller than a regular towel and is quick-drying. These are amazing for any kinds of travels, rolling up as small as a T-shirt!

How to pack lightly for long trips

Weigh your luggage

If you’re traveling by airplane, then you will have a maximum weight you will be able to take, if you purchase some luggage scales you’ll know exactly how much your items weigh and whether there’s something non-essential that needs taking out and leaving behind.

Wherever you’re going, there’s always a simple and more effective solution, you might just have to sacrifice some of those luxuries that take up a load of space.

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How often should we really take vacations?


The world is obsessed with travel, and it’s great. However, the world of social media can make it appear as if some people are always abroad while holding down a full-time day job. There are of course people out there who do have that luxury, but not as much as you might be thinking. So, how often should we take vacations anyway?

Traveling vs. Vacation

Traveling can be quite full-on, and the inspiration behind the reason for traveling will determine whether you’re relaxing, on the move or both. If you’ve decided to go on a four-day city break somewhere, then you’re probably going to be rushing around trying to see as much as is possible in that time. However, if you’ve decided to walk the sandy beaches of Mallorca, then you’re likely going to be prioritizing relaxation instead of driving those dusty roads. Your motivation will decide how often you travel, whether it’s living and breathing culture or the desperate need to be away from the office, so to speak.

Photo: Unsplash.com

Time off work vs. Finances

Not a topic anyone likes talking about, how many days off work do you have left and how much time you can reasonably take off work before having to return to day-to-day life. While it might leave a bitter taste in your mouth, take solace in knowing that pretty much everyone has to make a living somehow. This will impact how often you can go traveling unless you take that giant leap and go on a late gap year, you’ll be somewhat restricted. You also need to make sure you keep things at home running smoothly, your rent or mortgage has to come before a quick trip to Fiji, sadly.

Family, friends, and relationships

Of course, we can’t forget the people around us, and if we’re always away, then those relationships might start to dwindle. That doesn’t mean you can’t go away, but making time for the people close to you is essential, and there is always the possibility you can plan your vacations together.

Photo: Unsplash.com

For the vacation-deprived

It’s all well and good talking about the people who want to go on vacation, but sometimes we feel like all of the above factors get in the way, so we stop ourselves from going on vacation as it might not be a priority over finances, family, children, career and so on. ‘Clever Journey’ suggests that people should spend, in total, between 30-45 days vacationing per year, with two longer vacations and a couple of smaller ones in between. This is supposed to keep us mentally healthier and happier. So if it’s been a while since your last vacation, you need to book some tickets now!

After all that, is there a limit? When you consider the restrictions there are just in day-to-day life, is it then reasonable to suggest there be any other limitations? You need to ask yourself how important vacations are to you, after all, you might prefer a short weekend trip down the road with a few close friends to regularly flying off to exotic countries. On the flip side, if you’re not an avid traveler at heart, then considering a few more vacations can be a healthier option.

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How to see five UK national parks by public transport

For National Parks Fortnight we pick ways walkers can dodge the traffic and explore these areas in a more eco-friendly way

Jewelled by emerald islands, fringed by beautiful wooded shores and surrounded by grand hills and mountains, Loch Lomond – where the Scottish Highlands “begin” – often feels much further from civilisation than it actually is. Balloch, on the southern shores of the loch, is just a 50-minute train ride from Glasgow Queen Street. From there, a network of waterbuses links a constellation of points across Loch Lomond and its neighbour in the Trossachs, Loch Katrine, and they make getting around a joyful novelty.

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Unclaimed Baggage Center – America’s weirdest attraction


Have you ever been to the airport baggage claim and seen that solitary case or two going around and around the machine, with no obvious owner? Many people forget their luggage, and airports every year can end up with loads of cases and unclaimed baggage. You’ve probably heard urban legends about what happens to baggage that is left in the airport, but what actually happens?

Well, it might surprise you to know that there is actually an Unclaimed Baggage Center in the United States where a lot of this luggage gets sent. Of course, there are attempts to trace the owners first, but sometimes, as we know, this is not always possible. So, let’s find out more about this remarkable, and unlikely American attraction!

Unclaimed Baggage Center, Scottsboro, Alabama

Scottsboro, Alabama

It might seem unlikely, but Scottsboro, Alabama is actually the location for this peculiar Unclaimed Baggage Center. This is the place for unclaimed baggage that the airports have not been able to find a home for. It’s a big warehouse filled with all manner of luggage in every size, color, and shape. You can take a road trip here, and check out one of the most unusual attractions in the United States. Created by Doyle Owens in 1970, the place has become hugely popular with tourists visiting the lakes and foothills of northern Alabama.

A treasure trove

The center is a veritable treasure trove of untouched items just begging to be discovered. A secondhand store supplied by the biggest US airline companies, and the only store in the whole country to sell lost luggage. Every case and bag has a story to tell, and beneath the dust over leather or nylon, there are so many mysteries to be uncovered. The enterprise was moved to its current home in 1995 and boasts more than one million visitors per year. There is also a stunning museum of oddities here that you can pass the time taking a look at too.

Unclaimed Baggage Center, Scottsboro, Alabama

Buying new attractions

With just about everything you could think of, there are so many new attractions to spend your money on here. 40,000 square feet of undiscovered junk that could well hold some treasures deep within. The great thing about this place is that it doubles as a thrift store, meaning you can buy all the stuff they have on display – it’s all been cleaned or washed beforehand of course. This often means you can get brand new stuff for prices much less than you would pay in a regular store. And, with 7,000 new items hitting the center every day, it’s not as though you need to worry about a limited range!

If you’ve been watching too many episodes of Storage Wars, and you’ve been bitten by the bidding bug, you should head to the Unclaimed Baggage Center and bid for some unclaimed luggage. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, and one person’s abandoned luggage can hold so many undiscovered surprises. This is something you can really get to enjoy properly by making the most of this attraction.

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Best qualities for a travel buddy


When it comes to traveling, there’s a lot to be said for bringing along a companion. Doing it alone can offer you a wealth of great experiences, and it’s an excellent opportunity to take some time to reflect. However, when you’ve got someone else by your side, you avoid the stress that comes from being by yourself in a strange new land. Who’s the best person for the job though? You don’t want to jet off with just anyone, so it’s good to know what to look out for in a travel buddy.

An excellent navigator

Exploring somewhere new is a lot of fun until you get lost. There are few things more terrifying than being trapped in the unknown with the sun slowly starting to set. That’s why it’s always ideal to travel with someone who’s an excellent navigator. From being able to read maps to actually knowing how to use a compass, this kind of person can be a huge lifesaver on your adventure.

Photo: Unsplash.com

A great friend

When you go traveling, you make a wealth of new memories. Those experiences are unique and will stay with you for years, so you want to have them with someone you care about. If you’re going to be reminiscing about your adventures in 10-20 years time, you want to know you’re still going to be friends with that person by then.

Have street smarts

You’re never more vulnerable than when you’re visiting somewhere new. Even if you’re used to the lifestyle of traveler, you can never know what to expect from your destination until you’re there. Everywhere is different, and if you don’t have your wits about you, the locals could get the better of you.

That’s why you should travel with someone who’s got street smarts. They’ll quickly learn how to handle themselves in the new environment so that they won’t stand out as a tourist. Unless you want the locals to take advantage of you, you never want to look like you don’t belong somewhere.

An outgoing personality

If you’re going to go traveling, you can’t be shy. The whole experience will throw you out of your comfort zone, so you have to be prepared to put yourself out there. Or, at the very least, have someone who’s willing to do that for you. An outgoing travel buddy will always be prepared to do the things you may be too afraid to do yourself – as long as they speak the local language, of course.

Photo: Unsplash.com

Relatively easy-going

The last thing you want to do while you’re traveling is fall out with your companion. You’re the only person that each other has, so you need to spend your time working together, not falling apart. It’s wise to avoid anyone you tend to argue with, and instead, go for someone that’s relatively easy-going. They won’t get stressed out when plans go awry, saving the pair of you from losing your cool.

Traveling should always be an unforgettable experience, no matter where it is that you end up. Just make sure you choose the right person to go with you.

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The best secluded beaches in the world


Everyone loves a trip to the beach, right? Feeling the sand between your toes, the sun on your skin, and the sound of the waves crashing around you is something you just can’t beat. However, it seems as though we’re not the only ones who love the beach. Whenever the sun shines, and the heat begins to soar, you can guarantee that your local beach will fill up of vacationers and natives alike. You have to search for a patch of sand to plop down your towel, and the chances of getting an ice cream before they sell out is almost impossible. So, why don’t you take a trip to these secluded beaches instead?

Crane Beach, Barbados

If you’ve always fancied a trip to Barbados, now you have even more reason to go. This Caribbean island is famous for being the home of some of the most impressive beaches in the world, and Crane Beach is no different. However, one of the differences between every other Barbadian beach and Crane Beach is the fact that the latter is extremely secluded. Although it is a public beach, you can guarantee that you’ll always find space on this beautiful pink sand. Remember your swimsuit, though, because you’ll definitely want to have a swim in this ocean!

Crane Beach, Barbados

Smuggler’s Cove, Greece

There are so many beaches in Greece, so what makes Smuggler’s Cove so special? Well, this is the picture that always comes up when you search for Greece, but not many people actually make their way to this place. This beach can only be reached by boat, but if you do manage to book a trip, you’ll soon see what all of the fuss is about. The white rock stands tall above the golden sands and the baby blue water, and it’s definitely a photo opportunity.

Hidden Beach, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

There’s a high chance that you’ve seen pictures of this beach before because it’s the ultimate Instagram spot. Located in a circular cave, a trip to Hidden Beach is not for the fainthearted. To get here, you must make your way through tight cracks in rock and waterfalls. Yet, the end result is definitely worth it. The crescent-moon-shaped beach offers some of the clearest natural water you’ve ever seen, and the sand is as clear as anything. The best part? Very few people make the trip there.

Hidden Beach, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Green Island Beach, Antigua

If you’re looking for a little slice of paradise, then Green Island Beach in Antigua has got your back. The whole island is beautiful and offers lush forest and crystal clear waters. Then, as you make your way to the beach, you’ll be taken away by the fact that the slice is all yours to enjoy. With very few visitors, the island is almost always deserted. This means the coral reefs are also perfect for those who love to get below the surface and dive under.

If you’re looking for hidden and secluded beaches, then you definitely need to check these out.

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Bradley Wiggins’ tour of Flanders

‘You couldn’t find a small area with more cycling history or more hospitality.’ Ahead of tomorrow’s big race, Wiggo takes us for a spin around his favourite hills, cafes and villages

An hour into our ride through the Flemish Ardennes, Sir Bradley Wiggins is in his element. In this small corner of Belgium, every hill and cobbled road has a tale to tell from a century of cycling history, and he knows them all. It’s a strange experience to have a Tour de France winner – and a man who has played a significant role in the local culture – as your tour guide, but here I am following in the wheels of not just one legend but the hundreds who have helped to shape a region where cycling is much more than a sport.

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Travel | The Guardian

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Why you should avoid eating out in touristy areas while traveling


If you have traveled to a foreign country, then chances are you want to soak in the culture and have new experiences. One of the most forgotten and overlooked ways to experience this is via the local cuisine; however, almost every major city in the world will cater for a westernized taste, even if it’s simply a McDonald’s on the corner. Many passionate travelers will plead with you to avoid these at all costs, just because there is most likely out-of-this-world amazing local, authentic food literally around the corner.

You will disappoint yourself

All those dishes you make at home have origins of their own, why not explore them? One popular destination is Thailand, so why not try a truly authentic Thai green curry at a Thai restaurant. Many eateries may try and fool you into believing they’re the real deal when, chances are, they’re built for mass production tailored to the western pallet. You’ve come to a new country to explore the differences, so don’t then find yourself eating the generic recipes you can find back home.

Photo: Unsplash.com

You will lose the opportunity of a lifetime

If you’re one of those incredibly ambitious traveling types, then you might not return for a long time, if ever again. Don’t waste this opportunity by gorging yourself on steak and chips before traversing around the Louvre in Paris, or choose chicken pie after exploring the eerie catacombs of Rome; it would probably be a considerable anticlimax? One of the best places to start is by asking the locals; they will be only too happy to point you in the direction of a fabulous restaurant or food stall that will represent their home town to new visitors. One of the most significant pieces of advice travelers will give when it comes to food is ‘eat where the locals eat’, that way you immerse yourself in the day-to-day of what it’s like to live in that area as much as you can, but that’s why it’s probably best to ask them first hand.

It’s all about the little quirks

Sure, you might find a busy foreign food chain that’s filled with the hustle and bustle of hungry tourists – but does that look like the true authentic experience you were looking for? It’s all about the quirks in life, for many it’s the tiny street cafe on the corner that’s filled with local historical memorabilia, or local artwork. Perhaps they sell unique dishes you can’t get anywhere else in the area? A large and basic restaurant chain will not likely end up in the amazing stories you tell your friends or family when you go back home. Find the niches, go to their farmers stalls, if they have them; most popular towns and cities do, because they’ll provide the produce straight from the source.

Photo: Unsplash.com

Wherever you go, always do your research first, and have an idea on how to go off the unbeaten track safely and well-informed. There are astonishing foods and dishes out there you’ll have likely never heard off, all it takes is a little courage to try something new, and you’ll probably discover your next favorite foods!

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10 of the best city B&Bs in Europe: readers’ travel tips

After wolfing down breakfast at these comfy B&Bs, our tipsters were ready to explore the town – often with top recommendations from their hosts

Outside the city centre but only 20 minutes or so by bus, this B&B is beautifully furnished and great value. One of the best reasons to stay here is Yolande, the friendly owner, who couldn’t do enough for us. She recommended great restaurants and gave us tips on what to see in Bordeaux. Her incredible breakfast spread, complete with homemade jam, was the best breakfast I’ve had in France, and that’s saying something. Bordeaux is a fantastic city – a cleaner, friendlier and warmer version of Paris.
Doubles from €80, laferrade.com
Helena

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Travel | The Guardian

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The biggest party countries in the world


Traveling the globe appears to be a common dream shared by people worldwide, although everyone has different preferences when it comes to what you want to experience. Some enjoy letting fate run its course, letting chance dictate what happens next, and others enjoy a perfectly planned, tight-packed experience filled with activities, cuisine, and adventure. Whether you’re chasing pavements in search of yourself, or to expand your cultural knowledge, sometimes you just need to let loose; so, where’s the party at?

The Netherlands, Amsterdam

Popular with both first-time travelers and the experienced wanderers, Amsterdam has it all, and you’ll probably find yourself returning not long after your first venture. While Amsterdam lures the lonely traveler with its charm and tranquility, it has a different side to it which might surprise you; it’s a massive party hotspot. That’s right, if you think you’ll be hanging your backpack up at 8 pm for lack of things to do, then you’re sorely mistaken. Amsterdam is packed with incredible clubs, pubs, and other midnight establishments. If you’re looking for a party then you’ll find it – whether you want highrise or subterranean, chances are it’s just around the corner.

Amsterdam

Ibiza, Spain

Everyone’s heard of Ibiza, and if you love a party, then you need to grab a friend, pack your bag, and book your flight. While the partying experience might be a little pricey, many have said it was worth the dollar. Ibiza isn’t just about strobe light and dance music, there is also the chilled party vibe option where you can enjoy the island without completely overdoing it. If you’re looking for sun, strobe lights, and sensational music, then Ibiza is the place to go.

London, England

Full of life, wonder, and eccentricity; there’s always a party in England’s capital city! All you need to do it prowl the busy streets of Leicester square to be invited to crazy one-off secret party adventures. Of course, keep your wits about you, but London can become the best party you have ever experienced. Whether you’re looking for a wild jaunt in a London pub or a wacky alternative club experience in Camden town – London will have everything you’re looking for.

Absolutely anywhere in Greece

Nightlife is abundant on the exotic Greek islands, and there is no getting away from it. Your choice of destination will be based on just how wild and cultured you want it to be. Kavos, in Corfu, is a famously wild party destination, but sometimes things can get a little too wild. So much that there are TV shows dedicated to showing the horrors that happen. There are plenty of other areas where you can enjoy a fun, but cultured experience, doing it as the locals do. Mykonos has been classified as wild as Ibiza, a reputation worthy of only the most popular party areas! However, if you’re looking for somewhere a little more sophisticated, then Santorini is your place.

Greece

It depends what kind of party you’re looking for, whether you want to go wild on the shores of a warm beach or get crazy surrounded by the city lights. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s always a place to be.

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Travel romances: Are they the real deal?


It’s a fantasy, to be swept up off your feet in a whirlwind romance, filled with a warm breeze billowing through your hair, an ice cold drink in one hand, and your dream partner in the other. It’s a pretty common romantic trope, meeting the love of your life on an exotic holiday; but are they the real deal?

While it’s entirely plausible that you might find your soulmate meandering through the beautiful city of Paris snacking on a croissant, or adventuring the untrodden forests of Croatia before hopping in a raft down a stream, what are the chances you’ll be able to convince them to meet the family?

Photo: Unsplash.com

Spring fling or an everlasting winter?

So, perhaps winter is not the best way to describe a relationship, but you get the drift. Starting a relationship can be full of wonder, excitement, and discovery – just like exploring a country! So, it stands to reason to suggest that those rose-tinted glasses might have some particularly dark lenses. That doesn’t mean it can’t work though; it just means that, while you’ll have an amazing story to tell your future grandchildren about how you met, you might have a few more hurdles to overcome before you set your heart.

An unwitting resident or a travel companion?

There are so many ways to meet people, travel is most certainly one for broadening those horizons. However, the chances are, if you’ve fallen for someone local, they’re probably not thinking about uprooting their whole life and following you on your adventure of self-discovery. All hope is not lost, many people have found love and romance with a travel companion and the best part of that is – you definitely have something in common.

Making the first move

It all depends on how it unravels, it would be a tragedy if your soulmate got away just because you didn’t get enough time together, but sometimes you can get there in the nick of time! You never know, it could have always been destined to be that breathtaking one-time-only experience, but then again, perhaps there’s a mutual love there that can be worked through. If you don’t take the plunge, then you’ll never know.

Photo: Unsplash.com

Where do we live?

So, if you’re one of those crazy-lucky couples where it all works out, and you accidentally fell in love with someone who lives in the same country as you – good for you! Other people, however, might have to make some forward-thinking decisions about moving in together or opting for the ever-popular ‘long-distance-relationship.’ Long-distance isn’t for everyone, but if your love is strong enough, it will prevail, at least for a few years until one of you want something more and then you’ll likely have to re-think your strategy.

While travel romances can be a wonderful tale to tell and give you that warm fuzzy feeling, there are still a lot of things you need to consider. Ultimately it depends on the two people involved, how quickly the relationship develops, and the sacrifices you’re willing to make. Chances are, it’s probably going to stay a great one-off story.

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Carlsberg, probably the best new district in Copenhagen

A new hotel, once part of the famous brewery, is the latest addition to a neighbourhood with an industrial-chic feel and a sustainable ethos

The smell of fermented hops is long gone but the old Carlsberg brewery’s former storage building is buzzing in a way not seen in over a decade. That’s because the work cries of labourers have been replaced by the chatter of visitors checking in to the new 155-room Hotel Ottilia that now lies behind the building’s red-brick shell.

With a wink to the past and a nod to the future, Hotel Ottilia (doubles from £120 B&B), which opened in January, pairs unpolished architectural details, such as the remaining grain silos and malt chambers, against modern features that include a three-storey x-ray light sculpture, which stretches upwards from the lobby like a strand of DNA.

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Travel | The Guardian

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Countries with the nicest people


If you are a well-traveled person, you may know that some countries are certainly more welcoming than others. When your plane touches down thousands of miles from home, it’s always nice to be greeted with a friendly smile and a warm embrace. On the other hand it’s never comforting for the welcome to feel slightly frosty and unwanted – ignored, stared at, and just overall uninviting.

Every country around the globe has their own little sense of humanity – rules, norms, traditions – and it makes you wonder, which of the world’s countries are said to have the most welcoming and friendliest people? Judging from a survey done by global expat network InterNations, we’ve created a list detailing some of the countries that polled in as having the friendliest attitudes towards ‘out of towners.’ FYI, USA ranked 36th out of 180…

Countries with the nicest people

Spain

“80% say people have a friendly attitude towards out of towners.”
Spain is one of the most popular European tourist destinations, attracting people for its relaxed beach vibes and glorious tapas food. It’s said that the friendly attitude comes from the country’s chilled casual vibes and leisurely lifestyle – siesta anyone?.

Canada

“81% say people have a friendly attitude towards out of towners.”
America’s northern neighbors have ranked highly, attracting visitors with its glorious natural scenery and charming way of life. It’s a common notion that Canadians are reputably open-minded, tolerant, and benevolent. Right, where’s our passports? We’re moving to Canada.

Vietnam

“83% say people have a friendly attitude towards out of towners.”
Having become an increasingly popular tourist destination – especially for backpackers – Vietnam attracts tourists for its one-of-a-kind beaches and endearing culture. Known to be a particularly safe country, Vietnam ranks highly for its friendly vibes and gentle locals.

Countries with the nicest people

Mexico

“87% say people have a friendly attitude towards out of towners.”
America’s southern neighbors attract a host of different visitors – from beach-goers to hikers – all in searching to get a taste of Mexico’s distinctively vibrant culture. It’s said that Mexico is notably welcoming to people with their positivity and easy-to-adapt way of life that naturally embraces everyone.

Taiwan

“86% say people have a friendly attitude towards out of towners.”
Taiwan is an island off the Eastern coast of China and is not a particularly popular tourist destination. However, it does attract people for its fascinating culture of delightful spiritual temples and the lively central capital hub Taipei. It’s said that the Taiwanese are particularly friendly to visitors as they are proud of their independence from China. They offer an open and warm welcome to foreigners.

Portugal

“94% say people have a friendly attitude towards out of towners.”
Portugal appeals to tourists for its thriving cities and coastal resorts, beautiful island scenery, and intriguingly lovely food and culture. The country is said to have a great sense of neighborliness, with an attitude of looking out for each other, valuing comradery and geniality.

Well there you have it, folks, if you’re looking to venture off traveling and want to ensure you are greeted with a smile and a perhaps a nice warming hug…You know where to go!

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