Baltic Cruises Are Top Of The List In 2018

Going on a cruise has always been a favourite way for me to take a break and relax. Usually I enjoy travelling around the world with a backpack over my shoulder, staying in remote places and traveling quite uncomfortably. All of those things make cruises even more special and luxurious.

I recently went on a Baltic cruise holiday for the first time, it certainly will not be my last!The Baltic region is fast becoming a hot spot for cruising, that’s due to its superb culture, stunning architecture and rich history. I enjoyed every minute of my time at this fantastic destination. There’s so much to love about a Baltic cruise it’s difficult to fit into just one article, but here’s what I loved most and why I think you should all try it in 2018.

Top Class Food

Very quietly ‘New Nordic Cuisine’ has been having a big impact on the culinary scene, it has put Scandinavia well and truly on the map as a great destination for food lovers. One of the of the main restaurants responsible for this is Noma. If you stop off in Copenhagen then head straight for this Michelin starred restaurant. It can be tricky to get a table so plan ahead.

Full-On Itineraries

The greatest advantage for going on a Baltic cruise is the fact you get to visit so many cities in such short time. Many of the ports are quite close to one another making it easy to pack in as much as possible on your cruise. You can expect to visit at least four or five cities on your cruise, most include Copenhagen and Helsinki, plus lots more.

Hop Aboard In The UK

For me this is a huge plus because I come back to the UK each year for a couple of months. This means I can visit my family and once I am finished hop onboard a cruise ship bound for the Baltic region. I usually pick a boat up from Dover, but there are options of Portsmouth and Southampton too. If you feel like making the cruise even more memorable then you have the chance to catch the boat from Tower Bridge in London – remember that these are super popular, so make sure you book way in advance so you’re not disappointed.

The Top Reasons To Visit Disneyland Paris

I have to admit that once I reached adulthood I wasn’t too interested in visiting theme parks again. That sentiment changed the moment I had kids – they wanted to go and what’s more I loved going too! Here are some top reasons to go to Disneyland Paris:

Keep the kids happy

This is a no brainer because your kids are going to love every second of their time at Disneyland. They get to eat sweets, go on great rides, meet cartoon characters and watch some amazing shows. What kid wouldn’t like that?

The Rides

Theme park rides are one of the main reasons to go to any park, Disneyland seems to have a never ending supply of them. They have it perfectly set up, so if your with toddlers you’ll find suitable rides and if your with older kids there are plenty of hair raising rollercoasters to try out. Star Tours, Space Mountain 2 and Big Thunder would be my top picks.

You can see it in one day

One of the negative parts about visiting Disneyland in America is that it’s massive, possibly too big. Paris is perfect, it’s smaller, less busy and you can (if planned carefully) see it all in one day.

See a new country

Sometimes kids can be slightly apprehensive when you float the idea of going to a new country, that is eliminated when they hear you’re going to Disneyland. The park in Paris gives them a great opportunity to have fun whilst seeing another country.

The perfect family trip

If like me you have kids of different ages then a trip to Disneyland Paris is absolutely ideal. That’s because there are plenty of things to do for all ages and interests, plus many activities that the whole family can do together. My kids still chat about our holiday even though we last visited 2 years ago – it puts a smile on every parent’s face if their kids talk about having the trip of a lifetime!

Have you been to Disneyland Paris? I would love to hear all about the holiday and any tips you might have for other readers here. Just put your comments in the box below – thank you for sharing!

Time to relax in a spa hotel

When you think of rest and relaxation the first thing that springs to mind is to take a break from the daily grind and stay in a nice spa hotel. The amount of choice available out there is incredible so once you have chosen your destination, maybe one in your own country or an exotic break to one of the wonderful beaches of tropical Thailand, you are then going to have to decide what you want from your well-deserved break. Different spa’s offer different treatments, but if it’s unusual you want, here are a number of suggestions.

First one to make the list is cupping. This is a practice used extensively throughout East and Southeast Asia. Hot cups, sometimes made from bamboo, are placed on and around the torso and left in place for around twenty to thirty minutes. Although a little painful at first the treatment is said to improve blood circulation and aches and pains. The only downside is that it leaves what look like circular bruise on the body which may take as long as three weeks to disappear.

Another unusual therapy is the Moroccan practice of Hammam. Not exclusive to Morocco as it can also be found in Turkey as a Turkish bath, the treatment begins with a twenty minute naked steam bath. Following this you are then led away by, to coin the term loosely, a masseur proceeds to scrub you senseless removing numerous layers of dead skin. You are then quite roughly slapped around and bent into various positions only contortionists usually get into. To top it all off you then have freezing water poured all over you. Not for the faint hearted but good fun.

For those who like getting down and dirty, then a mud bath might be up your street. Basically you enter the bath of warm gooey mud and begin to cover every possible part of the body including the hair. by letting the warm mud dry on your body you are said to be absorbing the nutrient and mineral rich benefits of the mud into your body. Once it’s been on for about thirty minutes a nice warm shower is taken to wash the bad stuff away. You may think that your body is pretty clean afterwards but you can guarantee you will still be finding bit of the mix for at least a month later.

Cornish Treats Waiting To Be Discovered In England

There is no better place to spend the summer in the beautiful county of Cornwall in England. With over 1000 kilometers of coastline and a history engrossed in mysticism and magic, there is no better place to take a family holiday. Whether you are camping, glamping or living it up in a fancy hotel, there is plenty to see and do for every generation. The climate is just right and the surrounding water is always a nice temperature that is fuelled by the warm currents being brought up from the Caribbean Sea. You can even find palm trees! Here are some of the must see sights in this wonderful county.

So, where does the magic and mysticism play a part? Tintagel, close to Padstow, is said to be the home of the legendary King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Legend has it that Tintagel Castle was Camelot and can be found built on a rocky outcrop completely surrounded by the sea. Also to be found nearby is Merlins cave, the famous mystic who helped and guided Arthur through much of his life. Most people see the King Arthur story as fiction, but don’t say that to the locals.

Dubbed the eighth wonder of the modern world, another must see attraction in Cornwall is the amazing Eden Project. Hewn out of a huge chalk pit over 30 years ago, the site now boasts five biospheres that each portray different climates, flora and insect fauna from across the globe. Whether you want dry and arid or experience how it would feel to trek through a rain forest, Eden will certainly deliver and leave you amazed.

Also, you cannot go to Cornwall without visiting one of the many little typical Cornish fishing villages dotted all around the county. Best of all is a sumptuous Cornish cream tea. Usually taken in the afternoon, this delight is made up of a delicately light scone with delicious clotted cream and a large helping of good old English strawberry jam, all washed down with a good old cup of char. Sit and watch the world go by and watch the fisherman bring in their catch of the day. It really doesn’t get better than that.

These are just a few things to take into consideration when planning your holiday in Cornwall but there is so much more to see and do.

 

Canadian City Breaks: Top Five Highlights 

A city break can be a glorious thing – the chance to explore a city that you’ve not seen before, sampling the cuisine, the culture and the entertainment that is within its limits.

While it may be tempted to jet off  somewhere close to home for your vacation, it’s worthwhile to fly all the way to Canada and see what the cities are all about. With so many city delights on offer, it’s difficult to choose where to head, but these five highlights of the country may help. If you’re planning to visit more than one of the following cities then we recommend you rent a car when you get there, who doesn’t love a road trip? It’s the best way to truly experience a new country and its cities.

Vancouver

It may not have as much history as some of the other Canadian cities, but it certainly makes up for it in experiences. Mountains and beaches are both at home here, with skiing on Grouse Mountain during the winter and surfing at Wreck Beach during the summer months being popular pastimes for locals and visitors alike. Whether you choose to be active and take part in these sports, or you’d prefer to stay on the city streets, browsing the shops, dining out or taking a stroll through Stanley Park, there’s plenty to see and do.

Montreal

From the 17th century architecture to the modern day skyscrapers, Montreal has an abundance of sights and attractions to see during your visit. As darkness falls, there’s a popular party scene while your days could be filled with tasty culinary treats, world-class museums and fabulous shops. Take an elevator ride several storeys below the surface and you will be able to see the Underground City too.

Toronto

Toronto is big, real big, so if you’re heading here, you may want more than a day or two to explore it. So much diversity is packed into this one city, which will likely leave you pleasantly overwhelmed. Take a trip to the top of the CN Tower to see for miles around, or explore the various multicultural corners, including Chinatown, Greektown and Little Italy. Plus, Niagara Falls is less than two hours away . 

Ottawa

Canada’s capital may not be massive and may not be as historic as some of the other cities, but it certainly makes up for it when it comes to relaxation, laid-back attitudes and a fabulous charm. Lively, vibrant and clean, the city is full of delights, including a myriad of museums, boutiques and family-friendly sites.

Canada has plenty of cities to explore – take your pick for your next city break!

How to Save Money to Travel

Hitting the road with a rucksack on your back is one of the greatest experiences that you will ever have. Throughout the world there are literally thousands of people young and old who have taken the decision to explore this amazing planet of ours and the people who live within it. The hardest thing about traveling is financing it and whilst it may be difficult, it is more than achievable. And so, whether you have dreams of seeing the Great Wall of China, visiting the Taj Mahal, getting involved in one of the motorcycle tours in Himalaya or taking your photo with Christ the Redeemer, here is how you can get  the money together to realize your dream.

Online Work

Getting a second job is not always easy when you consider the time restraints of your existing job, and other responsibilities which you may have. The perfect option therefore when it comes to some additional earnings, is to make money online. There are various ways in which you can do this from filling out online surveys, matched betting or a wide range of freelance work which you can find on the net. Not only does working online give you the chance to make some extra cash but you can do so from the comfort of your own home, at a time that suits you.

Selling Things

We can all be guilty of hoarding things that we no longer need and you could well be sitting on plenty of cash. Take a day to have a root around your home or your room, and  dig out anything which is no longer of use to you. Once you have all of the clothes, games, tech, gadgets and miscellaneous items, take to eBay and auction them off. Even things which you may not think hold much value, may very well be valuable to someone else so you should always have a go at trying to sell everything that you find. Be ruthless when searching for things to sell and keep your eye on  the big picture in terms of your travels.

Stopping Your Spends

Saving up to go traveling should be a combination of looking for ways to make more money, and learning how to keep hold of the cash which you have. For this reason, it is vital that you are on the front foot in terms of reducing how much money you spend each day. The key here is to employ the 10 second rule, simply put, you should stop for 10 seconds before buying something be it clothing, coffee or a sandwich. During those 10 seconds, think about what you want to see when you are traveling and you will soon find that you are spending far less. As mentioned before, you must think about the big picture, a $50 night out could easily be a flight between Vietnam and Laos, or entry to one of the Seven Wonders of the World. A great trick here is to put a photo in your purse or wallet of the sights that you wish to see, whenever you think about spending money, you can look at the photo and think again.

The harder you work on putting money together before you go, the bigger the rewards will be when you finally get on the road.

Why I Love Visiting Mexico

There is nothing quite like the uniqueness of visiting Mexico and a lot of the time it is always losing to its bigger brother, the United States. It is in my opinion even better than the states and I wanted to talk a little bit about why I love it even more. So sit back, relax and enjoy reading about one of the best places to travel on the planet.

The Riviera Maya

This is one of the best if not the best parts of all of Mexico and there is so much on offer here, from diving and snorkelling, to restaurants, nightlife and shopping. This is one of the premier diving destinations in the entire country and the world. You can see tropical fish, coral reefs, whales sharks and other amazing wildlife too. The Riviera Maya vacation rentals aren’t bad either, especially in this part of the world with some of the best beaches and weather that you can possibly imagine.

The diversity

Mexico is a large place with a lot to offer in terms of landscapes, climates, food, culture and people. There are so many ways to experience it, from the beaches of the gulf of Mexico or in the gritty streets of Tijuana, near the California border. There really is something for everyone here, which is one of the best things when it comes to travel. Everyone should do it and enjoy it in their own way.

The historical sites

Mexico has an interesting history with the Aztecs and Mayans, which were two different people that had very interesting cultures and beliefs for their time. These two civilisations have left their mark on Mexico with a huge number of historic sites that dot the country. The Mayans are very famous for their stepped pyramids and intricate cities that they built, many of which have been well preserved and you can visit to this day. My favourite is definitely El Castillo pyramid.

The beaches

These are without a doubt one of the highlights of Mexico and the country certainly benefits from its huge coastline and ideal location, it also has a very warm and beautiful climate to enjoy the great beaches. The beaches of the Gulf of Mexico are my personal favourites, as these are your typical white sand beaches that have the most amazing deep blue water that you could only dream about. If you wanted to you could combine a visit to Tulum beach with the adjacent Mayan ruins, which was absolutely perfect for me on my last trip there.

Argentina: three useful tips for travelers on a tight schedule

 

When people think about Argentina, they usually associate it with mountains, falls, gauchos, wine, football, drama, and an endless inhabited bunch of remote lands. Sometimes, when speaking of a remote place, people refer to it as “La Pampa”.

Then, when the time comes to plan a real visit to Argentina, it can result difficult to squeeze every location in one trip. Let’s have a look at some of the most common doubts, and the tips to cope with them:

With so many attractions, how to decide what to choose?

After making a first research, familiarize with the popular destinations and the minimum days to visit each one of them; and locate the destinations on a map. It will definitively help you have a better panorama about the distances, and to trigger new ideas about how to combine them with the main attractions in the neighboring countries.

Then, check out when is the best time of the year to visit them all, and how many flights you would need to do it. You will realize that some destinations are not really worth the visit in some months of the year, which will help you set priorities.

Many flights for just a few days

You don’t have to swing by Buenos Aires to rejoin every other place. For instance, Córdoba is a good hub, or there are even some direct flights between the main regional cities (you just need to check which days they operate).

Some destinations can be joined overland (or by Fjords), through singular sceneries, demanding the same time than doing it with a long stopover flight. For example, you can go from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas in a full day bus or a private transfer. Or you can go from Bariloche to Puerto Montt, through the “Cross Lakes” excursion. This opens up a new world of possibilities to combine many of the regions in one trip.

What to do on the arrival/departure days at the different destinations

Those who don’t have the chance to leave those days free (in order to enjoy the places in a more relaxed way, which is suggested) come to a very common doubt: is it possible to go on an excursion on the day of my arrival/departure?

Well, even though it depends on many factors, it’s useful to take the following into consideration:

If it’s on the day of your departure, there are no major inconveniences apart from being aware of the airport location and the time that you need to reach it. If it’s on your arrival day, have in mind that flight delays in Argentina are very common, so either calculate a big gap between your arrival time and the beginning of your excursion, or go on a private tour.

You can actually visit a lot of “essentials” under this scheme. The only disadvantage, maybe, is that in some places it is better to set a particular order for the attractions to visit (a matter of leaving the best for the end ☺).

If you take an evening flight on your day out, for example, you would be able to visit: Brazilian falls (Iguazu), Tierra del Fuego National Park (Ushuaia), one of the navigations to the Glaciers Upsala & Spegazzini (El Calafate), Short Circuit (Bariloche), and many other places around the country.

One way or the other, don’t miss out your chances of getting the best out of your visit, by asking a local travel expert for advice.

How To Make Your Airport Experience Easier

Airports can certainly be a stressful place, but they don’t have to be as long as you know all the tips and tricks for navigating them successfully. I thought today would be a good day to write about all the things I know about getting through any airport as quickly and as easily as possible.

Getting there and getting to your final destination

One thing you need to understand about airports is that it can be an absolute nightmare to get there and also to get from the airport to where you need to go. This is generally a problem that is very underestimated and often the stress starts from getting to the airport. I would highly recommend an airport transfer because it is fast, efficient and much more comfortable. I recently tried out an airport transfer company called Blacklane and it was great because it was comfortable, fast and professional. The best thing was that my flight was 45 minutes late and there is one hour of included waiting time included in the price!

Ask

When you don’t have a lot of time, simply speaking to airport employees can be a very big help. Nobody wants to miss their flight and simply saying something can go a very long way. If this fails, your fellow passengers may show some sympathy and let you go ahead of them in the queue. Remember that if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

Be ready

When going through security it is always a good idea to remove any items that you need to before you reach the front of the line. This includes metallics objects, laptops, etc. For some reason people always tend to do this at the very end and it holds people up. If you do this while you are waiting you can simply have your things scanned and then walk straight through. This is not only good for you, but for the others that just want to get through security and get onto their respective flights.

Don’t line up to get on the plane

There is always that feeling that you are going to miss your flight, but the reality is that the flight won’t leave without you and you can quite simply stay seated and watch the line for the plane. The most important thing to remember is that your seat cannot be occupied by somebody else. If you do have a slightly bigger bag as carry on luggage then it may be a good idea to line up ensure that you get enough space in the overhead lockers on the plane.

5 Quick Tips To Improve Your Travel

 

I am all about making travel quicker, easier and more convenient and I have learnt many of these things along the way. Here are five quick tips for improving your travel experience and making it so much easier than before.

No more rushing to the airport

By staying in Stansted airport hotels you can greatly reduce the stress involved in rushing to the airport.
Airport hotels
are the perfect place to chill out and save you so much time because the airport is extremely close. This is great for flights in the morning or for those that don’t live especially close to the airport. I really enjoy doing this too because I can take my time and not get stressed out about things.

Noise cancelling headphones

These are a literal godsend when it comes to traveling and are something that you will thank me for recommending. Noise canceling headphones, of course, don’t get rid of sound completely but they dull out the most annoying parts of this. This is particularly the case for the droning sound that planes make. You will actually notice how much less fatigued you feel at the end of the journey.

Wash your face and feet

I find that traveling makes my feet swell up and my face just feels hot and flushed. The best way to deal with this is to wash your face and feet whenever you get the chance. Wash your feet with cold water to get the circulation in your legs going, especially for those long flights. This is something that I love to do whilst in transit and have a long layover.

Top up on your prescriptions before you leave

It is always a great idea to go to the pharmacist and get some more of any medication that you take before you travel, this will definitely save you the trouble of finding it all yourself on your trip, when really you should exploring an amazing new place and not worrying about your health. It is a good idea to keep medication in the original packaging for customs reasons, as some countries may be stricter on certain types of medications.

Have some backup money

This may sound pretty obvious, but there are a huge number of people that don’t look after their money situation when they travel and this can definitely become a problem. Don’t just travel without a backup, because things do happen and you will end up in tears. It is always great to have a spare card or some extra cash that is stashed separately from the rest of your money and main cards.