Why are more people starting travel blogs these days?

It seems that these days there are an increasing number of people that are choosing to learn how to start a travel blog. Travel blogs, in recent years, have become extremely popular as the world becomes much more accessible to all of us.

Learning how to start a travel blog is not only great fun but it also allows you to earn money, get free things and let the world know more about your travels/experiences. I started a travel blog a few years ago and I haven’t looked back since. It’s opened up a whole new world to me and I just wished that I had learned how to start a travel blog a lot sooner.

Obviously everyone would like to have one of the world’s best travel blogs, but you don’t need to be one of the big bloggers, lots of people have a blog because it acts as a personal diary, allows friends and family to keep up with there travels and also it can inspire others to hit the road and explore this amazing planet.

One of the best things about having a travel blog are the amazing perks that come along with it. I can not believe the amount of free things that people give me and also that people will pay me to write for them or review a product of theirs.

SO how can you get these perks? The first step is to learn how to start a travel blog, then you have to go after these things.

Guest Posting

This is when a company or a brand will ask to publish an article on your website which you label as a ‘guest post’ – it’s almost like them paying you for advertising space because they want your audience to read about their product.

Tour Reviews

This is always a good one for travel bloggers because you can contact lots of tour companies around the world to see if you can review their tour service. By doing this they will more often than not offer you the tour for free – which traveller doesn’t like getting free trips? I know I don’t!

Copywriting

If people like the style of your writing then you will often be approached by people asking you to write articles for them. This can be anything from travel articles to general articles about life – and don’t forget that people are prepared to pay big money too!

4 Hidden Gems in Peru

 

Peru is world famous for its rich culture and history, particularly with many Inca sites, such as Machu Picchu, and is world famous as a South America Tours destination. Of course there is so much more to this beautiful country and today in this article we will go through some of the alternative places to visit in Peru, so read on to find out more.

 

The other Machu Picchu

Choquequirao is known as the “other” Machu Picchu and actually translated to “cradle of gold” and no Peru Tour should ever be completed without a visit here. It is located about forty kilometres away from Machu Picchu, but has a much more authentic and unexplored feel, especially with a significantly lower number of tourists. The challenge of the hike is something that many experienced travellers will relish in, so make sure you pack some good walking shoes. In the end you will be rewarded by stunning views that go as far as the eye can see, huge canyons, Inca ruins and the feeling of almost total isolation!

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Lake Titicaca

This lake lies between Peru and Bolivia and is about 3800 metres above sea level and is a well known tourist spot, that is generally teeming with tourists. The best way to view the lake is of course in the route less travelled and the best place to do this is at Llachon. This small place is located 80 kilometres of Puno and offers many options for hiking, historic sites and even experiencing the lake from a kayak. This place is a far cry from the other tourist saturated viewing points of the lake and is sure to please someone looking for a bit more peace and quiet.

Kuelap Fortress, 3000 meters (9840 feet) above sea level, is seen in the Andean region of Chachapollas, in this aerial view taken June 25, 2011. The archaeological site of Kuelap, constructed by the pre-Inca Chachapollas community in about 800 AD, consists of more than four hundred buildings with stone walls of heights of up to 19 meters (62 feet). REUTERS/Janine Costa (PERU - Tags: TRAVEL ENVIRONMENT)

Kuelap Fortress

This fortified citadel was built by the Chachapoyas and sits 900 metres above sea level overlooking the Utcubamba Valley in northern Peru. Getting to this magical place is not the easiest, but it sure is worth it, especially with its ruins, which feature huge stone walls (about 600 metres high) and hundreds of small round dwellings that are protected by these walls. Kuelap Fortress is a place that you won’t forget and you can find out more about it here.

 

Cotahuasi Canyon

Cotahuasi Canyon is actually the deepest canyon in the world and of course everyone knows the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but it is interesting to note that it is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon at over 3400 metres deep. Like most destinations in this article, this is not the easiest place to reach and is often ignored for the more travel friendly Colca Canyon. No words could probably accurately describe this amazing place, but there are a multitude of things to enjoy, like waterfalls, alpacas, amazing views and of course hot springs.

Why I love the internet

I don’t know exactly what I would do without the internet these days. Well for starters I wouldn’t be able to post this article online waxing lyrical about how amazing it is. It’s how I earn a living and travel the world, but that’s not the only reason why it’s the best thing since sliced bread.

It has made our lives a lot easier in so many ways. I accept that it might have made a lot of us a bit less sociable but the benefits certainly outweigh the negatives.

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Earning Money Online

I am fortunate enough to be able to make a living online and travel at the same time. The internet allows be to be a digital nomad, so I can be anywhere in the world but still work. That is of course if there’s a stable internet connection, which I am sure we all know can be the most frustrating thing at times. It has also allowed a whole host of people to be free to live and work where they want. Going a step further, it has led to some of the most successful ideas earning big bucks for people.

Staying in touch

With out the internet, we would all struggle to stay in contact with people as much as we do. It’s even more important when we travel. Being able to call friends and family for free, upload pictures so that they can see where I am and also post stories on my blog, are all ways of how I can stay in touch with everyone. The good old postcard is still utilised from time to time, but I know my mum is always happy with the email every other day to let her know everything is ok. When I have kids the internet will be my saviour, I can’t imagine how worried parents were before the internet was invented and their kids went off to travel the world!

Being able to buy anything

We don’t have to trek around stores anymore looking for that one item that seems impossible to find. Now with online shopping becoming bigger and bigger we are able to find anything we want, what’s better is that we can pretty much get it shipped to wherever we want as well. The prices are also crazy online! Groupon vouchers are a great example of that, I am able to to order new clothes whilst on the road at knock down rate and have them delivered to the next hotel I’ll be staying at.

So, thank you internet for making work, travel and leisure so much easier for all of us!

How to choose your summer colours

When the sunshine comes out it’s time to bring out the colour from your wardrobe, vivid colours are on show and are always being worn by the latest trendsetters. We’re all happy when it’s warm and sunny outside so we should make sure that our clothes reflect our mood, be confident and wear some bright colours this summer.

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Whether you choose to go all out and deck yourself in colour or just throw on one item of clothing you need make sure that you have one of these colours on you at all time this summer! If you need some help filling up your wardrobe in preparation for the summer ahead then you need to be looking at Get The Label, my first port of call when I need something because you get the top labels for great prices.

Blue

Bright blue is just made to be worn when the sun comes out to play, it’s also a colour that is sure to get you noticed so make sure that you have something bright blue to wear. It can even be a simple accessory, I love rocking my bright blue watch with the hat when hitting the park with my friends. It’s a great excuse to buy a bright pair of shorts that you’ll only be able to get away with in the summer, don’t be shy and get noticed!

Pink

Pink is now the must have colour for both men and women. My pink Ralph Lauren Mens Custom Fit Polo Shirt is the first thing I put on when I need to get in the summer mood. For ladies it’s a great colour to really show off and wear some bright pink pieces, bright pink gives your outfit the vibrant look that summer deserves. Perfect with denim or a summer skirt.

White

When it’s time to look effortlessly cool and chic you have to turn to white to help you out. White is, and has always, been in fashion. There’s nothing cooler than a pair of white shorts coupled with a nice black polo shirt. White is just one of those colours that seems to go with everything that I wear in summer, my white summer shirt matches any colour no matter how bright it is!

Top places to get pub grub in Newcastle

In my opinion, there’s nothing quite like good old-fashioned pub grub. With many of the UK’s pubs struggling to stay afloat and the price of beer sadly rising, many venues are turning to food to help keep their doors open. While I’ve seen lots of places offering fancy fare, personally I think you can’t beat the traditional British classics that have been served in alehouses for years.

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The joy of classic pub grub

For me, the joy of pub grub is threefold. Firstly, if you find somewhere offering fantastic home-cooked food, it just tastes that little bit more authentic and warming than ultra-sophisticated dishes. Secondly, I love the atmosphere of traditional pubs – so welcoming and cosy. Thirdly, pick the right venue and you can pair your pie, fish and chips or sausage and mash with a delicious real ale. What could be better?

Newcastle is a haven of traditional pubs, and if you know where to look you can get some absolutely amazing – but always down to earth and classically British – food. Below, I’ve listed a few of my favourites.

By the way, if you don’t live in or around Newcastle but are intrigued by its pubs (as you should be!), I’d really recommend taking a trip here, even if only overnight or for a few days. There are plenty of affordable hotels in Newcastle, as well as great attractions including breweries, castles and museums.

The Bridge Hotel

First on my list is the Bridge Hotel, which has been going for more than 100 years – pretty impressive, hey? You’ll find it next to the Castle Keep around two minutes away from the scenic quayside, where it regularly hosts live music.

In terms of food and drink, this is a great place to come if you, like me, are a fan of real ales. Regulars include Golden Sheep and Deuchars IPA, while they also have guest ales and craft beers to boot.

Food is served daily and includes home-cooked hot meals as well as delicious sandwiches, and if you come in on a Sunday you also have the option of tucking into a good old British roast. Choose from chicken (my personal favourite), pork or beef.

The Broad Chare

Next up we have the Broad Chare, which you’ll find on the Quayside. This pub prides itself on serving classic British food – and does so with aplomb.

One of my favourite things about this place food-wise is that as well as offering hearty main courses like steak and chips, it also serves up some seriously satisfying snacks. Things like scotch eggs, oysters and hand-raised pork pies – yum. As a testament to its achievements in the kitchen, it snapped up a Michelin Bib Gourmand award in 2012.

There are plenty of cask ales available too; these change regularly, but at the time of writing Black Sheep Bitter and The Writer’s Block were a few of the staples.

The Redhouse

Last on my list is the Redhouse, which is also on the Quayside. This grade II listed building is a traditional pie and mash alehouse, which has the added bonus of having gorgeous views over the Tyne Bridge – presuming you have eyes for anything but pie, that is…

You’ll have three key decisions to make when eating here. Firstly, you’ll need to pick your pie. Options include chicken, gammon and leek, as well as sausage, apple, onion and cider pie. Next up, you’ll need to tackle a mash-based conundrum in deciding whether to go for mustard, cheese or straight-up creamy. Then you need to pick how you’d like your peas and what liquor you’d like the whole lot doused in. Pie perfection!

 

An insider’s guide to Dublin

It can be fun to be a tourist when you are on holiday – taking those cheesy snaps with a pint of Guinness and crossing off all the famous sights. But it can also be great to get a real feel for a place and it would be a shame not to when the destination is quite as fabulous as Dublin.

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When you are bored of Temple Bar and done with Dublin Castle grab a rental car from Auto Europe and start exploring the lesser known bits of the city. If you don’t know where to start then read on for some ideas, but sssshhhh don’t tell everyone, otherwise they won’t be the hidden gems any longer.

National Leprechaun Museum

It is fair to say that leprechauns fit into the category of stereotype when it comes to Ireland, but this museum is way under-visited. Instead of just making money out of the little green fellows, it actually looks into the tradition and mythology behind the fairy folk, making it highly interesting.

It is also lots of fun, with the chance to find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and visit a giant’s house. It certainly won’t be as crowded as the Guinness Storehouse.

The U2 Wall

Windmill Lane Studios was originally opened as a venue for traditional Irish artists to record tracks in 1978, but has since been used by such mainstream acts as U2, Sinead O’Connor and Van Morrison. In reference to this a shrine has emerged on the outside walls, with lyrics, declarations of love and cartoons scrawled on it.

Music fans will surely love this gritty tribute to Irish music and the followers it has gathered across the world. Windmill Lane can be found near City Quay and the River Liffey. It can take a little bit of searching for, but is well worth it in the long run.

The Cobblestone

No trip to Ireland would be complete without an evening spent in the pub, but it can be difficult to find that famed, yet much elusive craic. Try the Cobblestone on Queen Street, which unlike Temple Bar is where the locals drink. The beer is well-kept and up-and-coming local bands can often be heard upstairs.

Green 19

As with many bustling tourist cities it is easy to spend a lot of cash on a meal that is just adequate, but not at Green 19. This relatively new establishment on Camden Street is making a name for itself due to its innovative menu and myriad of drinks on offer including craft ales and cocktails.

What’s more, you will be stunned by the bill and not in a bad way. This is one of the best places to get value for money when dining out in Dublin. Whether it is brunch, lunch or an evening meal, you will find your appetite sated.

The Secret Book and Record Store

No alternative guide to Dublin would be complete without mention of this charming emporium of books and records on Wicklow Street. Easy to miss, its entrance is shared by a yoga centre, but hidden inside is a treasure trove of bargain buys.

Even if you are not planning on purchasing anything, it is a great place to enjoy browsing and soaking up the atmosphere. And the chances are you will end up buying something in the end!

 

Perfect honeymoon backdrops: the Maldives

In my opinion, there’s no honeymoon destination that can top the Maldives. Nestled in the Indian Ocean, this stunning archipelago has everything you could possibly need for a romantic holiday – seclusion, luxury, picture-perfect scenery and activities ranging from the fast-paced and thrilling to the laidback and relaxing.

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If you still need convincing, read my guide to what makes the Maldives the ultimate honeymoon destination.

Seclusion

If there’s one thing that really stands out about the Maldives in terms of its honeymoon credentials (aside from the fact that it offers incredible weather and paradise-like scenery, that is), it’s the seclusion you can enjoy. After all, I think it’s fair to say that most couples crave privacy on their honeymoon – and by staying in the Maldives you can feel like you and your partner are the only two people in the world.

I can say that with such confidence because there’s a strict rule of just one resort per island – something that’s enshrined in Maldivian law, in fact – which means your little slice of paradise never feels overcrowded. Plus, a lot of the hotels here (which I’ll talk more about in a moment) go out of their way to offer as much privacy as possible.

Luxury

Another Maldivian characteristic that lends the country so well to honeymoons is the fact that the hotels are overwhelmingly high-end and luxurious. For example, the bulk of resorts come equipped with their own lavish spa. This means that a holiday here almost automatically means ultimate luxury.

Within this luxury category there’s still plenty of scope to find somewhere that suits your particular interests. There’s a wealth of amazing resorts to choose from, many of which are so exciting (offering things like scuba diving, indulgent spas, island hopping and such) that I could easily rabbit on about them for hours – but I’ll spare you that! Instead, I’ll take a quick look at just one, which I think is absolutely ideal for honeymoons.

Medhufushi on the Meemu Atoll is an idyllic island getaway. Equipped with an over-water spa, abundant water sports facilities and over-water bar, this establishment offers that little something extra for couples in the form of ultra-private accommodation. Its honeymoon water villas are actually separated from the rest of the resort and only accessible by boat – could there be any setting more perfect than that?

Unforgettable activities

The final Maldivian charm I’m going to look at is the activities on offer. Now, I know that there are plenty of destinations that provide a decent variety of things to do – what makes the Maldives stand out is just how remarkable and memorable these are. And, of course, remarkable and memorable activities are exactly the kind of thing that your honeymoon should be filled with.

Scuba diving is one example. Every resort offers this, and with visibility up to 50 m this really is one of the best places in the world to dive – go to Fish Head to experience local diving at its best.

Another is night fishing. Head out at sunset with local fishermen, who will teach you the basics and help you catch your dinner. Then, sail away to an uninhabited island to cook and eat your catch as part of a delicious barbecue. Not only is the meal amazing, but sitting under the stars on a deserted island is an utterly incredible experience like no other – you’ll never forget it.

Other things to indulge in include romantic candlelit dinners under the stars, island hopping and being pampered in one of the destination’s world-class spas.

Kristy Moore is a travel writer working from various locations around the world; this article was written on behalf of Hayes and Jarvis.

 

A guide to fine dining in San Francisco

A holiday in San Francisco is full of colours and flavours, whether this is referring to the city’s culture and nightlife or its culinary scene. Spending the days visiting a wealth of tourist attractions is bound to build up an appetite and with so much to choose from in terms of eating establishments it can be hard to know where to begin.

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Be sure to sample the delights of all the different communities that make up San Francisco, as well as the destination’s obsession with fusion food. Having booked your trip with Air Express, then you can start planning your dining experiences. And there is no better place to start than right here.

Frances, 3870 17th Street

Since your San Francisco holiday is likely to take you on a culinary journey around the world, it makes good sense to start off in the place that you have chosen to travel to – California. Making a reservation well in advance or queuing up before 5pm when they open is the only way to get a table at Frances.

It is a world-class restaurant where chef Melissa Perello serves up great Californian cuisine alongside a huge helping of warmth and personal service. The produce is local and cooked with innovative creativity, leading to excellent dishes. Try the baked cherrystone clams or a bavette steak prepared perfectly.

State Bird Provisions, 1529 Fillmore Street

This is another establishment where it is worth planning in advance to visit otherwise you may not find yourself getting seated. An ever-changing menu of imaginative dishes is presented to customers and carts – almost like a Californian tapas or mezze.

Guests can therefore experience a wide selection of flavours within the course of one meal. The fried state bird of the restaurant’s name is quail, with other notable delicacies including duck liver mousse and pancake with smoked sturgeon. Of course the offerings are likely to have changed by the time you visit, but there are bound to be a whole new selection of tempting morsels to try.

Namu Gaji, 499 Dolores Street

From California, wing your taste buds to Korea with this amazing restaurant that fuses flavours from the Asian nation with produce from the United States. It is the brainchild and collaborative project of three brothers – the Lees, who also run a small farm from which they source all their vegetables and herbs.

Expect Korean fried chicken, beef tongue and potato puffs to all grace the menu. The team of waiting staff will also be able to advise you on which of the fine selection of wines will complement the dishes perfectly. And if you can’t get here for your evening meal, they are also open at lunch times.

Nopalito, 306 Broderick Street and 1224 9th Avenue

It is always a good sign when an establishment has to open up a second restaurant in order to cope with demand and this is exactly the case with Nopalito. The selection of tequilas is just as good as the tamales and carnitas that are served up by chefs José Ramos and Gonzalo Guzman.

They have gathered inspiration from several different regions of Mexico, making the menu a varied mix of fine dishes. Many of these are the perfect way to warm yourself up on a foggy San Franciscan day.

 

5 Ways to Save Money on Your Annual Holiday

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Holidays and spending are like inseparable twins; however there are still ways to enjoy your annual holidays without necessarily breaking the bank to have a good time.

1. GET CHEAP FLIGHTS
Though it is seemingly impossible to haggle for air flight charges at an airline, it is possible to generally compare flight charges from different airlines online and get the best deals across multiple airlines to find cheap flights. Make sure to book directly from the preferred airline rather than using the booking sites. You may be surprised at the deals you may get from the airline when you make use of the airline telephone numbers and make the bookings in person.

The simple trick to cheap flights is to book early, be flexible and fly during midweek when flights are less in demand.

2. GET A CHEAP TRAVEL INSURANCE DEAL

Travel insurance is as important as the air ticket that you purchase to get to your annual holiday destination: do not ignore because in the long run you are the one at risk of losing. There are different types of policies from travel cancellations to disruptions and medical coverage. Browse carefully and choose a travel insurance policy that best suits your holiday.

 

3. SAVE ON TRANSPORT WITH THINGS LIKE EURAIL PASS

The Eurail Pass is a brilliant way to save money, especially if you are on a backpacking tour. Enjoy hopping from train to train anytime anywhere in Europe where the pass covers. The pass covers twenty two European countries and convenient because even the seats are reserved for pass holders, all you have to do is decide how many European countries you will visit before buying your pass. Remember, when you decide, then buy directly from the Rail company rather than use a broker.

 

4. VISIT THE CHEAPER DESTINATIONS

We all know that some places are definitely cheaper than others; though prices fluctuate for one reason or the other, opt for the best value holiday destination. You may need to use the internet to get the best destination that will still offer a fantastic holiday. You will get ideas from other travelers who have been there and done that and also be able to calculate exactly how much you may spend on your holiday.

Some places like Morocco and Tunisia will not only be favorable for your holiday but will be great value for your money. Newly opened up places like Burma offer authentic tourist experiences at a very affordable cost: rush there before it becomes a tourist trap. While still at it is best to try the all inclusive package as it offers cheaper deals from accommodations to flights.

5. BOOK EVERYTHING EARLY

This one always does the trick; most people ignore this very important tip and find themselves paying unbelievable amounts at the last minute. Prepare and plan for your trip early when the cheap seats on your plane are still available, book your flight directly and do not forget to book your parking space in advance. You may also consider taking a cab to the airport; better still get a friend or relative to drive you to and from the airport to avoid hefty parking fees at the airport.

 

A guide to Morocco’s most exciting cities

Morocco is home to some vibrant and bustling cities that are well worth exploring if you’ve got the time to travel around the country. The following are some of the best places to visit, but this is far from an exhaustive list!

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Fes

If you’re keen to learn about Morocco’s fascinating history, Fes is the place to come, as it’s considered to be a hotspot for traditional Moroccan culture. The city is home to one of the oldest universities in the world – the Karaouiyine mosque, which set up its teaching facilities in the 9th century.

Fes also has the distinction of being the oldest Moroccan imperial city, with the ramparts that protected the settlement, as well as the monumental gates that provided access, still intact. The monumental gates are particularly stunning, with these entrances decorated using blue and green glazed ceramic pieces. You also can’t leave Fes without experiencing its vast Medina, which comprises almost 1,000 narrow alleys, all lined with stalls and shops selling everything from jewellery to cabinets.

Rabat

You can’t miss Rabat if you’re touring Morocco’s best cities, as it’s the capital and boasts a wealth of historical sites. Among them are the remains of a 12th century mosque that was designed to be large enough that the whole of Yaqub Al-Mansour’s army could pray there.

Many of Rabat’s most important monuments now house museums, with the Oudayas Palace home to the national museum, while one of the towers that guards the walls of the Oudayas Kasbah has been converted into three art galleries. The entire fortress quarter, where you’ll find these and other landmarks, is still surrounded by imposing walls topped with cannons. The main gate and its stunning carved wooden doors are among its most striking features.

Essaouira

Essaouira is a beautiful coastal city that’s well worth a visit on your holiday to Morocco – and it has much more than just a pretty beach to offer travellers. One of its most notable landmarks is the fortress that stands proudly looking out to sea. You can walk along the ramparts and visit the old artillery platform before heading into Essaouira’s medina.

The medina here is not as old as many of the others you can explore in Morocco, having been founded in the 18th century. However, what makes it particularly special is the coexistence of so many ethnic groups who have all been brought together due to the city’s status as a trading hub. Arabs, Amazighs, Europeans and Africans all live and work side-by-side within the medina.

Marrakech

The final city we’re going to talk about is Marrakech, which is a fascinating example of how an old Moroccan city has been expanded with a distinctly European influence. The period of French rule in the country – and the importance of Marrakech at this time – resulted in an entirely new and very different district (Gueliz) being developed alongside the traditional heart of Marrakech.

Among the old Moroccan sites you shouldn’t miss are the bustling medina – especially the Djemma el Fna square – the Koutoubia Mosque, Saadian Tombs and the Ben-Youssef medersa. In Gueliz, you’ll discover charming gardens (like the Marjorelle Gardens), luxury boutiques, quaint cafes and high-end restaurants. This makes Marrakech an excellent place to visit if you’re keen to see the old and new sides of Morocco in one place.