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Cuba’s Three Greatest Beaches

Cuba’s Three Greatest Beaches

Most people, understandably, think of the vibrant capital city of Havana when they think of Cuba, but there is much more to this island than this. It is also a Caribbean country that boasts some of the most beautiful and inviting beaches in the entire world. These are the type of places that you thought only existed on postcards and there is nothing quite like relaxing on one of these beaches with a good book and a rum cocktail.

There are many wonderful beaches to choose from, but these are the three best in all of Cuba when on vacation. When you book with specialists like Cuba Holidays, you can find affordable trips that will show you these spectacular beaches.

Playa Pilar

Cayo Guillermo is a hidden paradise located on the Jardines del Rey archipelago on the northern coast of Cuba. It features 4km of stunning beaches that are usually almost deserted, ensuring that this is an ideal spot for some peace and quiet. Playa Pilar is the pick of the bunch with inviting blue waters and pristine sand. This was a favourite retreat of Ernest Hemingway and is even named after his yacht.

Varadero

Unquestionably the most famous beach in Cuba, this is also the most beautiful. Although it is very popular, its sheer size (almost 25km!) ensures that you can always find a quiet, relaxing and scenic spot. Varadero features turquoise waters, golden sand and palm trees swaying in the wind, plus it is also near dozens of hotels and restaurants (who have set up due to the idyllic setting). Varadero is also conveniently located just a two-hour coach journey from Havana on Cuba’s northern coast.

 

Playa Flamenco

Cayo Coco is famous for its incredible beaches which boast sparkling blue waters that contrast against the white sand. There are other 13 miles of shore to choose from, which include three huge beaches to the north which are packed full of all-inclusive resorts. Playa Flamenco is much more peaceful and nearly two miles long. In addition to chilling out and soaking up the sun, you could also look out for the colourful starfish in the waters or even swim out and do a bit of snorkelling.

Cuba has many amazing beaches to choose from and each with their own distinct atmosphere and characteristics, but the above three are the country’s greatest. Anybody that enjoys the ocean and relaxing in the sun will adore these beaches and immediately feel very peaceful when they arrive. Whether it is a stroll along the coast, relaxing with a book or paddling in the waters, Cuba boasts some of the finest beaches in the entire world.

Light Packing Tips for the Fashion Conscious

Light Packing Tips for the Fashion Conscious

It does not matter whether you are a globe trotter, like me, or someone who enjoys taking short breaks, travelling is fun. Travel gives you the chance to break out of your normal routine, meet new people, and enjoy new experiences and cuisines. There is only one problem, and that is each time you travel you have to pack.

For most people packing is stressful. Fortunately, the more you do it the less of a pain it is. Over the years, I have got used to packing fast, and learnt how to look stylish even when I have limited space in my suitcase. So, I thought you might appreciate my sharing a few of my best tips.

Pack light

Surprisingly, my first tip is to take as little luggage with you as possible. If you are only going away for a week you really do not need more than just cabin luggage. Trust me, the vast majority of people can easily get what they need into a small case. Packing light means you can go through the airport faster. It also saves you money, and is less stressful.

How to do it

The key to packing light is being organised. You need a list, and you have to stick to it.

Mix and match

It is very important to pack items of clothing that can be mixed and matched to generate several different outfit options. Doing this is the best way to keep the number of items you take with you to a minimum.

Pack multipurpose clothes

As much as possible, pack clothes that can be used for more than one activity. For example, swimming shorts, like these ones can be worn to the beach, or in the evening for a stroll around town and a meal out.

Wash as you go

Provided you are prepared to rinse clothes out in the hotel sink, and you follow the two tips above, you really do not need much in the way of clothing. To help you to wash as you go try to pack lightweight items. These will dry quickly and should not need ironing.

Wear heavier clothes to the airport

Of course, you need to be prepared for all weather conditions. Which means it is important to take some warm clothes with you. But, you should avoid having to put these items in your case. They are difficult to fold up small and can take up an alarming percentage of your weight allowance.

Usually, you can wear your closed in shoes, long trousers, jumper and waterproof coat for the journey to the airport. Naturally, when you arrive somewhere hot you may feel a little uncomfortable in a pair of trainers and long trousers, but you will soon be at your hotel where you can get changed.

Share out heavy electrical items

If you are travelling with other people try to share the load a bit. For example, one pair of hair straighteners can easily be shared by several people. The bigger the group the easier it is to ensure that each person only needs to carry one potentially heavy, and awkwardly shaped, piece of electrical equipment in their case.

Provided you are organised packing light is not hard. It definitely does not mean that you cannot dress fashionably. You just have to think about what you pack, and make sure you can create plenty of fashionable outfits from the items of clothing that you pack.

Cruise Vacations – Converting the Younger Generation

Cruise Vacations – Converting the Younger Generation

For many years, cruise holidays have been viewed as a type of vacation that are exclusively for the older generation. This has, in turn, perpetuated itself by deterring younger holiday-makers from trying this form of holiday. This is a shame, as it is actually a fantastic way to travel the world and see many of the lesser seen parts of the globe. However, there has been an interesting shift in recent times and it seems that now many young people are being converted to cruises.

A Falling Average Age

The average age of cruise customers has fallen from 50+ to 40+ in the last few years and now there are many youthful travellers ditching backpacking trips for cruise vacations. So, what is the reason for this shift?

Many of the key players in the industry have pumped a lot of money into their cruise liners and altered their trips to tempt younger travellers. Many of these companies are targeting those between the age of 18 and 40 and it appears to be working.

Destinations & Excursions

Instead of relaxing with a book by the side of the pool, cruises are now advertised as fun and thrilling trips that are bursting with all kinds of activities. Many exciting destinations like Borneo and Alaska have been added to the itinerary, plus excursions can include activities like kayaking, 4×4 excursions, hiking, bike rides and other “hands-on” activities.

 Revamped Cruise Liners

It is not just the destinations and excursions that have started to convert younger passengers. Many of the modern cruise liners have undergone enormous transformations to become party ships that are packed full of great facilities and technology. In addition to swimming pools, bars and restaurants, many now include sports facilities, water parks, live music, theatre shows and all kinds of other leisure activities. In addition to this, even the decor and service has been altered to appeal to a younger generation.

Affordability

Finally, cruises are a form of vacation that do not have to break the bank and this is crucial for many younger travellers. Cruise specialists, such as Bolsover Cruise Club, offer deals on last minute or late trips that can provide big savings. This can make it an affordable way to travel around the world and see a handful of different countries whilst indulging in luxury facilities (something that you do not get with backpacking vacations).

Cruises are no longer seen as a holiday for older people due to the industry targeting a younger generation (although more traditional cruises still exist). Now, modern cruises are packed full of thrilling activities and take travellers to exciting destinations around the globe.

How to holiday in the Caribbean on a budget

How to holiday in the Caribbean on a budget

Ahh… the Caribbean. The very thought of this group of tropical islands conjures up images of crystal clear waters, sugar white sands and more water sports than you can shake a rum cocktail at! You’re also probably thinking that all this beauty comes with a pretty hefty price tag to boot, but not necessarily.

No, a week in the Caribbean is never going to come in at cheaper than a week on the Costa del Sol (sorry!), but there are ways that you can make it tug less on the old purse strings.

We’ve teamed up with budget travel experts, Holiday Gems, to get some invaluable tips on how to holiday in the Caribbean, without a fiscal hangover.

Go for a better known island

Choosing a better known island means that more airlines fly there directly. More competition usually leads to lower air fares, so you’ll pay less for a flight to Barbados than you would to somewhere more a little bit more obscure, like St Kitts.

Most of the better known islands are served by their own airports, so you won’t have to get on a ferry once you’ve landed. Most islands of the Caribbean are an eight – ten hour flight away, so there’s a good chance you won’t want to do much more travelling once you’ve landed. Besides, the more time you spend journeying to your location, the less time you have to relax in the sunshine!

Go all inclusive

Selecting an all inclusive option may seem like an expensive feat, but it will actually work out much cheaper in the long run. Most of the hotels in the Caribbean are specifically tailored towards all-inclusive guests, so you’ll find some fantastic deals that could make the holiday of a lifetime much less expensive.

The other great benefit of an all inclusive holiday is that you don’t have to worry as much about budgeting whilst you’re out there, as most things like food and drink will be included in the price of the holiday.

Go at the right time

Like other destinations across the globe, the price of Caribbean holidays varies depending on when you choose to go. Peak time in the Caribbean is from December to April, as this is when the weather is at its worst in the UK, and at its driest in the West Indies. For a cheaper alternative, travel to the Caribbean between May and September, as this is the low season.

The weather during the low season can get quite humid, and there’s more chance of being caught in a tropical monsoon. However, these showers usually last minutes, and afterwards the hot Caribbean sun dries everything so quickly, you can’t even tell it rained.

Check the cost of living

It’s all very well and good booking the cheapest holiday you can find, but it’s equally as important to check out the country’s cost of living before committing, especially if you’re not going all-inclusive.

The Dominican Republic tends to be less expensive once you’re out there, but somewhere like Barbados is smaller, so will cost less to see more of the island. It really is about weighing up the costs, depending on what you want to do and see during your holiday.

Packing for a Winter Trip

Packing for a Winter Trip

I know that most people opt to travel during the summer months. The good weather and longer days allow you to enjoy the sights, and get out more. I understand why people travel more in the summer, but I also enjoy winter travel. During the colder months, there are fewer people around, so you do not have to contend with any crowds. The cost of accommodation and tickets tends to fall during those months too.

However, one thing I am not so keen on is packing for a winter trip. It is nowhere as easy as it is to pack for a summer break. The problem is that you need warm clothes, which means that it is hard to get it all in the case. Even if you can squeeze it in, staying under the weight limit is still a challenge. Now if an experienced traveller like me struggles, I know you do too, so below I am going to share a few of my favourite winter packing tips with you.

Pack in advance

The first tip is to pack well in advance. That way if you realise your favourite jumper is too bulky you can slip out and buy a lighter one. This is a far better option than arriving at the airport looking like the Michelin man, because you have had to wear so many layers to be able to take the clothes you need with you. Of course, wearing some of your bulkier items is a good tip, but you do not want to have to take things too far.

Knitwear

When it comes to knitwear, opting for natural fabrics is best. These regulate your body temperature better. A cashmere jumper will keep your far warmer than a polyester one does. That means you can opt for a lighter one, which will take up less space and weigh less.

Nightgowns

Now I know that dressing gowns are not on most people’s pack list, but I usually take one when I travel in the winter. Hotel heating is a bit hit and miss. Sometimes you cannot get warm enough. In that situation, being able to put on a dressing gown over the top of your pyjamas means you can usually get warm enough to be able to sleep properly.

If you are using a service like Airbnb, you will be staying in a private home. In that situation, a dressing gown is essential for the sake of comfort and modesty.

The best option is a gown wrap. They are light and compact, so do not take up a lot of space.

Footwear

If I am travelling in the autumn, I will normally take a pair of soft shoes and wear a pair of ankle boots on the journey. In the winter months, I usually wear knee high boots. These are comfortable, support your feet when walking and will help to keep you warm. Try to avoid putting them in your case. If you have to do so use the space wisely by stuffing the foot part with small soft items like socks, or underwear.

Those are just a few of my winter packing tips. If you like this post please let me know in the comments, and I will try to write more if that is what my readers want.

Top tips for how to visit Rome on a budget

Top tips for how to visit Rome on a budget

Rome is one of those bucket list cities that everyone wants to visit, and luckily, you don’t have to be a millionaire to have an incredible experience there. Families, couples and solo travellers from all over the globe travel here each year in their droves, to feast their eyes on the stunning statues and ancient ruins that adorn the city, and they all have very varied budgets themselves.

"Di Trevi Fountain, Rome"

Whatever your reason for wanting to visit this iconic city, I thought I’d offer up a few key pieces of advice for how to have a memorable trip there, but without breaking the bank.

  1. Buy multi-passes where possible

First of all, you’ll be pleased to know that ticket vendors have caught on to the fact that so many people want to visit places like the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and the Pantheon. That’s why there are now so many options to buy passes that encompass certain attractions, and you’ll often find that this doesn’t only save you time queuing up at every attraction, but money too.

For example, you can pick up the Roma Pass, which can either last for 48 hours or three days, and includes free public transport in Rome, free entry to the first museum you visit and discounted entry to others, as well as fast track access to the Colosseum. Or, if you just want to see certain sights, you can visit the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill under the same ticket.

  1. Buy tickets in advance

Are there any events that you’re heading out there to see? It could be a concert, a food festival or a museum exhibition that’s only in town for a few days, but your best bet at avoiding disappointment is to book them in advance.

There are often early bird offers for event tickets, so you can bag yourself a better the price the earlier you buy them. Plus, with more prestigious shows, such as watching a live opera or ballet performance, it’s always better to book with a credible and reliable company such as www.romeoperatickets.com.

  1. Don’t be scared of going on foot

Although there are many coach tours and open-top bus tours available, Rome is a fantastic city to get around on foot if you want to save the pennies for things that really matter on your trip. I would always recommend this, because exploring places on foot is the best way to find those hidden gems in cities like this. Whether it’s a flea market selling traditional Italian goods or an eatery tucked away from the main streets, you’ll get the best experience of a new culture this way.

Speaking of which, don’t be afraid of street vendor food. This is where you’ll find the freshest ingredients and true, rustic Roman food, so enjoy it! Try the local pizza style, with an extra thin and crispy base like nowhere else in Italy.

When are you next heading to Rome?

Canadian Culture, Social Etiquette

Canadian Culture, Social Etiquette

There are few places that conjure up as powerful an image than that of Canada; when people think of it it instills a sense of adventure, vast scenery, and an overly friendly culture that makes it so appealing to the masses. From having milk in bags, to the open mindedness of the current Prime Minister, this country has us all reaching for our passports in search of being inspired.

However, while it would be unfair to say that Canada doesn’t live up to the hype, it’s important to remember that it too is just the same as anywhere else in regards to society and culture. Although some key components may vary, life still plods along like it does in other countries and regions around the world. In fact, when you take a look at the social side of living there, it would appear hardly anything is different to how we interact and socialise here.

Nowadays all of us, regardless of origins or wealth, all utilise technology as a means to just about every end imaginable – we use it to read, to help us cook, to pay bills, to be entertained via sites such as Red Flush Casino, we even use it as a main source of communication. There appears no limit to what we can do with tech, and as a result our social etiquette is evolving along the way. Of course with this change in usage, there comes cries of the negativity and the bad influence technology can have on our human engagement, and yet when you consider how much technology can do, that seems a little too pessimistic.

Take for example the younger generations – they’re forever goaded by older age groups, many of whom claim that they’re attached to their phones instead of playing outside. While there is a sound argument for that, various apps and websites enable children to interact with each other across the globe, helping them learn new languages, make long distance friends, and gives them a new form of play to enjoy. In a similar fashion, adults can also savour how connected gaming is when using gadgets.

Playing classic bar slots, or indeed at any online presence, is a great means of enjoying the excitement of luck and winning, even when you aren’t able to be together. What is more, it adds another dimension to interactions when friends and family do come together, for it gives them an activity to bond over. More often than not, casino based games can be overlooked as being understood as the popular pastime they are amongst family and friends, and yet it can be argued that these titles easier to engage with, and a lot more exciting due to the prospect of winning money. This could be argued as to why, even as early on as 2011, Canada had some of the highest internet usage reported: it has become a means of communicating, a societal normality.

 

Travelling to Vienna? What to see and where to go

Travelling to Vienna? What to see and where to go

I still haven’t been to this beautiful city, but I feel like I have from all the research I’ve done on it. At some point, I’d like to travel across some of the lesser known cities of Eastern European countries; I’ve already seen the stunning sunsets of Dubrovnik in Croatia, and it really opened my eyes to what that part of the world has to offer travellers.

One of my main reasons for travelling is to experience things I never knew were out there, and Vienna has so much to offer. In today’s post, I hope you enjoy reading about why this city has me so excited recently.

Explore the opera scene

Austria’s capital is known for many things, and in the same way that you couldn’t go to London and not see a musical in the West End, you can’t possibly head to one of the motherlands of opera and not go to see one. This is an iconic part of Viennese culture, wound into the fabric of the city, along with other forms of classical music, and into the hearts of all its people.

Plus, it’s never been easier to buy tickets; if you visit viennaoperatickets.com, you can take a look at the full schedule of operas and ballets coming up, and fit your stay there around the right dates. If you want to see a classic version of Carmen in the luxurious surroundings of the Vienna State Opera House, book them now before they sell out!

Walk through the Old Town

The Innere Stadt, as this is also known, has narrow walkways bursting with medieval architecture and plenty of photography opportunities. It’s very easy to get around on foot, so I’d suggest arming yourself with a map and going on one of the self-guided walking tours. You’ll be able to see the towering St Stephen’s Cathedral, with classic gothic architecture that oozes the grandeur that Vienna is famous for.

Or how about heading for the impressive City Hall? This is often the popular venue for the many festivals and feasts that Vienna holds throughout the year. If you’re heading there this summer, not only will you be able to take in the sprawling Hall itself, but the grand stage erected outside for the annual Film and Music Festival too.

Vienna 2

Learn about Vienna’s culture

You’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere in the world with so many museums and art galleries. The people of Vienna are hugely proud of their roots, so you’ll find plenty of opportunities to learn more about it – the MuseumsQuartier Wien is the main one. Amazingly, this area is home to around 70 cultural facilities, and is one of the largest art and culture complexes in the world.

With many courtyards, cafés and shops, it is the perfect blend of urban life with historic appreciation. There are several historic buildings to explore from the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as contemporary museums to celebrate modern Viennese artists.

When are you going to Vienna?

Top Backpacking Destinations Of 2016

Top Backpacking Destinations Of 2016

A backpacking travel does not mean that you have to go without exploring the world. In fact, much of the world is not best discovered in a luxury hotel suite, but with a few belongings tucked into a knapsack. So, here are some of the world’s top backpacking destinations of 2016.

porto portugal

Portugal

Portugal is a fantastic coastal haven for backpackers. You can fly down and begin your trek from Porto and make your way leisurely to the Algarve, which is the southernmost tip of Portugal. It is an interesting walk with gorgeous scenery, delicious seafood and friendly locals.

Tasmania, Australia

The untouched beauty, preserved forests, sprawling vineyards and open spaces that lead directly into the Pacific Ocean have helped Tasmania to earn its unbridled reputation. You can stop along your way to enjoy a dip in the ocean or discover a unique rock formation. Although this island was once a jail for British outlaws, today it is a top backpacking destination.

Indonesia

Bali, Indonesia is the perfect destination for a backpacking traveler, who is traveling on a budget, but wants to sunbathe, dine, drink and explore like royalty. Bali features stunning golden beaches, and cheap food and accommodation.

Colombia

Colombia has varied terrains, from the laidback Caribbean coast to football madness and a fierce political history. Colombians are one of the friendliest and most inquisitive people you will ever meet.

Santa Elena, Costa Rica

This small and charming Central American town boasts wonderful walking trails and comfortable but cheap accommodations. The friendly locals will take you for a salsa twirl and also show you where to get the best seafood.

Nicaragua

The Central American country of Nicaragua boasts world class surf beaches and chilled atmosphere. It is a lot more affordable and relaxed, and attracts a huge surfing community and adventurous travelers. With its colourful buildings, picturesque churches and forts, cobblestone roads and stunning archipelago setting, Granada, Nicaragua will soon wear down your camera battery.

Turkey

Cappadocia in Turkey has a unique landscape of windblown rocks and hidden crevices. The locals are just as colourful as the colourful painted churches and they readily offer a cozy place for tea. Their homesteads are carved in the side of cliffs and gutted boulders.

Inca Trail, Peru

If you are an adventurous backpacker, then the Inca Trail is a prime backpacking destination. You can trek along the Peruvian coastline to find secluded beaches, lively little towns, spicy food and friendly locals.

Get ready and pack your bags to see the world’s top backpacking destinations of 2016. It is always good to experience a bit of everything, even the bad and ugly mixed in with the good. Most young people go on a back packing trip after they finish university. When finishing university students always have a load of belongings which they don’t have space for. One good way of storing these belongings is in a self storage locker, many of which can be rented for a few pounds a week and you can store almost anything you want.

The main family Holiday Destinations this Summer

The main family Holiday Destinations this Summer

This guide of the Top family holiday destinations this summer will help you to decide where to spend your vacation. Our guide covers several popular tourist destinations, including some that you might not be aware of. Book up early to get the best prices. Before booking a destination make sure you compare hotels. Comparehotelprices.co.uk is a good site to visit when comparing accommodation.

Paris

Paris is a popular tourist destination for many reasons. If you have young children then they will love to visit Disneyland Paris. This is very convenient to visit from the UK thanks to the channel tunnel. Remember though, if you are visiting during the summer holidays then it will be busy. You must book up well in advance if you are planning on visiting during the school holidays.

"London-Eye-capsule-view-over-the-Thames-river"

Staying in the UK

Although many people want to jet off somewhere warmer for the summer, there’s no reason you have to. If the weather is kind then there are plenty of top tourist attractions here in the UK.What’s more you will even be able to travel in your own car which will reduce the cost. When travelling with very young children, it’s often easier to stay in the UK. Popular tourist destinations in the UK include Wales, Devon and the Isle of Wight. You might even want to consider a UK city break. These are especially interesting if your children are studying the Great Fire of London, or similar historical events at school.

"Barcelona_MuseoZoologia"

Barcelona

Barcelona has something for everyone, from the ancient Gothic quarter, to beautiful beaches for the kids. There are also a few theme parks for the kids. As Barcelona is just a short flight from the UK, it’s easy to travel to even if you have very young children.

Take a Cruise

If you’re not sure where to go on holiday in the summer then consider taking a cruise. Although cruises are often seen as a holiday for honeymoons, or old couples they are perfect for families with kids. Make sure you choose a cruise with plenty of activities for children. This is also a great way to travel somewhere new in style and enjoy your whole holiday.

Wherever you choose to go on holiday be sure to have a good time. Remember to pack plenty of sunscreen and make sure you have travel insurance for you and your family.