Travel with a mate http://www.travelwithamate.com Travel advice, destinations and reviews from a family of travel addicts. Wed, 19 Jul 2017 10:30:58 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 The Ultimate Bucket List For Seeing The Natural World http://www.travelwithamate.com/ultimate-bucket-list-seeing-natural-world/ Wed, 19 Jul 2017 10:30:58 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31651 If your bucket list is more about getting up close and personal with nature than trawling around man-made structures there are a few gems that you simply cannot miss. A nature bucket list gives you the chance to find out what the planet is made of and of how precious our natural ecosystems are. If ...

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If your bucket list is more about getting up close and personal with nature than trawling around man-made structures there are a few gems that you simply cannot miss.

A nature bucket list gives you the chance to find out what the planet is made of and of how precious our natural ecosystems are. If you want to experience and find out more about the natural world, here are some sights that you simply cannot miss.

The Glaciers and Icebergs of Greenland

Here you have the world’s largest island (with a population of 55,000) and some of nature’s most spectacular sights. You cannot escape nature on Greenland because it is all around you. The possibilities to get very close to nature are endless. If you are feeling energetic you can rent a kayak and test your skills at rowing the Arctic waters as you gaze up at the towering icebergs. You can marvel at how close you are to humpback whales, although their 16 feet wide tails may make you a little nervous!

Mountain climbing and hiking are further possibilities although you will need special equipment to camp out as the temperatures drop to way below zero. Visit at the right time of year and you can experience round-the-clock daylight or see the Northern Lights from your tent.

The enchanting Galapagos Islands

If you want to feel truly humbled by untamed nature, this is the trip for you. Galapagos cruises will take you to a combination of the four islands where you can spot all 3 species of boobies and the two endemic pinnipeds. You can take pictures of the Galapagos fur seal and the Galapagos sea lions just before you cross the equator to see the tropical penguins. You can do this from the comfort of your luxurious cruise ship.

Redwood National Park in California

How can you fail to be impressed by the tallest trees on earth? They are called giant redwoods for a good reason! They are also the oldest trees on the planet and it is a privilege to be amongst them. The tallest specimen in the National Park is 600 years old and is more than 350 feet tall but is just a youngster because apparently, this species can live to be 2,000 years old!

To get around the park at a leisurely place so that you can take all of the magnificence in, you should travel on foot, bike or horseback. This truly is one of the few places on the planet where you can feel as if you have traveled back in time.

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most iconic destinations for nature lovers. This vibrant underwater tropical paradise offers some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling you can get.

There are over 1,200 miles of crystal waters where you can get up close to spectacular marine life. Once you emerge from the sea, you could explore the outback in four-wheel drive jeep for a totally different kind of adventure.

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Essential Beach Packing Tips http://www.travelwithamate.com/essential-beach-packing-tips/ Wed, 19 Jul 2017 10:14:24 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31644 Most of us enjoy spending time on the beach. It is a great way to relax whether you are travelling on your own, with friends, as a couple or with the kids. To help you to get the most out of your beach days I have put together a few useful packing tips. The right ...

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Most of us enjoy spending time on the beach. It is a great way to relax whether you are travelling on your own, with friends, as a couple or with the kids. To help you to get the most out of your beach days I have put together a few useful packing tips.

The right swimwear

Top of the list has to be a new swimming costume. For the boys swim shorts are a great option. They are especially good because they can also be worn for all sorts of other non-beach related activities.

For women, bikinis or tankinis are great options. They do not take up a lot of space in the case, and look fantastic. If you prefer to cover up a bit more, a swimming costume and a sarong would be a good choice for you. This range of ladies swimwear from JD Williams comes in sizes 8 to 32, and they sell every type, including tankinis.

Sun protection

Everyone needs to take sun protection seriously. Before you travel, buy good quality, high factor, sun lotion. It is also worth investing in some protection for your lips. You will also need a pair of sunglasses and a hat with a broad-rim.

Microfiber towels

A towel that is big enough to lie on is a good idea even if you are going to hire a sunbed. Microfiber towels an especially good option for travellers. They are super lightweight, yet are still good a drying you.

Protection for your electronics

Most people like to take a Smartphone, e-reader or tablet to the beach to keep them entertained and in touch with their friends and family. Naturally, you will want to protect these items from the sand, and ensure that they do not get wet. These days you can buy soft, zip-lock, pouches that offer a good level of protection and allow you to use your touch screen devices without taking them out of the pouch. Some of the more expensive ones even enable you to take them in the sea with you. It is also a good idea to buy something you can put your credit card and cash in when you swim.

A power bank and some downloads

If you want to use your electronics on the beach, it is also worth packing a power bank. There are plenty of compact ones available.

Try to download the books, games, music and podcasts you want to listen or read before you leave home. This will reduce the risk of your having to pay a large data bill.

A basic first aid kit

It is also worth taking some antiseptic cream and plasters with you. That way if you cut yourself you can clean it out there and then and make sure you do not get an infection.

Bug spray

If you are planning to stay on the beach and watch the sunset, do not forget the bug spray. You can learn about which one is the best to buy by reading this article.

A good bag

It is also worth taking a soft bag with you that you can use for the beach. They are easy to clean, and will not take up a lot of space in your case.

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Chinese Travellers http://www.travelwithamate.com/chinese-travellers/ Wed, 19 Jul 2017 07:44:09 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31641 Most tourists travelling today are the Chinese people.  Statics show incredible figures of people from China travelling. A report from the World UN Tourism Organisation confirmed that China has the highest number of people who travel abroad for touring purposes. Before the Chinese were on top, there was the Americans and the Germans. They were ...

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Most tourists travelling today are the Chinese people.  Statics show incredible figures of people from China travelling. A report from the World UN Tourism Organisation confirmed that China has the highest number of people who travel abroad for touring purposes. Before the Chinese were on top, there was the Americans and the Germans. They were the top international travellers and tourism spenders. The Statics show that 83 million people spent about 102 billion dollars.

South Korea recently confirmed that tourists from China are overtaking tourists from Japan in terms of arrival numbers. The Chinese have been on the highest arrival number in almost all destinations across the whole world. It is also evident that hotels abroad are changing their business strategy just to cater for the Chinese tourists. Many countries across the world have put forward measures to accommodate the global travel boom caused by the Chinese people.

What most businesses in most countries are liking about the Chinese travellers is that they spend a lot of money when they travel. Most businesses are moving a notch higher in terms of the quality of the services they provide. Most online casinos are also upgrading the quality of the service they provide to their valued customers read more. This is because of the increase of online casinos. They are now offering huge jackpots when playing the exciting games.

The Chief Executive Officer of a travel company from China has reported that steps are being taken to ensure that the Chinese feel at home at the world’s top tourist destinations. In most countries, hotels have included Chinese dishes in on their menus. At the Waldorf Astoria in New York have started giving the Chinese travellers a little extra. In other countries, shops have equipped themselves with Chinese speaking sales people in a bid to make the Chinese to feel at home. In Indonesia, they have not only included Chinese food on their menus but they now also have Chinese guides and brand ambassadors.

However, the Chinese tourists still complain about the way they are treated when they visit many countries. They say that they are still being treated as second class people even though they are the highest tourist. Efforts are being implemented to meet the demands of the Chinese travellers.

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Reasons to Visit Rajasthan in India http://www.travelwithamate.com/reasons-visit-rajasthan-india/ Wed, 12 Jul 2017 08:38:17 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31621 India is a brilliant mosaic of the exotic, romantic, mysterious, burnished throughout its 6,000 years of history and tempered by a collage of cultures. And like a mosaic, any image of India is designed with color: from sari and pallau to phad painting and embroidery to prismatic bazaar and gilded temple. Amid this celebration of ...

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India is a brilliant mosaic of the exotic, romantic, mysterious, burnished throughout its 6,000 years of history and tempered by a collage of cultures. And like a mosaic, any image of India is designed with color: from sari and pallau to phad painting and embroidery to prismatic bazaar and gilded temple. Amid this celebration of color, Rajasthan emerges as the “Jewel in India’s Crown,” glistening in Thar, the Great Indian Desert, capturing what is most exotic and most colorful in a country of intrinsic beauty.

With the expert guidance of Asia Odyssey, we “followed the colors” in our exploration of Rajasthan.

The Pink City

Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and its largest city. It was painted pink (the colour of warmth and welcome) in 1876 in honor of a visit by the then Prince of Wales who would become King Edward VII. To this day, a law remains that all buildings in the old town be painted pink, giving it a mystical ambiance.

Hawa Mahal was built in 1799 of red and pink sandstone. The shape is believed to simulate the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god. Its 953 intricately decorated windows (jharokhas) allowed the royal women to look out upon the ordinary folk bustling around the bazaar beneath without being seen themselves.

The Sisodia Rani Garden was built in 1728 by the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh for his second queen, Sisodia. Beautiful murals depict the love story of Radha Krishna, reflecting the theme of eternal love represented throughout the garden in the colors of the flowers, profusion of greenery, graceful water fountains and iridescent water channels.

The Amber Fort

Just outside of Jaipur is the Amber Fort, a paean to Hindu architecture, its distinctive red sandstone walls sitting majestically atop a mountain ridge since 1592. The most spectacular sight, among the many, is the Sheesh Mahal section (Palace of Mirrors) embellished with thousands of mirror tiles and colored-glass mosaics. The light from one candle creates thousands of flickering reflections that radiate throughout the room—an experience that stirs the soul.

The Blue City

Jodhpur is known as the “Gateway of the Thar Desert,” but is most famous for the “Brahmin-Blue Cubes,” homes with roofs painted a blazing blue that casts an ephemeral blue tint onto the city (and do double duty as an insect repellent). The medieval streets twist and turn and sometimes go nowhere, but along them floats the fragrance of incense, flowers and spices and the melodic fusion of classical and folk music. And everywhere the rich and vibrant colors of the beaded and embroidered textiles, gem-adorned cuff bracelets and luxurious pashimas calling to you. Now here’s the surprise. Who knew that Jodphur is known for its footwear! To the other shoe aficionados out there, ‘nuff said.

The Golden City

The fort of Jaisalmer, built in 1156, is a breathtaking sight, a golden-honey sandcastle rising from the dunes of the Thar. No place better conjures up visions of ancient camel trains off to distant lands along the Silk Road, the sound of camel bells lingering. Ninety-nine bastions enclose five palaces, several temples and grand havelis (mansions), all carved from the golden sand.

The perfect day ends with a camel ride across windswept sand dunes as the sun sets.

 

This post was sponsored by Asia Odyssey

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How to do Dubai in Style http://www.travelwithamate.com/dubai-in-style-how-to-do/ Mon, 10 Jul 2017 19:54:15 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31616 Dubai is one of the most iconic holiday destinations on the planet and has firmly sealed its place as the gem of the Persian Gulf. It is frequented by some of the world’s richest and most famous faces and is a place that most travel enthusiasts will include on their bucket lists.    The UAE’s ...

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Dubai is one of the most iconic holiday destinations on the planet and has firmly sealed its place as the gem of the Persian Gulf. It is frequented by some of the world’s richest and most famous faces and is a place that most travel enthusiasts will include on their bucket lists.   

The UAE’s most populous city has plenty to offer, ranging from immense luxury and recuperation to truly incredible adventures. So, what are the best ways to guarantee maximum enjoyment from your planned trip? Let’s take a closer look.

Travel in comfort

Whichever side of the pond you’re visiting from, flight times to Dubai are long. Sadly, an uncomfortable journey doesn’t only leave you in a bad mood on day one. The return leg will inevitably play on your mind throughout the vacation. It helps to fly with the best airlines, but you should also prepare some basic comforts. A neck cushion and good book should help. Oh, and make sure you land in Dubai, even if you need a connecting flight. Internal transfers in the UAE heat can quickly drain your enthusiasm.

Book a decent hotel

Dubai is renowned for boasting some of the best accommodation in the world. You might not have the budget to stay in the iconic Burj Al Arab. Still, there are plenty of more budget-friendly hotels that offer the type of luxury you could only dream about in most countries. Given the heat, a room with great air conditioning is as vital as the pool. After all, poor sleep will take the gloss off of any vacation.

See the city

There’s no question that this destination is one where you could dedicate a week or two to pampering without getting bored. However, it is a truly beautiful location that deserves to be seen. Experiencing the city from the deserts or the skies provides unforgettable memories. Moreover, there are several Dubai tours to make that happen. Those adventures will also encourage you to appreciate the moments of relaxation too.

Plan a full day at the mall

Even if you aren’t a shopaholic, visiting the world’s largest mall is a must. However, most people will assume that a couple of hours will be enough to see the stores and buy some souvenirs. The Dubai Mall has so much more to offer, though. It includes an aquarium, ice rink, and KidZania play zone. Whether you’re alone or with friends and family, you could easily spend a whole day in the mall. With a plethora of great restaurants also on offer, you’d be a fool to miss out.

Think about your style

You might not be overly focused on looks, but it’s impossible to escape the need for great appearances here. So many of the locals and visitors look amazing that you’ll feel out of place without the right attire. It is quite a relaxed placed compared to most Middle Eastern destinations. Still, knowing the legalities and rulings over dress codes is vital. Make a note of these before shopping for your holiday outfits, and you’ll be just fine. When you look great, you’ll feel great too. Frankly, there couldn’t be a better place on the planet to experience those joys.

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Hotel Review – The Strand Inn, Waterford, Ireland http://www.travelwithamate.com/hotel-review-strand-inn-waterford-ireland/ Fri, 07 Jul 2017 11:58:06 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31595 On our recent Ireland Road Trip adventure we were keen to visit the ancient town of Waterford and visit a few of its historical highlights. While the city holds much charm we’re always drawn to the coast and with an invitation to view the Strand Inn at Dunmore East it was an opportunity not to ...

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On our recent Ireland Road Trip adventure we were keen to visit the ancient town of Waterford and visit a few of its historical highlights. While the city holds much charm we’re always drawn to the coast and with an invitation to view the Strand Inn at Dunmore East it was an opportunity not to be missed.

The drive from Waterford is easy and pleasant, not more than 15 minutes from the airport which now has regular flights from Manchester, London Luton and Birmingham it makes travel to this part of Ireland very easy. The roads slip down in to the beautiful little bay area of Dunmore East, a sleepy seaside village with just enough going on to make it appealing yet quiet enough to feel tranquil and serene.

First Impressions

The Strand Inn couldn’t be better positioned, its pub garden area right along the beach wall offers ample outdoor seating when the weather is right, thankfully during our visit it was perfect with warm temperatures and a calm coastal breeze. As you enter the small bay area its clear that the Strand is the centre point of the village. Parking can be a little tricky thanks to its popularity but thankfully The Strand Inn has extra parking just across the road.

We entered the busy pub and made our way to the hotel reception where the friendly staff helped us check in very quickly and showed us to our room. Meandering through various hallways with creaky uneven floorboards, it had a familiar character from many old seaside guesthouses I experienced as a child. The big difference here is the decor is decidedly modern, bold and artistic. Our sea-view family bedroom had ample space for us 2 adults and a quite little cosy bed for our 3 year old daughter who is now at an age where she likes her own space. The view was indeed of the sea, the steep cliff edge to the left with cute fishermen’s houses neatly in a row. Our room was above the restaurant kitchen so the temperature was slightly above average for a hotel room but still pleasant with zero noise from the pub below, not something you can often say about Inns of this nature.

Pub atmosphere

Once settled in we were keen to join in the atmosphere we’d walked through on arrival, so we headed straight down to the bar and found a big round table outside. A chance to sample some local beers while our daughter enjoyed a rapidly melting ice cream. The view matched the mood of the holiday makers and casual afternoon drinkers who resided at the Strand Inn that day. Its always nice to feel you’re at the right place when visiting somewhere new and the Strand sure felt like the centre of what was happening in Dunmore East.

The beach

The beach may not be a beautiful sand laden paradise but its pleasant enough for kids to play on. In fact our daughter spent a good couple of hours collecting sea weed and making muddy sand piles (we forgot to bring any castle making equipment!) The water here is shallow and the tide goes out so far its easy for little ones to play in. There was a fair number of crazy adults stripping off and jumping in to the sea too, swimming a few lengths before heading back to shore. A popular spot for this sort of challenge as we saw plenty braving the chilly waters during our stay, not something I’d be prepared to do but clearly fun for those mad enough.

Dinner

We were invited for dinner at the Strand Seafood Restaurant which enjoyed equally stunning views of the bay with its large windows. The seafood on offer was locally caught and wonderfully fresh with some fantastic twists on familiar favourites. The staff were very accommodating with our bold little toddler and we enjoyed some fantastic starters of Deep Fried Scampi and Dressed Crab. We ventured on to the Specials board for main courses of Turbot, Hake and very tasty Monkfish with Chilli & Garlic. The decor and ambience here was equally modern and inviting, the perfect setting for seafood while the sun sets. There’s usually 2 mains sittings at 7pm and 9pm but staff are willing to help accommodate you between those times if required. Prices were very reasonable and the service was impeccable. Definitely worth checking out during your stay.

Unlike some Inns I’ve stayed at before The Strand Inn did a great job of managing a lively inviting pub while also having a quiet guest area. Plenty of space to relax and enjoy the surroundings, whatever mood you’re in. While the room wasn’t the most modern it was at least well decorated and we enjoyed spending time there, something you get used to doing more of with a toddler fast asleep at 8pm.

What to do nearby

Nearby there’s plenty to do including scenic walks in Dunmore East and drives along the coast. Sailing and scenic cruises too from the cute little local harbour just a couple of minutes drive away and visible from the Strand. There’s also Dunmore East Golf Club for those inclined and with just a short drive to Waterford town centre there’s plenty to experience there too include the Waterford Crystal factory tour and the Medieval Museums nearby.

I’d also recommend checking out the pretty little cottages just across the road, pristine and very photogenic.

Conclusion

We really enjoyed our stay at the Strand Inn, its quirky character and bold modern interior design worked hand in hand largely thanks to its fantastic location and great family friendly atmosphere. The service was perfect and the food we an absolute delight too. In fact we’re already considering a return thanks to easy international flights from the UK to Waterford Airport. Definitely a little slice of Irish Paradise that’s easy to visit again.

Get in touch with the Strand Inn

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Coping With The Travel Chaos With A Clear Mind http://www.travelwithamate.com/coping-travel-chaos-clear-mind/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:29:38 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31586 Traveling anywhere can be exceptionally rewarding, exceptionally exciting, and exceptionally chaotic. There are many tips pertaining to travel, and these can help increase excitement while diminishing chaos. One of the wisest tips is to keep your brain in good health before, during, and after travel. That can involve nootropic use. Especially when you consider how ...

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Traveling anywhere can be exceptionally rewarding, exceptionally exciting, and exceptionally chaotic. There are many tips pertaining to travel, and these can help increase excitement while diminishing chaos. One of the wisest tips is to keep your brain in good health before, during, and after travel. That can involve nootropic use.

Especially when you consider how the world has become a global village, but a village with continuing unrest in many regions, you’re going to want your wits about you. Australia is an astonishing place to visit, but it’s a different world. In places like this, you may want to try new activities.

The thing is, while some countries may have legal health substances which are illegal elsewhere, not all supplements are good for you. Certainly, some are. But others require caution. The solution is to know what you’re getting into beforehand, or at the very least have an available resource designed to help you make wise choices.

When it comes to brain health products, you can read up on certain substances at Corpina.com. Corpina has stated its mission is to: “…inform the world about Nootropics and responsible Nootropic use.” Responsibility is key when it comes to such supplements and medicines. Consider Adderall, as a for-instance.

An Example Worth Considering

Adderall can be almost a panacea for many who have difficulty concentrating. It’s a stimulant that allows an individual to focus. But like any medicinal substance of its kind, it can also damage internal organs (like the gall bladder), and lead to crippling dependence. Such dependence often predicates extreme mood swings.

An individual in the throes of Adderall addiction will at one moment be the nicest, most congenial individual that you know. And then a few moments later, that same individual may turn into a very real monster. Now consider traveling the world with an Adderall prescription, then suddenly finding there is none available where you’re traveling.

This can pose a very real threat to body and mind. The mind loses its ability to focus. As the body’s dependency catches up to this loss, physical reactions occur, and then emotional difficulties make things downright uncomfortable for everybody. In fact, there can be serious health concerns to quitting the subject “cold turkey”, as the saying goes.

Critical Factors

If you’re going to travel an extended period of time, you need to consider the very real possibility that certain substances to which you have a dependence will not be allowed in certain countries, or at the very least may be difficult to obtain. If you’re unable to pack them with you, this could end up being detrimental to the whole trip.

Instead of enjoying the excitement and adventure of a new locale, you find yourself caught up in a fruitless search to satiate your physical and mental disparity. So it is definitely essential to have solutions available which can surrogate such substances if you’ve built a dependence.

An even better approach, however, is to have no dependence on a given substance, or to derive mental benefits not through addictive medical solutions, but instead through natural remedies. Certainly, everyone will be different. Some will function better on nootropic A, and others on nootropic B. But being educated helps either individual.

Traveling is something everyone should do in their lives—and the connotation here isn’t some maudlin jaunt twenty miles west to the nearest town. The idea is travel which, if not international, is at least to regions where an individual has never explored before. If you inform your travel beforehand, you’ll can keep the excitement, and minimize the stress.

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Planning Your Annual Holiday? These Tips Will Help http://www.travelwithamate.com/planning-annual-holiday-tips-will-help/ Tue, 20 Jun 2017 15:58:21 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31580 Not everyone are seasoned travelers. Some people still choose to have that one annual holiday each year. Either an abroad jaunt or a staycation. People will put oodles of research into this one trip. Making sure that they not only choose the right place but also ensure that they enjoy every minute of that two-week ...

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Not everyone are seasoned travelers. Some people still choose to have that one annual holiday each year. Either an abroad jaunt or a staycation. People will put oodles of research into this one trip. Making sure that they not only choose the right place but also ensure that they enjoy every minute of that two-week escape.

While some people are not used to traveling in different ways, we thought it would be a good idea to share with you some of the essential tips that can help you plan that annual holiday a little easier. Ensuring that you get to make the memories, as well as enjoy all the hard work that went into booking it.

Budget wisely for the holiday

When it comes to the one holiday a year, people will tend to be a little more exuberant in what they spend on it. Which is why it is important to ensure you know what kind of budget you are looking at, and not just for a holiday, but for while you are there as well. No one wants to be relying on credit cards or other debts like overdrafts if you can help it. It’s a great way to start saving for it, which can also be an exciting prospect to help you countdown to your well-earned break.

Research is key

Research will always be a key factor of any holiday. One of the first factors to consider is where you want to go and where you would like to stay. This is when research into weather at certain times of the year can help make your decision. Working out what season it may be when you are looking to travel. It also helps to research the area and ensure you read plenty of reviews online to ensure that what the hotel or travel agents are saying is, in fact, true. Other things you may want to think about researching is the time it takes to get to the destination from the airport or driving there if you are using your car for your holiday. Research will help you decide how to get the currency, such as withdrawing while you are there or changing over money before you leave. It can answer a lot of unanswered questions to help you be as best prepared as possible to travel.

Think of other things to do while away

Holidays abroad can get a little monotonous at times so it may be worth considering other ways to spend your days while you are there. You might want to think about hiring a car. This gives you the chance to explore the destination and seek out secluded beaches or secret tavernas along the coastline. However, some people would think that it’s another expensive addition to a holiday but websites like Holiday Autos can take out the hassle of finding the best deals.

Enjoy the countdown and get excited

One big part of the annual holiday is the countdown from months, to weeks to days before you go. It’s a great way to keep the excitement and momentum going. It can also be a huge motivation for getting work done or even looking your best.

Pay attention to what you pack

Packing can be pretty stressful. Especially if you have to stay within weight restrictions for certain airlines. It’s important to try and pack methodically. Think about what you will wear each day and what you might need. This should help you avoid over-packing. However, once you have checked the weight, you can always add some other options, just in case.

Ensure you have all documents printed and accessible

Booking a holiday means a lot of confirmations to print out. Not to mention tickets and even boarding passes if you have checked in online. Try and remain organised, and if you can get yourself a travel document folder to ensure you keep passports and documents safe while you travel. Also try and keep this easily accessible for when you get to the airport, land at your destination and try and check in to your hotel or collect your car hire.

It all starts the moment you step foot in the car or on the plane

Finally, it is worth remembering that the holiday begins the moment you step into the airport, or even behind the wheel of your car if you are having a staycation. It should feel exciting as you anticipate the break away from normality. Make sure you enjoy every moment of it.

I hope these tips help our non-frequent travelers.

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Why You Will Fall In Love With Borneo http://www.travelwithamate.com/will-fall-love-borneo/ Tue, 20 Jun 2017 14:44:34 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31574 A lot of people don’t consider Borneo as a holiday destination. They have either not heard of it before, or don’t know the highlights of going there for a visit. But believe us, there is a tonne of reasons why it should be on your radar. For starters, it’s one of the most beautiful destinations ...

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A lot of people don’t consider Borneo as a holiday destination. They have either not heard of it before, or don’t know the highlights of going there for a visit. But believe us, there is a tonne of reasons why it should be on your radar. For starters, it’s one of the most beautiful destinations in Asia. In fact, the island knocks other destinations off the list when it comes down to its rainforests and stunning beaches. Here are some of the top reasons why you will fall in love with Borneo.

The beautiful beaches

One of the top reasons why you would want to make a visit to Borneo is down to its gorgeous beaches. In fact, thousands visit every year so they can do some sunbathing on the beautiful coastline. And it’s picture-perfect; you can expect glistening blue water and white sanded beaches. It’s also excellent as you don’t have to worry about tons of tourists. A lot of the beaches are secluded making it the perfect place to do some sunbathing! There are several beaches which need to be on your to-do list. For starters, the private Mañana beach needs to be on your radar. Only accessible by boat, it’s definitely a private haven you need to visit. You will find a small bar and plenty of hammocks to ensure you get sunbathing into your life. And don’t rule out visiting the beautiful Kalampunian beach. It’s peaceful to ensure you can relax without being bothered by tons of tourists. And you can always do some snorkeling to take in the beautiful marine life!

The amazing animals

It’s also wildlife which draws people to the island year after year. After all, if you want to get up close and personal to some amazing animals, Borneo is the place to do it. For starters, you might want to arrange some form of tour to see the orangutans which you can do through sites like www.borneocalling.com. You get to go to the heart of the jungle to see the beautiful creatures in action. Some people even head to one of the many sanctuaries where you can also see the orangutans. And the beautiful turtles are also a draw. In fact, you can head to turtle island which will ensure you get closer to the magnificent creatures. The amazing island is perfect for a wander and to see the turtles in action. There’s even a sanctuary where you can find out more about the wonderful creatures!

The watersport opportunities

You also will love the amount of water sports which are available to you if you head to Borneo. After all, the pristine waters ensure you can get up close to the gorgeous coral and sea life. Therefore, diving is an excellent option for you if you head to Borneo. In particular, you might want to head to Sipadan which as it says on http://travel.cnn.com/gallery-best-malaysian-borneo-852766/, is often referred to as one of the world’s best dives. You will have a fantastic time while getting to dive in the destination. Also, you need to try snorkeling and scuba diving while in Borneo. And surfing is also a popular choice here if you want to learn to catch a wave!

Therefore, with so much on offer, it’s not surprising people book to go back year after year!

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Simple hacks to make working away a breeze http://www.travelwithamate.com/simple-hacks-make-working-away-breeze/ Mon, 19 Jun 2017 09:43:55 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31568 On one hand, you would think that getting out of the office would be the ticket to a little more freedom and as such, a little more flexibility. Unfortunately, it’s seldom like this.  While you might be away from the hustle and bustle, and you might not be experiencing distraction after distraction, working on the road ...

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On one hand, you would think that getting out of the office would be the ticket to a little more freedom and as such, a little more flexibility.

Unfortunately, it’s seldom like this. 

While you might be away from the hustle and bustle, and you might not be experiencing distraction after distraction, working on the road is much easier said than done. Most people find that productivity levels sink to record lows – and at first this can be a huge shock to the system (and your schedule).

As such, if you are about to travel away with work, here are the top hacks to make sure that you can keep your productivity levels as high as can be.

Find an office space – or create your own

Obviously, this first solution is going to vary depending on your business requirements. If you’re entertaining clients or associates, finding appropriate business meeting rooms is obviously advisable. If on the other hand you are going solo, it stands to reason that you’ll need some form of office space – whether this is part of your hotel room or perhaps a hot desk in the city.

In simple terms, you need something that is going to cut down distractions to minimum. As attractive as it might sound, working on the beach is rarely a good idea.

Don’t tap into the complimentary Wi-Fi

Unless you are traveling to the middle of nowhere, the general assumption is that you will be provided complimentary Wi-Fi. While this is crucial in some regards – keeping a constant internet connection can have its pitfalls when you work away.

Again, let’s focus on the topic of distractions. When you’re away, they come in full force, and when these are combined with the usual phone calls, emails and even social network updates it all can get too much.

As such, even though you do have the ability to stay online, try and resist until you have to send that all-important email.

Don’t ditch your normal sleeping patterns

This next suggestion doesn’t have anything to do with jet lag – but rather your working hours.

Again, the temptations of a trip abroad can mean that it’s easy to tap into late night entertainment and subsequently have a lie-in.

In the interests of productivity, you need to avoid such an approach at all costs. Staying in your normal hours, even if they are different to what colleagues back in the office at home are working to, will keep your schedule on track and allow you to keep focus.

While you might promise to work later at night just to enjoy your new environment in the day, it rarely works out like this – so be warned.

You are allowed breaks

All of the advice so far has been quite strict. However, let’s end with a simple suggestion that goes against this – learn how to take breaks.

As you’re most probably working alone, you won’t have the usual office distractions available to you (co-workers chatting and so on). It means that you need to create your own breaks, even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes. This is essential from a productivity perspective; you just can’t afford to give into burnout.

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Elafonissi And Other Hidden Wonders Of Greece http://www.travelwithamate.com/elafonissi-hidden-wonders-greece/ Mon, 19 Jun 2017 09:16:42 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31561 The picture above is the view you’ll get if you lie down on the sands of Elafonissi Beach. It’s labeled as the ninth most beautiful beach in the world and is a hidden paradise that tourists discover every year. It’s just one of the many reasons why you must take our advice and book a ...

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The picture above is the view you’ll get if you lie down on the sands of Elafonissi Beach. It’s labeled as the ninth most beautiful beach in the world and is a hidden paradise that tourists discover every year. It’s just one of the many reasons why you must take our advice and book a trip to Greece. It’s certainly not the only beach there that will take your breath away. Whether you want to lie down on the sand, catch up on your reading, or paddle in the shallows, my friends, this is the place to be. And, the beautiful beaches with golden sands as well as aquamarine oceans aren’t the only reason to visit Greece this year. So, let’s look at a few of the other reasons why the country should be at the top of any travel wishlist.

Explore Your Myths

We’ve all heard the legend and myth of Atlantis. The ancient civilization, advanced beyond their time, punished by the Gods or perhaps a volcanic eruption that sent their island down beneath the depths. Although, there is the chance that the myth, as is often the case, is just an exaggerated true story. You might certainly find yourself believing this theory if you explore Santorini.

This beautiful island was the victim of a volcanic eruption which occurred over 3000 years ago. The evidence of the devastation that this cause is seen across the landscape with scorched rock and jagged edges across cliff faces. Despite this, the island is still an incredible sight to behold, and it’s definitely worth seeking out. News.nationalgeographic.com has an indepth look as to whether Santorini really could be the mythical Atlantis.

Soar Across The Waves

If you are heading to Greece, most people don’t head to the main city of Athens. Athens, while a wonderful place to visit is not a great place to stay. Instead, most tend to venture to the Greek islands like Kefalonia. There, you’ll discover plenty of gorgeous villas and hotels that offer picturesque views from your balcony of the Greek ocean. With sites such as villasingreece.co.uk, there are over 250 private villas and apartments to choose from on any part on any island that you like.

Of course, if we’re looking at the main benefit of renting a place on one of the greek islands it has to be the fact that you can hire a boat down by one of the beaches. With your choice of hire boat, you’ll be able to drop anchor around hidden areas of the island and explore places that are completely inaccessible by land. We certainly recommend that you do this near to Athena Beach on the island of Kefalonia. You’re sure to find some perfect spots of golden paradise.

Visit The Gods

While you may not want to stay in Athens, you’ll certainly want to take a day trip there. It holds some wonderful artifacts and hidden secrets of time. One example of this would certainly be the Temple Of Olympian Zeus. The remains of these columns are nothing short of legendary and to discover the fact behind the fiction, you’ll certainly have to venture there yourself. It’s not the only ancient remnant to explore in Greece. There are many more, but Athens is definitely the place to start if you’re looking for lost history.

Once you have uncovered everything that Athens has to offer in terms of ancient history, head over to Delos. This artificial site and ancient village is believed to be the birthplace of Apollo, the great Greek God. Whether you believe such a tale is entirely up to you, but the site itself is a wonder to behold.

At The Center Of The Earth

Last but not least, you must visit Sami. This holds Drogarati Cave and Melissani Lake, two of the must visit places in Kefalonia. Both are unique places to go, but Melissani Lake is particularly interesting because archeologists found drawings of the ancient god, Pan. It is believed this might have been a place of worship for the ancient Greeks. You can learn more about the greek gods in this video.

As for the Drogarati Cave, you’ll have to take a canoe and venture deep beneath the Earth’s surface to find this incredible site. Filled with incredibly stalagmites and stalactites, this cave has some incredible acoustics, and that’s why concerts are often held here. Perhaps there will be one when you are there? If there is, you’re in for an incredible evening of wonder and music.

As you can see, there are plenty of astounding places to explore and discover in Greece. You might need more than one trip to explore them all.

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Phone Functions You Should Know Before You Travel http://www.travelwithamate.com/phone-functions-know-travel/ Wed, 14 Jun 2017 10:08:13 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31558 As a traveler you should know how to use your phone to its fullest capacity. Your smartphone is a tool that can be used to capture memories, navigate and communicate while you’re on the go. From international travels to weekend getaways, here are the top things you should know about your phone before you hit ...

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As a traveler you should know how to use your phone to its fullest capacity. Your smartphone is a tool that can be used to capture memories, navigate and communicate while you’re on the go. From international travels to weekend getaways, here are the top things you should know about your phone before you hit the road:

Camera

Smartphone cameras today have capabilities that rival those of DSLR cameras. You can use your phone’s camera for high definition video, a variety of photo compositions and use built-in software for editing.

Video

Capture your travel memories with your phone’s video capabilities. You smartphone’s video features have been extended in the past few years to incorporate slow motion and time-lapse, which offers you more creative range. Make use of slow motion when you are attempting to capture a significant moment, or show the beautiful perspective of “slowing down.” Choose the time lapse setting when you wish to focus on the magnitude or significance of a stagnant object, while there is constant movement of things around it.

Photos

You can enhance the composition of your photos, through your phone’s built-in camera software, which will give your travel pics that wow factor. When you take photos of landscapes, adjust the camera setting to panorama so you can capture every corner of the scene. Once you’ve taken your photos, don’t stop there — use editing tools to make them pop. Use your phone’s built-in editing tools, like brightness, contrast, sharpening, cropping and leveling. Small tweaks to your travel photos can take them from good to great. Phone’s like the Samsung Galaxy S8, have high-quality front-facing cameras, which means that you can take a shameless selfie and have it look like a near-professional portrait.

Navigation System

Your phone’s built-in navigation system is one of the most valuable features you can use as a traveller. This feature will help you save time, make plans and seamlessly explore new places. Use your map software to find directions to your destination. Your phone’s app will provide you with accurate travel times, as it draws data from other users in the area to calculate the fastest route and your ETA. If you are traveling by foot, bike or transit, your map can provide you options that are customized to your mode of transportation — i.e., a pedestrian/bicycle path for safe travels and various modes of public transit. Rather than look up transit stations and stops, your map app will have that information at the ready. Additionally, you should use your app to search for any general amenities that you seek. It is helpful for a traveler in a new place to be able to look for a certain kind of restaurant, store or establishment that is in their immediate vicinity.

Unlocking Your Phone

When your phone is locked within your cell company’s network, you will be charged outlandish roaming rates for the duration of your trip. Cell phone companies, like T-Mobile, will work with you to reduce the risk of racking up roaming rate charges. If you are eligible, T-Mobile will provide you with free unlock codes, so you can use an international company’s SIM card during your travels. Once you have a local SIM card, you can select a daily or weekly plan for your calls and texts. If you are traveling to multiple countries, make sure you have a SIM card for each place so you can continue to avoid unnecessary roaming fees. If you are unable to unlock your phone, you can also explore other options like only using Wi-Fi, purchasing a budget smartphone or using a portable hotspot.

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Do’s And Don’ts In Traveling With Friends http://www.travelwithamate.com/dos-donts-traveling-friends/ Tue, 13 Jun 2017 09:16:22 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31546 Spending time with friends is great. These are the people who make you laugh, and are there for you in the good times and the bad. You love being with your friends, and sometimes you may wish you could spend even more time together. So while going on holiday together may sound like a splendid ...

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Spending time with friends is great. These are the people who make you laugh, and are there for you in the good times and the bad. You love being with your friends, and sometimes you may wish you could spend even more time together. So while going on holiday together may sound like a splendid idea, you need to be mindful. Extended time in each other’s company could be the beginning of the end to your friendship.

When it comes to traveling with friends, there are some important do’s and don’ts to consider, not least the following.

Do…

Choose friends whose company you know you already enjoy. You may have already spent a lot of time in their company, so you will know how comfortable your friendship is during extended periods. Pick a traveling companion who shares the same interests, values, and lifestyle as you.

Find a friend who won’t be a burden and expect you to carry not only your baggage but theirs as well, metaphorically or otherwise!

Share the costs of the holiday. It doesn’t matter if you charter a private plane with Jettly, or take a road trip together, you can cut down on costs by budgeting together.

Talk to each other about your expectations for the trip. You don’t want to fall out during your holiday, so be upfront with your ideas of fun, and listen to your friend’s thoughts. You may need to compromise on a few things, such as accommodation, and an itinerary, so be open with each other.

Stay somewhere with enough room to give each other space when you need it. You may love your friend’s company, but you might both appreciate privacy.

Don’t

Travel with somebody you don’t know very well. When on holiday you will be getting to know them very well, and you might not like what you find.

Travel exclusively with other couples as you may find yourself feeling left out. Alternatively, don’t let your coupled friends bring another single person along to keep you company, especially if you suspect they are playing Cupid!

Stay with your friend’s family. You may love your friend to bits, but their family could be a living nightmare. You want to be able to relax, and not conform or feel indebted to others.

Pay for everything. If you are the dedicated driver, your friend should help you cover the costs of fuel, so don’t be afraid to ask. It’s no good if you budget well, and have money to spend, but if your friend blows all their money on the first night out, you shouldn’t have to pay for the rest of their holiday.

Do everything together. You may both have different tastes, so spend time apart as well as together. For example, you may enjoy sitting in the sun, but your friend might prefer to see the local sights. While you should compromise, and do things together, there is no harm in going it alone for a day.

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A guide to London’s most luxurious neighbourhoods  http://www.travelwithamate.com/guide-londons-luxurious-neighbourhoods/ Mon, 12 Jun 2017 14:01:21 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31537 If you’ve ever visited or lived in London, you won’t be unbeknownst to how expensive and luxurious the English capital can be. London is filled with beautiful boroughs and bustling neighbourhoods that are great to visit while travelling, but can take a hefty toll on your bank account if you choose to live there. If ...

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If you’ve ever visited or lived in London, you won’t be unbeknownst to how expensive and luxurious the English capital can be. London is filled with beautiful boroughs and bustling neighbourhoods that are great to visit while travelling, but can take a hefty toll on your bank account if you choose to live there. If you have an adventure to London on the horizon, take a look at this guide to some of the most luxurious neighbourhoods in London that are definitely worth a wander round.

Belgravia

You don’t get much more luxurious than royalty, and a stroll through London’s Belgravia neighbourhood will leave you feeling fancy in no time. A popular tourist destination due to Buckingham palace, Belgravia is the perfect place to relax on a lazy afternoon, admiring the stylish architecture and beautiful gardens. Although it is mainly a residential area, there are still some great restaurants for a chilled bite to eat, and the neighbourhood’s central location means there are lots of livelier spots nearby.

Mayfair 

Hailed as London’s top luxury neighbourhood back in 2016, Mayfair is definitely an area worth checking out when in the city. Home to some of the most exclusive bars, restaurants and galleries, there’s plenty to see and do on these elegant streets. Renowned for all things stylish, Mayfair also boasts some top London hairdressers and shopping destinations for a perfect day of pampering. For an unforgettable brunch, head to Sketch restaurant – a contemporary tearoom with quirky decor inspired by the artwork of illustrator David Shrigley.

Chelsea

Made all the more popular by e4 show Made in Chelsea, this London borough certainly holds a spot as one of the city’s most luxurious spots. The beautiful streets of Chelsea boast a plethora of things to see and do, such as the prestigious Saatchi art gallery and a fantastic selection of chic bars and restaurants. Taking a stroll up the fashionable King’s Road is also not to go amiss – if even to bump into some famous faces!

Notting hill 

The colourful, lively and eclectic neighbourhood of Notting Hill is one of the city’s most vibrant destinations, and certainly not to be missed. Notting Hill has come a long way since its working class roots, transforming into one of the most expensive places to live in London. Despite it’s gentrification, Notting Hill still keeps an air of culture amongst all the luxury, with events such as Notting Hill carnival, Portobello Road Market and a plethora of vintage shops and boutiques to hunt down some unexpected gems.

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Your guide to the top travel style essentials  http://www.travelwithamate.com/guide-top-travel-style-essentials/ Mon, 12 Jun 2017 13:52:37 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31530 The time comes in every traveller’s life that they arrive to their destination and start questioning their packing choices. For many people planning a holiday or backpacking adventure, bringing as few items of clothing as possible is key, which is why it’s important to ensure you’re choosing the right pieces for your travels. If you’re ...

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The time comes in every traveller’s life that they arrive to their destination and start questioning their packing choices. For many people planning a holiday or backpacking adventure, bringing as few items of clothing as possible is key, which is why it’s important to ensure you’re choosing the right pieces for your travels. If you’re in the process of some last minute holiday shopping and are in need of some guidance, take a look at this guide to some of the top style essentials every traveller needs.

Some trainers

Wherever your destination, it’s likely you’ll be doing a lot of walking throughout the day. Make sure you pack the perfect pair of trainers for your travels, with the right levels of comfort and support to banish blisters and keep your feet from feeling tired and sore.

A cosy hoodie

The temperatures may be high in the location you’re headed, but that doesn’t mean you won’t feel the chill every now and then. Cold hotel rooms and rainy nights are just some of the times you might need to layer up, so having a warm oversized hoodie available can be a lifesaver, and definitely deserves a place in your suitcase.

Some quality sunglasses

Protect your eyes from harmful UV rays with some high quality sunglasses. Beach days, mountain treks and even just strolls through city streets all leave your eyes exposed to the sun, so it’s a good idea to keep a pair of protective glasses on hand throughout your trip.

A simple T-shirt

T-shirts can be a godsend during travel, so it’s definitely wise to make some space in your suitcase for a tee or two. The right t-shirt can cool you down in the heat and is versatile enough to be layered with other clothing or dressed up or down for relaxed, effortless style.

A versatile backpack

This might be an obvious one for backpackers, but for those preparing for a city break or beach holiday, the right backpack can really come in handy. Backpacks come in all sizes and styles, and are perfect for storing all the bits and bobs you need for exploring a new place while keeping your hands free.

A lightweight scarf

A scarf might not be an item you’d ever thought of adding to your list, but a large lightweight scarf can really help you out on your holidays. Aside from easily accessorising any outfit, a scarf can be used to sit on in parks or beaches and is essential for covering your head and shoulders when visiting certain places of worship or in conservative countries.

The right pair of jeans

One of the most widely worn items of clothing in the world, jeans are an essential item for good reason. Jeans can be styled with any outfit and are a definite wardrobe staple for both men and women. If you’re concerned about the space jeans can take up, consider jeggings as a more lightweight alternative and a way to keep comfortable while still looking stylish.

For the perfect choice of casual fashion such as t-shirts, denim, footwear and more, visit Bellfield Clothing for your ultimate travel wardrobe.

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Fun and Safety: The Perfect Combination for Off-Road Drivers http://www.travelwithamate.com/fun-safety-perfect-combination-off-road-drivers/ Fri, 09 Jun 2017 12:52:22 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31525 If you find the right vehicle, taking it off road can be a fun, exhilarating hobby. You get to go places that your friends and family may never have seen before and you get to feel like you’re on a trailblazing adventure. Off-roading can be very dangerous though, especially if you’re not familiar with the ...

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If you find the right vehicle, taking it off road can be a fun, exhilarating hobby. You get to go places that your friends and family may never have seen before and you get to feel like you’re on a trailblazing adventure.

Off-roading can be very dangerous though, especially if you’re not familiar with the safety procedures that come along with the adventure. There are many pitfalls and perils that you need to understand how to avoid and what to do if you actually have an accident while you’re far away from the nearest road. Here’s a quick guide to off-roading safety so you can feel confident taking that new Jeep Cherokee off the beaten path.

Watch Your Speed

One of the most dangerous habits — and one of the easiest ones to break — is driving too fast while you’re off road.

There’s a very simple saying to remember when you’re off-roading: “Drive as slow as possible, but as fast as necessary.” When you’re off road, there are problems you will run into that you wouldn’t on a paved road, such as hidden potholes, slippery slopes, and downed trees or other hazards that can cause an accident. This saying tells you that taking your time is very important, while at the same time understanding that you need a little speed sometimes to climb a steep grade or get through trouble.

When you’re off-road, just remember to take it slow and easy and adjust your speed according to the road that you are on.

Stay on the (Off) Road

While you’re driving off-road, you may be tempted to take off through the wilderness, off the path that you were following. This isn’t a good idea.

If you stay on the path that’s already there, you know that it’s possible to go to the end and back (depending on your vehicle and the conditions, of course). But if you leave the trail, you not only risk injury to yourself, but you can also permanently damage your vehicle and the environment as well. If you aren’t sure where you are going, you could wander into sensitive or protected areas that are meant to stay apart from civilization. This can lead not only to vehicle damage, but it can also net you a fine if you are in an area you’re not supposed to be in.

Use Common Sense

Never drive through an area you aren’t sure that vehicle can handle. This will prevent you from getting stuck or even injuring yourself.

Also, always make sure people know where you are headlined to off-road. This way, if you get stuck or injured and can’t make it home, people will be able to know where to look for you. It’s always better to play it safe than to wish you had!

Off-road driving is one of the coolest things you can do when you own the vehicle. You get to have an adventure and see things that most people don’t get to see.

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Sleeping under the stars – The best places to stay http://www.travelwithamate.com/sleeping-stars-best-places/ Tue, 06 Jun 2017 07:38:52 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31472 Whether you’re looking for a break from the mundane 9-5 routine, or just looking to embrace nature a little more, there’s nothing more peaceful than spending a night under the stars. Where this was once restricted to campers and those brave enough to tackle mountain climbing, more and more resorts are offering ‘beds-with-a-view’ – and ...

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Whether you’re looking for a break from the mundane 9-5 routine, or just looking to embrace nature a little more, there’s nothing more peaceful than spending a night under the stars. Where this was once restricted to campers and those brave enough to tackle mountain climbing, more and more resorts are offering ‘beds-with-a-view’ – and here are some of our favourites:

Bangkok Tree House, Thailand

Not only boasting a gorgeous view of the River, this beautiful hotel allows their guests to enjoy a full alfresco experience – without outdoor showers, treehouse bedrooms with voile curtains draped over four-poster beds, (definitely something to mimic at home!) and natural ponds to swim in!

And if that doesn’t sway you; as well as the hotel being completely environmentally friendly, it also holds a strict promise to remove 1 kilogram of rubbish from the Chao Phraya River for every booking made.

Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

Condé Nast Readers Choice Awards voted this gorgeous hotel the #1 Caribbean resort no less than three times, and it’s not difficult to see why! Guest can enjoy the one-of-a-kind tropical surroundings from their luxury suites, or one of the 24 luxurious infinity pools on site – each offering exquisite views of the Caribbean Sea and the Pitons. And if that’s not relaxing enough; guests can then watch their sun set from the comfort of their own bed! Amazing!

Sabuk Lodge, Kenya

Perfect for anyone looking for a true wilderness adventure in a really beautiful setting, the Sabuk Lodge is uniquely designed with local stone and wood.

As well as the ‘Under the Big Sky’ beds giving guests a gorgeous view of the night sky as they sleep, the hammocks and day beds provide a truly relaxing experience.

Lion Sands Game Reserve, South Africa

Experience an African safari experience like no other at the Lion Sands Private Game Reserve, hidden away deep in Kruger National Park.

Not only will you get to slumber under the clear South African sky, but these breathtaking treehouse bedrooms look over the reserve, giving guests the unique chance to watch the magnificent African animals in their natural habitat.

Kakslauttanen, Finland

A night in one of these snow igloos is bound to be an unforgettable experience. Not only do you have an incredible, panoramic view of the night sky, but this is one of the most popular places to catch a glimpse of the infamous Northern Lights.

My travel advice

When hunting around for the best deals on flights and accommodation its always worth looking for voucher codes and discount sites like Groupon. The cost of travel soon adds up so if there’s any chance of saving a few bucks its well worth the effort. Its also important to be flexible on travel dates as you’ll be surprised how much this can vary. My advice is, book at least 9 months in advance and try to avoid flying on weekends when everyone else wants to.

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5 Reasons Why Greece is Perfect for Family Trips http://www.travelwithamate.com/5-reasons-greece-perfect-family-trips/ Thu, 25 May 2017 15:04:14 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31510 There are over a hundred reasons to visit Greece – blue skies, turquoise waters and stunning views. A trip to places like Mykonos in Greece is not just for romantic vacations, taking your family to Greece might just be one of the most memorable experiences you can have. Here are the top 5 reasons why ...

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There are over a hundred reasons to visit Greece – blue skies, turquoise waters and stunning views. A trip to places like Mykonos in Greece is not just for romantic vacations, taking your family to Greece might just be one of the most memorable experiences you can have.

Here are the top 5 reasons why Greece is perfect for family trips. Save these tips because they can be a handy guide when visiting this paradise.

Have a look!

Variety of Activities for Children

Greece offers a variety of fun-filled experiences for children and adults. From recreational activities to musical performances and experiences that bring you closer to nature, Greece is a slice of heaven on earth.

Athens

Athens attracts the highest number of tourists in Greece, which is why it offers a many activities to families visiting the city. You can spend your days visiting ancient ruins or exploring history from Acropolis to Ancient Agora.  The National Gardens and Zappeio Gardens are located adjacent to each other and have a mini zoo, duck pond, turtles’ pool and much more.

Hellenic Comos and Planetarium are the two top choices for taking exciting virtual reality tours. The Museum of Greek Children’s Art and Hellenic Children’s Museum also offers history lessons, as well as culinary and cultural classes for kids.

Cyclades

Cyclades has glorious beaches and sugar-cube island villages, where you can stay for several days and enjoy beachside recreational activities such as kite surfing, boating, fishing, scuba diving and a lot more.

The Ancient Olympia

The Ancient Olympia in The Peloponnese was once the original site for Olympic Games. The ruins have been preserved to offer an awe-inspiring experience.

Dikteon Cave on Lasithi Plateau

Crete is a perfect destination to visit for exploring popular Greek caves such as the Dikteon Cave situated on the Lasithi Plateau.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Heraklion Archaeological Museum at Knossos is considered to be one of the most important museums in Europe. It offers a display of archaeological finds from all over the island of Crete, dating back to the Minoan civilisation.

Medieval Forts

Medieval Forts at Corfu and Rhodes are great for mountain climbing along the sea. Children can also enjoy outdoor activities such as horseback riding or hiking on natural trails.

Nisyros’ Volcanoes

You can hear the famous Nisyros’ volcanoes bubbling and hissing from the top, or take a boat trip around the volcanic island of Milos.

Carnivals

Skyros and Patra host popular Greek carnivals. Apart from these, Greece offers various other carnivals and fun-filled events throughout the year.

Easy Family Accommodation

From luxury villas to beachfront resorts and cheaper condos within the city, Greece offers all types of accommodations for families. Exclusive accommodations such as villas in Mykonos make Greece your home away from home with luxury facilities and family entertainment. These luxury villas include panoramic views of enchanting towns on one side and stunning beaches on the other. Soak up the sparkling Greek sun in outdoor Jacuzzis or explore gardens covered with vivid purple flowers.

Mykonos is also a perfect destination for you if you love to party. Mykonos has various beaches including Platys Gialos, Ornos Beach and others. Delos, the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo according to Greek mythology, is also located close by.

Many family accommodations in Greece come with a fully-equipped kitchenette, laundry and ironing services along with centrally air-conditioned rooms. Complimentary services include beauty accessories like hair dryers, unlimited internet access, personal medical-aid kit, fully-equipped lounge and dining area, and a lot more. You will also find a number of options for luxury Mykonos villas and hotels within your budget.

Island Beaches

Island beaches in Greece are known for clear water, spectacular marine life and sand ranging from gold to crystal white.

Elafonisi, Crete – One hour boat ride from Paleachora, this island is known for pink sand and turquoise water.

Plaka Beach, Naxos – Naxos Island is home to not only the famous Plaka Beach, but also has many other beautiful beaches. Plaka Beach also offers a wide choice of taverns with local and international cuisine.

Sarakiniko Beach, Milos – This is an amazing rocky beach on the island of Milos. It is also referred to as the ‘moon beach’ because of its alien looking landscape.

Kolymbithres, Paros – Gorgeous blue water, grey rocks and numerous coves make this beach one of the best options for an adventure-filled family vacation.

Mystos Beach, Kyfalonia–White sand, azure water, high cliffs and fine pebbles make this the perfect beach for taking long, leisurely strolls and enjoying the sun.

The Food

Greek food is popular all over the world. The best thing for foodies in Greece is that you can find types of local and international cuisines. The most popular foods to try out in Greece include Taramasalata, Moussaka, Dolmades, Kolokythokeftedes, Honey & Baklava, Gyros, Souvlaki, Greek lamb kebobs, etc. Also don’t forget to sample the amazing Greek salad and Tzakzaki.

Want something useful to take back home? Of course, olives and olive oil!

Cultural Goods

You can find authentic Greek pottery, dating back to c. 1000 c. 400 BCE easily in cultural markets. These markets have ancient Greek candelabrums, lamps and chandeliers, as well as a variety of decorative items and Black and Red figure artwork. You can also purchase ancient Greek jewellery made of metal at affordable prices.

Don’t forget to take authentic Greek clothes and paintings as gifts because everybody is bound to love them!

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Life of luxury: 4 hotels that really give the wow factor http://www.travelwithamate.com/life-luxury-4-hotels-really-give-wow-factor/ Wed, 24 May 2017 10:26:15 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31503 At some point, all of us have dared to consider what life would be like at one of the world’s finest hotels. But what actually makes a hotel the best? We have vague preconceived ideas of an idyllic location with scintillatingly-designed rooms and even better facilities and food. In truth, it is far more difficult ...

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At some point, all of us have dared to consider what life would be like at one of the world’s finest hotels. But what actually makes a hotel the best? We have vague preconceived ideas of an idyllic location with scintillatingly-designed rooms and even better facilities and food. In truth, it is far more difficult to measure a hotel’s worth properly. By presenting you with a range of recommendations however, we can give you an insight into some of the best hotels the world has to offer.

Qualia, Hamilton Island, Australia

If ever a hotel demanded an Instagram post, the Qualia does.  Located more inside of, than on the edge of, the Great Barrier Reef, the Qualia strives to immerse its guests in the surrounding landscape. Floor-to-ceiling windows invite the ocean in, and locally sourced and crafted wooden guest beds combine with decorative stone to create an authentic-feeling abode. Relaxation is at the heart of the hotel’s ethos, and in-house yoga classes and spa treatments are evidence of this.

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Cap d’Antibes, Cote d’Azur, France

Perched on the French Riviera, the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is a renowned retreat for A-list actors attending the Cannes Film Festival. Evocative of the Baroque style that was typical of French kings Louis XV and XVI, the hotel is sumptuously decorated. Complete with gilded mirrors and furnishings, the décor really is a sight to behold. The thirty-three cabanas that line the rocky French Riviera allow guests a tranquil sea-side sanctuary if they happen to grow tired of the preposterous wealth on show within their hotel.

What makes the Hotel du Cap really special is the conveyor belt of stars that have stayed there over the last century. The hotel hosted the lavish parties that are synonymous with the Lost Generation of American writers. F. Scott Fitzgerald visited, and Ernest Hemingway not only visited, but immortalised the hotel forever as the Hotel des Etrangers in his novel Tender is the Night. Since then, the Kennedy’s have spent their summers there, and everyone from Winston Churchill to Mick Jagger has checked-in.

The Gritti Palace, Venice, Veneto, Italy

Lying directly across the Grand Canal from the Santa Maria della Salute is the Gritti Palace – a 15th century palazzo that has been the beneficiary of a £36.5 million renovation. As you would expect of a former residence of the Doge of Venice, the suites are replete with invaluable antiques, paintings and fabrics. The food is a highlight; ingredients are collected from the city’s Rialto Market and prepared with true Venetian flair.

Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas, US

Like a schoolboy’s idea of a high roller’s bachelor pad, the sky villas of the Palms Casino resort in Las Vegas, are ostentatious and extravagant. The focal point of the room is the glass-enclosed cantilever pool that extends out onto the Strip, giving the occupier a surreal sight of the lights of Las Vegas. A rotating bed, a private lift, and a dry sauna are just three of many indulgences that the sky villas’ house. Surprisingly, the Palms is also home to a recording studio that some of the most successful artists of all time have used – Jay Z, Madonna and Lady Gaga to name just a few.

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Why I love Thailand and why you should visit http://www.travelwithamate.com/i-love-thailand-visit/ Wed, 24 May 2017 10:06:50 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=31480 Over the years we’ve visited Thailand many times, its fair to say we’re constantly drawn back to this tropical country for a multitude of reasons. From the bustling city streets and market stalls of Bangkok to the party islands and immensely beautiful tropical landscapes, there’s plenty of reasons to visit any time of year! Our last ...

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Over the years we’ve visited Thailand many times, its fair to say we’re constantly drawn back to this tropical country for a multitude of reasons. From the bustling city streets and market stalls of Bangkok to the party islands and immensely beautiful tropical landscapes, there’s plenty of reasons to visit any time of year! Our last visit was just a few weeks ago where we visited the popular islands of Phuket staying at a number of resorts and hotels. We were recently asked by Emirates Holidays to share our experiences of Thailand Holidays so naturally we jumped at the chance to tell you just why Thailand should be high on your list of places to go.

Jaw dropping landscapes

There’s usually 2 main reasons why I love to travel, beautiful landscapes and interesting cultures. Thailand has no shortage of utterly stunning views and I’ve been lucky enough to experience many of them for myself over the last 10 years. There’s over 200 islands to explore so no shortage of amazing coastal views and many of the islands can be visited easily by ferry or diving excursion.

I’ve been to a number of them including Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta so be sure to check out my blog posts on them! While the general atmosphere varies from island to island their vistas are all equally jaw dropping. On the mainland there’s plenty to see too, I can highly recommend taking a train ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in the North which takes about 12 hours. You’ll cut through a lot of the Thai landscape and spend the day enjoying the view!

Colourful Culture

Thailand is a majority Buddhist country with a devout following of both its religion and its monarchy. Almost every town has a massive statue of Buddha somewhere and there’s plenty of incredible temples to explore as well.I’d definitely recommend you visit the reclining Buddha in Bangkok for instance. You’ll find it at Wat Pho which is easy to get to by tuktuk.

Buddhist influences can be seen everywhere around you from the architecture of buildings new and old, to the arts and the daily customs of locals. As with many Buddhist countries I found the people to very friendly and open, happy to share their knowledge with tourists and welcome you to their country. I’ve had countless wonderful experiences meeting locals, finding out more about Thailand and Thai culture than any guide book could have ever told me.

Amazing accommodation options

I think this has to be one of the biggest reasons we’ve visited Thailand so many times over the past decade. Our requirements, standards of travel and ultimately our accommodation requirements have influenced our trips heavily. Now that I’m in my late 30s my wife and I have moved more towards short term rental style apartments which are some of the most competitively priced in the world. We’ve stayed in amazing condo apartments in Bangkok and found some fantastic boutique hotels and resorts that offer far more bang for their buck than most hotels in Europe ever could.

Now that we’re parents too our standards and requirements have changed once more with the lure of family friendly resorts now a keen focus. Our 3 year old daughter needs entertaining with kids clubs and swimming pools so the days of sunbathing are over! Thankfully Thailand has no shortage of incredible resorts. We recently reviewed two such resorts on Phuket island in the towns of Karon and Surin.

Easy to get to

Sitting in the heart of South East Asia, a mere 12 or so hours from Europe, there’s lots of flights to choose from and plenty of ways to add Thailand to a larger itinerary too. Having travelled to Asia many times know I’ve been able to visit Thailand as part of 4 month trip through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia. I’ve also spent months living in Malaysia and Thailand as extended rental properties are easy to find. There’s a blogger community currently residing in Chiang Mai for instance. There’s also plenty of domestic flights between the islands which have made my travels around Thailand even easier.

Hot and sunny!

I adore hot, humid and sunny weather and there’s no shortage of that in Thailand. With an extended monsoon season from July to October torrential showers are all but guaranteed every afternoon. This never put me off visiting though as the rain often dries as quickly as it appeared and the impressively heavy downpours can be quite entertaining!  The hottest time of year is from March to June, with April and May being the hottest months. Temperatures are rarely below 30C and can peak at 39C. I’ve pretty much seen sunshine on every day of my travels through Thailand and the afternoon showers are a welcome reminder to seek some shade.

I could go on about the endless reasons you should put Thailand high up on your bucket list. Check out a few of Thailand blog posts to discover more.

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