Travel with a mate http://www.travelwithamate.com Travel advice, destinations and reviews from a family of travel addicts. Fri, 22 Jul 2016 12:28:07 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Women’s fashion – Packing your summer vacation into one carry-on http://www.travelwithamate.com/womens-fashion-packing-summer-vacation-carry-on/ Fri, 22 Jul 2016 12:28:07 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30460 Whether you’re going on a month-long vacation or taking a 10-day work trip, it’s important to pack smart, light, and consciously. If you’re the type to overpack for a 2-day trip back to your parents’ place, you might want to pay close attention to avoid any travel mistakes. Packing clothes that travel well is as ...

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Whether you’re going on a month-long vacation or taking a 10-day work trip, it’s important to pack smart, light, and consciously. If you’re the type to overpack for a 2-day trip back to your parents’ place, you might want to pay close attention to avoid any travel mistakes. Packing clothes that travel well is as crucial as knowing how to fit days’ worth of clothes in just your carry-on, especially if you want to avoid those hefty checked baggage fees. To travel like an expert, pick up a few of these 5 travel essentials that’ll minimize and therefore maximize, your vacation wardrobe.

Well Travelled Tops

When it comes to the most wrinkled pieces of clothing to come out of your luggage, tops just might take the cake. So unless you have time and easy access to a steamer or iron, pack fibers like rayon, viscose, and spandex. Rayons like sheer fabrics are lifesavers when you have an event to attend the moment you land, or when you’re battling harsh sun. The best go-tos are lightweight neutrals that pair with any bottom you throw under it. Try a crisp wrap around tank in ultra-lightweight construction or a stretchy crop top with trendy off-the-shoulder straps. No steamer required.

Fashion advice for female travellersWhat to pack on summer vacation

Paige Surplice Tank Top    Tara Off The Shoulder Crop Top

2. All Day Dresses

While on vacation, you want to feel vacation-y. It may come as no surprise when I say that short shift dresses are vacation essentials! Not only do they pack away easily, they’re forgiving (when you gorge on the local restaurant next to your hotel) and they’re super layerable. Wear them alone in the day or as a tunic with wide leg pants like palazzos, gauchos, and flared denim. A breezy shift dress with dainty tie straps or intricate lace paneling can be worn casually throughout the day and transitions flawlessly for your evening affairs.

Summer clothes travel adviceSummer dresses

All In A Days Work Shift Dress Hollywood and Vine Shift Dress

3. Full-Length Styles

Full, top-to-bottom lengths have been trending hard lately. From flowy maxi dresses to wide leg jumpsuits, a lengthy cover-up has become an all-season staple. The great thing about full length outfits are that they’re highly layerable and look appropriate all year long. You can take a cue from the 90’s and layer a basic white tee underneath a strappy number, or pair a relaxed fit tunic on top for a more easy-going outfit. For hotter days, make sure you pick a number with particularly interesting straps (like a strappy cross back or low back halter) when wearing these solo.

Maxi dresses for vacationsTravel fashion tips 2016

Show Them Off Maxi Set Layla Crossback Denim Jumpsuit

4. Versatile Sweaters

It’s no secret that airplanes teeter between two temperature extremes at all times; they’re either freezing cold, or hot, musty, and humid. Not only do you have to be weary of your beauty regimen on and off the plane, you have to dress accordingly on and off the flight. Lightweight layers are a must, so pack an easy sweater in low-key neutrals that go with everything. Remember, the more clothes you wear on the plane, the less you have to stuff into your carry-on. Opt for a sweater that you can layer easily over whatever you choose to wear on the flight, whether it be ultra low-key leggings, a maxi dress, or jeans.

Poncho SweaterFemale fashion travel 2016

Penelope Poncho Sweater College Ruled Sweater

5. Everyday Bottoms

The key to choosing the perfect bottoms to pack for your trip is simpler than it sounds. To keep your luggage minimal and light (reminder: the goal is to pack your entire trip in one carry-on!), you’ll want bottoms that don’t take up too much space, are neutral enough to go with everything, but also intriguing enough to wear both day and night. Go-to’s include simple patterns in neutral colorways, like stripes, or a solid neutral in a trendy silhouette, like a chic wrap dress in a midi length.

Wide leg pantsmelrose wraps

Fine Lines Wide Leg Pants Melrose Wrap Midi Dress

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3 Tips to stop micromanaging your trip http://www.travelwithamate.com/3-tips-stop-micromanaging-your-trip/ Wed, 20 Jul 2016 10:15:11 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30455 If you are notorious for planning every vacation down to the last minute, you are not alone. Micromanaging and traveling seem to go hand in hand, and for some good reasons. Going on vacation is expensive and you want to get your money’s worth. Plus, traveling can be stressful so planning every detail helps you ...

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If you are notorious for planning every vacation down to the last minute, you are not alone. Micromanaging and traveling seem to go hand in hand, and for some good reasons. Going on vacation is expensive and you want to get your money’s worth. Plus, traveling can be stressful so planning every detail helps you feel more in control.

But your tendency to schedule and plan everything might prevent you from having a relaxing and wonderful vacation. With this in mind, check out the following tips to help you cut back on your planning and be more spontaneous:

Tip 1: Thou Shalt not Cram

You want to see the Louvre while you are in Paris and your family cannot wait to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower. You also want to take a bus tour, see the famous Monets at L’ Orangerie Museum and hire a taxi to take you around the Arc du Triomphe.

Taxis in paris

But between all these plans, you should give yourself plenty of free time in the City of Lights — or wherever your vacation takes you. Unscheduled afternoons and evenings lead to amazing spontaneous adventures as well as scrumptious pain au chocolat, dinner on sidewalk cafes and trying out your French with the locals.

Along the same lines, don’t schedule your connecting flights too close together. Even though you are in a hurry to get to your vacation, you will appreciate some wiggle room at the airport if your first flight runs late or is delayed.

Tip 2: Think Like a Boy Scout and Be Prepared

One of the best ways to slow down and go with the flow is to know you are prepared ahead of time. Take your smartphone as an example. If you know that you have all of the apps you need, such as Uber, Google Maps and Google Translate, and a full battery, you can enjoy your journey without hunting for free Wi-Fi, outlets to charge your phone and strangers to ask for directions. If you are traveling overseas, make sure your mobile phone has a removable SIM card so you can install a local one when you arrive. Or check with your carrier about international plans. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge from T-Mobile, for instance, has a removable SIM and the ability to get on the Simple Choice Plan that has international calls, texting and data. It also has a long battery life that will keep chugging along, even during a spur-of-the-moment excursion that fills your entire afternoon.

By simply prepping your phone, you can rest assured that you’ll have everything you need when you are out and about. You can take photos, find new locations, call your family and, if need be, call a taxi to get you back to the hotel.

Tip 3: Doing Nothing Recharges the Brain

When you were a kid, remember how an afternoon spent daydreaming and lying in the grass watching the clouds roll by made you feel more energetic and alive? The same is true for when you go on vacation. Giving yourself permission to unwind and take each vacation day as it comes will leave you feeling inspired, emotionally and mentally restored and ready to tackle whatever life throws at you back at home.

Advice on better travel

You spend the rest of your year planning every aspect of your life, from your work schedule to when you eat, work out and sleep. Throw away your planner while you are away, immerse yourself in the local culture and return from your trip rested and rejuvenated, instead of feeling like you need another vacation to recover from your trip.

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Top four attractions in Vienna http://www.travelwithamate.com/top-four-attractions-vienna/ Tue, 19 Jul 2016 18:22:39 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30447 Vienna is one of those romantic European destinations that everyone wants to visit – the little medieval streets set against the grander palaces and museums that dominate the skyline. If you plan on being one of the 12 million people heading there this year, but you’re unsure of where to start, then here are a ...

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Vienna is one of those romantic European destinations that everyone wants to visit – the little medieval streets set against the grander palaces and museums that dominate the skyline. If you plan on being one of the 12 million people heading there this year, but you’re unsure of where to start, then here are a handful of attractions to get you started.

The Albertina

If you’ve decided to take a walk through Vienna’s famous Old Town, or Innere Stadt, make sure you don’t skip the Albertina as one of your stops. The Albertina is a museum that currently houses one of the largest and most important print rooms in the world. With around 65,000 drawings and one million old master prints, it’s of huge historical importance to artistic community. However, it also houses modern graphic works, photographs and architectural drawings for people who prefer more contemporary work.

The Albertina

The Vienna State Opera House

Opera plays an important part in the lives of many Viennese people, and it’s impossible not to get caught up in the romance and excitement of it all while you’re there. A must-see for many tourists, therefore, is the Vienna State Opera House, or Wiener Staatsoper, which dates back to the mid-19th century. Located at the very heart of Vienna, you can expect grand concerts, magnificent ballets and moving performances almost every night, but if you’re planning of visiting then don’t forget to book your opera tickets from viennaoperatickets.com well in advance to avoid missing out – the best seats fill up fast!

The Vienna State Opera House

The Belvedere

If you want to take a walk through the opulent and decadent period of the Imperial era, then Belvedere will take you there. This historic building complex which sits on a sprawling estate in the third district of the city, consists of two palaces, the Orangery, and the Palace Stables. Throughout the stunning grounds, you’ll find many intricately-carved fountains and sculptures from the elaborate Baroque period, while the house itself is now the Belvedere museum. Today, it houses the greatest collection of Austrian art dating from the Middle Ages to present day, as well as many other prestigious artists such as Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh.

Where to go in Vienna

St Stephen’s Cathedral

As one of the most iconic buildings in Vienna and easily recognisable against the night sky, it’s no wonder that St. Stephen’s Cathedral is one of the most visited attractions in Vienna. You can’t escape it’s Romanesque and Gothic form, covered by twisted carvings of idols long forgotten, and symbols of religious protection from evil. The cathedral actually stands on the ruins of two earlier churches, with the first being a parish church from 1147. As one of the oldest and most important religious building in Vienna, St. Stephen’s Cathedral has witnessed the many changes of its people, from medieval peasants to the stylish, cosmopolitan residents of today.

St Stephen’s Cathedral

If you’ve been to Vienna recently and you think I’ve missed somewhere important, do leave me a comment and tell me all about your travels.

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A short break guide to Birmingham, England http://www.travelwithamate.com/short-break-guide-birmingham-england/ Fri, 15 Jul 2016 09:15:37 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30434 I’m often asked where is good for a weekend in the UK and after traversing the entire United Kingdom back in 2012 I can now list a huge number of worthy destinations I’d highly recommend. One place that often surprises people is Birmingham, England’s 2nd largest city and I don’t think it’s too rude to say ...

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I’m often asked where is good for a weekend in the UK and after traversing the entire United Kingdom back in 2012 I can now list a huge number of worthy destinations I’d highly recommend. One place that often surprises people is Birmingham, England’s 2nd largest city and I don’t think it’s too rude to say not a place high on people’s lists when they think of a romantic weekend break for 2. But read on and you’ll find out just why you’re wrong and why you should really consider it for your next short break.

Amazing accommodation

Service apartment in BirminghamFirstly you’ll need a place to stay and with so many people in this vast city there’s plenty of competition which keeps prices reasonable and options varied. Recent years has seen the rise in self contained apartments also known as “short term rentals”. Having experienced a number of these myself I highly recommend them over a hotel stay any day. You get a lot more space for your money and the luxury of having everything you need within the property you’re paying for. I find them so much more relaxing than a stuffy little hotel room you can’t wait to leave. Comfortzone Apartments in Birmingham is a great example of quality serviced apartments well within the areas you’re most likely to visit. Unlike traditional accommodation, you’ll find apartments like this are much more modern with a contemporary interior design and often a range of styles to choose from. I recommend picking accommodation that matches your personal styles as it’ll give you the most relaxing environment to return to after a day’s sightseeing or a night out on the town.

Sightseeing in Birmingham

 

This is the biggest question people ask when I recommend this city to them. Partly because people really don’t get to hear much about the tourist attractions of this traditionally business orientated city. Pure logic dictates that a metropolis of this size has more than its fair share of great places to go. Firstly its a fantastic city for outdoor dining and rooftop bars too. In fact there’s been a real trend recently for this more exclusive feeling venues. Café Opus at Ikon is a great place to start as its easy to find. For upmarket lunchtime dining check out Park Regis, 1565′ Restaurant and Bar and for night-time views high up in lavish surroundings be sure to go to Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill.

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens & Glasshouses are a fantastic place to take a stroll with a loved one and enjoy one of the UK’s best 19th century gardens to rival any in London. Cannon Hill Park  is also a great place for a cheap day out and popular with locals.

Where to go in Birmingham

Festivals and events worth checking out

I highly recommend booking your weekend break in Birmingham during a festival to really make the most of the city. There’s all sorts to choose from here including some fantastic food and drink festivals. The Caribbean festival in July is well worth checking out for both music and food! If you like farmer’s markets and indeed any other type of market head to the Bull Ring on Saturdays where you’ll find a hive of activity.  For something a bit different check out the TILT festival in July celebrating the very best of Aerial and Physical Theatre. There’s workshops and demonstrations on including all sorts of skills like Aerial Silks, Ropes, Static Trapeze, Hoops and plenty more. Most of which is free to enjoy.

How to get there

For those flying in to the UK Birmingham has its own international airport with plenty of flights in from Europe and a number to the far east, middle east and North American countries.  It makes accessing this great city very easy and reasonably priced too. If you’re flying in to London and want to venture up to Birmingham there are plenty of fast trains from the city leaving every 30 minutes or so from Euston Station.

image credit: counteract.co

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University travel: 10 ways students can globe-trot for free http://www.travelwithamate.com/university-travel-10-ways-students-can-globe-trot-free/ Wed, 13 Jul 2016 08:24:26 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30421 1. Exchange houses Although the idea that when you are out in your home living someone else may be uncomfortable, the idea of sharing houses between families is becoming increasingly popular. The bottom line: you find the family from the place where you would like to go on the thematic portal. The family should, of ...

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1. Exchange houses

Although the idea that when you are out in your home living someone else may be uncomfortable, the idea of sharing houses between families is becoming increasingly popular. The bottom line: you find the family from the place where you would like to go on the thematic portal. The family should, of course, agree and would like to visit your place. You  agree on terms – and, if scenario is successful, free housing is yours!

2. Look after someone else’s house

This opportunity differs from an exchange. In various forums and sites with ads, you can encounter the request to look after the house while its owners are away. If you manage to take advantage of the opportunity you will get free housing at your own disposal in exchange for the need of others to walk the dog, feed the fish and water the ficus.

House sitting

3. Become a volunteer

Some charities provide the volunteers with free accommodation, meals and a scholarship, some – only housing, some – just an opportunity to help people and nature and to advance spiritually. Anyway, every year more and more travelers are adjacent to the ranks of volunteers to save endangered species, teach English in third world countries or work with children in shelters. Most volunteer programs aimed at long-term cooperation – from several months to several years, so it is necessary to consider this option if you want to escape from the traditional way of life in the long term.

Become a volunteer

4. Hitchhiking

It means to move around the world almost penniless, this type of travelling seems never to become obsolete. Thousands of books and manuals are devoted to hitchhiking, but most experienced travelers say that all you need to get from one city to another are a raised hand and a good mood. But do not forget about the safety rules!

Hitchiking

5. Apply for yacht

Fortunately, for you to be taken in the yachting team, you do not have to be an experienced sailor. Of course, experience in working with machinery or navigation will be a definite plus, but sometimes the captains of ships are looking for a team of people ready to help just with their physical labor. In exchange, you will sail across the seas to the desired place free of charge.

yachting team student opportunities

6. Working on a cruise ship

Positions on cruise ships tend to be more diverse than on a private yacht, but more responsible: you have to work in strict discipline, almost seven days a week, even without the opportunity to see places, just from the porthole windows. But liners pay very regularly, so if your goal – not only to travel, but also to earn money and improve your English, you should consider this option.

7. Challenges

For students, the request “write an essay for me” may sound like a real challenge but there are some more! One of the main trends among advanced modern travelers – do something really crazy. For example, to cross Eurasian continent on foot, to conquer Mount Everest with the minimum of equipment, or to overcome the Sahara on a bicycle. If you invent your original idea and attract the attention of sponsors, we can kill three birds with one stone: to relish travelling, to become famous and earn money. Just to start, make sure that you are not afraid of difficulties such as physical exhaustion, deprivation etc.

8. WWOOF

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms – an association of farmers from all over the world, ready to offer food and accommodation in exchange for household help. Travelers who have worked on farms, claimethat it’s just an amazing opportunity to not only save money, but also get a rich insight into the way of life in the countryside.

Woofing

9. Couchsurfing

The name of the social network Couchsurfing Hospitality has long been a household name, implying the unselfish sharing of accommodation all over the world and experiences in different cities and countries. Many are traveling, staying in the homes of welcoming strangers, not so much for the purpose of saving, but for the sake of new acquaintances and intercultural communication. However, we must be mentally prepared for the fact that you may be offered to sleep in a chair, on cots and, at times, even on the floor.

10. Travel slowly

Whenever you sit down in the plane, bus or ship, your expenses grow significantly. If you really want to save, then think of the journey not just like about a vacation, but as a lifestyle. Do not try to see everything at once, but instead explore one country and one city as longer as possible. This will save your money and expand the perception of the world.

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location independent apartment hunting – my advice http://www.travelwithamate.com/location-independent-apartment-hunting-my-advice/ Mon, 11 Jul 2016 15:30:51 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30417 If you consider the possibility that you will eventually need to move from your current place of residence, then it’s never a bad time to start looking. After all, when you are comfortable where you currently are then you could go out and look without feeling the pressure of needing to move right away. However, ...

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If you consider the possibility that you will eventually need to move from your current place of residence, then it’s never a bad time to start looking. After all, when you are comfortable where you currently are then you could go out and look without feeling the pressure of needing to move right away. However, the one thing that you have to keep in mind is even if you aren’t planning on moving for months or a year, you need to know exactly what you are getting yourself into before you find a specific apartment. Take these tips into consideration to find out if the place you want to live is actually what you think it is.

Speak with Neighbors

When you are looking for a place to not only stay, but commit to for the long term, then you have to know what type of area you are getting yourself into. The best thing to do is listen to the word of mouth and see what the actual residents of the area are saying. This could be trying to get a feel for people who actually live in the unit you are looking at, or it could be trying to discover whether or not the general vicinity is a good region and a place that you think is where you want to end up.

In the worst-case scenario you will still find out more about the potential types of people you will be living by and you can at least spot any red flags that could be a problem as well. However, when you pay attention to the Appraisal Institute and discover that bad neighbors really can have a negative effect on the value of a home or apartment, you might realize why you would want to check out your potential neighbors long before you sign the dotted line on a lease.

Do a Comprehensive Search

When you are thinking about the ability to find the best place, then you must leave no stone unturned. The hardest thing to do when trying to cast a wide net is to figure out if you are actually looking at each and every property, and that’s why you will want to make sure you find a comprehensive list. When you want to specify your criteria for a search, all you need to do when looking for apartments for rent with PropertyGuru Malaysia is to use the search function. You can easily input what is important to you and then discover all of the properties that you think are the most important.

Go Back After Dark and On Weekends

One trick that you can do if you have found a property and have your sights narrowed on a specific place or two is to go back after hours. While you might have seen a professional image of a property during business hours, you should also get a fairly good idea of what you are actually getting yourself into ahead of time by checking out what happens after dark. Furthermore, what goes on during the weekends, and is this the sort of place that you truly want to be?

Depending upon your situation you might absolutely hate living in a place. What if you are looking for some fun and a chance to blow off a little steam with your neighbors in the evenings because you work hard, but find out the place is silent? What if you want silence and need to sleep or at least have a lot to do for school and studying, and then find out that the apartment and surrounding areas are a party-filled region? The key is simply to have that knowledge ahead of time so that you know what you can expect when you finally do move in.

Check Crime Reports

Knowing the general idea of the layout is important, as is information from the landlord, the lease, and even the neighbors. However, you can’t just rely on the printed reviews when it comes to actually understanding where you will be.  As the UK Government reports, there are always options available online to be able to see crime and crime reports. The last thing you want to do is move into an area that you think is dangerous, so you have to be able to know where you will be living and exactly how much crime actually occurs.

It’s not just about living in an area where there is no crime, because technically that would be almost impossible. When you have an area with a healthy mix of people, things to do, and general nightlife then you can have a lot of fun, but still may get a few bad apples. The important thing to do is do your research, understand the risk, and make sure you know exactly what the rates and statistics are. There is a difference between a single incident or two and a crime spree after all.

At the end of the day you need to be the biggest investigator you can before you sign the lease. When it comes to actually enjoying your space and feeling comfortable in it, then you need to know what you are signing up for, both good things and bad. Make sure you do as much research as you can on your next potential home so that you can be aware of what you should expect if you decide to move.

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Top 5 Adventure Activities in NYC to go for http://www.travelwithamate.com/top-5-adventure-activities-nyc-go/ Mon, 11 Jul 2016 12:07:21 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30407     Life in New York is never dull and is always an adventure ride for an individual. From running to catch the subway or fighting to get last minute Broadway ticket, the adventure here never stops. However, if you’re not satisfied with these activities and looking for more adventure, then there are few top ...

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Life in New York is never dull and is always an adventure ride for an individual. From running to catch the subway or fighting to get last minute Broadway ticket, the adventure here never stops. However, if you’re not satisfied with these activities and looking for more adventure, then there are few top destinations that offer true adventure. Tourists flocking in New York enjoy their best time by going through the adventure ride. With the availability of cheap tickets offered by airlines, tourists can easily save money and also enjoy their best time. Let us now check the top adventure activities can be enjoyed in NYC:

Go for Nature Walking in Inwood Hill Park: This 196 acres of land are still blessed with virgin forest in borough and offer some stunning views. There are Inwood trails which are paved and uphill portion is steep and short, that allows a better walking experience. If you love nature walking and get close to it, this is the ideal place to go for.

Go for Nature Walking in Inwood Hill Park

Mountain Biking at Wolfe’s Pond Park: This is the most famous place in New York offering the best biking experience. The park’s trailers are suited for both nvoice and intermediate level riders. Moreover, there are various terrains including glacial ponds, sandy beaches and trails. To train for biking in Pond Park, one can go for mountain biking course offered in the metro area.

Mountain Biking at Wolfe's Pond Park

Red Hook Crit for Bicycling: Experience Tour de France bicycling race, then head to the streets of Brooklyn to enjoy Red Hook Crit. This championship series halts in London, Barcelona and Milan. It is fun to ride, crash and cycle across cities.

Red Hook Crit for Bicycling

Skateboard in Tribeca: Head to ode piers of Manhattan where you can watch and try skateboarding. Hudson River Park’s Tribeca Skate Park offers plenty of area to practise kick-flips and no-replies. Participate into different skate boarding games and join the players around to enjoy their best.

Skateboard in Tribeca

Zip Lining: This is most adventurous activity many New Yorkers and tourist love to do. At Alley Pond Park Adventure Course also referred as Queens hidden gem one can enjoy offers.  This Once you’re done with rock climbing, the staff members will help in strapping on harness, climbing through the elevated platform and zip lining 100 yards above the vast open field.

Zip Lining in NYC

Paddle over Bronx River: If you’ve heard about this place, but haven’t visited, then you must now. The Bronx River is true river in this city and is also a great example of environmental success in city annals. It is also the popular spot for paddlers. One can paddle through New York Botanic Gardens and zip around various issues before going downstream.

Paddle over Bronx River

Planning about the location and scheduling your time is the best way to enjoy the right adventure tour in NYC. There are online services that offer information on US visa and boat service. Using these services will certainly help in making the adventure trip memorable.

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5 Tips for a Family Holiday in Italy http://www.travelwithamate.com/5-tips-family-holiday-italy/ Mon, 04 Jul 2016 15:29:28 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30399 The time has come to plan your annual family holiday again.  The most important thing about a family holiday is to create lasting memories with your loved ones that everyone will cherish for the rest of their lives.  But do not put too much pressure on everyone to have a good time.  This can only ...

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The time has come to plan your annual family holiday again.  The most important thing about a family holiday is to create lasting memories with your loved ones that everyone will cherish for the rest of their lives.  But do not put too much pressure on everyone to have a good time.  This can only create resentment, unnecessary stress, and make people uncomfortable.  The most important thing to remember is to try and do fun things that everyone will enjoy.  Italy is a fabulous place for a family to visit and there are lots of things for people of all ages to enjoy such as; the Coliseum or the Vatican City in Rome; the sculpture of David in Florence; or the glorious sight of the olive groves and grape fields in Tuscany. But if you can’t keep everyone stress free your trip can be unhappy no matter how glorious the surroundings.  Here are five tips for a fabulous family holiday in Italy.

1.  Be Careful About Your Things:  Italy is known as one of the worst places in the world for pickpockets and petty thievery, so it is crucial that all of the family is alert at all times.  Make sure that everyone keeps track of their belongings, especially cameras and purses and ensure nobody leaves anything behind.  Carry your money in a secure place and if you have your get your purse/wallet out then be discreet. Click here for some advice on avoiding being pickpocketed.

2.  Ask Around About What Food To Try:  Each region of Italy is known for different cuisine and makes its own wine.  Be sure to find out what the specialty is for the area that you are visiting and make sure that you try it.  If your children are fussy eaters you can always get pizza made to order.

Italian Cuisine

3.  Take a Kid Friendly Walking Tour:  There are many different walking tours in Italy that allow you to see things like Vatican City, the art displays in Florence, the Colosseum in Rome and many other glorious sites. But there are tour companies that cater to entertaining kids on the walks so be sure to keep this in mind when you are booking a walking tour for your family.

4.  If You Are Travelling Through The Countryside Rent A Car:  When you are travelling with children dealing with inflexible train schedules or bus schedules can be very stressful.  Consider renting a vehicle so that you can keep to your own schedule and just worry about transporting your family to where you want to go.  This also allows you to have the flexibility to do whatever you want whenever you want no matter where you are staying.  Here are some fun car games to make the journey go by quicker.

Italian road trip

Italian road trip

5.  Consider Renting A Villa Or An Apartment Instead Of A Hotel Room:  Staying in a hotel room with the family can be quite difficult and tempers can flare quickly.  Renting a self contained apartment or villa allows you to have your own space where everyone can relax in between outings. The team at www.bridgewatertravel.co.uk can provide you with all the information you need on renting a villa in Italy. You can find rentals in all of the major cities and it is a great way to relax in a home away from home. If you don’t want to compromise luxury for a family friendly trip, then make sure to visit Baby Friendly Boltholes too which has some incredible family friendly properties.

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5 of the Best Places in the World to See Wildlife http://www.travelwithamate.com/5-best-places-world-see-wildlife/ Mon, 04 Jul 2016 15:27:35 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30391 When you work in an office or a cubicle all day it is easy to forget that there is a great big world out there.  It is even easier to forget that there are areas of the world where there are more wild animals than there are humans.  If you are looking for a way ...

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When you work in an office or a cubicle all day it is easy to forget that there is a great big world out there.  It is even easier to forget that there are areas of the world where there are more wild animals than there are humans.  If you are looking for a way to escape the world of humans and get back to nature than these are five of the best places in the world to see wildlife in their natural habitats.

India

Tigers are magnificent creatures and their population continues to dwindle due to poaching and loss of habitat.  India has more wild tigers than anywhere else in the world and there are 39 tiger sanctuaries that you can visit where you can experience safaris through the jungle in the comfort of a four wheel drive vehicle or on the back of an elephant. Here are the top places to see tigers in India.  Tigers are notoriously shy creatures so you must keep your eyes peeled but you may also see animals like elephants, deer, large snakes, and many different kinds of insects.

Indian Tigers

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a great place to experience whale watching and it is also a great place to go on safari.  Mirissa is an area on the south west coast where you can head out on boat excursions to see the giants of the deep.  The southwest tip of the country is a migration route for Fin Whales, Bryde’s Whales, Sperm Whales, Killer Whales and Blue Whales during the months of November to April.  Head over to Yala National Park, which is one of Sri Lanka’s biggest ecotourism destinations, and the most heavily populated areas for leopards in the world.  You can also expect to see monkeys, elephants, deer and many different kinds of birds, reptiles, and insects.

Sri Lanka Whale Watching

Tanzania

Tanzania is a country in Africa and it is the home of the Serengeti.  Every early spring the Great Migration begins and thousands of Zebras, Wildebeests, and a myriad of other animals and birds head off in search of food, water, and breeding grounds. Take a luxury safari and get a front row seat to watch this annual cycle of life unfold.

Tanzania

South Africa

South Africa is a fabulous place to experience the thrill of seeing the big five in their natural habitat.  The big five are the lion, elephant, wild buffalo, rhinoceros, and the leopard.  There are plenty of tour operators that offer different levels of accommodation from everything from tents to five star villas where you rest after a day spent following the lives of the animals.

White Rhinoceros

The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago formed by volcanic activity off the coast of Ecuador and there are several varieties of plants and animals that are found nowhere else in the world. This is where Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution and you can visit the island of Santa Cruz to see the Charles Darwin Research Station where they still continue his work today.  You can also visit giant tortoises that are more than one hundred years old, snorkel off the coast and see iguanas that have gills, or go bird watching and see the many varieties of birds that call these islands home. Visit Nature Galapagos for more information on planning your trip.

Galapogos

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3 Ways to Holiday on the Move http://www.travelwithamate.com/3-ways-holiday-move/ Mon, 04 Jul 2016 15:23:00 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30384 If you spend a lot of time sat at a desk for your work then you probably don’t want to spend your vacation sitting in one spot watching the world go by.  You will want to keep on moving on your vacation regardless of whether it is on your own two feet or with the ...

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If you spend a lot of time sat at a desk for your work then you probably don’t want to spend your vacation sitting in one spot watching the world go by.  You will want to keep on moving on your vacation regardless of whether it is on your own two feet or with the help of a vehicle.  Here are three ways to holiday on the move that will make sure you return home feeling like you have had a real adventure.

Take a Campervan Trip

One way to make sure that the scenery around you changes every day is to take a campervan trip in the UK. There is nothing like hitting the open road with a map and some tunes to ensure a relaxing vacation.  A campervan can sleep up to nine people but is still small enough to maneuver easily through traffic and park without a lot of effort.  It is a nice way to explore areas like Cornwall where you can drive between small sea towns, Yorkshire where you can camp and become one with nature, or stop in Wiltshire and see the wonders of Stonehenge. Check out Spaceships Rentals for more information on renting a campervan.

Campervan holidays in England

Cycle in France

For a really active holiday you could try cycling in France.  There are several areas of France that are popular for cycling and they offer well laid out routes, less traffic, and plenty of things for cyclists to see. The Loire Valley is full of castles, vineyards, beautiful rivers, orchards, and several World Heritage Sites.  Make sure you see the stunning Château de Chambor, the largest castle in the valley that blends medieval and classical Italian architecture.  Ride through the valleys of L’Anjou and the Touraine and be sure to sample the wine that these regions are famous for.  The routes are mainly flat and the hills are gentle so it is great for cyclists with less experience as well. Brittany is a region in the northwest that the Tour de France passes through.   You can cycle along quiet country roads with few vehicles, beautiful canals, or you can rent bikes that can travel along old railway tracks. Be sure to visit Quimper Cathedral, a gothic cathedral in the coastal town of Quimper and Château de Dinan in the town of Dinan. Riding all day long you will build up an appetite so make sure you sample the fine food that the region you are in is famous for.  France is famous for its cheese so make sure you sample as many different kinds as you can.

Cycling holidays in France

Go on a Mediterranean Cruise

A Mediterranean cruise is a great way to take your vacation on the move.  There are so many cruises with different destinations to choose from.  Cruise the coastline of Greece on the jewel colored water and explore the pristine beaches, magnificent rock formations, historical ruins, and sample the magnificent food and wine this region is known for. Or combine destinations and hop on a cruise that goes through Spain, Italy, Croatia, and Greece and shows you the best of each destination.  No matter which route you choose, the Mediterranean Sea is beautiful and you will love sailing along it. Click here to plan your trip to the Mediterranean.

mediterranean cruise

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3 Ways to Enjoy a Skiing Holiday http://www.travelwithamate.com/3-ways-enjoy-skiing-holiday/ Mon, 04 Jul 2016 15:19:37 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30377 If you have secretly spent your life dreaming of a ski holiday then this is the year to make your dreams come true.  Rushing down the slopes with the wind in your hair as you glide over the snow is a fantastic form of exercise and a great way to relax, unwind, and get back ...

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If you have secretly spent your life dreaming of a ski holiday then this is the year to make your dreams come true.  Rushing down the slopes with the wind in your hair as you glide over the snow is a fantastic form of exercise and a great way to relax, unwind, and get back to nature.  There are many ski hills to visit throughout the world so choose a spot and head out.  Most ski hills offer really good rentals so if you don’t own your own equipment or you are travelling by plane you can be confident that you will still have good equipment.  Be sure to wrap up warm so that you will be comfortable all day out on the slopes.  Below is some advice to make your skiing holiday dream become a reality.

Live in Luxury

One of the best ways to enjoy a skiing holiday is to stay in a luxury chalet mere minutes from the slopes.  There are companies that offer luxury chalets throughout Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia to make your skiing holiday the best it can possibly be.  The best part about staying in a luxury chalet is the fact that you can ski to and from the runs right from the door of your chalet.  You can also take advantage of luxuries such as concierge service, swimming pools, hot tubs, a full staff, hot meals ready when you get home from skiing, and many other exciting features.  Check out Consensio’s range of luxury chalets for inspiration.

Luxury ski chalet

Go on a Group Holiday

Possibly the best way to enjoy a skiing holiday is to grab your buddies and go on a group holiday.  You can bond with your friends on and off the slopes.  The best part about skiing with a group of people is that you can keep the costs down and you can ski with a different person each day if you get tired of all skiing together.  Click here to see the best resorts in Europe. Eating out every meal can get kind of expensive so make sure that someone knows how to cook (or at least heat things up) and that you have access to more than just your beer in your fridge.  Here are some examples of filling meals, which your group will love. But you will definitely want to spend a few meals checking out the bar scene and the restaurants available in whatever village is close to the ski slope that you choose.

Group ski holidays

Become a Ski Instructor

Another way to enjoy your skiing holiday is to learn to be a ski instructor.  This will ensure that you can keep the skiing holiday going as long as you wish and that you receive a discount on your lift pass once you have a job and are instructing.  For certification it is best to study in the country that you will want to be teaching in.  The amount of time that your course will take varies by what country you want to instruct in, your skill level, and what level of skiing you wish to teach.  Be prepared to make an investment in your certifications and know that you will have to keep your certifications current if you want to keep teaching. If this is an option that interests you, visit Oyster Worldwide for more information on ski instructor courses.

Become a ski instructor

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3 Surprising Spots for Family Fun this Summer http://www.travelwithamate.com/3-surprising-spots-family-fun-summer/ Mon, 04 Jul 2016 15:12:11 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30373 Don’t waste your time standing in line for amusement parks this summer.  Get out and explore the world and take your family on an adventure where they can immerse themselves in a different culture, learn some history, and explore a new land.  Here are three surprising spots for family fun for your summer vacation. India ...

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Don’t waste your time standing in line for amusement parks this summer.  Get out and explore the world and take your family on an adventure where they can immerse themselves in a different culture, learn some history, and explore a new land.  Here are three surprising spots for family fun for your summer vacation.

India

India is a great place to take your family on an adventure.  There are five thousand years of history to learn about and it is an exciting blend of different cultures and religions.  Begin your visit in the capital city of Delhi and explore the many sights of this vibrant city including The Lotus Temple and The Red Fort. Take an overnight bus trip or hire a personal driver and head to Agra to experience the thrill of Taj Mahal, India’s most iconic attraction.  There are many rewarding things that you can experience as a family in India.  You can volunteer in villages to help teach English to children, visit an ashram, explore temples, mosques, and churches, or go on a safari to see tigers. India has 29 different states and each region has a different official language, and different styles of food.  Be sure to sample the local food and discover India. For more information about planning your trip to India, visit Ampersand Travel.

Taj Mahal, India

Russia

Russia is the world’s largest country and there are so many things for your family to do and see.  Start your visit in Moscow, the capital city, and visit the Red Square, the Kremlin, and St. Basil’s Cathedral.  Take a trip to the Armoury museum to see the Faberge Eggs displayed there. Take a boat cruise to St. Petersburg and be sure to visit the Winter Palace, the stunning architecture of The Church of the Savior on Blood and stop at the State Hermitage Museum. Ride the rails and hop on the Trans-Siberian Railway to explore the rest of this magnificent country.  Be sure to sample the local cuisine and try borscht, many different kinds of mushrooms, and the famous sturgeon caviar.

st petersburg

Croatia

Croatia is an exciting place for any family to visit. The spectacular scenery and the fascinating history will impress people of all ages.  Be sure to start your visit in the beautiful walled city of Dubrovnik.  This stunning city on the bright turquoise coast of the Adriatic Sea is a great place to walk through and there are many walking tours the family can join.  This is also where Game of Thrones films the scenes for King’s Landing so if there are any fans in the family you can go on a walking tour of the filming sites. There are also 7 World Heritage Sites scattered throughout the country and architecture that dates back to the Baroque, Renaissance, and the Roman eras. It is also a great place for nature lovers and many lakes to explore as well as over 1,000 islands off the coast.  Spiaza Beach, which is on the island of Susak, has been voted one of the top ten beaches in Europe. You can charter a sailboat or take public ferries to the larger islands. The experts at Exeter International can provide you with travel and tours in Croatia.

Dubrovnik Croatia

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Hidden gems of New York http://www.travelwithamate.com/hidden-gems-new-york/ Thu, 23 Jun 2016 10:40:19 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30248 The big apple that never sleeps is one truly amazing city, filled with a diverse range of cultures, history, landmarks and tourist hotspots not to be missed. But in this sprawling metropolis there are plenty of hidden gems all over the city, even things locals don’t usually know about. While its always good to tick ...

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The big apple that never sleeps is one truly amazing city, filled with a diverse range of cultures, history, landmarks and tourist hotspots not to be missed. But in this sprawling metropolis there are plenty of hidden gems all over the city, even things locals don’t usually know about. While its always good to tick off some of the mainstream landmarks, real memories are made in these obscure and unusual places. So grab yourself a cheap flight over the atlantic and a silky smooth ride in to town with a pre-booked airport transfer. Then check out some of the truly amazing sights that you probably didn’t know about. Here’s my 3 favourite;

City Hall Station

Opened in 1904 the New York Subway, like many around the world, grew larger than its means with stations becoming out-dated and underused. One such station is City Hall which closed to paying customers in 1945. It really is like an abandoned station down there too with many of the old fixtures and fittings still in place. The New York City Transit Museum arrange special access a few times a year so its a real rarity to be able to visit such an historic and long forgotten landmark. Only members of the museum can attend but its well worth trying to get access if you can. You’ll find more info on their website here.

City hall station tours

Obscura Antiques and Oddities

New York in 19th and 20th century was a hotbed of medical science, experimentation and discoveries. Some of it a success and a whole lot of it rather gruesome and surreal too. Its often hard to find relics of this past but tucked away in an Antique shop on the corner of 10th and A on the Lower East Side of Manhattan you’ll find one such collection thats well worth checking out. The Obscura antique shop is a treasure trove of wonderful artefacts that are always a joy to explore. You’ll find all manner of things here that wouldn’t go amiss in a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum. From anatomical models and 19th century medical implements, to strange mutated animal heads and jars of creepy crawlies too!

Obscura antiques

Please Don’t Tell

If ever a venue summed up this post its this one. While its maybe not entirely hidden from view its reason for existing surely is. There’s always a queue to enter this bar because its entrance isn’t what you’re normally expect. One tatty old phone booth at the side of a restaurant has an almost baffling queue of people waiting to use it. That’s because this is the entrance to cocktail bar in a part of town more akin to street food and corner shops. Inside you’ll find a bar filled with odd looking items and smug looking people, rightly so too as this is one of the coolest bars in town and a must on your visit to New York City. Check out this website for more details.

Please Dont Tell bar

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Our favourite travel bloggers to follow in 2016 http://www.travelwithamate.com/favourite-travel-bloggers-follow-2016/ Tue, 21 Jun 2016 12:38:17 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30245 Travel blogging is all about joining an online community, where writers share experiences, stories and tips with their readers. An important part of being a travel writer is reading other blogs in the same field, connecting with the writers, and becoming an active member of the blogging community. We feel that capturing your experiences and ...

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Travel blogging is all about joining an online community, where writers share experiences, stories and tips with their readers. An important part of being a travel writer is reading other blogs in the same field, connecting with the writers, and becoming an active member of the blogging community.

We feel that capturing your experiences and spreading the word about what to see (or not see) is important to document, whether that’s via a video, review, or blog post. Of course, blogging doesn’t just help your readers discover new things, but also helps you to remember the most cherished parts of a journey. Writing something down when it’s fresh in your mind is vital, as years from now you might not recall those tiny details that can make a trip seem amazing.

Hopefully you’re inspired enough to go on your own journeys and want to get into the world of blogging. So before we launch into a list of our favourite travel writers of 2016, take a second to look at places like this, where you can pick up cheap domain names (a fun part is choosing a name for your site), get online, and then start your own travel blog.

Our Awesome Planet

Started in 2005 after a tsunami hit Southeast Asia, this travel blog has both interesting articles and stunning visual content. Dedicated to The Philippines and Asia, Our Awesome Planet offers advice and reviews of food, travel, festivals, and accommodation. It is not just the content that we admire, the overall layout and ethos is also appealing.

Nomadic Matt

Next on our list comes from the New York Times Best-Selling Author of ‘How to Travel the World on $50 a Day.’ Nomadic Matt is an excellent resource for finding tips on travelling for cheap and visiting your dream location becomes achievable with the help of this blog. Matt has been seeing the world since 2006 and created this blog to inspire others to travel the world without spending a fortune. His passion for globe-trotting shines through in his articles that offer tips only a veteran would know.

Adventurous Kate

Last but not least is the blog from a solo female traveller. Self-confessed adventurer, Adventurous Kate left her job in online marketing to become a professional travel writer. This is a good blog for any aspiring travel bloggers out there, because it offers tips on making money from travel blogging, and creating a successful marketing plan. With tips on affiliate marketing, branded content, and campaigns, there is a lot to learn about monetising a blog on this site. With tens of thousands of followers on social media, Adventurous Kate’s campaigns are worth paying attention to, for those who may be inspired to start their own blog and turn traveling the world into a sustainable career.

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Things to do in Dubai http://www.travelwithamate.com/things-to-do-in-dubai/ Tue, 21 Jun 2016 04:22:07 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30217 Dubai is a fast-growing cosmopolitan city in the UAE. It is a vibrant place that combines modernity with centuries-old Arab-Islamic culture. From international-standard shopping to desert safaris, there is a great variety of things to do in Dubai for its visitors. Things to do in the deserts of Dubai: Go on a Dubai Desert Safari ...

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Dubai is a fast-growing cosmopolitan city in the UAE. It is a vibrant place that combines modernity with centuries-old Arab-Islamic culture. From international-standard shopping to desert safaris, there is a great variety of things to do in Dubai for its visitors.

Dubai safaris

Things to do in the deserts of Dubai:

  • Go on a Dubai Desert Safari in a 4×4 vehicle driven by an expert and feel the exhilaration of the Arabian desert. Drive up the dunes and ridges and enjoy an exciting ride from within the comfort of your Land Cruiser. Later in the evening, you can wind down from your ‘dune bashing’ activities with a beautiful desert sunset – a colorful spectacle against the crimson sands.
  • Enjoy traditional Arabic coffee and dates inside a beautiful Bedouin encampment in the desert. Learn about the culture and traditions of the people have have made the desert their home for centuries. Watch traditional tanura dance performance by beautiful belly dancers while you smoke a shisha pipe to get into the spirit of Arabia.
  • Soar high in a hot air balloon and see the infinite desert vistas. You might see some of the wildlife that live in the desert including wild camel and gazelle.
  • Take a camel-back ride around the desert sands, get traditional henna painting on your body, and take your pictures in traditional costumes with a falcon on your shoulder.

Things to do in the city of Dubai:

  • See the city from atop the Burj Khalifa, a masterpiece of architecture and engineering. With a height of 828 meters, it is the tallest building in the world. You can the see entire city from one of the two observation decks, one on the 124th floor (452m) and the other on the 148th floor (555m). If you prefer to dine with a view, there is a restaurant-bar on the 122nd floor.
  • Visit Dubai’s heritage sites which portray its rich history and culture such as the village of Hatta, Dubai Museum, Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, and Heritage Island.
  • Dubai has the best shopping in the entire Middle East and one of the best in the world. There are no sales taxes or VAT to pay so the prices are really good in Dubai. It has more than a hundred malls, not including hundreds of independent stores and the world-famous duty-free shopping at Dubai International Airport.
  • Another option for shopping is at the Dubai Mall, the largest shopping mall in the world. With around 1200 stores in the mall, you are sure to find any well-known international brands that you are looking for. The mall also has a large ice rink, indoor theme parks, an aquarium and lots of food outlets.
  • Dubai is the undisputed ‘Skyscraper Capital of the Middle-East’. Take a tour of the city and see all the splendid buildings, bridges and landmarks of this ultra-modern city.
  • Cool down at the Wild Wadi Water Park and ride a water roller coaster, bodysurf on artificially created waves, plunge down high-speed slides, float down a slow and lazy river or just enjoy a relaxing time in the playground

Wild Wadi Waterpark

Useful information on Dubai:

  • Dubai has a tropical desert climate with hot and humid summers (April-October) and warm winters (January-March).
  • Dubai remains clear and sunny all year round, except between May and early July when sandstorms can hit the city.
  • December-March is considered to be the most comfortable climate of the year.
  • The official currency of the UAE is Dirham (AED or Arab Emirate Dirham) and it is a good idea to change your currency beforehand or carry a credit that can be used in the UAE.

Dubai has carved out a special place for itself in the world of tourism with thousands of visitors coming here every year. Combining the grandeur and technological marvels of the twenty-first century with strong Islamic roots, Dubai is truly a one of a kind vacation destination.

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Best Value for Money Festivals in Europe this Summer http://www.travelwithamate.com/best-music-festivals-europe-summer/ Mon, 20 Jun 2016 14:00:40 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30208 Summer is coming into full swing in Europe, bringing with it a season of over 600 music festivals, an indication of just how strong the music and festival culture is in this part of the world. Many travelers make pilgrimages to infamous European festivals as the purpose of their trip, while others plan a tour ...

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Summer is coming into full swing in Europe, bringing with it a season of over 600 music festivals, an indication of just how strong the music and festival culture is in this part of the world. Many travelers make pilgrimages to infamous European festivals as the purpose of their trip, while others plan a tour of Europe and happily enjoy a consequential festival as they move through countries. Whichever your style of travel, attending a festival as part of a summer trip in Europe is almost mandatory.

But with so many festivals to sift through, how do you know which is the right one for you? We appreciate too that when traveling you’re more than likely on a budget, so can you really afford it? Recently travel search engine GoEuro compiled an Ultimate Guide for the European 2016 Festival Season that helps solve that tricky question of affordability and much, much more.

Best music festivals in Europe

With the help of a network of travel bloggers, GoEuro analysed nearly 100 music festivals in Europe, sorting them by duration, capacity and price. Beyond this, individual rankings of the top electronic, top alternative, top rock, size, family friendliness and the most low cost festivals were calculated.

Festival les Nuits Sonores

If price is really the thing holding you back from indulging in a festival experience this summer, the ranking of the Top 10 Cheapest Music Festivals in Europe 2016 is a great place to start your research. In the Netherlands the cheapest festivals were Welcome to the Future, € 52.50 for 1 day, Dance Valley, €65 for 1 day and Appelpop, which is 2 days and free! Vina Rock, less than  €110 for 3 days, SOS 4.8, less than €110 for 3 days, Arenal Sound, between  €35 and €100 for 4 days, and Barcelona Beach Festival, between $110 and $170 for 1 day, were the cheapest Spanish festivals. Beyond these festival hot spots Off Festival in Poland is less than  €110 for 3 days, Nuits Sonores Festival in France is less than  €100 for a solid 5 days and and Hip Hop Kemp in Czech Republic is less than €100 for 3 days.

Appelpop festival

But where can you find the most expensive festivals? Of the 13 most expensive festivals six harked from the United Kingdom, where some of our Great British Festivals featured, two were from Denmark, and one each from Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Norway and Spain.

Recognising that duration plays a part in the value for money of a festival, all collected information on cost and duration were compared to find the cost per day for festivals in each country. The results of this saw Norway top the charts as the country with the most expensive festivals in Europe, while Poland ranked as the cheapest.

With this festival research now at your fingertips, which will you be touring to this summer? If you’re in need of further inspiration this breakdown of the Best European Countries for Festivals provides many more gems of advice and experiences to help you on your way.

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Finding Dory: Best places in the world to go diving http://www.travelwithamate.com/finding-dory-best-places-world-go-diving/ Fri, 17 Jun 2016 11:43:24 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30202 We’re very excited about the release of this year’s animation movie must-see, Pixar’s Finding Dory and once again, much like the first movie, demand for all things aquatic is peaking. There are some truly stunning places around the world to go diving, snorkelling and just generally hanging out with the Blue Tang fish. So we’ve ...

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We’re very excited about the release of this year’s animation movie must-see, Pixar’s Finding Dory and once again, much like the first movie, demand for all things aquatic is peaking. There are some truly stunning places around the world to go diving, snorkelling and just generally hanging out with the Blue Tang fish. So we’ve tried to pick a few of our favourites that you might want to consider for your next trip. It doesn’t have to be the core reason you travel to these destinations but it sure is a great reason to go.

The Great Barrier Reef

If you really want to go finding dory then one of the best places in the world is the Great Barrier Reef. A destination we hold very dear to our hearts as we visited in 2015 on our epic Australian road trip adventure. Day trips here are very easy and there’s even overnight stays on floating hotels if you want to get even more of the action. Its very easy to snorkel here as the reef stretches on for hundreds of miles in a shallow formation thats easy to get up close to. There’s also ample equipment for diving down a few meters to get a closer look.

Barrier reef see blue tang dory

The great thing about the Blue Tang fish is they like to stay put, contrary to the movie they don’t like travelling the world in search of their family, they find one spot of coral they love and they call it home their entire life. So local experts will easily be able to point you to the best spots for seeing these little blue fellas. Australia’s great barrier reef is one of the great natural wonders of the world and is very well set up for tourists, while not the cheapest place in the world to go diving it is definitely one of the best.

Indonesia

With over 17,508 islands to choose from, Indonesia has more than its fair share of coastline and coral. Situated between the Indian and Pacific Oceans its the perfect spot for Blue tang (or Paracanthurus hepatic to give the fish its full title) to hang out. There’s around 6,000 inhabited islands that are set up for tourists with a few of the more famous ones being the easiest to get to, Bali, Lombok, Sumatra and the Gili Islands to name just a few. Personally we adore Bali and the Gili Islands which is usually a quick hop from the Bali too.

Diving in Bali Gili islands

Bali has plenty of dive shops to get you out to the fish quickly but if you want a much quieter, secluded and special tropical destination then I highly recommend the Gili Islands where cars are banned and the pace of life feels all the more natural. The best time to visit is during the dry season in May to September. The wet season is cheaper of course but expect torrential tropical downpours that could interfere with your plans!

Seychelles

This beautiful island paradise may be a little on the pricey side but the old saying “you get what you pay for” is very true here. In the Seychelles you’ll find some of the most luxurious resort hotels with unparalleled coastal views. No wonder then that this is often a honeymoon destination of choice for newlyweds. The Seychelles is a collection of 115 islands situated in the Indian Ocean off the East coast of Africa, its well known for its natural beauty and amazing coral reefs too.

Where to see finding dory fish

The most popular island is Mahé which has an international airport so getting there is easy. Its not only home to some amazing resorts but also to our little friend Dory where you’ll often see Blue Tang making the coral here their home. The Seychelles is probably one of the easiest, most luxurious ways to go diving, snorkelling and generally enjoying the paradise coastline. It doesn’t get much better than this.

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Helpful Hints for Your Trip to Zanzibar http://www.travelwithamate.com/helpful-hints-trip-zanzibar/ Fri, 03 Jun 2016 14:26:59 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30189 There are few things more exhilarating than a trip into the new and novel. In the African nation of Tanzania, the beautiful Zanzibar resorts attract visitors from all across the globe. These hotels and villas are brimming with professional service, helpful hints, and the best views of the tropical beaches. Yet you may be a ...

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There are few things more exhilarating than a trip into the new and novel. In the African nation of Tanzania, the beautiful Zanzibar resorts attract visitors from all across the globe. These hotels and villas are brimming with professional service, helpful hints, and the best views of the tropical beaches. Yet you may be a bit concerned about your trip to Zanzibar, especially if this is your very first trip to Africa. Some research and attention to detail will help you plan the ideal vacation, as well as stay safe and satisfied throughout the entire trip. Get ready to pack your bags, because a destination vacation in Zanzibar should not be missed.

Book in Advance

A good expert time for everyone visiting Zanzibar resorts is to book in advance. Some of these hotels are quite popular, and the top-rated resorts are usually the first to be all booked up. When you take that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Africa, you want to make sure that you are getting the best experience possible. You will never regret the decision to choose a high-quality hotel or resort with a grand reputation and a full service of amenities and features. So hop onto the Internet and get searching for the perfect room as soon as possible. Then, once you get traveling, there is so much less to think about.

Zanzibar travel tips

Plan Out an Itinerary

While you are at it with your hotel booking, continue scanning websites for some things to do in Zanzibar. Of course, Tanzania is a gorgeous African country filled with natural wildlife, a rich display of history and culture, as well as friendly folks and tasty cuisine. It can be difficult to schedule everything into your trip once you have already arrived to your resort. So try to plot out your itinerary while you are still at home. Many Zanzibar resorts are willing to help you out with booking different activities and pointing out insider tips to make your stay even more memorable. Keep in mind the types of activities you enjoy, which will help the planning process go smoother.

Why go to Zanzibar

Schedule Time to Relax

That being said, you want to be sure that you have ample time to simply enjoy the marvellous beaches of Zanzibar. Your resort will provide easy access to the white sands and turquoise waters that will whisk you away to a dreamland of no worries and instant calm. While exploring the neighborhoods and cultural centres is important, without that relaxation time at the beach, you might feel depleted of energy!

Zanzibar travel advice

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A travel guide to the Philippines http://www.travelwithamate.com/philippines-travel-guide/ Wed, 18 May 2016 08:56:28 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=6037 By Arienne Parzei  Made up of over 7,000 islands, the Philippines has so much to offer for travelers.  Postcard perfect beaches, back road adventures, delicious food, eco-tourism sites, scuba diving, jungles, caves, mountains, waterfalls, the liveliness and excitement all the big cities can offer, shopping, and the freshest mangoes you’ll ever eat. Located in the south ...

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By Arienne Parzei 

Made up of over 7,000 islands, the Philippines has so much to offer for travelers.  Postcard perfect beaches, back road adventures, delicious food, eco-tourism sites, scuba diving, jungles, caves, mountains, waterfalls, the liveliness and excitement all the big cities can offer, shopping, and the freshest mangoes you’ll ever eat.

My travel guide to the Philippines

Located in the south pacific, somewhat isolated from any other country, the Philippines is a laid back, flip-flop culture where no one seems to be in a rush.  Hospitality is unlike anything else, where you’re greeted with “hi ma’ams” and “hi sirs” anywhere you go.  The people are warm and friendly, willing to help but also know when to give you some space. And smiles almost seem like a Filipino pre-requisite.

In the cities you’re surrounded by booming American top 40 hits, the over powering smell of diesel fumes, and enough stores and shopping malls to shake a stick at.  But getting away from the hustle and bustle is probably the best thing going for the country.

Best beaches in the Philippines

Beaches in the Philippines

Regularly making Top Ten lists, the Philippines has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The most popular, but rather commercialized, is The White Beach on Boracay Island.  Once you wade through the shops and people selling everything under the sun to you, The White Beach is a slice of paradise.  White powdered sand that stretches not only for 3 kms down the beachfront, but for hundreds of meters into the water.  There is no seaweed or rocks to get tangled in. And when the skies are clear you can sit back with a San Miguel in hand amazed at the crystal clear water spanning the entire blue/green spectrum of colours.

Parks and attractions

Other highlights the country offers include the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, located on Palawan Island.  It’s reputed to be the longest navigable underground river at 8.2km in length but tourists can venture as far as 1.5km with a guided tour.  It’s quite the experience drifting through a cave, bats flying overhead, with only a 12V flashlight showing you the way. The island of Bohol is home to the smallest primate in the world, the tarsier, and The Chocolate Hills, naturally formed hills that resemble chocolate mounds in the dry season when everything turns brown.

Why go to the Philippines?

In the Luzon area, in the north of the country, are the stunning rice terraces and the hanging coffins in Sagada. But if you just want to relax and laze your days away, the beaches is where it’s at, and there’s no shortages of them!

Philippines culture

The Philippines is mainly Catholic and you’ll see its influences all around.  Beautiful cathedrals are a plenty throughout the cities, tricycles with “In God We Trust” painted on the backs, and a small prayer said before ferries embark on their trips are just some of the daily reminders.  An interesting experience happened when we were picking up some groceries. We were walking around the store, choosing some snacks for the next day when we became suddenly aware that no one else was moving. We then noticed that everyone was being led in prayer over the loud speaker. Out of respect we stopped and listened to the prayer and watched as everyone crossed them selves when it was finished.

Philippines culture

Holiday in the Philippines

Planning a trip to the Philippines can be a bit daunting. There’s so much to see! What to choose?!  The best thing to keep in mind though is to give your self a lot of time travelling between places. Since the country is made up of islands, you’ll either be flying or taking ferries between them.  Cebu Pacific is the most popular airline used within the country. They have countless routes, very affordable prices and booking is easy through their website.  But since they are a budget airline, don’t expect the same luxuries as the top airlines.  Pack a snack and be patient when the inevitable announcement that the plane is delayed comes over the loud speaker. You may just have a one-hour flight, but you can spend almost a whole day traveling to your next destination. And unlike the videos posted on YouTube months ago, there were unfortunately no dancing stewardesses on our flights.

It’s fast becoming a popular stop for travelers with many travel sites predicting that the Philippines will soon overshadow Thailand as the cheap-beach destination. Four to five weeks would be the ideal amount of time to really explore the country, but if you’re tight for time pick only 2 or 3 places that interest you most.

Arienne Parzei is a travel writer, videographer, and photographer from Toronto, Canada. Her insatiable curiosity for learning about different cultures first-hand has led her to some amazing destinations and experiences, including climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, living in South Korea for two years, and backpacking for eight months through China, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. She shares her travel experiences on her website www.seeyousoon.ca and hopes to inspire you in the process.

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Top 5 party destinations in the world 2016 http://www.travelwithamate.com/top-5-party-destinations-world-2016/ Fri, 13 May 2016 14:18:20 +0000 http://www.travelwithamate.com/?p=30035 Possibly the greatest thing about some of the world’s most breathtakingly beautiful destinations is that they’re also the home of some of the best nightlife in the world for party-loving travellers to explore. Whether it’s clubs, beach parties or festivals, or anything in between, these five places give people the chance to enjoy the party ...

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Possibly the greatest thing about some of the world’s most breathtakingly beautiful destinations is that they’re also the home of some of the best nightlife in the world for party-loving travellers to explore.

Whether it’s clubs, beach parties or festivals, or anything in between, these five places give people the chance to enjoy the party of a lifetime in some of the world’s most stunning surroundings.

EL TRUNCO, EL SALVADOR

What’s so great about El Trunco is that you’d have no idea there was any kind of party spirit if you headed down to the beach during the day. You’ll find families and backpackers alike just chilling, soaking up the sun. However, sun down in this small Salvadoran town brings about something unimaginable – boy do they know how to party.

EL TRUNCO, EL SALVADOR

Locals, surfers and backpackers all join forces on the beach. It’s one of the most spectacular beach parties you’ll ever experience, more so for the beautiful reasoning at the centre of it. This lively beach party with alcohol and music aplenty, is essentially a celebration of the sun and a great excuse to gather in front of one of the most amazing sunsets you’re ever likely to see.

LAS VEGAS, USA

As a city that never sleeps, Vegas truly deserves a place on the list. Home to some of the most opulent hotels and nightclubs in the world, party animals will be spoilt for choice in this adult’s playground. One of the best things about Vegas is that visitors can party around the clock. Expect pool parties in the day and dancing to world renowned DJ’s at night. Popular destinations include Marquee, known for hosting rooftop pool parties, and Hakkasan, where Calvin Harris is just one of the resident DJs.

With temperatures soaring to over 100°F during the summer months, visitors are well advised not to walk around for long periods and stay hydrated. You can pick up more tips in this survival guide.

IBIZA, SPAIN

Renowned throughout Europe for its seasonal party atmosphere and considered the dance music capital of the world, Ibiza is a hive of activity between May and October with teens and young adults looking to experience the raucous nightlife this, otherwise traditional Spanish island, has come to be associated with.

Ibiza, Spain

During the party season, the world’s biggest DJs flock to this party hub home to some of the world’s hottest clubs including Privilege – the largest nightclub in the world. Visitors party hard from sunset to sunrise before seeking solace at the swimming pool and eventually rising again at midday to do it all over again. If you’re a lover of all things dance and aren’t afraid of the hefty price-tags then Ibiza will provide you with a party experience that’ll take some beating.

NEW ORLEANS, USA

If you’re looking for a buzzing atmosphere then the Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans simply must be experienced. Expect colours, costumes and craziness as you get swept up in one of the most out of control parties on earth.

New Orleans

The locals love these annual celebrations so much they shut down the streets to ensure it’s a success. Remember, the colours of the festival are purple (justice), green (faith) and gold (power), so if you do find yourself heading to one of the craziest street parties on earth, be sure to dress for the occasion!

KO PHA NGAN, THAILAND

As it gets close to a full moon, this island sheds its otherwise tranquil skin in preparation for the unforgettable events that are about to occur. Known around the world for their full moon parties, the beach of this small Thai island houses more than 20,000 people as they dance, drink, skinny dip and have competitions over flaming skipping ropes all in celebration of the full moon.

KO PHA NGAN, THAILAND

It’s crazy to think that this whole tradition was started by a couple of backpackers having a beach party coincidentally on the night of a full moon. Nowadays it’s renowned throughout the world for beach barbeques, eclectic music and perhaps most importantly, alcohol that’s sold by the bucket!

So there you have it, carnivals, the biggest nightclub in the world and everything in between. Here are our five top party destinations that should fulfil every one of your 2016 partying dreams.

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