Last Minute European Travel

Europe is a preferred tour destination among tourists because of its varied cultures, word famous rail journeys, the coffee and other wonderful adventures. In Europe, coffee was referred to as Satan’s drink, when it was first introduced in 1615. The support of doctors led to the growth coffee houses in and around Europe.

A traveler who is new to Europe will not have difficulty in navigating roads, as it is the easy to find locations. Compared to the United States, Europe is not that vast, but the number of attractions, lure tourists to this fascinating place, each year. Europe is complete with exotic locations and amazing accommodations to make any holiday, last minute or otherwise, enjoyable and exciting.

For last minute holidays, the cost of accommodation and traveling differs. Germany is expensive compared to Spain, but cheaper in terms of accommodation. Tourists do get good discount rates for hotels and flight reservations, online.

People come to here to see and marvel at the wonders of the world. In Paris, it is the Eiffel Tower that stands 300m high. It stands out in a number of movies, educational channels, magazines, portraits and songs.

Roundtrip fares usually cost lower than normal fares. There are many low cost packages too. In the US, airfares start from $599 from Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to Prague, Paris, Nice, Madrid and Barcelona. For less than $699 flights fly from the US to Milan, Turin, Venice, Naples and Rome. Trips to London cost less than $389 from the US. Due to attractive discounted schemes, they can be made cheaper. A little research on the Internet, results in the tourist grabbing very attractive offers. Auctions are also held, to lower the prices. As the Dollar is a world recognized currency, it is can easily convertible.

Source by Eddie Tobey

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Travel Insurance Advice

Your guide to smart and secure travel

Preparing for a trip entails more than just having the proper luggage, travel documents, and accommodation arrangements. Regardless of whether it is a business trip or one for leisure, it is important that you get travel insurance to cover your and your belongings' safety for the duration of your trip.

No matter how meticulously you plan your vacation, there remains the possibility of some aspects of it going wrong. Most of the time, these untoward and unwelcome events are caused by forces beyond your control. Having travel insurance, one way or the other, provides you with protection against these accidents.

When do you need it?

It is advisable to buy travel insurance for every trip you take. It is, however, more recommended for major travel vacations, particularly those which involve a significant number of risks. If you are planning a trip to a foreign country, regardless of how close to home, then this is a must. You can never know for sure what to expect in that country, especially if it's your first time going there. Research would help you familiarize yourself with the said place but travel insurance can give you more peace of mind.

What are the types of insurance?

There are three basic types of travel insurance you can choose to make use of. They cover different aspects of a trip but do overlap in some situations. Depending on your budget and the specifics of your trip, you can opt to buy just one or all of these insurance plans.

The first type is known as a trip cancellation insurance, which allows you to recover the money you paid for the trip should it be canceled. This insurance usually covers trips canceled due to weather disturbances, illness, and such things as terrorism, depending on the policy details. Whether you need to buy trip cancellation insurance depends on how much the trip costs. The rule is the higher your stakes or expenses, the more you need this insurance.

Medical evaluation insurance is the second type. This covers any injury from an accident or illness you encounter while on the trip. The insurance either pays or reimburses whatever expenses you incur on medication on treatment for the injury or illness. Buying this type of insurance is crucial and an especially wise move if you are taking a trip to underdeveloped countries and places with known chronic diseases or where medical expenses are high.

The third type is luggage insurance, which is a good idea for almost any kind of trip on any budget. Luggage insurance, as the name suggest, covers and will pay for your luggage should be lost or misplaced during your trip.

An all inclusive option

For major trips or those that involve going out of the country for a significant period of time, it is usually essential to have all three types of insurance. However, to avoid the hassle of buying three separate policies, you can instead opt for an all inclusive plan that provides most of the coverage of the three individual types.

Source by Andrew Bolinger

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Making Free Travel a Reality

One of the best ways to make free travel a reality, is to learn more about becoming a group travel leader. Almost all travel suppliers provide a free trip when a group leader signs up a certain number of people for a tour, or travel event. This holds true for cruises as well. Once you have booked 15 passengers on a cruise, most cruise companies will give you a free cruise. (Can you image booking 15 guest on a world cruise, and you go for free?)

The attributes of a good group leader is someone who is out going and has a true love for travel. The ability to share information, and create a stir about a trip that you are promoting to friends, co-workers, and friends of friends is one of the major keys to becoming a successful group leader.

There are many different options for tours, group travel, vacations and event travel. Selecting a popular and affordable group tour for your first travel event, would probably be a wise idea.

One important task would be to gather the contact information of everyone you come in contact with who is interested in travel. This is also a good time to find out what destinations people are interested in, and when they would like to travel.

Once you do your research on group travel, you will learn quickly that the most well paid group leaders are the ones who do group cruises. This is an extremely lucrative niche for travel professionals and group travel leaders. There is a learning curve involved, however, it is fun and made easy by the online training programs of some of the larger cruise companies.

Finding a travel agency to work with will take a little time and research. Most of the agencies online charge a fee and offer a variety of support services. However, there are a select few, travel agencies who charge no fees, and provides excellent, online training for their outside agents.

Many group leaders get involved in group travel in order to travel for free. However, many of those stay in the business full-time because, the financial rewards for group travel can be high. One of the first things a group leader learns, is the retail travel agent is often times stuck in the office booking travel for a large number of individual clients.

A professional group leader is rarely in the office and usually doesn’t keep office hours. It takes a special type of person to travel with groups. You have to really “like” people. And it helps if you have natural leadership abilities, alone with patients. Traveling with adults can be worst then traveling with a group of teens. At least with teens, you lay down the rules and what happens if the rules are broken. But with adults, you have to treat them like adults, fully realizing that they can get into far more trouble than the teenagers.

If you find the idea of becoming a travel group leader excites you, do your research and learn more. Join the growing number of successful group travel leaders.

Source by Cassandra A. Ingraham

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Things to Keep in Mind When Booking Hotels Online

Booking hotels using the Internet is easier and more secure than ever. You can reserve your accommodations with the confidence of knowing your valuable information will remain protected. There are some ways, however, that you can make the process even simpler.

Same-Day Booking

If you're a spur-of-the-moment kind of person and want to book a room and stay in it on the same day, you may be able to find a great deal. Many hotels welcome these types of customers, especially when a lot of people leave after a big event. They want to fill their rooms as quickly as they can, so you may be able to get a substantial discount.

Reviews

You'll see plenty of websites that contain reviews of hotels, but make sure that the feedback you read is legitimate. For example, look at sites that only allow people who have actually stayed at a particular location to post reviews. That will reduce the chances that you're reading reviews created by people that have a certain agenda. If the reviews you see on a site are overwhelmingly negative or positive, go someplace else.

Location

The closer your place of lodging is to whatever appeal you're visiting, the more you'll pay. If you do not mind driving for a little bit to get to that amusement park or beach you've been dreaming about, you can save a great deal of money.

Before You Push That Button

There are a few things you'll want to verify before you push the "book now" button. For example, check to see if the site will charge your credit card in advance or when you arrive. If the card is not charged, it will be easier for you to cancel a booking if something comes up and you can not go on your trip. Try to find a place that does not charge a cancellation fee if possible. You will not have to stress if you have to cancel the room, and you can save money because you'll be able to book well in advance of your trip.

You'll also want to know what is included in the price so that you will not have any surprises when you check out. For example, local taxes are often not part of the online bill. Speaking of checking out, make sure you know the policy of the place you're staying so there will not be any hassles.

Once you've booked your room, make sure to print out the location map and take it with you. You'll need it when you get off the plane, whether you're driving a rental car or taking a taxi. Also, remember to bring the credit card that you used to reserve the room, because you may be asked to show it to the front clerk.

Always remember that if you have any questions regarding reserving rooms at hotels through the Internet, you can always call the place you're staying. They'll be happy to help. Your next vacation may be only a click away!

Source by Antoinette Ayana

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Europe Vacation – A Trip For Everyone

Geographically, Europe can certainly seem a long way from home, particularly if you live in the Oceanic region as I do. Americans have a somewhat better opportunity to visit Europe than we do because of the relative proximity of continental Europe, but, we hear the expression “the world is getting smaller” and it is certainly true as far as more varied opportunities with air travel become available.

The days have long gone where you had to depend upon one airline to take you from one place to another. Global partnerships seem to have alleviated all those problems and with the press of a computer key, into the fascinating world of the internet, we are able to book the dream trip without having to move away from the hot coffee our travel agents provide while compiling our best and most convenient itinerary.

I suppose it is true to say that being originally from the United Kingdom, Europe vacations perhaps do not hold the mystery for me that they do for some of my neighbours and friends. As far as I was concerned then, a Europe vacation entailed a fortnight in Spain, Italy, France, Portugal etc, etc.

This does not alter the fact though that a fortnight in the sun was still a very attractive proposition after a year of saving and the length and inclement weather of the English winter. It was indeed something to look forward to.

My outlook has changed somewhat I must admit. My last trip to Europe entailed a stop off in Germany, with a wonderful five day trip through Bavaria and back to Northern Germany and Frankfurt for a Saturday morning flight to England. This was followed by a couple of weeks touring round the “Old Country” catching up with relatives and spending a week in Ireland, the birthplace of my mother.

Other people would have much more exotic designs on European vacations. Rome and Paris I guess would have to be two of the most popular destinations on the European mainland. Not surprisingly, since both these beautiful cities have so much to offer. It may be said that you could spend two weeks in either of them and not see everything in the tourist brochures.

My next European vacation is taking the form of 26 capitals in the same amount of days. Hectic it may sound, but if there’s one thing to be said of a European bus tour, it’s that your only requirements are to be able to get a good night’s sleep, be not too deaf to listen to the tour guide’s information and make sure you make the most of the wonderful scenery that Europe has to offer – oh, and have a good pair of walking shoes!

The magic of a European vacation will never wane, no matter where you live now. But attraction to it, if the truth be known, is not just linked to Europe. We all know that many places in the world have equal beauty – if only we could see them all!

Source by Michael Russell

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5 Best Women’s Shoes for Traveling

The Lightweight Sneaker

When it comes to travel fashion, it’s no secret that a comfortable pair of walking sneakers are a must. There’s a reason why the sneaker is the go-to shoe of travelers everywhere. But on your quest to find that perfect pair of travel sneakers, keep in mind not only comfort, but also weight. Heavy sneakers can weigh down your suitcase, and quickly become a burden to pack. Instead, look for sneakers that are also lightweight and easy to carry. For example, these perforated sneakers weigh very little and are also breathable. If you’re someone who easily gets sweaty feet, a pair like this could be a godsend.

The Laceless Sneaker

If you’re flying via plane, another aspect you’ll want to take into consideration are the airport security lines. If you find taking off and re-lacing your sneakers to be hassle, consider investing in a pair of laceless sneakers. They provide all the comfort of sneakers, without the hassle of shoelaces, and they come in several different varieties – from zip-up to velcro. And if you think you have to compromise on style, you’ll be happy to know that there are several women’s fashionable laceless sneakers on the market today, making it easier than ever to find the pair that’s right for you.

The Strappy Flat

Another convenient style for traveling is the strappy flat. High quality flats can make very comfortable walking shoes – perfect for walking through busy airport terminals, bus stations, or even taking a stroll through town on your travels. If you have narrow feet or worry about slippage, shoes with straps will ensure a proper fit. Just take care to select a pair that isn’t too tight. For this, I recommend searching for shoes with adjustable velcro straps. This makes adjusting the fit quick and easy. Also look for flats with a comfortable, thick sole. Trust me, your feet will thank you for it!

The Easy Slide

If you don’t want to waste time getting in and out of your shoes, consider something even easier than a strappy sandal or a laceless sneaker. Slides are perfect for exactly what they sound like – they slide on and off your feet easily, making them the ideal choice for travelers who are always in a hurry to get out the door. Slides are also perfect for walking on the beach, hanging out by the poolside, and like I’ve mentioned before, those pesky airport security lines. When shopping for slides, it’s important to find the best fit possible; it shouldn’t be too tight or too loose on your foot. And above all else, make sure the sole is thick and gives your foot the proper support.

The Comfy Boot

If you’re traveling during the fall or winter, you want to make sure that your feet stay warm and cozy no matter where you roam. Low-heeled or flat boots can make an excellent addition to your travel wardrobe. Look for styles that are easy to slip on and off and comfortable to walk in for great distances. If you’re headed to a wintery climate, pick boots with a soft interior, like shearling. If you’re concerned about taller boots taking up too much space in your suitcase, consider the ever-popular bootie, a style that hits just around the ankle. The best boots have a cushioned footbed for extra comfort, so make sure you look for that when choosing your go-to travel pair.

Source by Liz Harris

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Building a Profitable Online Travel Business

The web is literally awash with travel websites. Search on Google for 'discount air travel' and you will find over 32 million websites. Try 'cheap accommodation' and there are over 11 million sites competitive for your customer's dollar. So how do you make a travel website rank highly on Google and the other search engines.

Broadly speaking, strategy in this space is similar to many physical world markets. You have to choose between being universal and being focused. If you want to be universal, ie offer a site which provides airline tickets, hotel and car rental bookings anywhere on earth you have to remember that you are up against some pretty stiff competition. The number one ranked site on Google for 'discount air travel' is Expedia. It has over 5 million back links as measured by http://www.marketleap.com . The cost of overtaking these mega sites for popular terms like 'discount air travel' is prohibitive. You will never get there. So if you want to have a universal site you must focus on less popular search terms. Look for variants on the popular search terms and try to rank highly against less popular terms. There are still very large numbers of searches done each day on terms like 'discount plane tickets' and it will be much easier to rank against this kind of term. Indeed the # 1 ranked site on Google for this term is not even a home page: always a sign that this space is not too competitive. It also has a PageRank of only 4, which is not difficult to beat.

The focus strategy is easier to understand. Choose one market and optimize your website to rank highly only for that market. It's not hard to beat the top-ranked players if you are searching for 'Bed and Breakfast in Woodbridge, Suffolk, England'. Of course the problem here is that the value of ranking highly for this term is almost nil. You have to find the sweet spot of markets where a top-ranked position is valuable but yet the competition for this spot is not too intense.

Once you have chosen your target market and its associated target keywords, the challenge is to get your site to rank highly. I do not suggest in this article to go over the principles of search engine optimization, or SEO: there are innumerable articles which offer the latest thinking on this topic. However, a central part of all SEO strategies is linking: getting other sites to link to you. There is no substitute for the hard work of persuading other websites to link to yours, in return for a link from yours to them. Ideally you want to focus on a triangular link, where you link from one site and they link back to a different site – this will make your link less suspect in the eyes of the search engines.

Look for a Free Travel Links site such as this one, complete the form, put your link up to their site and they will link back to you within 24 hours. Repeat several hundred or several thousand times, wait a while and you will be pretty much assured of a high ranking on the search engines. Then sit back and count the money.

Source by Henry Schlee

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Holidays in Florida – Where to Go and What to See

Florida, also known as “The Sunshine State” is so called for its clear skies and warm, inviting climate year round. And one of the Sunshine State’s top destinations is the centrally located city of Orlando. Attracting international tourism for decades, Orlando is action-packed with many places to see and things to do.

Hotels in Orlando range from the first-class and deluxe accommodation to the budget-friendly two star and up lodging conveniently located near to the city’s main attractions. If your target destination is Disney World, you may choose from Orlando hotels located inside the park and enjoy a special discount with Disney park admissions. In addition, you may opt for the surrounding Orlando area hotels, many of which will provide free shuttle service to and from Disney World.

Orlando is located in the centre of the state, so first time travellers to Florida may wish to spend some time on one of the state’s pristine beaches. Try an international flight into one of the seaside resort areas such as Miami, located about two hours from Greater Orlando. Miami hotels abound with options for sea view rooms or moderately priced accommodation that is walking distance to the beach.

Disney World and Epcot Center are the main attractions for the millions of visitors that make their way to Orlando each year. Tickets may be purchased at the main gate for a one-day’s admission, or preferably, you may opt to purchase a multi-day pass.

In addition to the Disney attractions, Orlando is teaming with interesting places to explore. For an adventurous evening out for dinner and floor show, try Medieval Times for a hearty meal and interactive entertainment. The show is set in a lavish English-style castle with a thrilling performance from the knights on horseback. Watch the jousting and expert equestrian showmanship while pampered by your “wench” with a four course meal. Medieval Times is opened daily and reservations are strongly recommended.

And when you need to find that perfect souvenir, Orlando is a shopping paradise with many outlet malls to serve you. Shop till you drop at Orlando Premium Outlets for best bargain deals and savings up to 75% off retail. Located at 8200 Vineland Ave, this mega shopping centre has over 150 stores that carry international brands to include Armani, Barney’s of New York, Fendi, Nike and more.

Another popular choice for best bargain shopping is the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, located just minutes from Walt Disney World at 15657 S. Apopka Vineland Road. This favorite shop spot features Disney merchandise at huge discounts and has an action-packed playground for the kids. Free shuttle service may be arranged from participating Orlando hotels with pick-ups commencing at 9 AM.

Booking your holiday in Orlando may be made through a pre-planned itinerary or a self-guided tour with local hotels. The length of stay in this bustling city should be at least five nights to enjoy everything Disney has made available and take in the sights, sounds and flavours of Orlando’s fine restaurants and nightlife.

Source by Richard Bryce

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Natural Ways to Lower Cholesterol

Having a high cholesterol level is a problem faced by many people. This is due to unhealthy lifestyles that so many of us lead. From consuming junk foods that contain high level of fats to other bad habits such as drinking and smoking. All contribute to higher cholesterol levels in the body. Consequently, this can lead to the increased risk of coronary heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. No wonder that heart disease is the main cause of death in many developed countries.

Fortunately, heart disease can be quite easily prevented by using natural remedies to lower cholesterol levels in your body. Actually, all it really takes to prevent heart disease is to lead a healthier lifestyle. For example, you can start eating a balanced diet to lower your cholesterol levels, instead of the greasy foods that are clogging up your arteries. Following a low cholesterol diet is an extremely effective way to control and maintain normal cholesterol levels in the body. To do this, you simply have to start eating foods that are low in cholesterol – such as fruits, vegetables and soy products. Eating foods that are high in fiber can also help fight bad cholesterol called low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

Apart from a healthy diet, you should also do some regular exercise if you really want to lower your cholesterol levels. Remember, by exercising regularly, it can help increase the number of good cholesterol high-density lipoproteins (HDL) in your body. Exercise also helps to strengthen your heart muscle, keep your blood pressure normal and shed unwanted fat off of your body. Taking dietary supplements is also one of the best natural ways to lower cholesterol – especially those that contain lecithin oil, pumpkin seeds oil, D-limonene and pythosterols. The combination of these ingredients will not only help to balance the cholesterol levels in the body, but also maintain them as you get older.

In addition, taking these supplements will help improve the function of the liver and remove gallstones. There are many natural cholesterol-reduction supplements on the that you can choose from. But most only contain one or two of the essential cholesterol fighting agents that your body needs. However one brand, which is made in New Zealand but can be obtained in the United States, contains all of the nutrients in just the right concentrations. They can help you to reduce the bad LDL cholesterol and increase the good HDL your body needs to prevent heart disease and strokes.

Lowering cholesterol is really about changing unhealthy habits and adopting new and healthier ones. Living a healthier lifestyle that includes exercising, not over-indulging with drinking and smoking, and following a high fiber diet that is low in cholesterol and fat will help to balance your cholesterol levels. If you would like more tips on natural ways to lower cholesterol, take a look at my website.

Source by John L. Johnson

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The Top Travel Destinations in the World

Singapore is the vibrant and energetic city where the East meets West with the traditional and modern. It is one of the world’s financial centers and famous for world-class shopping, modern architecture and delicious cuisine. The Lion City offers a unique experience for every visitor from colourful ethnic festivals to lively nightlife. Singapore the city has many other highlights like the Singapore Zoo, the famous Night Safari and the tropical theme park, Sentosa Island. This city has a fantastic tourism infrastructure and great public transport making it an ideal holiday destination and the perfect gateway to other South East Asian destinations.

Thailand is a country of beauty and mystery that attracts many travellers to its island resorts and busy cities. The culture, food and warm hospitality of the locals keep tourists coming back for more. The two most popular beach resorts are:

Pattaya located on the Gulf of Thailand 150 km south of Bangkok. Known as the ‘Thai Riviera’ and one of South East Asia’s best beach resorts, resort Pattaya attracts more than a million tourists annually from all over the world. Set along the 4km beachfront, Pattaya is renowned for high standard hotels, shopping, seafood restaurants, assorted international cuisine, water sports and its vibrant nightlife. The southern section of the bay becomes very lively and entertaining at night with many bars, nightclubs, shopping stalls and local food vendors. A day trip cruise to outlying islands such as Coral Island is a very popular activity where water sports, restaurants and quiet beaches can be enjoyed.

Phuket, the “Pearl of the South”, is Thailand’s largest island (48 km in length, 21 km wide) lying in the Andaman Sea off the country’s southwestern coast and is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Phuket Town is in the south-east part of the island, the international airport is in the north and the most popular beach resort towns are on the west coast. As one of Asia’s premier beach resorts, Phuket still retains its own distinct culture from Chinese and Portuguese influences. The island offers visitors warm tropical weather, beautiful white sandy beaches with warm clear water, pristine forests, shopping in up-market stores or traditional markets, many bars and restaurants, enchanting nightlife and friendly locals. Phuket has also been voted one of the World’s Top 5 retirement destinations by Fortune Magazine.

Las Vegas, USA is the largest city in the state of Nevada with a population of over 500,000 people. The city has become a stand-alone holiday destination in its own right with many amazing hotel and casino complexes located along the famous Las Vegas Boulevard or “The Strip”. Many of the hotels have created a fantasy-like atmosphere with names and themes that evoke romance, mystery, and far-away destinations. The “Entertainment Capital of the World” also boasts some of the biggest names and stage productions in entertainment including music stars, magicians and the Cirque du Soleil productions. And just a few hours away there is one of the natural wonders of the world – the Grand Canyon. Even if you are not a gambler there is a lot to do in Las Vegas!

Paris, France is located in the north of the country on the river Seine. It is widely recognised as being the most beautiful and romantic of all cities. Paris is highly influential in culture, art, fashion, food and design and is regarded as the most popular tourist destination in the world. Central Paris is officially divided into 20 districts (arrondissements), numbered from 1 to 20 in a clockwise spiral from the centre of the city. Each arrondissement has its own unique character and attractions. The area north of the river, known as the Right Bank, includes the tree-lined Avenue des Champs-lyses, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre Museum. The area south of the river, known as the Left Bank, showcases the city’s most famous landmark, the Eiffel Tower.

Dubai is an amazing place to visit, a city of contrasts, where East meets West and old meets new. Situated on a coastal strip bordered by majestic desert and calm blue waters of the Arabian Gulf, Dubai offers year-round sunshine and a unique Arabian experience of fantastic scenery, world-class shopping, luxurious hotels and fabulous dining. Dubai has been transformed from a small fishing village to a modern vibrant city where celebrities holiday and the Dubai skyline competes to be the world’s biggest, brightest and tallest. In the 1990s, Dubai launched an ambitious campaign to become one of the world’s top tourist destinations supported by a huge program of hotel building and the launch of its Emirates airline. Today, Dubai is known for its man-made islands in the shape of palm trees and the map of the world and the reputation as an international shopping destination. It makes for a perfect stopover destination when travelling between Asia and Europe.

Sydney, Australia is the largest city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales with a population of just over 4.25 million. Sydney is a European settlement, having been founded by the British as a penal colony on 26 January 1788 which is celebrated as a public holiday, Australia Day, with major festivities around the country. Sydney’s large, safe and beautiful natural harbour was the reason that the original penal settlement was established in the area. In 1788 the first fleet, with 1400 convicts, soldiers, administrators and their families, arrived in the area now known as Circular Quay located between the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. By 1840, convict transportation to Sydney had ceased and in 1851 gold was discovered leading to a huge population boom. By 1925, Sydney’s population had reached 1 million inhabitants. Sydney has an international reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful and liveable cities. It is a multicultural and cosmopolitan city, with one third of its population born overseas. Sydney was the host of the very successful 2000 Summer Olympic Games, which raised the city’s global profile.

Source by R Grant

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Tips For A Successful Family Vacation

When the whole family travel together it can be a memo for life. Are you planning a family vacation? Planning is a very important ingredient for a successful vacation. Therefore be prepared for some extra effort on your part to get it properly planned. You are probably busy, working day and night. To get your family vacation planned properly you would have put off the vacation for quite a few months because you need to allot plenty of time to plan it. Do not go into the trap of underestimating the time it takes. Planning a family holiday can be a really fun and enjoyable activity; especially if you involve all the your loved ones.

Both big and small kids will surely appreciate being included in the planning of the family vacation and you should include each and every member of the family in the vacation planning stage. If you start up with a simple brainstorming session, many ideas for places to go will be thrown in . One of the most fundamental questions is whether to purchase a family vacation package or go by your own? Another major question is where you and your loved ones actually want to go? Can you work out an agreement?

Smoky Mountains

If you love the mountain you can go to the Great Smoky Mountains? Most people – families included – will love Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Cherokee, North Carolina isn’t far from the park in Gatlinburg which offers the non-stop casino action of Harrah’s Cherokee Smoky Mountain Casino. By taking a little time for searching, you may select an area where there are many activities for the children so that they enjoy it much. Fortunately, there are lots of activities for children to do in the Cherokee area that can enable mom and dad some grown-up time in the casino. Teenagers love the extensive white water rafting and tubing in and around Cherokee.

Pigeon Forge is a place in the smoky mountains you may select for fun. A few days in Gatlinburg and a day to go to Cherokee and Maggie Valley could be a good plan. If you haven’t visited this area before, there’s a lot to see and a lot to do. Like for instance Dollywood and Dixie Stampede will keep children and teens thrilled in Pigeon Forge while the shopping in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge will thrill mom while dad finds the golf courses to enthuse his golfing ambitions! There’s really something for the family in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

Family Vacation On the Beach

If you and your family prefer the beach you will not find it difficult to plan a family vacations. Fortunately, there are so many to choose from in the US and it is hard to single out just one. If you are starters, there are the gorgeous beaches of Florida. On the gulf side, no other beach is as beautiful as the beaches on St.George Island. Even before the hurricanes inflicted damage on the beaches of Destin and the surrounding areas, the best kept Florida gulf secrets were savored in St.George Island. Then the hurricanes came and over the last couple of years they knocked Destin for a loop. Hurricane Katrina didn’t take a direct hit in Destin but smaller storms have certainly deteriorated some of the most gorgeous areas of Destin. Now, most beach lovers search the beaches of St. George Island. The lovely homes and houses there as well as the lovely white sands of the beach are a favorite for any family. The climate allows you to go there any time of the year.

Two beaches; Daytona and Melbourne Beach on the East Coast of Florida are still favorites among families who have surfers to consider. The activities and fun offered by these beaches are so many that you will find it hard to leave. It is so enjoyable, that you might even skip your dinner for wanting to spend time in the beach. If you travel to Melbourne, watch out for the local fishermen who like to fish from the sandy beaches in front of the local hotels and you can count on numerous small sharks swarming when these guys start fishing in the area. So get ready to surf in this area as it is a great experience that you hardly will forget.

It is not only Florida who has beaches in the USA. There is something called the west coast and California – also known as ‘The Sunshine State”. And here are many excellent beaches. For example Malibu Beach in LA is still the beach you must see when your travel company takes you to California. Family vacations in California is an excitement for almost everyone. Another favorite in California is Disneyland. Most families love all of the recent additions to the original Disney Theme park! Both adults and kids will enjoy is the Universal Studios. And why not take a trip to the Magic Mountain amusement park with one of the craziest roller coasters in the world?.

With the use of the internet it is going to be easy to plan any vacation for you family. Literally everything about a vacation is in your fingertips! It is really a fun to put your heads together staring at the monitor to plan a vacation for you family. Start now!

Source by Robert Alderton

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Hosteling – Keep Travel Costs Low

You might think of hosteling as something that college students do while traveling through Europe for the summer. However, hosteling is not just for the college crowd anymore, and now includes people of all ages and backgrounds. If you are a traveler on a budget, staying at a hostel can be an adventure that will add to your travel experience.

Staying in a hostel will not be everyone's cup of tea, and many travelers would prefer to spend the money on a traditional hotel. Hostel traveling is best suited to those traveling alone, or to young people traveling in groups. Hostels are not really recommended for families traveling with young children. In fact, many hostels do not accept children under a certain age.

Most hostels are set up like dormitory rooms, with several bunk beds arranged in the room, with anywhere from four to ten bunks per room. Each traveler is appointed a specific bed upon check-in.

Nearly all of the hostels in the United States group their accommodations according to gender, with the female guests in one section of rooms and the male guests in another. In multi-level hostels, males and females are often separated by floor.

It is not uncommon, however for European hostels (and those around the world) to allow mixed genders to share a room. Make sure to ask about the policy of the hostel before you check in. I, as a woman traveling solo, have never encountered a problem with these arrangements, and I have stayed in hostels throughout Europe, including Rome, London and Amsterdam. Some visitors may be surprised or offended by these sleeping arrangements.

The bathroom accommodations at hostels differ also with some rooms containing a bathroom and shower, while other guest rooms will have shower and bathroom facilities located in the hallway. If you would prefer not to share a bathroom with strangers, make sure you ask about the hostel's policy ahead of time.

More often now, reservations are becoming increasingly vital at hostels, especially during the summer months in popular cities. It is now not at all unusual for hostels in popular tourist cities to be booked solid for months, where once it was common for travelers to be able drop by the hostel and expect to get a bed.

Price is by far the largest appeal of staying at hostels. The nightly rate for a hostel is usually no higher than $ 25 or $ 30 per night, with most costing even less. With the average hotel room cost somewhere around $ 100 to $ 150 in many cities, it is easy to see why hostels are becoming such a popular alternative.

Another benefit of staying in a hostel is that the staff is extremely accommodating and knowledgeable about the local area. Unlike many staff members of some luxury hotels, who travel in from the emerging areas and rarely see the city in which they work, hostel staff tend to live in the city, and have an personal knowledge of the local sites, including which attractions are can 't miss and which ones are not worth the trip.

Hostels also usually have access to discounts and coupons for local area attractions and restaurants, and they can provide information on the best restaurants and hangouts around.

While not everyone will find a hostel appealing, and the accommodation of a local hostel are simple at best, they can be wonderful options for lodging for the budget minded traveler. After all, the goal of travel is to get out and see the world, and hostel travel lets you save money on lodging so that you can do just that.

Source by Scotie Keithlow

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Researching and Booking Hotels Online

When planning a holiday, it’s always difficult to know where to stay: how do you pick a hotel you’ve never experienced in an area of a city you might never have visited before? Staying in the right place is a key part of your trip; having comfortable surroundings and being in the right location is crucial for both the holidaymaker and the business traveler.

There are so many sites that offer online travel advice, its hard to know where to start! But next time you’re searching for a hotel to stay in, be sure to check out the following:

Wikitravel

Wikitravel is a great starting point for any traveller. The site provides information from a traveler’s perspective and offers useful advice in relation to where to eat and what to do in any given area. Larger cities are split into smaller districts, and on choosing which district you want to stay in, you are offered hotel options to suit your style and budget.

Expedia

Expedia has a directory of over 80,000 places to stay world-wide and can help you narrow down your search and find the right accommodation. It’s worth remembering that choosing a hotel on price alone is never a great idea. Hotels that are further away from attractions and amenities are usually the cheapest, but as location is a very important factor of any holiday it might be worth paying a little more to be located centrally. The handy map feature on expedia allows you to see exactly where the available rooms are located, letting you weigh up price against location.

Venere

Venere lets you filter your search results down to help pinpoint the perfect hotel for you. The filters include budget, type of accommodation and star rating, although generally photos give a better indicator of just how good a hotel is. When looking at photos of rooms, it’s worth cross checking these with recent reviews of the hotel, just to ensure that the photos are not only recent, but also a genuine representation of the room you will receive upon your arrival.

TripAdvisor

One of the best places to find customer reviews online is TripAdvisor, which has over 75 million reviews, tips and opinions from every type of traveller from around the world. TripAdvisor gives travelers the opportunity to rate hotels, share photos and videos and connect socially with other travellers.

Booking.com

Booking.com is the leading online travel agent and attracts over 30 million unique visitors each month. Offering over 253,441 hotels in 178 countries, the site aims to help travelers discover the best places to stay. Targeted at business and leisure travelers alike, the site scores hotels based on user reviews, which are broken down into categories such as comfort, location, value for money etc.. Hotels can also be filtered by the type of person who left the review – such as families with young children, solo travellers or large groups.

When it comes to booking your chosen hotel, you might think that online travel agents offer the best deals, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Booking direct with a hotel presents many advantages:

– You may be able to find exclusive promotions which aren’t offered on travel agent sites

– Some hotels offer frequent guest points and frequent flyers miles

– Hotels provide guest recognition, meaning the hotel will already know your likes and dislikes if you’ve stayed there before

– Having a direct point of contact at a hotel makes it easier to amend or cancel bookings

– Booking verification is instant as there’s no third party to confuse matters.

So next time you’re looking for a hotel, be it for business or pleasure, remember that while online travel agents and travel review sites can act as a valuable source of information, more often than not you’re better off booking via the hotel directly.

Source by Harald Bindeus

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Top 5 Places to Travel on a Budget

Traveling on a budget is so rewarding. Who needs 5 -star hotels, elegant restaurants and expensive extras? I’ve found that my favorite vacation spots are ones close to home, right on American soil. Since I had such positive experiences, I wanted to share a few of my favorite spots with you. Even though I didn’t have to clean out my savings account or go broke for these “on a budget” one of a kind destinations, they were well worth every penny I spent. Here are 5 of my top places to travel, whether you are on a budget or not.

1. Arizona

This American hot-spot is a fantastic place to go whenever you can get there. We all know the power of experiencing the Grand Canyon but there is so much more, Whether it’s Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, Arizona gets an A plus from me from the awesome climate to the variety of affordable things to see and do. It can get really hot, so pack some casual clothes. because if you’re like me, the best place to be is outside. The state has done an awesome job of creating hiking trails, botanical gardens, campsites, outdoor tours and other nature-loving excursions. The state is full of big cities and tiny towns full of art, culture and history and delicious food. For example, Tucson, Arizona is full of southwestern and Mexican heritage. There is very little or no admission charge to see spots like Sabino Canyon and Saguaro National Park and then head over to Sedona, Arizona for an opportunity to see 100 plus art galleries and events that are happening all of the time. They are amazing sites to see whether you are an art enthusiast or not.

2. Baltimore, MD

I’ve visited Baltimore many times and it is by far one of my favorite places to see. The seafood is fresh and delicious as is all the fare in the city, and for those of us on a budget, a dollar goes a long, long way. The steamed crabs are like no other in the world. The National Aquarium is beautifully located right on the Baltimore Harbor and a day spent there is a day well spent. The beautiful, family-friendly sights, smells and sounds are one of a kind! The Harborplace and the Gallery is located nearby the harbor and offers an amazing shopping and dining mecca where you can select what is right for your wallet and taste. Depending on the time of the year (remember Baltimore is cold in the winter) there is even free entertainment. The American Visionary Art Museum is well worth the short trip from the Harbor. They do charge a fee to get inside but the building itself and the property are full of sculptures and art to view for free. And there are so many other museums to visit during your time in this family-friendly city.

3. Hershey, PA

Hershey, Pennsylvania has become one of the most famous destination spots in our country, and it offers so many free and inexpensive things to do. There is a world-class amusement park, an infamous day spa that can be a but pricey but there are also many memorable affordable things to do. Hershey Chocolate World, is a ride that is on the Hershey Park grounds but is totally free. It is a wonderful historical ride that is both enjoyable and educational. If you are traveling with children they will get a free candy sample at the end of the ride where you are dropped off right into the gift store. There is also the Hershey trolley that will transport you around the city complete with kiss-shaped lights lining the streets. It was started by Milton Hershey while he was planning the town and continues to this day… it is well worth your time. If you have time (and I would suggest making time) visit ZooAmerica, Hershey Gardens, Milton Hershey School and the other fantastic museums all located in Hershey, PA.

4. Dallas, TX

In a town known for everything big, the cost to visit is not that bad. We had a bit of an adventurous spirit so we booked a city PASS that offered discounted prices into some of the city’s most popular attractions. We couldn’t hit them all but we did see the George W. Bush (he was the president) Library and Museum and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Pretty cool for adding a little culture into your vacation. My traveling partners enjoy visiting Zoos, so we went to the awesome Dallas Zoo and met two beautiful African Elephants and fed a giraffe. There are so many family-oriented events and presentations at this zoo, you might have to stay more than one day. The Dallas Farmers Market is a must see marketplace. The food, the vendors and the extremely memorable experience is like no other market I’ve visited. If you go, grab a street taco at La Ventana or a pork filled tamale at El Mero Mero. I have to mention the Trinity River Audubon Center for all you hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. This urban hardwood forest is an escape from the city into the distinctive Texas terrain.

5. Nashville, TN

Nashville, the home of country music, American history and so, so much to see and do. First, the must-see of all must-sees is the Country Music Hall Of Fame and the infamous Grand Ole Opry. Just the view from the outside of these famous buildings are a must see. When you get your fill of country music, head over and walk the beautiful college campuses of Vanderbilt University and Belmont University or go to the Adventure Science Center or the Belmont Mansion and spend the afternoon learning something new. The campuses are full of history and tradition and a perfect place to enjoy the outdoors. And we haven’t even mentioned Nashville’s food. Nashville has to be is a melting pot of cuisine. There are all kinds of fare to satisfy any palate. My favorites were found on the food trucks who offered quick, delicious and budget-friendly meals on the go. If you have room for pie, I recommend the peach or pecan.

Source by Douglas Helal

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A Traveler’s Guide To Sri Lanka: How To Get Around The City

As the travelers are travelling around the world with nothing but their own company, the world is becoming a safe haven for those who want to explore the world, all by themselves. Sri Lanka is also one of the countries which is much safer and offer various places to discover. The country is predominately a Buddhist country and also may remind you of places of its neighboring country, India.

As the country boasts of ancient civilization and heritage, it has its own culture which requires you to dress conservatively and appropriately. The locals are friendly, respectful and helpful and they will be more than happy to suggest you nice hotels to stay and restaurants to have yummy food.

ABOUT THE COUNTRY

With crumbling temples, ruins and sacred Buddhist sites, Sri Lanka is also the best place in the world to have coconut pancakes and banana fritters drenched in generous amount of honey at a road side food joint. A standing testimony to ancient civilizations, this is the land where Sinhalese dynasties set their foot upon along with their first capitals.

A home to incredibly constructed temples, Sri Lanka is a country that supports massive artistic and architectural endeavors.

A country with 3000 years old history and eight UNESCO World Heritage sites was previously known as Ceylon. Despite of reported political turmoil and civil wars, it is a land that dazzles and never seizes to seduce you. Sigiriya, Kandy, Yapahuwa, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, Buduruwagala and Anuradhapura are the oldest cities of the country.

PLACES TO VISIT

Not only temples but the country also has plenty of beaches and waterfalls that lure the globetrotter. Negombo beach is located in the North of Colombo is also known as the Commercial city of Sri Lanka. Its past successors –the Dutch, the Portuguese and the British have left a legacy such as various remarkable colonial architectures and Dutch canal which makes Negombo an interesting site bustling with various activities.

Take a day off to Sigiriya, near Dambulla, which is also known as the Lion’s Rock. The rock fortress is situated in the Matale district of Sri Lanka. Climb the iconic stairs that have endured the tough weather conditions but still standing with pride. Slip past the enormous hornet nests to reach the apex of the oldest remaining place constructed in 5th century. Wander into a mythical world of legendary tales while ascending to top of the citadel.

Your expedition to explore the country will remain incomplete if you will not pay a visit to the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy. Located amidst the serene oasis of tea plantations, its impeccable architecture reflects in the lake. The temple is sacred to the locals as it has a tooth which is enshrined in a caskate that belongs to Lord Buddha. Locals and tourists gather around in the evening to offer prayers and eat food. There are other important temples that are a must-visit for every tourist. Gangaramaya temple, Vajiramaya temple, Raja Maha Vihara temple, Isipathanaramaya temple, Koneswaram temple, Kandaswamy temple and Murugan temple to name the few.

POPULAR BEACHES TO VISIT

Sri Lanka is no less than a natural beauty. Those who want to witness the day passing by on the beach or want to indulge in various sports activities, there are plenty of beaches in the country which you can visit. Unawatuna, which is one of the best beaches in the country is famous for its calm and blue waters. One can also spot a whale shark if the day is your lucky day.

Head to Bentota, if you are looking for a complete beach holiday! The beach has various good resorts that specialize in authentic Ayurveda spa and medicine centers. Perfect for those who wants to escape from the hustle-bustle of the city and want to feel rejuvenated, the beach is an ideal getaway.

Mirissa attracts people from all over the world. Famous for its views of aquatic wildlife in its natural habitat, it is ideal for both ecological purposes as well as for holidays. If you want to spot dolphins and whales visit the place in December. There are many centers that also offer various Ayurveda therapies. To stay in plush resorts, Dickwella is the beach to go. This is one of the best secluded Sri Lankan beaches which offer serendipity.

MARVEL AT THE WILD ELEPHANTS IN NATIONAL PARK

The country has number of National Parks that are home to various species. Depending on the city and place you are staying, you can visit these national parks to enjoy the natural habitat of animals in the wild. Yala National Park has some 40 reptiles and animals and for over 200 bird species. Those who love bird watching can go to Bundala National Park or join the throng of tourists at Uda Walawe National Park, whilst Sinharaja Forest Reserve plays home to some of the rarest bird species.

FOR HOW LONG SHOULD YOU STAY

A week is enough if your purpose to visit the country is a beach holiday combining it with Kandy. For a couple of week itinerary where you want to explore the main attractions and UNESCO sites, spend 3 nights in Galle, 2 in Rekawa, 3 in Tissa, 3 in Kandy and then 3 in Bentota.

HOW TO GET A VISA

Just like any other country, Sri Lanka also required its visitors to carry a valid visa permit. Although the process is not so complicated for this country, one can simply fill an ETA application online form for Sri Lanka with personal details. After the verification process, you can simply receive online Sri Lankan ETA via your e-mail. A tourist visa allows double entry and is valid for 30 days.

FROM THE AIRPORT

You can pre-book a cab from the airport, which is a very simple, easy, reliable and safe service for all the tourists, especially women travelers. Or you can hop on a bus which runs to the Colombo City Centre which costs about 150 LKR and allows 2 pieces of luggage. For anywhere else, take a taxi. A cab to Negombo Beach will take 30 minutes and cost about 862 LKR. For Bentota, Galle or Kandy the fare is about 4500 LKR.

Source by Nupur Tewary

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London: Nightlife

Some people go on holiday just to relax, others to discover new cities, while others just want to have fun and are interested in the nightlife of the cities they are visiting. According to a ranking made by TripAdvisor.com regarding the cities with the most active nightlife, London ranks first, Berlin is the second, Newcastle – third place, Dublin – the fourth position and Amsterdam – fifth.

Having one of the most vibrant and diverse club scene in the world, London’s Nightlife is extraordinary. Clubs like Fabric, Ministry of Sound and Cargo and are among the biggest and best known places to party. Although Londoners are very polite and serious during the day, in the evening they know how to have fun. Regardless of preferences, London offers a variety of places to choose from.

The West End is the home of an overwhelming number of bars, clubs and restaurants, while Soho is one of the most fashionable place to go have a drink. Notting Hill and Portobello Road areas attract nowadays as many tourists as they did in the past, especially for those willing to have fun alongside the locals. Camden, Clapham and Brixton areas highlight some fantastic pubs and bars, all with their own unique flavor.

Here is a top 10 of the best clubs in London you should definitely go to:

1. Fabric

2. Cable

3. Cargo

4. Dalston Superstore

5. Corsica Studios

6. Plastic People

7. Ministry of Sound

8. The Loft

9. The Drop

10. Paramount Bar

Probably the most popular club in London, Fabric, is a top destination not only for locals, but also for clubbers coming in London from all over the world, looking to have fun. The club has a global reputation based on its wide variety in music (electronic music from Drum & Bass and Dubstep to House, Techno and Progressive) and its brilliant Djs.

The entrance fee of these clubs may seem a bit expensive to some people, but the atmosphere here may be incomparable with your previous club experiences. The entrance fee starts from 3 pounds and can reach up to 20 pounds for the clubs mentioned above. Of course, you must have at least 18 years for you to be able to enter in a club. Pay attention that after you decide which club you want to go, you should check if the buses run at night in that area. This saves money for the taxi back, which is not exactly cheap in London.

Those who are looking for a more quite place, where they can have a drink and some conversation, should go to one of the many English pubs scattered throughout the city, where they can enjoy an exquisite range of beer, cider or whiskey.

On the other hand, if you prefer a good show, go to the Lyceum Theatre or Queens Theatre, where you can enjoy a musical. There are also a lot of avant-garde theaters outside the West End district, where both young professionals, as well as amateurs actors, play almost everything from classical theatre plays to cabaret ones. Other non-commercial theaters include the famous National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company (RCS), Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and The Old Vic.

Culture lovers can enjoy an evening at Covent Garden, watching the Royal Opera or the Royal Ballet while classical music lovers can go to the Albert Hall.

Source by Andreea L Mihalache

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Cheap Vacations – Hotel and Flight Travel Deals

So you are ready to book a family trip. Now you are scouring the ‘net for cheap vacations and hotel and flight travel deals. Maybe you’ve left this for the last minute. Not to worry, you can still find some great prices.

Of course planning ahead has many advantages and you can sometimes get a super deal that way, you can also find things at the last minute too. Often you can take advantage of price wars and get the very best deals.

Of course most people know to check the Internet at all of the many travel sites in order to see what type of packages they may offer.

One thing that a lot of people don’t think to do, however, is to check the travel section of your local newspaper. Check this section for lots of deals on airfare, travel packages, and just good travel deals in general. Properly used (by checking daily), this can really be a goldmine of information.

Another thing you can do is call travel vendors directly. This can help you find cheap vacations and often many great hotel and flight prices.

Even in this day and time of doing everything online, I would also recommend checking with a travel agency in a “brick and mortar” office, meaning a physical building and not one on the Internet. Travel agents can access a database of hotels which may net you a great deal on a hotel package.

If you happen to be traveling to Las Vegas you are in luck, as this destination is usually loaded with all-inclusive travel packages. Ask your travel agent about them or check at the online agencies. Deals abound!

People may disagree, but I find train travel to be very pleasant as long as you are not going to be traveling too terribly long. It’s a great way to see America and the countryside and for a relatively short distance you can often arrive just as fast as flying when you take into consideration all the time spent with layovers and waiting for luggage, boarding, etc.

I hope if you are planning a trip and searching for cheap vacations and hotel and flight packages and deals, you will find the tips in this article helpful in sending you on your way to a grand vacation.

Source by Terrie Bryan

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