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Love and Adventure: The Most Romantic Travel Destinations May 31 2018, 0 Comments

Solo travel is known to be empowering, what with the sense of freedom. You can go where you want and when you want, having the ability to control your travel experience and develop more confidence. Then again, safety is also key. How do you know if the place where you staying is truly traveler friendly? It’s fair to say that there are pros and cons to independent travel. Sadly, even in the most popular tourist destinations, the likes of pickpockets, or even worse, muggers are not uncommon. When there is just one of you, and in a place where the locals don’t speak your language, it is difficult to deal with this kind of situation. Let’s face it, exploring the world and having adventures are meant to be fun and uplifting, certainly not activities which risk harming you.

One of the common reasons that people travel solo is the idea of meeting people, whether that’s new friends or the blossoming of an unexpected romance. After all, while a moment of independence might do you some good, spending the rest of life on your own is not enjoyable. If you haven’t found your soulmate in your homeland, this could be because they are waiting across the ocean, so who wants to miss that opportunity on venturing out on your own?

Then again, in the modern world, there are plenty of ways to meet people where you’re from.  There’s no need to spend money on a solo trip or work your way round numerous bars and coffee shops, if your sole purpose is to find love. Online dating through apps like Badoo may lead to your happily ever after, whether you're just looking to make new friend or date. So, when you have found the person that you want to spend the rest of your life with, then you’ll surely want to do just that. Share every moment of your life together, which includes having adventures and discovering the world. Not only is it the perfect chance to create amazing memories with your loved one, but you have the reassurance of travelling with someone who you can trust. Even in the hopefully unlikely event of being disturbed by a pesky pickpocket, in having your loved one by your side, you can support each other to ensure minimal disruption to your travels.



With the romantic vibes in the air, let’s take a look at some of the world’s most loved-up destinations, perfect for couples to experience together.

Paris

With one of its nicknames being the “City of Love”, no one can deny Paris a place on the list, but what exactly is it about this city that oozes passion? Aside from the gourmet food, twinkling lights filling the night sky and kisses at the top of the Eiffel tower, there are some other lesser-known attractions that make Paris the ultimate destination for couples. In the midst of sightseeing, one of the spots you could come across is the Pont des Arts bridge. This isn’t just any bridge. If you’ve seen pictures, you will know that the bridge is covered in padlocks. What at first can be an odd sight, Pont des Arts soon becomes a haven of romance, as these padlocks are in fact tokens of love, added to the bridge by numerous couples confessing their feelings for one another, so much so that some of the padlocks have unfortunately had to be removed because the bridge cannot support the weight of all of them. Despite this, Pont des Arts provides an ideal location to make known your undying love.

As this is Paris, let’s not stop there; there are more idyllic treasure troves of “amour” to discover in the city, let alone the rest of the world. The mur des je t’aime on the Hill of Montmartre features the words “I love you” in 311 languages. You and your partner can admire this artwork in the knowledge that love is universal and celebrate the strength of your relationship.  

Alternatively, take a day trip to one of the many spectacular castles and palaces in and around Paris. Versailles is a popular choice, and you can immerse yourself in a fairytale romance.

Verona



If not Paris, then the land of Romeo and Juliet ought to do the trick. The romantic Italian city is famed for its link to the two star-crossed lovers, although there’s no doubt your relationship will have a happier outcome than the Montague and Capulet pairing. Nevertheless, you can visit Juliet’s balcony and feel inspired by the power of love between Shakespeare’s iconic duo. Due to attempts to maintain the Casa di Giulietta, visitors can unfortunately no longer leave love letters in the wall of the home, like in the Hollywood film Letters to Juliet, but that hasn’t stopped many attaching love locks to the gates, like Pont des Arts in Paris, so there’s still plenty of romance to be enjoyed here.

Just outside the city of Verona is the beautiful Lake Garda. The stunning scenery of the large expanse of water against the backdrop of mountains is a sight to behold. There are several opportunities for leisurely strolls alongside the sparkling waters, hands held in adoration. Surrounding the lake, an array of charming towns lines the water’s edge, offering shops and eateries. This is perfect for some lakeside dining, topped with a bottle of wine and a meal of the finest Italian cuisine.

Bali

You only need to watch a James Bond movie to see that tropical islands are unbelievably romantic. Bali has gained popularity as being a top place for lovebirds to flock to. From the lagoon blue oceans to the sandy beaches, the Indonesian island is the epitome of paradise, ideal for a honeymoon or anniversary celebration. If it’s a couple’s relaxing pamper break you are after, there are no shortage of spa resorts on the island. Indulge in a couple’s massage, followed by a swim in an infinity pool, candlelit dinner in your own private water villa and a sunset beach stroll.

This may seem like plenty of romance, but if you and your partner can break yourself out of your relaxed spa-induced haze, Bali supplies some breathtaking sightseeing opportunities. For a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience, then definitely take a visit to one of Bali’s temples. The Ulun Danu Beratan temple is a sight to behold. The unique landmark is the definition of sanctuary. Surrounded by mountains, the still lake by which the temple is based gives a floating appearance, which elicits the utmost tranquillity.  If this doesn’t kindle your desire for travelling with your special someone, then who knows what will?

Alternatively, if you have your heart set on the tropical beach life, the Ayana Resort and Spa probably boasts one of the most stunning beaches on the island. Privately owned, you can access the golden sand and turquoise sea by steps down from the resort, or simply admire the view from the overlooking infinity pool.

The Cotswolds, England

A far cry from Bali, or the Mediterranean, yet no less romantic, the rolling hills of the British countryside offer a suitable alternative, especially if you’re someone who can’t cope with extremely hot temperatures. Think Downton Abbey, Jane Austen and Cameron Diaz and Jude Law in The Holiday, that pretty much sums up how charming and romantic the Cotswolds are. Quaint country villages, chocolate box cottages and lush green fields for miles on end.

Ideal for a stress-free break, the Cotswolds provides the chance to spend some quality time together. From dining in a traditional English pub to cozying up together on the couch in the evening with books and a fire, you have the time to appreciate the cute, sweet moments of romance with this kind of travel.

There are lots of attractions to visit while you’re here too. For a fairytale moment, take a trip to Oxfordshire’s stunning Blenheim Palace. It was even one of the filming locations for Cinderella in 2015. Other impressive stately homes nestled in this British Area of Natural Beauty include Snowshill Manor, Sudeley Castle, and the majestic Warwick Castle.

If you’re still after the Romeo and Juliet vibes of Verona, just north of the Cotswolds border is the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace and home to their creator himself, Shakespeare. You can discover the origins of the mind behind the two famous lovers with a museum about his life, as well as the home of wife Anne Hathaway. You could even catch a live performance of his plays at the Royal Shakespeare Company theatre. A dinner and theatre date sounds very romantic.

It’s settled. There are certainly some amazing romantic destinations in the world. From England and Italy to tropical Indonesian islands, you can widen your travel experience, as well as enjoy being in love. Whether you and your other half prefer cozy nights in or nights under the twinkling lights of Paris, there’s a place for every couple. What’s more, with your special someone by your side, you can rest assured that you will be safer, and if something annoying like pickpocketing did occur, your loved one is there to help you through it.


Is Airbnb safe? Seven Tips for first time guests May 18 2018, 0 Comments



If you follow these tips before renting an Airbnb, your vacation will go that much more smoothly.

1. Stay safe

Horror stories in the past have raised some legitimate safety concerns about how safe Airbnb is, though many stays are trouble free. Since its launch, the company has added consumer and host protections and worked to make online profiles match real-life identities, under the theory that people will behave more responsibly without a digital veil of secrecy. An online FAQ about "trust and safety" explains more about the company's verification process and reviews.

2. It's not a hotel

Seems obvious, but some renters still don't get the apartment-sharing concept and expect the sort of welcome and the quality of amenities you'd find at a hotel. (It doesn't help the confusion that Airbnb allows rental-property varieties ranging from apartment to yurt.) Pay close attention to what's included—and even more attention to what's not.

3. Be yourself

Airbnb makes a big deal out of its community, which the site says helps keep dealings honest. Creating a real profile, getting verified by adding personal info, and even getting reviews from friends who already use the service can up your chances of booking a successful stay.

4. Shop carefully

The site's many filters make it easy to narrow down the sort of property you're interested in, whether that means a whole home, a berth on a sailboat, a place with a fully stocked kitchen, an apartment near a particular concert venue, whatever! Using filters can help turn 40,000 listings into a few, and from there a detailed study of apartment photos can give a level of detail that written descriptions might miss: Is the room bright and airy? Is that advertised balcony actually big enough to enjoy? Just how small is the shower? A close look can help weed out disappointment in the early going.

5. Ask questions

Airbnb's built-in messaging system makes it easy to ask questions of hosts, from info on the nearest subway stop to whether or not the kitchen maker in the unit comes with coffee too. (The answer may surprise you!) These no-obligation questions are particularly useful in making a choice between similar properties once you've narrowed down your search.

6. Know the rules

Speaking of booking, it's not just a simple click-to-book operation like you'd find at, yes, a hotel. To start a booking, potential guests pick out dates, agree to the house rules for a given rental, and then send a request through Airbnb's messaging service to potential hosts. If a host agrees to your request, Airbnb handles the payment, for a small slice of the pot, to discourage any scams as money changes hands. (A few properties do allow instant booking, for a more hotel-like experience. Those that do clearly advertise the fact.) Finally, cancellation policies vary by property, so take note of the specific terms at your rental if travel plans are still in flux.

7. Show up with an open mind

Most hosts, expert Airbnb-ers say, are used to entertaining road-weary travelers and understand that guests are interested in seeing the city, not hanging around with people they've just met from the internet. That said, a bit of conviviality goes a long way, hosts say, whether that means having a drink or just having a chat. That a local connection is one of the strongest selling points of the Airbnb experience. After that free night, of course.

This article originally appeared in Conde Nast Traveler


3 Alternative Activities to Reduce Pickpocketing May 01 2018, 0 Comments

First and foremost, this is not discouraging travel or experiencing the excitement of seeing the world in any way, after all, what fun would that be? Nevertheless, if you’re new to the jet-setting lifestyle, you want to make sure that you’re safe and not at risk of being pickpocketed or losing anything in general. Of course, you’ll have no doubt done your research before travelling, so will be prepared for any cases of pickpocketing, such as keeping your possessions hidden and attached to you. 

Once you’ve spent time at your destination and got to know the area, the best tourist spots are sure to become apparent. As you get used to the new found freedom of travelling, though, it’s perhaps best to devote the day to exploring, so if any problem does arise, there are plenty of people around to help you, and you can see where you’re going.



In this step-by-step road to travel confidence, what can you be doing at night to still make the most of the experience, but stay in the knowledge that you are safe? Here are some alternative activities without even having to leave your room:

1. Film Night

This might seem boring, especially as it’s something you can do at home, but travelling can get tiring, especially on main journeys to your destination where you can spend hours on a plane and could suffer from jet-lag depending on your travel experience. On the first night, take the time to rest and build up your energy for a full-on day tomorrow. For those of you who can afford it, splashing out on a hotel with a gorgeous view, room service and films might just add an extra special touch to your holiday. Plus, it wouldn't be a great start to the trip if something bad happened on the first night, so relax and plan out the adventure.

2. Casino Fun

If you’re staying in a hostel, for example, with big group rooms, watching a film might disrupt others. However, that doesn't stop you from accessing the Internet on your phone, tablet, or any other possible gadget. You never know when the next trip could be to Vegas or Monte Carlo, so practising your casino games is a good idea. With the likes of Canadacasino.net reviewing online casino games, there’s a wide choice at your fingertips, which can be done from your hostel bed. You won’t, therefore, need to carry around lots of cash, unlike a physical casino, reducing the risk of pickpocketing.

3. Guided Tours

Group holiday tours are very much a thing nowadays. A travel company organising trips means that you will be staying in the same accommodation as others on your tour, and participating in activities together. Even when it gets dark and you’re in an unfamiliar place, there will be a coordinator in this group who can provide help. The fact that there are several of you to keep an eye on potential pickpockets is safer too.

Liking the sound of these options now? Whilst you don’t want to hide in your hotel room for your entire trip, it’s important to get to know a place, so that you can be safe and have the most enjoyable time.