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Keeping Fit While You Travel

Traveling can be fantastic. Whether you are away for a night, or taking on a huge once in a lifetime trip, it’s your chance to take a break from real life, recharge your batteries and see some of the world. If you want to, it’s absolutely fine while you are away to take a break from your fitness regime and diet and let things slide a little. The occasional short break won’t hurt. In fact, it could do you good.

But, that’s not for everyone. Some people find that exercise helps them to relax and unwind and find themselves a little lost without it. If you are traveling for business especially, you might find that some exercise helps you to switch off after a day of heavy meetings, or stops you from feeling homesick. Then of course if you are traveling for an extended period and want the chance to enjoy plenty of local delicacies, exercise and fitness are essential.

No matter how much you want to exercise while you are away, it will be tempting not to. Especially if you’re not sure how. But, it doesn’t need to be difficult. There are plenty of fantastic ways to keep fit while you travel. Here’s a look at some of the best.

Stay in a Good Hotel

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There are plenty of fantastic hotels out there now, like Marriott Executive Apartments. Check the hotel’s facilities before you book, but many are now equipped with brilliant gyms, spas, full-sized pools and even fitness classes. Classes are great, as you’re booked in for a specific time so can’t get out of it. But, if there’s just a gym or pool, try to get some exercise done first thing in the morning so that you start your day feeling alert, confident and energized.

Walk

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If you’re on a budget, you may not have the option of staying in a top-class hotel. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t exercise. Walking is the best way to keep fit while you are away and also the best way to see a new city. Book yourself on a walking tour early in your break to help you find your way. Then spend your vacation getting from place to place on foot. Enjoy tourist hotspots, head out into nature and explore the area. All while getting a great workout. Just remember to pack comfortable shoes.

Run

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Another option is going for an early morning run close to the hotel. Just make sure you get some advice and plan a safe route before you leave. If possible, a local park is a brilliant option.

Shop

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If you’re not into nature trails or walking tours, and can’t face a tourist attraction every day, go shopping instead. Did you know that a full day of shopping can burn up to 1000 calories? It’s also a great way to take in some culture, find some great foods and meet the locals. Again, you’ll need comfy shoes and a bottle of water if it’s hot.

4 Intriguing & Unusual Things To Do In India

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India is a popular travel location for plenty of people that are looking to try new things. It’s far from a traditional holiday destination, which is why most people traveling here tend to be backpackers or students on a gap year. Regardless, one of the things that makes India special is the sheer diversity of attractions in this massive country. There are many things to do, some of which are exceptionally weird and wonderful. Here’s a short list of the most intriguing things to add to your travel itinerary.

Get Spooked Out At Skeleton Lake

I know what you’re thinking, skeletons? No thanks! Granted, this isn’t something for everyone, but it’s certainly one of the weirdest things you can do in India. There’s an old lake that spends most of the year frozen and is famous for housing loads of ancient skeletons. Many years of research found that all these skeletons died the same way; via an aggressive hailstorm. It sounds too crazy to be true, but the experts say it’s so! This is a very unique sight to behold, and certainly worth visiting if you want to see something you’re not likely to see anywhere outside of a museum.

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Go Big Cat Spotting

One of the most intriguing things about India is the wildlife throughout the country. It’s home to so many different species that you don’t find anywhere else on earth. Typically, you tend to stay far away from any big cats, but India presents a different opportunity. Here, you can look for the five main big cats in India; the Bengal tiger, snow leopard, clouded leopard, Indian leopard, and Asiatic lion. During your stay, you should make it your mission to see all five. Don’t worry, there are plenty of National Parks where you can see them safely!

Undergo Panchakarma Therapy

If you haven’t heard of panchakarma therapy, then you’re not alone. In fact, I’d be stunned if anyone reading this has even the faintest of ideas as to what it is. Essentially, this is an ancient Indian therapy that’s used to provide the ultimate detoxification experience. The locals will tell you there are many benefits of panchakarma for both your body and mind. It’s a fascinating experience, to say the least. If you feel like you need a quick health boost, then maybe this is something to add to your list. At the very least you’ll be relaxed and get to de-stress for an hour or so.

See The Ancient Stepwells

Near Jaipur in India, you will find what’s known as the Ancient Stepwells. This is a location that’s incredible to look at, and filled with lots of history. The stepwells were constructed to help collect rainwater for the locals in the area. They’re a truly unique sight to see as the architecture is mind-boggling. There are lots of other ancient stepwells throughout the country, but this site in Jaipur is perhaps the grandest and most beautiful of them all.

So, if India is on your bucket list this year, then here are some of the strangest and most different things you can do. Some may be weird, but they’re certainly all wonderful.

Cheap Cities for Long Stay Travel

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If you’re reading this article, there’s a chance you have a pretty long bucket list when it comes to travel, and with so much to do in such little time, you might question whether the trend of “slow travel” where one spends a reasonably long time in one place, for example, a month, often working and fully integrating with the culture of the destination… is a viable way to squeeze more from your travels or whether slow travel is actually just slowing you down.

The thought behind “slow travel” is that by spending more time in one location, be that a few weeks or a few months, you can experience the city in more depth and more authentically.  The term “like a local” is often used to describe the experience of getting beneath the surface of a city and living more like a local – however, to do this in a weekend isn’t realistic, no matter what guidebook you possess.  

Whereas, if you have a month to integrate with the local culture, and genuinely live like a local, where for the same price of a basic hotel you could have a luxury apartment rental and perhaps even get a part-time job; you will experience a whole new side of the city that is much richer than the typical tourist trail.

Here are three trendy places worth checking out in 2018:

  1. CHIANG MAI (Thailand)

Chiang Mai is known as the “capital of the north”.  Many would describe Chiang Mai as a mystical land of temples, rice paddies, monks and natural jungle; though whilst this is true for areas around Chiang Mai, the town turned city itself, is pretty bustling and at times resembles a more relaxed version of Bangkok.

Chiang Mai is a digital nomad’s paradise with a high concentration of freelancers working from the many independent coffee shops and restaurants scattered around the city’s walls.  There’s also a large university meaning the city has a young, vibrant, and aspirational feel to it.

Finding somewhere cheap to live in Chiang Mai is pretty simple.  There are several modern condos available, for exclusive rent, on AirBnB at a cost of just $10 per night if you are renting for a month or more.  In terms of finding a more traditional short term lease, there are property agents but the majority require three to six months minimum stay.

Chiang Mai is a great place to have as a long term base, in which you can explore the rest of Thailand.  With direct flights to Krabi, Phuket and Koh Samui you are able to have a base in the North of Thailand (much cheaper than the south) and go on mini breaks to more exotic locations.

  1. ISTANBUL (Turkey)

Istanbul has unfortunately received a lot of bad press in recent years, with terrorist attacks, political instability and social unrest bombarding the headlines.  The truth is, that whilst there are pockets of unrest, Istanbul is a place where people get along with each other very well, there is a sense of community and brotherhood that instantly makes you feel part of the culture.  Yes, there are the occasional demonstrations but on the whole, Istanbul is a very safe city, due to its police presence and security measures now in place.

Istanbul is much like London, New York and Paris – in that it is is one of the world’s greatest cities yet comparatively cheap to it’s western counterparts.  The joy of Istanbul is the city retains a traditional and authentic feel yet is superbly modern, design oriented, relaxed, and friendly.  

Istanbul is unlike any other city in the world due to being separated by the Bosphorus Strait which divides Istanbul into two sides, on two different contents, the European Side and the Asian Side.  The European side offers the more modern side of the city, with well known brands occupying prime real estate on the busy high street whilst independent hipster bars and coffee shops can be found near the river.  Indeed, the European side has a feel of San Francisco about it, with all its unique and creative independent stores, cafes, restaurants and watering holes.  

In terms of finding a property, this side of the river is where you’ll find trendy loft apartments at a quarter of the price you would pay in New York.  The Asian side, however, is a little more shabby, and this is where you’re likely to find a great deal on a property.  The Asian side has a much more “local” and rustic feel to it.

  1. MARRAKECH (Morocco)

Marrakech is an incredibly colourful and vibrant city.  The majority of people visit for just a short while, as there is an element of endurance to be had with exploring Marrakech, due to the frenetic pace, the hustle and bustle, and in summer at least – the sweltering heat.  

Marrakech, for some, may feel like stepping into Disneyland, in that it is such an overwhelming delight/attack on the sense.  Whilst it provides a stark contrast to the Western World, it is only a short hop on a cheap flight to Mainland Europe and the “new city” offers some very luxurious accommodation at an incredibly cheap price.

Whilst you may not choose to live in Marrakech for a number of months, it can be a fantastic place to base yourself for a few weeks whilst exploring the gems of Morocco such as the Sahara Desert and Atlas Mountains.  A more relaxed alternative to Marrakech is Essaouira that has a more chilled out coastal vibe to the city.

The 5 Most Essential Checks You Should Do Next Time You Travel

Emergency situations that occur when you’re far away from home are frightening. You don’t know where to turn, and you don’t know who you can talk to. And if you have a language barrier then you might be twice as scared. Things can go wrong, even though, thankfully, they rarely do. But you can reduce the risk of ending up helpless and confused by performing these 5 essential checks for every leg of your journey:

Embassy Support

If you’re traveling away from your home country, it might be a good idea to know how to get in touch with your embassy, just in case. Some foreign countries are easy to navigate, and you might even be OK with the language. But if you lose your passport, travel documents, or just yourself, you need help to get home. Know where your embassy is for each foreign country you travel in. If something major happens, you should check in with them. After all, it would be the first place your family would search for you.

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Medical Support

Even if you don’t have any health conditions today, you never know what might crop up while you’re on vacation. Make sure you’ve got a fair idea where the local hospital is when you’re checked into your hotel or apartment. You might find something like an urgent care center to be a better option, though. A broken bone, a mystery illness, or a deep cut can easily and quickly be treated at a facility like this. Because they’re run by doctors, they might be able to help you replace lost medication too.

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Insurance Support

Travel insurance policies vary wildly. But then again, so do our vacations! You might enjoy an action-packed adventure holiday in the winter but then snooze on the beach for a week in the summer. You must check the small print every time you plan to travel to insure you are covered for everything you plan to do. There are many different levels of cover too. Some will help you get home if you need to depart early. Others won’t offer support to get home even if you’re hospitalized! Make sure you choose the right level of cover for you.

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Visas And Passports

Some countries regularly update their travel restrictions and visa requirements. Stay on top of this. If you’re a whimsical traveler, do this research before you get on the plane! Check there is plenty of time on your passport and that it is still acceptable at all your destinations.

Vaccinations And Prescriptions

Some countries are on a list that warns travelers of health risks. Your doctor can usually offer vaccinations to protect your health in those environments. You might be tempted to take an extra amount of any of your prescription medications with you. Don’t do this without a letter from your doctor that is signed, stamped and verified! Some countries will prosecute you even with these documents, so double check what medicines are and are not allowed. Stay healthy, but stay legal too!

Amazing Benefits of Group Vacations

As you get older in life, you tend to start taking vacations with your partner and family, and the days of traveling as a big group seem a long time ago. However, I think this is something of a shame, as there are some incredible benefits of traveling in a large group, whether it’s with your wider family or a bunch of old friends. In today’s post, we’re going to take a look at what those benefits are, and how rewarding they can be – let’s take a look!

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Save money

First and foremost, pretty much every cruise line, hotel, airline and vacation company offer enormous discounts for group travelers. You’ll also find that you can stay in large, beautiful homes – on Airbnb, for example – all around the world at a much lower price than you would pay for a similar experience in a hotel. When you take away all the shared costs of travel, accommodation, food and tour tickets, you can save somewhere in the region of 30-40 percent from the amount you would spend traveling as a couple or with your immediate family.

Travel in style

Traveling in a large group also means you can travel in a lot more style than you can if you are paying for yourself. Perhaps you could book a fantastic vehicle from a Car, Limo & Party Bus Service, or maybe hire a big boat or yacht to take out to see. You could even charter a private jet, which is a lot cheaper than you might think. If you have enough people on board, taking a private jet allows you to travel in complete and utter luxury at a price that can often be less expensive than everyone buying separate, standard tickets from a  mainstream airline.

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The social aspect

As we get older, we tend to see our good, old friends a lot less. People have more commitments at work, start having kids, and time is at a premium – even hooking up for an occasional night out doesn’t leave you much time to bond with each other again. So, a vacation away for a week – or even a long weekend – allows you to reconnect, make new adventures, and have a lot of fun and adventure, as well as giving you the time to meet and get to know your friends’ partners and families a lot better.

Simple and safe

The more people that travel with you, the easier it is to share responsibilities. If some of your group brings their children, some can babysit while the others get a well-deserved night off. It’s safer to travel in big groups, too, and there is less likelihood of being a victim of pickpockets or thieves. Plus, of course, when little ones are running around having fun, a lot more eyes are watching out for them.

So, do you still go on large group vacations or are they a thing of your past? While everyone wants a quiet trip with their nearest and dearest every once in a while, surely there is still a place for a break away with friends, too? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

 

Financing Your Trip Of A Lifetime!

So you want to go on vacation? Maybe you’ve saved up for a while and think now is the time? Or maybe you’ve been stopping yourself because you don’t have the funds to fall back on? When it comes to wanting to go on holiday, the worry over how much money we have is usually what stops us. Well, this post is here to tell you it’s okay for you to book your way onto a plane!

We all get a bit wanderlusty from time to time, but if you’re someone who has been dreaming of getting away for years, it’s time to look into your financing needs. So yeah you already have some money ready to pay for flights and accommodation, or maybe you just haven’t had any success with that before now. Either way, here’s some of the best options for you to look into. Happy Holiday!

Financing Your Trip Of A Lifetime!
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Make Sure You Have a Budget

Budget travelling is a whole ‘nother realm unto itself, and there’s plenty of ways you can live cheaply out of a suitcase if you’re stretched thin on the ground. However, when it comes to a vacation we’ve planned in our heads for a long time, we probably want a little luxury from it as well!

Yet, budgets are the most important plan to have in place once you’ve decided to go on vacation. If you have your itinerary ready, you’re going to have a good idea of what you’re going to get up to and thus what you can and can’t afford within and around it. When it comes to first booking a holiday or tour abroad, shop around the bargains. Are there any bargains on offer via all the different providers? You could also try haggling if you have the confidence, as you never know when an agent is willing to lower the price just a little more in order to make a much needed sale. This way, you have more money to spend when you’re on the ground!

Budgeting is all about knowing the ins and outs of how society works on a timescale, as sales crop up after Christmas and Black Friday is a rush the world around. So, with that in mind, pick the right time to travel! During school terms and outside of spring break is one of the cheapest times for you to book a flight, and you can save hundreds by simply saving a flight until then.

Take the Time to Save Up

It’s usually the best idea to pay for a holiday with cash, as then you don’t have any outstanding credit debt when you get home again and the stress immediately hits you (unless you have the ability to pay it off as soon as the credit clears!). However, saving up doesn’t have to be as hard as we think to keep up with, and whilst it will take some time, the anticipation is just going to get better and better.

Mainly, if you don’t have a savings account, open one! There’s so many banks and accounts out there for you to look into, so if you’re not accepted at one, simply try out another. Then, if you get paid a good amount in wage every 2 weeks or each month, put as much money as you can spare in the said savings account.

You could find time to finally sell off the wares you’ve kept in the boxes at the end of your bedroom in a yard sale or online. This is quick money in your pocket, and even at just a couple of dollars a pop, if you have a lot to get rid of, you can make thousands in minutes. People love a good bargain after all!

Don’t Be Too Luxurious

Even if you want a lounger by the poolside when it comes to staying in a hotel, make sure the travelling arrangements don’t live up to that standard at the same time! A flight is over in a few hours, and getting squashed in coach is all part of the true travelling experience.

Buy your snacks and drinks at the airport and travel as light as possible with you carry on. This just makes the experience a lot easier to get through, and then you have plenty of money to buy all the souvenirs you want.

Maybe Even Take Out a Loan!

Maybe you’re the kind of person who can’t take the time to save all the money you’d need, or you have some stored away but it just wouldn’t cut that round Europe tour you’ve been wanting to take for years. If so, this could be the option for you. First of all, it’s a lot safer than you might think to take out a loan to fund a holiday! If you borrow from someone who lends out loans secured against owned assets, you’re more likely to, number one, be able to get one, and number two, stick to the payments regularly. If you’ve had trouble with money before now, these loans can lead you into a whole new world.

On the other hand, taking out a loan is seriously versatile. If you’re the kind of person who has some savings stored away, or you can work a job whilst you’re on foot and hiking over the mountains, it might also be a good idea to take out a loan for your holiday needs. This way you have a lot more financial security to fall back on, and it’s simply another budgeting matter to make sure you get home safe and sound after the trip of a lifetime.

A holiday is a bit of an investment, so treat it like one! The trip of a lifetime is only a couple of dollars away if you know how to save and shop! Be sure to look around before you choose something to fly away on the wings off; Greece is still going to be there in a few months time after all.