Saturday, July 30, 2016

Quick Tips For Hiking The Inca Trail

The most famous hike in South America is the pinnacle of a Machu Picchu Tour. This is a life changing experience that will never be forgotten, especially when you come to see the view of the mysterious city of Machu Picchu from the peak of a mountain.  This hard four day trek will test and reward you with its steep climbs, high altitudes and magnificent views. Here are some tips for conquering the Inca Trail.

Book early
It is essential to book your trip on the Inca Trail well in advance, especially since this is one of the most popular tourist attractions in South America. There is also a limit on the number of people that are allowed to hike the trail and see Machu Picchu each year.

Best time
Planning your trip on the Inca Trail during the best time of the year is crucial to give you the best chance of getting the best weather possible. The trail is closed during February each year in order to repair the trail, especially with so many tourists making the trek each year. The dry season runs from May to September, which also coincides with the peak tourist season. To minimise the amount of other tourists you will see it may be a good idea to go at the start or end of the tourist season, whilst still experiencing good weather.

Shop around
When you book a tour it is important to see what is included, especially since porters may or may not be included in the price of the tour. It is important to understand what you will be getting with your package. Comparing two tours that both look good may lead you to a different conclusion on closer inspection!

Engage with your porters
Porters are locals and engaging with them can really be a great way to enrich your trip, especially because they can share a wealth of knowledge and stories about the area. They shouldn’t be treated as people that just help you to carry your baggage. Don’t forget to give them a nice tip at the end, because they really will be your best friend on the trail.

Be prepared
Bringing a good pair of shoes with good grip is a must and you should also bring some waterproof clothing to deal with the fog and dampness that occurs in the mountains.

High altitude

Getting altitude sickness is not a fun experience at all, so it is important to acclimatise yourself to the altitude when you reach Cusco. Do not expect to arrive in the Andes and start hiking the next day. Take some time to experience some other Inca sites in the area and to see Cusco, or you can simply relax. This is the perfect preparation for your four day trek.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Taylor Made Holidays - Why you need to book one!

For many years my holidays consisted of the traditional package holiday variety… you know the ones, you wait for the weekend to come around then you go down to the local travel agent or holiday super market, pick up a few brochures, take them home and flick through the pages for the afternoon. Then when you have chosen your holiday package, it’s off back down to the travel agent to book it, then all you have to do is sit back and wait for your holiday to come around comfortable in the knowledge that everything is taken care of.

So when the big day comes you’re all ready for your well-deserved break only to find that when you land your bus takes you on a 2 hour trip of driving around other hotels before you get dropped off at yours – not a great way to start your holiday hey! You finally arrive at your hotel, that all inclusive resort you chose doesn’t look like what it did in the brochure, the hotel is falling to pieces, the food is awful, the swimming pool is dirty and you’re 10 miles away from the nearest beach. So why compromise for something that’s not the very best, why settle for an off the shelf product that isn’t exactly what you want. You don’t need to compromise on flights, pick the ones which are the most suitable for you. When it comes to choosing a hotel, don’t be restricted to the ones in a brochure, go for the best one for your requirements. You could even split your stay between different hotels to explore more of the destination, well it’s your holiday and you can do whatever you want. Why not even add in a few little extras to make it as perfect as possible – private taxi transfers (no bus), some adventure sports, cultural tours – well why not!

With the internet at your fingertips, it has made anything possible. I have to be honest, at first it can be a daunting task but to get the right holiday it has to be worth it! First it’s deciding where you want to go, so get searching the top destinations online and soon enough you should get a good idea where you fancy. There’s loads of travel guides too which will help you decide for sure whether it’s right and then you can really pick out the best area to stay in, and what you want to do when there. Speak to tailor-made holiday agents as they’ll give you some tips and tricks to get the most out of your holiday, make some great suggestions, and really give you confidence in what you’ve decided, and if you haven’t got it quite right they can point you in the right direction. An agent will also help unsure everything is taken care of with no nasty surprises. When it comes to hotels there are plenty to choose from, but online review sites can ensure the hotels you pick don’t only look great in the pics, but get the feedback to back it up.

If you do your research properly, with all the options out there you can really tailor make a holiday of your dreams – why not, you deserve it!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Great Wedding Gift Ideas

Getting someone the right gift at their wedding can be an extremely difficult thing, there are so many variables to think about, such as how much to spend, what to buy and whether or not someone else is buying the exact same thing! This article will look into good wedding gift ideas.

Charity Gifts
Charity gifts are donations made to a charity organisation, but are much more specific about what they will actually provide and how it will benefit the end recipient. The gift is given on behalf of another person and is used to help improve the quality of life of those that are in need. These types of gifts are great for the type of person that seems to have everything and they benefit those that are most in need, such as the poor, homeless and those living in third world countries.
The gifts also provide a sense of satisfaction for the giver of the gift, the person receiving the gift and the end recipient of the gift. A major issue for a person that donates to a charity is understanding how the money will reach and help the person in need, these gifts are extremely specific and allow you to give exactly what it is that you think is necessary and makes the donation feel much more like a conventional gift. What better feeling is there than knowing that you have given an entire community access to clean water or helped with the prevention of an outbreak of disease?

Wedding or Honeymoon Gift List Services
Wedding gift list services are not a new invention, these are lists that allow the couple to be wed to choose a list of things that they would like for their wedding and the guest can all access the list and contribute to certain gives, however the traditional department store variety are not as popular as they once were, particularly with the prevalence of the internet, which has made it that much easier to give the person exactly what they want. There are even websites that allow wedding guests to contribute to parts of the couple’s honeymoon. These lists can be extremely useful in a similar way to charity gifts, as the end recipient is receiving something that they want or need rather than receiving a gift that is unnecessary or not useful to them.

These lists also take a lot of the stress and thinking out of the equation, which will certainly give you more of an opportunity to look forward to your friend or loved one’s special day.

Monday, September 1, 2014

History important on USA tours

When you travel around America today, it's all too easy to forget that, long before the first skyscrapers and highways were built, the USA was a vast wilderness inhabited by native tribes.
As the European settlers who landed on the east coast spread west, these people were, sadly, marginalised and ousted from their land - bringing turmoil to their previously peaceful existence.
While no one can change the past, especially not visitors to the country, as a conscientious tourist it's only right to bear these historical facts in mind as you travel with the likes of Grand American Adventures - especially when visiting places such as Monument Valley in Utah.
At first sight, this region of dramatic geology is a spectacular outdoor attraction in the same vein as the Grand Canyon or Yosemite, but the reality is somewhat different.
Navajo Nation
This is because the beautiful sandstone buttes lie at the heart of Navajo Nation, a semi-autonomous Native American-governed territory, covering some 27,425 square miles of Utah , Arizona and New Mexico.
The region was established by the Treaty of 1868, which followed a rather damning period in American history called 'The Long Walk'. This saw the US Army force thousands of Navajo at gunpoint to walk 300 miles across the desert from their homeland to Fort Sumner, where they were imprisoned.
Four years later, the US government allowed them to return to their homeland and Navajo Nation was established.
In the 21st century, the region is populated by some 250,000 people, who are represented by 88 Council delegates from the 110 Navajo Nation chapters, or communities.
The three-branch system (executive, legislative and judicial) run by the Navajo is considered to be the most sophisticated form of Indian government and proceedings are conducted in the traditional language, not English.
Responsible tourism
As you explore the wonderful surroundings of Navajo Nation, which has formed the backdrop to countless movies, it's obviously important to show respect to the local people, who consider Monument Valley to be a sacred place.
You can do this by sticking to designated trails, asking for permission before taking photos of people and events, and refraining from drinking alcohol, which is strictly prohibited.
By being respectful to the Navajo way of life, you'll be able to enjoy the incredible landscape of Monument Valley in harmony with the local people and your surroundings, which is ultimately what responsible tourism is all about.
However, this doesn't just apply to Navajo Nation. This sort of history-led approach should inform your whole trip to the USA - giving you a greater appreciation of what you encounter and guiding how you go about being a tourist, whether you're motoring down Route 66 or enjoying the music scene in the Deep South.
This doesn't mean you can't go wild and party on Bourbon Street like any fun-loving tourist should do, but it's equally important to take the time to visit the National Civil Rights Museum to learn more about the tumultuous history of the region, which saw black Americans struggle for their rights over many years.

By doing so, you'll leave the USA having enjoyed a much richer experience, which will not only stay with you for many years to come, but also affect your holidays in the future - in a positive way - too.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Orlando: Beyond the theme parks

The popular holiday destination of Orlando is closely associated with some of the world’s biggest and most popular themes parks, which attract millions of people from all over the globe every year. But contrary to popular opinion, perhaps, there is much more to see and do in Orlando than simply hop on board the rides.
Here, we’re going to take a look at the top attractions that the city has to offer, beyond the well-known thrills and spills available at the theme parks. You can hire a car in Orlando and make the most of your stay.
Weeki Wachee Springs
If you’re looking to escape in the world of fantasy but don’t fancy paying theme park prices for the privilege, then Weeki Wachee Springs ought to feature prominently on your list of must-see attractions.
Located approximately one hour and 35 minutes away from Orlando in the car, this charming destination is definitely worth the travel time as it encourages you to believe in the surreal.
That’s because the spectacularly clear waters of the springs feature ‘mermaids’ performing underwater feats. Ever wanted to see a mermaid down a soft drink? Well, this is an opportunity not to pass up.
Among the best of the underwater shows on offer is The Little Mermaid, which takes place in a 500-seat theatre embedded in the side of the springs.
Flagger Beach
Golden sands and spectacular weather are probably what most holidaymakers think of when they close their eyes and think of Florida. And there are few beaches in the state that can match the splendour of Flagger Beach, which is a bit of a throwback to the days before condominiums and high-rise buildings.
The beach itself is distinguished by the reddish colour of the sand and the fact that despite its attractiveness, is considerably less busy than those seen elsewhere in the state. What’s more, it’s worth noting that while the area does not boast many malls or fast-food restaurants, it is home to a wonderful farmers market on Fridays and Saturdays, where you can pick up fruit and veg, among other items.
Located less than an hour from Orlando, this is one attraction that you will not want to miss, because – let’s be honest – it’s not often that you get the opportunity to watch a spaceship take to the skies.
There are a number of great locations in this part of Florida to watch lift-off. Of course, this is sure to be an exhilarating experience for all the family, but especially so if you have young children, who are unlikely to ever forget the experience.
Silver Springs
This set of springs offers a rare insight into life under the sea and in particular, the springs that make up much of the state's landscape. And doing so this way means that you needn't don a wet suit in order to enjoy an amazing view of the beautiful sights of Florida.
What's more, there is also a petting zoo for youngsters, as well as a series of shops and restaurants that can help make your visit all the more enjoyable. But what if you fancy a bit of peace and quiet? Well, the botanical gardens make for the ideal spot to relax and unwind, leaving your everyday stresses behind you.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Why the Med is perfect for last-minute cruises

Cruise Ship Infographic: 9 Superb Mediterranean Holidays In 1 Cruise
Cruise Infographic by Bolsover Cruise Club

Why the Med is perfect for last-minute cruises

We all know how it can be - life gets in the way when you’re trying to organise a getaway and before you know it the summer is upon you and you don’t have a holiday booked. Rather than scrabbling with everyone else for the best available package at a standard sun, sea and sand resort, go on a cruise.

We know what you’re thinking - ‘cruises are for old people’; ‘I don’t want to be stuck with lots of people I don’t know’; ‘won’t I get bored when I’m not visiting a port?’; ‘where can I even go on a cruise anyway?’.

Stop and throw all those preconceptions out of the window because not only are last-minute cruises fantastic value for money, but they could also introduce you to destinations you’d never otherwise have explored.

The Mediterranean is a classic example of a region that’s home to many hidden gems. Incredible beaches, cultural cities and fascinating heritage sites all await if only you’d give yourself the chance to try something different.

If you’re going for a last-minute deal, the Med is a particularly good choice because it’s so close to the UK. You won’t need to travel far, even if you opt for a fly-cruise option, before you meet your ship. Thanks to the wide-scale adoption of the Euro, you’re also unlikely to have to worry about exchanging your currency multiple times. And, of course, it’s an incredibly varied place to explore too.

For plenty of variety, go on an itinerary that takes in some of Europe’s most sophisticated cities and beautiful landscapes - a 14-day journey around Italy’s coastline, on to Croatia, Montenegro, Corfu and finally Corsica.

This particular trip really does feature a little bit of everything, with cities like Rome and Naples providing history in abundance. Florence and Venice, meanwhile, are renowned for being creative hubs and home to some of the world’s most spectacular artworks.

Spend time in Dubrovnik and you’ve got fantastic beaches just a short distance from the city’s amazing Old Town. Kotor in Montenegro is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful fjords you’re likely to see. And in Genoa and Corfu you can sample classic Mediterranean delicacies. Ajaccio in Corsica is the ideal place to relax, with its seafront promenade perfect for a gentle stroll and a profusion of pavement cafes where you can sip a coffee and watch the world go by.

As if fitting nine holiday destinations into one trip (without any stress or hassle on your part, we might add) wasn’t enough, you’ve also got several days at sea during which you can enjoy the delights of your cruise liner.

Modern cruise ships are huge and boast plenty of entertainment for all kinds of travellers. There are theatre shows, clubs, casinos and chic bars to keep you amused after dark, while the day time is reserved for leisurely trips to the spa, refreshing dips in the pool and working on your tan on the sundeck.

So, a cruise is part package holiday, part independent travel with a whole lot more thrown in. You’ll still come home from your break with a tan, but you’ll also have visited far more fascinating places than any of your friends who opted for a single-centre break - and you’re likely to be the envy of all of them once you tell them about your adventures on the high seas.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Top Things to Do in Larnaca

Have you ever heard of Larnaca? It’s not at the top of many traveler’s lists, but it’s an incredible destination off the beaten path and one you should definitely hit if you’re an adventurous traveler! Not only is it the oldest city in Cyprus, but it may be one of the oldest cities in the world. This rugged and charming town has a mysterious and seductive feel that will have you wanting to explore its every nook and cranny. There are plenty of things to do, and this will surely be a visit you won’t forget. You can book your holiday to Larnaca through Thomas Cook. So read on for the top things to do while you’re staying in Larnaca:

Ayios Lazarus
This site is notable as a church built on the site where St. Lazarus’s tomb is kept. Lazarus moved to Cyprus after being chased out of Israel, spreading the news of Christianity after Jesus brought him back from the dead. He was named Bishop of Kition and reigned for years. This church is fascinating to explore and is a remarkable historical site to visit while in Larnaca.

Salt Lake
The “Salt Lake” is in fact a group of four salt lakes that are interconnected and fill with water during winter months. When they are full, flocks of flamingos come to make their home here and feed on the shrimp living in the lake. As the weather warms and summer comes along, the water dries up and leaves a crusty salt layer that can be up to 10 cm thick.

Larnaca Fort
This fascinating site was built back in 1625 by the Ottomans, in attempts to defend the city from attackers. But it was actually more often used as a prison! The fort has a gorgeous location right on the shore line so when you go visit, you actually walk around it by a sea wall. In the fort you can see plenty of archaeological exhibits like suits of armor and other artifacts. In the summertime, the fort and surrounding area are often used for outdoor events like concerts and festivals.

Wreck of the Zenobia
Do you love scuba diving? You’re going to go nuts for Cyprus! There is some amazing diving here and you really can’t miss the wreck of the Zenobia while you’re here. The Zenobia cargo ship sunk 30 years ago and is in great condition, with a number of different dive levels and challenges that will appeal to any level of diver. This is actually considered one of the top shipwreck dives in the world. You’ll see things like the colorful carpets in the lounge and even food still in the vending machines!

This is one of the most important Neolithic sites in the world, and a World Heritage Site as well. At first, it might look like a mess of jumbled stones and rocks but in fact this is the ruins of an ancient civilization. A visit to this site will reveal how people lived 9,000 years ago. And the work is still in progress here, who knows what is yet to be found.