The Catalonian capital, Barcelona, is a city with a broad and rich cultural landscape. One of the best things about visiting such a historical city is that its history is prevalent on the surface – the architecture, the colors and the landmarks. From Gaudí to Picasso, the city has been touched by many geniuses. Luckily, it’s very easy to soak in the work of these geniuses upon a weekend or short visit, which is why we have put together a piece on 5 worthwhile sites to add to your itinerary.
Among the city’s many gems, Casa Batlló stands out as an iconic masterpiece. Designed by Antoni Gaudí, the legendary Catalonian architect, the building is a testament to the richness of Modernist architectural details. Characterized by its vibrant ceramic tiles, organic forms and intricate carvings, it goes beyond being just a building… it’s a sculpture that you can walk through.
The façade itself is often interpreted as a tribute to Saint George, the patron saint of Catalonia, symbolizing the eternal struggle between good and evil. If it couldn’t get any more impressive, this very site won a recent award for the best international exhibition of the year 2022.
Casa Batlló’s groundbreaking museographic proposal seamlessly blends the old with the new. As you walk through the building, Augmented Reality Tablets are present to enhance your experience, offering deeper insights into Gaudí’s creative process. Immersive rooms and captivating audiovisual productions further amplify the aura of the masterpiece.
Stepping into Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is akin to being transported to a different era. This is perhaps the most famous area in Barcelona (so get there early). This medieval maze of narrow, winding streets, hidden squares and centuries-old buildings offers an immersive experience. The Barcelona Cathedral, with its ornate spires and intricate Gothic details serves as the central piece that anchors this historic district. Quite literally, if you lose your friend or partner – just say to meet there.
The Quarter is also home to the Plaça del Rei, a square laden in historical significance. Here you can explore the underground Roman ruins at the City History Museum, which offer a fascinating glimpse into Barcelona’s early foundations. Of course, you can get some shopping in with numerous artisan shops and cafés that line the cobblestone streets, bringing a bit of modern day decadence to the area.
Perched on top of Montjuïc hill, this castle was once a military fortress with a volatile past that includes periods as a royal residence and as a prison. In modern times, it has been transformed into a cultural hub offering panoramic views of the city and the harbor. It was also a site for anti-aircraft guns during the Spanish Civil War, making this a fascinating place to learn about. A house, prison and fortress?
Today, the castle serves not just as a tourist attraction but also as a space for public discourse, hosting frequent exhibitions, cultural events and even open-air cinema nights during the summer – so it’s still creating history. The transformation of this space, from a symbol of repression to a public cultural venue, perfectly captures the spirit of Barcelona.
Another masterpiece by Antoni Gaudí, Park Güell is a public park that combines natural elements with inspired architecture. One of its most iconic elements is the ceramic mosaic salamander, affectionately known as “El Drac,” situated near the main entrance. The park was initially conceived as a residential project but was later transformed into a public space. Its serpentine bench, covered in colorful tiles, offers not only a place to rest but also a vantage point to absorb the views of the park and the city.
The Museu Picasso is an indispensable part of Barcelona’s culture. Located in five adjoining medieval palaces, this museum houses one of the most comprehensive collections of artworks by the 20th-century Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. With a focus on his early years, the museum provides a unique glimpse into the formative period of the artist, offering insights into how his style evolved over time.
With over 4,000 works exhibited, ranging from his famous Blue Period to his lesser-known ceramics, the museum is not only a treasure for art enthusiasts but also serves as a fascinating introduction for those unfamiliar with Picasso’s work. The arrangement of the galleries offers a nuanced understanding of his artistry, making it a worthy visit for most travelers.
Barcelona is a city that constantly blends the traditional with the modern. There is no shortage of history and exhibits, just as there’s no shortage of modern cafes, shops and urban activities too. Ultimately, it’s an ideal place for those interested in culture and history, and it’s possible to pack in plenty during a short trip.
Backpacking allows adventurers to journey deep into the wilderness and experience nature up close. However, the remote settings also leave backpackers responsible for their own safety and survival. Selecting the right gear and supplies can prepare wilderness travelers for emergencies, injuries, or unexpected conditions.
Perhaps the most fundamental backpacker need is the ability to track location and find the way. Wrong turns quickly transform an invigorating trek into a dangerous ordeal. Carry reliable navigation tools suited to the environment. Topographic trail maps printed on weatherproof paper provide overview route planning. Always bring a compass to pinpoint bearings when trails fork or land features obscure. Altimeters also prove handy for gauging progress when following undulating mountain contours. Personal GPS devices enable real-time positioning and emergency beacon signaling if lost. Power packs extend battery life. Have analog and digital tools in case electronics fail in harsh conditions. Navigation gear keeps backpackers confidently on course.
Wilderness areas lack quick access to medical care, so backpackers must be prepared to manage injuries using their own first aid supplies. A well-stocked first aid box enables disinfecting and bandaging wounds to prevent infection. Gauze pads, medical tape and antibiotic ointments treat scrapes and cuts, and bandages support sprains. Blister treatment kits cushion hot spots before they worsen into painful blisters. Oral pain relief provides comfort for headaches, muscle strains and other aches. Topical anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen cream soothe sprains and bruises. Keep supplies in a waterproof kit for accessibility. Be sure to include any personal medications required during the duration of the trip. With the right first aid gear, backpackers can manage minor to moderate medical issues independently until full care is available.
Backcountry trails often lack natural shelters or camp amenities. But exposure to sun, wind, rain, and frigid nights can rapidly create dangerous conditions. Every backpacker should carry emergency shelter options that provide vital protection from the elements when needed. Lightweight tarps or tube tents require minimal space until adverse weather strikes. High-reflectivity space blankets trap body heat and prevent hypothermia in cold temperatures. Insulated bivvy sacks are more durable alternatives. Look for waterproof, tear-resistant materials with metallic lining for retaining warmth.
Fire provides warmth, cooking, protection from wildlife and signaling for rescue. But natural tinder sources are often damp and fire building difficult. Ensure fire reliability by packing waterproof matches and lighters as basic starters. Windproof butane lighters perform better in adverse weather. Magnifying lens kits use sun rays for ignition. Flint strikers generate sparks to ignite dry kindling. Cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly burn slowly when normal tinder is scarce. Fire paste kits and trioxane fuel bars provide concentrated heat. Bring diverse aids so fire remains possible in any situation. Fire also allows backpackers to signal for help by creating smoke during the day or maintaining a large visible overnight blaze. Don’t leave camp without fire insurance.
Calorie expenditure backpacking can exceed 4,000 calories per day. Pack high-energy, lightweight nutrition that meets demand. Balance complex carbs, protein, and good fats. Trail mixes, protein bars, jerky, powders, and freeze-dried meals make nutritious options. Calculate at least 2 pounds of food per day. Resupply points may be distant, so carry ample reserves. Likewise, be self-sufficient with water needs. Two liters per day minimum is recommended but carry capacity for more in dry areas. Filter systems like pump, chemical and UV purifiers allow refilling from lakes and streams.
Modern devices provide vital links between backpackers and outside help. Satellite messengers enable two-way emergency texting via Iridium or GPS networks. Personal locator beacons transmit distress signals and GPS coordinates to rescue services. Satellite phones allow voice communication from remote locations. Smartphone GPS can pinpoint position. Ensure all devices have protective cases and power banks. Though coverage is spotty, cell phones still provide connectivity in some areas. Whistles cut through background noise to alert others. Flares, signal mirrors and brightly colored gear also aid visibility for searchers.
All the best gear remains useless if you lack a suitable pack for comfortably carrying everything the backcountry demands. Invest in a rugged, ergonomic multi-day backpacking pack designed for extended expeditions. Look for sturdy ripstop fabrics and reinforcements at stress points. Well-padded and adjustable shoulder straps prevent painful digging. Breathable mesh backing circulates air. A padded hip belt transfers weight to stronger core muscles. Multiple compartments and pockets organize gear. Top lid and side pouches grant quick-access storage. Hydration bladder sleeves stay hydrated on the move.
Backpacking terrain can include mud, streams, loose rocks, steep grades, and slippery slopes. Lugging a heavy pack demands stability. Select burly boots or trail shoes engineered for controlling unpredictable ground. Waterproof membranes block external moisture while wicking linings keep feet dry. Rugged toe caps prevent roots from crushing feet while ankle support and stiff stability plates support packs up to 45 pounds. Break boots in well before longer trips. Proper footwear prevents sprains and pain while protecting against the elements.
Venturing into the wilderness with only a backpack demands thoughtful preparation and packing. Lighten loads whenever possible without sacrificing safety. Full readiness, along with respect for nature’s power, can transform rugged backpacking from daunting to deeply rewarding.
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As one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, Barbados is home to stunning beaches that offer an array of numerous experiences amongst its soft sands and crystal-clear waters. While some offer an ideal condition for surfing with fantastic waves drawing in adventures from around the world, others have calm waters that are safe for kids to swim and play. With over 80 beaches to explore, you might need help deciding which to visit. So, here are some of the best beaches to visit in Barbados.
Carlisle Bay is a large bay close to Bridgetown, Barbados’ capital city. Being near the capital makes it one of the island’s most popular beaches. On the southern end of the bay, you’ll find Brownes Beach, a quiet and serene area best suited for those looking to relax away from the crowd.
Brownes Beach is a large beach stretching from the Boatyard to Needham’s Point, giving you plenty of area to lounge around and work on your tan. Aside from the relaxed atmosphere, the waters at Brownes Beach are calm, making it ideal for kids to swim and play. There’s also a lifeguard on duty to ensure your safety.
The white sandy beach is perfect for soaking up the sun or playing in the sand. You can rent umbrellas and sunbeds for comfort and convenience. The area is also home to the island’s top beach clubs and bars. Some offer a day pass that already includes a beach chair and umbrellas.
Walk further ahead, and you’ll find an area dotted with small boats and catamarans. But another thing that makes Brownes Beach famous is its fascinating underwater scenery, making it a top spot for diving. Underneath the bay, you’ll find shipwrecks that have become home to colourful tropical fish, seahorses, starfish, and other marine life.
Sandy Lane is another famous beach along the west coast of Barbados. Its sophisticated atmosphere makes it a playground for jetsetters and celebrities. In fact, it is a favourite place to stay for Rihanna and Simon Cowell, who are patrons of the five-star Sandy Lane Hotel Resort. So, if you have booked a villa vacation in Barbados, head to Sandy Lane Beach and you’ll be sure spot a celebrity or two whilst sipping a cocktail.
Getting to this gorgeous beach requires walking on a well-maintained pathway beside the Imperial One Sandy Lane. The street leads to a picturesque coastline with many luxurious accommodations. You only need to walk for a few minutes until you see Sandy Lane’s signature pink umbrellas.
The beach at Sandy Lane looks immaculate, with clean golden sand and dazzling crystal-clear waters. You’ll love its serene atmosphere with the gentle lull of waves lapping on the shore. When you come here for a swim, bring a picnic basket and a beach towel to relax and enjoy snacks and refreshments. Beach chairs are not readily available on the beach. The lush greenery along the shore offers shade from the sun, although the best shield from the heat is a dip in the crystal-clear waters.
Another gorgeous beach you’ll find along the west coast of Barbados is Holetown, nestled along the Parish of St. James alongside Sandy Lane Beach, Folkstone Beach, and other beautiful beaches in Barbados. Holetown has a vibrant vibe, owing to the Super Centre shopping mall across it, there are plenty of stunning private Barbados beachfront villas available for booking, perfect for enjoying the beaches with family and friends.
The lively beach sits along a lovely stretch of coast with plenty of shady areas for relaxing. You will also find stalls along the beach, where you can shop for souvenirs like locally made handicrafts, accessories, clothes, and jewellery.
Holetown is one of the most well-equipped beaches in Barbados, which means you won’t have any issues finding umbrellas or beach chairs to rent. But because it’s a busy beach, expect local vendors to approach you hoping to sell snacks and souvenirs. Some will offer Bajan-style hair braids and relaxing foot massages.
The water at Holetown Beach is calm and clear, with clearly marked areas safe for swimming. It’s a well-equipped beach with bathroom facilities and a lifeguard on duty. As one of Barbados’ most popular beaches, it can get crowded, especially during the peak summer season. So, visit here as early as you can.
One of the things that visitors love the most about the beaches of Barbados is that the waters in several of its beaches are calm and clear, perfect for water sports. And this is what you can expect in Mullins Beach, a picturesque sandy beach perfect for fun days at the beach. Located along the island’s west coast, Mullins Beach boasts calm turquoise waters, ideal for swimming and playing water sports.
Mullins Beach is the perfect place to try jet-skiing. It’s ideal for those new to the sport since the waters are calm. Snorkelling is also popular in Mullins Beach, thanks to its crystal-clear waters. The marine life here is incredible, and you won’t need much experience for an exciting snorkelling adventure.
When swimming in Mullins Beach, stay within the roped areas for safety since no lifeguards are around. Because of this, it’s not an ideal place for families with little kids.
Alleyne’s Bay Beach is another beautiful beach you could stumble upon on the west coast of Barbados. It’s a quieter and less touristy beach, perfect for those looking to avoid the crowd and want to enjoy a more serene atmosphere.
Alleyne’s Bay’s vast expanse of golden sands is clean and sparsely visited, so you can enjoy sunbathing without the noisy crowds bothering you. In addition, the calm and sparkling waters of the beach offer the perfect respite from the sun.
Alleyne’s Bay offers the perfect setting for a picnic with family and friends. But since there are no amenities and facilities, pack snacks and beverages. You can visit the nearby areas of Holetown or Speightstown to buy some snacks. These towns are also home to some of the island’s top restaurants, bars, and cafes, so they are worth checking out on your visit to Alleyne’s Bay Beach.
Boasting incredible landscape views, Italy is brimming with opportunities for active adventures. Hiking and cycling are some of the most popular outdoor activities in Italy, and the country’s varied terrain offers a range of trails suitable for every level of hiker and cyclist. In the winter, Italy attracts adventurers with its picturesque slopes, offering the perfect place for skiing and other winter sports.
To help you plan a fun-filled holiday, here are the best places for active adventures in Italy.
Italy may not always come up as the top spot on the list of the best surfing spots in Europe. However, the country has its share of excellent surfing spots, such as Banzai, renowned for offering some of the most consistent waves on mainland Italy. Featuring a right-hand wave breaking over scattered rock reefs, Banzai can be hollow, boasting quality rides on rare occasions when the wind swells and local conditions align.
Located close to Rome, Banzai is among the most easily accessible surfing spots in Italy. From Rome, drive north towards Highway A12 for about 50 kilometres. Exit at Santa Marinella-Santa Severa and continue driving north for about 1.5 kilometres until you find the sea to your left. Follow the sign that says Banzai Beach Bar, park your car along the beachfront and start surfing. When the conditions are right, Banzai offers an exciting surfing adventure.
Bamzai’s surf culture is lively and huge. During peak times, you will be surfing with at least 50 people! Aside from the surfing spot in Banzai, you will find four other surf spots within around 20 kilometres.
Featuring six linked resorts spanning from Italy into France, Via Lattea is the world’s fourth-biggest ski resort and among Italy’s oldest and most prominent ski areas. But what makes Via Lattea stand out from the other ski resorts in Europe is that it remains untouched and uncrowded. With over 400 kilometres of ski slopes, including some of the world’s most challenging slopes, Via Lattea offers skiing opportunities for all levels of skiers.
Make the most of your visit to Via Lattea by booking an all-inclusive ski break with Sno holidays. It covers your accommodation, meals, and other costs associated with your skiing holiday, which makes things more convenient.
The Via Lattea is about 90 kilometres from Turin and consists of six different ski resorts, including the French resort of Montgenevre/4ffdssdccc544. All five resorts started as small mountain towns around the 1900s, eventually growing as more visitors from neighbouring towns came here to ski.
Offering a range of services, skiing facilities, attraction-rich resorts, and endless snow sports, Via Lattea stands out as one of the leading ski areas in the Alps. Skiers love its distinct Alpine environment, excellent links between resorts, and high-end tourist amenities.
If you are fond of rock climbing, head over to Val di Mello, located a few kilometres from the city of Sondrio, which has been considered a protected nature reserve in Lombardy since 2009. Dubbed the “Little Yosemite,” it’s one of Europe’s most famous rock-climbing areas, where you’ll find some of the region’s best granite climbing spots.
A stunning Alpine scenery surrounds Val di Mello and its neighbouring Val Masino, close to the small village of San Martino. As you climb to the rocks, you’ll be in awe of the valley’s breathtaking landscapes. Anywhere you look, you’ll see majestic mountains and lush greenery.
Val di Mello offers excellent bouldering and bolted sports climbs. Its rocks are of excellent quality, often weathered into fins and flutings. In fact, it’s well-known for its cracks and sustained slabs with hardly any holds.
In recent years, Val di Mello has gained a reputation for offering world-class bouldering adventures. Filled with huge rocks and boasting an excellent Alpine climate, it makes a perfect rock-climbing destination in the summer.
Val di Mello’s boulders boast good landings, with boulders of all heights and shapes. Most sports climbs are on the south-facing walls, which are easy to approach. The best time for rock climbing in Val di Mello is mid-summer. At this time, these areas are completely free of snow.
If you enjoy a more active break, cycling is a terrific option. And cycling getaways in Italy are a popular option because they combine physical adventure with the opportunity to discover the country’s breathtaking culture and natural beauty.
Lake Garda is one of the most stunning areas in Italy and is ideal for a biking trip. Exploring Lake Garda by bike provides a fascinating opportunity to experience the region’s magnificent scenery and charming lakeside towns.
The charming town of Sirmione is a fantastic spot to explore on a bike. It lies along the lake’s southern end and is renowned for its thermal baths. Enjoy a leisurely ride through its narrow streets and admire the breathtaking views of the lake while keeping your eyes peeled on an ancient castle.
Another town on Lake Garda worth exploring on your cycling adventure is Bardolino. The vibrant town is renowned for its olive oil and wine. Ride your bike along the lakefront promenade and stop at some wineries to sample the region’s finest wines.
Venture onto Garda Island, which lies in the middle of the lake and is home to gorgeous gardens and a beautiful villa. Ride your bike around the island and soak up its peaceful atmosphere.
If you’re up for a thrilling adventure of hiking through one of the peaks of the Dolomites, consider a hike through Tofana di Mezzo, a protected hiking route with many vertical sections that offer breathtaking views of the Ampezzo Valley and its surrounding areas.
Starting in Cortina, head towards Falzarego Pass. Before reaching the Socrepes ski-lifts, venture right and follow the signs towards Baita Piè Tofana Restaurant, from where you will find a spacious car park to leave your vehicle.
You can take the cable car called Freccia nel Cielo to get to the top of Tofana di Mezzo. From the top, descend via the Ferrata trail, walking through a well-marked ledge towards the start of the route.
There is something appealing about setting off to unique destinations for a thrilling outdoor escape. Embarking on adventures like exploring remote continents, trekking with gorillas, or indulging in the luxury of sleeping in a tent surrounded by breathtaking landscapes has the power to enhance your mental, emotional, and overall physical state.
Below, check out some of the most unusual destinations perfect for outdoor escapes.
Do you dream of exploring the remotest place on Earth to marvel at incredible snowy landscapes and discover fascinating wildlife, such as whales, penguins, and seals? You should book a trip to Antarctica for your next outdoor escape. Exploring the White Continent is an incredible experience you will remember for the rest of your life.
Your adventure can include discovering extraordinary landscapes, such as the snowy peaks of Mount Parry on Anvers Island. At over 8,000 feet tall, it looks like a spectacular pyramid of snow and ice rising magnificently from the icy water.
Another highlight of your outdoor escape to Antarctica is the wildlife. You can witness thousands of quirky penguins up-close or whales playing in the water. You can also enjoy incredible sightings of magnificent birds, such as the albatross. Some of these giant birds have a wingspan of up to 11 feet, and witnessing them fly over you is incredibly mesmerising.
So, if you want to visit somewhere unique on your next vacation, head to Antarctica. Considered the driest, coldest, and iciest place on Earth, it’s a destination that lures intrepid travellers looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure.
France has an incredible diversity of terrain that offers the perfect setting for enjoying your favourite outdoor activities. From climbing the Pyrenees to cycling around the picturesque South of France region, France will have something to offer every adventurer. Feel free to bring your friends or family on your outdoor escape to France since there are some incredible group accommodation options, ideal for those seeking an outdoor getaway in the country.
As the world’s most iconic destination for winter sports, the best time to visit France for outdoor adventures is in the winter. Boasting incredible mountain ranges, such as the Alps and the Pyrenees, you are guaranteed an epic adventure on your winter holiday to France. Aside from skiing, you can try snowboarding, snowshoeing, heli-skiing, and more! The best destinations for winter sports in France include the Chamonix Valley, Val-d’Isere, and Tignes.
Summer in France is just as exciting as it is in winter. You can climb epic mountains in the French Alps, raft along the scenic rivers of Verdon Gorge, or enjoy incredible water sports along the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean Coast.
Offering some of the world’s most epic outdoor adventures, such as gorilla trekking, Rwanda is a fascinating destination, luring wildlife and nature lovers. Dubbed the country of a thousand hills, it offers countless natural gems guaranteed to take your breath away!
Gorilla trekking is the main reason people come to Rwanda, where you hike through dense forests in search of gorilla families and witness them in their natural habitat. When you book a gorilla trekking adventure, you are helping to contribute to their preservation since a portion of the money you pay will go towards these conservation projects. And while gorilla trekking is Rwanda’s biggest draw, it’s not the only outdoor activity in this Central African country.
While in Rwanda, consider a safari adventure in Akagera National Park. Established in 1934, it lies at Rwanda’s border with Tanzania and is home to hundreds of bird species and incredible wildlife, including the Big 5. You can also spot zebras, giraffes, hippos, and many other species.
For avid hikers, Rwanda offers multiple options for an exciting hiking adventure. You can conquer mountains like Mt. Muhabura and Mt. Bisoke for day treks and marvel at their lush greenery while coming across rare wildlife.
Home to lush forests, pristine beaches, and rugged mountain peaks, North Carolina offers plenty of opportunities to get active and explore the great outdoors. Take advantage of the diverse terrain by trying out thrilling adventures, from chasing waterfalls at Gorges State Park to camping by the coast. And if you prefer a more glamorous way to sleep outdoors, you will find some amazing glamping rentals in North Carolina, a perfect option for a luxury outdoor escape.
Your outdoor adventures in North Carolina will be about exploring nature parks, such as the beautiful Gorges State Park in Sapphire. Famous for its majestic waterfalls spread throughout the park, it has numerous hiking trails to take you to these waterfalls. Some trails are short, while others are long, covering a whopping 56 miles, not to mention over 17 miles of mountain biking trails.
Avid hikers looking for a challenge should take the trail to Bearwallow Falls. Despite being only four miles, you can expect strenuous hiking. But it will be worth it once you see the spectacular views from the observation deck at Bearwallow Falls, looking out into the incredible cascade of waters.
Those who wish to spend the night at Gorges State Park can try camping. However, it will be pretty basic, where you camp deep in the woods with only basic amenities. If you prefer to sleep somewhere more luxurious, you can try glamping in other places in North Carolina.
England offers opportunities for extraordinary outdoor escapes, from coasteering to cave diving and rock climbing. It boasts a remarkably diverse landscape, summoning adventurers to connect with nature and take on fun adventures.
Those keen on climbing should visit the Lake District, renowned for having some of the best rock climbing in England. Boasting craggy landscapes, it offers plenty of rock-climbing opportunities suitable for all levels, from beginners to experts.
If you prefer to explore in the water, head to the Peak District and try a thrilling white-water rafting adventure. Located in Central England, the Peak District National Park has beautiful rivers, such as the river Derwent, which offers the perfect setting for whitewater rafting.
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The Philippines, a captivating archipelago in Southeast Asia, beckons travelers with its stunning beaches, rich culture and warm hospitality. This tropical paradise is known for its pristine shores, vibrant coral reefs and lush landscapes that make it an ideal destination for both relaxation and adventure. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key aspects of traveling to the Philippines, from budget considerations to breathtaking beach destinations, accommodation options, staying connected with international eSIMs and the best time to visit.
To embark on your Philippines adventure, it’s essential to plan your budget wisely. The cost of traveling in the Philippines can vary greatly depending on your preferences and choices. On average, a budget traveler can get by on $30-50 per day. This budget covers accommodation, local meals, local transportation and a few activities. If you spend $50 – $100 per day, you can really travel here without watching what you spend too much and possibly even use some internal flights or stay at nicer accommodations.
To save money while enjoying the best the Philippines has to offer, consider the following tips:
Keep in mind, saving money on a trip usually starts before you even leave home. You should look at ways to save money on airfare or even accommodations using credit card points or travel tricks that can lead to some big savings.
The official currency of the Philippines is the Philippine Peso (PHP). ATMs are widely available, and credit cards are accepted in most urban areas. However, it’s advisable to carry some cash, especially when venturing into rural areas or onto smaller islands. It simply makes life easier as you don’t want to be stuck somewhere that doesn’t accept a credit card.
The Philippines is renowned for its beaches and island paradises, each with its own unique charm and attractions. Here are some of the most popular beach destinations:
Each of these destinations offers a unique blend of natural beauty and activities. Whether you seek relaxation, adventure or a bit of both, the Philippines has an island for you.
On most islands, you’ll find a wide range of accommodations. Here are some recommendations:
Airbnb has gained popularity in the Philippines, offering travelers a different type of experience. Staying in an Airbnb property often allows you to connect with local hosts and discover a different side of each island. Here are some tips for finding and booking Airbnb properties:
Staying connected while traveling is essential for navigating, sharing experiences and staying in touch with friends and family. In the Philippines, you’ll find various options for internet connectivity, including Wi-fi in hotels and public places. However, the connections are often not reliable and it is very common for Wi-fi to stop working or to be extremely slow. For seamless and reliable internet, I recommend Holafly as the best eSIM card for the Philippines.
Holafly eSIM cards offer several advantages for travelers in the Philippines:
Easy Setup and Activation: Setting up an Holafly eSIM card is quick and hassle-free. There’s no need to swap physical SIM cards or visit a local store. You simply download the eSIM onto your phone and follow the simple activation instructions as soon as you arrive in the Philippines. Here are the easy steps:
Flexible Data Plans: Choose from a variety of flexible data plans to suit your needs, whether you require a lot of data for streaming or just basic internet access for communication. Holafly offers great data plans for the Philippines, such as:
5 days Unlimited Data = $19.00 USD
7 days Unlimited Data = $27.00 USD
10 days Unlimited Data = $34.00 USD
15 days Unlimited Data = $47.00 USD
20 days Unlimited Data = $54.00 USD
*As you can see, all Holafly eSIM data plans come with UNLIMITED DATA for the time period specified, so you don’t need to constantly watch how much data you’re using. If you’re approaching the end of your eSIM’s time period, you can easily top up using the Holafly app in order to keep your connection going without interruption.
With an Holafly eSIM card in the Philippines, you’ll enjoy reliable coverage throughout the country, from the moment you land. This eliminates the frustrations involved with trying to find a stable Wi-fi connection in the Philippines.
The Philippines experiences a tropical climate with two main seasons:
Of course, the best time to visit depends on your preferences but the Philippines is one of those destinations that can be visited and thoroughly enjoyed year round. I’ve been to the country in both the dry and wet seasons and there was barely a difference. There were occasional rain showers during the wet season but it absolutely did not affect my trip in any major way.
In summary, the Philippines is a captivating travel destination that caters to various budgets and preferences. From the pristine beaches of Boracay, Siargao and Palawan to diverse accommodation options, including hotels, resorts and Airbnb properties, there’s something for everyone. Staying connected is a breeze with a convenient Holafly eSIM card, and there are great destinations no matter what time of year you want to visit.
Make the most of your Philippines adventure by planning wisely so that you can fully enjoy the natural beauty, rich culture and warm hospitality of this incredible archipelago. Whether you’re a beach bum, an adventure seeker or a cultural explorer, the Philippines has it all.
I’ve been several times and each time, I choose a couple of different islands to visit. Every trip has been incredibly rewarding and I always look forward go going back!
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Shanghai, a metropolis that has been synonymous with rapid development and modernity, is a city that embodies the new face of China. With a rich history dating back centuries, it’s a city that marries the old with the new, creating a dynamic, thriving atmosphere that’s unlike any other place on Earth. If you’re considering a visit to this bustling hub of innovation, commerce, and culture, you’ll need to secure a China travel visa, but rest assured, the experience is well worth it.
Before we delve into the exciting facets of modern Shanghai, let’s take a step back in time to appreciate the city’s history. Shanghai’s roots date back over a thousand years, when it was a small fishing village. It later became a prominent trading port during the Ming Dynasty and played a significant role during the Opium Wars in the 19th century. Its history is marked by foreign occupation and colonial influences, which are still visible in the city’s architecture and culture.
Before you embark on your journey to Shanghai, you’ll need to secure a China travel visa. Depending on your nationality, the process and requirements may vary, so it’s essential to check with your local Chinese consulate or embassy for the most up-to-date information. Ensure you have a valid passport, complete the visa application form, provide a recent passport-sized photo, and be ready to pay the visa fee. The processing time can vary, so it’s wise to apply well in advance of your planned departure date.
Once you’ve obtained your China travel visa, you’re ready to explore this incredible city. Here are some must-see modern marvels in Shanghai:
The Bund: Start your journey with a visit to The Bund, a waterfront promenade along the Huangpu River. It’s home to iconic skyline views that feature an array of architectural styles, from Gothic to Art Deco. Here, you’ll be reminded of Shanghai’s history as an international trading port.
Shanghai Tower: The Shanghai Tower, standing at 632 meters, is one of the tallest buildings in the world. Its unique spiraling design and state-of-the-art facilities make it a true engineering wonder. A trip to its observation deck will provide panoramic views of the city.
Shanghai Disney Resort: For a taste of family-friendly fun, head to the Shanghai Disney Resort. It’s not just any Disney park; it incorporates Chinese culture into its attractions, making it a unique Disney experience.
The Oriental Pearl Tower: This iconic landmark, with its distinctive, space-age design, offers incredible city views and a museum that explores the history of Shanghai’s development.
Shanghai World Financial Center: With its sky-high observation deck, the SWFC is another excellent spot for taking in breathtaking vistas of the city. It’s known for its distinctive trapezoid hole at the top.
Nanjing Road: If you’re looking for shopping and vibrant street life, visit Nanjing Road. It’s one of the world’s busiest shopping streets, offering a wide range of stores, boutiques, and restaurants.
Yuyuan Garden: To experience a slice of old Shanghai amidst the modernity, explore the Yuyuan Garden. This classical Chinese garden dates back to the Ming Dynasty and is a tranquil oasis in the heart of the bustling city.
Shanghai Maglev Train: The Shanghai Maglev Train is one of the fastest commercial trains globally, reaching speeds of 431 km/h (267 mph). It’s an experience in itself, and you can hop on it at Pudong International Airport.
Shanghai is renowned for its diverse and delectable cuisine. Don’t leave without sampling some of these local dishes:
Xiaolongbao: These succulent, steamed soup dumplings are a Shanghai specialty. They burst with savory broth when you bite into them.
Shengjian Bao: If you love dumplings, try Shengjian Bao. These pan-fried pork buns are crispy on the bottom and soft on top.
Jianbing: Often considered as the Chinese crepe, Jianbing is a popular breakfast option. It’s a thin, crispy pancake filled with various ingredients like eggs, vegetables, and sauces.
Beggar’s Chicken: This traditional dish involves marinating a whole chicken, wrapping it in lotus leaves, and baking it until the flavors meld together.
Shanghai Noodles: These thick, chewy noodles are often stir-fried with a variety of ingredients, creating a hearty and flavorful dish.
Stir-Fried River Shrimp: As Shanghai is close to the coast, it offers some of the best seafood in China. Stir-fried river shrimp is a popular choice, showcasing fresh, plump shrimp.
In addition to its modern attractions, Shanghai is a hub of culture and art. Some cultural highlights include:
Shanghai Museum: This world-class museum houses a vast collection of ancient Chinese art, including ceramics, bronzes, paintings, and calligraphy.
Shanghai Opera: Enjoy a performance at the Shanghai Grand Theatre or the Shanghai Oriental Art Center. Whether it’s traditional Chinese opera or contemporary theater, you’ll be in for a treat.
Tianzifang: Explore this artistic district filled with narrow lanes, boutique shops, and galleries. It’s an excellent place to discover local art and crafts.
Propaganda Poster Art Center: Dive into China’s history and culture through a unique collection of propaganda posters from the mid-20th century.
Shanghai comes alive at night, with a vibrant nightlife scene. Visit places like:
Bar Rouge: This iconic rooftop bar offers stunning views of The Bund and a lively atmosphere.
M1NT: A popular club with a glamorous ambiance, perfect for dancing the night away.
Old Jazz Band: Enjoy traditional jazz in the heart of Shanghai. It’s a must-visit for music enthusiasts.
Acrobatics Shows: Don’t miss a mind-blowing acrobatics performance. Shanghai is renowned for its acrobatic talents.
While Shanghai is generally a safe city for travelers, it’s important to be mindful of your belongings and take standard precautions. Respect local customs, and be aware of cultural differences in behavior and etiquette. Learning a few basic Chinese phrases can be immensely helpful, though English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
Shanghai is a city that never sleeps, a place where the past and present intertwine harmoniously. From its stunning modern skyscrapers to its ancient gardens and flavorful cuisine, it’s a destination that offers a wide range of experiences. After securing your China travel visa, you’re poised to embark on an unforgettable journey through this dynamic and captivating metropolis. Shanghai will leave you in awe of China’s past, present, and future.
The post Enchanting City of Shanghai: Journey Through Modern China appeared first on Wandering Earl.
In a world where international travel has become more accessible and appealing, it’s essential to ensure you have all the necessary documentation to explore foreign lands, including a valid International Driving Permit (IDP). When it comes to obtaining an International Driving Permit, the International Drivers Association (IDA) stands out as the go-to solution for getting one quickly, conveniently and with numerous benefits. In this post, I’ll delve into the advantages of choosing IDA as your trusted partner for securing an IDP.
International Drivers Association, or IDA for short, has established itself as the premier provider of International Driving Permits. These UN-regulated permits, known as IDPs, are essential for foreign travelers who wish to drive in a foreign country legally. IDA’s track record and commitment to customer satisfaction make them a top choice for obtaining an IDP.
Here are some key features that set IDA apart:
4.6 Trustpilot Rating (1,500+ reviews)
The high Trustpilot rating reflects the company’s dedication to providing quality service and ensuring customer satisfaction. With over 1,500 reviews and an impressive rating, IDA is a reliable choice for your IDP needs.
Speed and Convenience
One of the standout advantages of IDA is the speed and convenience of their services. They provide digital IDPs in just 8 minutes. This swift turnaround ensures that you can obtain the necessary documentation for your international driving adventure without delays. They can also send you a physical copy to your home address or any address abroad.
24/7 Customer Support
IDA’s commitment to customer service is unwavering. With 24/7 customer support, they are always ready to assist you, regardless of your location or time zone. This ensures that you can get your questions answered and issues resolved promptly.
3-Year Money-Back Guarantee
IDA’s confidence in their services is demonstrated by their 3-year money-back guarantee. This guarantee provides peace of mind to customers, knowing that their investment in an IDP is secure and backed by a reliable company.
Free Replacements for Customers
Accidents happen, and documents can be lost or damaged. IDA offers free replacements for their customers, ensuring that you have a backup IDP if the need arises. This convenience is invaluable when you’re abroad and need a replacement quickly.
Issued in 12 Translations
IDA caters to a global audience by offering IDPs in 12 different translations, making it accessible to people from around the world. This inclusivity is a testament to their commitment to serving international travelers.
An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a vital travel document that allows you to drive legally in foreign countries. It is recognized and accepted in 165 countries across the globe. It is common for rental car companies overseas to require an IDP in order for you to rent a car. Also, if you’re ever stopped by traffic authorities, many countries now require you to present an IDP alongside your valid driver’s license from your home country. (Learn more with these country specific driving guides.)
This simple document is increasingly important as it acts as a translation of your native license, making it easier for local authorities to understand and validate your driving credentials. However, it is not an official identification document and cannot be used as a replacement for a driver’s license.
As long as you are 18 years of age or older, you can apply for an IDP through the International Drivers Association. No test is required and the process is quite straightforward. You simply answer a few questions on the IDA website and in just a few minutes, your application will be complete.
Once confirmed, your IDP booklet (physical copy of your International Driving Permit) will be sent to the address you provide. You’ll also receive a digital copy of your IDP in only 8 minutes. This digital copy can be used in many countries but check the local rules as some countries only accept the physical version. Finally, you’ll receive a complementary ID that has your important IDP information on it as well.
Please note: This service is excellent, especially if you’re already overseas and need to obtain an International Driving Permit quickly. If you are still in your home country, you can also obtain your IDP in person at the proper office. In the USA, for example, you can visit any AAA location and obtain your IDP in just a few minutes while you wait.
You definitely don’t want to be caught without an International Driving Permit these days. One of my friends recently traveled to Romania and had a wonderful 10 day driving itinerary all planned out, with accommodations paid for in advance. When they arrived at the car rental location, they discovered that without an IDP, they could not rent a car. As a result, they had to cancel their plans and ended up staying in one city the entire time.
More and more people are surprised by these new rules all the time. That’s why it is so important to make sure you get your IDP either before you travel or, if you’re already overseas, as soon as possible. With the help of the International Drivers Association, you’ll soon have all the documents you need to avoid any surprises when driving or renting a car during your travels.
The process is quick and easy and the peace of mind it provides is invaluable!
Taking selfies is an art! If you don’t believe me, spend a bit more time on Instagram. Figuring out how to take the perfect shot does take a lot of practice.
People often ask me how I take amazing GoPro shots as a solo traveler. I finally decided to put together a rundown of some of the tricks that I have learned along the way.
Anytime we are talking about photography; settings are the best place to start. Learning which settings are best for different situations is an essential part of becoming a good photographer. Settings are particularly crucial for selfies because they really are more challenging to take than shots of other people.
Raw Format: The most common setting for me is continuous shutter in RAW format. I love this option because it dramatically increases my odds of getting a gorgeous pic.
Using the RAW setting is a must. Although it creates a bigger file size, it gives you the best quality pics. Since no information is compressed when you shoot in RAW, it is much easier to edit.
Continuous Shutter: Continuous shutter is especially useful for selfies. It gives you a few shots to choose from, which lessens your chances of having your eyes closed in an otherwise perfect shot and other similar issues.
Pro tip: While learning how to take a good shot is essential, having the right tools to edit your pics is priceless! Even the best photographers on the planet need to edit their photos. If you haven’t already, check out my Lightroom Presets for a collection of my fave fixes.
Night Lapse Mode: This is so important in low light environments. From dimly lit rooms to shots of starry skies, night lapse mode is a must use. It will make a dramatic difference in the quality of pics that you can shoot in dark conditions.
Burst Mode: To increase your odds of capturing the perfect shot, use burst mode on your GoPro. This will shoot a quick sequence of photos that will give you a video-like line of shots. Doing this will capture every exciting moment whether you are jumping off of a waterfall or just making a silly face.
Voice Control: This is a total game changer for solo travelers. Just turn on this feature, and you can get hands-free selfies! Just say, “GoPro, take a photo,” and you will get a single shot in RAW format. For video, you’ll say, “GoPro, start video,” and you can create your own hands-free movie. What more could a solo traveler ask for?
Video Settings: When it comes to mastering the GoPro, you will also want to figure out which video settings are best for different situations.
For a slo-mo video, go for 60fps / 2.7k (or 240fps for super slo-mo). If you are planning on sharing on Instagram, YouTube, or FB Stories, opt for 24fps / 2.7k. If you are aiming for professional video production standards, use 24fps / 4k.
Incredible accessories are a must for every girl on the go! For me, it’s all about the three-way mount. This gives a camera grip, extension arm, and tripod, so it’s perfect for pretty much any situation.
I also bring my dual battery charger with me everywhere that I go. Having 2-3 batteries on hand is essential for travel, and it’s ultra-convenient to be able to charge two batteries simultaneously.
Last but not least is my best amigo, El Grande! This seriously long pole (38 inches/ 3.16 feet) is perfect for paragliding and other times when you truly must capture the entire scene.
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