If you want to go on a vacation that is off the beaten track, you may want to consider European river cruise. There are some amazing rivers across this continent, allowing you to discover Europe in a relaxed, welcoming environment. Sitting in a sun lounger on the deck watching medieval villages and castles go by is the opportunity of a life time.What about Ocean Cruises?
If you really want an unforgettable trip, forget about the ocean cruises. When you book on Viking River Tours, you will be able to get a real bird’s eye view of some of Europe’s most scenic and cultural sites and you never have to rush between the different places.
Ocean cruises are great if you enjoy spending most of your time surrounded by water on all sides. With a river cruise, you will have direct access to a huge number of towns and cities, as well as breathtaking and ever-changing natural wonders. Forests, towns, vineyards and castles will all be within sight.
If you are adventurous, you will also have plenty of opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. You can go hiking, join guided tours, go shopping, enjoy local food and more.Why River Cruise Are Perfect
- You have a stress-free vacation.
- Your travel plans are fully taken care of.
- You don’t have to pack and unpack whenever you arrive at a new destination and everything you need is onboard.
- The dining options on river cruises are amazing. In most cases, the menu will follow that of the local region, which means you will have an opportunity to try foods you have been unfamiliar with thus far as well.
- River cruises offer great value for money. You will know exactly how much everything costs before you leave. Most river cruises offer all inclusive packages, which means your travel, meals, entertainment and accommodation is paid for. Some even include shore excursions in your booking. All you have to bring is a bit of money for shopping and the occasional tip.
- River cruises are romantic and therefore perfect for honeymooners. There is just a certain charm about gently sailing down a river, enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds you and the various villages that you can stop in. Sipping champagne on the balcony together at night is an experience you will never forget. You can even ask that your tour operator makes a few special arrangements for a romantic dinner. They will do everything they can to make sure your honeymoon is memorable and enjoyable, and that you can build memories to last a lifetime.
- Customer satisfaction in river cruises is incredibly high. In fact, few people who have gone on such a cruise will return and say they would never do it again. Quite the contrary, with many people choosing nothing but river cruises again and again once they have given it a try.
Let’s not be too negative about ocean cruises, though. There are plenty of cruises across Europe and beyond for you to choose from as well. Or, you could even take in 2 continents, such as on a Rio de Janeiro to Barcelona ocean cruise.
Cruise holidays have been popular for many years. They have always had a sense of luxury about them, and many people still see them as incredibly expensive and designed only for the wealthy and famous. As a result, people miss out on the opportunity to have fantastic voyages around the globe.
However, many company’s offer fantastic cruise opportunities at affordable prices. This means everybody is finally able to enjoy the holiday of a lifetime, and truly expand their own horizons as well. One of our favorite trips is the Rio de Janeiro to Barcelona cruise.
With this amazing trip, you will start in the fantastic city of Rio de Janeiro. From there, you will make your way to Salvador de Bahia and onwards to Maceio. Your final stop in Brazil is Recife, after which you will start your journey across the Atlantic Ocean.
Your first stop after that crossing will be Porto Grande, where you will have ample opportunity to shed your sea legs for a while. You will then go on to Lanzarote, before heading to Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Sangier. From there on, you will cross over to Europe, spending some time in Malaga, before finally going on to Barcelona.
The trip also includes as many as 36 free shore excursions. These have been designed to allow you to really experience the different ports at which you will call.
Our choice of ship would be the Seven Seas Mariner, which is an internationally acclaimed ship. It was the first ship of its kind, as all rooms were en-suite and had a balcony. In 2002, Ocean and Cruise News awarded it the prestigious “Ship of the Year” Award. The ship really is a ship of firsts, as it was the first in the world to offer Le Cordon Bleu of Paris in their restaurants, which is a world-famous dining experience.
The post River Cruise Gives You a Unique Glimpse of the World appeared first on As We Travel.
While I have seriously cut down on all kinds of shopping since I started traveling so much, I have found it very difficult to resist spending all of my money on clothes and shoes while in Asia – the shopping malls and prices in Europe simply can’t compare to those in Asia.
The only thing that has stopped me from filling my backpack with shoes and dresses is that I hate the extra weight.
I’ve dealt with my shopping-cravings by saying that one day I will go back with at least one large empty suitcase to fill up with all the shopping I want before I leave again. When I do this, these are the places I will visit – which are known to have some of the best shopping in Asia.Best Cities In Asia For Shopping Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The first time I went on Malaysia holidays and visited KL I was completely shocked by the sheer size of the shopping malls.
Just like in Bangkok you can walk from one shopping mall to another without ever even going outside.
Berjaya Times Square mall is enormous, and you will find that a lot of tourists inside are carrying maps of the mall as it’s so easy to get lost.
For more luxurious shopping KLCC mall underneath the famous Petronas Towers is the place to go, a place where I found myself surrounded by cat walk models on a shopping spree – this mall is worth a visit just to see the towers themselves.
The most famous malls are Bukit Bintang Plaza, Low Yatm Sungeu Wang Plaza and Starhill Plaza.
There are also a lot of interesting night markets around town where you can do some more budget retail shopping, like Petaling Street in China town.Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok is a shoppers haven, offering everything on earth for some amazing prices, even compared to other cities in Thailand.
From Thai silk and handicrafts, budget rip-offs to high end fashion, local designers to international brands, everything is right here in Bangkok, and often under the same roof.
We experienced some amazing service from the shops, one which actually sent a microphone we bought via express flight up to Chiang Mai half an hour after we bought it online, and we received it the same evening.
Top places to shop are Central World Plaza (biggest mall in Bangkok), Chatuchak Market, Paptong Night Market, MBK Mall, Siam Discovery, Pantip Plaza, Siam Paragon among others.Best Places to Shop in Hong Kong
Shopping in Hong Kong China is more than just a social activity, it is treated more like a serious sport, and it’s an important part of their history, culture and way of life. Hong Kong is smaller than Bangkok which makes it a lot easier getting around, something which is crucial when you are out to simply shop.
The best time to go for Hong Kong holidays is either in July to September or late December to February when the city has some truly amazing sales. The most popular places to shop are Festival Walk, SOHO, Causeway Bay and Kowloon.
Whether you’re lucky enough to get a layover on international Hong Kong flights or are planning a holiday to Hong Kong, you must take time to experience some of the greatest shopping in the world.
Like many other Asian countries, Hong Kong has a reputation for covering all aspects of the shopping spectrum; you’ll be able to find everything from one of a kind jewelry pieces to the latest and greatest in gadgets.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the cash to splash, as you can usually stick for your budget in Hong Kong and still find exactly what you’re looking for. From street markets to upscale department stores, Hong Kong has it all.
If this has already got you searching the internet for a flight to Hong Kong, don’t delay – experience the magic of this vibrant city and start your shopping adventure today!Temple Street Night Market
If you’re looking for a bargain, you can’t go past the Temple Street Night Market in Kowloon. The markets are open daily, from 4pm to midnight, providing you with plenty of time to find just what you need!
You’ll find something for everyone at these markets, with a variety of clothing, gadgets, watches, electronics, luggage and various food stalls. If you want to buy some souvenirs for the unlucky non-travellers back home, the Temple Street Night Market is the perfect place.Plaza Hollywood
As far as shopping malls are concerned, this is the crème de le crème of Hong Kong. The Plaza Hollywood Shopping Mall is one of the largest in the East of Hong Kong, located amongst the infamous Kowloon Shopping District.
There are more than 220 stores and restaurants, an enormous exhibition centre and a cinema located within Plaza Hollywood.DFS Galleria Hong Kong
If you’re looking to spend a little money on some world famous brands, DFS Galleria is the perfect shopping destination for you. Stocking only the finest international brands globetrotters, from all across the world, travel to Hong Kong to experience the luxurious shopping experience of a lifetime.Ladies’ Market
Also known as the Tung Choi Street Markets, the Ladies’ Markets offer everything a girl could need. While men’s and children’s clothing are on sale, as well as various toys, there is an abundance of women’s clothing, bags and accessories.
Most of the clothing found at the markets is quite affordable, making this a popular shopping destination with tourists. Also located in the market district of Kowloon, the Ladies’ market is open every evening from noon until 11.30pm.K11
This is the place where shopping meets art. Designed to incorporate the wonders of art and nature, this isn’t just shopping; it’s an entire experience. The first of its kind in the world, K11 blends the beauty of the world to create an unforgettable atmosphere, enhanced by intricate architectural detailing.
If you haven’t heard of or been using day use hotels already yet then you could be missing out on a great option that is set to revolutionize travel and tourism. It makes perfect sense, hotels have rooms that are sitting empty during the day not doing anything or making any profit for the hotel so their rooms are booked out for day use with early check in and late check out hotels available from HotelsByDay.
Even luxury and boutique hotels are becoming available during the day, according to an article in The Huffington Post. When you book a room, even if it is only for a short stay, you can use all of the hotel’s amenities during this time, including the spa, pool, restaurant, and gym if the hotel has them.Uses For Day Hotels
CNBC reports that day use hotels are currently mostly used at airports for long layovers. They are also being recognized for other uses as well with day use hotel room becoming available in city centres around the globe.
It is a great way for both tourists and business travellers to get some relaxation time in that will fit around their busy schedule without having to book a hotel room for an overnight stay. These are some of the ways that day use hotel rooms are beneficial for a day trip, or as The Globe and Mail calls it, a ‘daycation’:Afternoon Rest
A day trip to a busy city takes its toll on the feet very quickly and eventually you will need to stop and rest or get your bearings. Finding a table at a café or a seat at a restaurant can feel even more tiring at times. Having an empty hotel room available gives you somewhere to eat, have a drink, relax, check your e-mails, charge your electronics, or even take a nap for a few hours away from the noise of the city.
This will be especially important for people who have to take medication, put a baby down for a nap, or rest for a certain portion of the day, and will make the trip more stress free and casual.Christmas Shopping
When you venture into the city for your yearly Christmas shopping pilgrimage, you can have somewhere to store your gifts without dragging them all from store to store. It can also let you get away from the other Christmas shoppers to avoid the holiday season becoming an overwhelming chore.
You can enjoy the Christmas lights and take in the atmosphere without being driven insane by the sheer amount of holiday jingles everywhere. A good idea is to see if you can split the cost of the room with friends or relatives so you will all have a gift storage room and a place to get together and have fun during your Christmas shopping.
You can have a gift wrapping party and exchange gifts for each other’s families, saving you time dragging them to each other’s houses or the expense of mailing them. The hotel might even have a spa available for relaxation after the hassle of Christmas shopping and wrapping is over.Fill the Spare Hours
If your return journey isn’t booked until the evening, which is often the cheapest time to book tickets, then you may find that most shops and attractions close earlier during the evening, leaving you with nothing to do but sit around for a few hours until your train or bus leaves.
It makes for a rather anti-climactic end to an otherwise enjoyable day, and for an out-of-towner, a busy city at night can seem a scary place. A hotel room with a late check out lets you rest somewhere safely and you won’t have to miss any of your favourite TV shows.Events
If you’re in the city to go to the theatre, a concert, a sports game, or other event then there’s no need to book a hotel room for an entire night. You can use the hotel during the day to rest up or get ready before the show then return home when it is over without the expense of an overnight stay.
If you and your friends are in town for Comic Con, for example, then you can have somewhere to change into your costumes and store the things you buy without going over budget. Most venues will also have a cloak room where you can store your luggage until the event is over.
The increased flexibility offered by day use hotels makes travel plans easier, even if you are only travelling for one day. The ability to get away from the city and relax in your own space, even if it is just for a short time, is worth it. Check HotelsByDay to find out about day hotel deals in the city you are visiting.
The post Top 4 Uses For Day Hotels When Planning a Day Trip appeared first on As We Travel.
Rome is one of our favorite places in Europe to spend the day just wandering through the timeworn streets grabbing an espresso or a bite to eat of classic Italian food along the way. Around every corner of the historic center, you can almost feel the history of this ancient city underneath your feet. There’s a good reason it’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We certainly love staying in the center of Rome, but we don’t like paying the high prices that usually come associated with such a prime location. To help budget travelers get the most out of their stay, we’ve compiled a list of five cheap sleeps that offer more than just a bed. Each offers lots of cozy charm, a welcoming atmosphere, and a top location that make it easy to see the biggest sites in Rome. When you stay at any of these hotels, just step outside your door and ancient Rome is right there!Hotel Paba
Via Cavour 266
Doubles from: €65
When it comes to location, it’s hard to beat Hotel Paba. You can stroll over to the Colosseum in less than 10 minutes and the Metro is just down the block. There are only seven rooms at this lovely family-run hotel, but each one packs in plenty of old-world charm. Your host Alberta runs the place in an Italian grandmotherly way offering tips and advice for the local area. With such low rates, you’d think there would be a catch. However, these pristine accommodations include Wi-Fi, air conditioning, private bathrooms and even breakfast in the morning Read our review.
Via Cavour 295
Doubles from: €65
Three words we always love to read: clean, comfy and cheap. All of these describe this family-run hotel nestled in a courtyard just off of busy Via Cavour. You’ll love the friendly crew that runs this simple hotel. If you can find it! (Just look for a sign that directs you through an apartment building on Via Cavour.) The prime location puts the historic center only a five-minute bus ride away. All rooms come with a private bathroom as well as air conditioning, TV and a telephone. Read our review.Hotel Italia
Via Venezia 18
Doubles from: €75
The same family has run this two-star hotel for over 25 years giving it a welcome feel that’s hard to find in this day and age. Aside from the comfortable rooms with rates that consistently dip into cheapo territory, the location just behind Via Nazionale and a short walk from Monti is very desirable. It is well-connected to the historic center via an easy stroll or quick bus ride. Read our review.Hotel Smeraldo
Vicolo Dei Chiodaroli 9
Doubles from: €85
Stay in the center of it all at this three-star, family-owned hotel. Head out the front door, and before you know it, you can walk to Campo de’ Fiori and Piazza Navona. Equipped with a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi and soundproof windows, the rooms here come with a lot more perks than your standard budget hotel. Although many of the prices are splurge-worthy, the Economy Double rooms offer a great value at less than €100. And there’s nothing economy about the spectacular rooftop terraces or the remarkably clean bathrooms. Read our review.
Via Della Croce 35
Doubles from: €80
Nestled at the base of the Spanish Steps, Hotel Panda is a surprising find in an area known more for fancy fashion than affordable hotels. The 28 small (but very clean) rooms are all located in a handsome apartment building. Along with air conditioning, a TV and free Wi-Fi, you might find antique-style wood beds and a few Roman statuettes for decor. But most importantly, Panda is all about a fantastic location for a fantastic price. Read our review.
Via S. Chiara 61
Doubles from: €70
Why do we keep coming back to this affordable gem? Maybe it’s the friendly staff. Or how about the incredible location near the Pantheon. Or perhaps it’s the lovely rooms. Those are all great reasons, but nothing tops the low prices that are practically a steal for such clean accommodations with a private bath in the heart of historic Rome. Book a room here, and you’ll understand our longterm devotion. Read our review.Hotel Boccaccio
Via Del Boccaccio 25
Doubles from: €70
With elegant rooms, environmentally-friendly policies and lovely high ceilings, it’s hard to believe Hotel Boccaccio is a one-star sleep. The only thing that gives it away are the consistently low rates. The owner really takes care of the guests, and the hotel has been in the same family since the 1930s. Still not convinced? The cobblestone street location is very charming, and you can head out the door and stroll to the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps in just a few minutes. Read our review.Hotel Arenula
Via Santa Maria De Calderari 47
Doubles from: €80
We absolutely adore this two-star hotel situated very close to Campo de Fiori. It has some of the cheapest rates in the area, and the rooms are always clean and comfortable. Despite the long climb up the steps (there’s no elevator), ask for a room on the upper floors. Your reward will be a classic Roman view over the city’s rooftops. Read our review.
The post Rome Hotels: 8 Charmers near the historic center under €100 appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.
I had a different post planned for this Pre-Thanksgiving short week but it had to be pushed after I saw that the US State Department released a world wide travel alert today.
That’s right- an alert for the entire WORLD.
Now I think the State Department does a lot of great things for travelers (I’ve actually worked with them on projects in the past), but I’m afraid this travel alert is completely useless. It simply plays into the culture of fear that has been brewing extra strong over the past week.
Go ahead and read it. You’ll see it provides zero useful information but a lot of vague warnings.
“U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowed places. Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events”
The alert lasts for 3 entire months (until February 24th). 3 months of avoiding transportation and public places? During the holidays? That’s not feasible or reasonable.
Look, I get why the State Department does stuff like this- they are covering their own butts in case something does happen. But as a citizen and a traveler, this travel alert means basically nothing to me, except a lot more people warning me to “be careful” every time I leave the house.What’s the Real Threat?
Moreover I would say that warnings like this, whether intentionally or not, are used to enforce the idea that the US is “safe” and the rest of the world is “unsafe.” This is fundamentally untrue. When it comes to terrorism in particular, the threat is incredibly overhyped.
When you look at the statistics, your likelihood of being killed by terrorism while traveling abroad are less than your likelihood of being struck by lightening while traveling abroad. Do you know what the leading cause of death for Americans abroad is? It’s not homicides, it’s car crashes. By a large margin.
According to this really handy article, the amount of Americans who have been killed by terrorism since 9/11 is so small that it’s barely statistically relevant. Here are just some of the things that are more likely to kill you than a terrorist attack:
- Heart Disease (the number one cause of death in the US)
- Prescription Medication
- Brain parasites
- Something Large Falling on Top of You
- Police officers (yes, really)
Taking all that into account I am not afraid of terrorism. I am however terrified of gun violence, and I don’t need to leave the country to be faced with that danger.Concerns Based in Reality
Now I’m not saying you should hop on the next plane to Syria without a care in the world. Obviously there are real dangers out there that are better left alone.
I’m saying that you need to use that brain in your head to think critically and evaluate the real level of risk. You can’t let vague warnings and nightly news programs scare you from seeing the world. The media functions best as a fear machine, designed to keep you coming back for more. The State Department warnings are meant to tell you of the worst possible scenarios.
So how do you decide if it’s safe to travel?
We’ve talked about this before, in regards to “dangerous” countries like Colombia and Mexico. We also talked about it from the perspective of solo female travel. In each of these cases, my answer is the same: question your sources, talk to people with experience, and evaluate for yourself. Everyone’s level of risk comfort is different, so figure out what feels right to you.Live Your Life
Most importantly, remember that it’s your decision and your life.
9/11 happened when I was 16, a junior in high school (incidentally, one of the planes crashed in my very own hometown, less than 5 miles away from where I sat in class). I’d barely even been abroad at that point. My entire travel related life and career has existed under this omnipresent yet vague shadow of potential terrorism. If I let it get to me I would never go anywhere. I’d never have climbed seen wild elephants in Sri Lanka, or visited the landmine pocked Plain of Jars, or met so many wonderful people in Colombia. I never would have lived on the beach in Mexico or lived on the beach that other time in Ecuador or eaten so much street food in China. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for any amount of sitting on my couch watching CNN.
This is not a trivial issue. Travel is such an important tool for opening people’s minds, building international connections and greater empathy for the world around us. Look at all the people whose hearts were touched by what happened in Paris, a city so many people clearly identified with and loved. Travel helps that happen.
Fear tears us apart, closes us off and in many sad cases makes us hateful. It makes the world seem like it’s full of big and scary others, when it’s actually full of people just like you and me. And some bad guys sure. But the good outweighs the bad, especially when you look at it from a place of reason and not fear.
So, when your parents or your great aunt or your neighbor send you that State Department warning as you plan you next trip, maybe you can send them this?
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. -Helen Keller