5 Hidden Gems in Sicily

Whether you are visiting for fascinating sites of historical significance, visiting some of the island’s spectacular golden beaches or are just after some of the country’s best food, the island of Sicily just off the toe of Italy’s boot is one of the country’s most popular destinations – the island has it all.

There is no shortage of attractions or stuff to be doing in Sicily but, sometimes, you need to break off from the tourist trail and experience other lesser-known parts of the island. If you’re going to be spending your vacation exploring, then consider staying in one of the beautiful villas in Sicily which will help you to unwind after a long day on your feet.

With this in mind, we have put together a list of our five favourite hidden gems in Sicily. Whether you are looking for archaeological ruins or dramatic views, there is something for everybody here.

#1: The Norman Castles

Sitting proudly, high in the island’s dramatic mountainous terrain with sweeping views across the coast to Trapani, the Norman Castle of Erice is brimming with history. Perched on top of Eryx Hill, the Castle of Erice provide visitors with a breath-taking view across the coastlines of Sicily.

It’s not just the view, though; history buffs will love it too for its historical significance.

#2: Modica

Although Modica is widely known and is not exactly a ‘hidden gem’, many people choose to visit Modica for its sandy beaches instead of experiencing the beauty of the city. These people are missing out; in Modica, there is lots of remarkable architecture to feast the eyes upon, including both St. Peter’s Church and the St. George Cathedral… oh, and the town is famous for its artisan chocolates.

#3: The Mozia Windmills

Mozia is a small island located just off Sicily’s west coast which, when compared to the island of Sicily itself, is a place less travelled. On Mozia, there are tons of archaeological sites based around the Mediterranean’s most iconic Phoenician settlement, but it is the windmills found on this island which make it worthy of a visit – it is the perfect opportunity for photographers to let their creativity shine!

#4: Caltagirone and its Ceramic Architecture

In this beautiful Sicilian town, the streets, bridges, buildings, and everything else are coated in beautiful ceramic works of art – the town is literally a work of colourful and charming rustic art. The most famous attraction here is the Scala di Santa Maria del Monte, a large stairway which is coated entirely in ceramics, where numerous festivals take place throughout the year.

#5: Panoramic Views at Enna

The town of Enna sits 1,000 above two mountainous peaks, it is an awe-inspiring destination with long, winding cobble-paved streets and historical landmarks as far as the eye can see. If you are looking for beautiful panoramic views as far as the eye can see and rustic Italian architecture, Enna needs to be on your list.

The Island of Sicily attracts tourists in their masses each year, many of whom come solely for the island’s sandy beaches. Although the beaches are fantastic, Sicily’s true character truly shines through its beautiful historical sites, architecture, and old Italian streets.

6 Travel Tips and Ideas for a Fun-Filled Family Trip to Chattanooga

Mountain views. Epic railroads. Natural beauty aplenty.

Hey, they don’t call it “the Scenic City” for nothing.

Tennessee is a well-documented destination for tourists who love the outdoors, and the sights and attractions of Chattanooga are a central part of what makes the state so enticing. Whether you’re hunting for a family vacation spot in the South or are just passing through the Volunteer State on a road trip, look no further than Chattanooga.

But what spots make the city so great? What are the must-sees if you’ve never stopped through?

Below we’ve outlined six awesome options for families of all shapes and sizes. While there’s certainly no shortage of things to do in Chattanooga, these points of interest are totally family-friendly and will keep your kiddos entertained without fail.

Go Camping

As noted, Tennessee’s natural beauty and proximity to the mountains make it a prime spot for campers to check out. Chattanooga is no exception to the rule, representing a friendly place for RVs and tent campers alike.

New to camping? No problem. You can find the ideal RV rental in Chattanooga for your family to bring along all of the comforts of home and explore the state on your own terms.

Marvel at Lookout Mountain

If you’re hungry for a breathtaking view and an epic photo op at nearly 2,400 feet up, look no further. Beyond the awesome hiking that this hotspot provides, some other must-sees at Lookout Mountain include…

  • Point Park, overlooking Lookout Mountain Battlefield and the city proper, featuring a variety of monuments an observatory
  • Craven’s House, a blast from the past for Civil War buffs
  • The Lookout Mountain Trail System, boasting over thirty miles of trail to check out

Explore the Raccoon Mountain Caverns

Parents looking to give their kids a sense of adventure and perhaps wear them out a bit will have a blast scoping out the Raccoon Mountain Caverns. Multiple tours are available of varying difficulties; meanwhile, you can spot a number of gems and crystals throughout the 5.5 miles of underground passageways to explore.

Trek Across Walnut Street Bridge

The history of the Walnut Street Bridge is a fascinating one, representing an achievement in architecture and a beloved spot for walkers and bikers alike. Offering a spectacular sunset view, there are some quaint cafes and restaurants to likewise enjoy at the riverfront when you’re done trekking.

Experience Ruby Falls

It’s not every day that you get to see firsthand an underground waterfall, right? A must-see sight if you’re in the vicinity of the previously noted Lookout Mountain, there’s a reason why these colorful falls attract thousands of visitors annually.

Check Out the Chattanooga Choo Choo

Hey, no visit would be complete without checking out the famed Chattanooga Choo Choo. There are tons of attractions surrounding the terminal and its subsequent hotel: definitely worth seeing if you don’t mind the traditional “touristy” vibe of the station.

Chattanooga is so much more than your typical city in the South. With so many unique attractions and spectacular nature hotspots, it’s a prime place for families to visit who want a taste of something different during their next vacation.

7 Hidden Gems In Florida To Visit On Your Next Vacay

Florida is the top vacation destination for people all over the world. Next time you take a trip to the sunshine state, leave the crowds behind and visit these 7 hidden gems in Florida.

When most people think of Florida, two things immediately come to mind: Disney and some of the best beaches in the United States. Maybe you love Florida orange juice or visiting buzzing cities like Miami and Jacksonville, too.

But, the next time you pay the Sunshine State a visit, check out some of the hidden gems in Florida. This part of the country has much more to offer than a coastline and a picture with Mickey Mouse.

Here are some of the best natural and man-made wonders Florida locals and visitors alike have to see.

1. Ginnie Springs

If you’re already familiar with Florida beaches, it’s time to check out the springs awaiting in the mainland. Ginnie Springs is one of the most popular ones to check out.

Located just north of central Florida, and a quick drive from the University of Florida, Ginnie Springs is where you can let your inner child out to play. It’s also safe for the actual children in your group. You can come for the day or camp out for the weekend.

While you’re here, be sure to take a float down the river, take some time to sunbathe, and maybe cook up a few classic camping meals, too. There are plenty of small grills and bathroom stations available all along the driving trails, which are close to the river.

The real adventure of Ginnie Springs, though, are the small pools located throughout the park.

Keep an eye out for these special swimming space. They’re a little more private than the main river area and just as refreshing.

2. Ravine Gardens State Park

Head a few hours southeast from Ginnie Springs and you’ll end up in Palatka, Florida. This is home to Ravine Gardens State Park, a beautiful destination for those who prefer hiking and running over swimming and fishing.

The Ravine Gardens are a beautiful natural oasis. Head on one trail to discover lush, thick greenery on suspended bridges. Or, check out the open garden area, which is much more organized and well-kept.

3. Fort De Soto State Park

If all you want to do while you’re in Florida is hit the beach, we can’t really blame you. But, it’s one thing to end up in a dense, highly-populated tourist town and another to find Florida hidden gems along the coastline. Head to Fort De Soto State Park for just that.

On the west coast of Florida, Fort De Soto is a calm, quiet beach touching the Gulf of Mexico. The water on this side of the state tends to be more clear and not as rough as that of the eastside.

This makes Fort De Soto great for lounging by the water, boating for the day, or finding some amazing local restaurants to wrap up the evening at. Life here revolves around the water, which makes sense the Fort De Soto area is made up of five keys banded together by causeways.

Whichever one you end up at is sure to be a treat.

4. Bob’s River Place

Maybe you love the water but you’re looking for a little more of a thrill – look no further than Bob’s River Place. This is located in Branford, Florida, a small town in between Central Florida and the Panhandle.

Originally just an average swimming hole, Bob’s River Place is now an amazing destination for fun-lovers from both near and far. Visitors can jump onto a rope swing before cannonballing into the water, or try out one of the many slides built along the shore.

It’s easy to spend an entire day jumping around and hanging out here, but note, it’s probably best for the little ones to stay at home.

5. Tarpon Springs

Another one of the best secret places in Florida is Tarpon Springs. Tarpon is a thriving Greek community, with plenty of restaurants lining the dock waiting to welcome you. Stop in for some of the best fresh fish in Florida, or take a stroll through all the shops.

You can find plenty of unique, beautiful Florida souvenirs to bring back home with you. Or, maybe make a stop to grab a bit of baklava for the road!

Tarpon is also very close to the Tampa Bay area. You can make it a day trip if you’re staying in the city, or just a pit stop along the way. Tampa is home to amazing sports teams of all kinds, amazing restaurants, and a few roller coasters of its own.

6. Flagler College

Also on the list is Flagler College, located in one of the top destinations in Florida – St. Augustine. Most people visit St. Augustine for the fort, the lighthouse, and the artisan shops. Life moves a little bit slower here, and the locals are very proud of the community they’ve created.

One of the most noteworthy things the city has to offer, though, is Flagler College! This is absolutely worth checking out even if you’re not a student, considering the rich history of the campus. Flagler College was originally the Ponce De Leon Hotel, and it also served a valuable purpose to the Coast Guard during World War II.

7. Cocoa Beach

Last but not least, try to visit Cocoa Beach if you can. Known as a popular surf destination, Cocoa Beach itself isn’t exactly one of the hidden gems in Florida.

The lesser-known water activities are what landed Cocoa on this list. Sure, you can surf and enjoy the shore as much as you want. Just be sure to do some fishing and check out the Banana River, too.

The Banana River is home to some of the most amazing kayaking experiences in Florida. It’s home to bioluminescent species that make the water look like it’s lit up at night! The experience is truly unlike anything else, and you can click for more info to plan this part of your trip.

Discovering All the Hidden Gems in Florida

Did you know that Florida is home to the horse capital of the world? Or that it’s where the Cuban sandwich was created?

These are just a few fun facts about this amazing, beautiful state. But, to truly understand the wonder of this part of the country, you have to discover all the hidden gems in Florida for yourself.

Check out these travel tips to help get you there!

10 Things to See and Do on Your Vacation to Nova Scotia, Canada

Planning a trip to Nova Scotia, Canada this summer? From the beautiful rolling hills to the quaint seaside towns, there’s so much to see and experience. Check out these 10 things to do in Nova Scotia

Planning out your summer vacation and looking for things to do in Nova Scotia, Canada?

From museums and historic sites to art galleries, nature tours, and white-knuckle adventure, Nova Scotia has something for all visitors, of all ages and inclinations.

That’s without talking about the thousands of miles of beautiful coastline. You’re never further than 80 miles from the sea when you’re in Nova Scotia.

Get ready to explore the best of this maritime Canadian province.

1. Puffin Tours

Puffins are some of the cutest birds on the planet, and they love to make their homes among the rocky islands surrounding Nova Scotia.

There are many companies operating boat tours around the islands, where you may also spot seals, other seabirds and – if you’re lucky – a bald eagle or two.

Book your spots in advance, as these tours are very popular among keen travelers during the summer.

2. Golf Clubs Galore

For those who like a relaxed day on the course, you’ll be pleased to hear that Nova Scotia has plenty of golf courses to enjoy. A number of ‘play and stay’ deals make your accommodation needs easy.

It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places on Earth to enjoy this sport. Rather like the country of Scotland where it takes the Latin name ‘Nova Scotia’ from – meaning ‘New Scotland’.

3. Ziplines

Ziplines have become a hot attraction in many places around the world, thanks to the unique perspective on the landscape they give riders.

Check out the Anchors Above Zipline near French River. It’s Nova Scotia’s biggest line. Zip through the trees on the hills just south of the Trans Canada Highway. You’ll enjoy spectacular views through the forest during your thrilling descent.

4. Visit Halifax

For an urban retreat, head to the province capital: Halifax. But don’t expect a New York-style atmosphere! Halifax might be a city, but it has a population of just over 400,000, meaning it is far more relaxed than many others.

Take a quiet walk down the waterfront, and spend a day at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic,

If you’re in Halifax during the end of June to the beginning of July, don’t miss the annual Tattoo. Expect military marches, dancing, bagpipes, and acrobatics, held in a very family-friendly atmosphere.

5. Old Town Lunenburg

Old Town Lunenburg is a jaw-dropping UNESCO World Heritage Site – UNESCO calls it the best surviving example of British colonial settlement in the Americas.

The wooden structures built in the 1800s have been carefully preserved for more than two centuries, and the town retains its superb original appearance because of these safeguarding efforts.

As you walk around its narrow streets, you’ll get a rare sense of what life might have been like for the maritime inhabitants building a brand new life for themselves in Canada.

Aside from the historic district of Old Quebec, this is the only urban UNESCO Heritage site in Canada.

6. Boating Tours

Take advantage of Nova Scotia’s strong maritime history with a sailing tour around its rugged coastlines. Knowledgeable and friendly guides will teach you about the history and wildlife around the area.

There are some unique experiences to enjoy besides the friendly local boat operators. Try a ride in the 48-foot ‘ketch’ vessel which tours Old Town Lunenburg – it departs for sailing tours on a daily basis.

7. Joggins Fossil Cliffs

Another UNESCO heritage site, the Joggins Fossil Cliffs are, as the name suggests, full of fossils.

A huge number of trees and animals are fossilized in the cliffs, including extinct species found nowhere else on earth.

These cliffs are a fascinating day out with the kids, or just for the curious!

8. Drive the Cabot Trail

The Cabot Trail winds its way around Cape Breton Island, the eastern tip of Nova Scotia.

Spend an afternoon driving the trail, stopping off for photographs and snacks as necessary. Or for the more adventurous, try out kayaking, whale watching, or cycle your way around the trail.

Then for a dinner treat, enjoy traditionally-prepared lobster, clams, scallops, or crab, at one of the many seafood restaurants dotted around the trail.

9. White Water Rafting

You can go white water rafting on a tidal bore – a type of wave – in Nova Scotia. The Bay of Fundy is famous for its reliable bore, which changes the course of the river, pushing water back inland as the tide surges inwards at speed.

Check with the rafting operator to choose a visit that suits your abilities – depending on tidal patterns, the bore will be stronger at some times than others.

10. Grand-Pre National Historic Site

Explore the history of the Acadian people, French colonial descendants who were subject to deportation during Le Grand Derangement in the mid-1700s.

This is the 3rd UNESCO site on our list, but it was only placed on the official UNESCO list in 2012.

While you’re out here, you can explore the beautiful countryside and rural communities in the surrounding area.

Places to Stay

Nova Scotia is a hospitable and friendly province – you can expect the warmest of welcomes here.

Check out TripAdvisor Nova Scotia recommendations for places to stay, or ask the locals once you’re there. They’re an approachable bunch, who’ll be very pleased to help out a tourist in need of a recommendation or two.

Things to Do In Nova Scotia

We’ve tried to include as much as we can in this list, but the truth is there’s only so much we can write before you’ll be itching to be off! You’ll find far more things to do in Nova Scotia once you’re there.

We hope you have a fantastic vacation, and perhaps you’ll even decide to go back to Nova Scotia the following year!

Or if you’re looking at a trip to other parts of Canada, here’s how to plan your dream trip.

The Top Coolest Caravan Sites to Check Out in Australia

If you’re looking for a unique Australian getaway, then you’ve come to the right place! Check out this list of the coolest caravan sites to visit in Australia.

Every five minutes of the workday, a caravan or campervan is manufactured in Australia. So it’s no surprise why caravanning has recently surged in popularity. Not only does it boost the economy by AU$8.6 billion, it’s an affordable way to see the beauty Australia has to offer.

According to the Caravan Industry of Australia, “Domestic and International visitors generated 49.7 million nights in caravan parks and camping grounds around Australia.”

Whether you’re exploring Australia for the first time, are planning to visit the Darwin festival, or are mapping out your retirement bucket list trip, we’ve got the perfect list of the top 10 caravan sites to visit.

Top Benefits of Staying at Caravan Sites

There’s nothing more enjoyable than hitting the open road with your loved ones in a caravan.

Traveling this way offers so many conveniences that it’s hard not to want to vacation in a caravan every chance you get! Not only can you bring most of the small luxuries of home along with you, but you are saving money at the same time.

The freedom to select one of many beautiful sites to stay overnight, while parking and resting at your convenience, is a major draw to the caravan life. Not to mention the self-sufficiency, and adventure it offers.

10. Marengo Holiday Park

What’s not to love about Marengo Holiday Park in Apollo Bay? Not only does this site have sweeping ocean views, it’s filled with all sorts of amenities that make for a comfortable stay.

Both family-oriented and pet-friendly, you can cook meals in a communal kitchen and build a campfire under the stars at night. Convenient WIFI access is also a bonus.

9. Kendalls on the Beach Holiday Park

Discover your own personal paradise at Kendalls on the Beach Holiday Park. The beachside location is the ultimate in luxury for caravan sites. Pamper yourself at the day spa, hike through a rainforest, or just relax with your family on the beach. Pets are always welcome to these powered sites.

8. Freycinet National Park

If you’re in search of some of Australia’s most stunning raw beauty, Freycinet National Park in Tasmania is one of the top sites to stay. There’s no shortage of water sports to enjoy while staying here: snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming. Not only does it offer pristine beaches and clear waters, it’s also a birder’s heaven. The pink granite peaks of the Hazards Range are especially breathtaking at sunrise.

7. Barrington Tops National Park

Listed as one of the top World Heritage places in the world, Barrington Tops National Park offers a wide variety of activities for caravanners. Situated in one of Australia’s largest rainforests, the park’s meandering trails and streams offer temporary respite from the stress of city life. Set up bush camp for the night, go fishing for the day, or enjoy an afternoon picnic. Pets are not permitted.

6. Grampians National Park

For those who need a more secluded caravan experience, Grampians National Park in Victoria is the top getaway spot. Not only will you be surrounded by breathtaking mountain range views and waterfalls, but you’ll also be privy to some of the most beautiful wildflowers in the area.

Aborigine art and history are big attractors of this site as well.

5. West MacDonnell National Park

If you’re a huge astronomy geek, or just love stargazing, West MacDonnell National Park is where you’ll want to stay. Rich Aborigine culture is also another reason to explore this area.

Hiking, birdwatching, and cycling are among the more popular activities here. Camping fees are very reasonable and include basic accommodations such as showers, toilets, picnic tables, and cooking facilities.

4. Golden Beach Holiday Park at Caloundra

Family-friendly and close to area attractions, this one-size-fits-all site is a favorite for both tourists and locals. Caravan sites provide power and water, with a few grassy areas to accommodate tents. Just a few minutes from the beach, visitors can take advantage of boating, fishing, and swimming.

3. BIG4 Apollo Bay Pisces Holiday Park

The BIG4 Apollo Bay Pisces Holiday Park is a little patch of heaven, situated along a beautiful stretch of Apollo Bay. With sweeping views of the ocean and a sprawling property, visitors can go off the grid completely and stay at one of the unpowered caravan sites or indulge in a little luxury and take a swim in the heated pool. Play basketball on the full court, take the kids to the playground, or stock up on ice for your next family gathering.

2. Bargara Beach Caravan Park

One of the top caravan sites to visit for those who want to explore the Great Barrier Reef or witness sea turtles nesting, Bargara Beach Caravan Park lets you take a walk on the wild side in the privacy of your own caravan. With both powered and unpowered options, the park provides a communal cooking area, WIFI, convenience kiosks, washing machines and dryers, as well as an on-site doctor. The quiet surroundings and beautiful beaches will make you feel instantly relaxed.

1. Ingenia Holidays Lake Conjola

Ingenia Holidays Lake Conjola is considered to be one of the top south coast caravan parks in the area. Not only will you be surrounded by the beauty of nature, but you can take advantage of it with horseback riding, scuba diving, and hiking. Take in breathtaking views of the lake, take the kids to one of the pools or splash parks, or indulge in a winery tour. The sky is the limit with all of the activities you can discover here.

Is Adventure Calling Your Name?

Planning a trip to Australia any time soon? We hope this list of the top 10 caravan sites was helpful to you. If traveling around the world is something you’re deeply passionate about, we invite you to discover more adventures on our site.

We’d also love to hear how our travels have inspired you to branch out and do a little exploring on your own, too. Drop us a line and share your travel plans and tips with us. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Guided Tour vs. Solo Exploration: Which is Better?

 

Are you planning an in

travel couple walking around city on vacation with guide book having fun

ternational trip and aren’t sure if you should invest in a guided tour or not? Click here to learn which is your best option.

Are you among the 66,960,943 Americans traveling abroad this year? If so, you may be overwhelmed with decisions about your exciting trip.

If you’re unsure of whether you should book a guided tour or explore on your own, keep reading.

We’ve got everything you need to know about touring to help make your decision easier and fitting for your trip.

Types of Guided Tours

Knowing your options for guided tours will help you decide whether one is right for you.

Personal Guided Tours

A personal tour is just how it sounds. It consists of a guide designated to just you or your group.

It is intimate and great if you don’t like to deal with crowds or strangers.

A large pro to personal guides is that you can generally customize your tour to your liking. You will also have more opportunity for changes and questions.

The best part is that you have the chance to get to know a local and can ask them to take you to their favorite “local” spots. Personal guided tours are the best if you want to immerse yourself in the local culture and experiences.

Group Guided Tours

Touring with a group and a guide means you will be paired up with other travelers. This is the generally the cheapest option and provides an opportunity to meet other people.

If you are new to the area and/or don’t love to plan your own itinerary, then a group tour is perfect. These are almost always pre-set and scheduled to ensure a smooth and time-managed experience.

The downside is you won’t have as much one-on-one attention.

Audio Tours

If you’re visiting a historical site or museum, an audio tour is an option. These give you more privacy and flexibility as you’re not following a person.

You will still be able to capture all the information. Plus, audio tours are often complementary with museum or site admissions.

Pros of Guided Tours

Here are just a few of the benefits of choosing guided tours for your trip.

Array of Information

Your guide is an except in the local history, landscape, culture, and more. Thus, with a tour guide, you will gain an array of insight about the area that you may not be able to find on your own.

Guides also know how you can get the most out of your trip especially if you’re on limited time.

Local Perspective

Along the same lines, having a guide will let you in on the local hidden gems. They will likely show you spots that you would not have found on your own or that may not be on the top 10 Yelp list.

Safety

Having a guide who knows the area, especially if you’re in a place of high crime or dangerous wildlife, will improve the safety of your trip.

You won’t have to worry about researching and preparing for emergencies. Plus, you won’t have to worry about getting lost, either. A guide can make a huge difference in safety on a hike or camping trip.

Lastly, a guide will speak English fluently, which will make traveling to an area with little English speaking skills easier and safer.

Stress-free and Time-saving

A guided tour means you don’t have to do extensive research before your trip. You won’t have to spend time researching and deciding which sites and venues to see.

You also won’t have to worry about transportation, which can be extremely stressful when you’re in an area that does not have good public transportation.

Cons of Guided Tours

When there are pros, there are always cons as well. Here are some of the disadvantages to booking a tour with a guide.

Cost

Guided tours will cost you more than exploring on your own with a guidebook. If your budget is tight, a tour will take away funds from other fun. So, think carefully about your budget when you’re deciding on whether you should use a guide or not.

Less Control

With a tour guide, you won’t have control of where you go and what you see. You also won’t have control of food locations, time, rests, etc.

If you’re someone who does not like to stick to a tight plan and schedule, then a guided tour may not be your best option. If you have children, you may want to do a personal guided tour or adventure on your own.

Draws Attention

Being in a large group with a tour guide will make you stand out as a tourist. In areas where tourists may be prey to crime, this could hinder safety.

Missing the Less Touristy Parts

Some guides will only stick to the general itinerary and won’t be able (or want to) show you the more local spots during your tour. Of course, you can still ask them about the hidden gems.

However, your time is limited. You may miss out on some things or places a guide wouldn’t take you.

Pros of Independent Touring

Guided tours are great for certain places and people. But independent touring can be just as advantageous. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of individual exploring.

Spontaneity and Flexibility

A guided tour is planned and it removes the spontaneity and exciting discovery from traveling. Exploring independently will allow you to find places on your own, take in the sights from your own perspective, and do it all on your own time.

This is why solo traveling is so freeing. You won’t have to worry about making the next stop or waking up early.

Save Money

You will save money by not booking a guide. It is generally cheaper to explore on your own and today you can find tons of coupons, promotions, and information on deal timings online.

Check out TripADeal for the latest travel deals.

Blend In

When you explore on your own, it is easier to blend in. This makes it easier to avoid pickpockets and people trying to sell to tourists.

Cons of Independent Touring

There are some negatives to exploring a new area on your own.

Safety Concerns

Obviously, when you explore independently you can run into issues. If you don’t speak or read the language, it is easier to get lost, overpay, eat something you should not have, and for people to know your tourist.

If you’re in unfamiliar wildlife, it is safer to have someone accompany you that is knowledgeable about the animals, dangers, and safety techniques.

Miss Out

Traveling on your own may keep you from managing time in a way that gets the most bang for your buck. Without a set itinerary, you could miss out on some great sites and memories.

Plus, you want as much opportunity as possible to ask a local, facts, history, logistics, hidden gems, and/or advice.

More Tips for Travel Destinations

My travel chronicles can help you decide if you should book a guided tour for your next destination.

Whether you’re going to Europe or South America or anywhere between, you can read about my own personal experiences to help you prepare for your adventure.

Behold the Beauty of the Baltics

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The Baltic countries are beautiful and breath-taking. There’s an array of architecture, attractions and activities that can be observed and marvelled at throughout these northern European locations.  Whatever world famous castles or crown jewels, museums or monuments, palaces or parades that these countries host; they all can be enjoyed and experienced on a Baltic cruise.

Go on a Baltic cruise and you don’t have to just take in one of these magnificent countries but travel to multiple and make the most of these destinations and their old folk culture and national pride. There are picturesque landscapes at every stop. Here’s a list of a few things you can see on a Baltic cruise

The Little Mermaid Statue, Copenhagen

Graciously resting on some large rocks on the edge of the sea in Denmark’s capital is the iconic mermaid sculpture.  The Langelinie promenade carries an elegant mark with this statue situated on it boarders. It’s an admired attraction and provides a magical and mysterious touch to its surroundings.

Riga Castle, Latvia

This construct is a colourful display of one of Latvia’s most historic buildings. Dating back to 1330 this piece of architecture with is white, yellow, green and orange walls are currently known as the president’s residence. This castle consists of six towers and walls that are three metres thick. Its grandeur and splendour is why many tourists are driven each year to capture the establishment personally. It’s even more enchanting at night with golden street lights and viridescent trees surrounding it.

Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

This is a vibrant and fascinating city that holds so much historic classics. Hermitage Museum is just one of them that contain some of the best collections of Russian art. Be allured by spell-binding Egyptian mummies or paintings by Picasso. This museum is not limited in its content. The contrast of collections in this museum is great and it’s truly a sight to see. It also offers an in depth in sight to the founder of the city: St Peter the great.

Suomenlinna, Helsinki

Here behold one of Finland’s finest features. The 18th century sea fortress spans across 6 linked islands. It provokes thoughts of its military history with the defensive walls that surround it. It’s a walking trail with plenty of parkland and could offer a pleasurable shore excursion for any cruiser. It looks like a grand maze surrounded by enigmatic seas.

Bryggen, Bergen

Marvel at the mountainous city of Bergen. This location portrays colourful culture and housing. The Bryggen are a series of Hanseatic buildings situated on the eastern harbour of Bergen. They are no longer inhabited but are solely used for display: a rainbow of wooden houses that offer a delightful dynamic to the city.

Gamla Stan, Stockholm

Although Stockholm has been developed and enhanced over the years there are areas that still offer an authentic view of what Sweden used to be like in the olden days. Gamla Stan is one of those places, it’s Sweden’s old town and consists of cobble paved streets and pipe thin houses in an array of colours: a radiant medieval city that’s a must-see as you cruise along the Baltic seas.

White Sand And Blue Sea – What To See And Do In The Maldives

The Maldives – just the name conjures up images of white sand beaches, turquoise blue waters that stretch on for as far as the eye can see and decadent coconut drinks, all enjoyed simultaneously as you kick back on the vacation of a lifetime. Sounds pretty fantastic, doesn’t it? But aside from beaches, what else is there to do in the Maldives? A surprising amount you will be excited to know! Here is a roundup of some of the island’s most favourite, famous and enjoyable activities and excursions that will have you beaming from ear to ear as you while away your days in this exotic island locale. We can almost guarantee that after reading this you will be rushing off to book your ultimate Maldives holiday.

Beaches

This one probably goes without saying, but beaches are probably the biggest draw as to why people come from around the world to visit the Maldives. With stretches of white sand beaches that seem to go on for miles coupled with the seclusion that some of the country’s most remote islands provide it’s no wonder that this is one of the most ideal locations for honeymooners looking to get away for some alone time. The beaches all across the Maldives offer both white sand and turquoise seas, almost reminiscent of those images conjured up by such classic tales as ‘Treasure Island’. One of the most popular activities for visitors to any of the islands in the Maldives is to arrange a private picnic on one of these secluded beaches, usually available from your hotel if you ask. Aside from picnics, the beaches in the Maldives are generally ideal for just kicking back with a good book and sunbathing with the occasional dip in the beautiful waters of the Indian Ocean to cool off.

Sunset Cruises and Other Boat Trips

Nothing quite beats the feel and experience of taking a traditional Maldivian boat, known as a Dhoni, on a sunset cruise over the open Indian Ocean. Watch as the turquoise of the waters and the white of the sand give way to twilight shades of oranges purples and deep hues of pink. If you’re lucky, you may catch the sight of a pod of dolphins swimming alongside your boat. Some cruises may come with dinner options, so check ahead to see what suits you and your budget best. This is ultimately one of the most luxurious and enjoyable experiences you can have in the Maldives – just you and the open waters as the day gives way to the shades of night.

If boats are really your thing, you can also get away and out on the water with fishing trips to try your hand at a little deep sea fishing. This enjoyable sport will see you possibly landing some great catches including tuna, wahoo, sailfish and barracudas. Oftentimes you will get to barbecue up your catch with the fishermen once back on shore for a truly enjoyable experience. Nothing quite beats whiling away the hours on the deck of a beautiful boat out on the Indian Ocean with like minded people all hoping for a taste of the fish that call these pristine waters home. Snacks, drinks and the like are normally included in the price of a fishing trip and most can be arranged through your hotel.

Diving and Snorkelling

Beaches mean diving and snorkelling and often the two go hand in hand. Even if you aren’t a diver you can often catch a ride on diving boats to dive sites to snorkel at with a slew of divers looking for adventure. Qualified divers will find that the Maldives have a huge array of underwater delights to see and experience including turtles, moray eels and even shipwrecks. Yes, shipwrecks! There are a number of wrecks that you can dive that are found at a variety of depths so if you want to experience all of the wrecks you should be qualified to descend to around forty to fifty metres for best results, with most wrecks being at a depth of around twenty metres plus. The Maldives Victory and Kuda Giri are two wrecks that are located off the Male atoll and have good coral with decent fish life. For better fish life, check out the wrecks of the Liffey and Utheemu 1 and 2 off the coast of Kudahuvadhoo Island.

Not qualified? No problem. Many dive centres and resorts can take you on fun or introduction dives which means you have a qualified instructor/guide with you the whole time to check up on you and ensure you’re safe, so you just have to sit back, relax and watch the imagery float on by.

Snorkelling on the other hand is an easy activity even the kids can do if you’re travelling with family. All you need is snorkel equipment in the form of a mask and breather and away you go. Some people use fins but they aren’t necessary. In many cases you can rent this equipment from your hotel for a nominal fee for day use (or longer) or some may provide it free of charge on snorkelling trips and the like. Snorkelling is a great way to explore the reefs and marine life without needing to get deeper in the water on a dive or feeling pressured to get qualified just to enjoy the things the sea has to offer.

As a general rule of thumb, the Banana Reef in the North Male Atoll is one of the best reefs for beginner divers as well as snorkelers of all levels. It’s rich with sea life and corals and is just an all around great spot for those who want a lazy snorkel with lots to see.

The Cultural Side

Even if you’re on a luxury holiday at one of the Maldivian prestigious resorts it can be a great opportunity to get off the resort for awhile and explore the real life side of this unique, beautiful and welcoming island chain. There are a number of so-called “home islands” or “local islands”. It’s on these islands you will find the real heart beat of the country, set amid working towns and villages with real people who make this place their home. It’s in these places you will find great dining opportunities to try dishes of all kinds from breakfast to dinner and beyond. Dance the night away to the Boduberu – a traditional local musical experience that can be found in amongst those who live here.

So if you’re looking for the ultimate island experience with lots to take in amid luxury resorts offering everything from boating trips to fishing, beach picnics to spa days, you can rest assured that you will have the experience of a lifetime exploring this gorgeous part of the world for whatever reason brings you here be it a family vacation, a couples getaway or a honeymoon.

 

Planning to Visit Igatpuri? Know Best Travel Tips that You Must Follow

Igatpuri is a hill station in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Igatpuri is a land of hills and Dhamma Giri Vipassana Centre. Tourists visit from around the world to explore the natural beauty of this hill station. If you are a photographer and nature admirer then Igatpuri is totally a place for you. Bhatsa River Valley, Vaitarna Dam, Camel Valley, Ashoka Waterfall and Dhamma Giri are some of the major destinations in the town of Igatpuri.

When should I visit Igatpuri?

A lot of tourists visit Igatpuri throughout the year. Although, the monsoon is considered as the best time to visit Igatpuri as during this time weather is quite wonderful. During monsoon season, the entire region of Igatpuri turns green. Winter is also a pleasant time to visit Igatpuri. People avoid visiting in summer season as summer is quite hot in the town of Igatpuri.

How can I reach the town of Igatpuri?

Igatpiri is located at the distance of about 120 km from Mumbai which hardly takes 3-hour by car. Mumbai, Aurangabad and Pune are the nearest airports to Igatpuri town. From the airport, various transportation facilities are available including local bus, taxi and train to reach the destination that is Igatpuri.

What are the best resorts in Igatpuri where I can stay with my family or friends?

You can check online various best resorts in Igatpuri for a luxurious and affordable stay.  You can also look for hotel or homestays. Taloli Tents Resort, The Grand Gardens Resort, Mystic Valley Resort, The Herb Farm and Manas Lifestyle are some the best hotels or resorts recommended by the travel experts and located in or near the town of Igatpuri. It is wise to book your stay beforehand so that you do not face any problem later on in getting a stay of your choice.

What are the places in Igatpuri that I must explore?

Camel Valley:

The Camel Valley is located near the Bhatsa River Valley in the town of Igatpuri. The major appeal of this camel-shaped valley is the waterfall which gushes down from a height of around 1,000 ft. The valley offers an astonishing view. The valley looks more beautiful during the season of monsoon. Don’t forget to take your camera to capture this scenic place which offers wonderful views.

Bhatsa River Valley:

Bhatsa River Valley is a picturesque place which has much to offer to the visitors who visit from around the world. At the end of Thal Ghat, this river valley is aesthetically located. The hills, the shining foliage, the woods and the river make it a must spot for visitors. Photographers and nature lovers cannot afford to miss this place. Bhatsa River Valley is in very close proximity to Camel Valley. Do not forget to take your camera for capturing wonderful shots.

Dhamma Giri:

Dhamma Giri is one of the major attractions in the town of Igatpuri so you can not afford to miss it. The large Golden Pagoda is the entrance for Dhamma Giri Vipassana Centre which you can easily spot from a far distance. This world’s largest meditation center was founded by S. N. Goenka. Dhamma Giri is surrounded by the Sahyadri hill range. The Vipassana International Academy offers 10 days course and the course is offered free of cost. The meditation techniques benefit your mind, body and soul. These techniques taught by Buddha in India 2500 years ago. The Vipassana Centre is open all days of the week.

Ashoka Waterfall:

Ashoka Waterfall is a season waterfall located at the distance of around 13.5 km from Igatpuri town. The waterfall is surrounded by the dense forest and also known as Vihigaon Falls as it is located in the Vihigaon village in Thane district of Maharashtra. The waterfall is cascading down from an altitude of about 120 feet into a pool. This is a must visit place for rappelling, hiking and bird watching. This place is known for many shots of Asoka film, starring Shahrukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor. This is an ideal spot for a picnic for spending some quality time with your family or friends.

Conclusion

Igatpuri has much to offer to the tourists who visit from around the world. This is a must visit place for the nature lovers. Don’t forget to take your camera for capturing wonderful memories of Igatpuri.

Browse best resorts in Igatpuri; you will get a long list of various resorts. Make sure that your resort is in close proximity to the major attractions in Igatpuri so that you do not have to incur a lot of time and money in reaching your destination. You can choose any of the resort as per your affordability and time. Also, book your resort as soon as possible.

Have a wonderful trip to the town of Igatpuri!

5 Benefits of Booking a Niagara Falls Hotel Package

Are you interested in visiting Niagara Falls in the near future? Will this be your first time to the area? Are you hoping to have the time of your life?

It doesn’t matter if you are visiting alone or with your family. It doesn’t matter if you are visiting for business or pleasure. There should only be one thing on your mind: having an enjoyable experience.

As you begin to research your trip, you’ll find that there are many hotels vying for your business. Some of them have even hired a marketing agency to give them the best possible chance to connect with their target audience.

The way you book your trip is your decision, but don’t overlook the many benefits of looking for Niagara Falls hotel packages online on a site like Expedia. Need more convincing? Here are 5 benefits of booking a hotel package for your next trip to Niagara Falls.

1. Easy to Find Online

There used to be a time when booking a Niagara Falls hotel package meant calling a travel agency, hearing about all your options, and attempting to make a decision without access to a lot of information.

Thanks to the internet, you no longer have to go down that path. You can now find a variety of Niagara Falls hotel packages online, ensuring that you’re in position to compare all your options.

2. Lower Price

You should always look to save money when taking a trip. Even if money is no object, nothing changes the fact that there are steps you can take to save a few dollars here and there.

When you book a Niagara Falls hotel package, everything is included in your price, but when you separately book different aspects of your trip, this isn’t the case. Subsequently, your costs can quickly rise.

3. Plenty of Options

Many people shy away from hotel packages because they don’t think they’ll have access to the best deals. You don’t want to get into this frame of mind. You can find plenty of options, as long as you search the internet with an open mind.

For example, there are travel packages for people on a budget. There are also travel packages for those traveling with children.

As long as you know what you want, you can find an option that suits your needs.

4. Customization

It goes without saying, that you’ll come across several Niagara Falls hotel packages. At first, you may not like what you see. However, remember this: most packages allow you to customize the details of your trip.

So, if you’re traveling with your children who enjoy webtoon comics, you can take this into consideration when comparing hotels. Maybe you’re traveling to Niagara Falls on your honeymoon. Once again, you can customize the trip to match the wants and needs of you and your partner.

5. Less Stress

There is never a good time to stress yourself out. This is particularly true when taking a trip. After all, this is supposed to be an enjoyable experience.

If you get stuck booking everything one piece at a time – such as your hotel, flights, and rental car – the stress of lining everything up can begin to bog you down.

With a Niagara Falls hotel package, you don’t have to worry about this. Once you choose your package, you know that everything you need will be waiting for you. Talk about a great way to reduce stress!

Read Online Reviews

As a final point of advice, it always makes sense to read online reviews before booking a hotel package. Sites like Oyster are dedicated to reviewing hotels, so take advantage of the time they’ve already spent! This will provide a clear view of what others think of the hotel, thus giving you an idea of what to do next.

You don’t have to believe everything you read, but you can pick up plenty of solid information by reading online reviews. You might as well take full advantage.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it. These are just a few of the many benefits of a Niagara Falls hotel package.

If you want to visit the area in the future, this is one of the better ways to get all the necessary details in order.

Do you have any experience traveling to Niagara Falls? Did you ever book a hotel package? What were the pros and cons of doing so? Share your experience and advice in the comment section below.