Discover The Wonders Of Canada

If you have had your fill of European destinations and want to try something new, Canada has more than most to offer the adventurous traveler. It’s vast open spaces and glorious scenery combine for a truly impressive traveling adventure.

You now require an eTA to visit Canada for tourism, transit or business trips that are going to last less than six months. You can find out lots more information and details of how to apply on the Canadian eta website so check this out several months before you leave. Make sure that you have adequate travel and health insurance in place and that your passport is up to date. If you are participating in sports such as skiing you may need additional insurance.

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Vancouver is a chic coastal city and an ideal base for your trip but it’s the outdoors that makes this area truly spectacular. Here are some sights that you cannot miss. Whatever your tastes in outdoor adventures, Vancouver, and the surrounding area has something to offer you that you will not be able to resist!

Stanley Park for garden lovers

There are more than 1,000 acres of space at Stanley Park making it one of the largest urban parks in North America. There is something for everyone there. You can take a relaxing stroll around the flowering gardens and wooded areas spotting the natural flora and fauna. For the more adventurous, you can hire a bike or some roller blades and check out the Seawall 5.5-mile path.

Grouse Mountain for winter sports lovers

True adventure is a short 15-minute drive from downtown Vancouver. On Grouse Mountain you can ski, snowboard, snowshoe or ice skate. If that is a bit much for you there are gentle sleigh rides as well. If your trip is in the summer, you don’t have to lose out. Swap winter sports for zip lines and trekking. The 1-mile long aerial tramway to the gorgeous Observatory restaurant is not to be missed.

Whistler Blackcomb for the gondolas

Travel a little further from Vancouver (around two hours) and you reach Whistler Blackcomb – a vast 8,000 acres of pure fun. There are two mountains and oceans of space where you can ride the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola. This is a perfect destination for a winter or a summer break so take your pick. Winter sports include skiing and snowboarding but in the summer, you can go mountain-biking along challenging trails and try out outdoor adventures like zip trekking. The area is well serviced by more than 130 restaurants so refueling after your exercise is not a problem! If the weather does turn a little bad you can always head indoors to one of the 200 shops!

Sea safari for water lovers

A coastal city has got to have coastal adventures and Vancouver does not fail in this. You can spot seals, whales, and blue herons in the waters near the city. You can choose from a sedate kayak trip or a thrilling sea safari from Howe Sound.

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What to do in the Dordogne

Nestled in the heart of south-western France lies the beautifully serene Dordogne area. Between the Loire Valley and the Pyrenees mountain range, you can spend your time enjoying what this fabulous region has to offer to any lover of the outdoors.

Book one of the mountain bike holidays that are available in the area and explore on two wheels. You can hire cycles from Etang de Coucou to tour the hamlets and villages, or venture into the rural countryside and catch the breathtaking landscapes. Try your hand at quad biking, with many sites available including one at Hautefort.

France, Périgord, Dordogne, Beynac Castle

[Photo courtesy of DomyD/pixabay.com]

The area certainly isn’t short of water sports holidays either. Sure, you’re in the heart of the south of France without a beach for miles, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the watery wonders that the Dordogne River has to offer. There is also a large leisure lake at Lanouaille for you to visit.

Travel to La Roque-Gageac for some great fun canoeing down the river. Spy local wildlife as you go and moor on the shingled shorelines for an ice cream or light refreshment. Wade in the shallow freshwater to cool off from the heat before arriving at base and grabbing a spot of lunch.

For the sport fanatics, there are 18-hole golf courses in both Perigeux and Brive for you to attempt to get holes in one, or the courts at Agnan will keep your thirst for tennis thoroughly quenched.

Combine this with the oodles of heritage, history and natural beauty and your itinerary will be jam packed for the duration of your vacation. Hire a car so that your possibilities are endless. With chateaus and quaint villages dotted all over the Dordogne, not to mention the high quality wines, confit de canard and foie gras to sink your teeth into, you will be sure to wish to return to the south of France again and again.

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Camping In Comfort: Taking The Stress Out Of The Great Outdoors

Camping is one of those vacations that people have incredibly strong opinions on. People either think that camping is the best thing ever, that it reconnects you with the world around you and makes you feel alive and free from the trappings of everyday modern life. Or they think that it’s uncomfortable, inconvenient and pointless. After all, why spend your time in a cramped tent feeling cold and damp when you can be spread out on a large bed in a hotel suite? Of course, the challenge comes when you’re not such a fan of camping, but you’re outvoted, either by friends or family and end up getting dragged along against your will. When that happens, you have two choices. You can sulk the entire time and make yourself and everyone around you miserable, or you can do what you can to make the whole thing as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Here are just a few ways to make the most of your time camping when you’re not such a fan of the great outdoors.

Get comfortable

adventure, camping, forest

[Photo courtesy of Unsplash/pexels.com]

The biggest complaint that a lot of people have when it comes to camping is that it’s uncomfortable. Having to spend their vacation lying on the hard ground feeling cold and miserable is far from their idea of a good time. It’s lucky then that there are plenty of ways to make camping a much more comfortable experience overall. Thermal sleeping bags allow you to stay nice and warm regardless of the weather outside, while something like the lightspeed air bed allows you to sleep soundly without worrying about waking up with a broken spine from sleeping on a tree root all night. Sure, camping is never going to be the same experience as a five-star hotel, but that doesn’t mean it has to be uncomfortable and unpleasant.

Bring a touch of home with you

There was a time when, if you were going on a camping trip, you had to leave everything about your home life behind. All you had to keep yourself company and entertained was the world around you, a book, and maybe a deck of cards if you remembered to pack it. However now, thanks to things like smartphones and wearable technology, you can bring the comfort and convenience of home with you. This way you can enjoy miserable, rainy days in a tent streaming your favorite shows, instead of sitting around feeling bored.

Embrace it

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[Photo courtesy of Unsplash/pexels.com]

Of course, if you really want to get the most out of an experience, the very best thing to do is to just embrace it. Throw yourself into it without worry or hesitation. Think of it like getting into a cold shower. It might be jarring at first, but you get used to it very quickly and often come to enjoy it far more than you thought you would. Get stuck into all of the things that really make camping fun: getting away from technology, enjoying the simplicity of the world around you, taking things slowly and being totally self-sufficient. You may never be the true survivalist type, but if you embrace the joy of camping in all its glory, you may well discover a passion that you never even knew you had.

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The Great Outdoors: Why Camping Really Is The Perfect Holiday

Everyone likes a different kind of vacation, and that’s great! After all, if everyone liked the same things all the time, then life would get very boring indeed. But sometimes people have a tendency to get stuck in a rut when it comes to picking a vacation spot. This usually happens when you find yourself picking the same places and types of vacations over and over again. The very best thing that you can do is to try to find ways to break that monotony with a little bit of variation. Why not try something completely new? Take yourself and your family away on a vacation that you may have never considered. An ideal vacation idea to really sweep the cobwebs out it camping. While it’s not everyone’s first choice for the perfect getaway, there are actually a lot of things to recommend camping. Here are just a few things that might actually make it the perfect vacation.

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[Photo courtesy of Unsplash/pexels.com]

Freedom

One of the great things about camping is that it lacks a lot of the rigid structures that can often come with many different types of vacation. After all, if you’ve got a seriously strict itinerary for every day then you might get a lot done, but there’s a much greater chance of people feeling seriously stressed out. When you’re camping, you get to be in charge of your own schedule and itinerary. Do you want to get up at the crack of dawn to go exploring? Then you can. Or would you and your family rather huddle together in a bear butt hammock and spend your day lounging around reading and talking? Then that’s a perfect option as well. There are few vacations that offer the sense of freedom that camping does.

Reconnecting with family

Despite the fact that you probably spend every single day with each other, it’s surprisingly easy to feel like you’ve lost touch with your family. A lot of this can be chalked up to the fact that so many of us spend so much time staring at screens. Whether it’s watching TV, sitting on the computer, or just checking your phone every few minutes, the constant presence of technology makes it incredibly easy to lose that all important connection with those around you. Camping is a fantastic way to get that connection back. By getting away from technology, you can spend some quality time with your family with no distractions. You may even find that the renewed connection has a big impact on your lives once you get home.

Getting back to nature

It’s a sad fact that so many of us seem to have lost that sense of connection with the world on which we live. Even if you’re not into the whole “flower power” thing, there’s something to be said for getting out into nature and really being able to appreciate it. Free from the constant barrage of noise that often accompanies most of our daily lives, you learn to really appreciate the simplicity and beauty of the natural world around you.

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How To Experience Your First Great European Adventure

Traveling to a new continent is always exciting. Expanding your perspective of the world by venturing to an entirely different landmass with its own customs, laws, and history is arguably one of the most humbling experiences you can embark on. It takes you far away from your comfort zone and thrusts you into a new mode of life. You’re sure to learn a lot.

If the continent in question is Europe though, all of this goes tenfold. Nowhere else in the world will you find a continent so varied in cultures, so historically and artistically rich, and home to some of the greatest inventions human beings have produced.

[Photo courtesy of Charles Clegg/flickr.com]

If you’re either traveling alone or with a group of friends, it’s responsible for taking the time now to plan how you’re going to explore. It would take you several lifetimes to correctly explore Europe to it’s fullest potential, but you can get pretty close to some of the best methods of doing so.

Identify Your Culture Of Most Interest

If you’re not a fan of the scatter-gun approach to traveling, and instead prefer to settle in a culture to explore it fully and in-depth, you should first spend time assessing what culture you’d most enjoy being part of. Is great food your passion? Consider heading to Italy or France. Is nail-biting sport your preference? Consider England or Spain. Enjoy an amazing house clubbing scene? Germany is your best bet.

Taking a targeted approach in this way will help you best acclimate to traveling to Europe, getting in the country and finding the best ways to travel when within it. Just remember that despite being part of the EU, all the cultures are vastly different and will have varied interpersonal customs to keep in mind.

Interrailing

Interrailing has dramatically grown in popularity over the last ten years, and for good reason. For a low price, you can travel throughout 30 EU countries on the interlinked train system. That’s right, for the price of one ticket, you can do up to 30 countries.

If you enjoy traveling by train, that’s an amazing offer. It’s also a great way to do the ‘backpacking’ experience because staying in hostels around the area is a cheap and efficient way to take care of your washing, sleeping and resting needs. This lends itself well to solo travelers, but is also very popular among groups.

Driving

If you prefer traveling and a little more freedom of movement, driving the EU could be your best bet. This is an excellent way to experience varying road systems and the gorgeous landscapes thereof. Just be very mindful that you study what side of the road you drive on, as different EU countries have different rules.

Things To Keep In Mind

If traveling in or after 2020, ensure your ETIAS authorization applications are up-to-date and correct. For more information, check their website.

Also, if you’re traveling to the United Kingdom after the Brexit negotiations have been concluded and implemented, then be sure you do your research. Your initial traveling permissions might not be as valid as they once were.

To summarize, make the most of it! Europe is truly one of the most fascinating areas in the world, and a study of its cultures, geographies, and tourist offerings will surely keep you coming back time and time again.

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A Delicate Balance: A Window to the Batanes Way of Life

A breathtaking verdant landscapes and blue waters which is alternately agitated and calm is the popular images of Batanes.  Batanes the northernmost Philippine islands is more than just a weekend getaway,  it has long been part of a traveler’s must-go-and-experience list.

A project of The Museo ng Kaalamang Katutubo (MusKKat)  a book entitled “A Delicate Balance: Batanes Food, Ecology and Community” explores how food, ecology, nature, and tradition, have shaped the Ivatan way of life in the last 4,000 years.  It also explains too that the Ivatan and the Itbayat, people of the Batanes, knew well how to husband resources through aeons, without depleting or otherwise compromising nature.

The book was ritten by Corazon S. Alvina and Marian Pastor Roces and complemented with insightful photographs by Neal Oshima, the book shows the intricate but robust relationships within the Ivatan communities and how traditional Ivatan and Itbayat food is interconnected with the islands’ microsystems.

Officially launched this November, the book is a result of the collaboration with, and the consolidation of the substantive research work of, archaeologists, anthropologists, boat makers, botanists, Ivatan experts and cooks, a professional urban chef, nutritionists, geologists, sea current specialists, and zoologists.  “A Delicate Balance: Batanes Food, Ecology and Community” is available for purchase and priced at P3,850 via www.phfoodecosystems.com.

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Travel Trends – Villa Rentals Are Becoming More Popular Than Hotels

They’re nestled in the valleys and perched atop cliffs. They love beach fronts and swimming pools. They enjoy space, fresh air, and the greatest of comforts. When it comes to vacations in some of the world’s most beautiful spots, people all around the world are finding out that hotels are not the only choice they have for a place to stay… Often, they aren’t even the best. An increasingly popular choice for couples, families, and even business groups, villa rentals provide something very different from a room with two beds, a bathroom, and little else to speak of.

Housed on individual properties instead of structures with a dozen bedrooms or more, luxury villas are more like a temporary home than a place to sleep. In fact, most of them have actually been used as houses before being sold or leased to villa rental companies, and their architecture, comfort, and style reflect this history. What travelers have been finding out is that these luxurious homes offer a lot more than they expected to find on vacations.

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[View of Senderlea, a luxury villa in St. James Parish, Barbados]

One of the most popular features of Caribbean villas are the private swimming pools, available on many of the rental properties. Often located outside in the sun, these private pools allow you to take a dip in the water without worrying about other families crowding the area or disrupting your leisurely enjoyment. However, it isn’t just the pools that offer space. Villas serve primarily as homes, not bedrooms, and have room to spare in their spacious living and dining areas, well-stocked kitchens, porches and gardens, and attached facilities. With properties ranging from single-bedroom houses on the beach to complexes with ten or even twenty bedrooms, it’s easy to find a property that’s the right size for your trip, however many people are coming along.

With entertainment, relaxation, and great locations alongside beaches and inside inviting neighborhoods, vacation properties offer an experience that can’t be matched by more traditional hotels. In a time when travelers are looking to get the most out of their experiences, these features may explain why more and more people are turning to villa rentals as the way to stay.

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Take A Healthy Walk Through Paris

Here’s a suggestion to keep in mind for your next trip to Paris.  If you plan to go somewhere or do things that are full of outdoor activity and exercise, then you might want to have some of Garmin’s best electronic and outdoor accessories on hand to help make your trip enjoyable.

Garmin offers a selection of activewear and outdoor equipment that is perfect when going on trips which require a great deal of physical activity, like skiing, cycling, hiking or similar sports and recreation.  And you can find the best Garmin deals and sales available on Groupon coupons.

For example, there are Groupon coupons a buyer can use to purchase personal navigation devices and equipment to use in the car, on a motorcycle, or even on yourself.  So you can go for extended bicycle rides – even your own personal Tour de France – using the GPS system and mileage counter you get from Garmin with your Groupon coupon.  You can also obtain the weatherproof and shock-resistant timepieces and exercise monitoring equipment you need to keep track of your new cardio-vascular exercise program.  And Garmin can also provide you with equipment that monitors your health performance as you exercise, including counting steps, mileage, and heartbeats.

Such products can be a godsend when you visit a walkable city like Paris.  One can spend days wandering through Paris neighborhoods, climbing the steps to the cafes and bistros in Montmartre, strolling through the diverse clubs and sights along the Left Bank, or walking through the historic palace at Versailles.  Indeed, a visit to Paris almost demands that the traveler be prepared to walk for miles, since nearly every neighborhood brings new and fascinating experiences and encounters with history, art and culture.  Put on an ankle monitor from Garmin, your most comfortable walking shoes, grab a pair of sunglasses, a small wallet with some euros handy in case you need them, and go for a stroll through the diverse communities that comprise the City of Light.  Your walks will be so enjoyable that you will completely forget the exercise you are getting – at least until you check your monitor.  Nor do you need to worry about getting lost; you can rely upon your portable GPS from Garmin to keep you pointed in the right direction.  So just get out and start walking!

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Saving Up In New York Staying In Affordable Hotels

New York is one of the cities in the world that frequently gets visitors. Not only because it is the center of business and fashion but it also houses the John F. Kennedy International Airport; known for being the 17th busiest airports in the world.

One day visit is for sure not enough but don’t worry because you would be scheduling up another visit anytime soon. Bear in mind that in order to fully explore its beauty, make sure you know how to budget your time and most importantly your money.

New York, Skyline, New York City, City, Manhattan

[Photo courtesy of mpewny/pixabay.com]

Staying in New York might be costly but if you just know where to look, they also have several affordable hotels located near major establishments. Staying here would also mean learning to reach some of the destinations on your feet. Full-blooded New Yorkers know how to do the subway and can walk from several minutes without losing their poise.

Another way of keeping your New York visit at a lower cost would be booking your flights few months before your planned visit. It would also include booking at the affordable hotels in advance because in New York anytime can get busy thus anytime can become a peak season and you might end up having a hard time to look for a place to stay.

Since you’ve already saved up on staying in affordable hotels and booking your flights in advance, you will have enough budget to try out their sumptuous dishes. The city is known to be the melting pot of various international cuisines and this is something that you shouldn’t miss. Invest on their food and don’t forget to take pictures.

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How to Beat the Solo Travel Blues in South East Asia

South East Asia is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and for good reason. Prices are relatively cheap, the locals are friendly and both the natural landscape and man-made attractions are breathtaking.

The area is also well-known for its solo travellers and although these individuals are looking forward to a truly independent trip, they still experience feelings of anxiety and loneliness from time to time. For those of you planning an extended trip around South East Asia, here are some tips to keep the blues away.

Help the locals

South East Asia is full of opportunities for you to help the local population and these provide a great opportunity to keep busy, meet new people and give something back to the community. Sustainable tourism is hugely important to the area and one of the ways you can contribute to this is by getting involved with local education and community schemes.

Angkor, Wat, Cambodia, Old, Asia, Architecture, Ruin

[Photo courtesy of Poswiecie/pixabay.com]

If this sounds like the ideal way for you to keep busy on your travels, why not volunteer in Thailand, teach English in Cambodia, or become a football coach in Vietnam?

Be outgoing

Make the most of any opportunity you have to meet new people. If you’re staying in a hostel, for example, don’t spend all evening in a dark corner of your room, head to the common area and make some new friends.

Backpackers and solo travellers are often easy to spot and many of them, while enjoying their independence, are grateful for some company on their travels. There are many great sites to choose from filled with like-minded tourists, from the bustling Kaoh San Road in Bangkok to the smaller town of Phong Nha Ke Bang in Vietnam. If you put yourself out there you’ll surely make a friend on your travels and you may just make one for life.

[Amarapura, Myanmar]

Regional tours

Another sure-fire way of meeting fellow travellers is to take part in a regional tour. Fortunately, there are a wide range of established schemes all over South East Asia. Hanoikids is just one example of a student-run organisation that helps English speaking travellers find their way around.

As well as gaining a genuine insight into the culture and traditions of your travel destination, a regional tour brings together large groups of English speakers, so it’s the perfect opportunity to meet people.

Get away from the crowds

Although you’ll want to visit the must-see attractions like Angkor Wat in Cambodia, there are many sights that haven’t yet become fully-fledged tourist hotspots, but are still definitely worth seeing.

[Palawan, Philippines]

The beautiful south coast of Myanmar remains barely touched by tourism, for example, and gives you the chance to explore the local fishing community in peace. Sumatra in Indonesia, El Nido in the Philippines and Don Khong Island in Laos offer similar respite from tourists, but the good thing is these places aren’t completely cut off – far from it. Plus, these quieter environments usually give you more time to get to know those around you – both tourists and locals alike.

So, if you’re planning a solo trip to South East Asia, remember that “solo” doesn’t have to mean “lonely.” By visiting the right places and having the right attitude you’ll not only find plenty of sights to see, but also many new people to meet.

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