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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