Backpacking

Backpackers in New Zealand

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New Zealand is one of the most famous countries for filming locations, and on the islands of New Zealand several blockbusters were filmed including the three parts of The Lord of the Rings, the Star Wars series, and the Hobbit who was entirely filmed on the island, the North and the South islands. In these movies you can see the majestic scenery of the country, great mountains with snowy peaks and beautiful green hills, and beneath them plains of green and the sight of the sea.

If these were enough reasons to visit New Zealand, grab you backpack and start to explore the islands, you will experience beautiful nature untouched by human hand, hiking and tracking on the numerous trails and tracks in the mountains, there are also tours that offer visits to the filming locations of the lord of the rings. While you are in the mountains and in nature you can see the abundant and unique flora and fauna of these most remote regions of the world. If you are more into walking and sightseeing head to the capital city of Wellington which quite cheap, yet beautiful, there are several museums that deserve to be seen in the city.

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Although New Zealand’s tourism is on the rise, prices are not that expensive and this is especially good for backpackers and those travelling on a low budget.  There are many bus lines on the islands that are cheap and perfect for backpackers, trains are also good option for moving around the island. When it comes to accommodation, hostels are the first choice of backpackers, it is cheap and it is a great way to make new friends from all around the world, and hostels in New Zealand offer many extras. There are many possibilities and things to be done in New Zealand for everyone.

Air Travel

Fly to Paris

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The hometown of many French writers and historically important characters, of many movie actors and singers, the city of great architecture and some of the greatest and majestic museums is Paris. The capital city of France is one of the most famous cities in the whole world, but it is also one of the most expensive cities. This is why, especially when you travel on a tight budget, you should try to lower your expenses when it comes to travel costs, cutting on costs for air tickets to Paris is important because Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the world.

So if you plan to visit Paris be sure to explore more and find yourself an air ticket on acceptable price. If you plan to visit during winter or autumn you can find much cheaper flights, almost any flying company includes flying to Paris and many low – cost companies are travelling to Paris also. In order to have a much cheaper flight, the best solution always is to book the flight as early as possible, because of the discounts offered on an early booking.

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There are three international airports in or near Paris, Charles de Gaulle International Airport is the major airport of the city, Orly and Beauvais are the other two. Once you have arrived on the airport, you can take a bus to the center of the city and it takes half an hour to hour, there are frequent traffic jams on the roads. The train takes you to the center of the city for a little more than half an hour and it is one of the cheaper transports, although everything in Paris is expensive and prices in the airport are really high.

 

Travel Deals

La Tomatina – Valencia

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La Tomatina is a festival held in the town of Bunol, Valencia in the country of Spain. The date of the festival differs as it is held at the last Wednesday of August each year, and the festival is also known as the biggest food fight in the world. The festival has its origins back from the 1945 and it has been held ever since, it began with a tomato fight amongst little children.

Although the fight last for one day, the festival itself goes for a week and it features many activities and events, such as dancing and music, parades, fireworks, cooking competitions etc. Because the town of Bunol is small and because of the fact that many locals, but now also many tourists from all around the world, come to visit the festival, accommodation is hard to be found during the festival, this is why many tourists stay in Valencia and travel to Bunol, which is less than 40 km distance.

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The main event happens at the last Wednesday of August and it begins in 9 o’clock at the center of the town, where pastries and delicacies are given to the visitors as breakfast. At 11 o’clock trucks with tomatoes arrive at the center of the town, a soap greased pole is erected where a leg of ham is hanged, when someone is brave and strong enough to climb and take the ham, the festival is ready to start. The start is announced with water cannons and the battle begins. It is allowed to throw only tomatoes and smash them a before throwing them, participants are also advised to wear goggles. After one hour of tomato projectiles the festival fight ends again with the signal of the water cannons. After this participants go to wash themselves in the river or where they are accommodated and authorities immediately start the cleaning of the town.

Destinations

Vietnam – new tourist destination

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Vietnam is an eastern Asian country, and it is among the most populated countries in the world. When it comes to the name of Vietnam, everyone connects it with the Vietnam War and the American intervention in this war. But this country has much more to offer than history connected to the war, and this is why Vietnam is now one of the most visited countries in Asia. Aside from places that are connected with the war, there are many architectural building to visit in the country, spectacular natural beaches and beautiful natural sites such as rice field and rivers.

If you are in Vietnam one place that you should surely visit is the descending dragon, this is the meaning of the Ha Long Bay, there are over 3000 islands here that promise wonderful time and many activities such as swimming and water sports, exploring beautiful nature etc. If you are interested solely in beaches than you should visit the Danang beach; with nine resorts of beaches and many establishments that serve typical Vietnam cuisine.

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Hanoi is the capital city of the county, although it is not the biggest. Hanoi is the cultural and historical center in Vietnam, there are many French colonial buildings to see, especially in the French Quarter, where the old building are well preserved and with the many small streets  it reminds of a typical French suburb. There is a beautiful lake in the center of the city where you can stop to relax and enjoy. If you are interested into royal history of the country you should visit the Hoa Lu, the ancient royal complex, dedicated to the King Dihn and Le, who lived in the 10th century. In the southern part of the country is the Mekong Delta, where you can see diverse flora and fauna and engage in many activities.

Destinations

The diverse Venezuela

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Venezuela is located country on the north of the South American continent at the coast of Atlantic ocean, it is a country with great biodiversity, on the west side of the country are located the Andes while on the south is the Amazon Basin and its rainforest and in the east is the Orinoco river and its delta. Because of this there is an abundant flora and fauna, with many unique animals to see, like the Amazon River dolphins, manatees and the Orinoco crocodiles, jaguars in the rainforests and cloud forests, there are also many thousands species of orchids in the forests, which are spectacular and endemic.

Venezuela, although it has great resources, especially of oil, is not really well developed and standards are not that good, however there are many spectacular things to visit in the country. The country western side is where the Andes are, there are great for those that like to go on hiking, those who enjoy nature, there are many waterfalls and rivers in the region and beautiful forests. The capital city of Caracas is one of the main tourist attractions, it is the political center of the country and there are many famous South American people born in the city, the city has a cable car that heads to the mountain and it offers spectacular sights of the city.

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If you get tired from sightseeing in the cities or wandering in the rainforest, head to the island of Margarita, north of the Atlantic coast of the country. This is a tropic island with many beautiful beaches and clear waters, where you can go for sunbathing, swimming, diving and snorkeling, windsurfing and other watersports.  Another interesting location is the Los Roques archipelago where you can do many water sports, observe bird and wildlife or go fishing. Venezuela has great potentials that are yet to be explored and presented to the world, so you won’t regret if you visit it.

Backpacking

Backpacking South America

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The South American countries are among the cheapest countries in the world, almost all of the countries offer great diversity of flora and fauna, spectacular natural sights and one of the greatest natural systems – the Amazonian rainforest, South American and Latin people are especially friendly and kind hearted, this and many more are the reasons why you should grab your backpack and visit the South American continent.

Backpacking in the South America can be very cheap; the only places where you should be more cautious about prices are the popular tourist countries, such as Brazil and Chile, while in countries like Bolivia and Columbia you can expect low costs. When you are visiting foreign country you should always check the currency and the exchange rate, because in countries like those in Latin America you can easily be tricked.  Good information to be noted is the weather condition in the locations you are planning to visit, especially because they can vary a lot.

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South America offers spectacular sight whether you go hiking in the greatest range of mountains in the America , the Andes, or you go hiking and exploring in the Amazon rainforests there is much to be seen, so be sure to take a camera with you, there will be many and beautiful photography and with them memories. But when it comes to wearing a camera in most of the poorer parts of the continent be sure to hide it well, do the same with all your valuable accessories and documents and cash, be sure to have them at a secure place.

When you explore the continent be sure to try the local delicacies, tropical fruits, seafood, Argentina’s steaks etc. Also be sure to visit the many local bars where you can try great variety of cocktails for cheap prices.

Air Travel

Air travel to Stockholm

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    One of the most popular cities in Europe, an important historical and cultural center of the northern Europe and probably on the Scandinavian Peninsula is the capital city of the Kingdom of Sweden. If you have decided to visit Stockholm, and there are many reasons to do it, you should know that prices in the city are above the average priced of Europe, but when it comes to air travel, competition has made air travel prices quite cheap, so visiting Stockholm by plane may be the cheapest, fastest and safest way.

Around forty kilometers north of the city of Stockholm is the ARN, the Stockholm – Arlanda International Airport, where your demand is served by more than sixty major airlines, such as KLM, British Airlines etc. SAS, or the Scandinavian Airlines are the domestic carrier of Sweden and Scandinavia, and offer many routes on the peninsula and abroad. Another local airline option is the Norwegian Airlines, which is also offering cheap flights to many major European places.    

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    Upon arriving at the airport, visitors can rent a car at the car rental companies which are located at the airport, public transport is the other option and it includes taxi, train or bus. There are airport coaches that are arriving and departing regularly, at every 10 – 15 minutes, and are one of the best options for moving around.    

Some of the cheaper flying companies, such as Ryanair and Wizz Air are arriving at the airport of Skavsta, which is more than an hour drive to Stockholm, but this is compensated with the cheaper price of the ticket. Other airports near the city of Stockhold include the Vasteras Airport and the Bromma Airport, Bromma is the most central of all airports, but ii is mainly about internal flights.

Miscellaneous

How to Avoid Being a Target for Luggage Theft

Sadly, things can go missing from a traveller’s baggage and in different circumstances. Luggage is stolen from restaurant lobbies, limos or even pulled from underneath the traveller’s seat as they enjoy their refreshments. They are not the usual crook-on-the-street type either: unfortunately, a number of airport workers are getting into the habit as well. A review of last year’s reports on luggage theft shows numerous reported cases in 2012. And odds are that you know someone who has been a victim of luggage at one time or the other. Perhaps you are the one who has had your stuff missing from your checked baggage.

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However, not just checked luggage is a target for baggage theft. While sticky fingered airport employees are rare, they can remove stuff from traveller’s purses and bags, especially in the screening section. The worst thing is that the airline might not willingly repay you for any missing stuff. Their ticket regulations hardly cover theft of heirlooms, furs, electronics, jewellery or any other costly goods. For that reason, according to the team at AXA PPP International, it is important to learn how to avoid being a target for luggage theft.

Firstly, keep your most valuable items with you, and avoid storing them in the luggage. Cash, furs, electronics and other precious goods can be seen easily via security scanners, hence, they should not be put in any of your checked baggage.

Secondly, come up with a list of all that you have packed in your luggage (you can include the stuff you buy on the way). Keep your list in your mobile phone or just take photos of all that you want to pack in your bags before travelling. This will help you verify a theft has happened, making it easier for you to make a substantial report of what you find missing.

Thirdly, keep all your items close. In case you want to relax or catch some sleep on a plane or train, note that not all travellers will be asleep as well. Thieves are fast and always on the lookout for a chance to pounce. If you really want to sleep, slip your foot under the handle of the luggage, let it act as a pad or fasten it to yourself with a belt. This will ensure you wake up in case someone attempts to search through the items or grab it from you.

Fourthly, lock your luggage with straps or locks that are approved by your insurance company. While this will not prevent stealing by staff or agents, it will help you avoid theft from other people because your luggage will look harder to access.

Another way to avoid luggage theft is to keep a close eye on your luggage. Thefts are known to happen at security screenings before you even board an airplane.

Finally, frustratingly bright luggage is not a crooks’ friend. A multicoloured bag is extremely easy to identify and mark, especially where there are numerous plain bags, thus picking a vibrant luggage can make it unique and so a thief will be reluctant to snatch it.

Destinations

Bird watching at the lakes of Prespa

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At the meeting place of the borders of the three Balkan countries, Greece, Albania and Macedonia are located the two Prespa Lakes, these two lakes are tectonic natural lakes and are among the oldest European lakes. The smaller lake is located entirely in Greece, while the bigger lake is divided between the three countries and the biggest part of the lake belongs to Macedonia. The major Prespa Lake is the second popular lake in Macedonia, while Ohrid Lake is the most popular Macedonian lake.

The major Prespa Lake is very significant because of its abundant flora and fauna, both on land and in the water, both of the lakes are famous for the carp, which is a local specialty, and can be tasted in most of the local villages and in the small town of Resen, near the lake.  The area around the lake is offering refuge to many bird species and there are many species of birds here to be seen. There are many hills rising above the lake, with many caves, rocks and cliffs and mountain massifs going higher than 2000 meters, and from here you can see the lakes both Prespa and Ohrid.

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The diverse terrain and the water basins made this place heaven for nature enthusiasts and bird watchers. The lakes Prespa are home to more than 170 species of birds but most important they offer refuge to many rare and endemic species. If you visit some of the local villages and take a boat tour around the major lake and near the island Golem Grad you will see huge flocks of birds and spectacular sights. Here you can see the Pygmy Cormorant and Dalmatian Pelican, which are still here in big numbers, while they are almost extinct worldwide.

Travel Deals

The Dutch cuisine – beer and cheese

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One of the most important countries in Europe is the Netherlands, which is still known as the Kingdom of the Netherlands, it is also one of the most popular and favorite tourist attractions. The land of the watery canals and coffee shops, land of architecture and windmill has many things to offer and most of them are sophisticated and made with great technique, dedication and love. The same can be said about the Dutch cuisine, today especially in the bigger cities in Holland you can try all the world cuisines and every threat you can imagine, but the Dutch people have many local specialties to offer.

When it comes to Netherlands and food and drinks, first thing that comes to mind is the Dutch beer, there are several of the world most famous and consumed brands of beer that have origin from the Netherlands. If you are in Amsterdam you can visit few beer museums that offer great experience and unforgettable moments.  There are also many small local breweries in the cities and many pubs that offer great variety of beers. If you are already in a pub and drinking beer, one of the best things to eat with it are the Dutch cheeses.

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The Dutch are known for their farms that are almost similar to those in the children stories, beautiful black and white cows on lush green fields are the sources of milk for the Dutch cheese. There are many varieties of cheese and they come from cow, sheep or goat milk or from mixture. There are tours dedicated to cheese including visits of farms, while in the bigger cities there are specialized stores for cheese only, where you can try the cheese before you buy it, there are also gift packs.

Miscellaneous

Five Things to Take on a Family Holiday

Going away with children means there will inevitably be more things to pack, which ultimately means more things to potentially forget! Do a full checklist in the weeks prior to your holiday and tick them off when you’ve packed each item. That way, you can truly relax once you get there.

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1. Clothing

Whether you’re staying in the UK or going abroad, you should consider the weather at your destination carefully. If you’re going somewhere warm, you won’t need to fill your case with sweatshirts and jumpers, but maybe add a couple of warmer garments should it get cooler in the evenings. Staying in the UK will mean taking a variety of clothing to tailor for the ever-changing weather. So take sweatshirts, rainwear, a jacket as well as more summery outfits. For the children, remember to take a sunhat and UV protected beachwear – when it does warm up in the UK we can get caught out and burn quickly.

2. Medicines

Depending on your destination, you will be able to get medicines when on holiday, but particularly if going abroad, it is useful to take your medicines with you for those unexpected health issues, which seem to inevitably happen when children go on holiday! Also, going to other countries can bring medical issues such as sunstroke, or upset stomachs and it’s great to have the relevant painkillers and diarrhea tablets to hand. Take plasters with you and any antibacterial creams or insect sprays; you don’t want to be wasting precious holiday time trying to buy these items whilst away.

3. Digital Camcorders

Memories of childhood are often of holidays so taking one of the best digital camcorders for your budget on holiday will keep those special memories stored for the future. The best type to take away would be a pocket camcorder as they are cheaper than HD camcorders and are perfect for catching the spontaneous times on holidays. Make sure you pack your camcorder securely, perhaps in your hand luggage, so as to prevent any damage whilst travelling. Also make sure to take with you any leads, chargers or spare batteries.

4. Travel Guides

Kids need to be entertained all of the time, so consider taking away with you a travel guide. This doesn’t have to mean filling your case with books; it simply means make sure you’ve researched where you’re going so that you know various places to take the kids out if the weather’s bad, as well as decent places to eat that are child friendly. You could do this via the Internet before you go and print off some local information.

5. Pop-Up Beach Tent

If you have younger children then another essential item is a pop-up beach tent. These fold up to become flat so perfectly fit in a suitcase or bottom of the car boot and are lightweight. Go for a UV one, as some can be very thin letting harmful rays in. It’s a great thing to take away as buying tents on holiday can be expensive and may not be suitable for your needs.

Pippa Smith is a seasoned writer for many websites and blogs and writes mostly about travel and family issues, as well as consumer products such as digital camcorders.