Category Archives: Winter Travel

Most popular Winter Travel and Vacations spots from around the World. Enjoy the beauty of snow and have fun with winter sports, such as ski and tubing.

Top 10 Best Things To Do In Tenerife

To have the best time of your life on Tenerife Island, here are our suggestions for the top 10 best things to do in Tenerife, part of the Canary Islands in Spain.

Pro Tip: Book your accommodation in a central location that is close to popular attractions, restaurants, and bars.

1. Visit the famous Teide National Park and hike to the top of Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain.

2. Enjoy the beautiful beaches of Tenerife and go swimming, surfing, or snorkeling in the crystal clear waters.

3. Visit the historic town of La Laguna, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and explore its beautiful architecture and museums.

4. Experience the nightlife of Tenerife and visit some of the popular clubs and bars in Playa de las Americas or Los Cristianos.

Los Cristianos Coast in Tenerife

5. Go on a boat tour and see the dolphins and whales in their natural habitat.

6. Visit the Loro Parque, a famous zoo and amusement park, and see the exotic animals and thrilling rides.

7. Try some of the local cuisine, such as papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) and mojo (spicy sauce), and taste some of the famous wines of Tenerife.

8. Visit the Mount Teide Observatory and see the stars and planets through the telescopes.

9. Take a trip to the neighboring island of La Gomera and explore its beautiful forests and nature reserves.

10. Relax and unwind in one of the many spas and wellness centers in Tenerife and rejuvenate your mind and body.

You can also try out water sports such as surfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean. But most importantly, take time to relax and unwind at the end of your trip, enjoying the island’s peaceful atmosphere and beautiful sunsets.

7 Best Places To Celebrate New Year’s Eve

The billion-dollar question of this month is where are you going to celebrate your New Year’s Eve? With the second and third waves of Covid19 case spikes and new lockdowns around the globe, many people have already ditched their new year’s plans.

But not all is bad news. The vaccines are already being administered and there are plans put in place to vaccinate most of the developed world by end of 2021 and the entire world by 2024.

Those who are lucky enough to travel next year, we have some great suggestions for you. If not this year, you can always make your plans for 2022. Hey, there is nothing to lose by planning ahead!

Have your pick from the below-mentioned destinations. Whether you want to kiss below the Big Ben or party hard in New York, we have it all laid out for you.

LAS VEGAS

If you think that you cannot stand and enjoy in any busy street of Las Vegas you are wrong. The whole city comes alive with fireworks set from the seven rooftops. Apart from the exciting countdown and dazzling fireworks, the city becomes sans-car.

All the streets host all-night parties, displaying talented bands from around the world. Get caught up in the thrilling excitement of laser shows, wild parties, and over-the-top concerts.

LONDON

Those who have a bit of refined taste ought to change their option from Las Vegas to London. When the needle strikes twelve, pull your loved one closer and kiss them hard.

The massive tower above you is an epic landmark to start your New Year. Thousands of tourists from around the globe gather for the countdown and witness the 10 minutes light show.

If you want something other than the Big Ben tower, then head to London’s Eye that gives you a spectacular view of the star-studded night sky.

NEW YORK

Get ready early so that you get a head start to reach Times Square. It is in hullabaloo during New Year’s Eve. And if you want to make it to Times Square to see the Final Countdown, then you better be prepared to stand in long lines and endure the cold.

The high-tech light shows in Times Square rivals any other show in the country. You cannot miss the pulsating energy emanating from people around you, expecting a grand 12 ball to drop.

Scream, dance, jump and let go of yourself in the busiest New Year’s Eve crowd.

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

Indulge yourself in some debauchery. And you can get involved with sin this New year in British Virgin Islands. Do not underestimate it for its size. It is one of the hottest party spots for the New Year.

Those who have fat wallets and overflowing bank accounts can head here. There is a 48-hour long party, and it included dirty dancing, drinking, and debauchery.

Spend your time with sexy people this New Year’s Eve on an exotic Caribbean beach!

RIO DE JANEIRO

If you had enough of sin, then offer prayers to Gods to forgive you. Something of the same nature happens in Rio. All the citizens come together in Copacabana Beach and offer prayer to the sea goddess Yemanja. You can participate in the ceremony only if you dress in white.

After offering your prayers, you can throw the flowers in the crashing waves of the beach, which takes the petals to the goddess.

The ceremony is not the end of New Year but the start of an awesome celebration. In the Beach live concerts as well as dance performances take place. Be a part of Rèveillon!

EDINBURGH

In the city of Edinburgh, New year is not about the new day of the year or the last day of the year. There is a string of events leading to an extraordinary celebration. It starts from 30 December and continues till 1st January Next year.

On the first day of the festivities, there is a light torch procession, on the next day there is a night of outdoor concerts and open-air parties. The culmination of the Celebration is at twelve when a breathtaking explosion lights the sky above Edinburgh Castle followed by tons of Auld Land Syne.

1st January is not for the lazy, take a dip in the chilling water of the Forth.

BAHAMAS

If you were not a part of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, then this is your chance to jump at. The Bahamas get crazy good during New Year’s Eve and New Year.

A parade replicating the Carnival moves through the streets, displaying glitzy costumes and performances. After the fireworks at midnight, all the crowd gathers at the beach to enjoy the parties.

There are plenty of places where you and your family can celebrate New Year’s in the Bahamas like the Grand Lucayan and Atlantis.

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Top 6 Destinations for Winter Cruises

It’s wintertime! It’s cold, and we are all looking forward to a way to escape from those freezing blizzards. Just like birds do, it is thus time to head south for warmer temperatures and to take a break from the stress of your workplace.

If you are planning to go for a winter vacation, you are probably thinking of enjoying a cozy fireplace atmosphere while looking outside the window to the snowy mountain.

Well this winter, why not try something a lot different than usual. Have you ever thought of taking a cruise for your winter vacation?

Top Destinations for Winter Cruises

Cruises are the best way possible to explore the world’s most beautiful places. Whether you book a private cruise or choose one of the many itineraries available for families, we have selected the best destinations for winter cruises.

With our recommendations, you can be sure to book only the best winter vacation for you and your loved ones.

The Caribbean

A Caribbean Vacation

Are you looking for a luxurious and glamorous experience that will take you from Boston to Miami? Then a Caribbean itinerary is best for you. Beautiful beaches, amazing wildlife and exciting adventures are waiting for you.

Perfectly warm water and equally beautiful beaches are spreading both on easter and western Caribbean routes. Whatever cruise you choose, you’ll enjoy thrilling activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, sunbathing, and many more.

You can also book a private island experience, which features an expansive water park in the Bahamas. However, if you are on a budget, you can also enjoy a 21-night cruise from Miami to San Juan, and maybe head to New York just in time for New Year’s celebrations.

Antarctica

Emperor Penguins in Antarctica

For those that enjoy cold weather here is a cruise idea that will take them to an even colder destination. Yes, this may sound like an odd idea, but many travelers choose Antarctica as their winter destination.

Although this region is now far more accessible than it used to be in the past, there are still only a few vessels that are built for forging through the iceberg-flanked passageways.

Antarctica is one of a kind experience. The snowy white surroundings, blossom ice, silence filled with calming sounds of nature and clear blue skies make the mesmerizing sights of Antarctica.

For a bolder experience, you can book a flight-cruise trip and fly over the breath-taking swells of the Drake Passage. As you can imagine, these cruises are not recommended for families with little children, but couples and solo travelers will definitely love this adventure.

Drake passage on the way to Antarctica

Southeast Asia

Singapore 

Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia are only some of the gems that Southeast Asia has to offer. This area provides lovely weather in winter, while it would be too hot and humid in the summertime.

Singapore is the central hub for cruise ships and a popular stopover for many travelers, but there are many other cities waiting for you.

If you wish to experience a river cruise, several companies offer itineraries through the Irrawaddy River. This will make you discover the beauty of places like Vietnam and Myanmar.

Australia

Sydney Harbor Bridge

If you have ever dreamed of viewing the majestic Sydney Harbor Bridge, then you should definitely book a winter cruise to Australia. January and February are usually the warmer months, but many tourists gather here in December for the New Year’s Eve fire celebrations in Sydney.

With its vibrant coffee shops, posh wines, local jazz music, and unique street art, Australia is the perfect destination to keep you and your fellow travelers warm. Your children will love it since this country is able to accommodate each of your family member’s needs.

Just don’t forget that Australia is our planet’s sixth-largest continent, meaning that you may need to book more than one cruise over your lifetime if you wish to visit every city and enjoy all the Australian landscapes.

Hawaii

A Navy battleship docked in Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii

Hawaii is, for many travelers, the quintessential destination for winter vacations. Despite what you may think, it is possible to book an unforgettable cruise and explore this area of the world while still being on a budget.

In other words, you don’t need to invest all your money to spoil yourself. For an unforgettable adventure, you can try a 15-day itinerary which includes a trip to Hawaii from Los Angeles or San Francisco.

The majority of Hawaiian itineraries originates from Vancouver and sometimes cruise ships stop in Mexico on their way to Honolulu. From January to March is usually the best timeframe to visit Hawaii, with some occasional whale spotting in the ocean.

On the other hand, this means that ships may be busier than usual. Consequently, we recommend booking your cruise to Hawaii as soon as possible, ideally in the summertime.

Norway Northern Lights Cruise

Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

Spectacular natural light show. This is how we can describe this natural phenomenon called the northern lights. For those brave enough to face one of the coldest destinations and witness some of the best views in their life, Norway will be an unforgettable winter destination.

The Norwegian cruise from Oslo to the Arctic Circle is a very beautiful experience overall, however, the highlight of this particular cruise makes it special. Seeing the northern hemisphere’s spectacular light show is equally mesmerizing for those that will enjoy it from the deck and those not willing to compromise the worm and cozy cabin or ship’s lounge.

As with each natural phenomenon, it can not be guaranteed to you that you will for sure witness it during your stay there, however, sipping a cocktail or enjoying a hot cup of tea cruising around the Arctic Circle sure makes it possible.

Though the temperatures are very low, this one of a lifetime experience is totally worth it. Moreover, there are many other activities you can enjoy on Norwegian ports such as ice-fishing, husky sledding, snowmobile safari, that will certainly keep you warm.

The Northern Lights cruise is once in a lifetime experience and something every person should see. It truly is a magical journey. As it is Norway, so is every other cruising destination – enjoyable and memorable.

Cruises are pleasant all-year-round and are the best way possible to explore and enjoy our beautiful planet.

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6 Places To Visit In India During Winter

The winter landscape is surreal. The snow-laden mountains and pristine blue sky make beautiful scenery. But I bet you don’t think of India as a winter travel destination.

What if I told you that there are many places in India that will take you on a tour of a winter wonderland. Pack your bags and buckle up to discover the beauty of the chill.

SHILLONG

The crystal clear water of Unmgot is the major attraction of Shillong. You can row your boat here and think you are flying. The feeling is sensational. During this time of the year, many festivals are organized.

You can attend them as well as savor the tangy oranges near the Uni got the river. The Pleasant temperature will make your stay more fun.

LEH

The freezing temperatures of Leh can make your bones chilled. But what is an adventure without a little risk? You can do ice trekking here in Like trek, Sham trek and much more. The icy blue floor beneath you and the clear blue sky above you.

You will be overpowered by blue. But, you need to ready yourself for the harsh environment also, because it can get a bit dangerous if you are not well insulated.

NAGOA BEACH


The unspoiled territory of India, Diu is a gem to be explored. Nagao beach here is the sandy escape of your dreams. In the comfortable temperatures of winter, you can get out and lounge in the winter sun. During the night a bonfire sounds like an exciting idea.

What better way to spend your night singing and dancing around the fire with your close ones? A world-famous festival Festa De Diu is held at the ivory-white beach of Nagoya. Enjoy your new year.

RANN OF KUTCH

Image Credit

The western Indian state of Gujarat has something to surprise you at every turn. Rann of Kutch is a massive area of endless sands sprawled across the barren land. You can pitch your tent at the nearby Dhordo village.

At night you can gaze at blue sands shining under the moonlight. During your stay, Rann Utsav will be in full sway. The ethnicity of festivities will leave you flabbergasted.

DALHOUSIE

Himachal Pradesh is known for its lovely winters. If you want to experience some serious snow, go to Dalhousie. Deodar trees surround the old colonial town.

Snow envelopes the quaint houses and trees, giving the town a Christmassy feeling.

You can do trekking here as a beginner or as an expert. The National Himalayan Winter Trekking Expedition is your opportunity for some adventure.

SRINAGAR

It is titled as the heaven on earth, and rightly so. Once you behold the vibrant scenery of Kashmir, you will fall in love with it.

The snow-covered landscape makes it an apt place for winter sports like skiing and ice trekking. You can ride a shikara on the jheels (lakes) of Kashmir. Winters enhances the magic of Srinagar.

Road Trip to Amritsar and Golden Temple

Recently I had an opportunity to visit Delhi on an assignment with my colleague. Being a travel freak, it has been a long time since I last explored a new place, and Punjab was a new place for me. 

Western Punjab is famous for Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh, Punjabi food, and of course shopping. 

My eyes glittered on this news that I will be traveling soon, and seeing the weekend approaching near, my friends and I thought of going on a road trip to Amritsar.

Road Trip to Amritsar

Amritsar, a holy city in Punjab, is the land of Golden Temple and people with golden hearts. It lies 280 miles (450 km) north-west of New Delhi, the capital of India. Being close to India-Pakistan border is just a 45 minutes drive from Wagah Border, with Lahore city on the other side.

Our trip was in the month of January, which is still very cold in Punjab. We heard road trip to Punjab is picturesque view so all of us were excited to experience it.

Connaught Place, Delhi

5:30 AM

We rented a cab and left for Amritsar early morning at 5:30 am from Connaught Place so that we could avoid the heavy traffic during Delhi morning rush.

Photo: Smog in Delhi / CC Sumita Roy Dutta

We crossed the borders of Delhi enjoying the thick layer of fog that we can hardly see anyone outside the window and reached 70-mile Dhabha (situated near Samalkha) which is around 75 km from Connaught Place.

Breakfast at 70 Mile Dhaba

7:30 AM

Paratha with chole, salads, curd, pickles and a Glass of Lassi

The road from Delhi to Punjab (NH-3) is very smooth, thus it took us approximately 2 hours to reach Samalkha Since we left early, all of us were hungry, so we stopped at this Dhabha to have some breakfast and enjoy the fog.

This famous dhaba serves authentic Punjabi style food like Chola Bhature, Lassi, Paratha makhan maarke (Paratha with butter on it). It was worth the early morning drive and satisfied our foodgasm.

After having scrumptious breakfast we relaxed there for some time and continued for Amritsar. We still had 7:30 hours long journey left before we could dive ourselves into the holiest city of the Sikhs.

Read: 5 Free Things to Do When Traveling

Wagah Border

3:30 PM

We didn’t want to miss the Flag Ceremony at Wagah Border so we drove non-stop crossing Panipat, Kurukshetra, Ambala, Ludhiana, and Jalandhar on the way.

Wagah Border is the gate that witnesses partition of India and Pakistan. It serves as an international border checkpoint for India and Pakistan.

Every day the Flag lowering ceremony commences at 4:30 pm in winter and 5:30 pm in summer which is witnessed by thousands of people. During this ceremony, soldiers of both the countries march towards the Wagah gate in a very energetic and passionate way to lower down the flags with full respect.

Photo: Top side is India, the bottom side is Pakistan/ CC Guilhem Vellut

With the sound of the trumpet, the 45 minutes ceremony comes to an end and soldiers march back to their flags. We were lucky enough to grab a clear view of the ceremony. The atmosphere was electrified and patriotism filled the air during the ceremony and we were deeply moved by it.

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After the ceremony, we left for Amritsar which is 21 miles away from Wagah border. We reached Golden Temple by 6:30 in the evening.

Photo: As seen from the Indian side/ CC Samir

Photo: as seen from Pakistan side / CC Guilhem Vellut

Golden Temple, Amritsar

6:30 pm

Once we reached Golden Temple, we were starving to our death. Local people suggested to us about Kesar da Dhaba which is located in the market outside Golden Temple. We got our dinner packed and checked in an OYO room nearby the Golden Temple.

Since it was an impromptu trip we did not make any bookings. However, we did not face any difficulties in searching for a night stay. The place has many hotels, OYO rooms for tourists.

After having the delicious authentic Punjabi food, we went to Golden Temple to attend the Hukamnama (prayers).

Pro Tip: If you are short on budget, know that you can spend the whole night in Golden Temple itself.

Photo: People waiting inside the golden temple/ CC Anees Mohammed

The insides of the gurudwara is the epitome of peace with the religious patrons of Sikhism singing Gurbani and meditating inside the Guru’s abode.

Pro Tip: Golden Temple is a very peaceful place. People are advised to keep their cellphones on vibrate/silent mode. In case the call is urgent, then please take the call outside the temple.

People are advised to dress appropriately and cover their heads when entering Gurudwara. You may carry handkerchiefs or dupatta to cover your head. In case you are not carrying one, you need not worry as you will find provisions for head gear inside Golden Temple.

We sat at the side of holy water watching the temple and enjoying the peace. It was almost 1:30 am (late after midnight) that we realized we should take some rest. We went to our OYO room and slept.

Photo: The entrance to Golden Temple / CC Guilhem

Jallianwala Bagh

5:30 AM (Day 2)

We woke up early in the morning, to watch the sunrise over Golden Temple. The majestic view when the rays fall on the walls of the temple is indeed worth it. After having tea, served at Golden Temple we left for Jallianwala Bagh.

Bullet Marks appearing on a wall in Jallianwala Bagh

On our way to Jallianwala Bagh, we had delicious mouth-watering Parathas at Bhai Kulwant Sigh Kulche. We four friends competed on who can finish the arm length glass full of Lassi first. After breakfast, we headed to Jallianwala Bagh.

It is located at a walking distance to Temple. Jallianwala Bagh holds within itself the cries of 1,000s of Sikhs who were trapped and killed on the holy day of Sikhs (13th April 1919) by the British Empire (then ruling India). People can still see the wall with bullet holes in it.

Read: Road Trips: 5 Do’s and Don’ts

Shopping and Return Journey

11:30 AM

Juti Store (Footwears for women)/ CC Shankar

We still had time before we leave for Delhi, so we planned to go on a shopping spree in the local markets of Amritsar. Whats better than giving oneself a typical localite look. We bought Patialas (for Females) and Pathani (for Male) complimented by Juti (footwear).

After giving our stomach a delightful treat of Chole Bhature from a restaurant at Lawrence road, we left for Delhi around 3 pm.

On our way, we halted at Kesar da Dhaba for dinner and to enjoy the last bit of Punjab for dinner. We reached Delhi by 1 am in the night, after several halts due to the traffic and ended our 2-day trip to Amritsar.

Last taste of Punjab. Mooli paratha with butter on top and chutney, salad, achaar on the side./ CC Soniya Goyal

Tips for Delhi-Amritsar Road Trip

  • Start early from Delhi. The traffic is bad and a time waste if you only have a couple of days to travel (let’s say if you are a weekend traveler).
  • One night and two days are enough to cover the highlights mentioned in this blog.
  • Try to avoid summer season (April-July) as the temperate is generally unbearably too high.
  • Do not carry and/or flash cell phones, cameras at the Wagah International Border.
  • If you are traveling off-season, you can plan a serendipitous trip as you will have no problem finding hotels on the go.

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Read Next: 5 Tips For First-Time Visitors To India

Author bio

This blog post is written by Vishakha, a finance girl by profession and a traveler by heart. You may also get in touch with her through her personal blog at https://vishakhajalan.wordpress.com/

How To Maintain Glowing Skin While Traveling

Traveling is one of the most entertaining hobbies, one can have. It comes along with immense pleasure, joy, and entertainment. It takes you close to Mother Nature in ways that you can never imagine sitting at home or wandering the same streets of your town repeatedly.

Travel gives you exposure to the world, which is very necessary. It results in broadening your vision and increasing your acceptance. You get rid of ethnic, regional and cultural biases. You develop compassion for humanity all over the world. No doubt, it is a very healthy habit for your body and mind.

 

How to Maintain Glowing Skin

Now understanding that traveling is both fun and good for us, how do we travel in a very healthy way when it comes to skin care. Environmental changes, prolonged exposure to sun, dehydration and lot of other factors can make your skin dull, dry and tan. It can wreck the havoc on your skin, as it is not used to of new environment.

Related: Common Travel Questions

 

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Travel Skin Care Tips

Well, you are in luck, as we are going to tell you about five surprising ways, which can help you to maintain the natural glow and radiance of your skin when you are traveling.

Make a checklist

If you are very much conscious about your looks or you are a beauty freak, you must have a proper skincare routine. There must be a complete set of different products on your table. You use all of these items on a daily basis because you really want to look gorgeous and stand out in parties.

Breaking any routine can be very destructive to the human body. It responds to all changes. Same goes for beauty care routine.

If you are traveling, your skin is not getting all creams, lotions, moisturizers, remedies that it is used to. This disturbance of routine can be disastrous for it.

So try to pack all of these items when you are traveling. Make a checklist, so that you do not forget anything.

Blotting papers

Please read this one very carefully. Blotting papers are one of the most critical items you should have. (Please do not forget them).

Related: Travel Hacks (The ultimate guide with several hundred hacks)

 

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Continually rubbing your skin with tissue papers can damage it significantly. It can destroy the skin. Besides, if you are going to the area with hot temperatures, there are high chances that you will experience oily skin.

So you must have the bloating paper in your hand all the time if you do not want dirt and oil to get accumulated to your skin. Use it and remove the un-necessary oil from your face. These papers do not cause any redness on the skin. They do not leave any residue. These factors make them the decidedly better choice as compared to tissue papers.

Stay Hydrated

This tip is essential when you are indoors, but it becomes indispensable when you are outdoors. Without water, your skin would be ruined. Make sure to stay hydrated all the time. Avoid soft drinks as much as possible. Proper water intake would keep your skin elastic. It will maintain the natural glow of the skin.

Read Next:  How To Pack Like A Pro and Travel Light

Use Effective Cleanser

If your skin is extra sensitive, it will lose its natural glow very quickly during the trip. Skin attracts a lot of dust and dirt when you are traveling. This accumulated dirt can cause severe breakouts. So never, forget to keep your cleanser.

Keep on using it every time you need, and your skin will stay fresh. It will protect your skin from damages and breakouts. It washes out all the dirt and keeps your skin clean.

Besides, you also need to make sure that you are using the same cleanser you use at home. The new brand would be a change when you are already under thousands of variations. Don’t change your skin care products. Even a slight turn can lead to abrupt damages.

Ice Your Eyes

It is the convenient way to refresh your eyes and make them less prone to infections. The new atmosphere can have thousands of deadly germs, which can cause problems to your eyesight. So ice them now and then.

Keep a single ice pack on every eye for a while. It will relieve your stress and exertion and decrease the probability of getting dark circles under eyes.

Sunscreen and moisturizers are two must ingredients of your beauty pack when you are on the trip. Applying the moisturizer will save your skin from adverse weather and keep it moisturized and hydrated. Not using sunscreen can cause severe sunburns.

Also, make it sure that you use comfortable clothes. The tight dress can cause irritation, itches, and rashes.

 

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Author’s Bio

Sania is a student of accounts and finance. She enjoys shopping, trying out skincare remedies and blogging about anything that is related to beauty and self-care. Her love for pets, tea and traveling are eternal. She ritually posts at The Smart Women Blog.

A First Time European Visitor Guide to New York City

As a 30th birthday present, my wonderful girlfriend presented me with tickets to New York City in February 2018. Being from the UK, neither of us had ever been and I had always been convincing her to go but by the end of the trip, I think she could easily see why it had always been top of my travel bucket list.

So after a delayed flight, a rather undignified moment of some guy’s rancid sock poking me in the ear from behind my seat and a rather long queue at border control, we finally made it to the Big Apple and boy was it worth it!

Despite having some amazing European cities on our doorstep, we were not used to big skyscraper cities, and nothing could prepare us for the towering Juggernaut buildings that consumed us. So here we go, I’ve crammed this article with everything you need to prepare and enjoy a first-time visit to this magnificent city.

First Time New York Visitor Itinerary

So Many Activities! 

New York City has five amazing borough’s to explore, each of which has its own personality and culture.

  • Manhattan
  • Brooklyn
  • Queens
  • Bronx
  • Staten Island

We stuck to Manhattan for the majority of our trip. As first timers, we were tourists wanting to see those famous sites and get our Instagram fix (I know, I know but embrace your inner tourist).

On our first day, we were just roaming around and that’s the great thing about this city, you’ll just be walking aimlessly around and then stumble upon something really cool and famous like Times Square.

This area is loud, manic and a real commercial overload but it is definitely something you have to experience, even if it is just once. With its giant advertising billboards and screens in every direction, it feels like it’s been designed by an advertising mad genius.

I was happy enough to have seen it and avoid it after but the thing is you tend to stray back to it at some point, especially on foot as it’s so central to a lot of the other sights and main avenues you pass.

 

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Tip: Embrace your inner tourist and go into one of the many ‘I love NY stores’ – yes they’re a bit tacky but you want to bring something back to prove you went there, right?

The Empire State Building

The Rockefeller Centre and The Empire State Building are breathtaking – they sum up the perfect NYC experience in my opinion – gobsmacking views and the feeling like you’re actually on top of the world for a split second make it well worth it.

Many people argue which is better but in my opinion – do both! But do one at night and one during the day. We opted for the Empire State Building on our first day and although a little grey in the sky, this magnificent 102 story skyscraper will simply take your breath away.

Plus the lobby downstairs and the whole way leading up to the top floor are very grand and give you a real historical breakdown of how it was built and eventually finished in 1931.

Top of the Rock

The Rockefeller Center on the other hand or ‘Top of the Rock’ as the vantage point is well known was actually my highlight of the entire trip. We went around 11 pm at night and it was less crowded and if you get lucky like us, on a clear night you get great views of the Empire State building which make this a must-see.

Perhaps you could argue that this view is better for the Instagram account, as you get the Empire State in your picture, but both are good. 

Tip: Embrace the guys in Midtown trying to sell you a city pass – they are well worth it. They give you discount on two major NYC attractions and you by-pass the queues when you enter each one. I heard a few people say ‘I wish we’d done that’ when queuing so don’t be petty, take advantage!

 

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Museums

There are so many museums to see in NY but we only visited one and that was also a major highlight for both of us: The American Museum of Natural History.

Wow, this place is incredible and if you have kids, take them here.

They’ll get lost in this amazing world from seeing great North American mammals to the dark universe. We spent about 3 hours in here and we probably only saw a third of it – my inner geek was truly revealed here.

Tip: Get there early to avoid the crowds. Pay for the dark universe show which is like an all-around cinema above your heads, you’ll feel like you’re in a galaxy far far away. Also, the hall on the history of mankind is full of cool and pretty geeky bits of info about how we transformed from Apes to our current form today.

Broadway

Broadway is astonishing. I’m no major theatre fanatic but whether you are or not I’d push a Broadway show nearer to the top of your list of things to do. We watched Aladdin at the New Amsterdam Theatre (between 7th and 8th Avenue) which was built in early 1900’s, reportedly haunted but still, the place had charm and history coming out of its rooftops.

And the show itself was simply brilliant; from the amazing genie to all the props and the rest of the cast I’ll be singing ‘Arabian Nights’ for a long time to come.

Lion King, Wicked and Chicago are amongst the other popular choices while book adaptations like ‘The Curious Incident of the dog in the night time’ might warm others’ tastes. And to my amazement I got my beer served in an Aladdin beaker with a straw – how delightful.


Free Things To Do

The best things in NYC are free!

Read: Top 7 FREE Things to Do in New York City

Brooklyn Bridge

Another great thing about NYC is that most of the really cool stuff is actually free such as walking along Brooklyn Bridge. Completed in 1883, it is one of the oldest roadway bridges in the United States, connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, spanning the East River.

When we walked across here it was around 20 odd degrees and very busy but it’s amazing, you just keep looking back at the towering skyscrapers behind you to the joggers and cyclists coming at you, and it’s here it really sinks in where you actually are. It’s brilliant and we walked all the way along to Brooklyn then hopped back on the subway so we only had to walk one way!

 

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Central Park

Admittedly, despite staying so close to it we didn’t see a whole lot of central park during our visit but we did walk through a decent portion of it on our walk to the museum. One thing I wasn’t a fan of was the number of people trying to sell the horse and carriage tours of the park – the horses looked a bit unhappy, to be honest, and it just put us both off.

Strawberry Fields

We strolled through the Strawberry Fields which is a 2.5-acre landscaped section in the park that is dedicated to the memory of former Beatle John Lennon and named after the Beatles’ song “Strawberry Fields Forever” written by Lennon.

It’s a nice touch and worth seeing. We also got a few photos of the boathouse and the lake before heading off. There is plenty more to see and even just people watching during the summer months I imagine is probably worth it plus it’s free to walk around one of the most famous urban parks in the world so why wouldn’t you.

Wall Street

I’ve seen the Wolf of Wall Street and I laughed all the way through. But when I think back to how greed has affected the world I was a bit miffed about seeing the financial district in lower Manhattan. But still, walking through Wall Street is another free experience that one simply cannot avoid on an NYC trip.

Get a coffee and watch the traders in their Gucci suits walk by, get your picture next to the raging bull and look around the fine shops like Tiffany’s – I almost got talked into buying a $15,000 watch – the shop assistant must have noticed I was wearing £70 walking shoes and thought ‘this guy’s got taste’!

Chelsea market

Chelsea market is another amazing option to do for free (unless you spend a lot of money in the actual place) but we just enjoyed roaming around. This space is effortlessly cool – an enclosed urban food court, shopping mall, office building and television production facility located in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.

It’s near the Google office too if you’re a major tech fan. My girlfriend enjoyed the quirky boutique clothing shops and handmade jewelry and poster stalls.

Tip: If you do decide to visit the market, visit The High Line nearby which is a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail. It’s well worth a stroll along where you get some fantastic alternative views of the old meatpacking district of Manhattan.

Chinatown

Chinatown is also worth a visit – its home to the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere with an estimated population of 90,000 to 100,000 people. 

You come out of one neighborhood and then suddenly feel like you’re actually in China itself, it’s amazing it really is. Fresh fish is aplenty on sale here as is pig brains which to our delight was on the menu of a restaurant we decided to try.

We were being adventurous but the idea of the brains put us off instantly and we have to admit we just made a run for it. However, this remarkable mini-world within New York is a must-see for anyone.

Grand Central Terminal

The Grand Central Terminal is a commuter and intercity railroad terminal at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown but is no ordinary station with its grand lobby and lower ground food court, it’s worth a visit.

We went at night when it was less busy which was good but I hear it’s worth coming here in the morning rush hour, just to see the daily commuters and thousands of people going about their business.

 

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Read: 5 Tips To Save Money When Visiting New York City

Hotel & Accommodation

Read: How to Find Budget Accommodation in New York City (detailed blog post)

As it was a present, she did splurge out quite a bit on this one – so although this was probably one of the bigger costs of the trip it was well worth it. We stayed at the Park Lane Hotel which was old-world New York at its very best.

With its well-dressed frontage opening into a grand lobby, it had that old New York service feel and charm and the size of the bedrooms were fantastic. But it’s what’s outside the hotel that first wowed us – we were staying right along Central Park, one of the city’s most iconic attractions. 

There are probably far cheaper options in a similar location but if you want a big, comfortable bed, spacious room and views over the central park to come back to every day, this hotel hits all the right notes.

Getting Around

We opted for a classic yellow cab to get us to and from the airport – it is reasonably expensive as the two main airports Newark & JK are both around 15 miles outside the city.

Read: Our Guide to Getting Around in New York City (detailed post)

You’ll expect to pay around $85 there and they can charge anything on the way back so just double check. We jumped in with a Rastafarian guy from Brooklyn. He’d never been to England so I think he struggled to understand us and asked: “Are you Australian?”

I knew my days watching Home & Away would come back to haunt me. Anyways, once we got through the Lincoln tunnel, we found you can really save money on travel – we just walked and walked and walked.

Honestly, the moment you arrive in Manhattan you feel like you’re going to get lost in this 24 hour, non-stop metropolis, but here’s the thing – you don’t at all.

See Manhattan works on a grid system so you can easily navigate your way around, as long as you know your East from West and up or down you’ll soon get the hang of it.

Tip: Download the New York City Subway map to your phone before you go and use the subway – honestly, it’s fantastic! For 3-4 days I’d say you only need to put around $20 on a metro card each and you’ll be fine. We mainly walked around Midtown but when you want to go further uptown or downtown, the subway is a godsend!

Eating & Dining

Food is my second language!

For anyone who knows me well knows I like my food – a lot! And it was also one of the main reasons I’ve always wanted to come to New York City. Here, you have an abundance of cool coffee culture, cozy breakfast sit-ins, exquisite high-end restaurants, world famous pizza, grab me shakes and a whole lot more.

This post could’ve been just about the food we ate alone because in between all the stuff above, we went and tried a crazy amount of cuisine!

Just grab and go!

We heard the grab and go culture in NYC is damn good and you have to try it. There’s something urbanely cool about standing in a small hectic pizza place, getting in amongst the regulars and city goers and embracing the chaos but damn is the food good.

It might be messy and you’ll eat quickly but the experience is great nonetheless.  It’s also a cheap way of keeping to a reasonable budget. 

My tip: Gray’s Papaya is a flagship hot dog chain located on 72nd street and Broadway. They do the most amazing tasting hot dogs. Just don’t wear a white t-shirt as you’ll undoubtedly have onions and mustard down it! Pizza-wise you can’t go wrong with Ray’s pizza – not the most famous of pizza but we grabbed a whole one and took it back to our hotel around midnight and that was awesome! 

Breakfast of champions

Another reason to skip the monotonous hotel food every morning is the NYC breakfast scene. Oh boy oh boy where do I start on this one – we tried bagels and coffee, juice bars and French-themed cafes. Just go and do it – walk around, find a busy place and you’ll know you’re doing something right!

Tip: Try George’s at the corner of Greenwich and Rector Streets, three blocks south of the World Trade Centre. This place opened its doors in the 1950’s and was what I imagined a total NYC breakfast experience to be – just make sure you can put away the drizzly blueberry pancakes.

Also, check out ‘Pick up a bagel’ (right) on 8th Avenue – this was our first NYC breakfast experience and it did not disappoint. Opt for a bacon and egg on the sesame bun or crème cheese and salmon washed down with a classic coffee.

Joe and the Juice

Joe and the juice should get a special mention here. They are popping up now in the UK but here in NYC, they were a bit of a savior for us as we often felt a bit flagging at times so we’d stop by one of these on 6th Avenue most mornings. Try a ‘pick me up’ blend of raspberry and banana to really perk you up!

Evening Dining

There are probably loads of high-end, expensive restaurants to dine at but we preferred to keep our budget for this low as we opted to spend money on other things so if you’re looking to save money I would do the same.

Most people here eat pretty late so if you want to join them, go for dinner around 8 pm or later. We usually got back to our hotel for a few hours to rest our feet from all the pavement pounding and then headed out to see if anything caught our eye.

Tip: Bill’s Bar & Burger on West 51st was a great burger spot known for its delicious disco fries (with gravy and cheese). It’s also one of many cool places to chill and have a beer. Just DON’T order a Coney Island root beer…unless you like the taste of germolene (yes, germolene). 

So what are You Waiting For?

If you’re planning a trip to NYC or are just starting to think about it, do it! It’s an incredible place, full of diverse culture, food, shopping, and attractions.

We only barely scratched the surface and there are so many other areas to explore such as Harlem, upper Manhattan, the Bronx Zoo, the Yankees Stadium, Brooklyn Heights, Queens and if you are there even longer, why not try slightly further afield like Long Island and New Jersey City.

Don’t let anyone tell you this place is not worth a visitor it’s too expensive, it’s simply not true from our experience. We came back almost depressed that we weren’t there for longer!

 

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Author Bio

Luke Paines is a UK-based writer who works in marketing for the technology industry. When he’s not writing copy for brochures, the web, and blogs, he enjoys traveling to new and exciting places and has since combined that passion with his flair for writing. Read more from Luke on his travel blog The Dubious Traveller.

He loves the food in Sorrento, Italy, has enjoyed sledding down snowy hills near Oslo in Norway, embraced the casinos in Las Vegas and has always appreciated the scenery of the Venice of France, Annecy. However, his favorite place in the world is the Jurassic coastline in his native England. The scenery, the English seaside charm form his best childhood memories.

Around the World for Christmas Buffet

The smell of fried chicken fills the air, and there is nothing better than wolfing down a plate loaded with roasted turkey during winter. But other than your cozy little fireplace, there are many places throughout the world where you can eat a hearty buffet.

Let us go on a Christmas Buffet around the world.

FLY TO JAPAN

Many may consider Japan as a non-Christmas country. However, in the past few years, this nation stepped up its game. Even though you will not see many favorite Christmas traditions, you have to taste their delish Christmas dishes. The best thing you can have during Christmas here in Japan is the tasty kick of heat in Kentucky Fried Chicken. For dessert, there is a light sponge cake decorated with a decadent cream and vibrant strawberries. Unlike the western countries, Japan has its own Christmas meals which are not too heavy on the palate.

A SPICY CHRISTMAS IN MADAGASCAR

The dense atmosphere of this African country paired up with a delightful plate of food screams exotic!

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When you have the chance, taste Akoho misy Sakamalao – the traditional Christmas dish including chicken cooked with garlic and ginger paste. This dish is also cooked with coconut stew and served with rice. Apart from the overflowing plates of chicken, pork is also a common dish in Madagascar. But for dessert, you need to sweeten your mouth with the signature fruit of Madagascar, the Lychee.

COOKIE JARS OF ICELAND

In the chilly winter wind and snowy backdrop, one craves something warm and baked. What better way to celebrate Christmas than cookies and cakes? The fluffy cakes and yummy cookies are not the only delicacies in an Icelandic Christmas Buffet. There is another dish that you are not likely to find anywhere else in the world, reindeer. When you hear reindeer you might immediately think of sleighs, but in this age who needs a sleigh? Hence, the poor fellas make it to the dinner table, and did I mention how lip-smacking they are? Other than reindeer, you can taste the smokiness of the lamb, and seabirds which make it to the buffet.

CHOCOLATEY CHRISTMAS

Tsokolate is the decadent, drool-worthy and delish dessert served in the Philippines. When the rich chocolate liquid slides down your throat, it is just heaven! Other desserts include a version of custard made with coconut cream. However, it is the main dishes that will blow your mind! The carefully cooked pig on a stick is a roasted version of Lechon. Do not worry about the richness of the meal; silky smooth pasta graces the plate to enhance the wow-factor of the Philippine Christmas Buffet.

WHIPPED CREAM IN AUSTRALIA

When the hemisphere changes, so do the demands of the palate. In Australia, turkey and ham are not widely preferred dishes. Due to the change of seasons in Australia, a Summer Christmas needs something different. Barbecue gives the meal the necessary kick to elevate the buffet from standard to festive. However, the grills are not solely used for steaks. Seafood is much loved among the Aussies. Thus, if you receive barbecued prawns in your Christmas Buffet, do not look shocked. They wrap up the meal with a chunk of whipped cream folded through bits of fresh fruits. Sounds like a party for your taste buds!

HEALTHY X-MAS MEAL IN ETHIOPIA

After attending all the New Year’s Celebration around the world, you can end up in Ethiopia. The celebration of Christmas is different here because Ethiopians follow the Julian Calendar. And according to that calendar, Christmas falls on January 7th. Thus, you have more time to plan your exclusive tour. The traditional meal of Christmas consists of a thick stew of juicy chicken and fresh veggies. You can scoop up the spicy gravy with a soft flatbread called injera.

TRY CUISINES OF LEBANON

It is not just one dish that makes a celebration standout, but rather the entire meal which makes it special. From the finger licking spiced rice to the flavor bombs of minced meat, everything on the plate reflects perfect home cooking. Whatever you eat in a Lebanese buffet, do not miss the Kibbeh Pie, which is undoubtedly the star of the meal. Besides, there is a refreshing middle eastern salad seasoned with mint to cleanse your palate.

To take the memory of your Christmas buffet with you, buy some sugar-coated almonds from the nearby store, or tell your host to pack it for you.

Tour the world this Christmas with no intention of stopping your mouth. Say yes to cookies and cakes, turkeys and ham, and whatever delicacies await you this holiday season!

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10 Winter Travel Destinations To Visit This Winter

“Winter is coming” – No, winter has already arrived and we bring you some unique winter travel destinations. These 10 amazing destinations beat winter blues like no other.

Come out of your comfy shell and explore the wonders of this world.

ABISKO, SWEDEN

Just near the Arctic Circle lies a quaint village in Sweden. Trains run to Abisko Village, so it is not a problem to travel here. But winters get brutal here and thus challenging the hikers who decide on conquering peaks of Abisko National Park (like Nuolija).

The heavy snow provides a great opportunity for winter sports like Cross-country skiing, Freeriding, and Back- Country Skiing. Winter is not only about snow but also about darkness, and the long dark nights offer bright starry skies and Aurora Borealis.

LAKE TAHOE, CALIFORNIA

The Largest Lake in North America attracts visitors from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and pretty much all over America during the winter months. This world-famous, stunning lake acts as a winter sports capital for tourists.

Tahoe straddles both Nevada and California, which names its largest resort Heavenly Mountain Resort as the largest in both Nevada and California.

Other areas for winter sports include Squaw Valley, Kirkwood Mountain Resort, and Northstar. Skiing is not the only thing to do here, Tahoe has a fair number of casinos. Gamble and spoil yourself at Crystal Bay Club or the Calvena.

ATHENS, GREECE

When the wind blows through the columns of Acropolis and the wintry light shines upon the marbles – there is magic in that moment.

There are many places where the winter is beautiful. But Greece has Mediterranean climate and winter brings not the freezing winds but pleasant weather. The days are short, which gives you time to roam the streets in the evening.

Usually, the winter season is low on tourists (which is a good thing if you prefer avoiding the crowd). You can enjoy the monuments and landmarks in a relaxed way, and hotel prices are half of what they are in peak season.

Go outdoors during the day, visit Acropolis, various museums, and boutiques and have a leisurely coffee at cafés in the evening.

Did you know? There are 6000 exotic islands to choose from in Greece and a myriad of ancient ruins to explore and ponder on the meaning of life. Have it all at your disposal during winter.

TULUM, MEXICO

Once upon a time, 1000 residents inhabited the Mayan Port in Caribbean Coast of Mexico. Tulum attracts tourists from around the world to witness the Tulum Ruins. If you reach here via the road of Playa del Carmen, then it feels like you are at a bus stop.

 

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But later when you discover the pristine Coba ruins, secluded Caribbean beaches, and a biosphere reserve, your mind takes a U-turn. It is not a truck stop- uhh no! It is an ancient Caribbean wonder!

Winter brings out the best in it- cheap hotels, inexpensive street food, and lazy sugar sandy beaches.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

November to February are the winter months in Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark. The dark and gloomy time brings less daylight. From 8 am to 4 pm, you have the time to explore all the fun. Then it is time to hygge!

Do not worry, in these few hours there are tons of things to do. Do Ice Skating at Frederiksberg, take a dip in Vinterbad Bryggen, shop at a discount in Christmas Markets (discounts last until January end), and taste the warming glogg snaps (season special).

ASPEN, COLORADO

Perched on the slopes of Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Aspen turns into skiing heaven during winters. The snow-laden valleys become great areas for winter sports.

For skiing, there are four major areas: Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, Snowmass, and Aspen Mountains. Other than skiing, try your hands at Sleigh rides and sledding. Snowmobiling is also a fantastic way to enjoy winter glory.

JASNA, SLOVAKIA

Jasna is a tiny village in the interior of Slovakia (and maybe, just maybe it is a prospective host of 2022 winter Olympics). If so, why not try what the upcoming winter Olympics host looks like?

Jasna boasts of many of the best skiing resorts. Low Tatras is the greatest among them all. It has four cable cars and eight chairlifts, and a 6 km long home run. Besides that, the new terrain park supports night skiing as well. You can head to Jasna without a second thought!

Ski-lovers, if you are wondering how to how to choose the best ski poles, check out: 10 Best Ski Poles.

WHISTLER, CANADA

Winter gifts the mountains in British Columbia with chunks of snow, which become useful for snow-sports. Those who did not know that Whistler is home to the largest ski resort in America, now perk your ears.

The Whistler Blackcomb has a snowcross track, four terrain parks, and a superpipe. No matter what kind of snow fun you desire, Whistler caters to it all.

This quaint village also has a lot to offer for non-skiers – like just soak up the serene frozen landscape. Well, another reason to love Canada.

TRANSYLVANIA, ROMANIA

The mighty fortresses surrounded by blooming orchids amidst the misty mountains give Transylvania a fairy-tale charm. It’s located in central Romania. It is here that the Dracula story was set.

Step into the wintry magic of the Carpathian Mountains, by riding carriages and spotting bears.

Visit the famous medieval castles like Bran Castle (but meeting a vampire is hardly a chance). Skiing in the Carpathian Mountains is an experience like no other. Save it for the best day!

COSTA RICA

Unlike the Icy Paradises, Costa Rica is a welcome change in winter. The months from December to April sees a throng of tourists, flocking to have a warm winter vacation. Personally speaking, December is my favorite month of Costa Rica vacation!

Beach-seekers who enjoy the sultry sunshine and vibrant wildlife will love it during the wintertime. During the winter season, many lively fiestas include wild dancing, live concerts, and bullfights take place. Plan ahead and go have a blast!

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10 Most Exciting New Year Traditions around the World

Unlike other holidays, New Years is celebrated almost everywhere in the world; regardless of the nation’s religious beliefs or even their calendar. However, New Year traditions and celebrations differ from country to country.

New Year Traditions

Here are some of the unique New Year traditions from around the world.

Austria

Austria has one of the most glamorous ways of celebrating New Year.

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The operetta “Die Fledermaus” by Johan Straus is performed every New Year’s Day in Vienna. Plus, on New Year’s Eve, the capital of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire holds a traditional Imperial Ball. 

A New Years dinner in Austria traditionally contains edible pigs and peppermint ice cream. A suckling pig on the table symbolizes good luck.

Related: Top 9 Destinations to Spend New Year in the USA

Denmark

CopenhagenNYE BY Stig Nygaard CC BY 2.0

In Denmark, people save old dishes for the entire year. On New Year’s Eve, they throw them at friends’ doors. This symbolizes friendship and brotherhood. People believe that the larger pile of dishes one has in front of the door, the more friends he has.

Some Danish also leap over chairs at midnight.

China

The Chinese have their own calendar, consequently, they celebrate the New Year in February. These celebrations are always bright and loud. Firecrackers and noisemakers chase evil spirits away.

Fabulous dragons and lions dance in the streets. Plus, people give each other tangerines for good luck.

However, odd numbers are considered unlucky, so these tangerines are given in pairs. Also, the third day of the New Year is the day when mice marry off their daughters, so people try to go to bed early in order not to disturb them.

Red in China traditionally symbolizes happiness and good fortune. On New Year’s Day, people wear red and give children red envelopes with lucky money. Some people even paint their front doors red, before the celebration.

Spain

In Spain, people believe that eating 12 grapes at every toll of the clock will bring them good luck and happiness for the upcoming 12 months.

Japan

In Japan, the New Year is called Oshogatsu and is celebrated amongst family. The whole week before New Year’s Eve people clean their houses, settle debts, try to resolve all disagreements and forgive all offenses. After that, they are ready to welcome the New Year. Also, before midnight, the Japanese ring 108 bells. These rings symbolize the elimination of 108 troubles. And the day after New Year’s Eve is the First Writing Day when people write their dreams, hopes, and plans for the new year.

There are three traditional symbols for the Japanese New Year. A pine branch, or kadomatsu, represents longevity. A stalk of bamboo symbolizes prosperity. Lastly, a plum blossom denotes nobility.

Sri Lanka

Sinhala and Tamil New Year in Sri Lanka BY Amila Tennakoon CC BY 2.0

The New Year in Sri Lanka is called Aluth Avurudhu and it is celebrated in mid-April. Traditional rituals include a proper house cleaning, the lighting of the hearth, taking an herbal bath, preparing traditional dishes and strengthening family relations.

India

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In India, people celebrate New Year in mid-April too. However, these traditions vary greatly amongst the different regions. For example, in Odisha, the festival is held on April 13th or 14th, and involves worshiping the deities and offering them fruit-based drinks, called “pana”. In Kerala, people also worship the deities during New Year and make offerings, which have the name of Vishukanni.

In Tamil Nadu, locals light lamps to eradicate the darkness and they use auspicious tools, which symbolize prosperity. Furthermore, the people of the Bengal region believe that the way you spend the first day of the year marks the way you will spend the rest of it.

Germany

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In Germany, lead is believed to predict the future.

On the New Year, people pour molten lead into the cold water and observe what shape it takes. The shape of a heart predicts marriage in the near future. A round shape signifies good luck. An anchor shapes mean that you may need help soon. Whereas, a cross symbolizes someone’s sad demise.

Puerto Rico

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In Puerto Rico, people clean their houses properly before New Year. They also throw buckets of water out of their windows. They believe that this ritual will clean the odds of the last year and get the spirits out of their homes.

Philippines

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In the Philippines, people believe that all round things are lucky, attracting fortune and money. So, during the New Year, they consume grapes, wear polka dotted dresses and keep coins in their pockets. The Filipinos also throw coins during the New Years celebration to increase wealth and prosperity.

That’s the end of our top 10 list. So which New Year traditions attracted or intrigued you the most? Comment below.

 

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Top 9 Destinations to Spend New Year in the USA

New York City, New York

New York City is one of the most popular New Year’s Eve destinations in the United States and perhaps even in the world. It offers over a hundred thousand different places to drink, dance and celebrate.

Thousands of people head toward Times Square before midnight to see the ball drop. And millions also watch it on TV. If you don’t like crowds, make a reservation in one of the restaurants or bars overlooking Times Square. However, you should remember to book in advance.

Read: A First Time European Visitor Guide to New York City

And for a completely different experience, take a night boat ride on New York Harbor to watch the midnight fireworks on Liberty Island. Or go to Brooklyn and watch the city’s firework display from the Williamsburg waterfront. Also, the bars in Bushwick and Williamsburg are much less crowded than the ones in Manhattan.

Related:  8 Destination Ideas For A New Year Vacation With Kids

Las Vegas, Nevada

Every year, 300 thousand go to Las Vegas to celebrate the most important night of the year. The entire Las Vegas strip becomes car-free and transforms into one huge party. Shows, concerts, clubs, casinos, it’s all there! There is enough party space for everybody in this city, just remember to book well in advance.

At midnight, seven casinos launch 40 thousand tons of fireworks from their rooftops into the desert sky of Nevada. It’s definitely a show that you don’t see every day. Las Vegas is a vivid party destination all-year-round.

However, if you come to this city for New Year, you will not regret it. New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas is showbiz at its very best!

Read Next: 10 Most Exciting New Year Traditions around the World

Honolulu, Hawaii

Hawaii is the perfect tropical getaway any time of the year. However, it is even more fun to escape the cold, snowy winter and spend the New Year’s Eve in the warm climate of Honolulu. Imagine the fireworks burst over Waikiki Beach and the Aloha Tower, while you celebrate New Year in a swimsuit with a refreshing cocktail in your hand. 

What could be more exciting?

If you have kids, Honolulu is also the place for you! It has a reputation for being the most family-friendly New Year’s Eve destination in the United States. You and your kids will have a wonderful vacation in the Kaka’ako Waterfront Park, with multiple carnival rides, food trucks, a beer garden and numerous other entertainments.

You will find your perfect New Year celebration in Hawaii!

New Orleans, Louisiana

After Mardi Gras, the New Year celebration is the most memorable event in the largest city of Louisiana.

Traditions here are slightly different than in the rest of the country, so come and find a unique experience in New Orleans. The city offers a unique mixture of cultures, food, and music, which makes it a popular New Year destination for travelers. Instead of a ball drop, at midnight people here watch a giant Fleur de Lis descending from a high pole on top of a building.

At the same moment, fireworks are launched, in tune with the music, and they light the sky over the Mississippi River. The party continues on Bourbon Street and in the Latin Quarter, where bars and clubs become wild with people partying.

Read Next:  9 Tips on How to Have a Great Holiday in America

Disney World, Florida

Disney World theme park in the state of Florida is a dream-come-true destination for families with kids. The park is packed with activities all day long and stays open until 1 am. Around midnight, the show starts.

Firework displays, Cirque du Soleil performances, dance parties, confetti explosions and live entertainers keep all the visitors occupied and entertained.

Miami, Florida

The third most popular destination in the USA, Miami, offers numerous attractions. These include Miami Beach and South Beach venues for New Year’s Eve celebration. The festivities start at 8 pm in Bayfront Park and culminate with fireworks at midnight. For party enthusiasts, both hotels and local venues offer entertainment programs of all kinds and for every taste.

San Francisco, California

Travelers from all over the world go to San Francisco to spend New Year’s Eve and witness the spectacular fireworks show in the night sky between the Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge.

In San Francisco, you can be sure to find entertainment on every corner during the day and numerous vivid parties during the night. However, you need to book early to get the best experience!

Los Angeles, California

In Los Angeles, it is hard to stay focused on one particular event.

When in the city of angels, you feel like a party is all around you. The largest city of California offers New Year celebrations for every taste and budget, from street parties to black tie events.

The annual Cleopatra’s New Year’s Eve Ball at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood always attracts many visitors. Numerous nightclubs also have their own holiday celebration programs. However, even if you miss the chance to buy the ticket for a particular event, you can have the same amount of fun at one of the free events.

For example, visit Grand Park and the surrounding area, where numerous stages for live entertainment, along with food vendors throughout the area. Or, if you are not a party enthusiast, you can always find a peaceful spot near the ocean to meet the New Year. 

Chicago, Illinois

Many Chicago hotels offer special packages for the time of the New Year to make sure that a trip to the shores of Lake Michigan is a popular travel activity this time of year.

The largest city of Illinois is loaded with entertainment facilities and things to do on New Year’s Eve.

Chicago House dance music venues attract superstar DJs from all over the world. Local theaters and lounges play jazz and blues. Dinner cruises on Lake Michigan offer the best view of the firework display. And Nay Pier, the family theme park, also boasts numerous rides, attractions, and entertainments.

Despite what you choose, spending the New Year in Chicago would be an unforgettable memory for the whole family!

 

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10 Destination Ideas for a Christmas Vacation in Europe

Europe is a popular travel destination and has a lot to offer.

However, if you are already fed up with the crowds in big European tourist centers, such as Paris, Berlin, Rome, Venice or Amsterdam, try going there in winter for a change, during the low season. Or just choose less popular, but still magnificent cities of

Or just choose less popular, but still magnificent cities of Central, Eastern and Northern Europe. In fact, Christmas is a great time to try something new, don’t you think? Here are ten less famous European destinations, which become just magical during the Christmas time.

Prague, Czech Republic

If you are not afraid of Prague’s chilly winters, you have a great chance to enjoy its famous Christmas markets, concerts, castles and underground restaurants. Even the most jaded travelers won’t be able to resist the charms of the city.

Prague is famous for its magnificent gothic architecture and unique folkloric traditions. You’ll also be glad to know that the prices in the capital of Czech Republic are very reasonable. So if you are a traveler on a budget, you shouldn’t be afraid to spend too much in this medieval city.

Innsbruck, Austria

While Innsbruck is undeservedly avoided by travelers during the summer season, in winter, this town on the Inn River becomes crowded with skiers and other winter sports lovers. Innsbruck is crowned with the Austrian Alps, offers numerous ski resorts, winter attractions and all-inclusive packages for the best Christmas vacation in the Old World.

Vienna, Austria

In Vienna, you’ll have a delightful old-fashioned Christmas, with the smell of mulled wine and hot chocolate. There will be magnificent holiday decorations on imperial architecture, ice skating rinks, and outdoor Christmas markets.

Don’t miss the Vienna Boy’s Choir performance. Or visit one the world’s most famous Viennese Christmas Balls. The capital of Austria really gives you an opportunity to make yourself feel like a 19th-century aristocrat, waltzing to the famous works of Johan Straus in a real imperial ballroom.

Budapest, Hungary

Couples skating hand-in-hand, families having fun, clouds of breath in the frosty air, you won’t find a more picture-perfect Christmas holiday anywhere other thanBudapest. The capital of Hungary boasts an enormous outdoor skating rink in the picturesque park Városligeti Műjégpálya.

And if you get cold, the numerous thermal baths of Budapest are at your service!

The city is also number one in the best affordable destinations in Europe list. This is another compelling reason to visit this beautiful city.

 

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Valkenburg, Netherlands

Christmas Shop in Amsterdam near the Flower Market By Tobias Niepel CC BY 2.0

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.

However, if you are looking for new impressions and one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts, Valkenburg is a place for you.

The city is home to the oldest and the largest subterranean Christmas market in Europe. It is located in a labyrinth of underground caves. Underneath the town, you will find sculptures, an 18th-century chapel, mural drawings of Roman times and even Santa himself. The market works from mid-November until just before Christmas. During these weeks, the whole town transforms into a glittering winter wonderland.

Riga, Latvia

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The popular Riga Christmas market in the Town Hall Square offers not just souvenirs, Christmas gifts, and locally crafted items, but also numerous interesting events for both children and adults.

In the heart of Latvia’s capital, you will find a carousel of wooden figures, riding ponies, and horse-drawn carriages. Children will also enjoy the animal corner, with live sheep and rabbits, and the cat house with habitats of local animal shelter. Of course, you shouldn’t miss an organ concert in the famous Riga Cathedral (Rīgas Doms), as it is a truly fabulous performance!

Tallinn, Estonia

The capital of Estonia is known for its Christmas spirit and the medieval Old Town, whuch is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The world’s first Christmas tree was set up in Tallinn in 1441. Nowadays, on Town Hall Square, you will find not only the famous tree but also numerous little huts selling their goods, handcrafters at work, snow sculptures, national foods and drinks and a mini-zoo.

Copenhagen, Denmark

For a fairytale European Christmas, you can’t choose a destination more magical than the hometown of Hans Christian Andersen.

Of course, you can visit the famous and always crowded monument of the Little Mermaid.

But forget about it for the rest of Christmas vacation and just enjoy your time in the capital of Denmark. Enjoy the fairy streets and houses of old Copenhagen. Enjoy the warm, cozy cafes with big windows and flurrying snow outside. 

And in the heart of the city, there is a Tivoli amusement park, which transforms into a really magical place around Christmas, with illuminations warming the heart and hot mulled wine warming the body.

Lapland, Finland

What is a Christmas without Santa? And where to look for Santa, if not at his house? You will probably be surprised to find that there is a place in the world where Santa Claus lives.

It is a small town of Rovaniemi in Finland, the official hometown of Santa. It is a wonderful place, and not only for children. For the new experience, you can choose to sleep in an igloo hotel or try fly fishing. If your budget is not limited, you can even go on a husky safari. A 2-hour ride will cost you around 150 euro, but it is definitely worth it. At the same time, your children can make cookies with Mrs. Claus or enroll in Elf School. Rovaniemi is a perfect destination for family Christmas vacation!

Reykjavik, Iceland

Although Reykjavik may be too cold and dark in winter, it is still worth visiting during Christmas time. The capital of Iceland offers its winter visitors not just the Yule Town Christmas market, filled with holiday decorations, treats, and gifts, but also unique holiday traditions, such as the 13 Yuletide Lads. And, of course, it’s your chance to see the northern lights, a marvelous natural phenomenon which you will not soon forget.

 

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10 Summer Destination Ideas for a Christmas Vacation

If you are tired of spending Christmas the same way every year, bored with the view of snow and ice and eager for new experiences, try choosing a summer destination for your Christmas vacation this time.

Celebrating Christmas among sandy beaches, warm waters and palm trees, instead of snowstorms, ice sculptures, and traditional ornaments.

Isn’t it a wonderful idea? Here are our top ten summer destinations for your Christmas vacation:

Australia

During Christmas time, Australians enjoy sun baths, diving and drinking cocktails on the beach, as the holiday season falls during the summer in this part of the world.

What could be better than spending Christmas diving with colorful fish in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef? Cairns, for that matter, has become one of the most popular Christmas destinations in recent decades.

Barbecues on the beach, tours to the wine lands of the Yarra Valley and road trips along the Great Ocean Road are also popular Christmas activities in Australia. And you can build a sandman, instead of a snowman, if you want.

Fiji

If you really want to escape from it all and have a week or two just relaxing on a sandy beach with a refreshing cocktail in your hand, Fiji is the perfect choice for you!

A stunning archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, surrounded by crystal waters, coral reefs, and rich marine life, is probably the closest you can find to heaven on Earth. It is populated with the friendliest folk on the planet and offers numerous activities for travelers. No wonder, Fiji is one of the most popular summer destinations in the world!

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka usually experiences monsoon season from October until January. However, the southern part of the island is generally dry from October until April, which makes December a perfect month to visit.

The island offers much more than just the sun and the beach. You’ll also find a fascinating culture, ancient cities, rich history and prosperous wildlife. Visit the Nala National Park and watch leopards, colorful birds, monkeys, crocodiles, and elephants.

Or explore the jungle while sitting on the back of an elephant. Or watch the magnificent sunset on the coast of the Indian Ocean.

Your Christmas in Sri Lanka will be unforgettable!

Thailand

If your idea of a perfect Christmas includes white sandy beaches, unique culture, and delicious food, then Thailand is a perfect destination for you. The “land of smiles” offers its visitors a warm welcome and a warm climate, diverse wildlife, and cultural heritage, various entertainments and Buddhist temples to explore.

Thailand is really the best value for your money!

Indonesia

The Indonesian island of Bali is a wonderful travel destination all-year-round. There’s no way it will disappoint you during the Christmas vacation. Like Thailand, it offers great value for money and both day and night entertainment features.

During the day, Bali offers surfing, lying on the beach under the shadow of a palm tree or exploring the island. While during the night, you can enjoy the vivid club life with great music, dance, and low-priced drinks. Thousands of people go to Bali every year to celebrate Christmas and New Year in the tropical climate and pleasant, friendly atmosphere!

Mexico

Mexico offers numerous destinations for a warm sunny Christmas vacation. Swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, explore the Mayan sites in Cancun or enjoy the taste of Mexican delights in Puebla. 

This includes mole, a chocolate sauce with chili peppers, cinnamon, and fruit. In Puebla, you can also take part in the Christmas night procession, which represents the biblical story of Mary and Joseph looking for shelter. It starts downtown and walks throughout the neighborhoods of the city.

By the way, its proximity to the United States of America makes Mexico one of the most popular Christmas destinations among American citizens.

South Africa

South Africa is another fantastic place, which receives plenty of sunshine in December and January.

Enjoy a hot air balloon ride in the bright blue sky on an aerial safari as you look for elephants, giraffes, and zebras. Visit Ukutula Lion Park or a penguin colony on Boulder Beach, near Cape Town. Or spend Christmas day diving with Great White Sharks.

Christmas in South Africa will surely be an experience you’ll never forget!

Caribbean Islands

The Caribbean region is a perfect destination for visitors from the USA. Its geographical proximity, favorable climate, and the regular air connections make it one of the favorite places for Christmas vacation among travelers from the USA. Of course, island such as the Bahamas, for example, are dream destinations all-year-round.

But who could refuse to spend Christmas time among deserted sandy beaches, clear warm waters and out-of-this-world views?

Christmas celebrations in the Caribbean follow many American traditions nowadays. However, they are complemented with an abundance of traditional local festivals, carnivals, and other festivities. In the Cayman Islands, you can even meet their very own Caribbean Santa.

Holidays are also the great time to visit Barbados, with its endless blue sea, soft sand, and unique traditions. No matter, what island you choose for your Christmas vacation, the Caribbean will not disappoint you!

Spain

If you would prefer to spend your Christmas vacation in the Old World, but still want to bathe in the rays of a warm sun, then Spain should be your main choice. The Canary Islands are not as hot as Africa, but winters here are warm enough for a pleasant vacation.

Also, if you feel adventurous, you can explore the island’s soaring volcanoes or sail in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

United Arab Emirates

When you’re looking for Christmas vacation opportunities in a summer climate, you can’t leave Dubai, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, out, of course.

In this metropolitan city, you can ice skate, watch a fountain show or visit the famous Dubai Aquarium. The shopping enthusiasts will be excited to hit the huge Dubai Mall. This is the world’s largest shopping mall by area, which hosts over thousand different stores.

However, if Dubai is too much for you, and all you want is some peace and quietness, head towards the nearby island of Abu Dhabi, where you can relax and kayak in the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf.

 

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