Rome is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy and the entire world, with around 9 million people visiting from around the globe each year.
Most people stay for just a few days and try to check off the biggest sights – the things you can’t afford to miss, like the Colosseum, the Vatican, and the Pantheon.
But if you’re looking for something beyond the obvious to give your holiday a little something extra, check out these sights and really make the most out of your time in LaCittà Eterna.
The viewpoint at Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi
If you want a great view of the city, walking up to the top of the Janiculum Hill is essential. It can be a bit of a tough walk if you’re already tired from a day of sightseeing, but the views are well worth the effort.
Arrive in the large, open square to see a huge statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi, a key figure in the unification of Italy, astride his horse, looking out across the capital of the country he helped to create.
From here, you can see the whole city – the Colosseum and Roman Forum included – and if you cross over the square, you can watch the sun go down behind the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican.
Get there in the early evening to snag a spot on the wall, grab a takeaway cocktail from one of the kiosks, and settle in.
The Fountain of the Acqua Paola
Just around the corner from the Janiculum Hill’s viewpoint is a huge monumental fountain. Built in 1612, it marks the end of an underground aqueduct originally built by the emperor Trajan.
In the seventeenth century, the aqueduct brought essential drinking water to the Trastevere area of Rome and culminated in this elaborate fountain.
If it looks familiar, it might be because it actually served as the inspiration for the better-known Trevi Fountain, built over 100 years later.
There’s another gorgeous view of the city here, and it tends to be a little quieter than the viewpoint at Piazza Garibaldi as there are no kiosks serving drinks, so you might be in with a better chance of snagging a place to sit.
The Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary
Yes, that’s right, a cat sanctuary. If you’re a cat person, you probably won’t need much more convincing, but this sight is worth a visit regardless of your feelings towards our furry friends.
It’s situated among the ruins of four ancient temples, dating from 400–300 BC, and it’s also the site of Julius Caesar’s infamous murder on the Ides of March.
While it’s not possible to walk around the ruins themselves, you can get a good view of them from the street level, so peer over the railings to marvel at the well-preserved columns and slabs of ancient tufa.
Throughout the year, you’ll see the stray cats of Rome who have been taken in by the sanctuary basking in the sunshine or lying in the shade of these once-vast temples.
The sanctuary itself welcomes visitors, so if you need a sightseeing break or are looking to cuddle up with some cats, look no further!
The Borghese Gallery and Museum
If art is more up your street, take a trip to the Galleria Borghese, home to some of Bernini’s most famous sculptures.
Housed within the Villa Borghese and the surrounding park (one of the largest in Rome), the gallery’s upper floor contains paintings by Raphael, Titian, Correggio, and Rubens.
The lower floor displays two of the most jaw-dropping sculptures of the Baroque period: Bernini’s Rape of Persephone and Apollo and Daphne.
Bernini’s Rape of Persephone
Wonder at these marble masterpieces, including neoclassical works by Canova, and gaze at ancient mosaics before taking a stroll around the expansive park – a perfect place for an evening passeggiata (promenade), an Italian tradition.
Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls
This huge basilica is one of four ancient papal basilicas in Rome and is the largest church in the city other than Saint Peter’s in the Vatican.
Situated outside the Aurelian Walls, which traditionally contained the city’s fabled seven hills, it’s often overlooked by tourists, but its rich history and elaborate façade make it a worthwhile visit.
St Paul’s outside the walls
Home to the bones of Saint Paul himself, the church has been repeatedly pillaged throughout history, eventually leading to the construction of a fortified town, Johannispolis, the ruins of which you can still visit today.
Inside the church itself, as well as thirteenth-century mosaics and a fourteenth-century crucifix, look out for the series of mosaic portraits of all the popes.
Legend has it that when there are no spaces left for portraits of new popes, the world will end – there are now only six spaces left, so visit while you still can!
The Isola Tiberina
This island in the middle of the River Tiber is a marvel. To reach the island, just walk across the city’s only intact ancient Roman bridge, the Ponte Fabricio (look out for the four-headed stone gatekeepers as you start to cross).
View from Ponte Fabricio
Once on the island, you’ll find a tenth-century basilica built on the site of an ancient temple, and a restaurant that wafts out gorgeous smells at all times of the day.
The four-headed gatekeeper
Wander around the circumference of the island and sit down at the eastern end to gaze up at another Roman bridge, the Ponte Rotto (‘Broken Bridge’) – the oldest in the city.
This is a wonderful place to sit down and take a breather, and you’ll often spot locals coming to the island to relax with a bottle of beer and something to read. Take a leaf out of their book and wind down.
Enjoy your holiday
There are so many wonderful things to do and see in Rome, whether you want to see the ‘biggies’ or not.
If the ever-present hordes of tourists in the eternal city are off-putting for you, consider visiting these smaller sites instead. While still busy at times (Rome is a capital city, after all), you’ll find that you have more time and space to reflect, relax, and enjoy your trip.
Chloe is a freelance proofreader, copy editor, and writer from the UK who has spent the last year living, working, and traveling through Italy. She’s picked up great tips and tricks to help make your Italian adventure the best it can be. See more of her writing at chloelaywrites.wordpress.com.
What a year it has been! No words can fully describe all the chaos and interesting chain-of-events that took place in 2020. Many of these changes will continue to transform the world forever.
Remote work, telemedicine, political dysfunction, money printing, pandemic control, vaccine production, home schooling (just to name a few massive trends) — 2020 was one of those years where a decade has happened.
From climate change, to systemic racism, to rising wealth inequality to combating a raging pandemic which no one could effectively control in most of the world has taught us many critical lessons. Hopefully, some of these lessons will make our world a better, safer, and fairer place for all.
Okay with that said and as we are all preparing to wrap up the year, we bring you 2020 year-in-pictures.
Australia Forest Fire
Taal volcano erupts in the Philippines. From a green oasis to red death. The volcano has had several violent eruptions in the past, causing loss of life on the island and the populated areas surrounding the lake, with the death toll over 6000 as of date.
Covid Outbreak in China
Within months, the virus outbreak went loose and spread across the entire planet. Travel started to slow down and nations-states started to close their borders.
Initially, as the testing rate was low and death rate were high, panic and an impending sense of doom was all over the news. Everyone was taking extra precautions and by March, WHO declared Coronavirus a Pandemic.
With time covid testing and tracing became humanity’s only chance of hope.
The unfortunate event that led to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked a series of protests around the country and later across the globe around systemic racism, gender inequality, government corruption, police brutality, and other social injustices.
The protests against the police brutality and issues around the police reform led to more cases getting surfaced with either police forces using excessive force or not taking actions at all. This led to month long protests, riots, death, damage, and chaos.
California & West Coast Forest Fires
2020 US Election
This was the most important election in the recent US history. On the one side, it was pro-Trump nationalists with America-First at all cost camp vs the progressive democrats who wanted America take back the global leadership role.
Once the covid19 cases surpassed a million and continued rising at an alarming rate, the governments around the world had no choice but to start locking down businesses, transportation, and other human activities.
The national lockdowns around the world resulted in millions of small businesses going out of business, millions of people losing their jobs, and causing both a severe economic depression and mental health epidemic. The “real economy” is far from normal no matter what the stock markets might be telling you.
The long awaited 5G (fifth generation) technology finally started getting rolled out and new phone models were launched which are now 5G compatible. 5G will bring Gigabit speed for its users. Furthermore, 5G networks are predicted to reach almost 2 billion subscribers worldwide by 2025.
SpaceX, NASA & ISS
NASA astronauts were launched in a historic test flight to International Space Station (ISS) in SpaceX Dragon. This was a huge deal not just in the field of reusable-Rocket Science, but also because it made America finally independent. Up until now, all commercial launches used to be done by Russia.
Bitcoin as Digital Gold
The year 2017 put Bitcoin into the mainstream news but it was not until this year’s rise in Bitcoin price which validated Bitcoin’s true potential as a digital store of value. With the new all time high price and market cap, Bitcoin continues to lead the digital financial revolution.
As if Coronavirus was not already bad enough, the 2020 locust infestation wrecked havoc and threatened the food supply across East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Indian subcontinent. The locust outbreak this year was the worst in 70 years in Kenya, and the worst in 25 years in Ethiopia, Somalia, and India.
Speaking of Biblical level plagues, infestation, and disease, 2020 gave us three new species of murder hornets in the Pacific Northwest in North America. These are Asian giant hornets, a species that recently invaded North America.
The bigger problem is that they are a threat to bees and without bees everything else goes down in the food chain beginning with the trees. This is a huge problem that we don’t know how to solve it yet. Only time will tell.
Brexit officially happened on January 31, 2020 and the UK has been in a transition period until the end of 2020. There are plenty of both the doom warnings and good days, but no body knows for sure how this will impact the UK in 10 years. The way things are going in the world, this doesn’t look like a happy ending for the British people.
Healthcare Workers Celebrated as True Heroes
Finally, to end this year end review on a positive note, we would like to thank our healthcare workers and all essential workers who make this world run. Covid19 made us realize that the true heroes are the people who lift up other people’s burden and take care of our sick. They were indeed the angels we needed to survive this pandemic!
If you think we are missing some key events from this year, please comment below and we will make sure to add it to our photo story.
Thanks for reading and we wish you a Happy 2021! This time is different 😉
Booked your first air ticket? Congratulations, you are soon going to fly at 32,000 ft above the clouds.
Flying for the first time can be both fun and exciting. However, if you have any flying anxiety, before boarding a flight, seek professional help or enroll in an online flying course to ensure a seamless experience.
Mistakes happen and many first-time flyers make blunders that can affect their journey and overall travel experience.
Let’s find out what are the most common travel mistakes and how you can avoid them!
Forgetting to check passport Expiration
There is nothing quite like the stress that comes from booking a flight and learning your passport is expired.
Many first-time flyers often make a mistake of not checking their passport expiration date. Some countries like China and Brazil require 6 months of passport validity. This means such countries will deny you entry if your passport isn’t valid for at least 6 months after your last day of travel.
It’s better to check your passport’s expiration date and, if needed, update it to avoid any problems.
As a first-time flyer, it may be tempting to pack a lot of stuff to make the trip more pleasant.
However, this can make your journey difficult and can boost the chances of you getting charged with potential baggage fines.
It is advised to go through the baggage allowance policies of your airline.
Reaching late at the airport
At the airport, it is a common sight to see people arriving late and many of them end up missing their flight.
For instance, if your plane departs at 2:00 pm, that doesn’t mean you have to reach the airport 20 or 30 minutes before just to find a closed boarding gate or to watch your plane flying away from the terminal.
Procedures like getting the boarding pass, security checks, and reaching terminals can all take much longer than you believe.
So, if you’re a first-time flyer, reach the airport at least 2 to 3 hours before the scheduled departure so that you have spare time to board the flight.
Not opting for web check-in
Whether you are a rookie flyer or an experienced jet setter, web check-in should be your top priority.
By web check-in, you can:
avoid standing in a long queue
save your precious time
choose the desired seat on the plane
immediately go through the security checks and then to the boarding
Forgetting to carry in-flight entertainment
This is the most common mistake that first-time flyers make.
Whether it’s a long-haul journey or not, carrying in-flight entertainment like headphones, iPad, e-reader, or smartphone can be a lifesaver on your flight.
Some of the benefits are:
Makes the journey enjoyable and fun
Calm your flying jitters
Time passes quickly
Keep you distracted
Block unwanted noises
Let’s wrap up
In-advance planning, double-checking your luggage, arriving on time, and avoiding these potential mistakes can make your first flight comfortable.
Above all, don’t’ forget to communicate with your co-passengers and seek help from the crew if you feel uncomfortable.
A strange yelping noise echoed up the cliffs to meet me. The noise rose and fell on the wind and sounded much like a crying baby.
I quickened my pace along the dusty path eager to see down into the coves. Another gust of wind brought more plaintive cries to my ears.
I reached the headland and stopped short on a grassy bluff and peered over the crumbling edge. Far below me was a shingle beach that teemed with activity.
Large figures moved in and out of the turquoise waters, their grey bodies dipping into the surf and diving amongst the waves.
Farther up the beach one of these creatures advanced past the tide line and slid ungracefully across the sand into the foaming sea. I couldn’t believe my eyes. A colony of Atlantic grey seals, right here in the UK.
This incredible evening occurred in mid-September whilst I was walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path – a 186-mile National Trails hike located in the south of Wales.
The route crosses 35,000 feet of ascents and descents which is equivalent to the height of Mount Everest!
The path is populated by 14 harbors and some bigger fishing villages such as Tenby, Pembroke, and Fishguard.
It is renowned for its rugged heathland and windswept landscape due to the harsh weather that blows off the Irish Sea. It has 58 beaches and is, for the most part, a relatively untouched area of coastline.
It was this level of wilderness that attracted me to walk the path in its entirety. Following a series of travel restrictions and lockdowns in the UK, I felt an urge to spend some time exploring the local National Parks in my home country rather than planning to jet abroad only for the trip to get canceled.
Prior to this, I’d walked the 84-mile Hadrian’s Wall Path in northern England. This hike stretched from the east to the west coast which amusingly gave me the right to say I’d walked across the UK.
Despite this, I still wanted to step it up. I felt I had more in me and yearned to do something even more adventurous.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path seemed like the perfect challenge I’d been looking for. It gave me that added element of raw nature whilst also allowing me to explore an area of the country I’d never visited before.
Gwlad Hud a Lledrith
In fact, the path is known as “Gwlad Hud a Lledrith” in Welsh, which means “The Land of Mystery and Enchantment”, and it’s this remoteness that makes it the perfect home for a breeding seal population.
During the autumn, adult seals flock to the secluded beaches and hidden coves of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to raise their pups.
Throughout the rest of the year, there’s only a small population in the area and it’s unlikely you’ll see any – let alone up close on the beaches. However, during the 3-4 weeks where their pups can’t swim, the colony remains close to the shore at all times.
Despite knowing this, I still felt strangely aloof about the whole thing. As if it was some myth that could never actually happen. The idea of being on an empty, sweeping beach in the UK watching a colony of seals teach their pups how to swim seemed too good to be true.
Yet there I was, witnessing exactly that. The more I stared, the more the animals seemed to appear from their camouflaged hiding spots amongst the rocks.
I began to recognize small white shapes, about the size of a house cat, flapping at the base of the crumbling cliffs. Those strange noises suddenly had their source.
The fluffy pups lay on their backs in the sun creating quite a racket, clamoring for attention. They moaned and cried out, calling for their mother’s milk.
I dropped my heavy backpack on the floor and sat beside a patch of ferns to watch the amazing natural dynamic unfold below me.
Occasionally the pups would fall asleep and go quiet, or sometimes a tired-looking mother would shuffle over and flop beside her pup for it to have a drink.
I was blessed with crisp blue skies and the cliffs were lit orange by the low Autumnal sun.
Rays of light illuminated the water so clear that I could see the adults diving down and foraging amongst the seaweed, catching fish and collecting crustaceans to eat.
They looked so sleek gliding under the water which only made it more comical seeing them try to move clumsily overland.
Some of the bigger seals rested out to sea glancing about with their whiskered heads bobbing up and down in the water.
From this distance, they looked much like dogs and I had to squint sometimes to convince myself otherwise.
As the sun lowered in the sky the calls and movements of the animals began to dwindle. Growing tired, I pitched my tent right there overlooking the cove.
I set up my cooking equipment and sat staring at the seals, almost in a trance. The wind gently swept through the grass and rippled the canvas of my tent. The blue flame from my stove hissed and the water clicked and rolled in the pan.
I ate a pouch of spicy tomato pasta and sipped at a steaming mug of tea as the sky ran red and the animals fell silent. The shadows lengthened on the beach and the sea turned slate grey as darkness descended.
I put on my hat and gloves and watched my breath rise into the starlit sky. The moon drifted above the ocean and cast a white glimmer onto the tops of the cliffs.
I could see no glow of urban settlements on the horizon nor hear the sound of any human noise. Only the swash of waves and the occasional scuffle of blubber against stone.
I lay in my sleeping bag that night thinking about what I’d set out to achieve on this walk. To have an adventure. To explore my home country. To find some of its untouched pockets of nature, and most of all, to have an experience I’d never forget.
As I drifted to sleep listening to the sound of waves lapping against the beach and a groaning seal roll over in the sand, I felt I’d accomplished exactly that.
My name is Matt (Twitter @MattWalkWild). I’m a 24-year-old Biologist and adventure traveler. I’ve visited 42 countries around the world and particularly love wild and natural landscapes. I write about all things hiking, camping, and walking. I want to encourage others to experience the amazing outdoors and inform them about how to explore it just like I do! Check out my website: mattwalkwild.com
I’d dreamed about the Ring of Kerry since I first saw it. I was 19. I’d never been out of the country before, and my first trip was to Ireland.
On that trip, I took a bus ride through the Ring of Kerry. It was the most beautiful place I’d seen thus far in my short life. I promised I’d be back soon.
Hiking the Kerry Way Ireland
Four years later, at 23, I finally kept that promise. But this time, I didn’t take a bus. I walked— 130 miles, for 11 days, with a 30-pound backpack on my back. Alone.
This is the story of how I took my first long-distance solo hike.
Hiking Kerry Way (Ring of Kerry), Ireland
I started out in the city of Killarney. I walked around an entire peninsula before ending back where I started—a full loop, a revolution, a cycle.
The hike started great. I felt empowered, ready to experience nature’s peace, and excited to visit charming towns along the way. I had a lot of thinking to do and I was ready to buckle down and do it.
But there were more challenges than I’d anticipated. I prepared extensively—purchased the right shoes, the perfect pack, researched and plotted everything I would need.
But the fact is that no amount of planning—and I had planned this for years—can prepare you for what you might face along the way. Especially when the toughest obstacle tends to be your own mind.
Killarney National Park
Day 1-3: My Body and Mind Adjust
Let’s go back to the start.
I stepped out of my hostel in Killarney apprehensively. It felt strange, walking through the city like a normal person, albeit with 30 pounds of extra weight on my back.
People were already out and about at 9 am, families laughing, people sipping coffees in cafes. For a moment, I felt like just another tourist visiting Killarney.
Between the Mountains and the Sea
Killarney National Park
I reached Killarney National Park after about an hour of walking along the road. Here, I passed waterfalls and streams and walked amidst massive mountains.
I adjusted to being alone, not having anyone to tell me where to go—only my GPS and the trail markers at every kilometer.
At one point, I nearly got lost in a field of boulders, with no trail marker in sight. But I kept myself calm and continued straight, eventually reaching the next part of the trail.
By the time I got to my first hostel, in an area called Black Valley, I’d lost track of time. My feet hurt bad I’d been limping for a mile, my thighs ached, and my shoulders felt like I’d done a million push-ups. I dropped the bag to the floor and slept like a baby.
According to the map, the next day’s hike was “difficult”. The day before had been labeled “easy,” and I could barely walk by the end. Still, I kept my mood high.
Yesterday’s intense foot pain had mostly subsided, though I felt bruises on my hips from where the pack was strapped tightly to my waist.
Landscape, Kerry Way
I enjoyed the dramatic scenery of the valley covered in towering clouds. Eventually, those clouds released a flurry of rain. I stuffed my hair in my raincoat and hummed to myself and the sheep over the sound of the raindrops.
I stepped through muddy gates in strangers’ farmland and a forest darkened by a lack of sun. When the rain finally stopped, hours later, I was in the most dramatic valley I’d ever seen.
The valley was rolling with green, sheep-dotted farmland. Massive mountains framed me on all sides.
I could see why the trail was marked difficult—it led me up and over one of the distant mountains. As I neared the base, I tightened my straps and steeled my nerves.
The climb was tough. The air thinned with each step up to the next rock, and the weight of my pack tugged me backward. I focused on where my feet would go next and controlled my breath until I got to the top and, panting, was rewarded with a breathtaking view of the valley I’d just walked through.
I felt immense pride when I reached my guest room, in a house on a beautiful lake called Lough Acoose. It was a relaxing place to spend the night and I slept peacefully.
The next day, though, I felt anxiety as I set out. I think the excitement was wearing off and exhaustion was finally hitting me. The terrain was full of small hills that would’ve been much easier if I didn’t have 30 pounds on my back and sore feet.
I counted the hours until I finally limped into Glenbeigh, found the hostel where I’d stay, and threw my pack down. This was the first real town I’d stayed in so far, and I delighted in buying actual shampoo from a general store.
After a hot shower, I rewarded myself with a Guinness at a nearby pub and befriended several of the regulars as I recounted my journey so far.
I felt exhausted but proud I’d completed the first few days of my hike.
Day 4-7: The Real Challenges Begin
On the hike scenery
As I walked out of Glenbeigh on day four, the mountains evened out and I realized I was nearing the coast.
Eventually, I found myself walking along a cliff overlooking the entire bay. It was stunning, and I stopped many times to absorb the view—and to allow my aching feet to rest.
Soon I reached the B&B I’d rented for the night, a farmhouse on the water called Taobh Coille. The owner greeted me energetically and immediately sat me down for homemade soup, tea, and biscuits.
I was starving, as I was subsiding on granola bars and fruit during my hikes (it was lighter). I ate gratefully in a sunroom overlooking the water as she told me about her family, who were grown now and having kids of their own. Her kindness made me feel awake and rejuvenated.
That evening, I took a slow walk down to the shore and watched the sunset over the water, ending a nearly perfect day.
I started the next day in a great mood, and walked along the coast for a while, enjoying the views of the turquoise bay and distant faded mountains. But soon the trail veered inland, cutting across the peninsula to reach the other side.
The views and peaceful sea disappeared as I walked through the dullest terrain yet—plain grass fields. No grand vistas or even uphill climbs to distract me now.
This was when the days started to blur. The terrain was mild, but the pain wouldn’t let me relax. It should’ve been the easiest section, and every step was a challenge.
I focused on anything but the pain to distract myself, finding solace in the sun, sheep, distant mountains, the big blinking eyes of cows. Mostly I thought of reaching my hostel, taking off my shoes, and getting a hot meal.
Day 6: Midpoint of my journey
The 6th day started the same. But while I was expecting that same boring terrain, I had another thing coming.
Soon the trail started ascending uphill. I thought it would only be one hill, and made the walk slowly, taking baby steps. My back and thighs ached.
When I stood at the top feeling victorious, the feeling was short-lived as I saw an entire range of mountaintops ahead of me. One after another, I walked over them, feeling as though they’d never end.
I focused only on the step right in front of me. The weather turned harsh. Freezing rain pelted my face, and the wind blew sideways into my ears. I could barely hear or see, and felt like screaming, crying, stopping.
But I kept going and going and suddenly, there were no more mountains. Only a silent winding valley that took me to my hostel, where I collapsed after the hardest day yet.
The next day, the valley looked new. The sun broke through as I walked and I felt as though nothing could faze me anymore. The day’s hike seemed to go fast. By late afternoon, I’d reached the coast again, and the charming seaside town of Waterville.
Once I checked into my B&B, I forced my feet to make the walk into town for a hot meal and a Guinness. I ate at a cozy pub on the water, staring out the window.
My view—the sea, the dark clouds, the crashing waves—looked like peace in its purest form.
Day 8-11: Learning Who I Am Now
On the hike scenery
It was a treat to start my walk along the coast again. My feet still hurt, but I was better at blocking the pain out now.
I was also becoming adept at entertaining myself with my own mind. Spending 8 hours a day completely alone with nothing to do but walk will do that to you.
After a relaxed and short walk, I ended in Caherdaniel. I had expected a town but found nothing but a small pub and a general store that doubled as a gas station that tripled as somebody’s home.
They didn’t even have an ATM—and I didn’t have cash. I ate dinner in the hostel, making due with what I had left and what I could find in the shared kitchen.
As I set out the next day, it quickly occurred to me I’d finished off the rest of my food the night before. I had nothing to tide me over during the 8-hour hike ahead of me.
My GPS said that there was a general store along the road where I’d be walking. But I was walking through rolling hills and farmland, dirt roads that looked like nobody had used them for months.
I could hear the hum of distant cars but never saw this road, never saw the general store. I ate my last apple as slowly as I could manage. I wondered if I’d ever felt so hungry. My body resisted every movement—my energy was spent.
When I hobbled into the busy, charming town of Sneem I felt plunged into bliss. The main street was nothing but restaurants—I smelled roasted chicken and barbecue, grilling burgers, and fresh bread. I nearly cried tears of joy when I quickly checked into my hostel and finally sat down at a restaurant.
I ordered several things off the menu and a big Guinness to wash it down, and felt more satisfied than I could remember ever feeling.
I was sad to leave Sneem the next day, but I bid farewell to its colorful shops and lovely restaurants and set about the second-to-last day of my hike.
I felt calm and relaxed, resolved like I was every day to ignore whatever pain I felt. No stopping now. There were no surprises in the trail description, just a bit of rain and clouds today which made me feel even more alone than I had before.
Ring of Kerry, Kenmare
I ended up in a town called Kenmare, and went about my usual routine of stopping in a pub for a beer. But I felt too tired to socialize. I slept like a baby, prepared for the final day of my journey.
Today’s final leg of the hike was to be long, but easy. I set about feeling strange—I had gotten so used to the routine of waking up early, eating breakfast, having a coffee and packing my bag for the day’s walk. The idea that it all ended today felt surreal.
After a few hours walking through those same massive mountains, I’d seen the first few days, I reached the part of the trail that led to Killarney.
It was the same as the first day—the booming valley full of waterfalls and streams. I didn’t panic when I reached the boulders. It was the same place I started, but I felt like a different person.
The feeling stayed with me, heady and surreal, as I walked into Killarney that afternoon. The tourists were still there, trotting about, completely oblivious to the limping girl with the giant backpack.
I wondered if I looked as different as I felt. I thought I did—windburn-reddened cheeks, hair bleached from the sun. I could even see the muscles that had grown slightly in my legs.
But, I was still me. The same me who started the hike, the same me who first laid eyes on the Ring of Kerry and vowed to return. Except I had proven to myself that I can keep a promise to myself, that I can follow through.
I hoped that this well-earned knowledge would stay with me for the rest of my life.
Malaga in southern Spain is famous for its sunny weather and sandy beaches, but there’s more to Malaga than simply beach tourism.
Sitting on the Mediterranean coast in Andalusia, this multicultural city has everything: an incredible history, sumptuous cuisine, a thriving art scene, and deep cultural roots.
No matter what kind of traveler you are or what you look for in a holiday, you’ll find something that appeals to you in Malaga.
If you’re looking for some inspiration and suggestions, here are the top ten things you need to do in Malaga.
Malaga is famous for much more than the beach.
Explore Malaga’s History in Alcazaba
Malaga is reportedly one of the oldest cities in Europe, with its history dating back to approximately 770 BC when it was founded by the Phoenicians.
Over the years, it was then inhabited by the Romans, Moors, and Christians, all of whom contributed to this city’s diverse, multifaceted history and monuments you can still see today.
Perhaps the best of these is Malaga’s Alcazaba fortress in the city centre. It backs onto a Roman Theatre and sits watch on a hill overlooking the sea.
Built in the 11th century by the Arabs inhabiting the city at the time, this beautiful fortress houses a series of stunning patios and gardens typical of Arab architecture. The building’s defensive nature combines with its palatial character in a visual wonder of marble columns, archways, fountains, and turrets.
You can notice the Moorish-Arabic influence in the architecture
A Roman Theatre dating back to the 1st century AD sits proudly next to this Arab building in a juxtaposition that perfectly reflects Malaga’s multicultural history and heritage.
Finally unearthed in 1951, it’s one of the last vestiges of Malaga’s Roman past and well worth a visit. Over half of its tiered seating remains today, along with its stage. Nowadays, it even occasionally hosts shows as it is so well preserved.
Dive into the City’s Art Scene & Visit Picasso Museum
Patio of the Buenavista Palace
Second only to Madrid in terms of the number of museums, Malaga has made quite the name for itself in the art world. In addition, Malaga is famous for being the birthplace of the widely celebrated painter and sculptor, Pablo Picasso.
The Picasso Museum in this Andalusian city is housed in the 16th-century Palacio de Buenavista, which in itself is a building worth a visit.
The work displayed in this museum spans 80 years of Picasso’s art, while its library and archives contain a vast number of titles on Picasso. The museum also has a bookshop selling various books related to Picasso and art in general, as well as a café in a quaint, leafy courtyard if you fancy a break from your day of tourism.
Or if you would like to learn even more about Picasso, you can also head to the Picasso Birthplace Museum (Museo Casa Natal). Take a tour through the rooms of the home where this great painter was born and learn about his family life and Malaga’s influence on his works.
Experience the Importance of Religion in Malaga
Christmas Lights in Malaga
Spanish people are passionate by nature, and their passion applies to religion too. Here in southern Spain, Catholicism is deep-rooted, playing an integral part in the city’s fabric.
The most iconic religious building in Malaga is undoubtedly its cathedral: the Catedral de la Encarnación.
Construction on this Renaissance-Baroque building commenced in the 16th century, on the site of what was previously the city’s great mosque. Today, it forms an unmistakeable part of Malaga’s skyline.
Affectionately referred to by locals as “La Manquita” (or “the one-armed lady”), it gained its nickname thanks to its unfinished south tower. Some historians believe funds to finish the tower were instead donated to America in its fight for independence against Great Britain; others believe the money went towards construction of a new road to Vélez, a town in the east.
A visit to this religious building will take your breath away, thanks to its finely made stained glass windows, its intricate vaulted ceilings, and its imperious columns.
And if you choose to visit Malaga at Easter, you’ll be able to enjoy all the religious fervour of Holy Week in Spain, and Andalusia in particular, when the scent of incense wafts through the streets.
Easter Holiday Celebration
Religious brotherhoods and associations dressed in robes parade through the streets, carrying ornate religious sculptures and floats (tronas) on their shoulders. They’re usually accompanied by traditional bands that fill the streets with a cacophony of sound in this incredible religious celebration.
Try Local Cuisine
Charcoal smoked sardine espeto
When you visit Malaga, make sure you try the local food. The most famous dish in Malaga is the Sardine espeto (skewer).
You can order Malaga’s espeto speciality at any of the restaurants found along the beachfront.
The sardines are skewered with a stake and then cooked on an open fire in an old fishing boat kept on the sand beside the restaurant. The smoky aroma of these fires will tempt you inside as you walk along the beach promenade.
The Mediterranean diet is lauded worldwide, and Malaga’s location means it can offer up prime land and sea products in its dishes.
While in Malaga, you should also give the tapas culture a try. Tapas are small portions of food that are devised to be shared by diners.
So pick a restaurant or tavern, order a few different dishes, and indulge in Malaga’s wonderful cuisine.
Explore Malaga’s Old Town Like a Local
Malaga’s old town is the perfect place for a stroll at any time of day. Its narrow streets are brimming with typical cafés, bustling bars where you can have churros for breakfast, and charming independent shops among big-name brands.
Among its picturesque streets, you’ll find the city’s main market, Mercado de Atarazanas, which should be on your list of things to see and do in Malaga.
The original building sited here was an Arabian shipyard. There is one remnant of this history still standing: the market’s main entrance archway. It has since been incorporated into the rest of the market’s structure, which includes an amazing stained glass window at the rear.
Open in the mornings from Monday to Saturday, locals flock here to buy fresh bread, vegetables, meat, fish, and more at amazing prices.
In addition to shopping here for food, many locals take the time to sit in one of the market’s bars for a caña (small beer) and a bite to eat before going on their way.
Hit the Shops in Malaga
With Spain having contributed many of the world’s famous fashion houses, it’s only natural that there are many shopping options in Malaga.
In Malaga’s old town, Calle Marqués de Larios and its neighboring streets are some of the most popular places for shopping. You’ll find a varied selection of shops here to suit all budgets.
Venturing a little further outside of the old town, you’ll find El Corte Inglés. This Spanish department store is a shopping symbol in every city in the country.
Close by are the Larios and Vialia shopping centres, which also have several restaurants. The latter also has a cinema and it’s combined with Malaga’s main railway station, Malaga María Zambrano.
From here, you can hop on a suburban (cercanías) train to Plaza Mayor, a large shopping complex on the outskirts of the city. The journey won’t take longer than 15 minutes and is well worth it for shopping fans.
At this shopping complex you’ll find all kinds of brand names, especially as Plaza Mayor has recently been extended with the addition of the new McArthurGlen Designer Outlet that’s opened. Whether you shop at H&M, Zara, Adidas, or Ralph Lauren, you’ll find something to please you here.
Not only that, there are lots of restaurants to keep your taste buds happy too, and a cinema that often screens movies in the original English version.
Relax at some Arab Baths
Malaga is the perfect place for a spot of relaxation too. One way to explore its Arab heritage is with a visit to the Hammam Al Andalus in the city centre.
A visit to these Arab baths will allow you to enjoy a divine massage with oils, along with a range of herbal teas, a steam room, and various baths at different temperatures.
And that’s not to mention the stunning architecture of the place. Archways and vaulted ceilings leap over the baths and strategically placed candles throw warm, peaceful light along its corridors.
Try Something More Adventurous: El Caminito del Rey
When it comes to adding something more adventurous to your list of things to do in Malaga, you should consider checking out El Caminito del Rey – the King’s Pathway.
This is an 8 KM (5 miles), linear hiking route through mountains and gorges, and passing by reservoirs.
With its origins dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, this previously hazardous pathway has undergone several renovations to become one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions today. It was initially built so workers could reach the hydroelectric power plants at each end of the route, as well as to transport materials, among other tasks involved in these plants.
The pathway itself is built into the side of the mountain, hanging vertiginously 100 metres above the ground and only a metre wide.
Along the way, you can sneak a peek at the ground or river below through glass floors if you dare, and enjoy incredible views of the surrounding landscape, before finally crossing the hanging bridge at the end.
Further inland, five kilometres north of the city, you’ll find Malaga’s green lung, Montes de Malaga Natural Park. Covering almost 5,000 hectares, it features mountains (some of whose peaks stretch up to 1,000 metres above sea level), the basin of the Guadalmedina River, and rolling valleys.
During your holiday to Malaga, you should take the time to go for a hike here as this area is rich in flora and fauna, and it offers several signposted walking routes and cycling options.
There are also places of archaeological value within the park, including a rock painting, as well as a visitor center that also acts as a museum that explains wine culture, and how bread and oil are made.
Once you’ve finished your hike, make sure you finish with the area’s traditional dish, the Plato de los Montes. This calorific bomb is a hearty dish containing pork loin in lard, a fried egg, and several other fried foods, which usually include potatoes, blood sausage, chorizo, and peppers.
Discover the Surrounding Region with a Cultural Day Trip
Lastly, if you’re visiting Malaga over the last weekend in August, make sure you head to the neighboring town of Frigiliana to enjoy its Three Cultures Festival.
Located to the east of Malaga, Frigiliana is one of Andalusia’s famous White Villages. Its Three Cultures Festival celebrates the Christian, Muslim and Jewish populations that have inhabited this village over the years and helped to build its traditions. It does so in a spectacle filled with lively music, dancing, culinary delights, art, fireworks, and more.
Over the course of four days, the streets are packed with people there to enjoy street performers, workshops, and storytellers, in addition to the official concerts arranged for the event.
One of the most popular aspects of this festival is its ‘Ruta de la Tapa’ (Tapas Route). This tour will take you on a gastronomic adventure around the town to try different tapas in several local establishments.
Malaga’s Attractions are Varied
An old bridge
Ultimately, there are so many things to see and do in Malaga that you’ll be hard-pressed to find the time to manage them all in one trip. That way, you’ll have the perfect excuse to return to this Mediterranean city in the future.
Rhian MacGillivray is a content writer, translator, and blogger (www.malagamama.com). When she’s not busy helping companies to communicate their message with content and translations, she can be found at the beach by her home in sunny southern Spain.
There are many ways to spice up your travels and ensure that you are getting everything out of them in terms of comfort and convenience. And with so many things to consider on the market, making the right choice can be admittedly a bit difficult.
In this blog, we will look at why we believe a Camper Van is one of the best travel investments you can make to improve the quality and comfort of your travels. If you haven’t thought about a van as an option yet, it’s definitely something worth looking at.
6 Benefits of Owning a Camper Van
If you are dreaming of hitting the open road, amid this coronavirus pandemic, then consider a camper van aka motorhome.
Balancing Comfort & Utility
Volkswagen Autosleeper Clubman GL
The best thing about a van is also the main reason for its existence – it combines comfort and utility, and balances them in a great way that gives you the best of both worlds. It’s hard to overstate how useful a van can be when you have a larger family to ride around with, or a lot of luggage to take with you.
And it can also be great for certain special situations, like when an emergency comes up that requires you to rest somewhere on short notice. All in all, a van can cover many of the important bases for traveling efficiently.
Note: Camper vans due ton their smaller size can be parked in your garage or driveway, which eliminates having any additional storage fee.
If you haven’t looked into camper vans yet, you may think that these beasts must cost a fortune. But you would be surprised to know that camper vans are affordable for most people who already owns cars, SUVs, or minivans.
Despite the extra space and additional features, the basic models aren’t much more expensive than a standard minivan. With gas prices at all time low and improved fuel utility, this means you’ll be able to hit the road without overspending on gas.
Note: Camper vans are more fuel efficient than larger RVs.
Easy Maintenance, Affordable Insurance
An Old Volkswagen Camper Van
On top of that, your typical van isn’t that difficult to maintain either. It doesn’t take a lot to keep it in a good condition compared to a regular car, and finding a good insurance quote should not be a problem if you look around.
For example, sites like Quotezone (UK) can provide you with a van insurance quote, but do make sure you’re looking for camper van insurance and not commercial vehicle insurance. While Quotezone is primarily aimed at car and van customers, it can be a great starting reference point for your future search.
Great for Couples and Friends
A Talbot AutoSleeper 1991 model
Imagine road-tripping with your significant other. Or, with your best friend. All without having to worry about having a fixed itinerary or hotel bookings. With a camper van or motorhome, you can make plans as you go. Not only this provides you the privacy and freedom, it is also adventurous.
Any Class B Camper Vans are completely self-contained, which means it makes them a popular choice for camp grounds. You don’t have to worry about pitch a tent, use an outhouse, or cooking outdoors all while battling unpredictable weather or unfamiliar places.
Even if you don’t travel with a family, a van can still be a great investment into your trips that can make them much more comfortable and convenient. If you like getting together with new people, this is one of the best options you have, and you can even throw small parties in there from time to time.
Of course, it can be difficult to keep things clean with so many random people coming in and out, so consider that in advance as well. If you can handle that though, a van is definitely something that will be right up your alley.
We can’t talk about anything that weighs over a ton and moves at such high speed with a metal body without considering safety. Safety is a huge priority for us and it should be all of us.
The good news is all newer models are built incredibly sturdy. Plus these days, you get powerful disc braking systems, parking sensors, backup cameras, etc. in almost all standard models, without paying anything in extra.
These factors and more should get you on the right track and should show you the benefits of investing in a good van.
If you’re still not convinced, just talk to some people who’re already using a van regularly, and get their input. You’ll definitely get many positive responses, and will learn a few more reasons for potentially giving this idea a go if you’re still on the fence about it.
Rosana Beechum is a freelance writer who loves to talk about all things lifestyle, including travel, fashion, money-saving hacks, and more. She’s traveled the world and contributes articles that offer practical advice and tried-and-tested tips.
Are you a nature lover who wants to experience something unique and beautiful? Do you love waterfalls, long walks, or cycling in nature? If your answer is Yes, then it is time for Krka National Park in Croatia which is known for its series of 7 waterfalls.
If you are planning to visit Croatia, one of the places you must see is this national park.
One of the waterfalls
How To Get Here
Krka National Park is located in central Dalmatia. It consists of almost the entire course of the famous River Krka and the lower course of the river Cikola.
The northern part of national park Krka is near the town of Knin and the Dinara mountain, where the river springs. The southern part of the park, near the town of Sibenik, is where the river flows into the sea.
Nearby are the towns of Skradin and Lozovac. There are at-least eight entrances into the Krka National Park located around the park’s various attractions.
Bike & Hike Friendly
You can visit the park by car, hiking trails, or bicycle routes. The roads to the park are well marked and connected to the main highways. Since the tourist locations are far from each other, some of them you can only visit by excursion boats.
Things To Do In Krka National Park
With a large number of sunny hours, unusual beauty of the waterfall, plenty of green areas, Krka makes for a real natural phenomenon. The National Park includes a large number of attractions that tourists visit, such as:
Roman military camp
The first stop from Skradin is Skradinski Buk. You can get there by footpath, bicycle or excursion boat. This ride is in the ticket price and lasts about half an hour. The ship departs every 20 minutes. It is possible to take a dog with you to the National Park if it has protection. Also, you can visit Skradinski Buk on foot from Lozovac, but there is also a bus.
Skradinski Buk is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in this national park. It got the name Buk because of the big noise, created by the water that descends through the rocks. Visitors are also allowed to swim, but only in marked places.
The characteristic of this part of the National Park is a pedestrian, one-way path almost 2 km long. The trail is circular and leads through beautiful landscapes of water and greenery.
On this trail, there are plenty of places to rest. Also, there are beautiful viewpoints that are great for photography. This road leads us over many wooden bridges. There are many mills in this part. You can also visit an ethnic village that presents old crafts.
A large number of souvenir shops and there are also restaurants. The whole footpath is well marked. There are also educational boards with useful information.
From Skradinski Buk you can go further towards the Island Visovac, or a little further Roški slap. The price of these boat trips is additionally charged.
On this island, there is a monastery with the church of Our Lady of Mercyand a museum. An island rich in greenery and gardens. First of all, it is a place of prayer. You need to be decently dressed when visiting the island.
Another magnificent waterfall! You can visit it by boat from the island of Visovac and Skradinski Buk, but also by car. This part of the park is known for the rocks that line one another, which is why they were named Necklaces.
From the waterfall, the road leads to a lookout point that gives a beautiful view of the Necklaces.
A special place is known as the home of the monks. It is an Orthodox monastery. You can come here by car or boat from Roški slap. The boat ride takes about 1 hour and is extra cost (not included in your park ticket). You can visit the church and the museum.
Represents the most beautiful viewpoint of the National park. It is also the highest waterfall in the Krka National Park. You can visit this waterfall by car to the parking lot, and then on foot to the viewpoint.
A characteristic of this part of the national park is the ancient Roman amphitheatre. It can be reached by car and continue with a walking tour. You can visit alone or accompanied by a guide. This amphitheatre shows the military past of this part of
Explore Skradin Town
Skradin town, Croatia
One of the entrances to the national park, as mentioned above, is Skradin. The small Mediterranean town is a great starting to visit the national park. During the season, it is very crowded due to tourists, and out of season, you will find a quiet place and a peaceful life of the locals.
With its narrow and long streets, it conquers this place. The colored tall houses, olive trees, old bicycles in front of the door make us peek into every corner. In the main street, there are many wineries. This area is known for its excellent local wine.
Besides to wineries, there are also restaurants, souvenir shops with handmade products. The donkey is an animal that represents the symbol of this area. Old stone steps lead to the landscape with a beautiful view of the marina and the river.
After this part of the city, we come to the promenade along the river. A large number of cafes and the port of boats during the season are the reason why you should walk through this part. Luxury ships sailing through this part of Europe come to Skradin for a break. They provide an unusual sight.
If we go to the other side of the promenade, we will come to a playground for children. There is also a part of the river where many swans have found their place. During the summer there is a small market, where you can buy local products such
as honey, olive oil, figs.
Note: It takes several days to tour the entire National Park. If this is your plan, the ideal solution is to find accommodation in Skradin. We offer hotel and apartment accommodation of various categories.
Plant & Animal World
Due to its pure nature, the National Park is home to various plants and animals. During the visit, we can see animals like turtles, frogs, lizards. There are more than 30 species of fish and over 200 species of birds. When we talk about plants, the most famous is the pyramidal bell that grows in the rocks and is purple.
It takes a lot of time to visit the whole national park! And after the tour, walking, feeling the freshness of the water on your skin, you will be full of impressions and thoughts.
Everyday lifestyle leaves us little time for us. The best thing today is to know how to plan your time and not forget your needs. That is the secret of love for travel.
Krka National Park is an ideal example of this and should be on your “must-see” list!
Tickets & Prices
You can buy tickets at the entrance to the National Park, at various marked places. If you want to save time, you can also buy tickets online (on the National Park’s website).
Ticket price depends on:
the location where you buy tickets
how old are you, and
whether you visit the park individually or in a group
An important factor that affects the price of the ticket is the period during the year when you visit the park. Prices are lower in the months outside the summer tourist season. During the winter, a large part of the national park is not open for visits.
Note: Children up to the age of seven have FREE admission.
Have you already visited this National Park? If so, what are your impressions?
Dragana Šuša is an economist in tourism and a freelance writer. Currently, lives and works in London. Many years of education and work in tourism she has dedicated to works with small and medium businesses. She works on the promotion and advertising of companies in tourism and hospitality through digital marketing. Her main goal is good textual content, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Social Media Optimization (SMO). You can connect with her on LinkedIn.
From Miami, Florida to the Pacific Northwest, down to the Caribbean, to all the way to the Baltics, and back down south in the good ole US, we have found amazing vegan eats.
Come on a plant-based journey across the world with us and let us inspire you!
A delicious vegan burger
To start, let’s say when you think of South Beach, Miami, and all of the food options there, you might not think of it as being a vegan-friendly destination. But, when we spent a weekend in Miami, we found it to be a vegan paradise. 🙂
We went to the hip, graffiti-covered neighborhood of Wynwood to find a couple of spots. We started off at Charley’s Vegan Taco’s CVT.
Charley’s Vegan Taco’s
This hip taco shop with a beautiful mural inside offers quite a big menu of vegan treats. The vibe was cozy as soon as you walked in the door.
It was originally started in Tulum, Mexico. Someday, we will have to make our way down to the original and report back as to which one is better!
We started off with the Mushroom Ceviche – Oyster mushrooms, sunflower seeds, avocado, garlic aioli, and cilantro sprouts.
We spent a whole summer in 2019 trying ceviche all around the states, and this version was the best we had. It was the most flavorful and creative out of any.
We then moved on to our entree portion of the meal. We decided we would share a burrito and an order of tacos.
We ordered the El Diablo burrito.
We had been craving burritos recently so this one hit the spot. It came with Abuelita’s rice, black beans, chorizo, chicharron prensado, fried plantain, jalapeños, shredded lettuce, onion, maldita sauce, garlic aioli, creamy green salsa.
The Plantains in it were a game-changer, as they always are, they added a beautiful sweetness to the spice of the Jalapenos. Such good flavor all through every bite.
For our Tacos we chose the Carne Sin Carne option. Which came with 3 tacos.
Chicharron Prensado Taco – porkles cracklings stewed in red morita pepper sauce, served with fresh mango chutney, garlic aioli, onion cilantro
Chicharron Verde Taco – porkless cracklings stewed in green tomatillo salsa, topped with vegan creme, onion, cilantro
Jackfruit pulled “Pork” Taco – jackfruit in ancho pepper adobo with shredded lettuce, cured red onion, vegan creme, and creamy green salsa.
These tacos were beyond incredible. I think my favorite was the Jackfruit pulled “pork”, such an incredible flavor profile.
Overall this experience was amazing. The vibe inside is fantastic and the staff is really wonderful.
We met the head chef Bryan, he introduced himself and gave some insight into the dishes and then went back to making delicious foods. After a few minutes, he came back out to check on us and our meals to make sure we were enjoying ourselves and our food.
Very cool! Highly recommend this spot.
Our next food adventure took us to North Miami Beach and L’Artisane Bakery. This place is beyond incredible. With pastries and sandwich options there is something for everyone and every hunger level.
We ended up going here two mornings in a row, with a pop in on our way back to our hotel after the beach because it was so good.
Our personal favorite was the Guava & Cream Cheese danish. A must at the bakery, the sweet and savory flavor is impossible to resist. We definitely could not and are still craving it all this time later.
Our first visit to the bakery we shared the VTE ”Vegan Travel Eats” Croissant, a beautiful breakfast sandwich with hash brown, sausage patty, Just Egg patty, shiitake bacon & aji amarillo aioli. What an amazing treat. Everything you want from a sandwich to start off your day all in one.
On our second visit, we decided to get a couple of sandwiches along with our guava and cream cheese danish.
We went with… Wild Mushrooms Croissant: this came with sautéed wild mushrooms, fresh thyme, black truffles foam, vegan parmesan cheese, mushrooms crumble.
This is such a beautifully savory sandwich and we highly recommend it. We were sad to see the last bite go.
Croque Monsieur Croissant: this came with vegan deli ham and was so delectable and delicious. If you have ever had this kind of sandwich you will be blown away by how good this one is.
Overall L’Artisane Bakery is one of the best options we have found for vegan food and pastries. It is a smaller yet cozy shop so it can be hard to find a table. But as we did on our first visit it is well worth taking it to go and eat while enjoying North Miami Beach just a short walk away.
Let’s go out now to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, getting here was a beautiful journey by ferry from Seattle. I definitely did not plan on getting seasick on the ride over, I highly suggest bonine or the free motion sickness medication they offer before you leave. Just in case!
One might not think I was excited or ready to get food. But quite the opposite, I was so excited to hit land and walk to get our first meal in Victoria! We dropped our luggage off in our rental car and wandered over to…
The Very Good Butchers
The Very Good Butchers in a food hall/market right in downtown this is by far the best butcher I have been to. It is a fully functional butcher shop. They butcher beans, so you can get your deli needs taken care of and order from a small menu of hot dishes they have at the shop.
Using mostly beans in their patties and their dogs. The flavor and texture that they have created is unreal.
This ended up being our favorite of the trip and kind of ruling our trip eating and snacking game. In our time in Victoria, we tried out…
Jackfruit Poutine: This poutine was no joke the best poutine I have had… hands down. The bbq sauce on the pulled jackfruit was so good and smoky. Fries cooked to perfection and the curds were even better here!
Mac N’ Cheeze: This was an extra cheezy mac with bread crumbs and we added jackfruit to it. Everything you want in a mac n cheeze.
We also got these deli options to go…Bangers in a Blanket: One of their delicious British style bangers wrapped in their homemade dough and cooked to perfection!
Pizza Pocket: A square pocket of goodness, It is stuffed with their homemade marinara sauce and their homemade pepperoni. What an awesome treat.
Meatball Sub: What a tasty meatball sub! On homemade focaccia roll with their cheese strips. Good to grab for a delicious on the go meal.
The portions here are way bigger but I would not recommend sharing, it is too good to only get one option!
Let us take you to a small cozy spot in Nassau Bahamas! As the locals say you have to go up and over the hill from the tourist spot to get here.
Locals might also think you are druggies wandering here but they are very friendly, just be careful and keep your wits about you, and maybe do not go at night.
Eat Right Delight
This small but cozy restaurant in King David Nassau, Bahamas is a hidden gem for sure. When you enter you come into the very small dining and take out area and the menu is on the wall.
They always have specials running, so make sure to ask what the special of the day is! It has a small bench for you to sit on while you await your delicious food. Then on the wall by the window, there are two stools set up with a small shelf/table to eat on.
Once you decide what you are going to order you peek your head in through a small hole in the glass that looks into the kitchen.
Everything is made as you order by Shanique so it takes a little while but it is well worth the wait. As we were hanging out and waiting for our food we met two really great locals who turned out to be friends of ours to this day. Like our friend Cliff Riley, pictured below, a Bahamian singer sharing beautiful positivity, who sang to us while waiting for his food!
With Cliff Riley, Bahamian singer
So many good conversations happen around food. These were a couple of the best. The chef/owner Shanique is incredibly nice as well. She is always smiling as she cooks for you. I cannot wait to return to this place!
Every person who walked in the door was greeted with a smile. Most of the locals that came in seemed to know her and how delicious her food is.
Note: If you are arriving in Nassau on a cruise ship, it is walkable, around a 35-minute walk. If you walk to the market street and take a left and keep walking you will find it!
I would also recommend downloading maps.me from your app store if you have not for and downloading the map of Nassau while you are in town! Stay on the main road, Market street, on your way. Once you get there. Enjoy!
We asked Shanique to make us something she wanted us to try and to remember this place by. I am pretty sure it was a variation of the…
Thai noodles – these noodles she brought out to us had such incredible flavor. Covered in beautiful veggies and another one of her sauce creations.
We also got to sample a sliver of her pizza and it was really incredible! Thinking about it right now makes me hungry!
On our second time back, on the Keeping the Blues Alive At Sea cruise, we ordered her Spaghetti with “meat” sauce.
This was the best spaghetti we have ever had. The sauce was incredible. We did not ask for the secret ingredient that made it so tasty but we are pretty sure it had some cinnamon in it.
Everything she makes is light, we did not leave feeling too full. We felt quite good even after scarfing down the whole dish.
Spicy Mushroom Sliders (another special) – These little sliders packed so much flavor. From every bite, our noses ran and we got more and more sad every bite knowing this amazing food journey would end.
The spice mixed with her mushroom patties is one hell of a mixture. Just hope she has these when you walk in!
This is such a special spot. Feeding the folks of Nassau incredibly good food that is healthy! We cannot wait to return so we can try some more delicious food! A really special restaurant.
Next stop is Tallinn, Estonia, one of our favorite cities we have been to. It has incredible history and architecture from the 1500s. Anything from castles, to modern buildings to communist-era all concrete builds. You can find it all in Tallinn. Old meets new and is bustling with tech. One of the tech capitals of Europe actually.
You have more than likely used one of their biggest contributions to tech and communication… Skype.
More than anything the people of Estonia are kind and welcoming, they want to show you how great their country is and show you a fantastic time. They also share the love with their food.
We found a few amazing options but our favorite by far was Tru Kitchen, we went twice and made friends with the owner and a few of the staff. We genuinely miss our friends and the wonderful food they shared with us.
Tru Kitchen is outside of Oldtown Tallinn, about a 15-minute walk. It is in an old industrial-looking warehouse, which by the time we go again I am sure will be hip and painted in some funky way. When you walk in you are immediately transported to another place.
Plants all over, a few couches along the wall, incredible music vibes, and super friendly Estonians ready to help you out. The owner, Kristo Rosenvald, became a friend of ours very quickly.
Each time we came in he personally greeted us and had nice conversations as long as he could. Then there was the food, what dreams are made of.
Pita Sandwitch (their spelling) – Normally I would not have ordered this sandwitch except that the owner and a few other of our new friends told us it was the favorite menu item. Naturally we had to try and holy hell we were not disappointed, until the end, when it was gone of course.
Served with Voner (a vegan version of doner), roasted carrots, portobello, and a miso mayonnaise. It left us wanting to get 5 more for our journey, but we were too full and let it be a dream to have again.
Tumeric Chickpea omelet was our introduction to beetroot. It was used at every vegan restaurant in the baltic states and is incredibly good. Along with beetroot it came with pickled fennel and green pesto. Another simple dish done perfectly and just bursting with flavor. From the first bite I was sad watching it disappear with every bite.
Grand Leaven Breakfast Sandwitch (their spelling) – this sandwitch comes on local bread from a bakery right across the alley from Tru, it is remarkable how fresh it is. Topped with Kimchi, a perfectly cooked portobello, an avocado, and vegan cheese and served open face, this sandwitch has so much flavor in every bite.
Its only flaw is that it is hard to concentrate on what part is the best because it is all so incredible. 🙂
After our few times here to chat, eat, have tea, and play backgammon, we felt right at home. We had a hard time leaving this magical city.
We will be back and when we do, the first place we will head to is Tru to see our friends and share a beautiful meal.
Traveling Europe in January we noticed a trend in a lot of locals, Veganuary, this was a lot of Europeans way to start off the year with a nice cleanse for their body.
Even though we were seeking out these type restaurants, a lot of others had a couple of special dishes in order to meet Veganuary’s needs. It makes it more accessible to travelers who might be in a mixed travel party of vegans and non-vegans.
Last but not least, come on back with us to our hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. A city full of incredible cuisine, maybe not so known for their vegan offerings.
The Southern V
One restaurant, in particular, The Southern V, will keep you far from feeling deprived of wonderful Southern cookin’. Open since 2017 in the location they are in now they aim to be the staple for southern cuisine in Nashville! Their menu has so many amazing options but these were our favorites.
Nashville Hot “Chicken” – This seitan based Hot chicken is incredible. The spice they bring is hot enough for you to feel it but not be overwhelmed. As a staple in Nashville cuisine this dish is up there with any in the city, better I would think!
BBQ Jackfruit Nachos – This beautiful “American” sized plate of jackfruit nachos was out of this world. Enough jackfruit to cover any chip you can find under the beautiful toppings. Mix and match the veggies you would like and enjoy this incredible dish.
Turnip Greens – Whoa! Talk about flavor, these greens will blow you away. Incredible spice and flavor will make you sad when they are gone.
Mac N “Cheese” – This mac was some of the best I have ever had, and believe me as a picky eating kid Mac N’ Cheese was one of my few food groups that I ate out of. The thick and creamy sauce with amazing texture and taste. Your friends who are scared of vegan food would never know the difference, probably would say this was better.
Southern V has all the fixings you are looking for in a down south meal right here in Nashville.
I think people get the wrong idea when it comes to veganism. What you have to give up, what you miss out on. But in fact, you are not missing out on anything.
Chefs work that much harder to get past the stigma to get people into the restaurant and then make incredibly creative and delicious food to keep people coming in.
We have found some of the most creative food while traveling and experienced a rich culture within the vegan community.
No matter where you travel there is always somewhere to find a plant-based meal if you look hard enough, and that looking is part of the fun and beautiful way to get to know the culture where you find yourself.
We hope you enjoyed our plant-based wander around the world! Peace signs up!
My name is Nik Sheasby, I am half of the wanderlustmoonduo. I have toured with bands for the last 13 years while traveling for myself on the downtime. I started my travel later in life but dove in head first once I was able to. I love immersing myself into new cultures and meeting new people. Traveling has been my life and also saved my life. I want to share my world, seeing our beautiful world, with you. Spread love and humanity. Peace Signs up!
Watching parents progress through age can be challenging, to say the least. The person who raised you and acted as a strong, powerful role model slowly loses their faculty as they grow old—and before you know it, you’re caring for the person who cared for you since you were a baby.
This transition could happen gradually as their condition worsens, or it could happen overnight if they unexpectedly slip, fall, and break a bone.
That’s why it’s critical for families to be proactive and plan for this chapter of life before anyone is caught off guard and thrown into a caretaking role they’re not prepared for.
Mix this with your travel plans and your lifestyle, and it gets tricky. Today, we’ll talk about 3 things you should know when caring for an aging parent.
Daily Living Requirements Must Be Met
How do you gauge whether your parent needs additional assistance as they progress through age? It’s a delicate line to walk. You don’t want to offend their dignity or autonomy, but you need to know that they can safely meet the daily living requirements essential to their emotional and physical well-being.
Keep a close eye on their condition to ensure they independently perform the following activities every day:
Bathing or showering
Personal hygiene (grooming, brushing teeth, etc.)
Functional mobility (getting in and out of bed, sitting down and up from a chair)
Many seniors develop age-related illness or mobility issues that impede their ability to conduct their daily activities with ease. They might show signs of cognitive decline and forget to take their prescriptions, or it may prove unsafe for them to walk up and down the stairs after recent surgery.
Whatever the case may be, you’ll need to find them the appropriate help. This may be in the form of you stopping by at lunch to make sure they took their meds, hiring a qualified professional for help, or retrofitting their home and installing the proper safety equipment.
This transition is inevitably challenging. Adult children may be in denial, not ready to accept their parent’s decline in health, and elderly parents may be reluctant to ask for help due to guilt, shame, or stubbornness. However, taking an honest look at their condition and identifying where they need support is the first step to helping them live out the last years of their life most comfortably.
There are Ways to Pay for Senior Care
As health weakens and parents show increased symptoms, many adult children worry over how to pay for senior care. You want the best possible treatment for your parents, but how can you afford it without placing a financial burden on your own family? And how do you know which type of treatment program is best?
Fortunately, there are several ways to pay for senior care without mounting expensive medical bills. Take a look at the options below:
Medicare Part A – Original Medicare includes provisions for different types of inpatient care during temporary stays at a hospital or skilled nursing facility. This form of senior health insurance also provides hospice care for terminal illnesses and may cover the costs of at-home nursing care in severe cases.
Supplemental Medicare – Also known as a “Medigap policy”, supplemental insurance can be used to bridge the gap between services not covered under Original Medicare Part A and B. This offsets the out-of-pocket costs for dental care, dentures, eye exams, hearing aids, and more.
Investment Accounts and Retirement Savings – According to LongtermCare.gov, the average monthly cost of living in an assisted living or nursing facility ranges from $3,600 to $6,800, which could be very difficult to afford on Social Security alone. When your parent can no longer safely age in place, they can receive the treatment they deserve by tapping into the interest accrued on their investment portfolio or the money they’ve placed into a savings account.
Be sure to take advantage of the publicly funded programs that offer financial assistance for the elderly if you need extra help covering medical expenses.
Charities such as Meals on Wheels can provide your loved one with warm food and friendly smiles when you can’t be there, while the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development may be able to find your parent an affordable place to live.
Estate Planning Should Be Aligned
Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of “if” your loved one will die, but “when”. As they develop signs of age, it’s wise to go over their estate plan to ensure their affairs are in order. It can be uncomfortable to discuss what will happen once a parent passes, but it’s crucial to talk about it in advance.
Having a plan laid out will not only minimize stress following their passing, but it will also help minimize the amount paid in taxes, court costs, and legal fees. It’s likely that your parents began preparing their estate when their children were born, but it’s worth reviewing in case any changes need to be made.
For example, a divorce in the family or the birth of grandchildren could warrant names being added or removed. Your parent may have acquired a business since then, in which case they’ll need to formally document who it will be transferred to, or they might have opened a bank account but have yet to record the information necessary for an heir to access the funds.
Go over the documents in detail to confirm nothing’s left out, and if they haven’t already created a plan, make it a priority while they’re still in good health. Talking through various options from the comfort of home will make you and your parents feel much more comfortable as you prepare.
It’s important to have these conversations with your parent(s) well before their condition deteriorates and they have their full mental faculty. Otherwise, family members might feel rushed into a decision and emotions can run tense. Difficult conversations are never easy but going into them prepared helps smooth the discussion.
Come to the table with these talking points in mind and your loved one can rest assured they’ll receive the best care possible.
Kaelee Nelson received her Master degree with an emphasis in Digital Humanities and pursues her career as a writer in San Diego, currently writing for 365 Business Tips and GoodLife. She enjoys informing readers about topics spanning industries such as technology, business, finance, culture, wellness, hospitality, and tourism.
With growth comes prosperity. With prosperity comes an increase in travel and tourism. With an increase in travel and tourism comes pollution, ecological damages, and pandemics.
No, this post is not about Coronavirus. This blog is about the future of travel. This blog is also about how you can practice and promote sustainable travel.
By 2050, with all other economic sectors having greatly reduced their CO2 emissions, tourism is likely to be generating 40% of global carbon emissions.
The main cause is an increase in the average distance traveled by tourists, which for many years has been increasing at a faster rate than the number of trips taken.
In other words, more people are traveling to faraway international destinations than they did in the past.
Travel and tourism is related to traveling for leisure, business, or visiting friends and family. Tourism also involves primary transportation to the general location, local transportation, accommodations, entertainment, recreation, food and dining, and shopping.
Approximately, 72% of tourism’s CO2 emissions come from the transportation aspect of travel (moving from point A to point B), and 24% from accommodations related activities, and roughly 4% from local activities including eating.
Airline travel alone accounts for more than half of all travel-related CO2 emissions. Do whatever you can do to minimize this part.
How To Promote Sustainable Tourism
The world is massive and has endless possibilities. There is so much that we haven’t seen, and if we don’t travel, we aren’t going to either. Looking at Instagram photos and YouTube videos can only do so much for our wanderlust.
Traveling is adventurous, exciting, and stimulating, and I believe that everyone should make an effort to reach out beyond their borders. That said, it is important to be environmentally conscious while you are traveling. Hence, the promotion of sustainable tourism is essential.
In today’s post, I am going to discuss 10 practical ways to promote sustainable tourism.
Sustainable tourism is the concept of visiting somewhere as a tourist and trying to make a positive impact on the environment, society, and economy.
This can be done either by staying at a place longer than a few days and visiting adjacent countries, attractions, cities in a single trip instead of making multiple long-distance round-trip flights.
The future of our planet and climate change is in our hands
When Possible, Take Direct Flights
Planes are responsible for a significant amount of carbon emissions, and they are an essential part of traveling, yet we can start moving on sailboats to avoid these emissions.
So, how can we make our travel more sustainable and decrease the impact we have on the environment.
Did you know? Planes emit most of their carbon emissions during takeoff and landing. This means that connecting flights are more damaging to the environment as compared to direct flights.
Therefore, whenever you have the option, choose a direct flight, these flights maybe a little more expensive than connecting flights. Still, they are more convenient and use less fuel as well, which is also suitable for sustainability.
If you are planning to stay at a hotel or a hostel while you are traveling, make sure that the place you chose is environmentally conscious. This will allow you to decrease your carbon footprint. Moreover, you should try to be sustainability-conscious as well.
For example, try not to waste any energy, water, or food. Make sure that you don’t cause any noise pollution, either.
Finally, you should also try to find accommodation that is locally owned so that you can support the local economy.
Only Use Reusable Stuffs
Reusable coffee cups
While you are traveling, you should try to minimize the use of disposable items such as plastic cups, bottles, and straws.
We know that plastic isn’t good for the environment, therefore, when you are traveling, make sure that you keep some useful accessories with you, like a grocery bag for shopping, a glass water bottle, a travel mug, etc.
Leave the Place As You Found It
A clean beach in Greece
This is an essential rule to follow when you are traveling in nature; for instance, if you are hiking or camping. You should try your best to have no adverse effects on your surroundings.
This means that you shouldn’t damage any local plants or trees and be as eco-friendly as possible. In short, you should leave the place as you found it.
Support the Local Food Vendors
A local fruit seller
If you are a foodie like me, you can appreciate the local cuisine and street food or exotic locations. Whenever I am traveling, I take some time to check out the local street foods, and when I’m visiting a restaurant, I choose one that is locally owned.
Instead of eating at fast-food restaurants owned by global conglomerates, I prefer eating at local establishments so that my travels can benefit the local economy.
Moreover, trying out local foods allows me to experience a whole new array of flavors and cuisines. So, make sure that you give it a try as well.
Pack Light and Smart
Carry only the necessities
One of the first lessons to becoming a master traveler is to pack light. You should always aim to travel with a single backpack or small trolly case.
If you do have a large bag, then traveling in the local transport will be more difficult for you. You will have to take a taxi or use an online ridesharing app, which can result in extra carbon emissions.
Moreover, this is bad for your budget, and if you are using ridesharing apps like UBER, you are once again benefiting large companies rather than the local economy.
Therefore, pack light, but more importantly, pack smart. This is a skill that you will develop with time, so keep making an effort. For instance, once while traveling, I got a painful ear infection; luckily, I knew how to treat an ear infection at home.
Now I always keep some medications with me, because it can be challenging to find a good doctor sometimes, like when you are on a camping trip.
Volunteer to Help Local Communities
A group of UN Peace Corps Volunteers in Ukraine
One of the best ways to travel on a budget and have a significantly positive impact on the world is to volunteer with organizations like the peace corps. Not only will they fund your travels, but you will get a chance to help communities in need all over the world.
If you don’t want to make a long-term commitment with the peace corps, many other non-profit organizations will allow you to volunteer for a shorter time.
Use Sustainable Transport Wherever Possible
A bike parked in Amsterdam, Holland
When you are visiting another country, you will need to move around. Now, what form of transportation should you choose? Your objective should be to minimize your carbon emissions; therefore, for longer routes, choose public transport vehicles like busses and trains.
You can also use public transport to move around locally, but these days, most big cities have electric scooters that everyone can apply through an app. These are quite affordable and convenient as well. You can also consider renting a bicycle for the day.
Respect the Practices of Local Culture
When you are traveling to a foreign country, you will encounter different religions and cultures. To be a sustainable traveler, it is also essential that you respect the practices of the local people.
This means that you should try to be discreet when people are praying or doing cultural rituals. Also, make sure that you follow the appropriate dress code when you are visiting places of worship.
In short, don’t be insensitive and do some research.
Gondola in Venice / Climate change and its impact on Tourism
Raise Awareness About Sustainable Travel
Lastly, apart from following all the tips mentioned above yourself, you should always try to raise awareness in others.
This can be achieved by sharing your sustainable traveling experience with others through vlogs and your social media accounts. Moreover, you should talk to fellow travelers about sustainable traveling as well.
Katherine Joseph writes this article. She has been wearing hearing aids for over twenty years and still is a veteran of the audiology industry. She gives a holistic view of the hearing aid industry and the equipment available at DoctEar.
Some of you may be familiar with Francis Bacon, while others may not have heard of this name before. Therefore, let me first introduce you to Francis Bacon, also, the father of empiricism.
“Knowledge is power.” – Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon was an English philosopher and statesman. He argued science could be achieved by the use of a skeptical and methodical approach whereby scientists aim to avoid misleading themselves.
His works are credited with developing the scientific method and remained influential through the scientific revolution.
Statue of Francis Bacon in the Library of Congress, Washington DC
Below is Bacon’s essay on travel, published in his book called the Wisdom of the Ancients (1609). There is a lot to chew on here. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Francis Bacon on Travel
Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of the experience. He that travelleth into a country before he hath some entrance into the language, goeth to school, and not to travel.
Young men travel under some tutor or grave servant, I allow well, so that he be such a one that hath the language, and hath been in the country before; whereby he may be able to tell them what things are worthy to be seen in the country where they go, what acquaintances they are to seek, what exercises or discipline the place yieldeth; for else young men shall go hooded, and look abroad little.
Have Travel Diaries
Have a camera and travel diary
It is a strange thing that, in sea voyages, where there is nothing to be seen but sky and sea, men should make diaries; but in overland travel, wherein so much is to be observed, for the most part they omit it as if the chance were fitter to be registered than observation.
Let diaries, therefore, be brought in use. The things to be seen and observed are, the courts of princes, especially when they give audience to ambassadors; the courts of justice, while they sit and hear causes; and so of consistories ecclesiastic; the churches and monasteries, with the monuments which are therein extant; the walls and fortifications of cities and towns.
And so the havens and harbors, antiquities and ruins, libraries, colleges, disputations, and lectures, where any are; shipping and navies; houses and gardens of state and pleasure, near great cities; armories, arsenals, magazines, exchanges, burses, warehouses, exercises of horsemanship, fencing, training of soldiers, and the like; comedies, such whereunto the better sort of persons do resort; treasuries of jewels and robes; cabinets and rarities; and, to conclude, whatsoever is memorable in the places where they go, after all which the tutors or servants ought to make diligent inquiry.
As for triumphs, masks, feasts, weddings, funerals, capital executions, and such shows, men need not to be put in mind of them; yet they are not to be neglected.
Learn the Language
If you will have a young man to put his travel into a little room, and in the short time to gather much, this you must do: first, as was said, he must have some entrance into the language before he goeth.
Soak the Culture
Then he must have such a servant, or tutor, who knows the country. Likewise, as I have said before, let him also carry some cards, maps, and books, describing the country where he is traveling to which will serve as a good key to his inquiry.
Also, let him keep a diary; let him not stay long in one city or town, more or less, as the place deserves, but not long; nay, when he stays in one city or town.
Let him change his lodging from one end and part of the town to another, which is a great adamant of acquaintance.
Let him sequester himself from the company of his countrymen, and diet in such places where there is good company of the nation where he travels.
Let him, upon his removes from one place to another, procure recommendation to some person of quality residing in the place whither he removeth, that he may use his favor in those things he desireth to see or know: thus he may abridge his travel with much profit.
On Travel Acquaintance
As for the acquaintance which is to be sought in travel, that which is most of all profitable, is acquaintance with the secretaries and employed men of ambassadors, for so in traveling in one country he shall suck the experience of many; let him also see and visit eminent persons in all kinds which are of great name abroad, that he may be able to tell how the life agreeth with the fame.
For quarrels, they are with care and discretion to be avoided; they are commonly for mistresses, healths, place, and words; and let a man beware how he keepeth company with choleric and quarrelsome persons, for they will engage him into their own quarrels.
On Returning Back
When a traveler returneth home, let him not leave the countries where he hath traveled altogether behind him but maintain a correspondence by letters with those of his acquaintance which are of most worth.
Kids having fun in Thailand
And let his travel appear rather in his discourse than in his apparel or gesture, and in his discourse let him be rather advised in his answers than forward to tell stories.
And let it appear that he doth not change his country manners for those of foreign parts, but only prick in some flowers of that he hath learned abroad into the customs of his own country.
Note: At this time we strongly recommend against traveling anywhere in the world due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. To fight this pandemic it is important that all of us do our best, so the world can go back to normal with the least amount of human suffering.
That said, and assuming we are over Covid-19 by the end of the summer and your feet are itchy to travel. What should you do? Where should you travel to? What are some of the great deals?
If you are thinking of visiting the USA, how do to apply for a US travel visa or an ESTA? What travel documents would you need The steps and documents required will be determined by your country of citizenship.
Let us explain what is ESTA and how can you apply one.
How to Apply For A USA ESTA VISA
What is ESTA?
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (also known as ESTA) is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). It mainly applies to visitors who are coming to the US either by air or sea.
Is ESTA a Guaranteed Entry?
Travel authorization via ESTA does not mean that you are guaranteed entry to the United States. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers determine admissibility upon travelers’ arrival.
The ESTA application collects biographic information and answers to VWP eligibility questions.
When Should I Apply for ESTA?
It is strongly encouraged that ESTA applications be submitted at least 72 hours prior to your travel. But you can apply as soon as you begin preparing your travel plans. The US CBP’s website says that “In most cases, a response is received within seconds of submitting an application.”
Note: Passengers (including babies) without an ESTA will be denied entry into the US at the port of entry. There is a small fee for applying for ESTA application.
Do I need ESTA to visit US Territories?
Yes, ESTA is also needed for visits to territories such as Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.
Do I need ESTA if I am traveling from Canada or Mexico by car (land)?
No. ESTA is not needed when arriving by land from Canada or Mexico.
Note: The United States is very strict with its immigration policies and if you are caught entering the country illegally, you will be deported and jailed depending on your crime.
Is My Country Eligible?
As of November 2019, there are 39 countries in the US Visa Waiver Program. Visitors may stay for 90 days in the United States which also includes the time spent in Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the Islands in the Caribbean if the arrival was through the United States.
The ESTA is only required if arriving by air or cruise ship. It is not required if arriving overland or on local ferries such as between British Columbia (Vancouver and Victoria) and Washington State.
ESTA Eligible Countries
How to Check Your ESTA Status?
You must know your ESTA status before you travel to the US by visiting the ESTA website. First, to know if your country is among the Visa waiver program countries (listed above), and second, to check the status of your application.
In case your country is not on the list of VWP countries, then you must apply for a US Travel visa through a US embassy in your country of residence. Please note applying for a US travel visa is a substantially lengthier process that may require an interview with a U.S. Consular Officer.
ESTA vs. US Travel Visa
At times, some people combine the two documents such as ESTA and US Travel Visa as one; forgetting that they are two different documents. If you are eligible for ESTA, then you must check your ESTA status online.
How Long Is ESTA Valid?
Each travel authorization under ESTA can be valid for up to 2 years. However, a Visa Waiver Program traveler must obtain a new ESTA authorization if they are issued a new passport, or change their name, gender or country of citizenship.
Entry under the Visa Waiver Program is only valid for a combined maximum stay in the US and its surrounding countries of 90 days. The admission period cannot be extended under the ESTA program. If a longer stay is intended, a proper US travel visa is required.
Third-Party ESTA Websites
Some websites offer to complete ESTA applications for a fee, often many times more than the required $14 USD fee charged by the US Government. Access and application through the official U.S. Government website are available to any visitors to the U.S. who qualify under the ESTA program.
Even if one of the third-party websites is used, passengers themselves still have to complete the same form.
Exercise caution though (if using a third party website) as concerns have been raised that third-party sites could be used for identity theft, credit card fraud, or the distribution of malware.
Hostel traveling is one of the best ways to explore the world as a young person. These communities that dot every major city on the globe are hot spots for like-minded voyagers looking to visit faraway cultures and people.
However, life on the road doesn’t come without dangers to personal safety. In this article, we’ll highlight a few simple steps to ensure a fun and secure stay at a hostel, particularly if you are a teen traveler.
Find the Right Location
Finding the right location is one of the greatest ways to ensure safety while visiting a new city. Visiting a new destination (often abroad) is fun, but the cost of travel gets substantially high the further away you travel from your home.
Staying in Hostels is one effective way to budget your expenses but hostels are all about who will share the place with you, how far it is from the city center, public transportation, and what’s the cost when compared against Airbnb or Hotels.
Therefore, booking a hostel should be done carefully so that one doesn’t end up staying far from the places they want to explore. If you plan to drink, look for locations close to the nightlife of your city. It’s better to have a short journey back to bed in the nighttime.
Do Advance Research
There are several websites specifically dedicated to this form of travel, and each site posts helpful information such as they type of hostel, the type of community found there, and what to expect from a stay.
Make sure to find one that fits your personality, as this will mitigate culture shock and oftentimes depression.
Also, do some research about:
common travel scams in particular destinations you are planning to visit
the nearest embassy of your country
note down phone numbers for hospitals, ambulance, and police
shady neighborhoods to skip
First thing first, find out the legal drinking age in the country you are visiting. And, do not drink in if you are not of age. Drinking is just one tiny way to have good times but traveling offers so much more. Be mindful, present and curious. Let your senses be overwhelmed by the new experiences (so you don’t feel like you are missing on anything).
Another tip is to drink responsibly (if you must) and if you are traveling in a group, then go to a bar with your group. Do not accept drinks from strangers no matter how friendly they appear.
Pack Light & Carefully
Take care when packing for your trip. Remember that most hostels sleep six to ten people in a single room, so the space you live in will be shared with strangers.
Therefore, all your personal items will be in a common space that is potentially open to thievery. Remember, the quickest way for a trip to be ruined is to lose something important.
One great strategy to minimize the threat of robbery is to be a packing minimalist. When gathering the items, carefully revise and prune the list of items that you will bring.
Expensive clothing shouldn’t be brought if it isn’t necessary, along with high-priced electronics that won’t be of use on the trip. Bringing fewer items will decrease your chances of getting something stolen abroad.
Bring a Lock
Inevitably, some valuables will have to be brought on your trip. Passports, money, and cell phones are part of every travelers’ arsenal when living in hostels. In order to keep these items protected, it is imperative that a lock and key is brought on your journey.
Almost every location will offer lockers to store your gear either for free or for a small fee. Using a locker will allow for important documents and information to be kept in a safe place while exploring the city’s sights or bars. Don’t hesitate to bring one!
In addition to standard mixed-gender dorms, some locations will offer private rooms for booking. Private rooms are great options for additional privacy if you do not want to share living space with strangers.
Additionally, they can add another level of protection to personal items while visiting cities across the globe.
Another option for female globetrotters is all-female dorms and hostels. While these hostels and rooms come fewer and further between, they can provide additional safety and security for women traveling abroad.
Be sure to look for these options if one has concerns about privacy or living with men.
Some additional precautionary tips to keep in mind are:
Ask the hostel staff for security advice or anything you should know about
Don’t open the hostel doorfor strangers
Make a copy of your Passport and email it to yourself
Hide some backup money somewhere safe. This is just in case you lose your wallet/purse
Plan to check-in at your hostel before dark for the first time
Don’t leave your hostel alone late at night (no matter how safe you feel)
Trust your gut “feeling” but also use your brain (it is better to be safe than sorry)
I hope these easy to follow steps help when planning your next trip! The world is a gift, and everyone should have the opportunity to see every part fearlessly.
France is a country that grows on you. Once you set your foot here, you will be sorry for anyone who is not in France and is not in love. Your dreams come alive when you see some of these dreamy places.
Even the quaint olive branches in the window front of a house, add to the exquisite beauty of France. The science nerd can fall for the old school romantic. That is how irresistible the charm of France is.
There are a few places which define the tourism of France. Your trip would be incomplete without visiting them.
“I ought to be jealous of the tower; she is more famous than I am.” ~ Gustave Eiffel
Proudly jutting out from the 7th arrondissement this monument is the most visited monument in the world. It was built in 1889 for being the entrance gate in World Fair. Now it is the epitome of tourism in France.
Gustave Eiffel brilliantly modernized the whole idea of France, with just a metal structure. The three levels of the tower, are used for Michelin restaurants (1st and 2nd levels).
The third level is 906 feet high, used as an observation deck. To climb the top of Eiffel tower is on the bucket list of many, but you need to stand in tiring queues for getting your hand on the pass. You can book online if you want to avoid the hassle.
PALACE OF VERSAILLES
“It was like the first time I visited Versailles. There was an eeriness like I’d been there before. I don’t know if I was Louis XIV or Marie Antoinette or a lowly housekeeper, but I lived there.” ~ Maurice Minnifield
Louis XIV was an exalted ruler. He wanted to claim his absolute monarchy. That is why he renovated his hunting lodge in the quaint village of Versailles to a luxurious castle.
He used a baroque style with a classic French touch. There were apartments for King and Queen, Chapels, Royal Opera of Versailles. A genius manifestation was creating the Hall of mirrors.
Ornamental pieces of mirrors adorn the hall where the King used to summon his courtiers. Your eyes might hurt with the rays of light reflected from the mirrors. French gardens are set in the background with graceful fountains and lush shrubs.
“Mount Blanc is the monarch of mountains; They crowned him a long time ago On a throne of rocks, in a robe of clouds, With a diadem of snow.” ~ Lord Byron
No verse ever written can reflect the beauty of Mont Blanc as aptly as these lines by Lord Byron. It crowns the French Alps in its magnificent glory.
At the height of 4808.73 m, it is blanketed by snow throughout the year. Chamonix is a cozy little village on your way to Mont Blanc. It is studded with charming restaurants that serve cheesy and fatty (fondue and raclette) meals to keep you warm.
Stroll through the snow-filled street and enjoy the tranquil landscape. The Valley offers opportunities for winter sports like skiing and adventure sports as well.
“Look at those vines, he said. Nature is wearing her prettiest clothes.”. ~ Peter Mayle, A Year in Provence
Sprawled across an area from the Italian border to lower Rhone River. It was the place where the Romans first settled outside of the Alps. For ages, it has been the nest of artists. Everyone travels here to bask in the untainted charm of quaint old towns.
The rolling hills are home to villages. A colorful field of lavender, vibrant olive grooves are the backdrop of rustic living. While walking on the stone pathways, you can ogle the scenic beauty.
There are classy restaurants that serve you healthy and delicious cuisines. Staying here during your holiday in France will give you a glimpse of the past. The mystery of historical sites and bustle of open-air- markets all will take you on a joyful ride of Provence.
CÔTE D’ AZUR AND BIARRITZ
“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand, there is a story of the earth.” ~ Rachel Carson
The wild, untamed sea always acts as an unavoidable temptation. French Riviera or the Coast of Blue starts from the Italian border and ends in Saint-Tropez.
Nice, Cannes, Monaco all these cities scream of luxury. The hot summer sun and salty breezes attract the wealthy and privileged to spend their time in the vibrant sea coasts. It also has streets that are in vogue with chic boutique and apparel stores.
The Royals of France used to prefer Biarritz which is an elegant beach town near Grande Plage beach. Virgin of Rock is unfazed by the turbulent waves of Atlantic crashing on it.
The seaside palace turned resort offers exquisite views of the sea. You can lounge on the sunny beach or spend your time at the museum, lighthouse.
Nowadays, traveling is not a luxury anymore. Even budget travelers can fly with comfort and pleasure. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is the appearance of low-cost airlines. You can get an airway ticket for just a couple of dollars if you know, where to search.
Of course, this fact also made many people doubt: isn’t it too good to be true? This has led to many rumors and myths about “low-costers” and their services. Here are the 10 most common myths about low-cost budget airlines:
Low-cost airlines arrive God-knows-where and getting from the airport can be even more expensive, than flying the regular airline.
Yes, and No.
Low-cost airlines truly do arrive at smaller airports. The main reason is the size of airport taxes. However, the location of a particular airport and the price of getting to the city can vary greatly.
For example, getting from Paris-Beauvais airport to the city will really cost you around 20 euro, which is even more than some low-cost ticket price.
On the other hand, we were able to get to Milano from Milano-Bergamo airport for just 5 euro. In Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, the minor airport, which caters low-cost airlines, is located within the city borders and can easily be reached by public transport, unlike the main international airport.
Also, many cities, such as Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, or Corfu Town in Greece, have only one airport, situated not far from the city, or even within the city borders. In fact, we were a little short in cash at the end of our trip to Greece, so we just walked to Corfu airport from the city center. It took us just 30 minutes by foot, which is not long at all.
And of course, no one will make you leave the plane somewhere in the field. Although, I’ve heard such a myth too 🙂
Cheap flights are dangerous.
Low-cost airlines update their air fleets more often than the regular ones. They believe, it is cheaper to buy a new airplane than to maintain and constantly repair an old one.
Also, old aircraft break down too often, and low-costers can’t afford to cancel flights all the time, as these are additional spendings for them. So, if you really think about it, it is probably safer to fly a low-cost airline than the regular one.
You may not get the seat on the plane.
The number of tickets issued always matches the number of seats on the plane. Of course, unpredictable situations happen sometimes. But it is, in fact, more common for regular airlines, than low-costers.
On the other hand, there may not be enough space in the luggage locker if you board late. So, try to enter the plane as soon as possible. Pay attention, where you seat is and which entrance you should use. Some airlines put this information on the boarding pass, so read it carefully.
The flight can be suddenly canceled or delayed.
Of course, it can. But this is true about all airlines, and not just low-costers. The schedule can also change sometimes. Due to this fact, the best time to book your ticket is around 2-3 months before the flight, and not earlier.
If your low-cost flight was canceled at the last minute, don’t worry. You will be given an exchange or a refund, just as with regular airlines.
Low-cost flights are always late.
Yes, and No.
Any flight can be late, and it doesn’t apply to low-costers only. In fact, low-cost airlines try much harder to stick to their timetable, as their planes usually do 2-4 flights a day.
In my experience, low-cost flights arrived earlier almost every time. However, it doesn’t mean you should choose risky flight change options: it is always better to stay in the airport for a little bit than to miss your flight.
Advertised price is not final.
Yes, and No.
You need to proceed the booking process up to an end, to see the final price of the ticket. Some booking fees, taxes, etc. can sometimes be added, but it is not common. Pay attention, however, when booking a low-cost ticket.
Most definitely, you will be offered additional services, such as insurance, choosing a seat on the plane, food, drinks, booking a hotel, or arranging a car rental service.
So, if the price of your ticket changes, when you proceed to the next step, you should check, what services were included. If you really added something without a purpose, go back and cancel it.
Low-cost tickets are always cheaper than regular.
If you search the same destination with a low-cost and a regular airline, the low-coster will most probably have cheaper fares. However, it cannot be true for 100% different situations.
For example, sometimes regular airlines make huge ticket sales, and you can buy a ticket at a simply funny price. Or you can get lucky and find “hot” ticket at the last minute. Or get a birthday discount. In all of these cases, your ticket will be even cheaper, than the low-cost flight.
Also, keep in mind that low-cost ticket price, in the most, only includes hand luggage. And if you are used to traveling with a huge suitcase, you will have to pay an additional baggage fee, which can be even higher, than the price of your ticket. And don’t forget about the taxi fee you will have to pay, to get to the airport if your low-cost flight departs at night or early in the morning.
The destination attractiveness also matters. During the high season, low-cost airlines may require higher prices, than even the regular companies. And of course, ticket fares tend to grow closer to the departure date (for low-costers, the difference can sometimes be around 4-5 times between the starting and the final prices).
Low-cost airlines don’t give any guarantees.
Low-cost airlines play according to common rules. Yes, they never offer joint flights and don’t take responsibility, if you are late for your next plane. On the other hand, they try to avoid force majors and unpredictable situations as much as possible, not to have any additional spendings.
You can only fly low-coster with hand luggage.
Ticket price in low-cost airlines only includes hand luggage, it is true. But you can take as much luggage as you want, as soon as you are ready to pay for it. On some destinations, the price of the ticket, plus the luggage fee, will still be lower, than the same route at regular airlines.
Keep in mind, though, it is always cheaper to pay for your luggage online (even after buying your ticket), than doing it in the airport, right before departure. You can add any amount of luggage on your personal page on the airline’s website, up to 3 hours before the flight leaves.
If you don’t want to pay additional fees, however, learn to travel with hand luggage. Not only is it cheaper, it is more convenient too:
You don’t have to get in line for baggage registration
You don’t have to wait for your luggage after arrival
Your luggage will not get lost, as it will be with you on the plane
But keep in mind the general rules for things you can and can’t have in your hand luggage if you decide to travel light.
When you arrive at the airport for you low-cost flight, you suddenly find out about additional fees you have to pay.
This can only happen for two reasons:
You didn’t do the online check-in for the flight, as most low-cost airlines demand. If you do it at the airport, the service will be paid, and usually, it costs a lot! So, don’t forget about the online check-in. Plus, it is much more convenient to do from home, than to wait in a huge line at the airport.
Your hand luggage or baggage doesn’t meet the strict size and weight demands of low-cost companies. Find out, which are the luggage size and weight limits of a particular low-coster, in advance, and stick to them. Otherwise, you will have to pay an additional fee at the airport.
Keep in mind: if you are not sure about your luggage, you should arrive at the airport, at least 4 hours before the departure. In this case, if you need to pay an additional fee, you will still have time to do it online, using your phone or tablet, and it would save you a fortune!
However, both situations are, in fact, the result of people’s inattentiveness. So, if it happens to you, you have no one to blame, but yourself.
If you travel on a low budget and want to use a low-cost airline, all you need is be attentive, avoid common mistakes and travel with pleasure!
Are you a US Permanent Residentand someone who loves to travel? If you have been wondering whether to take US Citizenship or not and whether it makes any difference in terms of how many countries you can travel “Visa Free”, then this blog post is for you.
Visa free travel is a big plus when it comes to traveling efficiently. Not having to deal with travel visa saves you money, planning-time, and paperwork. In short, fewer headaches and you can travel on short notice.
Let’s say you are getting a great airline deal or there is a wedding or it’s just that all of your friends are planning a trip, having a US Green Card vs. a US Passport are two totally different things.
Below is the list of countries that lets you enter visa free or provides you a visa on arrival (on the airport) based on your citizen or US permanent residence status.
US Green Card
Northern Mariana Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands
British Virgin Island
British Virgin Island
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda
Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
With a US Passport, you can also travel Visa Free to:
Antigua & Barbuda
Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Federated States of Micronesia
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad & Tobago
United Arab Emirates
Lastly, I must mention that besides your Green Card status, your home country passport will also avail you some visa free travel benefits.
For example, if you are an Indian Citizen and a US Permanent Resident, besides the above-listed countries, you also get to visit over 50 countries based on your passport power.
Question: Can I travel to [XYZ destination] with a Green Card only?
Answer: If you are wondering if you can travel to Canada or Mexico with a Green Card only, unfortunately the answer is you will still need your passport if you are traveling by air. If you are driving through, legally you only need your Green Card but it’s a good practice to carry your passport as well.
Safe Traveling gives you a sense of security. We love going places, meeting new people, seeing beautiful sunsets. That is what travel is about. But in the excitement of it all, we should not forget about staying safe.
Don’t be so immersed in walking down a bustling tourist street that you get pick-pocketed. There are some basic tips you need to follow for safety.
It is not just theft that you are up against, you never know when you face a natural disaster, or God forbid an illness during your trip. In that case, you ought to be prepared for the worse. Below are the safety rules for wise travelers.
Carry a door lock with you
No matter what kind of destination you go and no matter how high end the hotel you stay in, you always need to have your privacy.
That is the key to safe traveling. A door lock helps you keep unwanted visitors at bay and is particularly useful for women who travel solo.
Along with a door lock pack a smoke detector with you too. Not all the rooms have smoke detectors.
So it is better to have one with you in the case of an emergency it can be a lifesaver. Many buildings do not have smoke detectors, so to be on the safe side take one with you.
Memorize the Emergency Digits
For safe traveling, You need to be well aware of the emergency numbers before you travel to a new country.
For example, the emergency number for an ambulance in America is 911 but in Cuba, it is 104. Google the emergency numbers of your destination before you head out for being safe. It will be beneficial if you find yourself in any trouble.
You might snort and say that “English is Global, Why translate it?”. But just a bit of illness abroad and you will know how important the local language is.
Countries such as China, Japan, South Korea are very serious about their mother tongue. If you give them your health documents in English, they can’t understand it because they don’t know it.
In such cases, download the health app if you haven’t already. And then input the information into it. You can use a translation app to translate all the information, So the translation would not be a biggie.
Prepare all these documents before you head out for your trip, And keep apps like to translate Microsoft Translator, Translator and Google Translator in your phone. They come in handy while traveling.
Sign up with the State Department
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program provides US Nationals with many benefits. But above all in any case of emergency, the US Embassies can help you out in a much faster and swifter way.
It is a free service, so all the US citizens but takes advantage of it. The department also sends travel alerts regarding the country you are about to travel to.
Choose to Stay on Lower Floors
By lower floors, we do not mean the ground floor. You know in case of a break in the ground floor is the most vulnerable floor. But in the event of a fire emergency, the top floor is also going to give you trouble.
The comfy of all floors are the second and the third floor. In the case of break-ins, you are relatively safer, and in the event of a fire emergency, the ladder can reach you.
These are just a few practical tips for those travelers who love their safety. And yes it is also for those paranoid travelers who keep checking their door locks.
Driving, windows down, music playing, nothing but the open road ahead; what else will you feel besides freedom? Traveling by car can be a wonderful and insightful experience.
Whether is it high rises or a natural vista, this method of transportation allows you to savor the scenery. People from all over the world take to the roads in search of a unique and liberating experience.
This roadway begins in Oberes Nassfeld and ends in Kaiser Franz Josefs Hohe. There is nothing you will miss while on this road trip. You will go from dark tunnels to sunny meadows. Plus, the winding road will take you through the mighty mountainside. Finally, you will reach the winter landscape.
The Grossglockner, the namesake of this route, is the highest peak in the Austrian Alps. The name befits the roadway since this trip will have you weaving in and out of the looming mountains. Furthermore, there are lovely stops along the way.
You can visit the Nature’s museum. This museum specializes in all substances of modern ecology. Lastly, the breathtaking view of Pasterze Glacier at the end of your trip will be magnificent.
This road route connects two municipalities, Eide and Averoy. The roadway is eight kilometers long and passes through an archipelago including several small islands. The road has eight bridges that connect the islands.
The primary feature that attracts ‘roadies’ is the highest bridge, Storseisundet. When the wind is wild, you will love driving across this bridge. The turns in the bridge are breathtaking and exhilarating.
Furthermore, the stunning view of the mountains emerging from the sea will leave you in awe. In addition, the Atlantic road is toll-free!
This was one of the earliest roads built by road enthusiasts. Just as the car was starting to rise in prominence, this road was being built. The Touring Club at the time decided to make a route that would connect all the Alpine passes.
Consequently, you will find sixteen passes while you drive along this road. Along the way, you can stop and visit Ecrins, Queyras, Mercantour, and Vanoise national parks. The scenic beauty of Geneva Lake is worth the detour.
Also, you can satisfy your hunger with delicious food found while on the road.
Dracula’s country attracts all kinds of tourists. The mystery and myths surrounding Romania make it an ideal location for a road trip. Discovering the legends of Romania will be an exotic journey.
The trip will lead you to Poienari Fortress. The intimidating fortress is the inspiration behind many myths. Specifically, many Vampire legends originated in this area.
Furthermore, the Transfagarasan tears its way through the Fagaras Mountains, which are the highest mountain in the country and the Carpathian Mountain Range. The Carpathian scenery has a raw beauty. Plus, adventure lovers can ride mountain bikes throughout the range.
This 200-kilometer long route has all you could ever want. It will take you on a ride along the Iveragh Peninsula. Consequently, you will see the deep valleys and high mountains along the coastline.
The slopes give in to sharp cliffs that look over the coastlines, which. Plus, you can stop at the white sand beaches along the way to relax.
Sneem is a small village near the roadway. Cute renovated thatch-roofed houses characterize this charming village. Plus, this village would be a great place to stop and rest on your journey. In addition, there are many other attractive spots along the roadway.
For example, Blue Pool Nature Reserve, Rossbeigh Beach, and Torc Waterfall are natural beauties you cannot miss. Lastly, Ross Castle and the Stone Circles are architectural wonders to behold.
The Romantic Road is named so because it is an embodiment of romance. The roadway was built around 1950, since then it has inspired many young couples in love. If you are traveling with your partner, this trip is perfect for you.
The trip will take you through medieval villages and across magnificent fairy-tail castles. Plus, the road will lead you to Schwerin Castle, which resides on an island.
The Romantic Road will surely bring out the romantic in you. Rustic landscape and baroque castles make for an incredible journey.