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10 Reasons Iceland Needs to Be on Your Travel List

Travel Blog - Ross French - April 19, 2018

In the 800s, Vikings arrived in Iceland from Norway and established the land on which now is home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If that isn’t a good enough reason to visit the eco-friendly “Land of Fire,” travel to Iceland to discover a preserved language and forest-free zones.

There is a bit of something for everyone in Iceland, and it’s a great destination for a peaceful getaway. Use sites like Expedia to find the cheapest flights to Iceland and start planning your itinerary!

A Striking Country with a Viking History

Iceland is a forest-free zone, you ask? That’s right. The Nordic island nation sits on the surface of tectonic plates. It was these tectonic plates that collided to form the treeless landscape, where volcanic eruptions prevent vegetation from flourishing. This doesn’t mean that the landscape is not visually appealing, however. Quite the opposite actually.

Home to Europe’s first parliament grounds, Iceland is an enchanting place where the locals have been known to put a halt to building projects, should they believe elves to reside in the construction area. Showing off swathes of agriculture, pristine coastline and snow-capped mountain peaks, the glacial-filled region is a utopia for nature lovers.

  1. Active Volcanoes and Volcanic Rivers – A volcanic eruption that occurred some 4,000 years ago created Selvallavatn – one of approximately 60 lakes around the country. Notable lakes include Mývatn, Hálslón and Kvíslavatn, and the Volcanic Fishing Lakes, better known as Veidivötn. Since there are 130 active volcanoes scattered around Iceland, is there any wonder why it is a tree-less utopia?
  2. Solitude and Empty Roads – If you like to wander, you’ve probably pictured yourself strolling along an empty road at night, gazing up at the stars. This is something that you can do when you visit Iceland. One such place that entices peace-seekers is the Westfjords region. With its flat terrain, Iceland’s secluded roads are ideal for road-tripping!
  3. Northern Lights – The Northern Lights in Iceland are a prime motive for curious explorers who are keen to witness the dancing of green and white lights. The “Aurora Borealis” occurs when atoms collide with Planet Earth’s atmosphere. The natural spectacle is best viewed on clear nights. A night huddled beneath the astonishing night sky in high-latitude areas of Iceland is a great opportunity to create amazing video content for your blog.
  4. Natural Spas – Water sprouts from a depth in excess of 2,000 meters beneath the surface of Planet Earth to produce healing hot springs that are even being used to produce skincare products! Consider the hot springs around Iceland a natural spa, because the warm water is full of minerals that can treat skin conditions like psoriasis. The Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths, Mývatn Nature Baths and Seljavallalaug are some examples of Iceland’s best hot springs.
  5. Waterfalls and Beaches – Lovers of the coast will fall deeply in love with Iceland, where over 10,000 waterfalls dot the fairytale-like landscape. Let’s not forget about the sublime shorelines, such as Nauthólsvík, Djúpalónssandur and Borgarfjörður. Perhaps the prettiest stretches of beach can be found in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Make your way to the East Fjords during your trip and seek out the beach at the bottom of Mount Vestrahorn, where the ever-changing landscape is home to a shipwreck, lighthouse and an abandoned Viking village film set.
  6. Rock Formations and Hiking Trips – Over a long period of time, basaltic lava lowers in temperature. When this happens, jaw-dropping geometric formations creep to astounding heights around Iceland, some of which reach higher than 2,000 meters, including Hvannadalshnjukur in Oraefajokull glacier, (2,111 meters) and Bardarbunga in Vatnajokull glacier (2,009 meters). A hiking haven, the Nordic island nation of Iceland boasts some of the best hiking trails, not to mention some of the most challenging mountain hiking routes.
  7. Glaciers and Ice Caves – You can easily book an ice cave tour in Iceland, where glaciers like Vatnajökull, Hofsjökull and Langjökull give the country its nickname – ‘The Land of Fire and Ice’. A natural phenomenon, new ice caves develop all of the time, adding to the wintery beauty of Iceland.
  8. Traditional Food – Feast on the foods of Iceland to treat your taste buds to a mouthwatering combination of flavors, most of which are plucked from the ocean in the form of seared minke whale, fermented shark, fresh tuna and perfectly pink salmon. Not everything is about seafood in Iceland, however. Famous dishes include Slátur (Liver Sausage and Blood Pudding), Hangikjöt (Smoked Lamb) and “Ein með öllu” – a lamb-based traditional Icelandic hot dog smothered in onions, herbs, carrots… the list goes on.
  9. Historic Sights – Iceland is an enchanting place steeped in history. Known in English as the “Church of Iceland”, Hallgrímskirkja stands tall at 74.5 meters. Blending expressionist architecture with a Gothic Revival design, Iceland’s tallest building is one of numerous historic sights that pepper the landscape. Others include Einar Jonsson Museum (Listasafn Einars Jonssonar), Hofdi House (Reykjavik) and the age-old cabins by Þingvallavatn Lake.
  10. Wildlife – Ever seen a puffin bird up-close? You stand a good chance at crossing this one off your bucket list if you book cheap flights to Iceland, where a whopping 8-10 million Atlantic Puffin birds paint the landscape. The fertile environment is a haven for a vast range of wild mammals, such as reindeer, rabbits and the Arctic Fox. Marine life is equally as diverse. Spend an afternoon cruising along Icelandic waters to catch sight of dolphins, whales and slippery seals!
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The Quintessential Northeastern United States Road Trip

Travel Blog, Travel Tips - Ross French - April 11, 2018

The northeast coast of the United States of America features some of the oldest cities in the country. These places are rich with historical landmarks and also modern attractions. This mix of places to see combined with the countryside makes the region a good choice for a road trip. This article will look several locations someone on an American road trip across the northeastern United States would have to check out. The trip will start in Boston and end in Washington D.C., spanning a good portion of the region. Just make sure to have up-to-date liability insurance for your car, as the traffic in these cities can get a little hairy.

Boston

Boston was a major location for colonial America. There are several historic sites from the past as well as statues and monuments to honor the history. This includes places like the Plimoth Plantation, the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museums, and the Freedom Trail. Each of these locations is sure to enrich your understanding of American history for both children and adults alike. The city of Boston is just a beautiful place to explore. Its olden style is very appealing. From here, the next stop on your road trip will be to the big apple, otherwise known as New York City.

New York City

Compared to many of the other cities in the northeast, New York City is much more sprawling and stunning. It features skyscrapers that extend out for miles and miles. The inner city is divided up into various subsections, each with a unique name and culture in their own right. The Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Statue of Liberty are great choices for big tourist attractions of the Big Apple among countless others. One suggestion though: park the car for a few days and ride the New York subway. Not only will it prevent unnecessary headaches behind the wheel, riding the NYC subway is an iconic experience of American urban life.

Philadelphia

The next stop on this northeast adventure is through Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It can’t be understated how important this city was to the American Revolution. The Liberty Bell, President’s House, and the National Constitution Center are just handful of historical sites worth checking out. However, history might not be for everyone or maybe you need a break, in which case grab a cheesesteak sandwich and head down to one of the many things to do in Philadelphia which don’t involve history

Washington, D.C.

The final destination on this trip is, of course, Washington D.C., the capital of the United States. Getting an up and close view of the White House and the Lincoln Memorial are life-changing experiences. It shows just how far the country has come and yet stands a symbol pointing towards the future. There are other places to visit in the surrounding area as well, including George Washington’s home of Mount Vernon in Virginia as well as Rock Creek Park in Maryland.

At last, the American road trip over the northeastern United States is complete. From Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and all the places in between, this trip quite the journey. There are countless historical sites along the way, with each one showing us specific events from the past. There are several landmarks to remind us to protect the future as well. Along the there are a few entertainment detours such as downtown New York and sports events. Regardless, there’s much to explore on this road trip. Make it a fun time.

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FOUR SEASIDE DESTINATIONS PERFECT FOR A BUDGET HOLIDAY

Travel Blog - Ross French - February 16, 2018

There is nothing like the seaside to take a break from the everyday life and unwind. Think about it for a second – you are sitting by the sea on the powdery sand with a pint of chilled beer in your hand, your feet are getting wet from the splash of the gentle waves, the sun is setting far into the horizon with its beautiful bright orange hue – your mind already feels calm and relaxed, does it not? A seaside vacation is a perfect remedy for boredom after long days of work. And there are many budget seaside destinations which will cheer you up without breaking the bank. And if you are looking for the perfect beach destination to travel to, then look no further. Just book a Cheap Flight ticket and travel to one of these four locations to have the perfect seaside getaway on a budget.

Thailand

The face of Southeast Asian tourism, Thailand has been loved and visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. The country is famous for its incredible landscapes, awesome nightlife and crystal clear blue waters. However, despite being famous and beautiful, Thailand continues to be one of the cheapest seaside destinations to travel to. Although there are many luxury resorts and hotels where one can stay in Thailand, still there are a lot of cheap hotels and hostels which are a blessing for backpackers and budget travellers. Also, Thailand is famous for its awesome street food, which is generally quite cheap while being extremely tasty. One can get a proper meal in Thailand for a really cheap price if he or she is okay with having regular street food.

Vietnam

Another extremely cheap Southeast Asian country which is a great destination for a seaside vacation is Vietnam. This historically and culturally rich country is home to one of the most surreal seaside destinations in the whole world, Ha Long Bay. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Ha Long Bay is famous in the whole world for its towering limestone islets and clear, emerald waters. A trip to Ha Long Bay is not like your everyday seaside break, as the most popular activity here is going for a one or two nights’ cruise through these otherworldly islands.

Portugal

If you are looking for a cheap yet cosmopolitan seaside experience, then Portugal has to be the perfect destination for you. Due to the cheap prices, one can travel to this country at a really low budget. Especially the Algarve region is perfect for you if you are looking for a calm and quiet seaside vacation away from the crowd.

India

India has been famous among travellers for its really cheap prices and diverse landscapes. India is also home to one of the most popular seaside destination in the world, which is Goa. This beautiful destination has a lot of beautiful beaches, awesome nightlife, never-ending parties and an array of festivals and water activities for you to enjoy.

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Does Destin Really Have the Clearest Water in Florida?

Travel Blog, Travel Tips - Ross French - February 13, 2018

When you picture a vacation in paradise, chances are you envision soft, warm sand stretching for miles and the endless ocean in front of you. Your worries wash away with the receding tide. The sun radiates down as you soak up the rays and enjoy the anticipated relaxation that comes from a day at the beach. And, let’s face it, the clearer the water and more pristine the beaches, the better the beach vacation!

If you plan to vacation in Florida, a state that is literally surrounded by beaches, you might think it hard to choose the best one. We will make it easy for you. Your hunt for the best beach and clearest water in Florida is over! Destin, Florida and the surrounding area boast the most pristine beaches and crystalline water in Florida, even ranking amongst the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Destin and the Emerald Coast have consistently rated as the number one beach in Florida, even when compared to other contenders with incredibly clear waters like Anna Marie Island. According to the article “Which Beach Has the Clearest Water in Florida”, at the end of the last Ice Age, chunks of white quartz crystal were carried into the Gulf of Mexico by the Apalachicola River. Thousands of years of tidal action transformed the quartz into a pure, crystalline powder resembling something between sugar and snow! The pure white beach balances beautifully with the clear, emerald water for some of the most spectacular beach views.

How does the water along this stretch of the Gulf Coast remain so clear and seemingly untouched? The Choctawhatchee Bay acts as a filter for river sediment, limiting the amount of sediment that is actually deposited into the Gulf. Whereas other areas situated along the coast deal with large sediment deposits directly into the ocean or Gulf, the natural drainage provided by the bay leaves the Destin waters crystal clear and perfect. Combine this with the water’s jeweled colors of emerald and blue, and it is no wonder these picture-perfect beaches are fondly referred to as the Emerald Coast!

From lounging under a beach umbrella to building castles from the sugary sand to exploring the world beneath the waves, Destin’s beaches offer something for everyone. Plan a family vacation, a couple’s retreat, or a girls’ getaway to enjoy the beaches your way. You will find that you enjoy the striking hues and gorgeous views. To make it even better, unlike the cloudy waters along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, nothing will ever be able to sneak up on you in those clear waters!

Ready to dip your toes in ocean waves as clear as a swimming pool? Or wade into the warm Gulf waters up to your shoulders, and still see your toes sinking into the shimmering sand? We could not have made your choice any more clear! (See what we did there?) Book your vacation rental with Ocean Reef Resorts to enjoy the clearest water and prettiest beach in Florida.

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How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Another Country

Travel Guides, Travel Tips - Ross French - February 12, 2018

Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Another Country

Celebrating Valentine’s Day abroad can be an exciting way you and your partner can honour your love for each other. Leaving your work and home for some special alone time together can rid you of distractions, allowing you to focus your attention solely on each other.

So if you’re planning on making this Valentine’s Day extra special, follow these great tips when it comes to celebrating the day of love internationally in order to make it the best it can be.

Seek Out Romantic Destinations

A romantic holiday abroad starts with choosing the right destination. Choose a destination that will offer something you and your partner will both enjoy experiencing together.

The world is filled with great places to spend Valentine’s Day. Relaxing beach getaways and luxurious resorts offer the peace and quiet to really connect with the one you love. If however you are both adrenaline junkies, then go for the adventurous route when picking a destination. It really all comes down to your personality and what will offer the two of you the most enjoyable time together.

Look for Hotels Offering Valentine’s Packages

Many hotels offer wonderful Valentine’s Day packages for couples wanting to go all out for the occasion. These packages can include things like fancy champagne in your room, a rose petal covered bed, private limousine or luxury vehicle transfers, private tours, or couples spa treatments.

Valentine’s Day packages can not only be a great value but also a great way to have everything sorted for you on the big day so you need only show up.

Search for Local Valentine’s Events

Restaurants usually offer special dining menus for Valentine’s Day along with setting up a more romantic atmosphere for the evening. Booking in advance is strongly recommended as Valentine’s Day is usually one of the busiest nights for restaurants.

Local cinemas may offer screenings of romantic film favourites or you may be able to take in special romantic music acts. For something truly exciting, head to a Valentine’s masquerade bbal offered by many cities around the world.

Splurge on a Luxurious Activity

If you really want to make this Valentine’s Day memorable, why not plan something epic like a scenic helicopter flight. Alternatively you could opt for renting a luxury vehicle or fancy sports car for the day.
When it comes to accommodation, maybe spend the night at a winery or opt for a deluxe hotel suite. When booking flights to your Valentine’s Day holiday destination, why not upgrade to business class for the ultimate in comfort. Valentine’s Day does come only once a year after all.

If you do decide to go all out, however, make sure you are protected by travel insurance from InsureandGo. You want to be sure you are covered for your holidays should the unfortunate happen and your special Valentine’s Day holiday plans are adversely affected by unforseen events.

Keep it Simple

Love doesn’t have to be difficult, and sometimes the best things in life really are free. Many cities offer scenic and relaxing parks or botanic gardens which make for a lovely day out with your partner. Head to the local market and arrange your own picnic for much less than an expensive Valentine’s Day dinner at a restaurant.

A simple walk through the city, along a beach at sunset, or along a harbour boardwalk can be quite romantic and stress free.

Do As the Locals Do

Don’t be afraid to ask how locals spend Valentine’s Day. They will know the best restaurants or romantic areas to spend the special day. Some countries may have different Valentine’s Day traditions which may be fun to partake in for something new and exciting.

Talking to locals is a great way to avoid tourist traps in order to experience the authenticity of your chosen destination.

If Single, Seek Out Valentine’s Singles Events

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to just be for couples. Many cities host “Valentine’s for Singles” events where you may be able to seek out some new love. These events may include setting you up on a blind date or a speed dating type scenario.

Alternatively you can simply enjoy the day with a best friend or group of friends as you share your love for your friendship. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and love takes many forms.

Celebrate Loving Yourself

It is never a bad idea to take some time out for yourself and to do something that makes you happy. If you find yourself single and not exactly wanting to be forcibly thrown into the dating pool, take this Valentine’s Day to simply love yourself and celebrate who you are as an individual.

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