Posts for Travel Tips Category

Enjoy Authentic Greek Cuisine at These 4 Destinations

Travel Blog, Travel Tips - Ross French - June 26, 2019

In Greece, both the sun and sea work together to open your horizons to all kinds of experiences; especially when it comes to discovering new tastes, aroma, and food combinations. Featuring a unique ensemble of Mediterranean cuisine, local produce, and fine spirits, the Greek archipelago offers an enormous repertoire of flavourful dishes that have evolved.

From traditional or modern, regional or Panhellenic, to sophisticated or straightforward, here’s are some places where you can discover authentic Greek cuisine in all its manifestations.

Combining the Flavours of Sun and Sea – The Aegean

The Aegean is one of the world’s largest island groups, each one of which features a specific microclimate.

The microclimate, in turn, contributes to the creation of a unique culinary paradise, not to be found elsewhere. We have the cuisine of the Cyclades, which is primordial and has a deep cultural connect. Some of the famous recipes with a distinctive character and heady aromas are:

  • Kassian pilaf
  • Aegean ‘makarounes’ (or hand-made fresh pasta with caramelized onions)
  • Sgardoumia (or offal soup from the island of Santorini)
  • Marathotiganites (or fennel rissoles from Serifos)
  • Dolmadakia made with herbs and vine leaves
  • Melitera (or sweet cheese pies with vanilla from Anafi)
  • Melopita (or the famous honey pie from the island of Sifnos)

A Taste of The Cosmopolitan – The Ionian Islands

The flavors at the Ionian Islands have distinctive characters and fascinating Italian origins. The trademark of the cuisine here is ‘savoro,’ which means sour and is a combination of rosemary and vinegar. Savoro is widely used to season and preserve both fish and vegetables.

Then we have the local favorite of ‘bourdetto,’ which is essentially the scorpion fish prepared in a red-hot spicy tomato sauce. When in the Ionian Islands, you can also explore other distinctively lip-smacking recipes including:

  • Strapatsada (or scrambled eggs with feta cheese and tomato)
  • Tsigareli (or cabbage/wild greens cooked in a spicy tomato sauce)
  • Ppastitsio this nonas (or mince and baked pasta with béchamel sauce topping)
  • Bakaliaros me agiada (essentially de-salted preserved codfish fillets prepared in a ‘skordalia’ garlic sauce)

The flavor of these recipes is increased tenfold with superb beverages such as kumquat liqueur and ginger beer. That said, don’t forget to finish off a delicious meal with mouth-watering Greek desserts such as ‘pantespani’ (syrup-soaked sponge cakes), ‘pasteli’ (sesame seed and honey bars) and ‘mandola’ nougat.

Experience the Elixir of Life – Crete

The island of Crete is a popular tourist destination in the Mediterranean, boasting of seductive natural landscapes and vibrant culture. That said, the island also features some of the most satisfying authentic Greek gastronomic experiences.

Therefore, when in Crete, be sure to discover the secrets of Cretan cuisine through a culinary tour of popular towns of Chania, Heraklion, Rethymno, Ierapetra, and Siteia.

Some of the most popular and authentic Greek recipes that you can relish in Crete include:

  • Chania pilaf rice (traditionally prepared with rooster)
  • Ofto (or roasted baby goat)
  • Fresh Greek salads
  • Dakos (or barley rusks cooked with soft white cheese, fresh tomato, and olive oil)

Enjoy the Magic of Cooking – The Dodecanese

At the heart of the Dodecanese islands, the culinary palette of Rhodes (the island of the Knights), Karpathos, Patmos, and Kastelorizo is a rich amalgamation of bold flavors and rustic origins. Over time, while the recipes have evolved to incorporate a variety of Eastern Mediterranean flavor profiles, they still have pretty straightforward preparations.

The real magic of authentic Dodecanese cuisine is best experienced through the following recipes:

  • Boukounies (or pork prepared in various herbs)
  • Xerotigana (or fried spiral pastries in honey or syrup)
  • Pastelaries (or dried figs with sesame seeds and almonds)

The Flavours of the Mediterranean are Best Explored in Greece

When it comes to combining quality ingredients with centuries of culinary knowledge, there is no match to the Greek cuisine. In Greece, dining is not just about having a multi-course meal. Instead, it is about coming together and sharing a meal with family and friends, in a casual and pleasant affair.

While there is no lack of fancy restaurants or exquisite seaside settings in Greece, some of the most authentic and flavourful food can be enjoyed inside no-frills places and humble downtown taverns.

If you too wish to experience authentic Greek cuisines in their original setting, be sure to check out the archipelago of Greece in its entirety.

To maximize your trip experience, you can start with finalizing your itinerary and making a list of towns and cities you plan to visit during your trip. It is equally crucial to create a financial budget for the vacation and purchase an overseas travel insurance policy to extend an additional layer of financial protection against any contingency.

With the help of overseas travel insurance; therefore, you can not only tackle any unexpected medical treatment expenses but also avail benefits such as coverage of trip cancellations, the total loss of checked-in baggage and loss of passport.

Just like you have a delicious pie or refreshing ice-cream to finish off a satisfying meal, buying overseas travel insurance too serves as a fitting endpoint for your travel preparations.

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Top 4 Cruise Destinations for Globetrotters in 2019

Travel Tips - Ross French - April 25, 2019

Have you been initiated into the beautiful world of cruises already? If you have, we know that you must be on the lookout for your next cruise destination. There is a plethora of options today that might end up leaving you confused for days together. Whether you are interested in wilderness cruises in the Arctic or beach cruises, in cultural journeys or adventure-packed ones, all you need to do to find a good cruise deal is research enough. Here, we have listed down four of the most popular cruise destinations for globetrotters in 2019 to give you some inspiration:

1. The Caribbean

It is undoubtedly the most famous cruise destination in the world and sees millions of tourists flock the region in cruise ships around the year. Apart from being an exhilarating experience, it also offers great value for money since you can visit different islands without having to fret about other things such as flight tickets, visas, accommodation etc. The best time to visit the Caribbean on a cruise is between the months of November and May, and avoid travelling between December to March if you don’t like too much crowd since it is the peak season.

2. Alaska

Alaska is truly the epitome of natural beauty on Earth, with its spectacular scenery, wildlife and glaciers. There will not be a single moment on this cruise where you will not be left awestruck by the vistas of the biggest state in the United States. This cruise will take you around some beautiful spectacular fjords and glaciers as well as mountains alongside Alaska’s coastline. Most routes here begin from Vancouver and go all the way up to Juneau, which is the fun capital of Alaska. The best time to head on a cruise to Alaska is between early May to mid-September, with June to August being the peak season.

3. The Mediterranean

Who doesn’t love Southern Europe for some sun, sand and the sea and one of the best ways to enjoy this is by taking a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea. There is an abundance of natural beauty in this region which will leave you awestruck and wanting to dive deep into the rich cultural heritage of this region. Whether you visit Italy or Spain, the Greek islands or tiny Malta, this cruise will definitely prove to be one of the most unforgettable experiences of a lifetime.

4. Hawaii

Say ‘Aloha’ to what will be the most fun week you ever spend on water, and maybe even on land. Hawaiian cruises have been known for decades as a fun trip around an archipelago of eight main islands. A cruise will let you soak in the wild natural beauty of the islands of Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau and Kahoolawe. If you think the offerings of each island will be similar to the other, you are mistaken.

Seasickness is a thing of the past when you head out for a cruise vacation to any of the above mentioned destinations! So, prepare yourself for a week of sightseeing, fun and luxury as you pack your bags for your next cruise!

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5 Best Destinations to go Island Hopping

Caribbean, Travel Blog, Travel Tips - Ross French - January 24, 2019

Island hopping is a buzzing trend in the world of sea lovers where people go from one island to the other to reach the sea. The thrill of going from one place to other, covering all the islands in an archipelago, using different transportation systems – from boats to ferries, cars and airplanes – makes it a must-try for most lovers of the beach and sun. If you decide to go on an Island hopping holiday, make sure you choose your destination carefully.

Read on to know about five top places where you can do island hopping and have lots of fun with friends and family.

1. Greece

One of the most beautiful countries in the world, Greece works well for island hopping as well. The country comes with a number of beautiful islands like Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, Zante, Corfu, and so many more, which are bound to make your vacation prettier and happier. You can choose your itinerary as per your passions – go for the food or the iconic mythology – and enjoy the sun and the sea on one of the oldest civilisations in the world.

2. Caribbean Islands

One of the most popular destinations for island hopping, the Caribbean offers you a lot in terms of exploration. You can take a cruise or visit places like San Juan, Orcas Island, Guadeloupe and many more on your vacation. The sandy beaches and the turquoise water, mixed with the exquisite appeal of the local culture and traditions make the Caribbean a must add on your island hopping bucket list.

3. Fiji

No place in the world is better for island hopping than Fiji. Complete with over 300 plus islands, Fiji has a number of ferry/boat options to go through these islands and make your trip real fun. You can enjoy different cities and locales of the country if you opt for a combined set of places you want to visit. The blue, clear waters and the sand along with coral reefs make Fiji every bit as instagrammable as you imagine. You can also enjoy activities like snorkeling, surfing, etc. on your trip.

4. Florida

Florida Keys is the answer to all your queries if you want to go island hopping in the United States. The islands are perfect for a number of fun activities in the sea from scuba diving to snorkeling. The bonus are the beauteous Floridan sunsets. You may prefer to take a ferry which will make your trip even more magical. You can visit places like Islamorada, Dry Tortugas, Key West and Key Largo during your island hopping here.

5. Scotland

As with everything else in the country, the Scottish islands are a wonderful treat to all lovers of nature. There are around 800 islands, grouped in four parts – Shetland, Inner Hebrides, Orkney and Outer Hebrides, however, it is not exactly a tropical experience. The best thing about Scotland is the fact that you can drive around in your car, in some cases, from one island to another, which is good for travellers on a shoestring budget. Ferries also go from place to place, so be sure to check that out.

One of the best ways to enjoy island hopping and reduce costs is to have a big group. So, get out with your besties and go to the beach this year!

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Top 3 Holiday Gift Ideas for Christmas 2018

Travel Tips - Ross French - November 21, 2018

It is that time of the year! November is nearly over and the month of December is knocking on the doors. December – the month of festivities, the month of Christmas, the month of gifts. The tradition of showering each other with gifts every year during the 25th of December and the eve of New Year has always been one of the favorite traditions among people of all ages. However, choosing the right gift for so many people can be a bit tricky. If you don’t keep yourself up to date with the latest trends of products, you can very easily become the ‘grandpa of gifts’. So if you have been busy with your work during the past couple of months and need some help choosing gifts for your friends and family, here are the top three gifts you can give during this Christmas season.

1. Vaporizers

Small premium vaporizers are one of the hottest things in the market right now, which make them one of the perfect gifts you can give to your friends and family. If anyone in your family or your friends are into vaping, the newer, sleeker, premium vaporizers will surely blow them away. Vaping has been around for a long time but the older vaporizers used to look very bulky and unattractive. However, with modern technology, the new generation of vaporizers available now look really slick, provide wonderful flavor and have cutting-edge technology like Bluetooth and app integration.

2. Vector by Anki

If you want to gift something really unique to your family or friends, then this might be the best gift you can buy for them. Vector is a small house robot designed and made by the company named Anki, famous for their previous consumer-grade robot Cozmo. However, Vector is not capable of the things you might think of when you hear the words ‘house robot’. The robot is tiny and not capable of doing any work for you. In fact, the company designed the robot to be more of a companion, something like a pet or so. And with its adorable animations, cute gestures and continuous chirps, Vector will surely win a lot of hearts.

3. Gaming console

Well, gifting a gaming console during Christmas is not the most original or new idea, but it is a tried and tested one. Video game consoles are one of the most loved gifts you can give anyone at any time. These all-time top favorites are popular among all ages and make for a great gift. You can go for a PlayStation 4 Pro from Sony or an Xbox One X from Microsoft if you want to gift the most powerful gaming console available on the market. However, if you want to gift a portable gaming console, you can go with Nintendo Switch. This beautiful looking portable gaming console is capable of playing a lot of high-end games. The console was released last year and you can find a lot of great deals on this product during Black Friday sales, which make it one of the best gifts for Christmas.

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Your Gift Guide For People Who Love Traveling

Travel Tips - Ross French - November 19, 2018

When it comes to choosing gifts for travelers who are close to your heart, you might get a bit confused, since there are tons of items to choose from in the market. Picking a gift that is beneficial, as well as unique, can really be a daunting task. Luckily, we made this list to make your life easier. Based on the advice of fellow travelers, this list contains common, useful that travellers agree will come in handy, no matter your final destination.

Portable Drone

A drone is a gift every traveler dreams of. It is an enjoyable and helpful gift for travelers and gadget lovers alike. The best drone on the market has to be portable and small so it can fit in all kinds of bags. Choose a drone that takes amazing photos and selfies, and has several intelligent flight systems.

Parachute Hammock

Hammocks are an impressive present for travelers, especially those who love to hike and camp, to watch the twinkling stars, and of course, save money from expensive hotel accommodations. Hammocks are sensuous, almost weightless, convenient to sleep in, and offers the ability to set up almost anywhere to doze off for the night. There are a variety of hammock types you can choose from, but if you want a cheaper one, consider getting a parachute hammock. This hammock type is light, but durable.

Backpack

Gifting a backpack to a travel enthusiast is one practical idea. They can use it in day to day life, or when they are travelling to other places. Go for a backpack that is stylish, yet does not compromise its convenience. If the person you are giving this gift to is a backpacker or a hiker, make sure that the bag is waterproof. Other features to look for in a backpack are anti-theft, secure pockets, and a USB charging port.

A Gift Card for a Resort or Cruise

For many travellers, vacations are an opportunity to splurge and enjoy luxuries that they don’t necessarily get in their day to day lives. To reach a higher level of comfort, your traveling friends may want to stay in a luxurious resort, or book a cruise that covers their every need and desire. Regardless, these kinds of trips are seldom cheap, and every little bit helps in settling the final bill. A gift card for a choice resort or cruise is a great way for you to get your traveling friends started on their journey to relaxation.

Headphones

If your loved ones love traveling and music, then headphones are the perfect gift to keep the tunes rolling while on the road. Choose headphones with Bluetooth compatibility, and a heavy duty battery that provides power for hours, if not days, on end. Additionally, choose headphones with a noise canceling feature to allow your travelers to block unnecessary sounds, like airplane engines noise. Other characteristics of good headphones would be comfortable ear cups that lightweight and easy to pack.

Security Belt With Secret Money Compartment

This is an essential piece of gear that any traveler, hiker or backpacker should have. You can hide up to 25 folded notes inside the inner section of the security belt. Since the clasp of the belt is not made of metal, you can wear this belt straight through airport scanners without setting off any alarms. Even though a security belt is a great option for your traveling friends to help prevent loss, don’t forget to remind your friends to take additional steps to protect themselves while travelling as well.

Sunglasses

You can never go wrong with sunglasses. Each of us needs and loves them, especially when going on a travel vacation. The usual aviator glasses are an eternal must have. They are classy, and will look good on you no matter the setting. So, if the person you are giving a gift doesn’t own a pair, consider giving this to them. It is crucial that the sunglasses have 100% ultraviolet protection. The only concern when buying sunglasses is picking the correct size, so before purchasing one, try and ask for their size.

Quick Drying Towel

Every time you go on the road, make it a routine to bring a quick drying towel for your vacation. Whether you are camping, hiking or just regularly travelling, you should always have a super quick drying towel to help you get clean when on the road.

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