Posts for Travel Blog Category

The Easiest Ways you can Save Money on Travelling (and still have a great time)

Travel Blog, Travel Tips - Ross French - July 2, 2020

Everyone should have the opportunity to travel the world. Sadly, for many people, it’s the potential cost of heading across the world that stops them from achieving their travel dreams. Flights, accommodation, food, activities as well as money for emergencies…the costs quickly add up.

However, despite common misconceptions about travel it is entirely possible to travel the world on a limited budget and even save yourself some money in the process. Want to know more? Here we’ve gathered some of the easiest ways you can save money on travelling (and still have a great time)!

First of all…

Creating a travel budget is something all travellers must do. Otherwise, you’ll have no idea where you can afford to go, how much you’ll have to spend and how long you can stay for before you run out of money. Creating a simple budget will ensure you make the most out of your money, avoid overspending and make better travel choices to make your money go further. Try a budget calculator to get you started.

Avoid peak times

Thinking of making travel plans for summer? Or around public holidays? It’ll cost you a fortune and you’ll probably spend most of your budget before you’ve even stepped foot on a plane. Avoiding peak times means that you’ll get to visit your intended destination but without the crowds, tourists and the hefty price tag. Do some research into the quiet months of the year and consider your options.

Be clever with your accommodation location

Sure, the cheapest hostel or hotel is on the outskirts of town, but the cost of travelling to places of interest or a nice restaurant probably negates your potential saving. It’s also inconvenient and time-consuming. When searching for accommodation, look for a location that’s within walking distance of areas you’d like to explore. Don’t forget to compare prices on hotel comparison sites.

Eat like the locals

Chain restaurants and tourist hotspots will charge a fortune. Whereas street food and smaller, local cafes and bars provide a much more authentic and budget-friendly option. Trying new cuisine plays a huge part in the travelling experience, but you shouldn’t have to break the bank to do it. Eating like a local means you get the best of both worlds. Speak with hostel/hotel staff about food recommendations.

Cook your own food

Choosing to stay somewhere that has kitchen facilities means that you can save money on eating out every single day and enjoy a home-cooked meal. If you shop at local markets – even just a few days a week – then you’ll be able to save money and eat something with some nutritional value!

And finally, consider getting a job

If you want to extend your stay overseas, then why not find some work to fund your stay? Bar and restaurant work is ideal. Alternatively, there’s fruit and flower picking, working in resorts or even working your job remotely on the other side of the world could be an option. If you’re planning on working overseas, it’s much better to secure a role before you travel.

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Top destinations to visit in the Middle East

Travel Blog - Ross French - May 7, 2020

Most people think of the Middle East as just a place with sun, sand, and shriveled land, but there is much more in this enchanting land. From majestic historical ruins, magnificent architectural treasures to exquisite beaches, man-made marvel, and gastronomical delights, the Middle East is a treasure trove of beautiful destinations that should definitely be a part of any traveler’s bucket list. And what’s more, travel to most of the places is easy with frequent flights operating through Saudi Airlines. Here is a list of places that you should definitely consider while planning your next vacation to this mystical, ancient region of the Middle East.

1. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

The historic city of Jeddah was the capital of Saudi Arabia till 1982 when it was moved to Riyadh. Today, this culturally rich and beguiling city is the melting pot of all the races of the Red Sea. Often dubbed as the gateway for pilgrimages to Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the city has a lot to offer to tourists. Take a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Gate to Mecca, be mesmerized by King Fahd’s fountain, claimed to be the tallest fountain in the world, or simply soak in the balmy weather at the beach resorts up the coast.

2. Madinah, Saudi Arabia

Madinah, also known as Medina, is part of Saudi Arabia’s expansive desert terrain. It is second only to Mecca in terms of religious significance for Muslims, but it is one of the best to showcase the culture and traditions of Saudi Arabia. The city has a lot to offer to travelers – from ancient monuments to the cultural traditions of the land. A must-visit is the Masjid-e-Nabawi, where the Prophet has been laid to rest. The 7-mosques is also a place worth visiting. A small complex of six small mosques, it depicts the history of the place.

3. Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia, one of the most traveled destinations in Turkey, is straight out of a fairy tale where natural beauty blends beautifully with stunning historical monuments. Most popular for unique geological features called fairy tale chimneys, these swirling volcanic-rock landscapes swoon in tourists from all over the world. Some of the must-see places in this enchanting city are villages carved out of the hillsides, Byzantine-era rock-cut churches with magnificent frescoes, and a labyrinth of underground cities. A must-do while here is the hot air balloon ride to get a bird’s-eye view of the valleys and the incredible rock formations.

4. Cairo, Egypt

Cairo has millions of visitors all year round, tempting them with breathtaking architecture, grand historical monuments, and myriad archaeological sites. The Sphinx and the iconic Pyramids are a must-do when you are in the sprawling capital of Egypt. A visit to the vast Egyptian Museum, treasure trove of antiquities is a must-visit too. Also, be ready to be charmed by Midan Tahrir, called the “Paris on the Nile” and enchanted by Old Cairo, home to Egypt’s Coptic Christian community. The best part is that there are many cheap flights operating from all over the world to Egypt, making traveling easy.

Conclusion

Whenever traveling to the Middle East, remember to carry the required travel gear to make your holiday comfortable and hassle-free. The Middle East is a cradle of civilizations, home to some of the most spectacular places. Here, history is not written in books but littered in places all around. From the ancient relics found in Cairo, to the tombs and mosques in Madinah and Jeddah, and the volcanic-rock landscapes in Cappadocia, here is where you will find that the past is always present as history and is the heart and soul of the land.

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10 Fun and Free Things to Do in Sarasota

Travel Blog - Ross French - April 7, 2020

Are you wondering about going on a trip to Sarasota and curious to find out the best free things to do in Sarasota? Then dont worry, you can check out the best free things to do in Sarasota below.

Sarasota is located at the heart of Florida’s western coast, United States. It is one of the major Gulf Coast cities in Florida. Sarasota is at a distance of 60 miles from the south of a beautiful Tampa Bay.

Beautiful Sarasota is the best place to visit at any time of the year. Above all, it is most beautiful during the winter seasons. So, you shouldn’t miss visiting sarasota in the winter season as you can have lots of best things to do in Sarasota. Sarasota is an attractive place running up to 725 square miles of land and 37 miles of open shoreline. In other words, it is a fairyland with a beautiful coastline.

Sarasota is a city with natural beauty, delightful climate, arts, and culture. Sarasota is the coastal paradise of the western coast of Florida. It is a go-to place for families and tourists. Above all, it is the best place to relax, sit back, and enjoy for the retirees admiring the natural beauty.

The best part is it’s home for many celebrities, for instance, Stephen King and Rosie O’Donnel and more. It is about an hour from Tampa Bay and two hours from Orlando. Therefore, making it a great place to come visit on weekends and holidays. Sarasota is considered as the city of paradise, mixed with a hint of reality.
The County of Sarasota offers an excellent combination of culture with modern experiences. However, its museums, along with fine dining experience, perfect beaches, a wide range of shopping possibilities. Here are some of the free and fun things to do in Sarasota.

1. A day on the beach: Sarasota is the home for the number one beaches in the country. Siesta Key beach is the most visited beach. Tourists can sit and relax, enjoying the warm sun, sipping on the cool drinks, and watch the waves go up and down, which is free of cost.

In addition, there are Lido, Longboat, Nokomis, and Manasota beaches offering a beautiful view. These beaches are mainly known for their sharks’ teeth. Siesta beach is awarded as the best beach in the United States on several occasions.

The beaches here are widely known for their bright white and quartz crystal sands. A day on the beach is definitely the best free things to do in Sarasota.

2. Go Camping: Sarasota’s key beachfront campground is on Siesta Key. It is the Turtle Beach Campground. This campground is next to the Gulf of Mexico. Camping along the Gulf coast from sunrise to sunset is a breathtaking experience with maximum fun.

This tree line campground is full of padded camping and picnic tables. Apart from that, this is the campground in all of Florida with direct access to the beach. This campground houses the unique loggerhead and green turtle nests. Therefore the name Turtle Beach Campground.

3. Go on a picnic: In addition to the beaches, Sarasota is full of several parks. In other words, Sarasota is an excellent place for a picnic. Island Park offers a wide range of fabulous and free services.

For instance a beautiful blue waters, a beautiful water fountain for children, massive sculptures, big boats, sun, and shade. Besides, there are parks Celery Fields Regional stormwater facility is an excellent place for visitors, to enjoy the scenic views.

Similarly, Circus Hammick, Curry Creek Preserve, Deer Prairie Creek Preserve are the parks best for a picnic.

4. Visit the Unconditional Surrender Statue: The iconic photo of a sailor kissing a nurse on the streets of Times Square on Valentine’s Day. This photograph was taken during the celebration after the announcement of the end of World War-II.

This iconic picture was built in the form of a statue in downtown Sarasota. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this photograph, which makes it more interesting.

5. Go for a bicycle ride, walk: Sarasota offers a wide range of places to visit. There are many parks and beaches in Sarasota offering bicycle rides. Long walks on the beaches in Sarasota with your loved ones make the day come alive.

Drive through Legacy trail. Go kayaking and canoeing in the Carlton Reserve. Taking a walk with your pets, fishing in Celery Fields Parks of Sarasota gives you a great feel.

6. Community Drum circle: Sarasota County houses several hippies. The hippie community holds the community drum circle every Sunday on Siesta Key Beach due to the healing property of quartz crystal beaches.

This event takes place an hour before the sunset. This is a ceremonial event and a must-go place. Above all, it involves chanting, singing, and dancing all night long.

7. Visit the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art: Sarasota’s one of the most visited museums is The John & Mable Ringling Museum. Sarasota is a Circus city once. John Ringling is the owner of the show called “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

The John & Mable Ringling Museum is a part of his home filled with interesting and unusual pieces of artifacts. The entry is free on Mondays.

8. Go on a festive mode: Sarasota hosts numerous festivals all around the year. For instance, the Sarasota Film Festival is held annually, attracting many films from across the globe.

Similarly, Ringling International Arts Festival is held in the Historic Asolo Theatre. In addition, the Sarasota Chalk Festival was held yearly in the historic area of Burns.

The Harvey Milk Festival is a music festival, and the first international street painting festival is held in Sarasota. In conclusion, Sarasota is thumping in colors and music all around the year.

9. Watch a live show: Live music is the best way to enjoy the calmness of the wavy beaches. Live music performances held every Sunday nights on Siesta Beach. The entry is free to visit these live music concerts.

10. Visit to the Farmers market: the farmers market in Sarasota is full of fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, it is full of crafts and handmade objects. Farmer’s market is open for all on every Sunday morning at Siesta Key farmers market. So, this is one of the best things to do in Sarasota as well.

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5 Best Alberta Road Trips

Travel Blog - Ross French - March 30, 2020

Backpacking, Alberta, is a fantastic experience. If you are looking for the most fabulous mountain road trip in North America? Then you shouldn’t miss out on Alberta Road trips.

Alberta is a province filled with lovely friendly people, diverse landscape that includes huge mountains, desert badlands, prairies, and vast coniferous forests. This special place is having more than 600 lakes and rich mineral deposits.

If you’re striving to find out more about Alberta Road trips, then you can get the best information in this post.

5 Best Alberta’s Road Trip:

Eager to go on a road trip? Then Canada’s majestic mountain drive is the best of all. Just hop in a car and journey through the gorgeous Canadian Rockies.

ICEFIELDS PARKWAY AND COLUMBIA ICEFIELD:

Icefield Parkway is one of the most spectacular and Stunning Sceneries in Canada. Head over to Lake Louise to Jasper along the Highway 93, to get to these Dazzling Icefields. In your journey, drive through the continental divide, passing through a squadron of glaciers. It runs 143 miles through the river valley that rises and drops sharply in the dense forests and mountains.

There are lots of Instagram breaking photo spots in this Icefields parkway, one of the famous one is Peyto Lake; this is just 28 miles north of Lake Louise. To get an adventure feel, you can walk a paved trail through the woods to check out the beautiful lake.

If you want to explore more places, then farther north at Mistaya Canyon, you can check out river flow from the Peyto Lake. In this location, the river dips through fissures of the rock. If you’re wildlife lover, then you can spot black bears and bighorn sheep by the side of the road while you are traveling to Icefield parkway.

The Athabasca Glacier is easily accessible among all six glaciers on the Columbia Icefield. If you want to experience the glacier, then take a bus tour as it can show you lots of great places.

How Long: 144 Miles.
Location: Lake Louise to Jasper – Along Highway 93.
Tip: It’s best to pack your food before setting out. There will be no cafes or restaurants there.

The Bow Valley Parkway:

The Bow Valley Parkway, a road trip is another fantastic ride you have to experience. It’s near Banff to Lake Louise on Highway 1A. Although the driving route is smaller than others in length, it has lots of scenic spots and covers the route length in beauty.

The scenic beauties in this road trip are Banff, the mountain town with the 1880s railroad and the unique tourist destination with fantastic spots, and the other is the iconic hamlet of Lake Louise. This route stretches off the main highway, and it follows the mighty bow river.

On your road trip, you have to cross the Bow River. If you’re a nature lover, you should stop at this beautiful place to take some breathtaking pics. Banff lies along the Bow river with forested peaks that fill with hotels, restaurants, and shops. The gorgeous scenic spots and dense evergreen trees, swift blue waters make the bow river a must-visit place for tourists.
It would be best if you didn’t miss out on the dramatic peak of Castle Mountain as it’s incredible to view from all angles.

How Long: 35 Miles.
Location: From Banff to Lake Louise on Highway 1A.

The Dinosaur Trail:

To the west of Alberta’s badlands, you can find a unique part of the province landscape that’s different from the rocky mountains. This route is North and south dinosaur trails from Drumheller. It’s a 48km loop that goes through the highways 837 and 838. This ride can get you along the red deer river.

Here you can have a look at iconic hoodoo rock formations and can even hike in Midland park. You can stop by horse thief and horseshoe canyons that are carved out by the Red Deer River. Want to explore more, then stop at Royal Tyrrel Museum — The world’s premiere palaeontological research museum.

How Long: 30 Miles.
Location: Drumheller — North and South Dinosaur trails.

The BoomTown Trail:

Boomtown trail is one of the roadways you should explore because you can learn about tribes. If you are looking for an alternative route to the east of the regular highway, you can use the boomtown way.

Usually, lots of Albertans say that riding down Edmonton to Calgary is boring to drive. But, it’s not that boring drive for newbies who visit the place because they can experience the new areas. The road takes you through the Camrose; here, you can explore Alberta’s railway history. You can visit Donalda, the home of the largest lamp, and several other rural tribes in Calgary.

The best spot you should explore is buffalo lake; it’s the gorgeous place for a paddle.

How long: 246 Miles.
Location: From Calgary to Edmonton

Cowboy Trail:

Driving down from Mayerthorpe to Lundbrek on Highway 22 will take you to the rocky hills of grasslands where you can find lots of attractions. This ride offers a great experience because you’ll see full of meadows and tranquil lake views. If you want to enjoy swimming, camping, and fishing to feel more adventurous, then you can do that because it’s allowed. In this route, you will go through the chain lake; it’s one of the most stunning lake with great views.

On your ride, be sure to stop at the Head Smashed Buffalo Interpretive center because you can view buffalo culture only at that research center. You can visit the Sundre pioneer museum and also the Mountain house National Site. Apart from these, you can check out the history of Cowboys, horse-drawn wagons, and more. Never miss visiting Bar U Ranch National Historic Site because you’ll miss a lot of history.

How Long: 355 Miles.
Location: Highway 22 from Mayerthorpe to Lundbrek.

Conclusion:

These are the few Alberta Road trips you should try while planning your trip. Along with these, they are even more road trips, but I’ll update them later. Now, start packing your bags and go on a road trip to Alberta because you can begin filling your Instagram with jaw-dropping backdrops and massive glaciers.

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Planning for the Perfect Family Getaway? Consider These 5 Schengen Countries

Travel Blog - Ross French - July 8, 2019

Time spent with people who matter is time well spent. And on top of this list is our family. But given our demanding work schedule these days, we barely get quality time with our loved ones. That is why, taking time out and going for a family vacation is an excellent way to cement bonds, courtesy sharing loads of experiences with them in a new destination.

So, if you too are planning to take your family for a wholesome vacation abroad any time soon, then we suggest taking them to the Schengen countries. With just a single visa, you will able to explore many fantastic European destinations and will enjoy diverse experiences.

Also, since, all the Schengen countries are well connected through local transport itself, that will ensure you can travel from one country to another with much ease.

However, before you decide on which Schengen country/countries to visit, make sure to apply for a Schengen visa well in advance. Also, in addition to this, it is advisable that you buy travel insurance for Schengen visa in India, as that will keep you covered against any unnecessary expenses arising due to various challenges during the trip.

So, now let’s share about four such Schengen countries that can be perfect for your family getaway plan.

1. Greece

Greece is one of the most stunning places in Europe. Having the second largest coastline in the continent, it has picturesque harbors and offers mesmerizing sunsets. So, this place can be your perfect beach holiday. Moreover, if you’re traveling with your children, then there are also many kids-friendly beaches here that have shallow waters and sheltered bays.

Not just that, Greece also has magnificent mountain ranges and dramatic gorges, where you and your family can enjoy hiking. After some adventure, you can also explore tiny villages having a unique charm of their own here. Few must-see places here include Meteora, a collection of six monasteries on top a rock structure, Santorini beach, and Mount Athos.

2. Switzerland

Stunning vistas await you in every corner of this beautiful country of Switzerland. Moreover, with world-class train system to ferry you from one place to another, and a very secure environment, you can be reassured of your loved one’s safety and convenience too. You and your loved ones can also enjoy adventure sports in Switzerland’s many skiing resorts and hiking trails. You can also go to Interlaken, another paradise in this place or visit the famous cities of Zurich and Geneva.

When in this iconic country, do see the Matterhorn mountains, Jungfraujoch– the top of Europe and, Lucerne, a medieval old town here. Oh, and make sure that you also enjoy Swizz chocolates to the fullest while in the country.

3. Spain

Spain is a destination that will surely leave your family, especially kids in high spirits. From its Mediterranean coastline where you can relax in Barcelona which has many exciting museums for you to explore, you will have lots to do here.

You can also stroll through the many quaint villages, castles, and cities here and soak in their beauty. Spain also offers travelers a chance to experience and witness horse shows, flamenco shows, fiestas and interactive museums, which can mean great fun for your kids and you. A few places that you must include in your itinerary here include the Madrid: The Golden Triangle of Arts Museum, Seville, the city with beautiful neighborhoods and the La Sagrada Familia, the famous Basilica in Barcelona.

4. Belgium

One of the smallest countries in Europe, Belgium has more than just chocolates and waffles to delight you. From Bruges canals to castles and Antwerp, Belgium is alive and exciting. There are many places like the Botanical garden of Kruidtuin, the animal park of Pairi Daza which are good places to explore with your kids. You can even visit Musuemschip Amandine, which is a ship where you can see how seamen live.

For some adventurous fun, you can enjoy cycling and sailing in Ardennes, and if you visit during winters, then do see Bruges’s Christmas market. Moreover, if you like historic places, then Belgium also has 13 UNESCO sites which you can explore during your stay here.

Enjoy Your Vacation Without Any Worries

Going for a vacation means that you should leave all your worries and tensions behind you. However, traveling to foreign locations has its share of unexpected challenges that may play a spoilsport for you. Moreover, European countries are expensive also due to their stronger currency. That is why we suggest that you buy travel insurance for Schengen visa in India so that any challenge such as loss of passport or relevant documents and flight cancellation does not cause a dent in your pocket.

Having travel insurance for Schengen visa in India means that no matter which Schengen country you visit, you will be covered for expenses arising from such challenges. You can easily buy this policy online from reputable insurers like tataaig.com that also cover you for bounced hotel and airline bookings, flight delay for more than 12 hours due to certain specific reasons among several other benefits.

So, before you fly off to any such exotic location, buy a travel insurance policy and keep worries at bay.

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