Posts for Travel Blog Category

8 Desert Destination Ideas for Tough Travelers

Travel Blog, Travel Tips - Ross French - November 14, 2017

If you’ve been around the Internet for a while (and also like traveling), one particular thing comes to mind. Everyone and their dog likes to talk about amazing mountains, cities, forests, etc. But when was the last time you saw somebody present some cool (irony aside) desert destination ideas?

In the current year, it’s no longer difficult to have a different but awesome trip through the desert. We have 4x4s rotting in vehicle graveyards, so we might as well make use of them, right? Well, Cez and Agness of eTramping are here to help you get off the beaten track. It’s time to see some places most people ignore for no good reason.

#1 Atacama

When it comes to desert destination ideas, you just have to see what Atacama has to offer. Just bring a lot of water along, because this place is considered the driest desert in the world. You might ask yourself – what is so interesting to see in the middle of a 40,000 square mile desert?

Well, for one, there is the famous “Hand in the Desert” sculpture by Mario Irarrázaal. It’s exactly what you would expect – a giant hand created out of iron and cement. People that visit here take pictures hi-fiving it, or other such clever shenanigans.

But probably the best reason to visit Atacama is for the sea of flowers that grows here in the fall. Otherwise, you’ll be met by a surreal landscape that seems out of this world.

#2 Gobi

Speaking of off-world experiences, Gobi might be one of those desert destination ideas perfect for “Dune” fans. Situated between northern China and southern Mongolia, the Gobi desert provides both golden sand dunes, as well as red Mars-like rock formations.

Why did we mention Dune? Well, locals believe that there is a mythical creature called the Mongolian death worm here. Nobody has actually seen the creature, but everyone seems to describe it in great detail (red, thick-bodied, almost five feet long, and spews acid at its prey). Grab a camel and get to exploring. We’re not sure if “lucky” is the best way to describe discovering such a creature.

#3 Sahara

The Sahara spans 12 different countries. As such, this is one of those desert destination ideas in which you and your group will have to settle for a single place to visit. In any case, once you’ve figured out where you’re going – you’ll find that the Sahara is more than a sea of sand dunes.

For example, you have some cozy oasis towns such as Erfoud in Morocco, or Siwa in Egypt. Would you have expected to find literal citadels and fortresses hanging out in the desert? Neither did we, at first. But sure enough, there they are. Besides, the cafes in those towns aren’t half bad, either!

#4 Mojave

If you ever plan to visit Las Vegas, then the Mojave is one of the best desert destination ideas to include in your itinerary. You can’t really avoid it (or the California heat), either way – so you might as well grab a cold one and enjoy the ride!

Visit the Mitchell Caverns, a spooky series of limestone caverns, the perfect spot to cool off in the Californian desert. You’re in luck too, it was closed for 6 years and it’s set to open this year. Otherwise, the Darwin Falls are 80 feet tall and hey, it’s a gorgeous waterfall in the desert.

#5 Sonoran

Another North American desert, and a perfect spot for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re not a fan of hiking and sweating, you have the option of taking guided tours by Jeep or horseback. Nothing like an authentic cowboy or cowgirl experience. Otherwise, you can channel your inner Jules Verne and travel the desert in a hot air balloon.

Furthermore, there are a few lakes and rivers around the area that are perfect for kayaking, fishing, and other water sports. What is it with all this water in the middle of the desert?

#6 Rub’ al Khali

This is the giant to top all giants. It’s one of the better desert destination ideas if you’re ever visiting Abu Dhabi and want to adventure around the area surrounded by a military convoy. Yep, this place is humongous and you can’t really rely on your own traveler instincts like you otherwise would.

Fun fact: they filmed some of the latest Star Wars movie here.

#7 Black Rock

Black Rock Desert is one of the favorite desert destination ideas for people who like to take partying seriously and fans of burning stuff. It’s home to the yearly famous Burning Man festival, usually held at the end of August, lasting until the start of September.

If you’re not a fan of self-subsistence in the middle of the desert, then you can visit the Iveson Ranch on Highway 34. You can go hunting in the area, ride horses, and genuinely have a fun time. Or, you could ask around for the hot springs near the Playa. Be warned that not all of them are safe for swimming!

#8 Desert Destination Ideas? Antarctica Is One as Well!

We bet most of you didn’t expect this one. It’s actually classified as a polar desert because of its extremely dry conditions. Oh, and the fact that it never rains here (besides some coastal areas in the summer). It’s kind of difficult to have humid air when everything around is frozen.

If you decide to embark on an Antarctica cruise, you might want to bring some lip balm along. Having chapped lips isn’t exactly fun, and we’re sure the seals in the area don’t have any on them. In any case, Antarctica will be the cruise of a lifetime.

Imagine coming home and telling all your friends how you saw whales and dolphins in the desert. Do it just to confuse them a bit. Though, that would mean you have to keep the trip a secret. Personally, we couldn’t resist bragging about it to everyone.

Nonetheless, you will like the fact that the animals here are very sociable. You wouldn’t expect that, but since there aren’t that many visitors, they don’t scatter around in fear at the sight of humans. The penguins in particular are a really friendly bunch. Go say hi!

Which desert are you excited to visit first?

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How to Plan a Solo Traveling Trip

Travel Blog, Travel Tips - Ross French - November 10, 2017

How you plan your solo traveling trip – where you’ll go, what you’ll take and what you’ll do – depends on what kind of trip you want to have. This guide recognizes four themes for a solo traveling trip which all have different requirements and can be found in different places; nature, culture, luxury and adventure. Once you’ve decide where you want to go and you’ve come up with a basic outline for your trip, you’ll need to do more extensive and detailed research that focuses on how you’ll stay safe throughout your journey. This is a guide to planning a solo traveling trip.

Australia

A lot of people choose Australia as their travel destination, particularly for gap years. This trip is likely to be a combination of nature and adventure. The nature in Australia is incredible and impossible to ignore – from wild kangaroos, to the insects and reptiles which you need to research and guard against – and any journey across this varied and stunning landscape will soon turn into an adventure. There are both advantages and disadvantages to it being so popular a destination; on the one hand, it should be easy to find temporary or casual work, while on the other employers and others can take advantage of young travelers, so you always need to be on your guard.

Caribbean

These islands should give you the opportunity to experience all four of the themes, and there are always a variety of Grand Cayman condos for sale if you decide to settle, as many do. The nature is self-explanatory, from the marine creatures to the rare birds of the mangrove forests, while there is a culture of music and celebration all around you. From the yachts cruising by to lavish parties, you’ll find luxury everywhere you look – and, as for adventure, each island brings something different, so expect the unexpected.

Thailand

This is another very popular location for travelers – so, again, do as much research about how to stay safe as possible. You can find luxury among the idyllic beaches, and nature waiting everywhere to be seen. There are luxury hotels and restaurants which give you almost an infinite choice, while you could volunteer in an elephant conservation program, for example, and you can also experience the power of a real monsoon.

Europe

The European tour can be done on a single train ticket that you can use all over the continent, and this will give you access to both the cultured and the luxurious nature of the continent. You could spend the warmer months among the museums and archives of Spain and Italy, learning about the past and the present, or seeing operas and shows in Germany, before heading to the luxury hotels and casinos of Monaco.

United States

The all-American road trip is known for its spontaneous and adventurous style; just pick up an old car and hit the country’s famous routes, which go up to three thousand miles in length. These will take you through the natural and cultural sites of greatest importance in the country, from the Grand Canyon to the historic Mount Rushmore.

However, because this will involve traveling through various states, make sure you know the law and the customs in each place you visit.

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Planning the Perfect Honeymoon in Singapore

Travel Blog, Travel Tips - Ross French - October 6, 2017

Honeymoon

Singapore is one of the major tourist hotspots in Southeast Asia. The Lion City apart from being an important commercial hub is also one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in Asia. Whether you are newly married or are looking for ways to rekindle romance in your relationship, consider planning a honeymoon trip to Singapore. Before you go all guns blazing, and get a Singapore tour package, follow the below tips to plan your trip better. Read on.

1. Create a Travel Itinerary

Make a list of places you and your better half would like to visit in the country. Make a travel timeline listing which place you would be visiting on each day. Collect all important info such as your flight number and hotel reservation details. Compile them in a file and mail a soft copy to yourself. The file must also contain the phone number and address of people who can be contacted in case of an emergency.

2. Learn Some Singlish Phrases and Words

Singlish is a mixture of four different official languages of Singapore: English, Malay, Tamil and Mandarin. Though considered to be many (including the government) as detrimental to Singapore’s global image, the language is still popular among the locals who use several phrases to communicate among themselves. To avoid confusion when talking to the locals, it is advisable that you two learn some Singlish phrases, some of the most common ones include: catch no ball, which translates to the speaker understands nothing, Shiok, which means great and Ang Moh, that translates to red hair in English.

3. Learn About the Things to do in the Country

Singapore has a number of romantic getaways for couples looking to spend romantic evenings in each other’s company. You can also plan a number of romantic things to do with your partner. For a serene and calming experience, take a picnic tour to Gardens by the Bay. If you two love cycling, rent a bike and ride along the country’s Eastern Coastal Park Connector Network. If your idea of a romantic date is to have dinner in a private cabin, while being perched at 300 plus feet above the ground, book one of the many cabins that take off from Mount Faber.

4. Research Accommodation Options

Singapore received a record 16.4 million tourists in 2016. While this is good news for the country’s tourist department, it also means booked hotels and resorts. To avoid inconvenience, book in advance. Some romantic hotels known for their soothing ambience and quality food are: Four Seasons Hotel, Mandarin Oriental, Wangz Hotel and Raffles Hotel.

Ready to Pack Your Bags and Leave?

Follow these tips to plan a perfect honeymoon tour in Singapore. Inform your close relatives about your travel plans and keep them posted throughout your trip. Learn about the laws of the land. Pack light and carry all your important documents such as your driving license, PAN card, passport and any other document can help prove your identity.

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Beautiful Destinations for a Walking Holiday

Travel Blog, Travel Tips - Ross French - September 28, 2017

Walking Holiday

Walking is one of the best forms of exercise that there is and it is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Spending your holiday walking is a great way to get in shape and clear your head of the challenges of day to day life. It is also a great way to really pay attention to your surroundings and appreciate everything that is going on around you. Here are five beautiful destinations for a walking holiday.

Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

Los Glaciares National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is home to more than three hundred glaciers. It is a great place for walking and you don’t need a guide. Make sure that you take the time to visit the famous Perito Moreno Glacier that is the only glacier in the world that still continues to grow. Make sure you take a break from walking long enough to take a boat cruise that will allow you to see the glaciers from the water.

Tibet

Tibet is in the Himalayas and it is a great place for a walking holiday. There are several paths to walk along where you can see stunning sights like Buddhist Monasteries, rare flora and fauna, and stunning views of some of the tallest peaks in the world. Tibet is known for the friendliness of its people so it is a great place to make new friends.

Atlas Mountains, Morocco

The mountains of Morocco are a great place for a walking holiday. The Jebel Toubkal Ascent is the highest peak in Northern Africa. The climb is challenging but it can be managed if you are in good shape. The walk is filled with stunning landscape and the pat will take you past Berber Villages where the villagers’ lifestyles have changed very little during the last several centuries. The view at the top is a panoramic view of the surroundings that will leave you awestruck.

Crete, Greece

Crete is the largest island in Greece and there are several walks that you can go on. Walk the circular route that takes you around the village of Palea Roumata and is about 5km. The walk takes about 2 hours and criss-crosses several times through the stream bed that is usually dry enough to navigate without getting wet. The Samaria Gorge is a 16km hike that takes you through the gorge where you can see different birds of prey, and view the ruins of several tiny villages and Byzantine chapels.

Blossom Trail in the Cotswolds, England

The Cotswolds are only an hour from London but you will feel like you have entered a different universe. You can rent a holiday cottage in the countryside and use it as a base to explore the network of paths that run through the surrounding areas. The Blossom Trail is a great route to walk and this 80 km trail winds its way through charming villages and has a series of bridges that will take you over the Avon River. The trail is lined with cherry, pear, and apple, trees that have stunning pink and white blossoms.

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5 of the Most Gnarly Surfing Spots in the World

Travel Blog - Ross French - September 22, 2017

Surfing Spots

You’ve probably heard the saying, “A bad day in the water is better than a good day working,” but what if days filled with bad surfing conditions were few and far between? You need to find a beach with an amazing surf, and it might be easier than you think. Stop randomly chasing the waves, and check out some of the most gnarly surfing destinations in the world.

1. Oahu, Hawaii

There’s a reason that Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline is a fixture on the surf tour circuit — it’s one of the heaviest waves in the world. The flawless water tube hovers more than 19 feet over the shallow base of the reef that lines the shores of Ehukai Beach on Oahu’s north shore. Unfortunately, most surfers will never be good enough to surf the Pipeline. The granddaddy of all waves is also one of the most dangerous. If you need more practice, Honolua Bay in Maui. If you’re lucky, you might see a whale or two from your board.

2. La Jolla, California

Southern California has several excellent surfing spots, but La Jolla, CA is one of the best because it’s home to several surfing spots with varied wave levels. If you’re a beginner, check out La Jolla Shores. It’s a pretty basic beach, but its reliable, predictable waves make it a favorite among local surfers. To find the gnarliest waves in the area, head to La Jolla Cove. Some of the largest waves in the area break just outside the protected part of the cove.

3. Eastern Cape, South Africa

When traveling to South Africa consider staying in Jeffrey’s Bay in the Eastern Cape province. The laid-back beach town is about an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth — one of the largest cities in South Africa. Jeffrey’s Bay has some of the best waves in the world, according to Surfer Today, and it’s known for its long, fast barrels and intense breaks. The bay itself is divided into sections, making it easy to choose a wave that matches your skill level. Find Magna Tubes, Kitchen Windows, Boneyards, and the craziest of them all, Supertubes.

4. Raglan, New Zealand

Raglan, New Zealand burst onto the surf scene in the 1960s when it was used as a filming location for the surf classic, “The Endless Summer.” The sleepy surf town is filled with cafes and bars that have surfing videos on continuous play. Manu Bay is the most popular surf spot in the area. It’s a long, left-hand point break along a boulder beach that has waves that start as a hollow drop before going into a barrel, and finally into a long walled section. On epic days, surfers can surf from Indicators straight through Whale Bay to Manu Bay.

5. Gold Coast, Australia

Gold Coast, a coastal city in Queensland, is a well-known surfing mecca. The surfer’s paradise is home to over 40 miles of pristine beaches and four epic point breaks, including the Superbreak. Generally considered one of the best surfing spots on the Gold Coast, the Superbreak, is a right-hand wave that barrels regularly — it’s known for producing heavy, hollow barrels only suitable for experienced surfers. Surfers also flock to Currumbin Alley. Known simply as the Alley, the popular surf spot produces consistent, world-class waves that advanced surfers love, as well as whitewash waves ideal for beginners.

The key to finding an amazing surf spot is finding beaches that produce surf-worthy waves on a regular basis. This way, when you’re ready to hang ten, the waves are ready for you.

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