April 30, 2018

Adventures In Alaska: Your Perfect Summer Break

Planning your summer break? If you’re looking for something different to the usual beach fun or backpack treks, why not consider something a bit more adventurous instead?

Alaska is a fantastic location to explore, with incredible views, wonderful wilderness and plenty of things to do. For adventures to remember and stories to share come fall semester, a visit to Alaska could be your ideal summer break.

Amazing adventures in Alaska

The wilderness

Did you know that only 20% of Alaska is accessible by road? As one of the United States’ largest states, it’s a fantastic place to experience rare, unspoiled wilderness and avoid the usual tourist traps. If you’ve got a strong sense of adventure, spending some time in the Alaskan wilderness will be an experience you’ll never forget. There are some great Alaskan tours you can take which include day tours, multi-day tours and more. It’s better to explore with a guide or in a group - a solo venture is not recommended if you’re unfamiliar with the area or basic survival skills!

Anchorage - the city with a difference

Anchorage is a US city with a difference. Far from your typical city stay, Anchorage offers the perfect blend of metropolitan living with some incredible experiences, including dog sledding, motorcycle tours, sailing excursions and more. If you’re not a fan of the cold, going to Anchorage during the summer months means you’ll benefit from the warmest temperatures. There’s a wealth of accommodation to enjoy in Alaska, including the Holiday Inn Express Anchorage Airport, which is ideal for late arrivals and early morning flights into the city. Enjoy the great outdoors during the day and then check out Anchorage’s lively nightlife after dark for the full summer break package.

Get up close with Alaskan wildlife

Alaska might not have the largest population, people-wise, but it certainly makes up for it with its wildlife population. Kodiak Island is where you could find yourself face to face with bears in the wild, while you might even spot a bald eagle while you’re there. Of course, if the thought of seeing wild bears up close brings back haunting memories of The Revenant, you might prefer a trip to the Alaska Zoo instead. Whichever option you choose, don’t forget your camera!

Try your hand at sporting adventures

Like to be active and try new things? You’ll find all the activities an adrenaline junkie could ask for in Alaska. Popular extreme sports in Alaska include ice climbing, bore tide surfing, and mountain climbing. If you really want to make some great memories and break away from your comfort zone - you won’t be short of inspiration in Alaska.

A trip to Alaska offers the adventure of a lifetime, the perfect antidote to exam stress. Break away from the usual vacation spots and enjoy your first adventure break in one of the US’ most awe-inspiring states. Get your friends together and book your trip to enjoy a summer vacation you’ll never forget.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

Dealing With Grief: Survival Tips To Help You Cope

In life, there is one inconvenient truth. We are all going to die, someday. For many of us, the thought of our own mortality on this Earth is difficult enough, but the realization that those close to us are going to die is something we find very hard to handle. And when it happens? When our loved one does die? It feels as if our world has fallen apart, and we are left to pick up the pieces of our broken and grieving hearts. Just how can we get through the emotional pain we suffer? It would be glib of us to suggest an easy answer. But there are strategies we can take; steps to help us survive in this very difficult time. Consider the following as examples.

1. Don’t put on a brave face.
If you are struggling emotionally, let those around you know about it. Stifling your grief won’t help, and your suppressed feelings will not go away. From sadness to anger, express your emotions privately and publicly, and draw on the strength of others to help you through this terrible time.

2. Draw on your faith.
If you have a faith in the afterlife, then contemplate on what death means. In the words of J.M. Barrie, ‘death is an awfully big adventure.’ If you don’t believe death is the end, embrace the prospect that your loved one is on their next chapter. This will help you come to terms with the loss in your life, and give you some semblance of hope.

3. Distract yourself.
When a loved one dies, there will be a huge gap in your life, and one that is difficult to fill. However, there is little point ruminating on the loss in your life, especially when the pain eats you up inside. Instead, carry on with the normal things in your life; those things that keep you busy. Go to work, do your chores, watch tv, see your friends, walk the dog… do anything that will give your sad and troubled mind a respite from your tragic thoughts.

4. Remember the person.
You will miss your loved one forever, but (as glib as this does sound), time does heal. The pain will subside, and you will go about your life as normal after a period of mourning. However, you can still take time to think about the person you have lost. From photo albums to cremation urns, have something to hand to make you think of and celebrate the person missing from your life. Hopefully, you will have enough happy memories to replace your sadness with the joy that came from having that person in your life.

5. Get any help you need.
You don’t have to handle your bereavement alone. Speak to your friends and family members, and surround yourself with their love. Attend bereavement groups, and share your experience, while learning from the coping mechanisms other people are using. You might also consider bereavement counseling to help you deal with the loss and any painful memories that are eating you up inside. There’s nothing wrong in asking for help, so find the people who can assist you, and benefit from their support.

In Closing
The loss of somebody close to us is not easy to comprehend. However, you need to go on. Your life is important, so you must find ways to move on, for the benefit of yourself, and those other loved ones who still surround you on a daily basis. We hope our advice has been helpful, but let us know about the coping strategies you have used when you have faced the loss of somebody close to you. Take care, and thanks for reading.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

Here's What Makes An Attractive Insta-Account

Once upon a time, Instagram was just another social media platform, kind of like Facebook but with less ranting and venting, and more images. That was all. Fast-forward to the present day, though, and Instagram has the ability to change everyday lives. Sure, if your beautiful in the eyes of the magazine industry then you have a leg up because you can go from pedaling charcoal toothpaste to owning your own swimwear company. But you don’t have to be a part-time model to make Instagram work in your favor and become rich/famous.

You could be an incredible photo editor like Nois7, or make nice shoes like Fairfax & Favor or showcase redheaded people in a new light in the same way Thomas Knights does. Whatever it is you do, it all starts with improving your Instagram profile and feed.

So, without further ado, here are some simple things you can do to make your Insta-life more visually pleasing to anyone that stumbles across it to the point that they click the follow button.

1. Imagery Is Sooo Important

We are all innately attracted to clean, high-quality imagery, which is why you need to make sure the photos you are posting are clinical on this front. You don’t want anything that’s messy, blurred or amateurish in any shape or form. Look at your favorite Insta-accounts and see how professional their imagery looks. Sure, they may have a photographer that handles their online brand now, but they probably just started with a selfie-stick.

2. Perfect Your Hashtagging

One of the best ways to build a tribe and a following is to develop your own hashtag; one that is solely used by you and the people that follow you. But don’t just rely on this one otherwise you won’t get found. You also need to use a variety of hashtags that are already popular and then use between 11 and 30 for each post. That’s how to maximize your engagement.

3. Improve Your Biography

It’s way too easy to think that a good Insta-account is all about beautiful imagery, but it’s not. People are interested in the bit at the top of your feed too - the bio. They want to be encouraged to press that 'follow' button by seeing some social proof and they want to know what your online “brand” is all about to see if it fits with their hopes and dreams. Of course, to boost your social proof, you need followers, and a great way to do this is to buy Instagram likes. After all, followers attract followers. As for your bio, it could be funny, it could be concise, it could be a quote or a bunch of emojis - so long as it sums you up, it will work.

4. Pick A Filter & StickIf there is one thing every popular Instagram account has in common it is a consistent filter. It’s just the easiest way to create a brand and embrace a theme. That’s what people want to see and it’s what you want them to see. You want them to be scrolling down their newsfeed and spot one of your images without having to read your name.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

April 26, 2018

Dazzle this Mother's Day with Mama's Jewelry!

Moms work hard 365 days out of the year, and they deserve something better than another predictable gift. This Mother's Day, give them something gorgeous and memorable -- a custom created ring, necklace or pair of earrings from Mama's Jewelry!

With the elegant and beautiful collection of mothers rings from Mama's Jewelry, you're bound to make this the most unforgettable Mother's Day yet! Each and every time she looks down at her ring, puts on her earrings or is asked about her necklace, she'll remember just how very much she's loved.

Mama's Jewelry has been designing rings and pendants for moms for 30 years, and they have no intention of slowing down! Their company is tirelessly committed to creating exceptional pendants, rings and earrings at affordable prices for the special mother or grandmother in your life.

One key benefit to shopping with Mama's Jewelry is their fast turnaround time. As soon as they receive your order, their CAD technicians and certified jewelers get to work designing and building your custom item. All of their processes follow strict quality control measures. Everything that comes from Mama's Jewelry carries their seal of approval.  

Another benefit to buying from Mama's Jewelry is that they're a family owned and operated business born out of the love of creating quality jewelry. They truly care about the quality of their creations as well as comfort and satisfaction of their customers. They're so proud of their products that they offer their customers a lifetime warranty on every piece of jewelry they buy!

Most orders for mothers rings and pendants are able to be sent out within 3 to 5 days, reaching you about a week later. If you're shopping at the last minute, Mama's Jewelry will take care of you and ensure that you get a custom made item that looks like it took months to make!  
What is the Mama's Jewelry Advantage? Simple. We care.

Mama's Jewelry has a wonderful special going on right now - take $10 off their already low prices using code MAMAS10 at checkout! (minimum purchase $59)

Connect with Mama's Jewelry online via their Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+

This is a sponsored, compensated post. Content is not my own.

Stress Swaps: Healthy Ways To Cope With Modern Life

Stress is an inevitable factor of modern life. Our lives are busy, complicated, and prone to experiencing more than a few upsets along the way. As a result, stress is a permanent fixture in the lives of many people, to the point where experiencing stress has become normalized.

If you are struggling with stress, then you likely have a number of coping mechanisms. Coping mechanisms are behaviors that we all develop in response to stress; it’s our way of coping, of exerting some semblance of control over a situation that we are struggling to deal with.

However, the coping mechanisms we develop have a tendency to be counterproductive and potentially even unhealthy. If you are engaging in any of the below coping mechanisms, then it’s worth considering making a swap to an alternative that genuinely has an opportunity to actually help ease the stress you are experiencing. Here’s a few ideas to consider…

Your coping mechanism is… smoking

It’s nigh-on impossible that you need to be told that smoking is bad for you; in this day and age, that information isn’t news to anyone. If you smoke due to stress, then it’s worth remembering that nicotine can actually make you feel more stressed, so this is one habit that is only going to make matters worse.

The alternative is… vaping

Rather than lighting up, head to Buy Juul and stock up on vaping supplies. This will ensure you have the same relaxing feel of “smoking”, but without some of the health consequences. You can even vape 0% juice so there will be no stress increase due to nicotine.

Your coping mechanism is… eating

Eating for emotional reasons is incredibly common, and many sufferers of stress immediately turn to their favorite foods when they need to find release. There’s a good reason for this too; sugary and junk foods actually help to promote positive feelings in the brain, and do have a therapeutic effect. However, the downside is that these foods are inherently bad for you and may cause issues with obesity— so a change is definitely in order.

The alternative is… still eating, but better

Obviously, if you can experience the same stress reduction from eating carrots as you do from candy, that’s great— but it’s also not particularly realistic. If vegetables aren’t enough to calm you down, try a fat bomb. Fat bombs can help to increase satiety, which should at least mean you can exert control over the calories you consume.

Your coping mechanism is… venting

Anger and stress often go hand-in-hand and, as a result, you may find yourself tempting to “vent” your anger to try and alleviate your stress. Sadly, venting doesn’t work and, in the worst case scenarios, can actually make you feel even worse. If you’re angry to the point it’s causing you stress, venting that anger is unlikely to help resolve the situation.

The alternative is… therapy

Talk to a professional — calmly and rationally — to try and solve the anger and stress issues you are experiencing. Stress and anger often influence one another, and a good therapist will help you disentangle them so you can work on actually solving the underlying causes.

In conclusion…

Make these stress swaps and you will soon notice a difference in how you think and feel. Good luck.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

April 19, 2018

Tips For Healing Emotional Pain

We all experience negative emotions at some stage in our lives. This could be anything from unwanted compulsions and sabotaging behaviours to anxiety, sadness, and addictions. No matter what emotion applies to you, it is important to find ways to relieve this distress. Luckily, there are a number of different options that are available to you. Read on to discover some useful tips for healing emotional pain.

Focus on your personality – In a lot of cases, the reason why we feel a certain way is because of a personality trait we have. For example, you may be a self-sabotaging person. If this is the case, you need to focus on this personality trait and look for ways you can improve it so that you feel better about yourself. This will naturally lessen the emotional pain you are experiencing.

Practice yoga – A lot of people practice yoga for emotional healing, and it is not difficult to see why. There are a number of benefits associated with yoga in regards to mental health. This includes the following: yoga helps you to become aware of your shadow qualities; it improves your romantic relationships, as well as helping you to build your sense of self. Another benefit of yoga is that it moves you to your parasympathetic nervous system from your sympathetic nervous system. In basic terms, this means that you move to rest-and-digest, rather than being in fight-or-flight mode.

Look for ways to flip the anxiety switch off – Anxiety is something that we all experience. But for some people it is more of a regular occurrence. The key is to learn how you can cope with anxiety. There are a number of different techniques you can use. One of the simplest yet effective methods is to concentrate on your breathing. Breathe in through the nose slowly, and then out through the mouth. Concentrate on this and nothing else until you feel your anxiety levels lessen.

Learn to forget the past – Last but not least, you have probably heard the saying to let go of the things that you cannot change. This is so vital for your health. Of course, this is a lot easier said than done. But you simply need to talk to yourself and ask yourself why you are torturing yourself with something that cannot be changed? Is it really that bad in the grand scheme of things? Probably not! Let go of the past and focus on things you can change, i.e. the present and the future.

Hopefully, you now have some suggestions you can use to help you heal the emotional pain you are suffering from. Some of the advice may not apply to you, but there should be one or two approaches you can use to help you heal the emotional pain you are experiencing.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

Survival Tips Every Long-Haul Flight Passenger Needs

Most everyone loves traveling to far off and exotic locations. However, there is one part of travel that most travelers really despise - even the most seasoned of travelers - and that is the long-haul flight. No one wants to be stuck on an airplane for a whole day but sometimes it is necessary to get to where you want to be.

Your long-haul flight isn't something that you should dread too much, though. Sure, it won’t be the most comfortable or exciting of journeys, but there are some ways you can make it easier to bear. Here are a few survival tips.

Reserve Seats In Advance
If you check in early online, you might be given the chance to choose your own seat on the plane. This is something that you should do, even if you have to pay for it. That’s because you will get the chance to pick good seats. After all, you don’t want to be stuck next to the toilets for twelve hours, do you?!

Wear Compression Socks
The air pressure in the cabin will be changing quite a bit as the plane changes altitude. This can lead to your feet and shins swelling and, in some extreme cases, it can even cause blood clots. To prevent any of these side effects, it’s worth taking a look through a sock catalog and buying some compression socks. These help the blood flow through the calves and can greatly reduce any potential swelling.

Bring Sleep Essentials
The best way to get through a long-haul flight is to sleep through it. That way, you stand a good chance of feeling very refreshed once you arrive at your destination. To aid sleep, you should bring a pillow so that you can support your head and neck against the seat. It’s also a good idea to pack a blanket in your bag as it can sometimes be quite cool on planes. If you think sleeping tablets would help, then don’t forget them either.

Take Some Snacks And Drinks
Even though you will get served a couple of meals during the flights, it is still a good idea to take some snacks and drinks with you. You then don’t have to wait for the next meal if you ever feel hungry. Even though some airlines sell snacks and drinks on board, they can be quite expensive, so taking your own will certainly work out a lot cheaper.

Stay Mobile
Don’t stay in your seat for the duration of the flight. You need to try and stay as mobile as possible and go for a walk up and down the aisle as frequently as possible. In fact, some experts think you should do this once an hour. This helps the blood flow around your body and can prevent your legs from getting cramp. It will also help to pass the time.

If you follow all of the above tips, you will find that your next long-haul flight isn't quite as bad as you thought it would be. You might even enjoy it!

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

5 Good Reasons Not To Wait For Monday

Let’s paint a pretty picture, shall we? It’s almost Friday, it’s been a busy week at work and all you want to do is go home and sink onto the couch with a bag of chocolate pretzels and your favorite box set to binge on. You pour an extra-large glass of wine and you get settled, gym bag kicked aside with promises of Monday being the day that you start again. After all, it’s about to be the weekend, right? Stop. Right. There.

There is not one moment of your time that should be restricted to the constructs of calendars and timing, as if Monday is some magical day that means you’re suddenly going to have the get up and go to move your butt to the gym. Even without the incessant media influence around us every single day that tells us that we are not beautiful unless we tick the exact boxes that society expects, you do not need to wait for a Monday, or a new month, to get going with your lust for a healthier lifestyle. It may well be the weekend already, and you may well be exhausted, that’s entirely possible. But why does that mean that you have to wait for Monday to fix that? Why is the gym back thrown to one side as if it’s burning your hand? It’s very likely that you already know how to live a healthier lifestyle. It’s a big soup of working out, eating right and looking to learn more about the right health insurance coverage so that you can get the right help when you DO get sick. Living a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have limits and it doesn’t have an end date, so why would you need to wait for a start date?

apartment, bed, carpet

You see, you have complete and total control over your own life. The choices that you make on a daily basis about what you eat and where you walk are all down to you and your willpower. You have to make a conscious choice to do well every single day. Not for a partner, not for your friends and not even for the societal perception of beautiful: for you. Maintaining a balanced life is not an easy thing to do, but if you want it enough, you won’t have to wait to embrace the healthy lifestyle that you’re desperate to jump into. See the improvements in your health and your appearance as well as your overall confidence, simply by making right now when you start. Here are five amazing reasons that you need to take that new lifestyle with both hands and roll with it:

Living Longer. I’m sure you know what it is to have a future ahead of you, but then all of a sudden ten years have passed and you’re still faffing about with your workout routines. Eating well and ensuring that you drink enough water while you work out three times a week is going to add up to more months and years on your life tally. Having an immune system that works the right way is the best way that you can extend your life, and boy, do you have a life to live! Healthy living gives you a better quality of life, too. There’s no constant sluggish feeling. There’s less fatigue and depression. There’s energy and confidence and a feeling of excitement about life and when you feel good about who you are this feeling leeches into the rest of your life.

Being Happier. Reducing the amount of junk food that you eat naturally makes your body feel more energetic. When you add in the endorphins created with regular exercise, you end up with a feeling of happiness and euphoria that goes beyond anything that you have felt before. Happiness is relative to the individual, but the way that you treat your body can make a massive difference to your happiness in general. Healthy on the inside and looking incredible on the outside give you a level of confidence that simply works for you. You can choose to meditate, get active with sports and discover new foods that will make you excited to come home for dinner. Happiness is the key to an open and loving life and if living better can give you that, why wouldn’t you go for it?

achievement, activity, adolescent

Better Confidence. One of the key things that is going to propel you in life is you and whether you believe in yourself. Having a higher level of confidence can do just that for you and living a healthy life can get you that level of confidence. Maintaining a fit and healthy physique that looks good in any outfit can make you feel fantastic. When you look good on the outside – regardless of what the media says – you can feel good on the inside. This then makes you feel motivated and boosted to give your home that amazing makeover or change job to the one you truly want. Confidence has a lot to answer for!

Be The Inspiration. Have you ever considered that the moods of other people could affect you? Sure, you have. Someone in a bad mood around you can have you walking on eggshells. The thing is, when you feel good, other people around you will start to feel good, too. This type of inspiration is like energy vampires, except that instead of sucking up all your energy and making you tired, they’re sucking up and sharing how happy and boosted you feel. Your successes with your health can also make others feel inspired to do the same.

Youthful Looks. No one likes the idea of the changes that happen as you get older, but they’re going to happen regardless. Embracing a healthy lifestyle will quite literally be written all over your face. Daily healthy habits can help you to maintain a fitter body, cleaner inside, better confidence and a face full of youth. It’s not something that you should pass up if you have the change to embrace it!

Don’t wait for Monday. Start now and watch your life change for the better.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

April 16, 2018

A Beginner's Guide To The Galapagos

Visiting the Galapagos islands in Ecuador is the trip of a lifetime for the hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers who visit there every year. Each island has its own unique personality and can offer a totally different travel experience - and there are too many of them to list here! With a variety of flora, fauna, amazing wildlife and a range of amazing features such as cactus forests and clear turquoise waters, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the Galapagos islands. It has all of the scenery and activities you could possibly want.

This beginner’s guide is going to help you to plan the most incredible trip if you’re a first timer:

How Long Do You Need On The Island?
When you’re planning your trip to the Galapagos, you need to bear in mind that it consists of 13 bigger islands and more than 40 smaller islets. Each island is unique and has its own features. As there’s quite a distance to the mainland, it’s a good idea if you plan to stay as long as your budget will let you so you can enjoy the full diversity of the islands. The tours available can take anywhere between 4-12 days, but it’s a good idea to make sure there for at least a week. This is the minimum amount of time it’ll take you to fully enjoy the Galapagos to the max, especially if you’re an animal lover and want to take in all of that beautiful wildlife!

When Should You Visit The Islands?
One of the most common questions surrounding the Galapagos islands is ‘what time of year should I visit?’

There are a few different times you can visit depending on what it is you’re looking for. There’s no best or worst time to visit the island as the weather is pretty great all year round, so that’s a huge bonus! However, the most popular time to visit is from June to August and Mid December to Mid January. It’s also the most expensive time, so if you don’t have an unlimited budget, it’s a good idea to make sure you visit when it’s going to be a bit cheaper. December to May is the hot rainy season. At this time, the sea is quiet and the daily rain showers make room for a cloudless sky. Temperatures are usually above 25°C, so you're guaranteed some great weather. This is the best time to visit if you are looking for snorkeling, colorful fauna and hatching sea turtles.

June and November offer temperatures of 20-25°C. The sea is a little choppy at this time of year, but it’s a great period to visit for divers with experience, as the cold water means a bigger variety of marine life. You could see various sharks, albatrosses, and penguins too.

However, visiting the Galapagos at any time of year will still give you a fantastic trip providing you do your research to know what weather you’re getting and how much you should expect to spend.

Group Touring The Galapagos
The Galapagos has two airports, however, it’s best to fly to Baltra, as most tours start on the neighboring island of Santa Cruz. Then you have choices; do you want to explore the islands by Island hopping, by boat, or a group trip? All of the options available are fun, it can just depend on who you’re traveling with and whether you want to meet new people.

Taking A Cruise

You may never have considered going on a cruise before, but visiting the Galapagos on one is a popular choice. Just bear in mind that depending on the cruise you go for, experiences can differ greatly from one another. The ship sizes can be totally different, and you could be traveling in a luxury cabin or something plain and comfortable. To get an idea of cruises available, you can see this page. If you don’t want to feel like tourists, traveling on a smaller cruise ship could be a good idea. A full cruise will involve as many as 20 voyages, 20 snorkel trips, and multiple trips on motorboats to various islands. It’ll be a full trip with plenty to see and do, so prepare yourself and keep your camera charged up!

Whatever sort of travel and tour you choose, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid the sea life on the islands. You can see the Turtles at Darwin Research Station, the Sea lions at San Cristobal, the bird lovers on North Seymour, and those visiting Isabela, San Cristobal and Bartolome will be able to enjoy snorkeling and marine life. Just some of the wildlife you can see while exploring include:

Sea lions
Lightfoot crabs
Marine Iguanas

As there’s so much wildlife on the island, making sure your guide is experienced and approved is one of the most important things you can do.

Alternative Trip Ideas
Now, if you have time on your hands and a decent sized budget, you could consider this option; going on a shorter cruise ship, maybe 5 nights, and then doing a few hotel stays on a few of the different islands. Just make sure you look for approved travel guides whether you plan on exploring mainly by sea or land. Do this a few months in advance so you can have peace of mind knowing that you’re ready to enjoy your trip. At the busiest time of year, these trips book up fast, and you certainly don’t want to end up disappointed.

The Galapagos islands are the ideal place for you to live it up snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, wildlife spotting, and more. You could easily fill up a whole memory card with gorgeous images of your trip, and they will become special memories that you won’t forget in a hurry.

This could be the trip of your lifetime, so use the information here to plan your break and have an incredible time! Have you been to the Galapagos islands before? Leave your thoughts and comments below.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

April 13, 2018

Only Seasoned Travellers Will Recognise These Issues!

Some folks travel because they have to, but some of us have an insatiable wanderlust that flows through our veins day and night. For us, travel is a lifestyle, and a joy and something that we couldn't be our happiest serve without. Of course, the latter sort of people are the ones that end up being seasoned travelers, and as such often run into some bumpy terrain as well as smooth sailing. In fact, if you are a seasoned traveler you will probably recognize the issues discussed below, so read on to find out if you do and let us know how you would handle them!

Stressing At The Airport
OK, so no matter how many times you have traveled abroad, most regular travelers always get that little flutter in their stomach when they arrive. You could put it down to excitement for the adventure ahead, but usually, it is a mix of that and a little worry about whether they have the right items and documents with them, and whether they will make check in on time.

Reduce airport stress by following the advice below:

After all, international travel requires you to have an in date passport, as well as a visa or visa waiver in some cases. Due to added security measures, it is also necessary to arrive a lot earlier at the airport itself, and that is before you go through the rigmarole of finding a parking space, paying the fee, and then working out which bus you need to hop ion to get you to the right terminal!

Combine that with the fact that you have to triple check your hand luggage to make sure that there are no sharp objects or liquids over 100ml in there, and it can be pretty easy to start stressing before you have even cleared security!

Wondering How To Get A Postcard Home
Communicating with friends and family at home has changed a great deal in the last decade. No longer do we have to search for a pay phone to let loved ones know with that we have arrived safely. In fact, we can swap our cell signal provider over and carry on with calls, texts, and social media as usual.

However, many experienced travelers still like to engage in the art of writing a postcard to send to their loved ones at home. Sending postcards can be a great choice because it is pretty fun to receive real snail mail, and it shows that you have been thinking about the person while you were away. Also, postcards can make a significant physical reminder to add to a scrapbook of your time away, so why not consider sending one to yourself from each of your travels?

Of course, to do this you will need to take part in the 'hunt the stamp and post box game', an issue that many seasoned travelers will recognize. Don't be put off though, because even this task itself can be a great way to get acclimated to your new surroundings and also try out your phrase book on a few of the locals.

Looking For The Best Place To Take Some Snaps
Taking pictures, whether they are for your social media, scrapbook, or photos albums is an essential part of any experience travelers' trip. What this means is that they usually have a system for photo taking down pat that can be used in any environment.

Some will plan out the type of shots and the locations they want to capture beforehand. While others will work on a more spontaneous basis.

Although, truly smart travelers will know to strike a balance between being snap happy and being present in the experience that they are having at that moment. The latter being something that can help them appreciate their travels more and commitment their experiences to memory, rather than letting the photography part take over.

Trying To Decide Which Sights To See In A Short Space Of Time
Even the most seasoned of travelers can face the problem of which sites they should visit in the limited time they have. This can be a tough one too because, for everyone you do include on your list, another will end up getting left off.

To help with this those that are old hands at traveling usually do a little research before they go, especially if they are only in a location for a short space of time like a weekend. Travel website such as TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet can be useful as they include reviews from real people that are up to date and can help swing a decision one way or another. Also, traditional printed travels guide are great for accessing on the go as well as planning a route from place to place.

Worrying Whether They Will Get To Sample All The Dishes In The Local Cuisine They Have Earmarked
Lastly, that travelers that are focused on gastronomy often worry that the will have enough time, or enough of an appetite to sample all the culinary delights on offer in the location they are visiting! This is a valid point too, because what can make you feel as immersed in a culture as eating the same food as the locals and visiting the same restaurants?

To get around this difficulty seasoned travelers know that while research before the break can help to point you in the right direction the absolute best way of discovering the top places to eat is to ask and watch where the locals go.

After all, they aren't just visiting they living their live in that place, and if they favor a specific restaurant and dish, then the chances are it will be the most authentic cuisine that you can get in the area. Usually, it is priced pretty reasonably too, and you have the opportunity of mingling with said locals while you eat. Something that makes it an important reason why even the most seasoned traveler will follow this advice when choosing where and what to eat on their trip.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

April 12, 2018

Great Ways To Make Money For Travelling

While traveling shouldn’t be made about money, it’s no secret that to do so, you need to have some form of expenditure so that you can survive on your travels. You may have read our post ‘I’m too poor to travel’, which tells you why you don’t need mountains of cash to travel, and you don’t -- however, there are limits to how little money you actually need because you need to eat and pay for places to stay. This can become a problem if you’re not earning enough to put money aside so that you can travel, so here are some great ways to make money for traveling.

Sell your stuff
A moderately easy and fun way of making a quick bit of cash is by selling any creations you make on Etsy. So, if you’re skilled knitting or making occasion cards, then consider popping them up on Etsy so that you can make some extra money to put away for your travels.

Alternatively, you could rummage around your home and find belongings that you no longer need or want anymore and sell them online to make some cash too. Every little helps!

Sell your stocks
If you’re a sensible person with your money, then it’s likely that you’ve put some money into stocks for a rainy day. While traveling might not seem like a reason to sell your stocks, it’s all about what you actually want in life rather than keeping your stocks for something else. Plus, if you’re selling covered calls, it’s likely that you will be able to travel for longer and still have money left over at the end!

Get rid of unnecessary bills
Everyone has them. Some sort of bill that you signed yourself up for that you don’t really need like a magazine subscription, or that gym membership. Take a look through your direct debits and standing orders to see if there’s anything that you can eliminate!

Not only will you be helping yourself find a way of saving money for traveling, but you will also be helping yourself financially too!

Work as you travel
Finally, an option that many people choose to do when traveling the world is by working as they travel. It’s easy to get some bar or server work in many places around the world, so if you’re taking an extended amount of time off to travel this is definitely something that you should consider! If you’re lucky enough to be able to work from home with your current job, speak to your boss and see if they are happy for you to do this while you’re traveling!

Try these four ideas so that you can make some extra money for traveling!

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

April 11, 2018

Which Cities Should You Visit in Europe?

Europe is so full of different cultures and traditions that picking just a few cities to visit is near impossible. For this reason, the following recommendations should really be taken as a what to visit first kind of list, rather than a definitive this is all you need to see kind of list.

Like the US, there are certainly some great capital cities in Europe that bring tourists all kinds of experiences from museums to new foods, nights out to day trips. However, there are a few cities that can offer an alternative to the regular run of the mill stuff. These cities are for the explorers willing to go somewhere different and see something new.

You might think of Amsterdam as the capital of Holland, but in fact, Holland is just a region in the Netherlands. This city of canals is often thought of as a stag-do capital, and with the red light district and legal marijuana, you can see why. However, Amsterdam should not be treated as a city of rogues. Here, they are just a bit more relaxed about the rules and to be honest, that rather shows their liberal maturity.

There are all kinds of things to do here including the famous museums and the coffee shops where you might want to be a little bit careful about the type of brownie you order. You should definitely take a trip on a canal boat to see the sights from the water and visit the house of Anne Frank too. And at the end of the day, you can order a beer to relax. Can you have it delivered? In Amsterdam, you can.

If you are traveling to England, you would be forgiven for assuming that London is the cultural center. However, the North has plenty on offer too and Manchester is growing rapidly into a tourist gem. The people in this city are some of the friendliest in the world and, like their symbolic worker bee, they are hard working, team players.

The town center is full of beautiful Victorian architecture and there is plenty of change with the number of cranes on the horizon too. The Northern Quarter is ideal for a night out and contains all sort of hidden and themed bars to keep everyone happy. If you are looking for a bit of scenery, head further north into the Pennines and take in the rugged landscapes.

Famous for its Neapolitan ice cream, pizza and archeological significance, Naples is one of the most exciting cities in Italy. Even if you just want to explore the tiny side street in the heat, this city won’t disappoint with grand buildings on every corner.

This is the best place to come for museums and Roman culture (aside from Rome, of course) and the perfect location for sights of the threatening Vesuvius. Pompeii is but a short trip away and there are plenty of other locations worth your time too.

If you are traveling to Europe, these hot spots certainly won’t disappoint.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

Reasons To Visit France This Year

France is one of the most popular destinations in Europe, and it isn't very difficult to see why. France is an incredibly diverse country in both culture and climate, like in the north, where you will be able to enjoy the chilly weather and open spaces, or in the south, you where will be able to enjoy the French Riviera and almost tropical conditions.

France is full of stunning landmarks such as you’d see if you too a Day trip in Paris; it has historical value with the Flanders Memorial and other sites, and is also a lovely place to bring your family for a holiday in the sun. If you need any more reasons to visit France this year, here are a few for you.

1. Cheese
France is almost like the world capital of cheese. You cannot imagine visiting France without sitting on a cobbled street drinking great wine and eating Brie. If you love cheese then France will be the mother lode for you and you will be in creamy heaven for the duration of your stay. Make sure you bring your stretchy pants because you will need them!

2. Wine

For the wine lover out there, you will be able to enjoy some of the most rich and smooth wines in the world in France. You can even go and visit some of the wineries in the country to learn how your favorite wine is created. And of course, a trip to France would not be complete without visiting Champagne and trying some of the real deal!

3. Romance
If you are looking for somewhere extra special to take your partner this year, Paris is the top choice for romance and love. Paris is a magical city which will see you eating dinner on candlelit rooftops, taking a boat through the center of the city, and looking out across the landscape from the top of the Eiffel Tower. It is the perfect place for a proposal and somewhere you will never forget visiting.

4. Skiing
If you love sports and have a Love for snow then a trip to Courchevel is definitely one to put on your bucket list. You can enjoy skiing on this snowy landscape and then afterwards head to a log cabin for a much needed hot chocolate and a night by the fire.

5. Food
The French are famous for many things, but not much more so than the cuisine they offer up to the world. France is the world capital of cooking and hosts some of the most talented chefs in the world. If you want to experience a Michelin star meal to remember, France is definitely the place for you to be.

6. Beaches
France is a place which is full of diversity and houses some stunning beaches across its shores. If you fancy a chilled out day in the beach, you can visit the coastline in the south of France and sunbathe all day, or even surf in the waves if you like.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

April 10, 2018

Road-tripping: A Cheaper Way To Travel

If you are looking for a quick getaway this month without spending a huge ton on flights and hotels, one great option for your traveling needs is to take a road trip across the country. Road tripping is something which we should all experience at least once in our lifetime. It can be an amazing experience for anyone and is one which you will remember for a long time once it’s over. Here are out top reasons you should try a road trip this spring.

The main reason people want to go away on holiday is to escape the stresses of daily life. Our lives are so fast paced at times that we nearly have the time to stop and smell the roses. Life should be about enjoying ourselves and by getting in the car and driving away we can do that. Forget about your work for a few days or weeks and simply pack up, drive and go wherever the mood takes you. There is an incredible sense of freedom in roadtripping which will all should take advantage of.

Discover New Places
If you want to find more places in your own country you could search online with www.ridester.com, ask your family or simply get in the car and follow the signs. It can be incredibly fun to go somewhere new just for the hell of it. It is this way of thinking which often lets us find hidden gems in our land which we can enjoy and explore. You could find that your local area is hiding a stunning castle, amazing village or breathtaking natural view. If you let go of your inhibitions and live in the moment you can discover great things.

Meet New People
If you love having the opportunity to mingle, the going on a road trip is the perfect way to do it. Rather than ending up across the world with people who can’t speak the same language, you will meet people fairly close to you and be able to make some great friends for the rest of your life. Imagine traveling for a few hours in the car and finding your new best friend- that would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

Make Memories
Being able to step away from your everyday life for a while is the perfect opportunity to spend time with your family and make some amazing memories which you can all treasure forever. In daily life we find that we run out of time to spend with our family and this can mean we don’t form the same close bonds as we wish we could. By packing up and being in the same car together you will have the opportunity to talk, bond, explore new places together and try new things. It will bring your family much closer together in the end and can be just what you need. You’ll be able to come home afterwards with photos, videos and souvenirs from lots of places, and have things to talk about for the rest of your lives.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

5 Tips For Planning The Perfect Road Trip

Thinking of taking a road trip? Like any vacation, a road trip requires a lot of careful preparation in order to make it as stress-free as possible. Here are five tips for planning the perfect road trip.

Get your vehicle serviced
The whole trip depends on having a working vehicle, so make sure that there aren’t any future faults around the corner that could turn your road trip into a disaster. Take any preventative repairs that your mechanic recommends. You’ll also want to make sure all your fluids are topped up, as well as pumping up those tires.

Plan your route
You should have a rough idea of your route, even if it’s just an itinerary of places to stop at. Planning ahead will allow you factor in travel time, so that you can fit everything in that you want to see. You can also save money by planning ahead by dodging toll roads and booking cheap accommodations (it’s often beneficial to book accommodations beforehand so that you’re also not driving around late at night looking for an empty room).

Download some helpful apps
There are lots of apps that be useful to have on your phone during a road trip. Apps like GasBuddy can help you to find the cheapest gas stations nearby so that you’re saving money on fuel. The likes of Roadtrippers meanwhile can advise you on the best routes to take, as well as pointing out nearby hotels and restaurants. On top of these practical apps, you may want to download some games and movie apps to provide you with in-journey entertainments (useful if there are kids on board!).

Stay charged up
Of course, if you’re going to be heavily using your phone, you’ll want a means of keeping constantly charged. You can use a car charger, or you can buy a portable charger. Meanwhile, if you’re planning on bringing more heavy duty appliances like a car refrigerator or laptop, it could be worth investing in a portable generator. There are lots of generators at this site – you can click here to check it out! Some of these generators are solar powered, so that you’ll always have electricity.

Don’t bring the kitchen sink
Whilse you do want to be prepared by bringing as much handy equipment as possible, you don’t want to bring so much that you weigh down the car and have little or no elbow room. It’s important that you’re comfortable on your road trip, so refrain from packing every available space of your car with items. Reducing the amount of heavy items will also reduce your fuel consumption and tire wear. It’s possible to expand your storage space by fitting a roof box or a trailer – just make sure that this isn’t an excuse to bring extra clothing that you’re probably not going to wear. If you’re planning on sleeping in the car some nights, make sure you’ve got enough room to lean the seat back.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

April 6, 2018

Holiday Hacks To Make Vacations Last Longer

A clock hanging on the train station platform.

Everyone loves the feeling to be had when you’re on your way to your next vacation location. With the allure of a break being very strong, a lot of people feel not only joy but also relief when they are experiencing this. Of course, though, even with fancy tricks, every vacation has to come to an end. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the best ways to make these times longer, while also being able to make more of the time you already have. With all of this in mind, it should be nice and easy to take advantage of a greater break.

Use Your Work
There are loads of different tools out there which can be used to enhance your holidays. In reality, though, the most powerful and popular of these comes in the form of the job you have. Below, you can find some examples of the different ways in which your job can be used to make your chances of a long break all the more likely, all with little changes to your work.

In most roles, even entry-level ones, you will be given a healthy allowance of vacation time throughout the year. Whether you get paid during these times or not, it doesn’t matter; you still have the time. To make sure you can get as much as possible at once, it will be worth booking it the moment you can, along with talking to your boss to make sure that they are happy with it. Giving plenty of earning makes it much easier for your superior to find people to fill in your role during your absence.

Of course, not all bosses and jobs allow for this sort of time to be taken, even if you ask for it very far in advance. This doesn’t mean that you have to put a pin in your travel ambitions, though. Instead, as long as you’re willing to work for it, finding a role which involves some travel can be a great way to extend your breaks. Say you have a weekend meeting in Brussels, for example, you could have a normal vacation which follows directly afterwards. Most companies can benefit from having someone to make contacts overseas.

One of the most common issues people face when they want to have a long break is their job. Most employers simply can’t afford to have their workers out of their job for long periods, and this makes sense. Working for yourself can be one of the easiest ways to get around this, often enabling people to work while they are on holiday, while also not having to worry about asking for the time off. This sort of change will take a lot of work, and you have to be serious about it before you start.

Use Your Life
Your job isn’t the only tool you have at your disposal when you’re looking for ways to improve your vacation time. Along with this, there are also some modifications you can make which will only involve adapting your life, instead of your career. You can find some examples of these below, along with some direction when you’re looking for support.

Nothing quite gives you the same amount of power as owning a building somewhere. Enabling you to avoid booking restrictions and expensive fees on hotels, apartments, and other accommodation, options like those found on sites like https://www.rumah.com/rumah-dijual/di-area-cikarang-idjb04018 can be a great way to spend more time on your breaks. While this will cost a lot at the start, it could quickly make this back for you, and may even turn a profit in the years to come if you’re able to rent it out when you’re not using it.

Over the last few years, being a micro influencer has become a legitimate way to earn money in the field of marketing. If you have a good social media presence, you can use it to advertise on behalf of businesses, while keeping it all looking like your normal posts. Blogs, videos, and normal posts are all great for this, but you will need to create content very regularly. Keeping your work travel related will be one of the best ways to ensure that you spend as much time as possible overseas.

Finding Another Route
Finally, as the last area to consider, it’s time to think about the other options you have when it comes to enjoying more time on breaks. In reality, there are loads of different ways to do this. It only takes a little bit of research to find the best for you, and being creative will always go a long way when it comes to coming up with fresh ideas.

There are always competitions going on in the world of travel. Long weekends, proper breaks, and even extended trips are always being given away, and it doesn’t take much to take a slice of it. Websites like https://familytraveller.com/travel-competitions/ have their own options available, but you should be able to find other options elsewhere, even if it takes some hunting. The best way to have a good chance of winning things like this will involve entering as many of them as possible.

Giving up your time to help others is a great way to enjoy a long vacation while also feeling good about the work you’re doing. There are loads of chances to volunteer in different countries, with sites like https://www.projects-abroad.org/ giving you a wide array of options. Of course, it will be worth doing some research while you’re choosing your organisation, as some have been known to do poor work, and this won’t feel good. On the bright side, though, you may be able to go for as long as a year on a scheme like this.

Hopefully, with all of this in mind, you will feel inspired to take action and claim the extended break you deserve. The worst part about going away is always having to come back home, and being able to put it off for even a couple more days will be a great blessing. Of course, though, it could be worth saving one or two days for other events throughout the year.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.