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Torn Between 3 Countries

28 September 2013

Planning a trip with your family is never without any hassle and compromising especially if one of the party is resisting or have other plans instead. I have been raring to go back to Europe before my daughter goes to college next year but dear hubby was adamant. He sees Europe as a very expensive place to go to (and I agree with him) and fee for a Schengen Visa is not worth the price considering the most they can give (and that is if you are lucky) is just 2 months which was always the case for us. For  Euro 60 and a 2 months validity, I don't think it's sufficient. Unlike the US visa, we always get longer period and multiple entry. So, now I am torn whether to push through the with Europe tour or change the whole trip and go back to Japan as initially planned months ago.

I have made the cost analysis for the whole Europe trip and I will be spending more than I would if we will consider Tokyo, Japan. Decisions, decisions, decisions...

I am leaning to Tokyo this time only for the reason of my strict budget. Let's see how the planning unfolds. As of now, it is 50-50 but seeing the cost of the hotels near Tokyo Disneyland as compared to the hotels in Europe, I think I know where to go this December!

Dream Destinations For An Unforgettable Engagement

25 September 2013

Photo credit: yahoo images

Having your other half get down on one knee and propose to you is an unforgettable moment that will be cherished for the rest of your lives together.
And while the proposal is no doubt enough to melt your heart and make you jump with joy, imagine if your love whisks you off to a luxury destination to pop the question - where would you want to go to mark the occasion?
Perhaps the Eiffel Tower in Paris is where your dream engagement would take place? Or maybe you'd prefer to be on a secluded beach with nothing but the sound of rolling waves to keep you and your sweetheart company?
Try your hand on an online bingo promotion at 888ladies and you could be in with the chance of winning a pot of cash to spend towards your dream engagement. Of course, the finer details will be left to your husband-to-be, but there's no reason why you can't drop some hints about where you'd like to go! Here are some destination ideas to help you on your way.
European city break
A long weekend in one of Europe's prettiest cities provides a beautiful backdrop to an engagement. Whether you dream of a proposal while navigating the Venice canal system in your very own gondolier, or dining in a Michelin-starred restaurant in the city of Florence - arguably one of the most beautiful and romantic places in the region - Italy is a great choice.
Of course, the French are known for their romanticism, so let Paris - or the city of love - sweep you off your feet with its quaint boulevards and rich heritage. Use your bingo win to splash out on the finest champagne and a slap up meal to celebrate becoming engaged.
For something a little less conventional, try the city of Seville in the south of Spain. The cobbled old town, smell of orange blossom in the air and flamenco music filling the streets won't fail to get you in the mood for romance.
Further afield
New York is an obvious choice for an engagement abroad and it's incredibly easy to see why. This bustling city needs little in the way of introduction, but a visit with your loved one will let you get under the skin of the city that never sleeps. And with so many iconic buildings and locations, finding somewhere surrounded by a memorable backdrop to pop the question isn't going to be tough for your other half.
From the top of the Empire State Building, to wining and dining in a Michelin-starred restaurant or from the back of a horse and carriage ride in Central Park - you're spoilt for choice. Plus, thanks to your bingo win, you're in the right place to celebrate in style once the ring's on your finger.
Exotic destinations
For those who want to relax in complete privacy, how about going all out and having your own private beach to share with your loved one? Fregate Island in the Seychelles is the ultimate in luxury and the whiter than white sands and crystal blue waters are the ideal place for a dream engagement.
Other lavish locations include Barbados, Mauritius and the Bahamas and many luxury hotels offer private beachside dining under the stars with your own candlelit table - you can't get much more romantic than that.

Afterwards, make the most of your luxury surroundings and try to work out how you can top the trip on your honeymoon.

The Rise Of Travel Popularity In The US

24 September 2013

If I were to refer to the earlier decades of American society, I will have to say that only a small fraction of the population owned a passport. Americans were not known to explore other countries except their own soil. Back then, Americans view traveling as a privilege of the rich because it is an expensive activity. Geography also plays a big role on why American refrain from stepping outside their home soil. The US is a big continent and everything one can possibly see and experience (weather-wise) is all in one place. And lastly, that fear of the unknown outside their own comfort zone. The connotation that the world is a scary place seemed to have thrived in the older generation. Hence, traveling was not that popular and the least activity one would engage to.

The advent of the internet, social media and documentaries on places around the world aroused the curiosity of many younger Americans of this generation. Gone are the days when Americans used to save for their retirement and never for travel.  More and more Americans are now booking on the flights outside the US and the statistics below will show how much traveling in the American mainstream has grown.

 
Infographic Credit

Traveling has become a favorite leisure activity of Americans and this is because of the myriad of travel packages being offered at a very good price over the internet. Despite of the recession, there are still plenty of travelers coming from the US going to the other parts of the world and this will still continue because traveling is no longer for the affluent. Everyone can now book their flights and enjoy the world.

EVA Air's Hello Kitty Jet Touches Down At LAX

21 September 2013

I have not seen any of EVA Air's Hello Kitty Jet series in person yet. I have only seen them in pictures and so mesmerized that I have included it in my bucket list - to board one.

EVA Air is the second largest carrier of Taiwan and has collaborated with Japan's very famous Sanrio group to feature Hello Kitty theme in few of their jets. This started in 2005 and now has 5 fleets to carry the "purrfectly" cute Hello Kitty character. You can read more information of the initial flights of the Hello Kitty themed fleet in Travel CNN.

Last 18 September 2013, EVA Air's B777-ER Hello Kitty Hand-in-Hand Jet touched down at Los Angeles International Airport, much to the delight of the travelers who are eager to fly this very cute aircraft and the throngs of super Sanrio fans.

Here are some pictures from yahoo travel and Travel CNN showcasing the cutest jetliner to ever graced the skies. And if you're flying in any of the Hello Kitty themed jets of EVA Air, you will be filled with so much cuteness from boarding tickets to the barf bags as they are all printed with Hello Kitty face.


Eva Hello Kitty 1 photo EVAHK1.jpg


Eva Hello Kitty 2 photo EVAHK2.jpg

Montenegro: Why it could be the next big thing in travel

19 September 2013


Photo credit: lonelyplanet.com

You might not know Montenegro as anything but a football team and an entrant into the Eurovision Song Content. After all, it’s hardly a top summer holiday destination – or is it?

This small country – about the size of Northern Ireland – can be found sandwiched between Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania. As such, it was ripped apart by the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s.

However, those bad memories are fading and since becoming an independent country in 2006, Montenegro has been firmly put on the map.

So, after a little thought and some investment from the rich and famous, Montenegro is fast becoming a tourist hotspot and the next big thing in travel.

What does it offer?
Well, aside from becoming a footballing nation, Montenegro also has a number of tourist attractions, particularly on the north-west coast.
National parks: Considering its small size, it’s a wonder Montenegro could have one national park, never mind three. However, Durmitor, Tara Canyon and Biogradsko Jezero are all worth a visit.
Culture: If you’re looking to explore one of the quaint, sleepy villages, it’s worth taking the trip up to Kotor Bay. Thanks to its beautiful scenery and early settlement, the village is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Weather: It’s location on the Adriatic Sea means that it benefits from a similar climate to central and southern Italy. Its border is also no more than a few miles from the increasingly popular Croatian city of Dubrovnik.
Yachting: For those with millions of pounds at their disposal, Porto Montenegro is a real hotspot. It is one of the largest marinas in the world and is regularly visited by numerous celebs, including Roman Abramovich and Novak Djokovic.


How to get there

 When flying to Montenegro directly, there isn’t much choice. The only flights from the UK are from Gatwick to Tivat or Podgorica, with Montenegro Airlines flying twice a week.
  
However, as it’s just a couple of hours away Dubrovnik offers an alternative. If you don’t mind a bumpy car journey you can fly with the likes of easyJet and British Airways amongst others.
  
When planning a trip to Montenegro, don’t forget to purchase  european travel insurance to provide the cover you need in the event of illness or other scenarios you may face on holiday.



Visit Seattle, Washington

18 September 2013

Seattle, also known as the Emerald City is a famous city in the Washington state in the US. It is not a very big state and it is bordered by the following states in the US: Oregon and Idaho. On the upper border is Canada's Vancouver.

The rainy state of Washington offers tourists plenty of activities and sights to enjoy. The weather is oceanic with dry-wet climate similar to the Pacific Northwest. May to late September will be the ideal time to visit as precipitation is low and visitors can enjoy a low and sunny temperatures.

 
Infographic Credit

There are plenty of famous places to visit in the Emerald City and below places are just to name a few:


  • Pike Place Market 
  • Space Needle 
  • Olympic Sculpture Park 
  • Washington State Ferries 
  • Museum of History and Industry 
  • Downtown Waterfront 
  • Seattle Art Museum 
  • Ballard Locks


Consider the Emerald City on your next vacation and do not miss out the beautiful vistas that await you in Seattle.

All In Your Hands

16 September 2013

Photo credit: yahoo images



Budget airlines and low cost fares have made travel much more accessible. There was a time, not so long ago, when the cost of air travel was so expensive that only the well-off, or those able to save, were able to jet off to destinations that couldn’t be reached by car. Luckily, nowadays we can head off on a jaunt to a European city, or a beach break on the Med for often less than the cost of a holiday in the UK!

Whilst air travel costs are now lower, I’ve recently found that the cost of adding on baggage bumps up the price considerably. It’s important to note that the price you see on searching for bargain flights, is often not the price you will end up paying. Add on baggage, occasionally insurance (although I’d certainly be arranging that myself!), taxes, check-in fees, and the cost goes from ‘ooh that’s cheap’, to ‘ooh that’s not so good’.

It’s through many of these occurrences I decided to try travelling on the light side, and foregoing expensive baggage fees. Now, I am a girl that generally doesn’t know how to travel light, so this was somewhat of a challenge, but it was surprisingly easy once I got my head around it!

Hand luggage allowance is generally free, and although the weight restriction and size varies from airline to airline, there are several companies offering a little more in the way of cabin luggage. Monarch, Jet 2 and Easy Jet all offer more than the standard 5kg allowances with the likes of Thomas Cook and Thomson. I recently travelled with Turkish Airlines, and was offered 8kg hand luggage, and then Monarch and Jet 2 came in at 10kg. It doesn’t sound a lot, but if you’re willing to buy your toiletries at the airport, it is possible to cram a week’s worth of clothes and accessories into a 10kg case. Surprising, but true!

This challenge turned out to be a difficult one in terms of what to take, but once I cracked it, it saved me around £40, not to mention time as I didn’t have to wait for my case at the packed carousel – straight onto my transfer, and onto my destination!

Whilst we’re on the subject of saving money through baggage, let’s look at saving even more money, meaning more to spend whilst you’re in resort, or even at duty free, which is certainly one of my favourite perks.

Getting to the airport can often be a costly business, especially if you’re booking taxis, trains and coaches, not to mention the inconvenience of it all. The last time I took a coach to the airport it took five hours, when the airport is literally a two hour drive away. It’s through this I decided to pre-book Luton Airport parking for my holiday last year, and since then I’ve been hooked. The cost was lower, the service was fantastic, and I was chilled-out and raring to go by the time I arrived at the airport. I would highly recommend this service for anyone who is able to drive, and no matter where you’re flying from, you’ll find a service to suit. I’ve also used Stansted parking in the past, whilst taking advantage of a very cheap flight from the capital, and again, I can’t rave enough about it.

A little packing planning and a few sneaky extras can mean a considerable amount of money saved on your holiday. Consider it a challenge – see how much you can cram into 10kg!

Our Vacation in Seoul, South Korea Part 2

Our Seoul, South Korea trip will not be complete without a day visit to Everland Resort in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do Province of South Korea. It is similar to Disneyland Resort in Orlando as it is always compared to the latter due to the similarities in layout. It features a zoo and water resort as well.

We took the bus near the Lotte Department store that goes straight to Everland Resort. We got there around 10:00 a.m. It was not a very long ride. I think it was just around an hour if my memory serves me right.

As soon as the bus reached the terminal, we started taking pictures as the view was magnificent. There were plenty of unusual plants that I have seen for the first time. Such a lovely place and the pictures I am sharing here would show how beautiful the place was.

Enjoy viewing!


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The ample parking lot of Everland Resort. This is where you will catch your ride back to the city as well.


This was taken near the bus terminal, few metres away from the main gate of Everland.

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Notice the pretty "cabbage-like" plants behind me? They look so yummy! hahaha This is the area before you enter the park.

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Just a bit of posing in front of the Everland Resort Logo as you enter the park.

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This was taken at the Global Fair. It's the main area of the resort and so is the picture below.

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This is my favorite view of the park. This was taken near the big fountain and you could actually see the various colors of fall in the vista. This place is a must-visit place in Seoul.

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We were standing just outside the "gate" where the parade would start. We didn't realize the parade would start any minute and we were lucky enough to be in front of the sideline.

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At the European Adventure  photo Seoul361-1.png


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Bum poking hahaha

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Taken near the T Express, the largest wooden roller coaster built in Seoul.
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Well-known Pumpkin Patches in the US

15 September 2013

Photo credit: yahoo images


It can't be denied but the weather is changing and we're ushering the coming of fall. Fall is a lovely time to enjoy before the cold winter season arrives. It's just a short season, not lasting more than 2 months and the weather is not too chilly. And aside from the nice weather, beautiful fall foliage, the pumpkin patches all over the US are brimming with big and beautiful pumpkins to carve, display and even cook in time for the holidays.

Here are famous pumpkin patches around the US which are all worth visiting. If you leave in the area, do consider a visit and enjoy the fun activities they have in store for everyone.


CALIFORNIA: Cool Patch Pumpkins

NEW YORK: The Great Pumpkin Farm, Iron Kettle Farm, Barton Orchards 

PENNSYLVANIA: Shady Brook Farm 

OHIO: Devine Farms 

NORTH CAROLINA: Peanuts Pumpkin Patch Express 

SOUTH CAROLINA: Holiday Farms 

COLORADO: Anderson Farms 

OREGON: The Pumpkin Patch 

NEVADA: Toll House Pumpkin Patch

DELAWARE: Mr. Pepper's Pumpkin Patch

MAINE: Pumpkin Valley Farm

Please feel free to add more in the list so I can update this. I am sure a lot will benefit from this list so anyone who wishes to visit these farms will be able to plan their visit and know what they will see and in the farms.


Timeshares in Vacation Resorts

14 September 2013

We are a bunch of travel bugs. My family loves to hop on a flight, see different countries, enjoy the various cuisine, explore on famous places and immerse in rich art, history and culture of the places we visit.

We were once offered a timeshare during our visit in Las Vegas by one of the hotel chains we have stayed on. At that time, we didn't know much about timeshares or what it did and what benefits we could get out of it.

What I remember though, my husband did take 1 share but it was not for any fancy luxury resorts around Nevada. It was from the same hotel we stayed at but valid for a year. We did not get to use the share but we were able to transfer it to our friend and his fiancee when they visited Las Vegas.

Below is a sample infographic on time share which shows Mexico as a leading holder of timeshare resorts world-wide. I will not be surprised as Mexico is home to numerous beautiful, exotic, luxury and private resorts in the world.

 www.vacationresellers.net

What is a timeshare, you might ask? Timeshare is a term coined in Great Britain during the 1960s era. It is a term for a property with a certain form of ownership or usage rights and is normally used by condominium-like properties where multiple number of people owns a timeshare. The timeshare owners are allocated a certain period of time to allow other owners to use the property as well.

How to Travel Like a Local in Nantucket

12 September 2013

Photo credit: yahoo images

Situated just thirty miles to the south of Cape Code, the Atlantic island of Nantucket is also the southernmost section of Massachusetts.  Renowned for its historic past as a New England whaling capital, the island has retained its maritime appeal and is visited by throngs of vacationers each year.  Yet unlike many vacation destinations where being a tourist is part of the holiday package, Nantucket beckons visitors to experience island life like a local in order to discover what really makes life on this island extraordinary.

Procuring a Rental

When planning your Nantucket vacation, try getting a Nantucket summer rental for an authentic island experience.  Travelers can choose ocean cottages with pristine ocean views or even antique-filled guest houses that boast period d├ęcor.  Choosing an accommodation package is part of the fun.  There are plain rentals with merely the basics as well as luxury villas with pool access and other sumptuous amenities.  To find out more about inns and various Nantucket rental options, visit Nantucket.net to find out more about the vacation rental of your dreams.

Shopping

To experience life like a Nantucket local, visitors will want to visit the local market place to purchase fresh seafood to cook at their villa!  The local grocery stores will supply all the ingredients you need and there are also gourmet shops with specialty items to complement your delectable seaside meals!  To prepare recipes with Nantucket flair, bring this cookbook along—The Nantucket Restaurants Cookbook: Menus and Recipes from Faraway Isle.  You’ll fit right into the Nantucket shopping scene as you browse for food items that will delight your family or significant other!

Dining Out

On the other hand, you can eat out like the locals do at their favorite Nantucket eateries and experience the most revered island cuisine.  Although the island boasts fine dining experiences, most locals prefer the casual restaurants perched beside the sea.  You’ll enjoy hearty island fare prepared with fresh ingredients in an atmosphere as nearly as timeless as the sea itself!  What should you eat?  Although that’s a matter of taste, one can’t help but suggest the island’s pan-roasted Maine lobster, lobster tacos, seared Atlantic salmon, littleneck clams, and tasty crab cakes!  While seafood reigns supreme, there are also plenty of great cheeseburgers, pizza, and other great American staples to be enjoyed on the island!

Recreation


Both tourists and locals alike appear to favor the same pastimes.  Travelers must experience a boating excursion off the island as well as various watersports or fishing trips.  Biking and hiking the trails around the island is also a great way to experience the scenic charms of Nantucket.  Be sure to attend the island’s various festivals and events to see why island life is so special.  Nantucket’s wine festival along with its film festival are both highly popular events that draw both tourists and locals.  Of course, if you're like most locals, you'll simply be dazzled by a long walk by the sea.

Nantucket is best experienced when one is immersed in the everyday life of the island.  Then visitors find that there are truly few places as special as this unforgettable Atlantic isle.  


Adam Jenson is a Nantucket resident. He loves to share his best tips about the area on travel blogs.

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