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Things To Do Deep In The Heart Of Texas

The Southern states in America have such a wide range of culture that it is hard to chose where to go. New Mexico has Spanish colonial architecture with a Hispanic culture. California is mostly associated with Hollywood, but it has roots in the cultures of Spain, Asia, Mexico, and the Eastern United States. But the one state you should really try to visit is the Lone Star State. Texas is a big area – about the size of most of Europe – so you’re better off choosing one city to explore during your visit. Here are a few hot destinations to help you narrow down your choices.

 

Austin

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If you’re a fan of music, Austin is a great place to tick off your bucket list as it’s the live music capital of the world; there are roughly 200 live music venues that you can catch a show at pretty much any day at any time, either at popular venues like the Moody Theatre, or downtown in hole-in-the-wall bars like The Continental Club on South Congress. Austin is also home to the largest urban population of bats in North America, estimated at 1.5 million bats. Each night, from mid-March to November, the bats emerge from under the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk to blanket the sky as they head out to forage for food. Surprisingly, it’s become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Texas.

 

Mt Pleasant & Titus Country

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See the naturally beautiful side of Texas at Mt Pleasant & Titus Country. The pristine lakes, mountains, and preserved nature trails get visitors away from the hustle and bustle of city life that some have come to associate with Texas. Starting your day at magnificent hotels like the Super 8 Mount Pleasant, you could choose to go down to the lakes and indulge in some fishing, sunbathing, swimming, or hiking, or you could book a visit to Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards. Here, you can enjoy even more spectacular views, an extensive Tapas menu, and during the late summer you are welcome to join in the fun of harvesting the grapes. Mt Pleasant is also known for its great fresh produce, which you can buy at the local farmer’s market. It’s just the kind of country retreat that the doctor ordered.

 

Houston

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A vibrant culture scene awaits anyone who makes a stop in Houston; not only is it home to the NASA Johnson Space Center, but so many fascinating museums that you probably won’t see anywhere else. The Houston Museum of Natural Science is the closest you’ll get to visiting Jurassic Park, especially since when you see features like the Stegosaurus and a gigantic T-Rex in the 30,000-square-foot Hall of Paleontology. Houston also caters to even the most eclectic fashion senses, with clothing stores that specialise in authentic, vintage cowboy boots, as well as stores that feature designer labels like Lanvin, Stella McCartney and Valentino.

All the places in Texas offer a unique experience, so try ticking a few off your bucket list.  

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What To Look For In Your Next Hotel

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When you’re choosing a hotel to stay in during your next break, it can often be hard to know what you’re looking for. To start, the place you’re going is unknown to you, and you won’t be able to make a judgment about the area it’s in, making it hard to know if you’d want to be there. From there, you will encounter issue after issue, all caused by a lack of information about the place you want to visit. Of course, though, it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead, you just need to find a better way to look for your hotels. To help you out, this post will be going through some of the most important considerations to make when choosing this part of your vacation.

 

  • Cleanliness

No one likes the idea of spending their holiday somewhere dirty or poorly kept. Instead, you want to be able to sleep easy knowing that you won’t have to do any work like this yourself. Modern hotels are often given a hygiene rating by the government of the area they are in. But, alongside this, you should also consider looking up some reviews to make sure other customers haven’t found the place to be dirty before.

 

  • Service

Once you know that a place will be clean, you can start to think about the people working there. In a lot of cases, the service you get during your break will have a huge impact on the amount you enjoy it. So, making sure that you get the right service is very important. To make this easier, hotels will usually have a star rating which indicates the quality of the experience you can expect.

 

  • Food And Drink

Along with the way that you’re treated, you will probably also be concerned about the food in the hotel you choose. Thankfully, this isn’t such a big issue for a lot of people. But, it could be worth making sure that there are other places to eat nearby. This will save you from having to eat food you don’t like if the hotel is unable to provide for you properly.

 

  • Features/Services

Some hotels have gyms, sports fields, and other active equipment. Others, though, will have cinemas, bars, and even nightclubs, all to keep their guests entertained. Of course, the different options your hotel has will make a huge difference to your stay. Examples like the Cambria Hotel & Suites Roanoke have a wide-range of options and will appeal to most people. Some places, though, won’t have such a great choice.

 

  • Entertainment

Finally, the last area to consider before you start to pack your bags is the entertainment you’ll be able to indulge in during your vacation. A lot of people find themselves bored during the evenings they spend a way, and this is a shame. Some hotels are famed for providing some of the best entertainment in the world, from live shows to things you can get involved with, there’s plenty on offer for those willing to look around.

 

Hopefully, this post will give you a good idea of the different options you have to consider when you’re looking for the best hotel for you. A lot of people don’t consider everything here and will make a choice based on ease. But, this will often result in a poorly chosen place and will make you and the other guests you’re with feel bad.

 

 

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Must-Have Beach Accessories for Your Next Summer Vacation

Summer might be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead for future vacations in the sun. If you’ve ever gone to the beach and realised you’ve missed something, then it can put a huge strain on your mind that ultimately ruins your trip. So in order to prevent that from happening, here are a couple of must-have beach accessories for your next summer vacation.

Umbrella

An umbrella at the beach is an indispensable tool. It’s perfect for keeping the sun’s rays off you and it creates a nice bit of shade to keep you cool when the temperatures rise a little too high. Certain umbrellas are great at protecting you from harmful rays, but they need to be combined with the next item on the list to ensure you have ample protection.

Sunscreen

Sunscreen comes with many benefits that should not be ignored if you’re going to be spending time on the beach. It helps to protect your skin from harmful rays that come from the sun, thus reducing your chances of developing conditions like skin cancer or sunburn. There are different types of sunscreen and even certain brands that cater towards different skin types, which means it’s important to do a little research on the best brand for your body.

Sandals

Accessories are important when you’re on the beach, but perhaps the most underrated accessory to take is a pair of high-quality Hawaiian sandals. It allows your feet to breathe when you need to keep them dry, and sandals can also make it more bearable to walk on the hot golden sands of whatever beach you’re on. They also offer foot support if you have trouble walking on uneven surfaces, and they’re cheap and easy to carry around in a bag.

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Food

Beach food can be incredibly expensive depending on where you’re visiting. An ice cold drink can cost twice as much as it does in a bar or a cafe, and food can be quite expensive despite being relatively average (unless your beach is blessed with fantastic food!). In fact, most people wait until they’re out of the beach then get food afterwards. Unfortunately, staying hydrated and giving yourself something to snack on during your stay at the beach can be important, which is why you should always pack a bit of food with you. If you want to keep your drinks cool, then don’t hesitate to bring an icebox—your friends will thank you for it.

 

Entertainment

Let’s admit it; beaches can get relatively boring if you’re not hanging out with your friends the entire time. Even then, being at the beach can sometimes be a little dull. This is why taking a book, a portable speaker system or even a volleyball can greatly enhance your trip to the beach. It gives you something to do, it’s a great tool for socialising and it helps to keep the fun going. Don’t overestimate how much entertainment there is at the beach—take something so that you don’t get bored!

 

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Don’t Make These Typical Mistakes When Travelling in Spain

Travelling through Spain is wonderful. Warm weather, friendly people, stunning beaches and a relaxed lifestyle. Spain truly is somewhere you can go when you need a break from the daily hustle and bustle. But, as with any other foreign country, you need to be prepared for what could happen on your trip. Many people make mistakes when planning a trip to Spain. Don’t let it happen to you.

 

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Driving Through Spain

Looking at Spain on a map and actually being there are two very different things. Driving through Spain looks as simple as simple can be on a map, but you may find it stressful if you decide to take the challenge on. Firstly, Spain is a much larger place than most people realize, and secondly, Spanish drivers aren’t exactly known for their courtesy. If you’re planning to drive on your vacation, you could be putting yourself through unnecessary hassle. There are much easier ways of getting around.

 

A Secluded Hotel

The thought of being away from city life and taking time to relax is tempting, but being too far away from town and city centers could be a mistake. The point of travelling is to experience the culture of a new country and you won’t get that experience if you’re forced to stay in your hotel. You may find that you waste a lot of time going to local shops, restaurants etc. and travelling back to your hotel. Being within walking distance of main attractions will allow you to experience authentic Spain and be near local amenities for emergencies.

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Sticking to Your Own Habits

When in Spain, do as the Spaniards do. While you’re travelling through Spain, you may notice that the locals have different eating habits. The timings of their meals are often different to other countries, but it’s important to go with the flow. Many people make the mistake of eating lunch at their normal times and then venturing out of their hotels to find that local shops or attractions are closed. Spaniards usually take long breaks to avoid the midday heat and eat lunch afterwards. So, it’s worth waiting to eat your meals the same time as them and join in with the locals and learn Spanish so you aren’t caught out.

 

Pack Heavy

Most people visit Spain during the Summer months, but if you’re planning a trip when the weather is colder, don’t be tempted to pack heavy. Spain is full of long walks and stairs and steep hills. Each time you leave your hotel, you may have to be prepared for a work-out. Similarly, you don’t want to be dragging a heavy suitcase through cobbled streets and alleys that are difficult to navigate.

 

Open Jaw Ticket

When travelling through Spain, many people make the mistake of flying to and from the same city. Having an open jaw ticket will ensure you can fly into Barcelona but leave from Madrid, saving you time and hassle.

 

Travelling through Spain is certainly an experience, but don’t make the common mistakes of others.

 

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Staying Safe In The Most Dangerous Countries In The World

Traveling to western countries is fairly safe. They have the same safety measures that you would have at home, and you know how everything works. That makes it far more difficult for people to take advantage of you. However, some of the more exotic countries in the world are wildly different to our own. Lots of them are also quite unstable politically which can pose a lot of dangers for travelers. One option is to avoid these countries altogether, but that would be a shame because they are some of the most beautiful places on the planet. Places like South America are considered risky places to go, but there are wonderful things to see there. Some parts of Africa have a similar reputation and there are a lot of risks involved in going there. Some people will shy away from those countries, but others are more adventurous than that. If that sounds like you, here are a few tips on staying safe when you’re traveling to dangerous countries.

 

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Secure Your Luggage

Theft is a massive risk in some countries. Tourists that don’t know the place very well are vulnerable and often become targets. You can avoid it to an extent by keeping your wits about you and doing some research on how these people operate. However, the best way to stop yourself getting robbed is to secure your luggage. That means you shouldn’t go for cheap suitcases that are easily broken into, make sure that you get the best luggage available. Having more secure luggage will likely put potential thieves off trying to steal from you because they are looking for easy targets. It also means that if people go into your room looking to steal from your case, they’ll have a hard time.

 

Plan Your Route Carefully

Kidnappings are another common danger in lots of countries. Criminals will take tourists and demand a ransom. If your family and friends haven’t got a clue whereabouts in the country you are, it will be difficult for them to find you. That’s why it’s important to plan your route carefully. You can avoid any of the highest risk areas to reduce the chance of anything happening in the first place. Having a carefully planned route also means that you can give an itinerary to friends and family so that if you do go missing, they’ll have an idea about where you are.

 

How Dangerous Is It?

While these countries are dangerous, you probably get a distorted view from the media. The reality is that usually there are certain areas that are very dangerous, while other parts of the country are fairly safe. By doing a bit of research beforehand, you can find out which parts of the country are very dangerous, and avoid those places.

 

Health Dangers

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Crime isn’t the only danger when you’re traveling to exotic countries. You also expose yourself to all sorts of diseases that you aren’t going to be immunized against. If you don’t do your homework then you could find your holiday being cut short by a serious illness. Go to see your doctor and they will be able to tell you exactly what jabs you’ll need and set up some appointments. You also need to make sure that you have health insurance because if you need to visit a hospital while you’re out there and you don’t have insurance to cover it, you could come back with a massive bill as well as a bag full of souvenirs.

 

Don’t Show Off

Thieves are going to be looking out for the people that have the best stuff to steal. That’s pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people show off what they’ve got on them. Don’t do anything that can give away how much you’re carrying. Don’t carry all of your money with you in one place because if you get it out in public, people will see that pile of cash and you instantly become a target. You should also avoid wearing any expensive clothes or watches that might suggest that you’ve got a lot of money with you.

 

Don’t Drink Too Much

Everybody enjoys a drink or two while they’re on holiday and that’s fine. But if you have too much to drink, you make yourself a target. Criminals are constantly on the lookout for tourists that have had one too many. It makes you far easier to lead away to somewhere that you can be robbed, and you are far less aware of what is going on around you. While it’s ok to have a couple, make sure that you’re always aware of what’s going on.

 

 

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Make a Trip Abroad As Stress-Free As Possible

Posted in travel, travel ideas, travel tips
on August 22, 2017

When you plan a trip abroad, there are lots of different things to think about. As well as accommodation and places to go, you need to think about possibly speaking a foreign language, as well as what you might be eating and how you will travel around once you’re at your destination. So can you best prepare for your trip abroad? If you are going to be in a country where you know very little of the language, then it can feel quite daunting. So if you plan ahead, it will help things to run much more smoothly, especially if you run into an emergency. So here are some tips and tricks to prepare for a trip abroad, so that it makes things easier when you’re there.

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Get Apps That Will Help

In this day and age, there are so many apps that you can get on your smartphone or tablet to help you when you’re abroad. If you need a currency converter, so you can tell what price something is easily, then get a currency converter app. You could also get something like the Google Translate app, where you can record someone’s voice and it will translate it, or you can hold it over a menu, for example, and it will show you what the words are. It really is a nifty little app. So think about what apps you might need and download them before you go away.

 

Plan For Emergencies

In an ideal world, you will never need to use any emergency items. But it really is best to plan for them. So think about taking a small first aid kit with you, as well as things like aloe vera or after sun cream, because you’ll want to stay protected after sun burn. Otherwise, you’ll be in a lot of pain. If you think you’ll need painkillers for headaches, then take a few with you too. You should also think about making a note of the country’s emergency phone number. Would you know what it is and what to do when you’re there?

 

Get Currency Before You Go

If you’re going abroad, then the chances of needing to change money to a new currency are pretty high. But in order to get the best deal, you should think about getting it before you fly. It also makes sense to have some with you when you arrive, as you might need to get a taxi or buy something from a store. So having some cash to hand is always a good idea. It is a good idea to let your bank know that you’re going to be abroad too. If you try to use your card abroad and they don’t know about it, then they will probably stop the transaction. It only takes a couple of minutes to let them know but will save you some hassle when on your travels.

 

What other tips and tricks would you add to the list? What has helped you to have a stress-free trip?

 

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What To See Around The Pest Side of Budapest

 

It’s been several months since I visited Budapest in Hungary but the beauty of that place still lingers in my mind like it was just yesterday.  I have expected most of Europe to be similar in terms of architecture and design but somehow, I have been taken by Budapest’s beauty.

I have seen various old towns and cities of other European countries. Their beauty varies from one another. Budapest in Hungary is like a gem tucked in the Central part of Europe. Budapest has been cited as one of the beautiful cities in the world and a top travel destination by a famous travel magazine.

Budapest is the combination of 2 cities, the Buda and Pest side. These 2 are separated by several bridges and one of that is the famous Chain Bridge.

If you are visiting Budapest anytime soon, take note of these places when you are in the Pest side.

 

Andrassy Avenue

The Andrassy Avenue is touted as the Champs Elysees of Budapest. Museums, theaters and opera house line up along this grand Avenue. You can also visit the House of Terror which shows the horrors of what Hungary had experienced during the 20th century.

 

Danube Promenade / Danube Bank

The Danube river bank serves as the promenade of many locals and tourists alike. Here, you can find the Memorial of the Shoes. These shoes are bronze replicas of the Jews who were executed by the Arrow Crosses. They were made to remove their shoes by the bank before they were shot, and their bodies fell and drifted along the River Danube. It is a very poignant memorial to honor those who have perished during the ugly face of World War II.

 

Vaci Utca

This is a famous shopping area in Budapest. It is lined with shops and eateries with beautiful, ornate facade. You can stroll here and enjoy the atmosphere or just sit back in one of the coffee shops and people watch.

 

Hungarian National Parliament

©Ria C/riatravelbug.com

Nestled in front of the Danube River, the Hungarian National Parliament is a prominent Neo-Gothic architectural structure in the Pest side of Budapest. It is easy to see this place from various trams plying through the area. Tourists can easily walk to the building from the Chain Bridge and traverse the lovely cobble stone street of Pest.

 

St. Stephen’s Basilica

©Ria C/riatravelbug.com

I was very lucky to have stayed near the Istvan Basilica (St. Stephen’s Basilica) during my vacation in Budapest, Hungary last year. The view from my room was the dome of this beautiful Basilica. Regular mass is still being held in the Basilica. You can also tour the inside of the Basilica for free but take note of the timing as it is not open throughout the day. You can also climb up in the bell tower for a fee for a breath-taking view of Budapest.

The basilica is the largest in the city and can hold around 8,000 plus people. It also houses the relic of St. Stephen’s right hand which is also open for the public to view.

© Ria C/riatravelbug.com

 

Széchenyi Baths

This is a huge bath complex in the whole of Europe.  It is relatively cheap to enjoy a good bath in this huge complex that is open until night time.

 

Great Market Hall

This place is located at the end of Szabadsag Bridge. It is also known as the Central Market Hall. It has 3 levels. The market sells a wide variety of goods from the famous paprika spice of Hungary, to the many tasty sausages and salamis, local produce, and other dry goods such as Hungarian embroidery and fabrics, and other arts and crafts. You can also grab some ready to eat food here or sample their local cuisine in the food stalls inside the market.

 

The Chain Bridge

© Ria C/riatravelbug.com

The famous beautiful bridge that spans between the Buda and Pest sides of Budapest across the Danube River is called The Chain Bridge. I managed to cross the bridge on foot to reach the Buda side and the view is spectacular! I highly recommend this to visitors in Budapest. There is a pathway on each side of the bridge for pedestrians and bicycle access as well. And once you reach the middle part, take a good look of the beautiful scene in front of you. You get to see Buda and Pest!

© Ria C/riatravelbug.com

 

The Great Synagogue

This Synagogue is the largest built in the entire of Europe around 1854-1859 in a Moorish style architecture. Next to it is the Jewish Museum which features their tradition, culture, costumes, and history.

 

Vajdahunyad Castle

Vajdahunyad Castle is located inside the city park near the Széchenyi Baths. It was built during 1896 for the Millennial Exhibition in Hungary, and it also houses the Museum of Agriculture.

 

Let me share this brief video I have taken from the Buda Hill and it shows the marvelous vista of Pest.

Panoramic view of Pest from the Buda Hill

 

There are more to see in the Pest side of Budapest that I haven’t included here. If you have been to Budapest, you can share more places of interest by leaving a comment in this post.

I hope you will consider these places of interest when you plan your vacation to Budapest.

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