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Travel Wisdom

Tips for Traveling on your Own

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Traveling on one’s own can be a great opportunity to push ones boundaries and enjoy significant personal insight and growth. Seeing the world under your own steam and doing it your way is an experience that can not be downplayed. Still, what usually scares people away from the experience is the fear of both real threats and perceived threats to their personal safety while traveling. Below we are going to discuss a few considerations to get the most out of your solo travel while staying safe.

Put some thought into your destination

The foolish traveler just goes somewhere with out knowing anything about the place. Sure, for some reason that you can’t even discern you have always wanted to go to Morocco. So with that sense fueling you its now time to learn more about Morocco and the realities you will face if you visit there. Some basic questions you need to consider before going somewhere – especially on your own – include: what are the language restrictions, how much does accommodation cost and are their options for solo travelers, are there any safety concerns? Think of the possibilities of ways to have fun and avoid misfortune before you leave as to make sure you have the best time that you can.

Connect to the place and other travellers

With the marvel of the internet there is a great opportunity to meet people and do things in foreign countries at an unprecedented level. Consider looking into web sites like meetup.com or couch surfing to be able to find groups of people abroad looking to connect. Beyond the opportunities that cyber space provides perhaps it could be fun to take a language or cooking class while abroad. The possibility is also there for you as a solo traveler to sign up for different tours as well which will both connect you to the place you’re visiting.

Stay connected

Staying connected with your friends and family is a good idea while traveling alone. Using social media to at least keep a few close people in the loop will give you a safety net in case anything was to happen to you. If you travel somewhere and just fall off the grid completely, as some solo travelers do, no one will know if there is a real issue to your safety going on. Not to mention using your social media links, and the networks of your friends, can potentially put you in touch with people to meet in the destination you are going to.

Places to Go

Highlights of our holiday in Turkey

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There’s just something about Turkey that captivates from the moment you step foot off the plane. I think it’s the mix of ancient and modern, east and west, touristy and authentically local. Add the glorious summer sunshine, gorgeous sandy beaches and fantastic shopping into the mix and, for us at least, you’ve got the perfect holiday destination.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/annabelfarleyphotography/5351207019

 

We booked a twin centre trip to Turkey, so we could fit in the attractions on the Turquoise coast and the country’s largest city, Istanbul. But, you could opt to do it in two separate trips, even taking a weekend break to Istanbul, which has seen a surge of interest after appearing as one of the locations in the latest James Bond movie Skyfall. To get to this beautiful destination you can apply for Turkey e visa online

Here are just some of the highlights of our trip.

Turtles at dawn

It had been on my bucket list for quite some time and, in Turkey, I finally got the chance to see baby turtles hatching and flip-flopping their way down to the ocean. We arrived at dawn, with our local guide, at Izutuzu Beach, better known as Turtle Beach, with the sun just nudging its way over the horizon.

We didn’t have too long to wait before we spotted dozens of tiny loggerhead turtles breaking free from their sandy nest and heading to the sea, leaving distinctive track marks that look like mini tractors have driven along the beach. We came back later in the day too to visit the turtle sanctuary here, where volunteers look after injured turtles, or those who just haven’t made it to the safety of the ocean before day break, releasing them later under the cover of darkness.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jrdamare/2810550473

 

Bartering in the bazaars

No trip to Istanbul should be without a visit to its bustling Grand Bazaar. It was here that Daniel Craig, as Bond, was shown chasing his nemesis across the rooftops on a motorbike. Under the roof, it’s bewildering in its size, with some 5,000 shops. It is split into different sections depending on what the stallholders are selling though, which makes it easier to find your way round. The traders ply you with apple tea and Turkish delight if you stop, trying to persuade you to buy their wares. The carpets look stunning, but are a bit big to take back in our hand luggage, so we buy silver jewellery and leather bags, haggling a third off the asking price.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/global-jet/3657996834

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/simononly/8593994968

 

Princes Islands

While Istanbul’s busy streets and vibrant atmosphere can get overwhelming, a visit to the Princes Islands – so far fairly undiscovered by tourists – feels like stepping back in time. Here, there are no cars allowed, which is a relief after the traffic mayhem of the city, and transport is by bicycle or horse-drawn carriage. There are nine islands in total, serviced by ferries from the Istanbul docks, but our favourite is Heybeli where we bought picnic provisions from the delicatessens before swimming in clear waters from tiny beaches.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oligator83/9636808379

 

Dancing the night away

It’s attracted all the biggest celebrities in the world since opening more than three decades ago. So we decided what’s good enough for Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Michael Caine and Princess Margaret would be good for us to. We spent hours dancing under the stars at Halikarnas, looking down on the twinkly lights and castle of Bodrum.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jofleet/4705955947

 

Olu Deniz beach

It’s one of the most photographed beaches in the world, featuring on the front of all the travel brochures, so we couldn’t resist a trip to Olu Deniz’s beautiful lagoon. And, it was just as striking in real life as in the images. With turquoise waters, it is sheltered from the ocean waves, making it ideal for those travelling with children. The beach is a mix of sand and shingle, but we slipped our surf shoes on to protect our feet and spent hours snorkelling among shoals of tiny fish before drying off in the sun.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wneuheisel/7023377615

 

But, even having done all that, we still feel we’ve only scratched the surface of what Turkey has to offer, so toasting our holiday with Raki – the local firewater, which is mixed with water and ice – we vow to return soon.

Katie is a newbie travel blogger from the UK. She visited Turkey earlier this year with her family. You can follow Katie on twitter.

Places to Go

Neighborhoods of St Petersburg

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A planned city if there ever was one, the neighborhoods of St Petersburg offer visitors a lot of range in terms of the experience they will have there. A few of the most prominent neighborhoods of St Petersburg include:

Palace Square

Standing right in the heart of St Petersburg is palace square, the city’s main square and home to the baroque style Winter Palace. The winter palace is now housing the Hermitage Museum, which is one of the oldest and largest collections of art in the world. Trips to St Petersburg will definitely include much time here.

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Nevsky Prospekt

To the south of Palace Square is Nevsky Prospekt, which is St Petersburg’s main street. Filled with a variety of the city’s best sites such as Kuznechii Pereulok outdoor market and the Alexander Nevsky Monastery – the latter built by Peter the Great to shelter a number of priceless relics of the city. The Moscow Rail Station is located here as well. Being the city’s main commercial street there are many shops, restaurants, and cafes too.

North of Nevsky

Much of St Petersburg is oriented by your position as it relates to Nevsky Prospekt. North of this main street you will find many great bars, cafes and restaurants. Of a cultural note you can also find the fantastic Russian Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of Russian art and artifacts. Located in this neighborhood is the Tauride Palace and gardens; a location where you can find many reasonable priced hotels.

South of Nevsky

South of Nevsky is a little lower key than the north featuring a closer glimpse at the city’s waterfront. Many a writer and artistic type have wandered down along the canals and become engrossed in the beauty of the city. There are plenty of chances for romantic strolls around here as well as the chance to see great exhibits such as the St Petersburg’s Conservatory and the opulent St Issac’s Cathedral.

Vasilievsky and New Holland Island

Previously a more remote section of the city Vasilievsky Island has transformed into an up and coming restaurant and hotel district. This island is also home to St Peterburg’s State University. Providing a different vibe is New Holland Island that houses a variety of warehouses and military buildings. Many of the warehouses in modern times have been transformed into clubs for party goers.

Places to Go

Highlights of Holidaying in Australia

 

Australia is one of those places you really can’t help but want to visit; whether it’s the unique wildlife, incredible weather or general laid back attitude of the locals, you will be forgiven if you never want to leave! It’s easy to see why sightseeing on holiday in Australia can be a somewhat daunting task – where do you start?

Here are a few pointers on things to see in Australia – just keep in mind, Australia is a massive country that cannot be driven in a short period of time. Consider making a road trip part of your trip, but if you’re on a tight schedule, be sure to look into flights to see all that it has to offer.

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Fraser Island

Known as the Sunshine State, Queensland is the northeast state home to the Great Barrier Reef; various rainforests like the Daintree; the world’s largest sand island – Fraser Island and so many more things in this massive area. Brisbane is the largest city and most things are centered around it, but Cairns is the gateway to the reef and it lies almost 2000km north of Brisbane – so you might want to look into flights! Don’t forget to apply for Australia visa before you make a travel

New South Wales

Aside from Sydney and all the great things in Sydney, from the Harbour Bridge the Opera House, there are the Blue Mountains to hike and explore and a vibrant wine country to sample.

Victoria 

On the southern tip of the mainland is the small state home to Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road and many places to see tiny penguins running up the beach at dusk. Many people spend all their time in Melbourne and the surrounding area, but be sure to get out and see the rest of the state!

Northern Territory

Perched on the top of Australia is the Northern Territory, home to Uluru and the vast Australian Outback. It is here that you can run into wild camels (just try not to do it alone – they are dangerous) and some of the most unforgiving terrain in the world. Any star gazers out there? Due to its remoteness, the outback affords tremendous opportunities to see stars like you wouldn’t believe, but with the fast moving weather, it can often be unpredictable.

Tasmania

Without a doubt, the best part of the entire country is the part most people completely forget about – and maybe that’s why it is so amazing. Not suffering from the hyper tourism of the mainland and still unbelievably rugged, Tasmania is a vacation unto itself. Check out Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park, watch the little penguins run up the beach (for free), hike Cradle Mountain and see the incredible wildlife – especially the Tasmanian Devil.