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Travel Wisdom

A Couple More Tips for Traveling Solo

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Traveling solo can be a wonderful decision that will allow a traveller to really learn a lot about themselves and a new travel location. Going to a place on one’s own means that the experience will be authentically theirs and that they will not have to take a back seat to anyone else’s ideas of what the trip can or will be. Of course with this opportunity for personalized fun comes the additional burden of watching out for ones own safety and generating a good time for themselves. A couple tips that a solo traveler might heed, include.

72_518534655811_3946_nConnecting with other Travellers

One of the great joys of being a solo traveler is spontaneously connecting to other travelers. On your own, you will find that you have new reserves of confidence and ability to start speaking to people you don’t know. Being outside of one’s usual routines and comfort zones has the effect of making them much more apt to speak to others in order to find someone to share their experience of a new place with. If you really are shy to meet strangers you can consider looking into some websites that help facilitating meeting people while traveling. A few good suggestions include meetup.com – which creates a variety of different meet ups for travelers and non travellers in cities – and couch surfing – which beyond its accommodation function also has meet up groups – and tripspotting.com – which even matches travelers by personality and interest compatibility.

Challenge Yourself to do New Things

While you are having this experience on your own, it is the perfect chance to try some new things. Being away from friends and family, who probably have a very definite image of who you are, provides the chance to act in ways you usually don’t. Also, it is the perfect chance to try to take in new activities that perhaps at other times you would think that you wouldn’t enjoy.  A trip on your own is the ideal time to push your conception of who you believe yourself to be.

Take Time for Yourself

Rather than constantly trying to meet other people who are travelling alone (which of course is a worthwhile pursuit too) it is also a great time to do things alone. Seeing different sites by oneself can be great as it provides an opportunity to take them in at your own pace without being rushed. If you tire of walking around a city being on your own gives you the perfect opportunity to also retreat to the park with a book or head to the spa or just head back to your room to rest. You are the boss.

Travel Wisdom

5 of the Best Places to have a White Christmas

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Nearly everyone dreams of a white Christmas! For those who live in the tropical or arid parts of our world, a white Christmas is often something yearned for with great longing. Visions of powdery white snow, real Christmas trees, warm glowing fires and streets and markets festooned with twinkling lights and decorations can seem like a true Christmas wonderland.

Napapiiri, Lapland

If you have ever had a white Christmas fantasy, Lapland is the place to go. With two theme parks dedicated to St Nicholas, families travel from all over Europe and the world to visit the Santa Claus Village and the Santa Claus Park and to view the remarkable ice sculptures. You can wander around the quaint shops and experience Christmas tradition and yuletide like nowhere else. Fringed by the Arctic Circle and surrounded by scenic snowy backdrops with a hint of the northern lights, this is a true white Christmas experience.

Lake Placid, New York, USA

Surrounded by the Adirondack Mountains, here you will definitely see twinkling snowflakes falling from above. Having the honour of hosting two Winter Olympics, you can try your skill at many winter sports activities. You can also see the bob sled and luge where Olympians raced at terrifying speeds through these courses. There are many restaurants, bars and shops all decked out for Christmas to browse through.

Caribou, Maine, USA

This spectacularly beautiful rural area is filled with flowers of all colours and the greenest pastures in the spring. In winter, snowfields will stretch for miles, coating the entire town in a soft blanket of powdery snow. Christmas is a vibrant time with the Caribou Snowman Parade, Christmas tree lighting and Santa’s workshop. This is a popular destination for lovers of snow sports.

Rovaniemi, Finland

If you want to immerse yourself in Christmas spirit, make sure you visit Santa Claus Village. There is always plenty of snow in this winter wonderland. Here you can sample gingerbread at Mrs Claus’ kitchen or see how the elves are trained at Elf School. You can also take a sleigh ride around the charming shops.

Fairbanks, Alaska

With temperatures plummeting to minus 14, Fairbanks can lay claim to having snow on the ground every Christmas for the past 30 years. With the average daily temperature rising to only 4 degrees, that won’t deter Christmas revellers from joining in the activities and listening to the wonderful Symphony orchestras that will charm you throughout the Christmas holidays. Join a tour to North Pole, a short 20 minute drive away, and see the Christmas In Ice sculptures. Here local and international sculptors create amazing ice slides, a maze and a kid’s park. Try you skills at Mt Aurora Skiland where you might be lucky enough to see the spectacular Aurora Borealis.

A white Christmas can be a truly memorable experience. Have a look at this site for some ideas on where to spend Christmas. Trampling through white snow that transforms a landscape into a winter wonderland will be an amazing experience. Standing beneath large snowflakes as they fall from above and wandering leisurely through Christmas themed twinkling markets is something that will leave you in awe.

Kim Blair

Places to Go

The Illustrious Museums of New York

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Escape the rush of the swarming New York streets with an awestruck afternoon in one of the city’s cultural hotspots. Whether you prefer to contemplate a boisterous Kandinsky, marvel at the sweeping curve of a woolly mammoth’s tusk or ponder the glory of being launched into space, these tourist attractions are anything but stuffy. Here are four unmissable New York museums to squeeze into your Big Apple itinerary…

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

The American spirit of bold venture burns bright in this indelible collection of the 20th century’s pioneering technology. Established in 1982 with the colossal World War II aircraft carrier Intrepid forming its foundation, the USS Intrepid museum also houses the first NASA Orbiter Enterprise, a strategic missile submarine, Growler, and a BA Concorde, which sits as though ready to take off from its permanent home at Pier 86. This will be a thrilling port of call for aspiring astronauts and adventurers.

Ellis Island Immigration Museum

The Statue of Liberty has become cultural shorthand for the city of New York, but many still don’t know her story. Part of the world-famous national monument, this museum is located in Ellis Island’s former immigration hub, one of the first buildings immigrants would see on their arrival to the country from 1892 to 1954. The immersive experience will delight historians and genealogists with its tales of hope and heartache, and will be especially poignant for anyone whose ancestors made the journey themselves.

American Museum of Natural History

A gigantic T-Rex with a four foot long jawbone, a preserved Dodo skeleton, a rainbow butterfly vivarium, and a gigantic 94 foot blue whale make up just a few of the wonders on exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in Central Park West. Those overwhelmed by the choices can take a guided tour, whether they fancy learning about dinosaurs, Theodore Roosevelt or Space. Disclaimer: the exhibits do not come alive at night, but the museum has made concession to popular culture with their own Night at the Museum tour.

Guggenheim Museum

Whether you think it looks like a stack of plant pots or not, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim will bewitch anyone with more than a fleeting interest in art, and could well convert the novice. With works ranging from Impressionism to present day, the unusual building boasts a roll call that includes Chagall, Picasso and Christopher Wool housed within its beguiling circular structure.


Images by William Warby, Jean-Baptiste Bellet and ricoeurian, used under Creative Common license.

Travel Wisdom

Benefits to Staying in the Top Hotels of Sydney

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Even though I’m rather partial to Melbourne, there is no denying the allure of Australia’s most populous and iconic city – Sydney. From the moment you fly into this New South Wales metropolis, (which is highly likely if you’re coming from overseas as it is a major hub) you will be hit with that famous Australian hospitality and the incredible sights that make this city one of a kind.

It’s no surprise then that Sydney is home to some fantastic hotels all vying for your patronage while you’re on holiday. Of course, hotels of this calibre come at a premium, particularly if you’re accustomed to staying in hostels or guest houses when you travel. From the Westin Sydney right in the central business district to the Four Seasons on the harbour front with those million dollar views, you’re in for something special if you choose to stay in five stay style in a five star city.

Here are some of the reasons to upgrade your trip by staying at some of the top hotels in Sydney, which might be more affordable than you think!

5207_782557262391_156898_nViews and Location

There’s more to a hotel than just a place to rest your head and some privacy – you want to be in the heart of the action, not stuck out in the boonies. For anyone who wants to wake up and see the Harbour Bridge or Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Marriott or previously mentioned Four Seasons Sydney will give you that great view you’ll never want to leave. Both aren’t far from the downtown area either, making them perfect for checking out the shops or feeling the pulse of the city. Plus, because you are so close to everything there isn’t any need to hire a car to tour around – you are ideally situated to walk the streets or hop aboard one of the many harbour cruises that really open up Sydney and make it stand out.

Comfort

You want to be relaxed while on vacation, enjoying a good night’s sleep and being completely at peace when you’re in your room and you can have that in these hotels. Check out Sir Stamford at Circular Quay or the Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney to experience true luxury and comfort as you rest up for seeing all the city has to offer.

Amenities 

If you’re used to hostels or bare bones accommodations, the thought of the little perks that make a good hotels a fantastic hotel might be foreign to you. Things like walk in showers, balconies, fitness centres and indoor pools are at your fingertips at places like the Park Hyatt and the Darling Hotel, which will make you wonder why you ever paid for a storage locker or went without hot water for a week before.

 

Author Bio: Gael is known for trying to find the alternative to traditional travel, but there are times when staying in style is exactly what he needs. Travelbag offers great incentives to see the city from a top notch hotel, which will be a welcome change from the dingy hostel he stayed in the last time he was in Sydney…

This article has been sponsored by Travelbag

Travel Wisdom

More Tips for Traveling on Your Own

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If you have decided to travel on your own, you will have a great chance to learn more about yourself while seeing a new place. Being on your own as you travel means that you will be able to completely tailor the experience to how you want it and you will not need to compromise in terms of the things that you want to do. With that said however, there are some practicalities that you will need to take into account to assure your safety and that you have the best time that you can. A little planning and thinking ahead can go a long way while traveling on your own.

Pack Wisely

Traveling on your own means that there is not anyone else there to combine luggage with so you will have to pack wisely. Remember that in general less is more and that you should not pack things that you cannot afford to lose. One of the classic missing items nightmares for solo travelers is lost travel documents and ID’s. A good idea to proactively work against this is to make copies of your documents in case of emergency this will greatly increase the pace that they can be replaced. Also, as a last note, be sure to pack your camera. On your own taking pictures will help you remember the experience and can also act as a conversation starter with strangers.

113_558805981751_841_nUse your instincts

Traveling on your own doesn’t mean you should allow anxiety and fear of strangers to paralyze you, but it does mean that you should follow your instincts if people, situations, and places you are in don’t feel right. If you do end up in these situations, try to gracefully slip away without alerting those around you to your concern. There are a number of tactful excuses that could be used, perhaps the best is that you are meeting a friend and have to leave. In order to avoid anxiety it is a good idea as well to avoid using ATM machines at night and in poorly populated areas. Also booking your accommodation in advance will help alleviate lingering anxiety and ensure that you have a safe haven to retreat to at night. Look to only book well reviewed hostels and hotels that are in areas of town that are heavily populated.