Backpacking

10 Safest Destinations for Solo Female Travelers

Solo travelling is a symbol of freedom that leads to a fascinating experience.

You can follow your own schedule, choose your favourite destination and shorten or prolong the trip according to your desire. There is no need to consult anybody. But it’s considered that women travelling alone face dangers and risky situations.

This world is full of peaceful places offering extreme serenity and enchanting beauty.

Here is the list of top 10 beautiful places, which are the safest destinations for solo female travelers in my opinion.

 

1) Iceland

Did you know that Iceland is ranked as 2017’s number one peaceful country by the Global Peace Index? Well, now you know. This state has a higher rate of gender equality that means solo female travellers will be totally secured in this land. But this is not the only reason to visit Iceland alone. The city of Reykjavik is the biggest attraction for tourists for being the central point of Icelandic culture. Moreover, the Blue Lagoon Spa is one persuasive reason to visit Iceland.

 

2) Italy 

Italy is a model of the glorious Roman Empire. This country of ancient culture offers marvellous sightseeing such as the Colosseum and Roman Forum. The solo female travelers can explore this country while eating delicious pizzas and drinking filtered water from artistic fountains. The Italian people are also quite friendly and helpful.

 

3) Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a small welcoming country full of warm-hearted people. It is a perfect place for adventurous solo female travellers. From diverse wildlife to beaches and rainforests, this place offers a wide area to explore nature. Whether you want to spend a quiet vacation or attempt thrilling activities such as surfing, Costa Rica is just perfect for solo female travellers.

 

4) Bali 

Bali is a gorgeous island in Indonesia and a top most priority of tourists. This calm place has serene beaches, inexpensive accommodation and food and old temples exhibiting the pure Balinese culture. This place is quite safe for solo female travelers as it’s an epicentre of Indonesian tourism and government takes effective precautions to keep it clean of violence.

 

5) Seychelles

Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands and situated in the Indian Ocean. Although it’s a perfect honeymoon spot but solo female travellers can visit this country to witness the glittery sand of beaches and beautiful species of turtle and tortoise. Having no ground connections makes this country a safe place.

 

6) Scandinavia 

The countries of Scandinavia are full of beautiful spots and attractive architecture. Denmark and Norway have been listed as the top two happiest countries in the world. Moreover, in 2016 Denmark was ranked as the most peaceful country. Solo female travellers can plan trips to one of the Scandinavian countries in order to enjoy the safest journey.

 

7) New Zealand

New Zealand is a country of beautiful landscapes. From crystal glaciers to sunny beaches, this country offers irresistible sightseeing. Adventurous women can come to this place and get engaged in exciting skydiving and hiking. Moreover, the local language is English therefore solo female travelers can communicate with friendly people easily and feel at home.

 

8) Amsterdam, Netherlands

Let’s go to the Venice of the north. Amsterdam is a welcoming city of attractive architecture, cultural museums and beautiful canals. It’s the best place for solo female travellers who are looking for music and parties. This friendly city will indulge the women travelling alone in its Dutch culture and history.

 

9) Switzerland

Switzerland is a heaven on the Earth. It’s a seductive place offering an opportunity for sublime traveling experiences. The Lake Geneva and Aletsch Glacier are the top peaceful places solo female travellers must visit to enjoy the heights of relaxation. Moreover, Switzerland is the fifth peaceful country according to the ranking done by the Global Peace Index.

 

10) Melbourne, Australia 

From melodious music to delicious food and aesthetic culture, the dazzling city of Melbourne offers an unforgettable traveling experience. Besides sightseeing, shopping and catchy architecture, this city also provides safety to residents as well as tourists. In the glittery lights of Melbourne solo, female travellers can even walk alone at night with no threats. Moreover, the local language is English, therefore, women can get quick help by communicating easily.

 

Well, now you have the list of safest destinations so what are you waiting for?

Begin your solo journey today and visit each one of these places to experience endless pleasure.

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10 Tips to Survive Your Next Long Distance Flight

While short distance flights can sometimes seems like really elaborate bus journeys. Long distance flights can quite easily seem like a big burden that needs to be overcome.

But, as they say, the journey is the destination, and as long as no one invents a faster way to get from one corner of the globe to the other, long distance flights are the best way we have to get around (and frankly, I'd take a 35 hour plane journey over 3 months on a ship any day).

 

So how do you survive a long haul flight? Here are my 10 tips!

1. Get comfortable

Be forewarned, after about 8 hours, everything ceases to be comfortable (except maybe a First Class seat but I can't speak from experience here). But, there are huge differences between comfort even in a crammed Economy cabin.

Try to wear something comfortable that you can picture yourself eating and sleeping in for extended periods of time. Since the temperature on planes can vary widely depending on where you're sitting and how tired you are, bring something warm to wear.

Before your flight, think about what your ideal sleeping position might be, thinking back to any time you might have spent sleeping on a bus or train. Once you've figured that out, bring whatever you need to sit in that position for 8-14 hours. These things may or may not include a neck pillow (I'd suggest one that can be blown up so you don't have to carry it around forever), a regular pillow, or, my favourite, a cheap fleece blanket in a pillow case. Some other handy items to have to increase the likelihood of a good sleep are noise-canceling headphones, ear-plugs and a comfortable eye-mask.

 

2. Don't expect to be doing important work on the plane

Some people can work during a flight. But I am certainly not one of them. However, if you can work well on a plane, try to do all the work that might be due right after your flight, before you board the plane anyway. The flight might be long but with the people around you and the constant noise, it's certainly not the perfect place to get that important presentation or paper out of the way.

 

3. Watch all the movies

Long haul flights are, however, the perfect place to catch up on all those movies and TV shows you've missed over the last couple of months. So bring your good headphones, or use the airline's headphones, and start watching all the movies that you've missed.

 

4. Bring plenty of reading material

If you have exhausted all the movie options, you might as well start reading. I have found a Kindle (or other e-reader) to be particularly useful on flights because you can switch between books depending on how well you can concentrate. I might be the only one, but as soon as I board a plane my focus is that of a four-year-old and I can never concentrate on anything for very long. So make sure you have some light reading with you, as well as the next great American novel or complicated 19th-century novel.

 

5. Stay hydrated

I'm going to use the comparison I've read in an article by Independent Traveler here and say: a long haul flight is like lying in the sun for 14 hours. That's exactly true, you might not feel like you need to drink anything but remember, you need to drink as much on a 24 hour journey, as you would normally in one and a half days. Since the air con is doing its best to dry out your skin and your body, you will actually have to drink more.

Most airlines now pass through the aisles every hour or so and offer drinks. But even in between and during "night"-time, you can go to the little kitchen areas and get a glass of water or juice. Whenever they do pass through with their trolleys, you can just ask for two drinks (e.g. water and juice) to make sure you really are getting the necessary fluids. I usually pack a small water bottle and have that refilled on the plane because then it's easier to keep track of how much you actually did drink.

 

6. Pack Snacks

I have to confess, I hate plane food. Now, I have had really good meals on planes (thank you Emirates and British Airways who have both not paid me for saying this) but I have also had really terrible experiences. So if you aren't sure how the food on your next long distance flight will be, pack a banana, biscuits or a couple of muesli bars just in case.

A different approach would be to book a meal ahead of time. Especially if you follow a special diet. All the airlines I ever travelled with offered vegetarian, vegan, raw, gluten-free and plenty of other meal options. You can book a specific meal up to 24 hours before your flight.

 

7. Find the right place to sit

Airlines make it increasingly difficult to choose your own seat because most have discovered that people will pay good money for a seat in an exit row. However, the additional comfort might just be worth the price. Before offering to pay anything though, check when you book your flight whether you can choose a seat then and there. If that's not possible and if you don't have the money to book a seat, check in online before your flight. That way, you get to choose a seat ahead of the people who check in at the airport.

A great site for checking out the seating arrangements and noise levels of planes is seatguru. You can look up your specific flight and seatguru will tell you where it's most quiet and where you have the largest amount of leg-room.

 

8. Avoid the dreaded Airplane cold

A crowded plane is the perfect place to catch a cold. You're sleep deprived, possibly anxious and sitting in a big metal cage with at least a handful of people who currently have a cold. Together with the air con that's drying out your nose and mouth, they impede on your body's ability to fight off bacteria and viruses. 

But there are a few ways to stave off an airplane cold:

  • Bring a packet (or two, depending on how how much of a hypochondriac you are) of disinfectant wipes and clean your seat area (table, arm rests, etc.) when you start your flight. It's also a good idea to have those at the ready when you come back from the bathrooms.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • And, if you know you react with sore throats or a cold when you spend too much time in air conditioned places, I'd also suggest salt water nasal spray.

I sound like a complete granny here, but I find nothing more annoying than starting a holiday off with a cold.

 

9. Bring a change of clothes

This might sound weird, and again, I'm being a bit of a granny here, but wearing something else when you step off the plane after 14 hours will do a great deal to help you feel more awake and like yourself. I know that there are people who can board a flight in Germany and step of it in Australia in the same piece of clothing and feel delightful. But I ask you: How many 35 hour periods do you spend in the same pair of underwear? Exactly!

In my experience, changing my underwear and T-Shirt does a lot to help me feel less disgusting after a long flight. After all, you've been sleeping in your clothes, running through airports with them (possibly in wildly different climates), and even on the plane you go from feeling really cold to really hot.

 

10. Keep moving

Anyone who's ever watched the little exercise videos on long-haul flights will know that walking around and moving your feet is very important. But by the time you hit the sixth hour of your flight, you'll be happy to get up and move around in any case. Walking up and down the aisles and especially walking around in front of the bathrooms (the A380 offers a lot of space in that area) always saved my life. And if you're thinking now that you don't want to make a fool of yourself doing squats and getting up on your toes in front of the bathrooms in the middle of a crowded flight, believe me, everyone else is doing the same. It's a long flight and no-one can sit for that long.

 

So how about you? What do you do on long flights? Can you sleep well or are you the pacing up and down type?

 

Travel tip shared by Travel Read Explore
travelreadexplore.com

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How To Get Into Travel Mode

What stops people from travelling? 

Don’t worry, I’ve heard all the excuses: too many responsibilities, too much work, not enough money, fear of flying, etc.
 
Well, I’m here to put your mind at ease -- because all of the things above are easily rectified, fixed, patched up, or totally avoided. Why? Because travelling is that easy, and none of these fears are legitimately real, and here’s why.
 
There’s always going to be something to do at work. There is always going to be a project at home that needs your attention. There’s always going to be not enough money, and yes, even people who fly often never really get over their fear of it. It’s just life.
 
But here’s the thing: I’m all for not letting any of these things stop you from packing your bag, charting a new course, and not giving a flying rat’s bottom that all of these things should stop you. And it’s not irresponsible, it’s self care.
 
So if you’re ready to make the leap and are looking for the keys to success, check out my tips for getting your mind set on travel mode. Because I know you’d much rather spend your days exploring a new place than being tied down at home.
 

How to get into travel mode

Get out of your own head

A fear of flying is about being too much in your own head. Sure, it’s totally uncomfortable, especially for cross continental, long hour flights. And yes, you are being transported miles and miles and miles above the ground by a metal bird with a couple of car engines. These same facts do not escape me when I travel, I just know that the outcome is totally worth the risks (especially since you’re 70 times more likely to die in a car accident than in a plane).
 
But here’s a little secret: if you’re brave enough to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger at a bar, you’re brave enough to forget your anxious fears about flying, or being lost, or getting caught in a rainstorm in a foreign city, and do everything you want to in spite of it all. And if you’re not brave enough to start gabbing, here’s some tips to get over it. That way, you’re equipped to getting out of your own head and out into the world instead.
 

Combat homesickness before you leave

Homesickness is inevitable when you’re travelling abroad; it may happen before you’ve even reached your new destination, or it may pop up after you’ve been somewhere for a while. Don’t worry, it’s completely 100% normal, and there are easy ways to stop everything from taking over from inside your head before you even leave.
 
The first thing I do is ask my friends and family to write me letters before I leave; I pack these notes in my bag and every once in awhile when I’m feeling low, I’ll crack open a new one and get to reading. Not only does this save everyone a stamp, but it also means you don’t have to stay in one place forever, or you never miss a letter. And best part: they’re always at your fingertips whether you plan on bingeing or taking one a day at a time.
 

Arm yourself with good reinforcement

Whenever I get a little down about how things aren’t going my way while I’m on the road (line for a castle was too long, the finances are dwindling, the weather is really poor), I always keep a backup plan for trying to get out of tight situations. And while I have specific solutions for each different problem (I suggest always knowing where your embassy is, buying travel insurance, and having at least one “business-like” outfit with you wherever you go just in case), there’s a pretty good cure-all that works like a charm: positive reinforcement.
 
When I get lost, I panic just like anyone else; it’s totally natural to be anxious when you don’t know where you are. It’s just everyday life. But the thing I always go back to when I get lost is all the other tight situations I successfully got myself out of. Sure, I have no idea which tram I’m on in Budapest at the moment, but I remember that time I found my way out of the medina in Marrakesh and I immediately feel better about my abilities to get myself out of the next sticky situation.
 

Set up a payment plan

For those who say they don’t have enough money, I’ve got a payment plan for you. Take $20 out of your bank account. Yes, right now. Put it in a jar in your room. Don’t spend it, don’t even look at it. Totally forget that it’s there. Next week, rinse and repeat. At the end of a year, that $20 is going to be more than $1000 and there’s plenty of spots around the world that you can travel to with that kind of cash.
 
The key to creating a good payment plan or travel jar if you will, is making a list of the things you want to see, the things to want to do, and the moments that are going to be most crucial for a great vacation. Those are the priorities and the way to build a better budget. I like to backpack and couchsurf but I also like to take a carry on and stay in a luxurious Airbnb every once in awhile, and as long as I know what my budget needs to be on the front end, it’s easy to keep things straight.
 
There are always going to be things that need more money. Don’t sacrifice your travel jar for the new iPhone! Go a little longer with your old car, or better yet, take your bike to the store! Just do whatever you have to do to save a little bit here and there and before you know it you’ll be on your way to somewhere divine.
 

Be fearless

This takes some practice, I won’t lie. But it’s something you build on everyday. Try a new restaurant for lunch, read a new author you’ve never heard of. Take the plunge and buy that old stack of records and spend all weekend falling in love with a new sound. The key here is to acquaint yourself with new experiences, and after a while, you’ll just gravitate naturally to things that are new, like traveling to the ends of the earth in search of a new adventure.
 
 
When the going gets rough on your way to a travel brain, just remember these words: “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” If you need to, mark them up on the walls and remember that it’s one step at a time that we take our greatest journeys.
 
Bon voyage!
 
 
Travel tip shared by claire_traveltio
traveltio.com

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Finland: The Essential Guide to Exploring In and Around Hossa National Park in 7 Days

Have you experienced the incredible Hossa National Park?

Have you hiked the freshly groomed paths of the woods? Have you foraged for berries and mushrooms in the meadows? Or camped out under the stars?

If you’re looking for that ultimate Finland experience, you’re absolutely going to find it in the Suomussalmi municipality in Northern Finland. In less than an hours flight from Helsinki to Kajaani, you’ll be well on route to your perfect Finland experience.

From Kajaani Airport, you’ll have the opportunity to rent a car and drive 300 kilometers north passing by countless picture perfect lakes and families of deer crossing the road.

The best part about it… the journey has just begun.

Before we dig into our guide highlighting 7 incredible days in and around the Hossa National Park, you might be keen to get a little bit of a background information first.

 

History of Hossa National Park

While Hossa National Park was founded this year, in June of 2017, the hiking trails have actually been around since 1979. The opening of the newest national park in Finland also marked the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence.

There are approximately 130 lakes around Hossa National Park and a total of 100 kilometers of marked hiking trails. Hossa National Park offers 60 kilometers of water routes and 60 kilometers of maintained ski trails across 90 square kilometers of protected land. The history of the Hossa area dates back over 8,000 years. Travelers have found a 7,000-year-old clay pot and 4,000-year-old rock paintings (along with many other small artifacts) to prove that life did exist thousands of years ago in the Hossa area.

More recently, Hossa was voted the outdoor destination of the year in 2011 for aquatic tourism, and again in 2014 as the best nature destination of the summer. Regardless of what you’re looking for in your visit, whether that be relaxation, luxury or wild adventure, you’ll find it at Hossa National Park.

I had the pleasure of spending a full week in and around Hossa National Park, relaxing in the saunas, indulging in the luxurious cabin amenities and adventuring overnight deep into the woods of Hossa National Park. It’s now my turn to share with you an essential guide to exploring in and around Hossa National Park in 7 days.

Don’t forget, depending on when you’re hoping to visit Hossa National Park, the summer months in Northern Finland will be sunny and the winter months will be quite dark. Make sure you’re creating your itinerary around the hours of daylight/moonlight and the changing weather.

 

Day 1: Fly into Kajaani Airport

12:00 PM: Arrive at Kajaani Airport and grab a rental car

While you might be able to hop on a tourist bus and travel to your resort in many cities and towns around the world, Hossa is unique. You can try to catch a bus, but you’re only going to get as far as the border of the town before you’ll need to grab a car to start exploring the wild. To make it easy, grab a rental car from the Kajaani Airport and start your road trip with some good tunes and great friends.

1:30 PM: Make a stop for lunch in Suomussalmi and meet the Silent People

Don’t worry, you will certainly won’t miss the 1,000 Silent People scattered through a field along the main road in Suomussalmi. No one really knows what the Silent People are supposed to represent, the artist has left that up to the visitors to interpret. If you’re making the stop in the summertime, you will have to try out the incredible pancake lunch cooked over a wood burning stove at The Field Café.

3:00 PM: Meet up with Hossa Travel at Kovavaara Wilderness Lodge

Kovavaara Wilderness Lodge is a beautiful rustic lodge, but it’s not available to everyone. It can be booked through Hossa Travel, you’ll just need to give the owner Tarmo a shout and he’ll be the first one to help plan your perfect itinerary out in the wilderness. Once you’ve arrived at Kovavaara Wilderness Lodge, the team at Hossa Travel will give you a tour around the property, introduce you to some Finnish favorites and get you set up for an evening of relaxation.  

4:00 PM: Enjoy an afternoon sauna experience

Kovavaara Wilderness Lodge is an escape from the world of fast pace life and electronics. Take an evening to wind down and experience the Finnish sauna before dinner. While many saunas nowadays are powered by diesel or electricity, Kovavaara has a traditional wood burning sauna which makes it a truly unique experience.

If you’re following this itinerary for the duration of your trip, grab some early shut eye today, you’re in for a week of incredible adventures.    

 

Day 2: Learning About the Nature of Finland

11:00 AM - Go foraging in the woods for mushrooms and berries

Learn how to forage in the woods picking herbs, mushrooms or berries (whatever is in season during your trip). If you would like to prepare a little bit before hand, check out our guide to Eating Your Way Through Hossa National Park. During our visit, we picked herbs such as dandelions, nettle, spruce tips and lady’s mantel, all which were delicious additions to our daily meals.

3:00 PM - Spend an afternoon fishing for dinner

Hossa National Park is an incredible place for fishermen with more than 130 lakes and ponds around the area. If you enjoy a little bit of fishing, why not head out with Hossa Travel on a fishing adventure? If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a fish big enough to fry up for dinner.

If you want to find some other spots to fish around the area, check out www.finlandfishing.fi.

5:00 PM - Fish Fry Dinner

Hyvää Ruokahalua / Bon Appetit!

11:30 PM - Enjoy the midnight sunset

If you still have a bit of energy, why not stay up and enjoy an incredible midnight sunset along the water's edge?

 

Day 3: Explore Julma-Ölkky Canyon Lake

Julma-Ölkky (also known as Canyon Lake) runs 50 meters deep into the dark waters and 50 meters high above the canyon. Julma-Ölkky is also one of Finland’s largest canyon lakes which is why it is such a gem to visit in the Hossa National Park. So instead of just checking out Julma-Ölkky from a distance, why not dive in and explore it from up high and down low?

10:00 AM: Boat ride or SUP around Canyon Lake

Teija, owner at Lazy Dog SUP Tours will give you a lesson on getting started and take you out onto the Canyon Lake with the stand-up paddle boards. Alternatively, you can hop on a boat and take a short tour around the lake (tickets can be purchased on location).

1:00 PM: Hike 5 kilometer around Canyon Lake

Hop off the board or boat and experience the Canyon Lake from above. You can hike 5 kilometers and then cross the suspension bridge to make your trip back, or you can hike the entire 10-kilometer trail around the lake.

3:00 PM: Visit the Reindeer Farm

The Hossa Reindeer Farm is a home for abandoned reindeer. While they are cared and provided for, they have plenty of space to run around and frolic through the forest. Here you’ll be able to snap a few images, feed them and interact with them.

5:00 PM: Try the Reindeer Soup

The Hossa Reindeer Farm also offers a delicious menu for lunch and dinner including reindeer soup, wild mushroom soup and a number of other local dishes.

7:00 PM: Call it a Night

Not far from the Reindeer Farm is the beautiful Camping Hossan Lumo, offering a variety of accommodation options including luxury cabins, caravan and tent lots. You can also enjoy a relaxing sauna experience before calling it a night.

 

Day 4: Hike the Hossa National Park

It’s time to get those hiking shoes on to explore Hossa National Park for what it’s really worth.

10:00 AM: Let the hiking begin!

There are a number of trails to choose from, check out our Photo Guide to Hiking Hossa National Park for some inspiration on where to begin.

12:00 PM: Visit the prehistoric rock paintings along the way (Värikallio/Color Rock)

Värikallio is an ancient rock wall with the paintings of what can only be identified as human figures and mythical animals. The paintings were made of blood and red ochre and are estimated to be about 4,000 years old. There are more than 60 different figures that are believed to be linked to shamanism and/or hunting.

1:00 PM & 6:00 PM: Spend lunch and dinner cooking over the campfire

You can join in on a hiking expedition with a tour operator like Hossa Travel, and you’ll have all you need for the perfect trek through the woods. Alternatively, you could plan a hiking trip of your own, just make sure to pack enough food for your journey. If you want to try a few local snacks, check out this photo guide to Eating Your Way Through Hossa National Park.

8:00 PM: Set up hammocks in the woods

You can jump in a sleeping bag, set up a hammock or pitch a tent in Hossa National Park. It’s legal and it’s free!

 

Day 5: Spend a day relaxing the Finnish way

10:00 AM: Enjoy a morning yoga exercise

It’s up to you. You can try out a few moves on your own, join an instructor and/or try out something unique to Finland, like saunayoga. Saunayoga is a new Finnish favorite, similar to hot yoga, but with a unique Finland twist. JoogaTaival is an excellent activity operator in Hossa and yoga sessions are run by the talented Ms. Saija Taivalmäki.  

1:00 PM: Enjoy the afternoon by the water

Today is all about rest and relaxation, so why not go for a swim and relax at one of the clearest lakes in Hossa National Park? You will find a ton of options on the Hossa National Park Excursionmap.

7:00 PM: Spend a night at Camping Hossan Lumo’s

It’s time to grab a hot shower and relax in one of Camping Hossan Lumo’s luxury cabins. There is even a built in sauna, so you don’t have to leave your cabin in your bathrobe.

 

Day 6: Active & Wild Adventures

Now that you’re well rested, it’s time to get back out and adventure through the National Park.

10:00 AM: Fat bike through the National Park

Have you ever heard of Fat Biking before? It’s an awesome bike designed to tread through snow, grind over rocky rubble and weave around muddy corners. Camping Hossan Lumo offers Fat Bike rentals so you can get out and explore the park in style.

1:00 PM: Husky trekking with Norwide

This might sound relaxing, but it’s definitely quite a wild experience when you first get started. Husky Trekking takes stamina and balance. Norwide organizes Husky Treks around Hossa National Park along with a number of different activities throughout the seasons.

5:00 PM: Spend the night at the Norwide Cottages

Norwide offers more than just adventure tours, they also rent out a number of beautiful and newly renovated cabins in the summer months. Their Hossan Lomakeskus accommodations are the perfect place to wind down. They have a delicious and cozy restaurant and a sauna where you can wind down before departure day.

 

Day 7: Departure from Hossa

10:00 AM: Canoe Along the Lake

If you’re up for a little more adventure before departing back to the airport, Norwide rents canoes and bikes so you can explore on your own. Why not take a short canoe ride around the lake? The Norwide accommodations overlook a beautiful lake, perfect for a short exploration.

12:00 PM: Say Goodbye and grab some souvenirs

Don’t forget to make a trip to the Hossa National Park Visitor Centre at some point during your trip. Not only will you learn a great deal about the story and the history of the park, but they have some incredible souvenirs you can take home with you to share with your friends and family.

2:00 PM: Start your trip home

Watch for reindeer on the roads as you reminisce on an amazing week spent exploring through Hossa National Park!

 

If you want a little more inspiration, you can find the coolest places to stay, the most beautiful hiking trails and tips and tricks to eating your way through the wilderness on our other blog posts about Wild Taiga.

 

Travel tip shared by Jenna for Travel Dudes.

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How to Survive Cancelled Flights with Kids

Family travel can be chaotic at the best of times, but throw in snowstorms and thousands of cancelled flights and even the most Zen of families can become unbalanced.

I want to share some tips for surviving cancelled or delayed flights with kids in tow.

Our worst experience (so far!) happened when we arrived in Newark International Airport with our two kids (then aged six and four). We had flown in from Geneva, Switzerland, expecting to transfer onto our 5:10pm Mexico City flight to head home. At first we were told that the flight was delayed. Then we had to change gates (to the other end of the airport, naturally) and then we were informed that there were further delays.

This went on for several hours before we were told that a plane had been found for us and it was slowly making its way over to our terminal. At 9:00pm it was announced that we would begin boarding (lots of cheers!). At 9:10pm we were told that we couldn’t board until our pilots had arrived. At 10:00pm we were informed that the flight had been cancelled due to lack of crew.

The airport was in chaos with hundreds of cancelled flights. We were one of the lucky ones as we managed to secure seats on the Saturday flight. This still left us with 24 hours in Newark airport with two small kids.

 

Here are my tips on how to handle cancelled or delayed flights with children.

1. Keep Calm

I’m not the most patient of people, but I’m lucky to have a level-headed husband who is good at keeping things in perspective. Remember, it’s not the end of the world and that there are always people in far worse travel situations than you. We met a teenage girl travelling solo for the first time ever who had been stuck in Newark for three days and a couple who had missed their cruise due to cancelled flights. Also remember to breathe — breathing is good.

 

2. Split Up

Our kids had fallen fast asleep by the time the flight had been cancelled, so we commandeered airline pillows and blankets that United Airlines had supplied for stranded travellers and put them to sleep on the airport floor. I looked after them while my husband went off to try and find some way for us to leave Newark.

 

3. Treat It Like Part of the Adventure

I’m always amazed at how adaptable kids are, especially when faced with what you believe to be difficult situations. We told the kids that the plane couldn’t go because the weather was too bad but what fun (yippeee!) we got to spend another night in a hotel instead! They’re still at that age where travel — no matter how crappy — is exciting.

 

4. Be Nice to Ground Staff

It was horribly chaotic at the airport, none of the staff had much information to give, and we were all seriously tired. The staff were dealing with their own battles, however, including lots of grumpy and unnecessarily shouty customers. We found a lovely woman who helped us out enormously — booking tickets for the following day’s flight and finding a hotel for the night. Similarly, when we checked in on Saturday morning, a wonderful woman spent ages trying to get all four of us confirmed on the flight. Being nice to people works.

 

5. Join a Mileage Program

We have Premier status with United Airlines as my husband travels so much for work. This literally saved us, as we were able to go to the lounge, join the shorter queue at Customer Services, and ultimately secure seats on the following day’s flight. It’s only because of this status that we got out on Saturday as we were bumped to the top of the flight waiting list. Others were being told that they had to wait until Tuesday or later to fly.

 

6. Join Priority Pass

Even if you are not a frequent flyer, it’s worth joining a program like Priority Pass that allows you access to airport lounges around the world. These can be a lifesaver during long layovers or if you find yourself stranded like we did.

 

7. Bring a Change of Clothes

Given that my kids were six and four at the time, I had stopped bringing spare clothes for them. This was a mistake. Not only did we spend the night without any of our bags and therefore any other clothes, my daughter had a once-in-a-year accident and wet her pants. Cue me washing and drying her knickers with the hand dryer in the ladies’ restroom! What’s more, it was freezing in Newark and we only had a sweatshirt each. Layers would have helped us.

 

8. Bring a Toothbrush

I never used to do this, but now I always pack a toothbrush in my carry on bag.

 

9. Accept That Things Don’t Always Work Out Perfectly

That’s the nature of travel!

 

Travel Tip Shared by katya_globetotting
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Wonders of Cappadocia

For travel lovers such as myself there is always a bucket list of travel destinations closest to the heart, and then another list that contains every other place on earth, literally.

In my bucket list are the places that I feel a special connection towards, and that I have an urge to visit for various reasons. The place can be of historical importance, culturally influential, or, simply so beautiful, that you can not resist it. Well, let’s just say that Turkey’s Cappadocia represents each of these categories.

It’s history is long and rich, culture diverse, and scenery so beautiful that it takes your breath away. What is more profound is the fact that the landscape of Cappadocia allows you to experience activities so particular for this destination, that those activities alone are reasons good enough to visit it.

 

Reasons to Love Cappadocia

History and Culture

Etymology of the word Cappadocia has its origin in the Greek language, beside Turkish, and it’s a name for a historical region in central Anatolia, in Turkey. The name was traditionally used in Christian sources for various reason throughout history, but today it defines an international tourism concept regarding unique historical and cultural heritage, as well as natural wonders.

As I previously mentioned, the history of Cappadocia is long and rich, spanning even from the Bronze Age. In the late Bronze Age it was known as Hatti, a homeland of Hittite power. After its crumble in the 6th century BC, it was ruled by a feudal aristocracy regime, which roughly translated means that the aristocracy dwelled in strong castles and fortresses, while keeping the peasants in a servile condition, which afterwards led to foreign slavery.

Later on, Cappadocia was a part of the Persian empire, then a Roman and Byzantine province, but what interests us most at this point is today’s, Turkish Cappadocia. With the rise of Turkish power in Anatolia, Cappadocia slowly became a tributary to the Turkish states, that were established to the east and west, with the population being converted to Islam, with the remainder forming the Cappadocia Greek population.

 

Modern Tourism

The area is popular with tourists for obvious reasons. As aforementioned, Cappadocia is filled with areas with unique geological, historic and cultural features just like the whole of Turkey, which can offer a lot with its social and cultural capitals and nature oasis for hunter lovers or beautiful summer destinations.

Due to my educational background in archeology and social anthropology, I am automatically drawn to  places with an ancient and mysterious aura, filled with the most peculiar sights.

The four cities that can truly satisfy your curiosity and thirst for knowledge concerning history and culture are Nevsehir, Kayseri, Aksaray and Nigde. But, fairy chimneys enrich you in terms of wonders. My god, if there is anything considered magical, than it’s this phenomenon.

What’s stranger and more beautiful than rocks and stones shaped into stems that rise out of the earth, looking mushroom-like?

Another motive to visit this place is its photogenicity. I love landscapes and natural light, but in order to get those perfect cadres, the natural conditions can be extremely demanding, more often than not. Now, for an average tourist that is a deal breaker, meaning that they usually want to see more and capture more images, in the shortest time frame possible, without bending over their backs to do it.

Well, in Cappadocia you won’t have to struggle. Why? Well, you see, as I mentioned before, Cappadocia offers a rather unique attraction in terms of sightseeing that seems as if it’s dropped out of a Jules Verne’s novel and that’s hot air ballooning.

 

Hot Air Ballooning

Since Cappadocia represents a landscape that you most certainly have not witnessed in your lifetime, the best way to soak in everything it offers is in a hot air balloon.  

By being up above, you become mesmerized by the spectacular and surreal landscape that lies before you. While you slowly drift over fairy chimneys, valleys scattered with pigeon houses, orchards and vineyards, it’s impossible to get a bad photo.

And those balloons? Now that’s an experience not to be missed. It’s one thing to fly a remote controlled airship, such as drone or an RC Blimp, and a whole other story to be actually lifted of the ground, peacefully floating in the air while photographing at the same time! You have to admit, it’s an experience on the more personal level, not to mention that you feel as if you have drifted back into the past when hot air ballooning was a main pastime for the wealthy elite.

 

So, if you’re interested in the once-in-a-lifetime experience, then Cappadocia is the place to go!

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Interesting Things To Do In Alleppey

Alleppey (now known as Alappuzha) in the Indian state of Kerala is one of the most well-known and applauded travel destinations for tourists due to its mesmerizing and serene backwaters.

Though the backwaters and its related activities are the core attractions for tourists, there are still many things to do in Alleppey which you can enjoy wholeheartedly. 

 

Here are Several Intriguing Things to Do in Alleppey That Will Make Your Trip Memorable:

1. Enjoy Your Stay at a Houseboat:

A stay in a boat house is the prime attraction and you can’t miss it if you are planning to visit Alleppey. Staying at the houseboats in Alleppey backwaters will complete your vacation satisfactorily.

The houseboats are beautifully crafted and adorned with the decorative items. During your stay in the houseboats, you can enjoy the paddy fields near backwaters, lush greeneries, palm trees and other attractions which will certainly mesmerize you.

You can also choose luxury houseboats in Alleppey to experience the ultimate comfort in the backwaters. Many houseboat tour operators offer Alleppey honeymoon packages to couples. 

 

2. Enjoy Sunset at Pozhiyoram Beach:

This beach is situated in Alleppey and if you want to enjoy some cozy moments with your family members, then this is the ideal place.

This beautiful beach is not well-known for water activities. The core attraction of this beach is enjoying the sunset in peace. If you want to get rid of your stress and want to observe nature closely, then head out to Pozhiyoram. This beach is the ultimate place for those who are addicted to photography

 

3. Go for the Famous Ayurvedic Massages:

If you are planning to visit in Alleppey, then don’t forget to treat yourself with a relaxing massage. There are many resorts in Alleppey which promise to give you the best ayurvedic therapies for rare and chronic illnesses.

Massages and spas will rejuvenate your life and you will become more energetic and spirited. The spa massage starts from Rs.1000/- onwards and it can go up to Rs.5000/-. 

 

4. Taste Some Delicious Food in Alleppey:

This place offers a variety of food options both for veg and non-veg lovers.

One interesting thing that you can notice here is that the food items are served on banana leaves. You can find many restaurants which treat tourists to some authentic Keralite dishes. The top items to enjoy are Puttu, Vada, chickpea curry, fried banana chips, fish curry, etc.

 

5. Visit Karumadi:

Karumadi is a village which is close to Ambalappuzha and here, you can find a 10th Century Buddha statue made of granite. The idol of Buddha is around 3 feet and his left hand is missing.

This statue mesmerizes many visitors and archaeologists and a chunk of people visit this place every year. His Holiness Dalai Lama also visited in 1965. You should visit this granite statue during sunrise. 

 

6. Enjoy the Village Life of Kuttanad:

Kuttanad is a region of Kerala which covers both the Alappuzha and Kottayam district. This place is a perfect choice for nature lovers and people who are passionate about photography.

This place is all about waterways, duck farming, spice cultivation, fishing, coconut lines and paddy fields. It is popularly known as “rice bowl of the country”. It is the lowest point in the country and this is the only region where farming is done 4-10 feet below sea level. The rural and village life will take you into a different world which is far away from your city life. 

 

7. Vembanad Lake:

This is the second largest lake in India and the largest lake in Kerala. This lake is also known as Punnamada lake in Alleppey.

The total area of the lake is nearly 2033.02 sq km. The lake is home to many marine bird and animal species. The lake consists of several small islands including Vypin, Mulavuyad, Willington Island, and many more. Every year the Nehru boat race is held in a part of this lake. The Nehru boat race is another well-esteemed race in Kerala that used to take place during the monsoon.

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Popular Places of Pilgrimage in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu, the Land of the Tamils, is the 11th largest state in India

Blessed with more than 33,000 temples, Tamil Nadu, popularly known as the Land of Temples, has some of the grandest and most revered temples in India. These temples have been a source of reverence for believers throughout the world.

Most of the temples in the state are built in the Dravidian style and are proof of the architectural genius of the bygone era. Besides being timeless architectural wonders, these temple towns reverberate with a divine energy that draws thousands of pilgrims throughout the year.

 

Here are Some of the Most Sacred Pilgrimage Centers in Tamil Nadu:

Madurai

Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, also called as Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, is one of the biggest and most popular temples of India and also one of the top pilgrimage places to visit in Tamilnadu.

Dedicated to Goddess Parvati and Lord Siva, the Madurai Temple is considered an architecture marvel and was shortlisted as one of the top 30 nominees for the New Seven Wonders of the World. The temple was built by Kulashekara Pandya of Pandya dynasty and was rebuilt by Viswanatha Nayak, the 1st Nayak king of Madurai. The temple was substantially expanded to the current structure during the reign of Thirumalai Nayak.

The complex is built over an area of 45 acres and is surrounded by 14 towers. The temple consists of four entrance gates, while the entrance on Eastern side being the main entrance. There are several corridors, pillared halls and sub shrine inside the temple complex. The corridors and pillars are adorned with wonderful artwork of bygone era. The annual 10-day Meenakshi Tirukalyanam held in April and May, attracts 1 million visitors from all parts of India.

 

Rameshwaram

Rameshwaram Sri Ramanatha Swamy Temple, one of the most famous Hindu temples in India, is situated on the Pamban Island in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Rameshwaram Temple is one of the most famous Shiva shrines in India and also one of the top places to visit in Rameshwaram. According to the legend, Rameshwaram is the place where Lord Rama, built a bridge across the sea with the help of vanaras to rescue his consort Sita from Ravana. This is also the place where Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva to cleanse away the sin of killing Ravana. Rameshwaram along with Dwarka, Puri and Badrinath form the sacred Char Dhams.

Rameshwaram is also considered as the Varanasi of the South, second only to Varanasi itself. However, a pilgrimage to Varanasi is not considered complete without a trip to Rameshwaram.

Sri Ramanatha Swamy Temple in Rameshwaram stands as an epitome of Dravidian architecture and is renowned for its magnificent corridors and massive sculptured pillars. The third corridor of Rameshwaram Temple is the longest one in the world and it also happens to be one of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples. Agnitheertham, Gandamadana Parvatham, Dhanushkodi, Kothandaraswamy Temple and Erwadi are the popular and the most visited places in Rameshwaram.

 

Kanyakumari 

Kanyakumari, also known as Cape Comorin, is a coastal town in Tamil Nadu and is located at the southernmost tip of the Indian mainland. Kanyakumari has been a great center for art and culture for centuries and is also famous for Kumari Amman Temple. Considered as one of the Shakti Peethas, the Kumari Amman Temple attracts huge number of devotees every year. This is one of the best places to visit in South India and also one of the popular places of Pilgrimage in Tamilnadu. 

This is a popular tourist place and a place of great natural beauty as it is situated at the confluence of the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.  It is the only place in India where one can enjoy the unique spectacle of Sunset and Moonrise simultaneously on full moon days.  The Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Gandhi Memorial, Thiruvalluvar Statue, Padmanabhapuram Palace, Suchindram, Vattakottai Fort, St Xavier's Church and Udayagiri Fort are the top Kanyakumari Tourist places. The Chaitra Poornima Festival and Navratri are the major festivals celebrated in Kanyakumari with great pomp and fervor.

 

Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram, also known as Kanchi, is a popular temple town in Tamil Nadu. The town is known for its temples and silk sarees which are woven manually. Kanchi is famous for Sri Kamakshi Amman Temple and is the landmark of Kanchipuram. Kanchi Temple is one of the most famous South Indian temples and also one of the major religious places to visit in Tamilnadu.  Renowned as one of the oldest cities in India, Kanchi served as the capital of Pallava dynasty, and most of the known temples were built during their reign.

Apart from Kamakshi Amman Temple, Varadharaja Perumal Temple, Kailasanathar Temple, Karchapeshwarar Temple and Ekambaranatha Temple are the popular temples in Kanchi. The temples of Kanchipuram are known for their architectural grandeur. The architecture of Kanchi monuments are adorned with great sculpture work and unique style. 

 

Chidambaram

Chidambaram is a sacred town in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. Famous for Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram is one of the most popular pilgrimage places in South India and also one of the best places to visit in Tamil Nadu. The Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram was built during the 11th century and is one of the most celebrated Shiva Temples in South India.  

Nataraja Temple has great religious as well as historic and cultural significance. This is one of the Panchabhoota Stalas signifying the five elements of wind, water, fire, earth and space. Lord Shiva is worshipped here in the form of Akasha Lingam, an embodiment of Shiva as the formless Space. Brahmotsavam, the annual chariot festival held in the month of April, is the popular festival celebrated at Chidambaram which attract large crowds. Natyanjali Dance Festival is another major festival held in the month of February in Chidambaram.

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A Guide to Taking Good Travel Photos

Travel photography is a vocation for a few. A great many people however simply need to convey pleasant photos to show their loved ones.

No picture will supplant the snapshot of being there, that is the reason individuals still travel as opposed to perusing Google Images!

Expert or novice, the main thing you require is a camera. Truly, a camera, and a genuine one, not a telephone or something you connect to your cap.

 

Here Are a Few Simple Tips to Taking Good Travel Photographs

Purchase a Lens Camera

For simply making decent picture takers, you can settle for a little lens camera. There are a lot of premium models offering 1" sensors, which is an enormous jump in picture quality from the regular ultra-compact and cellphone camera.

All things considered, better picture quality just enables a picture taker to demonstrate the pictures better. It doesn't enhance a photo itself.

 

Search For Scenarios That Astound You

As a matter of fact, the second means to take staggering pictures begins without the camera! What your pictures need to do is share your wonder of a place. So what you have to do is search for what astounds you and examine it well.

 

Manage Natural Light

The exact opposite thing, which has the most effect, is light. Photos are made of light however not all light is equivalent for photography. Cameras can just catch a specific measure of differentiation. Anything behind those results in finished uncovered (totally white) or under-uncovered (exceptionally dull) zones.

There are two approaches to manage natural light. One is to work with and the other is to sit tight for it. Travel photography blog isn't studio work, so you can't control the light much.

 

Work With the Light

Working with the light means that you have to move yourself and the orientation of your camera when what appears in the viewfinder does not have a too high differentiation.

It's really basic; simply take a gander at the darkest and brightest territory of the scene while you are there. Move to avoid either when they differentiate excessively.

 

Sit Tight For the Light

Working with the light regularly conflicts with the piece made in the past section.

This is the reason why it is frequently much better to sit tight for the light. The sun does not move quickly so this requires some serious energy and often the change in light is exceptionally surprising.

Set aside the opportunity to see where the sun is and whether it is moving towards a superior position or not. Keep in mind, the sun dependably moves towards the West. On the off chance that the light is enhancing, return later. If not, return tomorrow.

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