3 Unusual Tips for Your European Holiday

We’ve all heard the same advice over and over again when it comes to travelling
to Europe. Pack light, learn some of the local language, keep your valuables well
hidden, book your transportation and accommodation well in advance, and so on
and so on.

Tell us something we don’t know!

Here are three unusual tips you may not have been told that will hopefully help
you have the best time possible on your next European holiday.

1. Leave Your Sim Card at Home

Instead of incurring expensive roaming charges on your next trip to Europe, leave
your sim card at home and purchase a local sim card in the country you’ll be
spending the most time in. Sim cards are relatively easy to get – all you need is your
passport – and quite cheap. Make sure you choose a pre-paid plan that includes
data. Having consistent and reliable access to the internet, accommodation and
transportation booking websites, and communication apps such as Skype and
Whatsapp, is vital when travelling anywhere. Sometimes it’s hard to find good Wi-Fi,
and relying on it solely for all your logistical needs can put you in some pretty
undesirable situations, such as having to lug your luggage around from place to
place in order to find Wi-Fi to make a last minute booking.

2. Head to Ghent in Belgium

It’s not exactly clear why Ghent doesn’t feature on more European itineraries. This
architecturally beautiful and vibrant cosmopolitan city in Belgium is something of a
hidden gem and well worth a few days of exploring. Go for a walk through the
city’s Old Town, take a boat ride down a canal, and visit one of the many
museums that call Ghent home. After a full day of exploring, kick back with a drink
or two in one of the city’s quirky bars or night spots.

Gent Belgium

Search for Free Walking Tours in Each City You Visit

There’s a phenomenon that’s been sweeping through Europe for the last ten years.
That phenomenon is called the Free Walking Tour and you’re pretty much
guaranteed to find one being offered in nearly every European city you visit, from
Budapest to Rome, Amsterdam to Barcelona. Although these tours are technically
“free,” they are tip-based and guests are encouraged to tip according to how
much they enjoyed the tour. It’s always great to learn about the city you’re visiting
from an experienced guide who really cares about giving you the best possible
time in a new city.

If you prefer having a guide with you the whole time you’re in Europe – which is
a great idea if you’re a first time traveller or appreciate the convenience of having
the nuts and bolts of your trip pre-organised – then consider booking a tour with an
established and reputable tour company in Europe, such as Albatross Tours (
www.albatrosstours.com.au
). Jumping on an organised tour through Europe is a
great way to explore the region and meet lots of interesting people along the
way.

Do you have any other unusual tips for visiting Europe? Share them in the
comments below and help others make the best use of their time in Europe.

Rome Tour

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Travel Easy Within Turkey

When it comes to tourism, Turkey is becoming a top destination for all kinds of travelers all over the world to visit. It’s constantly on the list of top countries visited! With gorgeous landscapes and immensely rich and deep history and culture, Turkey offers a vacation that will suit all sorts of needs. Many people who visit fall in love at once and plan to come back!

Traveling Within Turkey

turkey

One of the great things about Turkey is that budget travelers can easily have a great time on a budget. On the other hand, there are also many fabulous options for luxury travelers. Turkey has a little bit for everyone.

Although Turkey is a fairly big country compared to some of the European countries, it is possible to travel within the country easily and comfortably. You can travel to the top destinations within Turkey such as Istanbul, Urgup (Cappadocia) and Goreme.

Train/Light Rail

Alstom-and-Yapi-Merkezi-Consortium-is-the-winner-of-Setif-LRT

Turkey has a system of trains that have even won awards! The high speed train network takes travelers to 15 cities in the country and there are more being planned out. Their highly effective light speed system cuts travel time greatly, the trains are comfortable and it is an interesting way to see the country and learn how their transportation system works. You can even take an international train ride from Turkey to another country like Bulgaria. 

You can find out more about the train system such as destinations, times and costs here.

Airplane

Domestic airlines fly to around 30 cities in the country with 117 airports. You can find cheap flights from Thomas Cook Airlines to Turkey if you’re flying from another country.

One thing is there are only several airlines that fly directly from the west to east coast. As with buying any plane ticket, try to buy it a couple months in advance and you can find some good deals.

Bus

The bus system in Turkey is the most widespread and used means of transportation. Their bus system is exceptional and fairly advanced compared to other countries. Not only are the seats comfortable but you can even get served snacks and tea!

Many main cities and towns will have one central bus station and the costs and conditions of the bus ticket will depend on where you’re going. You may have to buy your ticket in advance, they have services that can take you from your location to the bus station, and you’ll have to pay in cash.

Boat

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There are ferries services that can take you across the Sea of Marmara called the Istanbul Fast Ferries. They are actually a high speed ferry service and they also go from Istanbul, to Yalova and Bandirma.

The ferries offer a comfortable and quick means for both travelers and locals to get across the Sea and the Golden Horn. You can even book them to go on a trip to Princes Island. For more details and information, the Istanbultrails website has a complete guide to taking the ferry.

Traveling within Turkey is not difficult to research and plan since they have many options and a fairly advanced system. Not only are they reasonably priced and easy to plan, but it is also a great way to learn about the local life and culture of the country.

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Best Destinations for a Beach Vacation

What kind of vacation do you love? Some people love the mountains, the city but many people love the beach. The idea of a relaxing beach vacation is one many people dream and fantasize about. The prettier the beach, the better! There’s nothing more enjoyable, relaxing or peaceful than having a delicious drink on the beach watching the sunset or soaking in the sun.

There’s many famous beaches around the world such as Whitehaven in Australia, Waikiki in Hawaii and Copacabana in Brazil. However, there are many more places that have just as gorgeous beaches as these places but aren’t as crowded or well known. They’re all definitely worth visiting, especially if you’re love a little bit of luxury in your life!

Best Beach Destinations

Bora Bora, Tahiti

borabora

Tahiti is one of the many stunning islands in the French Polynesia in the South Pacific. Bora Bora is famous for being a secluded island, perfect for honeymooners or couples who want to have the ultimate romantic vacation. With absolutely clear waters to swim in and spectacular scenery all around on this small stretch of 18 miles, visitors will have an absolute isolated and intimate trip.

Negril Beach, Jamaica

beaches-negril-resort-spa-1-lg

This beach now has more resorts built on it but it has still retained the pristine and grandiose feel. It has become a hit spot for party goers but you can still have a relaxing family vacation here as well. If you’re looking for a taste of luxury on a beautiful beach, Negril is a great choice.

Sun Island Beach, Maldives

Sun Island Beach, Maldives

Not only is the Maldives one of the most beautiful places in the world, it is also one of the best for snorkeling. This beach is rich with blooming coral reefs that will amaze anyone and will make any scuba diver’s dream come true.

Corossol Beach, St. Barts

Corossol-Beach-St-Barts

St. Barts is an island full of million dollar homes with some of the best views in the world and yet it still keeps much of its culture and traditions, resisting the ugly footsteps of tourism. It’s a fishing village and if you’re interested in learning about the local life on St. Barts, this beach is the best to immerse in the culture.

El Nido, Philippines

el-nido-palawan3

The Philippines is known for being the home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and El Nido is high up on the list. Snorkeling is a must here and you can even see other marine life such as whale sharks. All around the area you can explore caves, waterfalls and wonderful views.

Want to read about more awesome beaches? Here are some resources.

CNN 100 best beaches

Nat Geo top 10 beaches

Travel Channel Best Beaches 2014 

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Staying Connected When You’re Traveling Abroad

Staying connected is much easier in this day and age. We can find Internet access almost everywhere and our smartphones let us ring up someone on the other side of the world in a matter of seconds. There’s no need to worry about losing touch or being apart when you’re traveling, there are many options to stay connected with your family and friends.

girl-on-phone-while-traveling

Ways to stay in touch

Sim cards

Sim cards are those little cards you can slip into your phone and magically have a phone number of whatever country you are in. You can put credit on it to make phone calls to anywhere in the world and even buy a data plan so you can have Internet access if you have a smartphone.

It’s great to have a local number in case of emergencies and it is a easy and cheap way to stay connected with people you meet on the road and back home. You can even buy a world sim card so you don’t have to get a card for every country you go to.

There are a few conditions – you have to have the right kind of phone, one that takes a sim card and one that is unlocked. Luckily you have find them for cheap on Amazon or eBay.

International calling plan

Most phone companies have the option to enable an international calling plan for your phone when you go abroad. You can get a package with a given amount of texts, minutes and data so that you can keep your phone and your phone number and use it overseas.

This option is more expensive, phone companies love to charge extra if you accidentally go over or start roaming. You need to be very careful while on this plan as you might end up with a bill much bigger than what you paid for.  Check with your phone company to see what plans are available and what is your best option.

Apps

Ah the world of smartphones and the millions of apps available out there. There are so many calling and messaging apps out there that are all free or low cost that makes it easy to do international calling.

Rebtel 2.0 app is made for Android and offers free calls and texts to other Rebtel usesrs and cheap international phone calls.

The only condition is that you need to have data on your phone beforehand so you’ll need to either get a sim card or an international plan. But as soon as you have the data and download the app, all the features such as texting, calling, and video chat are completely free.

This is a great option and it is convenient once you have data. With the app, it’s like calling and texting back at home.

Avoid getting a big phone bill

Most of the big charges on your phone bill will come from roaming so always make sure that that option is off on your phone. Some US carriers also work abroad like At&T in Mexico but calls are very expensive.

Always check with your carrier to see how much you will be charged exactly and figure out what will be the best plan for you. One person may prefer the sim card, another may prefer the calling plan. Whichever option you choose, there is no doubt that you will be able to stay in touch and keep connected with people back home and with people you meet on the road.

For more tips on how to avoid getting a big phone bill, check out:

Travel & Leisure

BitRebel

New York Times

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