spain

Seville, Spain Travel Guide

spainSome cities slowly win you over, others blast you away. Seville seduces and disarms you. Its historic center, lorded over by a Gothic cathedral, is a mix of winding medieval lanes, baroque churches, and Mudejar palaces. Flamenco clubs keep the intensity and intimacy of this aged tradition alive while aristocratic buildings recall the city’s past as a 16th-century metropolis and a showcase Moorish capital. If you fancy traveling here for pleasure or business handing out magnetic business cards, here are the top must-see attractions in Seville, Spain.

Real Alcazar

A spectacular marriage of Mudejar and Christian architecture, this palace complex is a magnificent spectacle. The site was developed as a fort originally but has been revamped many times in the course of its existence. Most notable was when King Pedro added the Palacio de Don Pedro in the 14th century. 

Cathedral de Sevilla & Giralda

Seville’s immense cathedral is breathtaking in its majesty and scale. The largest Gothic cathedral in the world was built in the 14th century over the relics of what was once the main mosque of the city. Highlights include the bell tower, the Giralda, which integrates the Capilla Mayor, the tomb of Christopher Columbus, and the original minaret of the mosque.  

Parque de Maria Luisa

An enchanting oasis of green, the enormous Parque de Maria Luisa is a captivating place to escape the busy city center, with shady paths, snoozing sevillanos, and duck ponds. If you would rather continue your exploration of culture than commune with flowers, this park has many remarkable drawcards. The Plaza de Espana is chief among them; it is the most fanciful of the buildings completed for the Exposicion Iberoamericana in 1929. An extensive tile-and-brick confection, it features mini-canals, fountains, and a series of lurid tile pictures portraying historical scenes from different Spanish province.

Metropol Parasol

Since it opened in 2011, the Metropol Parasol has become a city icon. Designed as a huge sunshade by Jurgen Mayer H, a German architect, it is believed to be the largest wooden structure in the world. It is definitely an intimidating sight with its undulating honeycombed roof and 30 meter high mushroom-like pillars. You can enjoy spectacular city views from the café and winding walkway café at the top. Also, the structure houses the local neighborhood food market, tapas bars, several cafes, and an event space.

Hospital de los Venerables

Housed in what used to be a hospice for aging priests, this museum is one of the most rewarding in Seville. The artistic highlight here is the seventeenth-century paintings located in the Centro Velazquez. Elsewhere, visitors can admire the museum’s delightful patio and the ornately decorated chapel. 

group on a boat tour in thailand

6 Tips On How To Plan A Trip With A Big Group

There is no better way to bond with your friends than to embark on a joint adventure. Traveling with family and friends is enjoyable as you can share memorable experiences and learn more about each other.

However, first, you have to navigate the hurdles involved in planning a successful trip. Here are 6 tips on how you can plan a trip with a big group.

Draft a Budget

Everything hinges on the budget you are working with. Your budget will have a bearing on the destination you choose, and the type of accommodation you will reserve. Not everyone in the group will be able to afford high-end hotels, and similarly, hostels are not everyone’s accommodation of choice.

Consultation is important so that you can determine how much group members want to spend on the trip. Breakdown the costs in terms of air tickets, accommodation, food, and entertainment to make decision-making easier.

Establish Individual Preferences And Expectations

Everyone has their own idea about what constitutes a great holiday. Some go on holiday to relax by the poolside or at the beach. They do not consider energetic excursions suitable holiday activities. Whereas others want to visit every tourist attraction in the vicinity.

When planning a trip with a big group, find out in advance what the group members are hoping to achieve and agree on a compromise if necessary.

Decide On The Itinerary

The group can agree on the landmarks to be visited, festivals that cannot be missed, and restaurants that must be sampled. 

Thereafter, make allowances for individual excursions and offer options for those who do not wish to hike up a mountain, for example. The important thing is for each member of the group to communicate their wishes clearly.

Appoint A Leader And Helpers

A successful group will have someone to take the lead. Choose a group member who is gifted in organizational ability to take care of logistics. Your trip will run more smoothly if someone monitors the reservations for meals, transport, and other arrangements.

This will involve making reservations as well as reconfirming them prior to the activity.A group member with a head for figures can take care of the budget. Yet another one can assist in online check-in and printing boarding passes for the group.

Take Advantage of Group Rates

Most airlines consider 10 persons or more traveling together a group, therefore they offer special group fares. Sometimes these come with value-adds such as name change waivers and free changes.

These waivers can come in useful especially if a member of the group has to cancel at the last minute. You will be able to slot in a replacement. Hotels too offer perks to groups. In addition to discounted room rates, you may qualify for complimentary suite upgrades or a welcome cocktail.

Find Out Dietary Preferences and Medical Histories

To avoid inconveniencing members of the group it is good to know in advance about any food allergies or preferences. When booking meals it is important to take into consideration the vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free eaters, and others in the group.

In case there is a medical emergency, prior knowledge about serious medical or chronic illnesses will come in handy for speedy treatment.

Plan well, and you will relish the joys of traveling with friends and family. Not only does it work out cheaper to travel as a group, but you may be inspired to go out of your comfort zone and try something new.

leather passport holder

Thoughtful Gifts For The Avid Traveller in Your Life

A valued gift is one that fills a need. It is also one that displays your knowledge of the recipient’s passion in life. In addition, you want to offer a gift that is meaningful and long-lasting. There are several options of awesome gifts that you can present to the avid traveler in your life, such as:

Passport Holder

A traveler needs to have all documents ready for presentation when required. In addition, they should be stored in a way that protects them from damage. A passport holder is a useful gift to offer, especially if it is a multi-purpose holder that can store credit cards and cash.

An avid traveler who takes the family along will appreciate a travel wallet that unzips to open up like a book. This type of wallet can not only hold up to 6 passports, it is also water-resistant and comes with a warranty.

Alternatively, choose a waist wallet. There are excellent ones available that are not bulky and are soft and breathable.

Packing cubes

An organizer, packing cubes are a way of keeping your luggage neat in an innovative way that also saves space. They work in a similar way to drawers in the sense that each cube contains similar items. This means that you do not need to rummage through your luggage in search of a single item.

The best cubes to go for are those made of a stiff fabric that holds the shape during packing. Those with handles are useful for pulling out the cubes, and if they have mesh on top that’s great, as this enables the traveler to see what’s inside.

Travel Adapter

A simple and light-weight gift, a travel adapter is extremely useful. With it, you can plug your devices into the wall outlets of different countries. The best travel adapter is one that contains the most common international plugs and has a replaceable fuse.

Travel Pillow

An essential for long haul flights, a travel pillow holds your neck in a good position when you sleep. The best travel pillow to go for is one that packs down small, retains position, and is comfy. A travel pillow that is made of memory foam will keep the neck straight, especially one with an angled back that lies flat against the back of the seat. It should also comfortably cushion the neck.

Good Carry-On Luggage

The standard dimensions that airlines permit for carry-on luggage are 22x14x9 inches, hence select the perfect bag for your avid traveler, one that is sturdy and reliable. For easy transport, go for a lightweight one with wheels. 

Soft-sided bags have the advantage of being expandable. You will find that modern duffel bags come with wheels and retractable handles, hence that is also an option.

Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Carrying along a portable Bluetooth speaker is like taking your stereo along with you. Bluetooth speakers are great for connecting wirelessly to your devices, hence you can take them with you to the beach and other places as you travel. 

A portable one should be sturdy so that it can function in any environment. There are several good models available that are small, lightweight with exceptional sound.

The above are wonderful gifts that you can give the avid traveler in your life because they are practical problem solvers. Gifts that they will treasure for a long time.

Top 10 of the Least Visited Countries in the World

 

A visit to world-famous monuments and sites such as the Great Wall of China and the Vatican is for some the realization of a dream.

However, you may find that if you go off the beaten track you can experience authenticity which is equally of value. Some of the least visited countries on earth are uniquely special. Here is a list of the top 10 of the least visited countries in the world.

Tuvalu

The country of Tuvalu tops the list of the least visited countries in the world. Made up of 100 islands located in the Pacific, this is one of the most isolated destinations in the world. Hence, few tourists come to visit. These lovely coral islands are practically deserted; there is no tourist infrastructure or WiFi and travel is mostly by scooter. However, most inhabitants speak English and they are warm and friendly.

Montserrat

This Caribbean Island was the scene of the devastating eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano in the 1990s. The capital city of Plymouth had to be abandoned. However, the northern part of the country is beautiful, lush, and intact. There are lovely beaches there, notably Rendevous Bay with its white sandy beaches.

Comoros

Located in the ocean between Madagascar and Mozambique, Comoros has beautiful pale beaches and coral reefs that are great for snorkeling, however, the tourism industry has not been developed here, and it is not easy to travel between the islands. However, there are beautiful rainforests to trek through, and there is a pleasant scent in the air from the aromatic plants that are cultivated here. They have earned the islands the name ‘Perfume Isles’.

Djibouti

Djibouti is a French-Arabic speaking country located in the Horn of Africa. It has a sand and stone desert terrain with a narrow coastal strip that offers activities such as snorkeling and diving. The crime rate is low, however, tourism is not well developed. Djibouti city, however, is interesting in its mix of nationalities which makes it a melting pot of cultures.

Kiribati

This group of coral atolls is located in the Pacific. The islands are breathtakingly beautiful, comprising of lagoons that are perfect for diving and other watersports. There is also an opportunity to explore the islander’s way of life and learn about history.

Sierra Leone

The victim of civil war followed by the Ebola outbreak, this West African nation receives fewer visitors than other African countries.  Although Sierra Leon’s coastline is undeveloped, it is outstandingly beautiful. Sierra Leone has a rich history and the National parks found here are definitely worth a visit.

Anguilla

Hurricane Irma inflicted severe damage in Anguilla in 2016 and this caused tourist numbers to drop. However, recovery efforts are on track. Most hotels and restaurants have been rebuilt, and soon the lovely beaches and amazing marine life will be visited again.

Timor-Leste

Formerly known as East Timor, this is one of the world’s newest countries. Timor-Leste is endowed with natural beauty and abundant marine life. However, its white sandy beaches receive few visitors due to the unstable political climate.

San Marino, Italy

This is a tiny republic in central Italy, packed with charming attractions, such as the Rocca Della Guaita castle, historic churches, and palaces.

Liechtenstein

Located between Switzerland and Austria, this is a magical country. It offers winter sports, biking, mountain-hiking, and the opportunity to view beautiful castles.

 

first aid kit

What to Pack in Your First Aid Kit

Travel enriches us by exposing us to new experiences and cultures in far flung parts of the world. However, it can also potentially expose us to insect bites, allergic reactions and upset tummies from eating unfamiliar food. 

Having the right items in your travel first aid kit will equip you to handle any medical emergencies that you may encounter. Here is a list of what to pack in your first aid kit. 

What Factors will determine the Contents of Your First Aid Kit?

  • Destination – Will there be medical facilities and pharmacies within easy reach?
  • Pre-existing conditions – Do you or any members of your party have medical conditions such as heart disease, or diabetes. Those with pre-existing conditions need to carry along their prescription medication in the original containers with the labels intact.
  • What activities will you engage in – for example, if a boat trip is scheduled; you may need to carry along anti-nausea medication. If you are going mountain climbing, medication to counteract altitude sickness will be required.
  • Length of stay – if you will only be away for a few days, only limited supplies are necessary.

Plasters and Bandages

It is advisable to carry along different sizes of plasters so that you can dress different sizes of cuts and wounds. Plasters also come in useful for covering blisters that pop-up as a result of a shoes rubbing against the feet during a long walk.

Gauze

A supply of gauze is invaluable as it has multiple uses, such as arresting bleeding, and applying pressure to a wound.

Antiseptic Wipes

These are needed for the purpose of disinfecting surfaces, wounds, tweezers and other equipment. Antiseptic wipes kill germs and prevent wounds from getting infected.

Antihistamine Cream

It is not unusual to suffer insect bites in the course of a journey which can result in itchy, irritated skin.  When you apply an antihistamine cream it is soothing, in addition to which it stops the swelling.

Painkillers such as Ibuprofen, or Aspirin

The discomfort of a headache can dampen your spirits and disrupt your program; hence it is important to have a stock of painkillers for headaches, fever and other pains.

Medication for the Stomach and Miscellaneous Items

It is good to carry along anti-diarrhea medication and antacid to address stomach ailments. Other Items that may come in useful include tweezers to remove splinters, thermometers, insect repellant, cough and cold medication.

A properly stocked first aid kit will help you deal with minor ailments that do not need the attention of a doctor and may save you unnecessary expenses.

Central Park, New York Travel Guide

Central Park is perhaps the most popular park in the USA. Central Park was first opened to the public in 1858. It runs from 59th Street to 110th. It has 9,000 benches, 58 miles of pedestrian paths, and has 42 million visitors a year. In order to plan that perfect day, here are top things you can do in Central Park.

Blockhouse

This place is a bit tricky to find, but it is worth discovering. The Blockhouse was built to defend New York City during the War of 1812, now you actually can’t get inside. This is a really impressive structure to look at. It is the oldest building left standing in Central Park and the only remaining fortification from the War of 1812. So if you are a history buff, start that perfect day in Central Park right here.

Charles A. Dana Discovery Center

Manhattan might be the last place on earth you would expect to be able to fish legally but that’s exactly what you can do in Central Park. Stop by the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center on the northern part of Central Park. Pick up a fishing pole for free and they also give you a little bait. You can’t even cast with the fishing pole but you can just drop the hook in. One of the rules is you can’t keep any of the fish you catch. Also, you have to watch out for turtles and any wildlife just to be safe about it. This is something that’s really relaxing and not exactly the type of thing you would expect to do on a trip to Central Park.

Conservatory Garden

Some of the best parts of Central Park are at the north and the Conservatory Garden is an absolute gem. It actually has a lot of foundations based on European gardening. There’s a section that’s English, Italian, and French. Roam around and look at the amazing fountains. There are lots of really cool viewpoints and just tons of flowers and nature all around you. This is the kind of spot you could just come to escape the city and relax for a while.

Huddlestone Arch

This is one of the most scenic arches to take a photo or a video of? As you walk through the ravine area of the park, you can see it is held up by uncut boulders. It’s been here since 1866 and just a quick stop for you to make on that perfect day in Central Park.

Obelisk

The 3,000-year-old Egyptian Obelisk is located directly behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Cleopatra’s Needle was erected here in 1881 and it had 3 different locations before it even set foot in New York City. This thing is awesome, just staring at it you can see ancient Hieroglyphs. They even have the translations of the Hieroglyphs if you get close enough to the Obelisk. It has such a neat and unique history. In fact, it is the oldest public monument in all of New York City.

Sail the park

For just $12, you get to rent a little model sailboat. They give you the controls and you take it away. Just wait for a windy moment and watch your boat soar around the little manmade lake. It is a lot of fun and you also get a lot of attention, everyone keeps stopping and taking photos. This is such a cool activity do in the park especially if you have kids.

Alice in Wonderland Statue

The Alice in Wonderland statue was commissioned by Philanthropist George DeLaCourt in honor of his late wife who loved reading Alice in Wonderland to her children. They made this sculpture so that all the children of New York and whoever is visiting could come and play here. They have all the characters from Alice in Wonderland like Alice, the MadHatters, and the little cat hanging out in the background. This is another super cool spot to bring kids or just take some really cool photos.

Minton Tiles

Something that many people overlook when they come to the central park is the Minton Tiles on the ceiling of the Bethesda terrace arcade. Usually, you are just going to walk through and not really pay attention. When you walk inside the arcade, you will see a tiled ceiling with over 15,000 colorful patterned tiles from England’s famous Minton Tile company. These were actually originally used on the floors of European Cathedrals but here you see them on the ceiling.

Strawberry Fields

Strawberry Fields is the most famous Landmark in Central Park. This 2.5 acre manicured section Of Central Park is dedicated to the late Beatle, John Lennon who was murdered right

Cayman Travel Guide

Located in the Western Caribbean Sea just 400 miles south of Miami lay the Cayman Islands. These three islands are known around the world for both their natural beauty and financial importance. But what really makes the Cayman standout is their quiet charm and warm hospitality.

Grand Cayman is the largest of the islands and its capital Georgetown has an abundance of shops and restaurants. Each day the locals are more than happy to offer a huge variety of their souvenirs to the scores of docking tourists. But the key to understanding what the kingdoms are all about is to explore the rest of what the islands have to offer.

A few miles north of Georgetown, you will find Seven Mile Beach which is often considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. This tranquil coast is ideal for playing, relaxing, and even snorkeling from shore. It’s here that Grand Cayman has the greatest concentration of resorts and hotels.

For a slightly quieter beach, take a trip to Rum Point on the north side of the island where Lazydays line on the sand is stretched out in a hammock are all that is on the agenda. With plenty of things to do and see, Grand Cayman is certainly not a place to be bored. Spend your afternoon feeding stingrays in Stingray City, get up close and personal with some young turtles at Boson Beach, learn about the endangered Blue Iguana at the botanical garden, or take an island hike on the unspoiled mastic trail.

If you want to escape the crowds and commercialism of Grand Cayman, take a trip to one of the sister islands where you will find a vast world of natural beauty both above and below water. The steep limestone bluff that rises steadily along the coast is Cayman Brac’s most notable feature. Get an exhilarating view from the beach or take a walk along the lighthouse trail running atop its high edge.

Just west of Cayman Brac is Little Cayman. At only one mile wide, this sliver of land is known for its world-class diving. Three Fathom Wall on the northwest side has a vertical drop off starting at 18 feet straight down to 1,000 feet, making it one of the few walls as easily accessible to both divers and snorkelers.

The island is also home to the Booby Pond Nature Reserve which protects the largest colony of red-footed boobies in the Western Hemisphere. With only 170 permanent human inhabitants, there are more Iguanas here than there are people, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled.

Whether it’s shopping, plane diving, or exploring, you will find more than you ever expected on these quaint Caribbean island jewels.

Cartagena, Spain Travel Guide

Cartagena is one of the oldest cities in the world. With over 3,000 years of history to its name, the city boasts an abundance of important historical sites and ancient treasures. One of Spain’s lesser-known destinations, Cartagena has been regenerated in recent years to help attract more visitors. By tastefully modernizing parts of the city including its ancient attractions, Cartagena has become a really pleasant place to explore with plenty to discover.

Housed inside a contemporary building are the remains of the ancient Punic War. Here an exhibition explains why the wall was once so important to Cartagena as it was built to defend the city back in the 3rd century BC.

Also, combining the ancient and modern is the castle of the conception which can be accessed by taking a ride in the vast panoramic elevator – a striking landmark in itself. With the castle being so high up, the views over the city and out to sea stretch for miles. Keep an eye out for the remarkable Roman theatre that laid buried beneath the city until a chance discovery in the 1980s. After years of restoration, the theatre only recently opened to the public and is now one of the city’s most impressive landmarks.

 

Once you have explored all of Cartagena’s ancient sites, a stroll along its pleasant promenade is a must. Stretching alongside the harbor, the promenade is where you will find the world’s first submarine which was launched here in 1888.

Whilst Cartagena is a fascinating city to explore it also provides the gateway to one of Spain’s prettiest cities, Murcia. With its bustling squares and narrow streets, this typically Spanish city is a lovely place to explore on foot. Murcia’s centerpiece is the magnificent Barak Cathedral which you will find in the heart of the Old Quarter. Located just outside the city is the sanctuary of the French center. A gorgeous whitewashed Church that overlooks Murcia from high on a hillside. Up here the setting is serene, the air is fresh, and the far-reaching views are simply stunning.

For something a little different, the world heritage site of Elche is a unique place to visit. Located just over an hour away from Cartagena, Elche is home to the largest palm tree forest in Europe. With thousands of trees, tranquil ponds, and an abundance of pretty plant life, Elche is a popular option for those who want to see a little more of scenic Spain.

Cape Town, South Africa Travel Guide

Cape Town is an incredible coastal city with everything from stunning mountains and beaches to beautiful streets that are full of life culture and music. There are so many things to explore here but one of Cape Town’s biggest benefits is the nature that surrounds it.

Table Mountain

Climb up Table Mountain for a jaw-dropping view of the city. They also have a cable car if hiking isn’t for you. Up here you can see the iconic layer of clouds that covers the mountain’s peak. This natural occurrence is known as Tablecloth. Another great hike is Lion’s Head Mountain. If you time it just right, the sun will set as you reach the peak. Just make sure you take a torch for the dark trail back down.

 

Bo-Kaap

Bo-Kaap is a colorful neighborhood where every house features a different color – this is a photographer’s dream. You can head over here and explore on your own or locals give free walking tours where you can learn more about the neighborhood as you go.

Day Trip to the Cape of Good Hope

If you are looking for a great day trip, there’s so much to see along this route and it’s one of the most stunning drives you can experience. Take the Chapman’s peak routes, your first stop should be Hout Bay. There’s a lookout point here where you can see the entire Bay. Further down the route, you’ll reach Noordhoek beach – a huge beach with incredibly white suns. It will be super windy here but it’s definitely a good place to stop for a nice view and some great pictures.

Wine Tour Stellenbosch

For a more laid-back day out you should definitely check out Stellenbosch. It’s one of the world’s most famous wine territories, not only will you see the beautiful local vineyards but you can even book a wine tasting tour where you’ll spend the whole day sampling wines from around the region.

Kirstenbosch Gardens

If you don’t have time for a full-day trip out of the city, check out Kirstenbosch Gardens. It’s regarded as one of the best botanical gardens in the world and sits right on the slopes of Table Mountain. Walk along the overhead canopy walkway for the best experience with stunning views all around.

Kayaking With Dolphins

Another great experience you can have is kayaking with dolphins. You leave from the Victoria and Albert waterfront for this epic adventure. Whilst there’s obviously no guarantee you’ll see dolphins, the trip itself is worth it alone for the amazing views of Cape Town and the rare opportunity to kayak in the ocean which if you have never done it before is a real treat.

Open Door Helicopter Ride

If you really want to see this city at its finest, there’s no better option than a helicopter ride. Now, this is one of the pricier attractions but you can find some pretty good deals online and there’s nothing like seeing Cape Town from above with its incredible beaches, rugged mountains, and clear blue waters. You won’t be disappointed with this once-in-a-lifetime experience.