Monthly Archives: May 2016

download (66)Since 1153, the Maldives has been an Islamic country. Two of the most important festivals of this paradise island country would be the Islamic equivalent of Christmas known as the Eid Holidays: Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan - the holy month of fasting, Eid al-Adha celebrates the Hajj pilgrimage to the Mecca. Islamic nations all over the world celebrate Eid in their own way but recently there has been a surge of Muslim families who prefer to travel to different countries in celebration of this festival - a new tradition that is making quite a difference.

Some have chosen the Maldives since it is also a Muslim country to be their holiday destination of choice. The resorts have events and festivities dedicated to the holiday which makes for good entertainment and also educates the guests on the importance of the festival. Aside from staying at the resorts, guests can also partake of the numerous festivities in other islands especially in Male, the city of Maldives. There are western and modern music shows, along with annual parades from brass bands, cadets of schools, and the National Security Service that are annually looked forward to by locals and travellers. The traditional game of baibala is also played during Eid in the spirit of reviving old traditions.

It is the best time to experience a local island visit because people are in a festive mood, they are dressed in their best clothes - mostly traditional clothing and garbs which are colorful and intricate. You will feel the celebration in the air and the focus is on generosity and hospitality in Islam. So if you have not planned anything yet during the Eid Holidays, bring your family to the best tropical paradise on earth and experience Eid like never before at your resort or a visit in Male.

Speaking of resorts, properties generally have offers and discounts to attract guests to stay at their islands. Some of the best offers would be discounted room rates, meal plan upgrades, or discounted transportation. There are resorts that offer 35% discount on their Beach Studio with Pool if you stay 4 nights or more. Some properties would let you experience the best of both worlds where you can stay 2 nights on a beachfront villa and 2 nights on an InOcean Pool Villa. Then there are also resorts that give 25% off on their private Beach Villa rates.

download (65)Dalyan Mud Bath

There's nothing like the rejuvenating mud baths featuring Sulphur-rich mud that leaves the skin feeling clean, soft and youthful. Surrounded by natural beauty, this is an Oludeniz, Turkey holiday experience that is unlike any other. There are also mineral pools that visitors can dip into and heal naturally. Discover the beauty and wonder of Dalyan when spending a pristine day out on the river.

Don't miss the 2300-year-old Lycian tombs built into the rock hillside while cruising down the delta. Here, the sea turtles frolic and if lucky enough everyone will get to see and possibly feed them. Soak up the sun, take a swim and relax at this popular destination.
Paragliding

As a once in a lifetime experience, paragliding is a great way for one to get airborne and feel the weightlessness and thrill of flying. There are many commercial take off points in Oludeniz, and the sites are phenomenal. 360 degree turns will be experienced while taking in the view of the Babadag Mountain among other natural wonders.

Most experiences last around 30 minutes. If there's anyone in the group that is too nervous to try, they can watch from a designated landing area and will be informed of which paragliders are their travel companions.

Jeep Safari

A fun excursion for Oludeniz, Turkey holidays is spending a day in a convoy of Jeeps that travel the Turkish country side. Travelers will see various villages to include Yakapark TroutFarm, Saklikent gorge and the mud baths. This is the perfect way to see the real Turkey and get an authentic experience that's unforgettable. This adventure is perfect for the entire family or travel group.

Scuba Diving, Fishing and Boating

The options for water activities are endless on an Oludeniz, Turkey holiday. Both new and experienced divers will appreciate the beauty beneath the sea here. From sea turtles to colorful corals and much more there are experiences for all ages, including a "bubble watch" option for those who aren't keen on diving.

Fishing enthusiasts will love trawl fishing for amberjack, tuna, barracuda and MahiMahias well as deep sea fishing for grouper and red snapper. Expect to bring home a great catch with a fishing tour on their Oludeniz, Turkey holiday.

Finally, boating is a favorite pastime here, and white water rafting and canoeing are great for all experience levels. Travelers can control the level of thrill they experience with a tame canoe trip or a thrilling raft ride.

What Others Say

Visitors rave about the experiences they've had on their Oludeniz, Turkey holiday. There are commercial things for families and kids to do, like the Bubble Park with inflatable fun, and Aqua park featuring several waterslides. Then there are all out adventures perfect for all. For anyone who is an explorer at heart, the sand, sea and nature of this area is second to none.

Everyone in the travel party is sure to enjoy themselves. Having a great travel plan is important so aligning with a talented agent or agency is a smart move. They can arrange everything from start to finish and also secure the best deals on accommodations, food and entertainment.

images (11)Summer is coming up and it is always best to be prepared. Listed below are some tips and tricks I have learned over my years of traveling. Hopefully you can apply them as they will most certainly make your next vacation outing much more enjoyable.

1. Always have extra cash

Cash is the royal necessity of traveling. Sometimes your credit or debit card can be problematic which is precisely why keeping a bit of extra cash on you at all times is nice because you never know when you might need it.

2. Don't carry too much cash

With that said don't carry too much cash on you at all times. There is nothing good that will come from being a walking ATM machine in a foreign country. Find a happy median that you can keep around without feeling terrible if it is taken by chance.

3. Wake Up Early

Most things you will experience while traveling are best experienced in the early morning. Not to mention if you are the kind of person who likes going on afternoon tours it really helps to beat the lines if you are one of the first people in and one of the first people out as event lines, especially during the summer, can get congested rather quickly depending on where you are visiting.

4. Be Patient

Patience is key when traveling. Things move at their own pace and you must accept the fact that they will probably not always move as quickly as you would like them to. Learn to embrace patience and realize that it is only part of the process.

5. Pack Only The Essentials

People tend to like to complicate what they bring on trips when in reality it is quite simple. Pack only what you absolutely need. Don't bring three pairs of sunglasses when you only need one.

6. Bring a good camera to take photos

Photos are the main thing you are going to be keeping from this trip for years to come. This is precisely why it is important that you have a good camera to take photos with. If you can't afford a camera your smart phone will usually do just fine.

7. Get a basic feel for the land before you arrive

Without spoiling too much of the adventure try to get a general idea of things before you arrive. Do some research beforehand because you never know when information (such as remembering where the local hospital is located) will come in handy.

8. If you are traveling on a dime investigate hotel alternatives

Housing alternatives such as bed & breakfast sites offer a great supplement for those who can't afford hotels. Not only is it generally cheaper but you will more than likely receive a much greater cultural experience too.

Other alternatives such as staying in hostels or couchsurfing are great and inexpensive substitutes for hotels also.

9. Keep an open mind

Remember that you are no longer back home and you should be open to trying new things that you may normally dismiss otherwise. This is important because you will probably only get to visit this area a few times at most during your life. You might as well soak up every experience that you can.

10. Be flexible

Realize that things usually don't go according to plan and therefore you should be flexible in case the situation demands it. Don't allow yourself to get stressed out or overwhelmed and instead just accept that it is part of the traveling process.

11. Experience local culture

Housing alternatives can be great here because it will give you a much better taste of the local culture than a hotel ever could. Another great way to dive into a foreign atmosphere is by asking the locals. If they are friendly enough a lot of them will point you to the good spots and steer you clear of the bad ones.

12. Get an airline credit card

The easiest way to save money is by picking up an airline credit card so that you can begin collecting mileage to put towards a flight. If you aren't currently enrolled with a credit card or you are looking to pick up a new one I highly recommend getting one that gets good flyer miles.

13. Bargain hunt for deals

Always be on the lookout for a good deal. From hotel to airfare to restaurants and shows there are deals to be had everywhere. Venues are always trying to remain filled and businesses need to make money. Remember that fact because if you are willing to do things such as travel during the traveling off-season you can scoop up some serious savings.

14. Make up for bargain hunting by splurging

Spend a few extra bucks and get that meal you have always wanted because now is the time to do it. You are on vacation after all and you shouldn't be penny pinching when it comes to the things that you absolutely want most. I mean that is why you saved up for this, right?

15. Don't be afraid to use GPS

Google Maps is a godsend when traveling. With that said it is good to get comfortable using Google Maps because it will make navigation around foreign cities much less painful. Hint: utilize the directions feature.

16. Be respectful

Remember that you are in a foreign country and not your own house. With that said act accordingly to how you would like them to act if they were visiting your country. Be mindful of things such as their culture, their property, and their people. In other words it is good always be polite.

17. Keep your valuables always in your sight

It is the open world and theft happens. That is why it is always important to keep your belongings where you can see them. The world isn't a scary and dark place but if you leave an expensive laptop unguarded someone will take it. Use common sense and make sound decisions.

18. Leave early for your destination

Whether we are talking about the local airport or your hotel check-in it is always best to arrive early because you never know what hiccups might occur between you and your destination. That is why it is best to leave early and allow as much time as possible in case delays happen or you need to re-plan your itinerary completely.

19. Travel with friends

Not only does it cut costs but it is better for safety and sanity too. Having another set of eyes on things is never a bad idea when it comes to traveling. You never know when you might misinterpret a map and end up completely lost. That can be potentially be avoided just by having another friend traveling with you too.

20. Be able to laugh at your own mistakes

Odds are if you travel enough you will make a fool out of yourself at some point or another. Be able to laugh it off when it does happen and use it as a learning experience. Whether it is ordering the wrong food at a foreign restaurant or getting the train times mixed up completely it is best to accept that mistakes will eventually happen even to the greatest of travelers.

21. Remember to leave room for souvenirs

Don't forget about the people back home. They would like a piece of your trip too. That doesn't mean that you need to go all out and load up your bags with trinkets but instead just make sure you have enough room to bring back everything you brought on the trip and a little bit more.

22. Avoid scams

As with most things in life if it looks too good to go be true it probably is. Not only that however but it is good to avoid common scams when visiting foreign countries. One of the more common occurrences is getting your credit card information siphoned by a clerk at a restaurant, store or bar. Be mindful of that fact if they try to take your card into the backroom to ring up your purchase.

23. Let your bank know that you are traveling in advance (and get a travelers debit card if you can)

Banks have been known to halt foreign transactions from time to time. That is a good thing because that means they are looking out for you. So that is why it is important that you do your part and let them know when you are traveling into a foreign country so they can know what is up with you.

If you can manage it try to also get a debit card designed for travel that way if your information is swiped from your card there is minimal money attached to that particular account.

24. If possible try to book events for your trip in advance

Depending on where you are going events can sell out pretty quickly which is why it is important to book what you can in advance. It wouldn't be any fun having to shift your plans around because you weren't able to get into that show that you wanted to see.

25. Create a budget for the whole trip

There would be no worse feeling than to look at your bank account and see that you ran out of funds halfway through your trip. That is why you should come up with a budget in advance. From food and drinks to entertainment to flight and hotel make sure to come up with a comprehensive plan.

26. Bring a copy of your passport

Like anything else passports can be misplaced or stolen at any time. There is no worse way to get stranded in a foreign country than to be unable to return home because you can't find your passport anymore. Make sure you have at least one backup copy on hand although it wouldn't hurt to even carry two.

27. Realize the voltage might be different than your native country and bring/buy a charger accordingly

A common mistake that can be very costly comes from forgetting that voltages vary in certain countries. That is why it is crucial to do a little leg work in advance and find out whether the country you are visiting uses the same voltage as your native country.

28. Bring something to pass the airport time

Find anything that you enjoy and bring it with you to the airport so you have something to help pass time while you are waiting for your flight. There is nothing worse than sitting there and having to stare off into space for two hours while you wait for your plane to arrive.

29. Save a chunk of money by leaving one night before you were planning on initially leaving

Red-eye flights have their drawbacks but if you want to save money while still getting in a whole day's worth of activities there is no better way to do that than by staying the whole day and then catching the red-eye flight back home. By doing that you are actually saving one night worth of hotel fees because you are shifting your plans up. Instead of leaving at 8 A.M. the following morning consider taking the red-eye home at midnight the night before. It will definitely save you some money.

30. Counter jet lag with flight naps

Going off the last point another reason why I like red-eye flights is because I use them as an opportunity to reset my sleep schedule on the way home. My personal recommendation for fighting jet lag is that if you can nap during your flight take full advantage of that capability because it will make the transition period back home much less painful than if you are trying to toss and turn the night before you have to go back to work.

download (64)Any aspiring traveler making their way to Italy knows that the hot spots to visit include the amazing sites of Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice, and maybe even Naples. Don't get us wrong, the Colosseum and the Vatican City are a must-see for anyone's bucket list, but these aren't the only places that will leave you breathless. Italy is so geographically diverse that there is no traveling to a different city and feeling like you won't see or learn anything new. The 'bel paese' is full of small nooks and cities that will blow you away, you just have to know where to find these hidden gems!

1. San Fruttuoso

Next time you plan a trip to the Italian Riviera, don't miss the crystal clear waters of the tiniest beach town you'll probably ever see. Don't expect to drive there though, the secrecy of this beach is upheld thanks to the fact that it's only accessible via ferry ride from Portofino. Take a stroll along on the pebbled sand, which will be a whole two minutes from one end to another. That's how small this beach is! Walk through a small tunnel-of-a-walkway and up some narrow stairs to get to the few main streets in the town- you'll think that you're walking into the mountain on your way in. Start up a conversation with some of the employees at one of the three beach cafes- you'll be in awe when you hear that they were born and raised here in San Fruttuoso!

Getting There: Take a ferry from either Rapallo, Portofino, or Santa Margherita. It won't take longer than 30 minutes each way.

2. Civita di Bagnoregio

Some may think it's a bit of a hassle to get to if you don't have a car, but a visit to this medieval hilltop town will be well worth the effort. Civita di Bagnoregio is a tiny town that you can only get to via a long enchanting walkway from the town below, Bagnoregio (hence the name Civita di Bagnoregio). The walk up this floating pathway takes just 15 minutes and once you enter the town, the silence and beauty will leave you breathless. With only 14 year-round residents, you'll feel like you just ascended into the most magical of Italian villages! Wander around and venture down all the town's alleys and arteries to find a different breathtaking view down each path. Although you could probably walk every street of the town in about 20-30 minutes, the pure beauty and photo opportunities around every turn will keep you entertained for a good few hours. There are some delicious local restaurants to stop for lunch in as well.

Tip: You can even spend some time exploring the charming town of Orvieto in the same day by taking the funicular up from right outside the train station. Be sure to climb up to the top of the bell tower for stunning views of the town and the surrounding rolling hills.

Getting There: From Rome, take the 1-hour and 15 minute train ride to Orvieto. To get to Civita from Orvieto, take the bus departing from outside the train station to the town of Bagnoregio, which is at the town directly below Civita. Make sure to check the Bus Timetable before you go, as there are limited buses that run, especially on certain days. From Florence, take the train to Orvieto, just being an additional hour.

3. Procida

Often overlooked because of it's neighbor Capri, you won't be able to keep your jaw from dropping in disbelief when you see this tiny fisherman village. Passersby greet you with a smile and a genuine "buongiorno" as you zigzag through the colorful narrow streets. Be sure to look up at the locals smiling atop their balconies. If you're lucky, you may even get invited in for a cup of coffee.

Getting There: An easy 30-minute ferry ride from Naples. Check out the schedules for "Snav Naples" by searching for it on Google.

4. Brisighella

There's no shortage of amazing views from anywhere in this quiet village in Emilia-Romagna. walking around the town, which spans a whole 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) in length, you look up and see a castle perched on one hilltop, a beautiful church on another, and the iconic clocktower on yet another. But the views don't stop from down in the town. An easy 20-30 minute walk up the hills will take you to each site, offering even better views of the them and the town below.

Tip: Don't expect much English to be spoken here, it's a true Italian village. But don't be discouraged, each and every resident will welcome you with open arms, ecstatic that visitors are enjoying the beauty of their home.

Getting There: A quick hour-and-a-half train ride from Florence! The station is right in the center of town, so jump hop off and start exploring.

5. Alberobello

This small southern town, situated on Italy's heel, has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site, thanks to it's unique and beautiful Trulli architecture. Walking through these conical-shaped constructions will make you feel like you just stepped into a real-life fairytale book. Stop in for a local lunch at one of the family-owned restaurants, serving up traditional Southern Italy fare specific to the Puglia region.

Getting There: Just an hour and a half train ride from Bari Centrale, a round-trip ticket will cost you a mere €9, The center of town is a pretty 15 minute walk from the station.

6. Rapallo

Situated around the corner from Portofino, Rapallo offers a more budget-friendly, but equally as beautiful visit to the Ligurian coast. The facades of the buildings create such a vibrant, colorful atmosphere that you won't be able to stop wandering the streets of this town. The residents of this seaside town Let's not forget to mention their fresh, amazing seafood. With Rapallo as your base, you can take an easy ferry ride to San Fruttuoso, Portofino, and Santa Margherita!

Getting There: Take the train to the Rapallo Station, situated near the center of town, and just a few minutes walk to the bay.

7. Matera

Tucked away along the cliffs of the Basilicata region is the village of Matera, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The unique cave-like homes and structures here are carved out of the limestone rocks, which makes for a stunning landscape. There are two neighborhoods, referred to as "Sassi" that are made up of these stone dwellings. Dating back over 30,000 years (15,000 BC) during the Palaeolithic Period, Matera is the runner-up for being the oldest continuously-inhabited settlement in history, behind Petra, Jordan.

You may recognize this beautiful town, as it was where "The Passion of the Christ" was filmed back in 2004.

Getting There: The easiest way to reach Matera, which, low and behold, does have a train station, is through Bari. Take the train from Bari (not the main station, but the one across the piazza from Bari Centrale, labeled "Ferrovie Appulo Lucane") to Matera Centrale, which is a little under an hour and a half of a ride. From the station, it's 15 minutes by foot to the Sassi di Matera.

8. Cinque Terre

Okay, maybe not so hidden anymore. But five years ago it would have been considered as such. The largest town in Le Cinque Terre, Monterosso is the perfect starting point for a breathtaking (literally) hike through these five colorful towns. It may take you about 5-7 hours, depending on how long you take to stop and take photos, but it is well worth dedicating most of your day to this unforgettable hike.

Make sure you check for closures prior to your trip, as certain routes may be closed due to inclement weather. Don't fret though, you can always take the minute-long train ride through each town, or even a nice ferry ride between each one for a more unique vantage point.

Tip: After your long day's hike, be sure to have dinner at Ciak for some incredible seafood. If you walk by the restaurant, you'll likely see Ciak himself hard at work through a window peering into the kitchen, preparing the day's catch.