Ask anyone where to find the best affordable summer beach holidays and it’s likely their answer will be Turkey. The sun kissed country has it all! The sea is crystal clear and ideal for swimming while the winds on the Aegean coast create perfect conditions for surfing and windsurfing. What’s more, Turkey enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine a year, with temperatures often exceeding 30 degrees Celsius in the high season (July-September).


To help you make the most of your Turkish summer holiday, we’ve compiled a list of the best beaches in the country, with a good mixture of tourist hotspots and hidden gems for you to explore:


Iztuzu, Dalyan

There’s nothing quite as magical as watching turtles coming to the shore to lay their eggs – if you’re lucky enough to catch them that is! This 4.5km stretch of beach is abundant with beautiful wildlife and is perfect for a family day out. The seabed shelf means that the waters are serenely calm and great for families with younger children. There are plenty of low cost options for those looking affordable holidays. Take a look at this great range of holidays for 2015 from Cosmos. A flight and three nights accommodation for one adult in a luxury Dalyan resort will set you back around £220 pounds, which is incredibly cheap for the quality of beachside resorts found on the Turkish Coast.


Pantara, Xanthos Valley

Pantara is without a doubt one of the best Turkish beaches, featuring the longest continuous stretch of sand in the Mediterranean. Its sheer size and beauty makes it a very popular destination but should you seek a more secluded spot, head over to the northwest part of the beach. During the summer, the waves can be pretty intense so it’s not an ideal place for families with small children.


Cirali, Turquoise Coast

Cirali makes the list not only for its beautiful secluded beach but also for its breath-taking surrounding scenery. A short trek from the beach will take you to the ancient ruins of Olympos, an intensely magical experience that shouldn’t be passed up! The entire area is a protected UNESCO site and features fascinating wildlife not to be missed.


Phaselis, Turqoise Coast

We’ve already included one beach from the Turquoise Coast, but this one couldn’t be left out! The collection of small peaceful bays makes for a wonderfully relaxing day at the beach. Phaselis boasts some of the best swimming in Turkey, with stunning surroundings and calm, crystal clear water.


Ayd?nc?k, Gökçeada

This 1500m stretch of white sand is a sight to behold. Extremely popular with tourists, it can get pretty busy as far as beaches go. Ayd?nc?k is located in an area popular with migrating flamingos, making it a perfect spot for birdwatchers and holidaymakers alike. Health buffs will also love the black mud found on the shoreline which is renowned for its healing properties.

It’s always worth subscribing to travel website newsletters as they often advertise great last minute deals that could save you even more money!


The current trend in the travel world is to book your holiday DIY.

By that, I mean you book your flight, transfer, and accommodation separately, to create your own bespoke package holiday. This is an easy process, and can be a real money-saver, however if you’ve never done it before, it might be a worrisome thing to embark on.

Worry not! I’ll tell you how. 

Finding a cheap flight can sometimes work out better if you cast your net further afield in terms of where you fly from. You’ll usually find London flights coming up cheaper than anywhere else in the country, and if you can get there, it’s worth trying, as you’ll sometimes find it all works out cheaper including travel, compared to a regional flight.

If you’re doing this, remember to book airport parking, such as my regular service of Gatwick Long Stay Parking  and you’ll find it often works out cheaper, easier, and more convenient than public transport. Head to ParkBCP to peruse what’s available, and you’ll see that most large UK airports offer a service.

Once you’ve opened your search up further, you’ll find a world of flexibility. Head to Skyscanner and put in ‘UK’, and your destination, your dates, or the month as a whole to give you the choice, and then watch and wait.

When it gets as low as you think it’s going to go, then book it and don’t look at it again! If you see it lower, because it is a risk, then you’ll feel very sick indeed, however there is the equal risk that it will go up.

Flight booked, turn your attention to accommodation, and this is where the fun bit starts!

Travel Republic, Sunshine, Alpha Rooms etc, amongst many others, are where you’ll find sales and deals on top quality accommodation, with every price range, and you can check out maps, photos and reviews to help you make your decision. You can also book your transfer here too, bringing the whole package together.

All that’s left from that point is to print out all your confirmations, put them in your hand luggage bag, and you’re done!

Booking a DIY holiday isn’t difficult, and it needn’t be a worrying experience. Package holidays can be found at great prices, but the flexibility isn’t there like when you book in this manner.

Creating your own adventure means it can be tailored to your needs and likes, which will overall make your holiday more fulfilling as a result.

Don’t know what to expect from a Lapland holiday?

You imagine Lapland as sleepy snow covered place where you will have to stay indoors and have no chance of having fun?

Holidaying here will open your eyes to the unexpected aspect of Lapland, the fun factor which will spice up your holiday experience. Lapland offers much more than a cozy cabin, hearty talk and storytelling around the crackling fire. It offers a perfect combination of picturesque beauty of the place along with the thrilling activities which make Lapland holiday a once in a lifetime experience and sites like The White Circle offer some incredible experience to be had.

Your will thoroughly enjoy the wild adventures in the Lapland wilderness and here’s some of our top to dos…


Cross country and downhill skiing: You will be enthralled to see the wonderful ski facilities available in Lapland. There are well maintained trails which pass through picturesque terrains for those who want to do cross country skiing. Looking at the well manicured slopes, you will realize why Lapland is one of the most attractive downhill skiing destinations. Beginners needn’t get disheartened because there are trainers at the resorts, who will help you, learn the basics to deal, with ice and snow.


Snowboarding and snowmobile rides: As Lapland is snow covered throughout the year. You can have fun as a family, as you enjoy snowboarding together. A must-do while in Lapland, feel the thrill of snowmobile ride as you feel the icy wind and cold snowflakes flying around while   speeding through the snowy terrain.


Husky dog safari and reindeer sleigh ride: Explore the beautiful and serene countryside while your sled is being pulled by a team of dogs. Opt for the reindeer sleigh rides to feel like Santa Claus. As you enjoy these rides, you will have a sense of adventure when you realize that the only thing disturbing the quiet and stillness of the surrounding is the sound of the sled or sleigh, being pushed and you can go looking for Santa Claus at his secret hideaway in the forests!


Snowshoeing: Venture deep into the snow covered forests and explore the Lapland wilderness as you go trekking with snowshoes strapped on. There are various trails here which you will enjoy. Cabin in the wilderness: For the ultimate adventure in Lapland, rent a cabin in the heart of nature and begin and end your everyday adventures from here. As you stay in this beautiful untouched setting surrounded by silence, your spirits are sure to go soaring high.


Go in search of the Northern Lights: You can either go on a trek in the evening or go snowmobiling, in search of the beautiful Northern Lights. Venture deeper into the forest for that wild adventure and also to better your chance of seeing that enchanting phenomenon, Aurora Borealis.


Go ice fishing: You can go ice fishing in the frozen lake of Lapland. Start this unique fishing experience by breaking the sheet of ice on top of the lake. You can add more fun to the activity by having a campfire to cook your catch and then relax and enjoy this outdoor meal amidst the beautiful though still white surrounding.


Have you headed to Lapland? Anything you’d add to the list?


Since I’ve taken up diving my scuba diving bucket list is fast growing – and if there’s one place that seems to be the top of every divers list it’s the red sea. It comes with a massive recommendation from everyone who has dived there – be it scuba or free diving (which I recently got addicted to!) and stories are always met with envy by those who haven’t!

So where should you hit up when there? And where from?


backpacker scuba diving
Clear, Warm Waters…

Sharm El Sheikh is an Egyptian city located on the coastline of the Red Sea and situated on the Sinai Peninsula, at its Southern tip.

Over the years, Sharm El Sheikh has earned the reputation of being one of the most extraordinary diving destinations, in the world.

The city was always well known for its amazing touch with nature however, these days, it has also become a tourist friendly city. A couple of decades ago, divers had to trek a long way through the dessert, before they could get to the spot from where they could go for a dive, today though the scene is more luxurious with many popular hotels setting up camp there.

The sight of the crystal clear waters, with beautiful corals and under water flora, is a treat to the eyes and in contrast to the beautiful waters is the white, sandy beach and the infinitely large dessert


So which dive spot should you add to your list? Well here’s a few to jump into…

  1. Ras Mohammed: This dive area is located in the extreme southern region of Sharm El Sheikh, at the point of confluence of the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba. With an ocean depth of over 1000 meters and coupled with strong underwater currents year around, this dive spot remains a tough challenge even for the most experienced divers. Ironically, the unique reefs formed in this region and the variety and density of various species observed here are credited to these strong water currents.
  2. The Straits of Tiran: The Straits of Tiran is another unique dive area, near the Island of Tiran, located on the Gulf of Aqaba. This 2000 meters deep dive area is characterized by four coral reefs named after the British cartographers Woodhouse, Jackson, Gordon and Thomas. The strong currents caused during high tides, when the water flows through the narrow path in the region, are responsible for the large variety of fish swarms and corals in the area.
  3. The Locals: Stretching from Ras Nasrani in the north to Ras Cathy in the south, along the coastal region of Sharm el Sheikh are twenty-eight diving sites that can be reached on by taking a boat ride for around 10 to 60 minutes. These diving sites are collectively called ‘local dives’. The site is an ideal location for beginners to test their diving skills, while the experienced ones would also have a great time.
  4. The Wrecks: This dive site derives its name from its past history, where many ships entering from the Suez Canal got wrecked in this region, due to a shallow reef just below the surface. Since these wrecked ships lie within safe diving limits, special wreck-safaris are sometimes conducted in this dive area.
  5. Naama Bay: The Naama bay is a year around dive spot and surprisingly happens to be one of the least known sites in Sharm El Sheikh. The diving area starts just 50 meters after a walk through the water, where you can witness the amazing and unique sea life. There are also night dives conducted in this region, for those interested in interacting with the nocturnal creatures in the ocean.


Sharm El Sheikh is a Holiday Gem and diving remains the major attraction, but those interested in other activities like water sports and excursions can also visit the region – and Egypt itself is a great backpacking destination given the variety of terrain in the region – and of course the Pyramids which should be on everyones bucket list!


Anyone been diving here? What did you make of it?

A vacation in Lapland is more than the usual holiday experience. It is a magical experience for all, kids, parents and grandparents. The variety that Lapland offers is such that everyone goes back, content and happy.

Whether it is the beauty of the place, the fascinating phenomenon of Mother Nature, the festive feel of the spirit of Christmas and Santa Claus, or the adventurous and thrilling snow sports, there is something for each member of the family. It is this variety that makes Lapland, the perfect family holiday destination.


The pristine natural beauty

Lapland still remains unspoilt by tourism and offers a breathtaking view of immaculate snow covered pine forests, snow capped mountains and the frozen lakes. The flora and fauna and specially the large reindeer population add to the beauty of the place and is sure to be liked by everyone in the family.


The captivating wonders of Mother Nature

For those who want to enjoy a leisurely laid back kind of vacation, you can enjoy the beautiful landscape of Lapland and witness the many wonders of Mother Nature. You are going to love Mother Nature’s spectacular and colorful fireworks in the sky, the Northern Lights against the backdrop of the quiet white wilderness of Lapland. Everyone in the family is bound to be excited about seeing the midnight sun from the top of the mountains. These are unique experiences you take back to share with friends back home.


The enchanting and festive Christmas experience

Lapland is a magical experience for kids and parents. With this trip to Lapland, the land of Santa Clause, you can help your children enjoy the festive spirit of Christmas while reliving your childhood memories. What can be a bigger treat for the kids than a chance to meet Santa Claus and his elves? You can become a Santa to your child, by making the dream of your child to meet Santa Claus, come true. See in Lapland, the Christmas of your imagination, snow covered landscape, a Santa Claus with a sleigh run by reindeers, elves baking ginger bread and making toys, it’s all there for you to enjoy.


The thrilling outdoor adventures

Lapland has a lot in store for those who are adventurous and energetic. There are adventures which you can enjoy during winters, as well as fun filled activities to be enjoyed, during summers. Engage in a wide range of activities such as sleigh riding, husky safaris, cross country and downhill skiing, snowshoeing, walking, cycling, white water rafting or canoeing. You can also try the fly-drives or opt for ice or sea fishing. Whether it is the impromptu snowball fights or these adventure activities, they will turn out to be more fun as you enjoy together as a family, laughing, shouting and screaming together.


More family fun with snow and ice

Visit the Snow Village, home to various massive construction made of ice and snow like ice castles, hotels ,ice sculptures etc.You are sure to pick up creative ideas for your own backyard snowman when you see such artistically made structures. Everyone will also love to see igloos.


Have any of you been to Lapland? Looking to head that way? Check out some more activities here


When you think of Liverpool’s music scene, it’s fair to consider The Beatles as the city’s crowning glory. These four lads from Liverpool took the world by storm in the 60s, transforming into international superstars almost overnight. While their career as a band is long gone, their influence over others still continues and their legacy remains. Liverpool is very proud of what The Beatles achieved and, to commemorate their 50th anniversary, has plenty in store for visitors to the city over the coming months. Book some very cheap Liverpool accommodation from Travelodge and you could sample the Beatles-inspired events and attractions during your stay – there’s plenty on offer, so make your visit last at least a couple of days.

Ever since Ringo Starr joined the group as their permanent drummer in 1962, The Beatles went from strength to strength. With 12 studio albums under their belts and so many hit singles that you’d be forgiven if you had lost count (22, if you’re wondering), their remarkable career between 1962 and 1970 has inspired thousands. Having sold an estimated one billion records worldwide, The Beatles continue to draw in younger generation fans, meaning that their legacy will continue for years to come.

As the birthplace of the group, Liverpool has always taken the subject of The Beatles very seriously and has plenty of attractions scattered across the city to celebrate their success. The fifty year anniversary celebrations continue throughout 2013 and into early 2014, giving you plenty of opportunity to see these special events as well as attractions whose doors are always open. From The Beatles Story to a Magical Mystery Tour, if you want a rock and roll weekend, you know where to go. Start at the very beginning by seeing the homes of young John Lennon and Paul McCartney before stopping off at the Cavern Club for a piece of nostalgia.

The real fun begins when you look at the myriad of events in store over coming months, starting with August which has oodles in store for The Beatles fan.

3rd August – Beatles’ Final Cavern Club Performance – remembering the final performance by The Beatles at the illustrious club before they went their separate ways.

21st – 27th August – International Beatleweek – Bands and artists from over 20 countries worldwide join forces to perform various gigs across several venues in the city, while exhibitions, sales, tours and a convention are also in store.

23rd August – The Cavern Club Beatles Show – Presented by the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, the quartet performs various tracks from throughout the band’s career.

23rd August – 14th September – Lennon – The Royal Court takes a look at the life of John Lennon, from his humble beginnings to his untimely end in New York.

24th – 25th August – Liverpool International Music Festival – August Bank Holiday weekend promises to provide two days of awesome entertainment, including plenty to celebrate the rock and roll heroes.

Plenty to look forward to throughout August and beyond – keep an eye on the event programme page online to see what’s in store over the coming months.

Managing your money on the road is one of the least glamorous parts of travel. It’s mundane, seemingly complicated and something many people unfortunately leave until the last moment. However it’s very much a necessary evil as no matter what you may think, money will very much be the driving force behind what you can and can’t achieve on your travels.



I’ve of the easiest ways to manage your money on the road is through a prepaid cashcard. It’s simply a case of load and go, without the risk of racking up any debt (one of the biggest reasons I refuse to recommend credit cards to travellers) and can be setup quickly.

Some companies issue single currency cashcards, with the most common being the US dollar,a Euro and Aussie dollar.

However for those hitting multiple countries options like the STA travel Cashcard are ideal, converting your money to local currency and being accepted via chip and pin anywhere mastered a is accepted.


travel money
It’s All About The Dollar!

Bank account

Even if you opt for a cashcard you need to back it up with a bank account. Personally I use my standard UK account for my savings and transfer it to my cashcard as and when it’s needed.

There are two other solid options which may suit your needs too – the international bank account and the local bank account.

So what is an international account? Simply out it’s baked by a large banking company and allows your to transfer, spend and otherwise deal with your cash from multiple countries, however it usually comes with a monthly charge for the privilege.

For those heading out on working holiday visas having a local account in your country of choice can save you heaps on bank fees and also allow easier payment of wages, just do you homework on which bank to use!



Even with all this plastic having some cold hard cash is something I recommend to anyone. Getting some local notes in small denominations before you travel is always handy – getting cabs from the airport and something to eat and drink without having to struggle to locate and ATM in a strange new place will be much appreciated after a long haul flight!

I also strongly suggest carrying around $50US in small notes too, it’s a solid currency for visas, bribes and easily changing into local currency.



Even though money is boring it’s important and it will really pay off (no pun intended!) to be prepared well before you leave.

Do your homework, find the option that’s best for you and make sure you have a back up – there’s nothing worse than being stranded abroad with no access to your cash!


Whatever you choose to use also make sure you track your spending and get in the habit of budgeting, you’ll thank yourself in the long run! 

The French Riviera is, without any argument, the most popular French holiday destination in the world. Situated on the southern end of France, the French Riviera or the Cote d’Azur extends from the Italian border to the other end of the country – a playground of the rich and famous, the place is filled with azure blue beaches and the most exotic resorts in the world, from 5* boutique hotels to some amazing offerings from

Though August is considered the tourist season, the Riviera has been blessed with a beautiful climate that does not change much for most of the year. If you are not the kind of person who likes being in a crowd, go during the spring season, which is considered as off season here. During this time, the streets are less crowded and the prices are somewhat lower.

Some of the most famous holiday cities in the world are located here too, since it will be impossible to list out all of them, we will talk about the most popular among them.



Cannes, the city made world famous by the Cannes International Film Festival, has got more to it than the glitz and glamour associated with it. Once a small fishing village, the city is now bustling with night clubs and casinos.

If you are someone who likes it nice and quiet, the nearby streets of La Suquet is the place for you. With its cobbled streets and small roadside bistros, it is perfect for a nice evening of relaxation.

Reaching Cannes is easy by any mode of transport. The closest airport is the Nice International Airport. While getting around Cannes, the best method is by walking. This will also give you a chance to see the sights that you might otherwise miss.



The city of Grasse is synonymous with perfume. The home of the perfume industry, the city is in the inland region of the French Riviera. Filled with tiny, quiet villages, Grasse is one of the regions of the Riviera that has not been ruined by the throngs of tourists.

If you want adventure, you could hike in the sweeping hills or go horse riding or mountain biking. One thing to not miss would be a visit to the legendary perfumeries of Grasse.

If you don’t find anything to do, you can kick back and relax from the hills above watching the coastline. You can reach Grasse by train from Nice or Cannes. You could also reach by road from Vence.



Nice, one of the most populated cities in France is also one of the most popular cities there due to the fact that it has something to offer every person who comes there.

With the beautiful waterfront, the Promenade des Anglais, Nice is also known for its pebble filled beaches. For the shopaholics, there is the iconic flower and food market in the old quarters of the city. Of late, almost all the popular international brands have opened shops here. Nice is accessible by any mode of transport. The closest is the Nice International Airport.

Now that we have seen the most important places to visit, we will look at some of the fun things to do in the French Riviera. Since most people know about the night clubs and casino, we will discuss some of the unusual things you could do here.


Take a long walk

As we said earlier, the best way to see the Riviera is to take a walk. Don’t worry about getting lost; everything you need is quite close. A walk along the cobbled streets of the old regions of the Riviera is an unforgettable experience.


Smell the perfumes

Another economical way to spend your vacation is to visit the perfumeries in Grasse. Though some tours might be expensive, there are legendary perfumeries, like the one started by Fragonard in the 18th century, that gives free guided tours.



Instead of eating the high priced, small portions of food from the high class restaurants and hotels, walk around the small streets and eat from the tiny roadside restaurants to get an authentic taste of France.

Run by the locals, these little restaurants are a great way to enjoy the Riviera and also to make some friends.

Though these are some of the places to visit and some of the things to do in the French Riviera, to get the real feel of the place, there is no other way than to visit it.

travel planning
Latin America – Bucket List Heaven!

Latin America has the potential to re-charge your batteries and sweep you away on a carpet of natural sites and eye-popping scenes unlike any other in the world, I’ve spent some amazing times in places like Ecuador and Peru and it draws me back time and time again…it’s certainly a heaps more exciting place to explore than the more famous backpacking trail in Asia.

Travelling inspires an appreciation for diversity and life, as Latin America beats its own drum and betrays a singular, sensuous rhythm; for want of a better description, it can only be categorised as the collective heart-beat of this very dynamic and colourful part of the world.

While a salsa siesta and street festival may tickle your fancy (and why not? The experience is absolutely not to be missed) and there’s also a heap of unique attractions – like Bolivias San Pedros Prison Tours –  spare a thought and a couple of days for the glories of the natural world or the mesmerising juxtaposition of civilisation – ancient or modern – and geographical location. Need an idea of where to start? Don’t worry, we have you covered.


Lago de Atitlán

The deepest lake in Latin America, Atitlan flooded a vast and cavernous caldera, formed over 80,000 years ago by an earth-shaking eruption; framed by three towering volcanoes, it’s beauty and imposition steal your words and breath away. The area is a thriving centre of villages and Mayan traditionalism, but the real action is beneath the surface, as divers and local fisherman have discovered many pre-classical buildings and historic infrastructure, some clearly defined and easily dated after pottery shards were retrieved.


Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

An assuming and stately island shaped like an hour-glass, Ometepe is a curious anonmly rising from the depths of Lake Nicaragua. Though at first glance, Ometepe may look like two mountains getting warm and snuggly with each other, these peaks are anything but fuzzy. Two volcanoes connected by a stretched isthmus, Ometepe is a lush, fertile island but one with a price if any pyroclastic surge should arise. The Northwest volcano is named Conceopcion and she is certainly very active; after a long sleep, she started to wake up in 2005, fracturing roads and forcing the local government to advise an evacuation. Nothing happened until 2010, when things became decidedly heated. Maderas is dormant (some say extinct), providing rich soils for rainforest vegetation and plot cultivation. Ometepe is an important site in the Central American narrative.


The Pantanal

You may have heard of the Amazon and dreamed about its eccentric and eclectic mix of animals, serpents, amphibians, crawlies and beautiful plants, but we’ll let you in on a little secret. Cruising the Amazon won’t always be what you wish it to be – the animals hide and avoid the sound of boats and people, and the canals sweat muggy claustrophobia. If you’re chasing an Animalia experience, the sloped basin of Pantanal houses 1000 bird speces, 400 types of fish, 480 scaly reptiles and 300 mammals, plus the innumerable invertebrates, including the intelligent and playful giant river otter and the awesome giant ant eater. Looking for a little big cat action? The Pantanal supports one of the largest and sustainable populations of Jaguar globally.

Only one question remains…

What are you waiting for?

The beauty and hospitality of Latin America awaits. Go check out some sites like or stir up your favourite search engine – You won’t regret it. 


If you’re looking for low-cost cruise escapes, whether it’s cruise deals 2013 or an early bird discount for next year’s getaway, there are a number of ways to help cut the cost of cruise holidays. Here are just a few of them:


Compare the Cruise Market

Firstly, the best place to start is with a tour operator like Thomas Cook cruises. Thomas Cook don’t own or operate any cruise ships; instead they sell cruise holidays from other operators which means customers can search a huge choice of cruise holidays all in one place. It saves you having to check multiple websites and also means you can compare the prices and offering of each. Use the Thomas Cook website to enter your search criteria and to filter the results based on your key priorities, like price, sailing date and preferred destination, until you find a shortlist of favourites.


Book Late

An ever-popular way of booking a low-cost cruise is to book late. Just like package holidays, this is a great way to snap up a bargain and means you could save a significant amount on the cost of your holiday. It doesn’t work for all holidays and some might be more discounted than others, but if you’ve got cruise deals 2013 in mind, this is a handy way to find a bargain.


Early Bird Deals

For those who like to plan their trip well in advance, it usually pays to book early. This way, you can often benefit from early bird booking deals which might include financial discounts or other incentives such as onboard spending or a cabin upgrade. What’s more, when you book well in advance, you can enjoy extra time to save some holiday spending money and pay off the cost of your trip, which means by the time your cruise holiday comes around, you can jet off without a care in the world.

Paris – it’s the epitome of the romantic city escape which conjures up images of fine dining, sprawling night time cityscapes, good wine and picnics under the Eiffel Tower.

For those with jobs it’s a perfect place to splash some cash and treat a loved one.

But Paris can also cater for backpackers keen to sample the European hotspots, culture and history this part of the world has by the bucket load – and with a range of accommodation in Paris you can opt for hostels, guesthouses, couch surfing or hotels depending on your budget, city life doesn’t have to cripple your budget!

So what can Paris serve up for those with limited funds or a taste for something different?

Well here’s 5 budget savers for Frances capital…


Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris

If you love a bit of old school, grand architecture the gothis stone building of Cathedreal de Notre Dame de Paris will bit right up your alley! According to Lonely Planet it’s also the most popular unticketed site in Paris – 14 million people a year can’t be wrong hey?!

The pure detail and expanse of the building will captivate you for a good few hours…



Le Champ de Mars

Want to avoid the cost for getting up the Eiffel Tower? Well soaking up the sun here allows you some epic views, postcard perfect pictures and will leave you with an extra bit of cash in your pocket…the icon of France without the cost! Bonus points if you spot someone proposing!


Outdoor Food Markets

For the photographer in you food markets always provide some great pictures and a great way to pass a day exploring exotic treat and lets face it food is a huge part of travel. If you’re really on the backpacker scrounge you can chow down on free samples for lunch – consider it a backpacker tapas crawl!


Climb The Arc de Triomphe 

If you’re looking for some awesome views of Paris but don’t fancy the Eiffel Tower the Arc de Triomphe has some great panoramas, so instead of snapping it from the outside take the time to cimb up the small winding staircase and soak up the chaos around you.


The Louvre

Ok it cost to get in here – but if you can shell out 6 Euros maybe Paris isn’t the best place to be traveling to!

It’s one of the worlds biggest museums so you’ll easily get your monies worth on a visit here – with both the artworks it contains and the building itself being a huge draw for millions of visitors each year.


Personally I need to explore more of Europe – and Paris seems like a great bouncing point to start – I can’t wait to return here and see more of what France has to offer…Paris and beyond.


Has anyone else visited or lived in Paris? Any hints and tips to add to the list?

Europe is much overlooked by a lot of backpackers – especially those from the UK. It’s true what they say – you always neglect what’s on your doorstep.

But the compact size of the continent, it’s transport network and sheer diversity of language, cultures and terrain make it an amazing place to explore – whether you’re new to the backpacking circuit or a travel veteran


The Land Of Pasta and Pizza!

If you’re looking for a holiday with a difference, you can’t go far wrong with a trip to Italy.

This glorious country is home to enormous diversity, ranging from sandy beaches and dramatic rocky coves to glorious rolling countryside and stunning snow-capped mountains.

It really does have something to suit every vice and budget. Whether you want to carve up the power on a skiing trip, kick back and soak up the sun on the beach or a  immerse yourself in the latte culture with a chic city escape, this beautiful, effervescent place is happy to oblige.

Take to the slopes in the Italian Alps and enjoy the chance to whizz down snow-packed pistes, or carve up fresh powder on a snowboard as the icy spray that follows in your wake glistens in the sun. Or, visit in summer to enjoy long rambling trails, pine-clad hillsides and beautiful wildflower meadows.

Whilst not as famous as it’s Swiss and French cousins the snow of Italy can produce some amazing powder days.


Town And Country

For a different scene altogether, live the postcard dream and hire a villa in Tuscany to experience wide-open spaces and rural country living in this stunning Italian region, which is also home to the fabulous cities of Florence, Siena and Pisa.

Following days spent exploring meadnering back lanes and cooking up a storm on the barbeque, you can head to lovely Florence and marvel at its stunning architecture and statues, or head to Pisa to snap that cliche but bucket list photo holding up the leaning tower!

Many travellers choose to go their own way on a holiday to Italy. Thanks to its efficient rail network and numerous airports, it’s easy to get here and to get around – especially if you hire a car.

Although package holidays aren’t the usual attire of many young travellers it can prove a pretty cost affective way to get a great overview of the country and is perfect for a quick last minute trip away – and with everything included it’s means you can simply kick back and enjoy your time away without the stress!

There are some great options in the the beautiful Neapolitan Riviera, but you can also book skiing holidays to the Italian Alps, or use your hotel as a base and hire a car to get out and explore the region. If that’s up your street head over to the Thomas Cook website and get started…


So, when will you discover Italy?

You may be tempted into believing that a stay in one of the tourist spots in the Dalaman region of Turkey is enough to keep you occupied for your week or fortnight in the area and for most people, you’d be absolutely right. It all depends on what you want to achieve from your visit to Turkey and while Direct Holidays can guarantee an unforgettable stay at one of the excellent quality accommodation options, there’s something rather special about taking time out to explore the rest of Dalaman and, in particular, the impressive and majestic city of Fethiye.

The Dalaman region is home to some incredible sights, notably the mesmerising coastlines and picturesque vistas, but that’s not all that it has to offer its visitors. If you’re staying in one of the tourist hotspots and you want to explore a little further afield, there’s a wealth of options available to you in and around Fethiye.



Shop till you Drop 

Head to Fethiye on a Tuesday during your stay and enjoy the huge open market that can be found there. From crafts and leather to spices and produce, the stalls cover a broad range of wares and are well worth a perusal – be prepared to haggle if you want to grab a bargain!

The streets of Fethiye are home to some absolutely incredible shops if the market doesn’t have anything to tempt you – jewellery is a particular speciality with the price of gold being much more favourable than the UK.



Explore the History 

Fethiye and its surroundings are home to a huge range of historical sites that would make perfect additions to your itinerary, including the ghost town of Kayakoy and the Tomb of Amyntas – perfect day trip options.


Seek some Adventure 

From paragliding in the hills of Olu Deniz to white water rafting along the Dalaman Stream, if you’re hoping for a thrill injection, you’ve come to the right place!

Add a little variety to your Dalaman stay and incorporate a day trip to Fethiye or a book yourself onto an excursion – the beaches may be inviting but you could add to your Turkish experience with ease.

I love Australia – it started my backpacking adventures back in 2009 and it’s still one of my favourite places on the planet.

Backpackers visit the land down under for many reasons – some for work, some for wildlife and some simply for the epic east coast backpacking scene. But despite being a relatively young country Oz has some heaps good culinary treats up its sleeve…so here’s a little guide to Aussie Cuisine…



Originally of course, traditional Australian fare was whatever indigenous foods were available to the Aborigines out in the bush. Then with the arrival of the British it  lapsed into the traditional meat and two veg meals that are the staple of the Brit table!

australian food backpacker
The Humble Bacon Sarnie – But A Bit More Posh!

After the Second World War however, with the influx of people from all over the world, first from northern Europe and later from the Mediterranean and Afacesia, the Aussie table once again changed as these immigrants brought with them diversity and tastes that up until then had been relatively unknown in Australia.

Over the years with the mixing of cultures and the blending of dishes, Australia can not be said to have only one traditional meal and has even re-vitalized old Aborigine favorites such as kangaroo and crocodile – which is always a different experience from the backpacker staple of 2 minute noodles!

Like most western countries Australia hasn’t  got a single traditional dish – in fact Australians have perhaps separated into two groups when it comes to their dietary preferences; there are the city dwellers and those that live in the country. In the cities and towns, especially the bigger ones, the diversity of the food matches the diversity of the cultures whilst in the countryside they are more restricted to ‘home grown’ fare.


Urban Eating

Although eating out in the cities of Australia may not be as inexpensive as perhaps the UK or the States, Australians love dinning out, which means that there has to be a large number of cafes and restaurants to cater to this need. This of course means that with a large number of restaurants, there is also a wide diversity in choices. It’s Asian neighbours have become a firm favourite with Vietnamese, Thai, Malay and Chinese restaurants becoming among the most popular.

So whether you’re staying in a backpacker hostel or using sites like to grab a hotel deal you’ll be well placed to sample some great eateries.


australian food backpacker pie
And Who Could Forget The Pie?!

Country Eating

Although Chinese restaurants are starting to make an appearance throughout the country, there certainly is not an abundance of them at this time and so those Australians living in the isolated countryside do not have much chance to eat out and certainly do not have many choices if they do.

The Aussie pie is definitely a staple of the working Aussie though and there’s more choices than you could ever imgaine!

Traditionally in Australia, local hotels will sell meals at lunch time and the evenings but they do so between limited times and offer limited choice if any, often all hotels selling the one thing; steak, salad and chips (another lapse over from the British culture!). With such a limited choice to eat out, most Australians outside of the bigger towns cook for themselves but that hasn’t stopped them from seeking diversity and they have returned to some of the traditional foods of the Aborigine.


Aboriginal Food

Although there is now an abundance of better known meats available in Australia, the Aboriginal foods would consist of meat from Kangaroo, Wallaby, Emu and Crocodiles and in many backpacker towns you can tuck into an Aussie BBQ night serving up all of them. Other Aboriginal foods include Flathead fish, which although found all around the country have to be dealt with carefully as they have two poisonous spines on their backs, so be careful if you decide to go catch your own meal!

One of the most famous though it the Witchetty grubs –  larvae from Ghost Moths and were once collected for either eating raw or barbecued…although personally I couldn’t bring myself to try them.

australian food backpacker bbq
Get Your BBQ On!


When anybody thinks of Australia, they probably think of BBQ – it’s the backbone of the Aussie household and beaches.

BBQs can be found throughout the country at beaches, parks and even some car parks, often free but sometimes coin operated. Although all Australians use BBQs, what they put on it can once again depend on where they live. If they live near the beach or coast they may BBQ shrimp or crab whilst those in the country may BBQ kangaroo or Emu.


Fruit and Vegetables

With it’s amazing tropical climate fruits are readily available in Australia both with perhaps traditional, well known ones like bananas, papaya, mangoes, pears and avocados and more local ones like Tasmanian Cherries and Quandong fruit.

A good variety of veggies are available too whether they are from America, Europe or Asia, they are all there. Vegetarian restaurants seem to have surprisingly become popular in this meat loving country so if you’re diet is swaying that way you’re all covered.

Although it may not be as cheap to eat out in Australia – especially if you’ve just bounced over from Asia, at least in the cities you will have as big a diversity of choices as you would at home and perhaps an even wider one.

Outside of the cities the choices may not be so vast but could certainly be different with many options being unique to Australia, such as crocodile eggs or grubs.

One of the great things about backpacking is the freedom this style of travel permits, and in this sense, Finland is the ideal destination. Its big, open skies and vast wilderness provide the setting for truly unique and thoroughly enjoyable vacations. Parts of the nation, particularly in the north and east, remain fantastically remote. For example, the Lemmenjoki National Park and Oulanka National Park offer quiet treks under pines and by lakes. In contrast, the capital Helsinki is a modern and bustling metropolis.


Summer Fun

During the warm but brief summer, the country comes to life in a burst of sunshine and travellers can experience festivals along with many other events throughout the year. Meanwhile, in winter visitors can enjoy dramatic snowy vistas while skiing, sledge riding and trekking. After a day in the elements, they can warm up in wood-fired saunas.

Backpackers keen to get away from it all while in Finland should make their way to Lapland, this beautiful northern outpost encapsulates much about this rugged yet welcoming nation. Extending hundreds of kilometres above the Arctic Circle, it offers continuous daylight in the summer and long nights in the winter. Holidaymakers in the area have a great chance to see the magnificent aurora borealis between late September and early April.


Get Cultured

At the other end of the spectrum, the coastal city of Helsinki offers style and culture in abundance, with plenty of museums, restaurants, cafes, Art Nouveau buildings and more. It also boasts great nightlife, particularly in summer. However, backpackers should note that there is a lack of cheap accommodation in the city and from mid-May to mid-August, it’s a good idea for holidaymakers to book in advance. In general, Finland offers lots of good quality hotels, but they are notoriously pricey. Those looking for budget options should set their sights on youth hostels as they are more affordable.

During the warmer months, the Lakeland region in the east of the country is well worth checking out. Here, lakes, rivers, locks and canals abound and visitors can take to the water in canoes and ferries. Meanwhile, the south coast also has plenty to offer. Its various coastal settlements include the city of Turku and tourists can check out a series of historic ironworks that have been turned into rural retreats.

Backpackers looking for budget for breaks in Finland should bear in mind that, as well as pricey accommodation, they will have to cover relatively high transport costs. Also, alcohol doesn’t come cheap, so nights out can leave wallets feeling distinctly lighter. That said booze from stores is more affordable.

The US Open is one of the 4 Grand Slam tennis tournaments that take place every year. The importance of the event means that it attracts top players, with significant amounts of prize money on offer.
That prize money is regarded by most tennis players as being considerably less important than the prestige that can be earned by winning this famous tournament. A place in the history of the sport is guaranteed, joining the likes of Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Pete Sampras and Steffi Graf.

For those wishing to see the players in action, the good news is that it’s possible to get tickets for the event, which takes place at Flushing Meadows, in New York City.


Book Early

Although tickets can certainly be expensive, they are made available to the general public in the months prior to the tournament. A variety of ticket options are available and you’ll generally pay more to witness the action on the show courts. Fortunately, the quality of the entry list means that you’ll also get to see some fantastic options on the other courts.

Unlike some other tournaments, the US Open also sees some matches being hosted after dark. Locals suggest that these night matches often have a particularly vibrant atmosphere.

If you are looking to see competitive matches, then you may wish to aim for dates towards the latter end of the tournament. The best players tend to make serene progress through the earlier rounds, meaning that matches can sometimes be a little shorter in length during the first week of action.


Getting There

If you’ve been examining your options for car hire in USA with Avis, then you’ll be pleased to hear that a considerable amount of parking is provided in the area surrounding Flushing Meadows. You do need to take into account the parking charges, however, since these are usually separate from the cost of entering the venue.

You may be tempted to bring a large bag of belongings on the day, but it’s worth noting that security is particularly tight and that all bags are searched. This means that your entry to Flushing Meadows will be delayed. You may wish to avoid taking a bag, if possible, in order to ensure that you can avoid the queues.

There’s also a distinct lack of shade available in the grandstands, so it makes sense to bring your own hat and sunglasses. Although it’s possible to buy such accessories within the grounds, prices do tend to be inflated.

You’ll also discover that it can be expensive to buy food and drink within the venue, but a number of stalls offer cheaper options outside the main gates. It’s possible for you to exit Flushing Meadows and to get your hand stamped, ensuring that you will have no problems with re-entry. That means that you can step outside at lunchtime and save yourself a bit of money.

As an alternative, you might prefer to pack your own sandwiches. The regulations at the venue do permit you to bring a reasonable amount of food and drink.

If you’d like to take the opportunity to get even closer to the stars of the tennis world, then look out for the autograph signing sessions, which take place on most days of the tournament.

Even if you can’t afford the prices that are associated with the very best seats, you shouldn’t despair. Action continues into the night on many of the outside courts. Even on the main courts, there’s a chance for you to get closer to the action than you may imagine.

Many wealthy visitors to the US Open tend to leave early and ushers will often hand out passes, as they attempt to fill seats. This means that it may be possible for you to get an upgrade, although this doesn’t happen every day.

In order to reach the US Open from the Grand Central Parkway, you should leave at the Tennis Center exit. You’ll then find that the venue is located on your right.

The US Open has a profile that is only matched by the Australian Open, the French Open and the Wimbledon Championships. Your visit to the US Open will be a memorable experience, allowing you to witness Grand Slam tennis live. It’s an opportunity that’s not to be missed.

Certain parts of Egypt are complete tourist traps but this is a vast country and there’s plenty to discover elsewhere if you’re looking for a more authentic Egyptian cultural experience. Here are some of our top tips.


Getting There

Isolated desert border points, tedious customs, and regional tensions mean your best bet really is flying in to Egypt. All major European countries run cheap flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, the country’s glittering coastal tourist resort. EasyJet runs flights from London, Geneva, Manchester and Milan for £50-100, saving £250 on a flight to Cairo. As soon as you set down, high-tail it out of Sharm. If you are set on the beach life, Dahab is more backpacker-friendly although no more Egyptian and Nuweiba is the spot for beach-hut seclusion. However, Egyptians don’t go to these resorts and you will hear more Russian spoken than Arabic. In Egypt all roads lead to El-Qahira, Cairo.


Getting Around

In Cairo, the transport system seems impenetrable. 20 million people swarm around almost as many identical white microbuses, that speedily criss-cross the city, spilling people as they go. Many bus  drivers take off their doors so they can cram more people in, hanging over the road on the flyovers. The experience cannot be missed. The adrenaline and the terror is part of daily life. Thankfully, Cairo also has a fantastic metro system, the lines are incredibly easy to navigate and each journey costs just 1EGP. Just don’t get into the wrong carriage, it is segregated between women and men.


Between cities there are plenty of air-conditioned buses that are a blessing – Superjet is the best company. Bus journeys are in fact usually far faster than the antiquated train system, a relic of the British occupation. Shared taxis are also a very viable way to travel between towns but always remember to haggle.



Street food in Egypt is incredibly cheap. Falafal wraps (‘tamiya’) are great value at about 1EGP while chicken or meat ‘shawarma’ is almost a full meal at 5EGP. The best deal is Cairene favourite ‘koshari’ – this spicy mix of rice, lentils, garlic, tomato, chickpeas and macaroni, topped with crispy onions starts at about 3EGP.

Be sure to try breakfast classics such as pitta bread with ‘foul’ (beanpaste) or fresh hummus.


Escape The Tourists

Although there are several big sights that it would be a travesty to miss – The Pyramids, Abu Simbel, Luxor, Aswan – the charge that Egypt has become just a package holiday destination is completely unfounded. As soon as you get off the main tourist route, which runs Sharm-Cairo-Luxor-Aswan, you can experience the real Egypt. Here are a few recommendations:


1) The Western Desert Oases

Four isolated oases mark the route of a prehistoric branch of the Nile through the Western Desert. El-Bahariya, Farafra, Dakhla and Kharga all have their distinct atmospheres but they share the same desert wilderness. Opulent date-palm plantations jostle with crumbling medieval fortresses, sand-swept ancient temples and Bedouin camps.


2) Alexandria

Cairo’s second city has a Mediterranean feel. French colonial architecture towers over cafes and book-markets on the way to the vast bay. The new Library of Alexandria is a fitting monument to the ancient wonder that fell in to the ocean. Divers can explore the ruins of Cleopatra’s Palace offshore. Siwa Oasis, where another language is spoken, is not far from here.


3) Assyut

This city will lead you well off the tourist trail. In Mubarak’s time Middle Egypt was out of bounds but now there is now nothing to stop you. Assyut is the industrial heart of modern Egypt and is interesting not for its architecture but for its culture. This is real, day-to-day Egyptian life and its markets are every bit as exciting as those in Islamic Cairo. Plenty of ancient temples and early Christian fortresses are in the local area as well.



Over the past 5 years I have travelled A LOT! I spent 2 years travelling through Asia and Australia and now I travel somewhere new at least once a month. I’m incredibly lucky and I love the travel lifestyle/career that I’ve chosen but I have a travel secret to share with you: I’m terrible at travelling.

Yes, even after years of travelling, I’m still not very good at it. I enjoy every minute of travelling and I love writing about my travels and sharing my travel photos but I’m pretty useless at the actual travel part.

Here are a few examples.

I always blow my budget

Most of the time I don’t actually have a budget in mind but when I do, I always end up blowing it too quickly. My designated travel money seems to disappear from my pockets before I’m even half way through my holiday. I try to cut back on expenses, alcohol and expensive trips but there is always a little voice in the back of my head that says, ‘You only live once and you may never come back here ever again! Go on girl, have fun!’ And before I know it, I’ve not got a penny to my name.

I always get lost

It’s a running joke between my family and friends about how I was born without a sense of direction. They say it as though a ‘sense of direction’ is an organ or some kind of internal compass that ensures you always know which way to go and, unfortunately, it’s something I don’t have. To put it into perspective, I can walk into a shop on the high street and when I walk back out I forget which direction I’m meant to be walking in. If I can get lost on a long, straight high street, imagine what I’m like in a new city!

I always over-pack

luggage stuffing

Every time I go away I promise myself that this time I will pack light. This time I will have a backpack that I can lift over my head. This time I won’t lug around 15 outfits that I will never wear.  OK, maybe next time…

I always take too many clothes, accessories and toiletries ‘just-in-case’ because you really don’t know who you’re going to meet when you travel!

I always wing-it

I really admire the kind of travellers who buy a guidebook months before they visit a new destination. They thoroughly research all the things there are to do, the amazing places to stay, the local delicacies they should try and the best places to get stunning photography. Despite my best intentions, I never quite get round to doing all this research and usually arrive in a destination knowing very little about it.

So there you have it, I’m a terrible traveller but somehow, all these faults usually lead to me having an amazing trip. Yes, I spend too much money but I spend it on unforgettable experiences. I might get lost but I usually end up finding something amazing in an unexpected place. I do overpack but I’ve always got a spare pair of shoes/jeans/earrings/gloves for anyone that forgets! And maybe I don’t plan but it means I end up chatting to the locals to find out the best things to do and I usually end up avoiding the tourist traps that guidebooks recommend.

Now it’s your turn, what are your travel confessions? 

Most people struggle to pin-point the single best moment on their RTW journey. Many people travel for a few months or even a year or more so there will undoubtedly be hundreds of amazing moments but, for me, my single best moment is clear. It was one night spent camping on a beach in Tasmania. Myself and four friends had spent the day hiking, fishing and exploring. We’d caught a massive fish so made a fire on the beach to cook it up for dinner. We were having so much fun on the beach that it was 10pm before we knew it so we decided to stay for the night and camp under the stars. Drinking warm beer, eating toasted marshmallows and sharing travel stories until the early hours of the morning, I can honestly say that was the best night of my life.

I’ve been speaking to lots of backpackers in Australia and I’m always surprised how few go to Tasmania and do anything like this. They all think it sounds impossibly difficult to get over there and hire a car but it honestly isn’t. All you need to do is book car hire in Tasmania with DriveNow grab a map and you’re good to go. You can find maps that are especially designed for camping so they have campsites, toilets and great places to stop marked on the map already. If you can pick up a map from a backpacker then it’s even better because you can find their notes and dog-eared pages already marked.

Despite the scary stories that come from films like Wolfe Creek, Australia is an amazingly safe country so it’s really safe to camp. Tasmania is a small island so you don’t need to worry about getting lost out in the outback or breaking down and no one finding you. I would recommend packing plenty of water and food and a warm sleeping bag because it can get chilly at night and whatever happens, as long as you have food you’ll always be fine.

The more people you have in your car the better because it means you can share the costs of petrol which can be pricey. If you plan to sleep in your car, make sure you have an estate so you can get an airbed in the boot. If there are 4 or 5 of you, pack a tent for extra space.

The campsites in Australia cost about $25 a night and have excellent facilities. There are always loads of BBQs, fridges and nice, clean bathrooms with hot showers. Make sure you pack a torch in case you need to head to the bathrooms at night!

If you don’t plan to camp then there are plenty of budget hostels or cheap hotels for you to stay in. Hostels are a great place to meet other backpackers and chat to people to get their tips and advice for things to see and do. Guidebooks are brilliant but you’ll always get the best advice from your fellow travellers.

And my final piece of advice for anyone travelling around Australia in a car is to pack light. You have so little space and it’s virtually impossible to travel with a lot of luggage. Try to restrict yourself to a 40L backpack so you don’t have any space to overpack.

Have you every travelled around Australia by car? If so, do you have any tips to share?



Travelling the world is a wonderful experience and for those with the means to do so it can be the trip-of-a-lifetime. To ensure that a long-term commitment to travelling does not have to be cut short it is important to keep a keen eye on the budget.

As well as this it is important to have some relaxing downtime, whether that be on the beach or a bit of pampering. This allows you to reflect on all of the amazing sights you have seen and recharge your batteries before setting out once again.

In order to achieve these two aims it is a good idea to do some research in advance and get a great deal so that you can truly relax and know your funds are not being eaten away. Here is a guide to some of the places to take that time out. So sit back and enjoy planning your holidays for 2013.



Croatia is pretty much the ultimate beach destination with its 5,835 kilometres of coastline stretching along the Adriatic. It is an incredibly easy place to travel with good public transport and an overall pleasant disposition in the locals.

It also offers some fascinating places to explore when you have had enough of relaxing on the beach. The picturesque old towns and pretty fishing villages are perfect for wandering around and taking it all in.

By booking through an online deal you will also be able to make your money go further and indulge in the type of luxury you haven’t experienced elsewhere on your trip. Sooth aching bones with a massage and wile away the hours in a Jacuzzi – absolute bliss.



Portugal is another great option for those of you who want to spend some time flaking out on the beach, with plenty of choices as to which piece of the coast to choose. Whether you prefer to be in a resort or tucked away in a quiet bay there will be somewhere that is just perfect for you.

As well as the sun worshipping, Portugal maintains much of its pre-tourist charm with little fishing villages to explore and small pine forests in which to take walks. And if all of that sounds like a lot of effort why not just chill out on your terrace or spend the day catching up on your reading by the pool?



When it comes to taking a break from the frenetic pace of a world trip then Greece is a good shout as it offers so many different possibilities. With hundreds of inhabited islands you are bound to find a spot that suits you, whether that be for accessing the beaches of Kos, nightlife of Zante or the historic sites of Crete.

Greek food is particularly tasty and an all inclusive deal is a great way to eat like King Minos while staying within your budget. Fresh salads packed with locally produced olives, feta cheese and the reddest tomatoes you have ever seen complement the climate totally.

Even if you intend to stay in one place for a while it is easy to hop between islands for a daytrip if you know that you get restless easily. Otherwise grab a cocktail and watch the sun go down behind the white-washed walls and blue sea.


You’re young, you’re free, and you’re looking to party. With these basic truths helping guide your travel itinerary, you should consider these tried-and-true destinations known for offering nightlife experiences like few other places on earth. So pack your bags, leave your inhibitions, and head out to some of the world’s best party locations.


New York

Along with being generally regarded as an incredible place to visit, New York has earned a reputation as a global contender for best place to party. The various boroughs of the city are packed with bars and clubs that are each trying to outdo the other on the dance and drink scale.

You can try Greenwood Park, a popular beer garden with 13,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space devoted to beer and revelry. This former mechanic shop has happy-hour deals inside and bocce courts out back.

For a true Manhattan skyline experience, head to La Piscine at the Hotel Americano, where the young, beautiful and restless indulge in margaritas and tapas next to a pool that becomes a big hot tub in the winter.



It would not be possible to round up party destinations without talking about Ibiza. The Balearic paradise is the global hedonistic capital. The year-round sun and never-ending clubbing season has made Ibiza the most famous European party destination of all.

The island is beautiful in its own right, so even if partying 24/7 isn’t your thing, there’s plenty to do to fill your time. However, if an Ibiza holiday 2013 is your thing, then San Antonio is the place to be – the music and the dancing never end!



The river Danube cuts Budapest in two, between the historical cities of Buda and Pest. Although Budapest does not initially strike you as a great city for partying, there is a growing dance music scene in the city, and a night out at Buda beach (sometimes known as Buddha Beach) is definitely worth a look.

These ‘beaches’ lie right in the middle of the city and in the summer they open up onto the river, so you can party the night away on the banks of the Danube. The drinks are cheap, the music is loud, and the bars stay open late – it’s pretty much perfect.

full moon thailand
Full Moon – Bucket Fuelled Chaos!



If your budget for flights is a little larger, then a trip to Thailand is definitely in the cards. The cost of living in Thailand is minimal, and so any expense on the travel there is reclaimed once you head out to the bars and restaurants.

One of the best parties in the world is the once-a-month Full Moon Party in Ko Phan Ngan. Here they serve drinks by the bucket, and the balmy weather means you can party on the beach until the sun comes up.



Berlin has become the spiritual home of house and trance music in the last ten years. The number of abandoned warehouses, particularly in the eastern half of the city, means that there are a number of super clubs in the city that have become destinations in their own right.

Berghain is this kind of place-to-be club, and it has become one of the most famous techno locations in the world. Although you don’t have to be in to dance music to enjoy Berlin’s nightlife, it definitely helps. Plus, it’s difficult not to love a city that sells beer by the litre.

If you are looking for the best places to party in the world, then the only determining factor is your bank balance. Whatever your budget, you can definitely find somewhere to party until the break of dawn.

Holidays in Central America can take many forms. Cultural visits to ancient Mayan sites, lazy beach vacations set among the palms and activity adventures involving white-water rafting and zip lining.

And for those who enjoy strapping on their walking boots and hitting the trails, there’s a huge range of spectacular hikes to be enjoyed, featuring volcano walks and oceans views.

If you fit into the latter category, here’s a list of the best walks in Central America, which you can get stuck into with TrekAmerica.


Cerro Chato, Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a country blessed with incredible natural landscapes, many of which are dominated by towering volcanoes. Located in the centre of the country, the Arenal Volcano National Park is home to several spectacular cinder cones.

Although Volcan Arenal is the most prominent in the park, it is far too dangerous to climb. However, the slightly smaller, and dormant, Cerro Chato is perfectly safe for hikers.

Those who make the tough trek up through the humid forest to its 1,140m summit are rewarded by the sight of a beautiful turquoise lake, which they can scramble down to for a closer look.

You have to pay a small fee to climb the volcano, with the main route starting from the Arenal Observatory Lodge. The steep ascent and descent can be accomplished in four to five hours.


Volcan Maderas, Nicaragua

If you can’t get enough of climbing volcanoes and visiting crater lakes, you’ll love the ascent to the summit of Volcan Maderas on the island of Ometepe, situated in the centre of Lake Nicaragua in Nicaragua.

Slightly shorter and less dangerous than its cousin, Concepcion, Maderas makes for a challenging but doable day’s hiking. Although this is a popular hike, a guide is necessary to ensure your safety, and the climb to the 1,394m summit is a tough all-day one, often made more challenging by slippery and muddy conditions underfoot.

Upon reaching the top, you’ll be treated to the sight of Laguna de Maderas and fine views to Concepcion. As with Cerro Chato, a small fee is payable that allows you to trek through the coffee plantation on the slopes of the volcano.


Cusuco National Park, Honduras

If peak bagging is not your thing, but trekking through lush jungles in search of waterfalls and wildlife is, the Cusuco National Park offers endless opportunities for exploration.

Head underground into the Taulabe Caves, which extend for miles, sample the raw power of the Pulhapanzak Waterfall, where the water plunges 140ft. You may even get the chance to take a guided tour into the caves directly behind the waterfall or swim in one of the pools.

And as part of the Meso-American biodiversity hotspot, there are also plenty of exotic species lurking in the forest, such as Baird’s tapir and jewel scarab beetles.


Hiking tips

For all of these hikes you’ll need to come prepared. Sturdy walking shoes or boots, a waterproof jacket (jungles can get pretty wet at times) and a rucksack containing plenty of water and snacks are a must. Also remember, it gets colder and windier at altitude so while you might not need layers when you set off, by the time you reach the peak it could be chilly.

You’ll also want a camera to capture the sights, some sun cream for when you’re on more exposed sections and some bug spray with plenty of DEET in it.

It seems a bit of a shame to travel all the way to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro and then simply jet home again without seeing any more of the country. Don’t get me wrong, the experience of ascending the peak is amazing, but it’s also worth allowing a bit of time to explore what’s on offer elsewhere in Tanzania once you’ve finished the trek.

To give you some inspiration, I’ve come up with two suggestions of places to visit and things to do after the first part of your holiday to Kilimanjaro comes to an end.


Visit Zanzibar

The first option is to head to the stunning tropical islands of the Zanzibar archipelago – the perfect place to kick back and relax after climbing a mountain! There are two main islands here, with lots of small islets dotted around them. Their location in the Indian Ocean means you can expect to find pristine white-sand beaches, as well as amazing coral reefs just below the surface.

While you may be tempted to just sit back and relax on the coast after the challenge of climbing Kilimanjaro, I think it’s better to include a few activities and excursions on your trip to Zanzibar. One place worth visiting for a dose of culture is Stone Town, a vibrant and eclectic city that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to a host of outstanding buildings.

Large palaces and mansions can be found on its streets, as well as small houses nestled on its narrow alleys, a wide range of restaurants and shops and bustling markets. It’s got more than its fair share of historical sites, too, with the Anglican Cathedral, House of Wonders, Palace Museum and the Old Fort among the places you shouldn’t miss.


Go on a safari in Africa

Tanzania is a wonderful place to go on a safari and, although you may have spotted some of the country’s fascinating wildlife during your Kilimanjaro ascent, I think the chance to see a host of amazing animals in their natural habitat is too good to pass up – after all, you have travelled a long way to get here, so you may as well make the most of it!

You can travel to the famous Serengeti Game Reserve if you want, or head to one of Tanzania’s lesser known national parks, like Lake Manyara, Tarangire or the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area. If you don’t have lots of time to spare on your safari adventure, I reckon Lake Manyara is the best choice.

This reserve is relatively small – 330 sq km – and, unsurprisingly, features a very large lake! Because it’s reasonably compact, it’s a great place to see a wide variety of creatures in a short space of time. For instance, in the forests you can look for the likes of baboons, blue monkeys, bushbucks and forest hornbills, while on the flood plains you’ll spot animals including wildebeest, zebras, buffaloes, klipspringers, lions and elephants. Around the lake itself there are hippos, in addition to a vast array of birds, such as pelicans, cormorants, flamingos and storks.

If you’re after spectacular scenery as well as astounding wildlife, the Ngorongoro Crater is one of the best options, with the stunning Olduvai Gorge and the vast volcanic crater among the landscapes you’ll encounter. The main crater is home to black rhinos, lions, grant’s gazelles, elands and zebras, to name just a few, while leopards are found on its forested upper slopes.