The 4 Countries with the Best Shopping Environments

There are plenty of reasons someone might go traveling. Perhaps they want to soak up the culture of a different nation. Maybe they want to immerse themselves in new cuisine. Some simply want to lounge under the scorching sun and work on their tan. And that is the beauty of traveling. There is so much on offer the world over to entice and captivate us.

One of the less talked about reasons for travel is one of the ones that almost everyone engages with while abroad. Shopping. Love it or hate it, shopping is one of the mainstays of the tourism industry. Countries and local communities depend on shoppers coming from abroad. Many people build their entire life around it.

It might seem very extravagant to go abroad simply for a shopping spree, but there are many items and products that can only be bought abroad and a lot of countries offer a unique shopping experience. Below we are going to look at four countries with the most unique and diverse shopping environments on the planet.

The U.S.A

No list about shopping is complete without the most obvious choice. The United States of America. The home of capitalism in its finest. No other country takes the shopping mania to such extremes or flaunts their incredible shopping environments as proudly as the USA. And rightly so.

The different states of America each boast their own unique identities and charm. And within that, you will find a variety of different products available. A lot of the lesser-known states boast rich and historic memorabilia or their own food products grown in their own yards. While some of the larger states are home to supermalls that receive products from the world over. You will find that private label cosmetics are available here along with many other products often only available to specific countries.

Japan

The land of automation! Those who travel to Japan will attest it is like stepping into the future. Japan is an industrious and forward-thinking nation. One that holds their history and traditions close while also looking to the future with open arms. And this is reflected in their shopping environment.

Japan is famous for its automated stores. Everything from robots at the checkouts, to entire stores being filled with nothing but Gacha machines. It is definitely a thrilling and futuristic experience that cannot be replicated anywhere. For those looking for a more human experience, Japan might not be for you. But for those who are thrilled with technological advances. This is your ideal shopping holiday.

Singapore

For those looking for a more human experience, Singapore may be the best choice. Singapore has all the normal malls and stores, but the real shopping magic is held within its sprawling markets. Street after street is covered in market stalls boasting exotic products and a bustling environment filled with haggling, dancers, parades, exhibitions, and an atmosphere of real human connection.

Not to mention you are more likely to find a variety of handmade items that can’t be found anywhere else. The level of rarity and unique spin these shops offer is second to none.

Italy

History buffs, this is the place for you. Italy is a land rich in history and shopping. Not only are they a cultural food hub, but their shopping environment is housed in historical roman buildings and boasts an impressive selection of historic memorabilia mixed with modern pleasures. Not to mention Vatican City will offer a unique experience that cannot be matched anywhere else. If you want a more traditional shopping experience, Italy isn’t the place. But for anyone who wants to soak up some history while they shop, grab the next flight over.

 

Why Electric Scooters are Perfect for Backpackers

Backpacking is a rewarding test of endurance and character. It requires a level of fortitude that most travelers aren’t capable of. You get to see more of the world and take the roads less traveled. See sights most people would miss and enrich yourself in the real culture of your destination. But there is no reason you should have to trek on foot the whole trip. Sure, public transport will assist you, but there are other options that will ease the burden on your feet and allow you to cover more ground faster, while still providing you with the freedom to go wherever you like.

Electric Scooters

There are two types of electric scooters. The motorbike-like scooters designed for road use. Or the classic stand on scooter powered by a motor. It is these scooters we recommend to you when backpacking. There are a number of reasons an electric scooter is preferable over, say, a bike, or moped.

Firstly, security. As a backpacker, your possessions won’t always be as secure as you might like. This is one of the biggest risks. But electric scooters are unique in that you can fold them up and carry them around or store them by your side. No need to chain them up outside and risk them being stolen.

Secondly, they are easy to use. The Xiaomi m365 scooter from escootersdirect.ie is a perfect example of how user-friendly these scooters can be. Charge it up and you are on your way exploring the streets of wherever you have found yourself in the world.

Lastly, they are extremely customizable. You can add attachments to meet your specific travel needs. GPS systems, storage attachments, security functions. The list is endless as to what you can add. Electric scooters are the perfect travel tool. So it is very much worth investing in one if you are planning a large backpacking trip.

The Best Family Friendly Hotels In The USA

Nothing can quite match the sinking feeling of organizing a vacation, picking the location, buying the tickets, and then arriving at a hotel that is unsuitable for your entire family. This passage will aim to remove this stress from your life by breaking down five of the best family-friendly hotels in the USA.

 

The Inn at Entrada

The Inn at Entrada is a luxurious hotel based in St. George, Utah. Over recent years, the Entrada has invested in its facilities for general families; with the introduction of a brand new pool and soccer, pitches to keep the kids busy. The hotel is still staying open despite the corona crisis and has promised to provide guests with the safest possible experience; but I am sorry to say this does mean an end to the famous free cookies that the Entrada has to offer, well I do suppose that safety does come first.

 

The Woodlands Resort & Conference Centre

Now the important part of this title is the location, the Woodlands resort offers a beautiful slice of paradise in the Texas heat. The Woodlands will probably remind you more of Mexico than any part of the USA, with intense heat and beautiful palm trees. At $150 a night for a two-bedroom room, the Woodlands will offer you the perfect piece of marriage relaxation, as your kids are pre-occupied with the dual waterslides and multiple little hobbies. Now the resort can actually boast an all-new bamboo mattress, I could spend this entire passage talking about the quality of bamboo so just check these reviews of bamboo mattresses.

 

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

The Cabana Bay Beach Resort is a true blast from the past boasting a 50s themed aesthetic, the look is bound to show your children some memories of your own childhood. As the name would suggest to you the hotel is actually located just next to Universal’s Orlando resort. The 50’s styled diner plays host to a cool vintage style menu, which your kids are bound to enjoy. The hotel is also built on the steps of the new Universal Orlando waterpark giving your children a taste of the future, you will be able to once more enjoy a piece of your past, this hotel is risk-free and is bound to be fun for all the family.

 

Red Cliffs Lodge

To take this passage back to Utah we have the Red Cliffs Lodge. Based on the Colorado river the lodge will offer you and your family a litany of outdoor activities. With everything from horse riding to hiking, while still offering you and your families the modern excitements of a swimming pool and a five-star restaurant. You and your kids can play cowboys in the saloon-style bar and restaurant, or you can leave your kids to play while you and your partner test out the on-site wine testing facilities. For a quiet time away from the city Red Cliffs is an absolute must.

 

Kingsmill Resort

Finally, we have the Kingsmill resort of Williamsburg, Virginia. Perhaps the most all-around inclusion in this list is the Kingsmill, based on the James river the Kingsmill has everything your kid will need. Offering a number of different activities to keep your family busy. For your kids, there are movie nights, camp out nights, and sports pitches, while the parents will have the opportunity to play on the resorts 18 hole golf course. The Kingsmill is the perfect location for any family offering a safe space for the perfect family vacation.

The Best Holiday Destinations for Athletes

Traveling the world is one of the most rewarding things you can do. The benefits of traveling for the mind, body, and for your general intellect have been well documented time and time again. And traveling need not be a fully-fledged holiday abroad, it can simply be taking time to appreciate your own country as well. It is surprising how much is hidden away in your own back yard, so to speak. Regardless of where you go though, travel broadens the mind and opens your heart to new and exciting experiences.

But traveling abroad need not simply be for a vacation. For many athletes, the chance to travel is the chance to take your favorite sport to a new locale and experience it in a new and exciting way. A change of scenery or an added challenge due to terrain is the ultimate thrill for an athlete. But where are the best places to go if you are looking for somewhere new to play? Below we are going to look at some of the best destinations for athletes.

Australia

The great world of the Downunder. Australia is known the world over for its fierce athletes, scorching heat, deadly insects, and beautiful vistas. And it is a hotspot for many exciting sports that bring athletes from the world over every year. The two biggest sports that Australia is perfect for are surfing and diving. So much so that the sports have become national symbols, which most people would agree to highlight the beauty of the country as a whole.

Australia boasts the most luscious beaches anywhere. Clear blue oceans with fantastic waves that will capture the heart of any budding surfer. So its no surprise people flock in their hundreds. And when it comes to diving, make sure you are geared up with all the best equipment from diving picks because you do not want to be caught unprepared when you see the amazing reefs. Diving amongst them is an honor. Keep in mind though they are fragile and need protection.

England

The home of football (Or soccer if you prefer.) England is often associated with stuffy gentlemen, bad weather, and tea. But it boasts a rich and deep history of sports. Famous for sports such as cricket and rugby, alongside football and tennis, England is home to many athletes and some of the finest arenas in the world. England is also home to some lesser-known sports, such as polo and, oddly enough, cheese rolling.

England has a rich tapestry of sports history and activities on offer. For any athlete looking to expand their historical information about a sport or hoping to try something new, England is definitely worth your consideration. The country offers some of the best educational programs too, meaning anyone looking to approach the more theoretical aspects of sports is in good hands in England.

 

Japan

Japan might not be the obvious first choice, but it is the home to the world-famous sumo wrestling. One of the most interesting and unique sports. On top of that, the country is home to some amazing martial arts programs and schools. It is a country of discipline and honor.

To that end, any athlete visiting Japan to hone their skills can expect to find a rich well of resources and information at their disposal. The country does not take things lightly and will make sure you are being taught how to increase your own self-disciple and hone your body and mind as one. On top of that, it has some of the most beautiful scenery, rich history, and fascinating cultural attractions you will ever see.

The Best Adventure Holidays in South America

Peru – hike the Salkantay trail to Machu picchu.

A very popular adventure holiday destination can be found in Peru and the breathtaking trek that provides amazing views over the busy Inca Trail but in a much more peaceful and calm environment. There’s no denying that the Inca Trail is amazing but, thanks to over popularity and social media coverage the views are sometimes spoiled by the touristy atmosphere. At the Machu Picchu it is considered more of a hidden gem and there are just as many sights to be seen from thick forest rich in wildlife to historical ruins that portray the tale of time. This is definitely designed for the adventurous and not for the faint of heart. Someone who is going to pay a visit to Peru would have to be a really enthusiastic person, someone who isn’t afraid to get stuck in with the physical parts like hiking through the jungle. In terms of recommended duration, I would say that you can see what you need in 7 days, accommodation would be things like wild camping dead in the centre of the jungle. This trip was rated to be one of the top 25 treks by National Geographic, it can be a very exclusive trip to partake in but should you ever have the opportunity, I would take it!

 

Columbia – 100km Jungle Expedition.

Columbia is another Jungle type adventure holiday that isn’t one to miss, travelling through the heart of an untouched Columbian jungle that is filled with amazing visuals and a variety of rare and unique wildlife. The jungle is packed with a range of animal life including aquatic creatures like fish and eels, jungle dwellers like a range of monkey species and brightly colored birds that dwell in the upper treeline. The animal kingdom is reason alone to go but with breathtaking depths of water and waterfalls, the strong cave line that for those of you who are brave enough may want to climb up to see even more amazing views and the fact that this is all protected under a national reserve, meaning that this is all untouched really does add to the uniqueness of the expedition.

A piece of advice I would give to those of you that are interested in giving this adventure a go would have to be to remember to be well equipped, although a skilled tour guide will be there to ensure you are safe, you must be self-sufficient in remembering to pack the essentials and a well-stocked survival kit can be the difference between an enjoyable trip and a bad one and even life and death in some serious scenarios. Tools to remember that are vital would have to be waterproofs, tents, range of clothes, medicines, first aid kits, whittling knife and rope. It is important that you take time to look at the specifics of what you are buying, with a little research you may choose to do things like, compare the specifications of your chosen tent to ensure it is suitable, or pursuingoutdoors reviews of whittling knives so that you can be sure the tools can deal with the type of foliage, or sourcing a variety of different clothes that are suitable for a range of weather conditions – remember to layer!

 

Caribbean – Delve into the Belize Barrier Reef.

A bucket list staple for some many of us budding adventurers is snorkeling amongst stunning water life if being underwater marveling at the amazing sea life sounds like something you would enjoy then the Caribbean would definitely be a great choice for you. Belize is hidden within a remote island and just to make the island experience even greater only a select amount of visitors are allowed on the island at a time, so you expect to see a very tranquil setting so you can really take the time to enjoy this unique location in peace and solitude. The sea life alone is worth a mention as it really is something that you won’t find anywhere else, visit the Carribeans crystal clear waters and take some time to get away from everything you hate about industrial life, getting away from the hustle and bustle is a great opportunity to truly relax.

Red Flags to Watch for when Staying at a New Hotel

Staying at a new hotel is always risky. Whether it’s a 5-star hotel in the Bahamas or just a nearby B&B, it can be uncertain as to whether you will get your money’s worth. This is why you should always look out for certain things that point to the hotel being a bit iffy, as often they can be seen when you’re booking the hotel online and this will save you from wasting money on a crap hotel. Here are some of the biggest red flags to look out for when booking.

Bad or Old Reviews

The most obvious thing to look for is bad reviews, they will, of course, tell you in the clearest possible way if the hotel is good or bad. However, another thing to look out for is old reviews, as the date of reviews is really just as important as they review themselves. This is because there’s usually a reason for a hotel not receiving a bulk of good reviews within the past month, for example. When it comes to the hotel industry, management turn over is quite frequent and a recent change in personnel may be the reason for a recent dip in the reviews.

Blurry Photos or Unclear Photos

You should always be as critical as possible when going over hotels photos. For instance, a big red flag is when the photos available are only of close-ups in which you can’t see the full room. For example, it might show that they got really nice chairs at theotheo but hide that the room they are placed in is actually really small. On the other hand, if the photos only show the hotels exterior, it is probably because the inside doesn’t look very appealing. A common thing hotels do is show generic pictures of a skyline or a plate of fruit. These hotels should always be avoided as it usually means the hotel doesn’t have anything exciting to highlight. Blurry photos are another red flag in this regard, as poor quality photos usually equate to a poor quality hotel.

It’s Difficult to Get in Contact with People at the Hotel

While most people assume that you have to actually go to the hotel in person to evaluate the quality of customer service, there are ways to do it from home. For instance, on the way to do it is by giving the hotel a call and seeing how easy it is to get in contact with certain people. If everyone is readily accessible and hospitable before you even arrive, chances are they will be even better when you do check-in. If they are hard to reach or are rude on the phone, it will be all the more infuriating if you are already at the hotel. With that in mind, always give the hotel a ring before booking anything, especially if it’s an expensive place.

 

Top Tips for Taking your Dog Abroad

Whether you’re going on a long road trip or traveling to an entirely different country with your dog, you must know exactly how to care for them and what needs to be done before starting your holiday. It is important to check before anything else that you are allowed to bring your pet into the country that you are going to, as each country has different rules for this matter. Aside from this, there is a multitude of other steps that must be taken to ensure smooth travels for both you and your dog. If this is something that applies to you, here are some top tips for taking your dog abroad. 

Meet with your vet

Before traveling abroad with your dog, it is good to check first that your dog is healthy and safe to travel. This is helpful, as not only can your pet’s overall health be checked and discussed, but the vet might also be experienced in taking pets oversea and they might have some extra tips for what needs to be done. 

Ask airlines

Every airline has different rules and regulations for taking pets on their aircraft, especially on international flights. Therefore, it is important to first contact the airline before booking anything. Checking first will cut out any unnecessary issues at the airport. 

Invest in a pet carrier

Again, many airlines have different regulations for the kind of pet carrier that can be used on their flights. Do some research before purchasing one to ensure that you will be able to use it. For good recommendations and reviews on every pet product, there are websites such as Dog Wish that will help and if you follow their tips, you’re guaranteed to have a happy dog with dogwish.

Pet Insurance

In case of anything, unfortunately, that may go wrong or in case your dog gets ill whilst in another country, it is important to have pet insurance so that you don’t lose a lot of money on what is meant to be a fun holiday. 

Double-check everything

It is important that you don’t bump into any issues when already traveling or when landed in another country. Checking documents before leaving to ensure that everything is in order can help reduce this risk of something going wrong. 

 Keep your dog happy

Just as important as everything else on the list, keeping your dog happy whilst traveling is vital, whether that’s while they’re on the plane, on a ferry or in the car. Having a plentiful water supply is one of the most important things as it means your dog can stay hydrated and happy on the journey. If it is a long journey, your dog will need comfortable bedding and maybe a toy or two to keep them occupied and comfortable. Lastly, make sure that your dog has a strong collar on with a phone number that is up to date in case anything happens whilst on holiday. This means that if your dog wanders off, you can easily be contacted. 

Where Should You Take Your Spouse for a Romantic Holiday

Coping with the daily grind can be tough for anybody. But if you and your partner feel as though you need a break, then you are not alone. It may just be time for a romantic getaway. Put all thoughts of work out of your mind and replace them with thoughts of the sun, romantic dinners and plenty of sites to see. There are any number of places to go for all budgets. Here are some ideas of where you can take your spouse for a romantic holiday.

Greece

While it may not be the first country people think of when it comes to romantic getaways, Greece has plenty to offer couples across its many islands and cities. The beautiful beach-front town of Santorini is popular amongst couples as a relaxing and stunning place to spend your holiday. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway rich in culture and history, then why not visit the Greek island of Crete, full of history like the ruins of Knossos and the fortress of Rethymno, Crete is home to an unbelievable number of historical sites like Zeus’s cave. It’s also home to many incredible dishes like moussaka and souvlaki.

Japan

One of the more expensive places to visit, after a year or so of dedicated saving, you could whisk your partner off to the dream-like country of Japan. Full of incredible food, bright streets and various sites rich in culture, you will never be short of things to do. While you immerse yourself in an entirely new culture, it may be worth investing in some cute accessories to celebrate your trip. You and your partner get yourselves a matching pair of customized wristbands from sleekwristbands to ensure you both look ‘kawaii’ on your once in a lifetime trip to Japan. Make sure to leave some room in your suitcase, as chances are, you’ll be bringing home a lot of souvenirs!

France

Home to the ‘City of Love’, Paris, it’s no surprise that France has become such a popular destination for lovers. Full of rich food, delicious wine and picturesque cities, France is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway. You can indulge yourselves in culture by visiting the Louvre or you can gaze over the city as you visit the top of the Eiffel Tower. A more gentle-paced getaway, France is also, surprisingly, one of the less expensive countries in Europe to visit. If you’re looking for a relaxing, beautiful trip you can both flood your Instagram feeds with, France is the place for you.

Staycation Vs Vacation: Pros and Cons of Going Abroad

When it comes to having time off over summer or on any other break, you might have the opportunity to go on vacation somewhere nice abroad. Everyone loves a nice holiday, whether you’re doing something fun and adventurous or just going on a relaxing trip to do absolutely nothing, there is bound to be an option that you will enjoy. However, whilst this may seem like a nice idea, sometimes it might be smart to weigh up the pros and cons of the situation before you and your family or friends decide on anything definite as there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to your vacation

 

Pros of going abroad: Some pros of going abroad is that it will allow you to get away from the same old places you always see. Visiting a different country will be a whole new experience to anything else you might have encountered before thanks to the different cultures to be found everywhere. You will be exposed to new languages, new music styles, and delicious dishes that you might never have thought of trying before. Because of this, travel can be educational, which is especially important if you are going with your children, who should learn at an early age about the importance of appreciating other cultures and accepting others and their heritage. Furthermore, ff you are smart with your money, traveling abroad doesn’t have to be super expensive, as there are many precautions you can take to ensure that you are smart and safe with your money, such as bringing a Revolut prepaid card, instead of your regular debit or credit card.

 

Cons of going abroad: Sometimes it is a lot nicer to have a staycation rather than going on vacation. This is due to a few reasons, some being that while you can get cheap vacations if you look for good deals online and manage your money, it is still going to cost a considerable amount of money, regardless of how many good deals you find. If you don’t have the money saved or have other, more important things to pay for then maybe a staycation is the best option for you. If you are going traveling with friends there is always the risk that you might get very homesick, even if you’re only away from home for a short while, you never know until you’re already away and by that point, a lot of money will have already been spent. There are also a lot of really fun things to be done at home that you wouldn’t normally do on a regular schedule. Plan to visit some tourist spots that you have never bothered going to before, go to local museums and exhibits or spend a day on the beach. At the end of the day, if you’re having fun whilst also getting to spend time with the people you love, whether it’s your friends or family, it doesn’t matter whether you go abroad on vacation or stay at home.

 

 

Why You Must Tour Amsterdam on a Bike

When it comes to traveling across Europe, there are few places as popular as Amsterdam. One of the cheapest destinations, its perfect for students and couples looking for a quick getaway on a budget. The city has more culture per capita than anywhere else. With so many beautiful sights to see across the city, you might be wondering how on earth you’ll manage to fit it all in on your trip.

Well, you’re in luck, because one of the most well-known aspects of Amsterdam’s culture also happens to be one of the most useful ways to get around.

Cycling is a prominent part of the city’s identity, with numerous bike paths designed to connect the city. When you’ve so much to do and see, why spend a considerable amount of your budget on countless Ubers when you could rent a bike for a fraction of the price and use it as often as you like. It’s the easiest way to enjoy the beauty of the city in your own time. The gentle cardio will also help to work off all those Stroopwafels you’ll be scoffing down but let’s be honest, you’ll be far too busy taking in the awesome sights to even notice the exercise. You’re also far more likely to discover hidden gems across Amsterdam you would often otherwise just drive past, not to mention you’ll still be able to see more and go further than you would on foot.

So, What Now?

Well, if you plan on doing yourself and the environment a favor on your next trip, explore Amsterdam the way you know you should – on a bike.

If you’re planning on taking our advice to explore Amsterdam on two wheels, there are plenty of places to organise bike rental in the Netherlands online – be sure to check them out before your trip!