The Beach is Where It’s at!

The Beach is Where It’s at!

You might be under the rather false assumption than when you visit Sydney, you are simply going to be doing the city break thing, e.g. nightlife, restaurants, culture, shopping etc. Yes, you can do all of this, in fact you can do it in abundance, and you can climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge and check out a performance at the Sydney Opera House too, but you can also head to a stunning beach and chill the hell out, or even learn how to surf!

Sydney is surrounded by fantastic beaches, and they are all very easy to get to. Bondi Beach is of course one of the most famous and iconic beaches in the world, and this is a stone’s throw from the centre of Sydney itself. Sit and watch the professional surfers practising, or you could even give it a go yourself, by taking lessons at the surf school!

Another beachside destination which is certainly very popular is Manly. Head over to Manly on the famous ferry, and tick something off your Sydney bucket list, before truly enjoying everything this vibrant and chilled out area has to offer. There are many outdoor activities in Manly too, and it’s not all about chilling on the beach!

Where you stay is really a personal decision, but you will find a range of accommodation all over the city and surrounding suburbs too. There is also plentiful Manly accommodation on offer, if you want to stay nearer to the beach and its chilled out vibe.

Of course, Bondi and Manly are not the only beach areas you can visit, as there are countless others besides. You could head to Tamarama, Bronte or Clovelly, these are all beautiful beaches to check out, or you could put on your comfortable walking shoes and venture across the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, where you will see some of the most breath-taking scenery for miles – the fact you are so close to such a huge urban metropolis will seem completely baffling to you!

Freshwater is another surfing beach, very close to Manly, whilst Maroubra and Cronulla are two beaches which take surfing to a very high level indeed. Put simply, you can venture out to several beaches and explore to your heart’s content, or you can pick your favourite and dedicate your beach time there. The choice is yours, but don’t forget the city-based activities that Sydney is famous for too!

A Grand Slam Break!

A Grand Slam Break!

What better combination than sport and the city? If you’re looking for somewhere new to head this year, how about using the first month of the year to enjoy Melbourne, and the Australian Open?

If you’ve love tennis, this is a must do. Running from 16-29 January 2017, the biggest names in the game will all come together in one place, namely Melbourne Park, and will fight it out on the court for the first Grand Slam title of the year. Last year’s winners, Novak Djokovic and Angelique Kerber, are odds to win again, but a new number 1 in the men’s game, namely Andy Murray, and the resurgence of Serena Williams, could bring about a truly epic battle for both the men and women’s titles.

The Australian Open is, as we have mentioned, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year on the ATP and WTP tennis tournament calendars, and finding tickets for the Australian Open can be difficult if you don’t know where to look. The best advice is to always stick to official and reputable websites, and the Box Office of the venue itself. There are many unscrupulous types out there who are only too happy to take your money in exchange for a ‘ticket’ but you will soon find out that your ‘ticket’ is not valid at all. Stick to official lines for a successful outcome.

Of course, Melbourne is sports mad at the best of times, and you will find a truly celebratory and exciting atmosphere in the air. It’s certainly worthwhile getting out and about and checking out some of the other attractions however, as this is a vibrant and big city, packed with nightlife, shopping, and culture. This is the second largest city in the country, and is obviously located within the state of Victoria. Very close to the Great Ocean Road, you should certainly get out and see at least some of it, if not all of it! You can also venture out into the Grampians National Park with ease, helping you see a little more than the city itself.

Try and stay somewhere as central as possible, as this will help you when finding your way around the city, however there are easy links through public transport wherever you want to go, including the venue of the tennis tournament itself. Certainly check out St Kilda for a beachside vibe, which is laid back and totally summer-fun in its atmosphere too.

Put simply, Melbourne is about much more than sport, but if you can venture out to the Australian Open, you’re combining your sporting hobby, with one of the best cities in the world.

Looking For a City With it All?

Looking For a City With it All?

Look no More!

Few cities have the same laid back charm as Brisbane, and when you factor in that seemingly endless sunny weather, it’s no wonder that so many people choose to head to with vibrant, lively, and very friendly Queensland city.

Finding somewhere to stay is not difficult, as there is an accommodation option available for every budget and requirement. There are also many cheap hotels Brisbane to choose from, so it’s really just a case of shopping around and finding what is best for you.

Of course, this being a big city, there are many places to check out, including the main area, known as the CBD, or The City. This is where most of the businesses are based, but there are also many tourist areas too, as well as shopping opportunities – the huge Queen Street Mall is definitely worth a visit for a spot of credit card bashing! South Bank is where you will find a more bohemian, edgy vibe, with cafes, restaurants, and a small beach too. For nightlife however, it has to be Fortitude Valley, because this is widely thought to be where the best live music is, not just in the city, but the whole country!

For a nice evening walk, head down to Portside Wharf, and if you want to head into the great outdoors, check out Mount Coot-tha – this is perfectly walkable, with many trails to follow, and there is a café at the top, with fantastic views across the city and beyond.

This is by no means all that Brisbane has to offer, but it’s definitely worth donning your walking boots and getting out to explore on your own steam. The city is also perfectly placed to explore a little further afield too, including the ever bright Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. Many people choose to indulge in a twin-centre type of break when visiting Queensland, e.g. a few days in the city, and a few days on the coast – the best of both worlds!

Of course, you are also very close to some of the more natural wonders of the world, including the world famous Great Barrier Reef, as well as the idyllic and clearly breath-taking Whitsunday Islands. You can find excursions out to both from the city quite easily, so shop around for the best deal, according to your budget.

There really are only a few cities on the planet that offer you pretty much everything you could want, and whilst it is a true cliché to say ‘it has it all’, Brisbane really does. Once you have visited, try and think of something it didn’t have – you’ll be thinking for quite a while!

Why Should You Cruise For Your Next Break?

Why Should You Cruise For Your Next Break?

If you’ve never considered a cruise holiday before, maybe it’s time you changed your mindset and gave it a try.

Once upon a time these types of holiday were reserved for those who were a little well off, or perhaps those who were a little older, but this has all changed, because nowadays you can find all manner of fantastic and vibrant cruise breaks, heading to some fantastic destinations, for much lower costs.

There are countless cruise companies out there, so shopping around for the best deal for you, as well as the best itinerary, is easy. You simply need to dedicate time and patience to the cause!

Where can you go? Lots of places! The top cruise destinations include the Caribbean, the Far East, Norwegian Fjords, the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands, and even Antarctica. If you want at true wilderness break, somewhere that will blow your mind completely, then the latter choice is for you – you will probably need to save up for this one, as it is one of the most expensive cruise destinations on the market, but it is more than worth it! If you really wanted to, you could go on an around the world cruise, taking you to countless destinations across a longer span of time – you’ll need your sea legs for this one!

Having said that, even days at sea are filled with activity and fun, because cruise liners are basically floating holiday resorts, packed with entertainment and facilities; some of the larger companies have ships that will make you not want to venture off them!

It’s always best to plan your land days quite carefully, because you don’t have a huge amount of time in any location. Cruise companies will have excursions to sell to you, but you could head online and check if you can find an alternative trip, which might suit your needs and budget a little more. Do be careful with this, because if you are late back, your ship is not going to wait for you!

The great thing about choosing a cruise is that you get to see so many different destinations within the space of one holiday, rather than just one or two on a land-based break. This may help inform you of where you might like to spend more time in the future, so you could consider a try before you buy kind of deal!

Whatever type of cruise you go for, and whatever itinerary you choose, the chances are that your first cruise, will not be your last!

The City That Really Never Sleeps

The City That Really Never Sleeps

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City breaks really are fantastic experiences. Not only do you get a wide choice of different nightlife opportunities, but you also get gastronomy, shopping, culture, sightseeing, and sometimes even beach time too! Of course, some cities are more famous than others, and one which is definitely up there is New York.

The Big Apple is on most people’s bucket list, and for very good reason too. Think about it – some of the most iconic sights are here, including Times Square, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, Coney Island, Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, the list goes on. If you want to shop ‘til you drop, well, you have some of the biggest department stores to choose from, such as Macy’s, and Bloomingdales, as well as huge stores such as Tiffanys, to name just one world-famous brand.

Put simply, if you plan on going shopping in New York, you need to a) dedicate at least a day or two to this activity alone, and b) warn your credit card company!

A Broadway show is another rite of passage when it comes to visiting New York, New York. Many people dream of seeing Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, but you don’t have to just stop there, how about Cirque Du Solei? Jersey Boys? Kinky Boots? The list goes on yet again.

When shopping around for your Broadway tickets, always use a reputable site, such as Showtickets.com, or head to the Box Office at the theatre itself. Ticket touts will be everywhere, but if you make use of them then you are probably going to find yourself out of pocket and without a valid ticket. In terms of your show day, plan to enjoy a meal before or after your show, and you’ll find countless restaurants around the Theater District too.

Taking a bite of the Big Apple is really going to be a tiring experience, and unless you plan on not doing too much, you might be rather exhausted by the end of it. It’s certainly worth packing in as much as you can during your time there however, and doing some research ahead of time and thinking about the places you want to go and when is a great way to make sure you don’t miss out on any top experiences. We’re not suggesting you draw up an itinerary and stick to it like glue, but you should have at least a rough idea of when you are going to head to a certain sight.

Remember your comfortable shoes and get ready to immerse yourself totally in the city that really never sleeps!

Travel Guide: Europe for Women

Travel Guide: Europe for Women

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There are some tips that can be applied to travel anywhere in the world but others that specifically work well in Europe and for women. My first tip before taking a trip is always to research as much as humanly possible and the information below is a great way to start. Read on and get ready!

Why I Love Solo Travel

I remember on my first trip being terrified out of mind. I began the adventure with one of my best friends. We had a blast that first week together and I couldn’t stop crying when it was time for her to leave. I thought for sure I’d never survive on my own. I was so wrong.

After she was gone, I learned that I am much more capable than I realized. I could find my way around new cities and learn new public transportation systems without getting lost, I could make new friends easily and best of all I could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.

It didn’t matter if I felt like sitting in a park, exploring a museum, going out to eat or staying in to cook, party all night or stay in to read. I could do whatever I felt and usually was able to find someone to join me on any adventure if I decided I wanted a buddy. That kind of freedom is quite amazing. I thought for sure I would feel lonely and it turned out quite the opposite; I often couldn’t get enough alone time!

One of the more noticeable parts was that I realized I was taking everything in more when I was alone. If you’re with someone it’s easy to get caught up in each other and your conversation. When you’re alone all of your senses are focused on taking in every detail of a new city, it’s pretty beautiful.

Things to Keep in Mind…

  • Go Slow: It’s easy to try and pack in a bunch of cities and activities quickly. This will only lead to burnout and not enjoying things to their full potential. Pace yourself.
  • Plan Ahead: Sometimes showing up in a city without a hostel reservation works out fine, other times it doesn’t. It’s best to book ahead to keep yourself out of a bad situation.
  • Forget the Selfie Stick: These are becoming ever so popular especially in Europe, don’t do it! It’s so much better to ask someone else to take your photo as this often leads to a nice conversation at the very least and possibly even a new friend!
  • Find a Buddy at Night: Europe has huge cities and huge cities anywhere can get less safe at night. If you want to go out, stick with a friend.
  • Avoiding Getting Hit On: People will try to hit on you anywhere in the world but many places in Europe are especially open about this. Wearing a wedding ring can deter people as can sunglasses so that you don’t make accidental eye contact with someone you’re not interested in.

Traveling with friends can be a great experience but solo travel can also be great if not better. The only difference is when you’re alone you have to look out for yourself more. If you can do that, you’ll be great!

Las Vegas Travel Guide for Women

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Vegas is probably one of the hottest destinations for Americans and travelers abroad alike. It’s impossible to compare it to anywhere else in the world. Which means… you might be looking for some tips before heading there! It’s a great place to visit and this guide will help ensure you have an excellent time.

Bring Your Walking Shoes

You will definitely be walking around Vegas quite a bit. For me, this is a major plus in a city. In so many places in the US it’s necessary to rent a car to get around but Las Vegas is not one of those places. You can get a taxi if need be but mostly you’ll be walking, so bring good shoes! It’s also blazing hot but the misters on the street help keep it manageable.

It’s Sin City for a Reason

This is not a good place to go if you’re feeling judgmental. You’ll see things happening in Vegas you wouldn’t normally see and people doing these things that probably would be better off somewhere else. It’s okay, take it for what it is and just enjoy the experience. It’s a good time to learn to focus on yourself and not others!

Common Sense

Las Vegas is compact but still a big city and in any city it’s important to use your street smarts. Never go somewhere isolated with a new friend, don’t walk home alone at night (sober or drunk) and hold tight to your valuables at all times. Play it safe and you’ll be fine.

Smoking?!

This may not shock other travelers but normally in the states it is illegal to smoke indoors. This law does not exist in Vegas, which can be quite off-putting to some people. Casinos can get especially smoky so if this bothers you, choose where you spend your time carefully.

Get Outside the City

So many beautiful nature areas surround Las Vegas. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the intensity of Las Vegas; it’s hot, expensive, noisy and bright. If you get there and realize this isn’t quite for you, no big deal. It’s not too hard to take a day trip (or three) outside the city to see some other areas. Even if you are loving and embracing Vegas for all that it is, you should still consider this! It’s always nice to diversify a trip. Las Vegas is sure to be a trip that you will not be able to forget. Whether you’re there to celebrate a special event or just wanting to check it out, you will be sure to leave with some interesting memories.

Girls: Go to Southeast Asia

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Thinking about taking your first solo trip? Southeast Asia may not be the first place that comes to mind but it definitely should be. It’s one of the cheapest destinations currently and it’s also a really easy place to make friends to journey with if you’d like. Here are some tidbits to convince you!

Easy on Your Wallet

Solo travel is my favorite travel but it can get kind of expensive since you don’t always have a buddy to split hotel rooms and cab fare with. Southeast Asia is great because everything is so cheap anyways that you won’t even care you don’t have someone to split things with. A day is SE Asia can be as cheap as $20 USD if you want it to be.

Transport is Easy

There’s nothing worse than being somewhere new and being so lost that you can’t even begin to figure out where you are. SE Asia has great public transportation that runs pretty much anywhere and it’s also pretty comfortable. It’s even pretty common to have a bus pick you up at your hostel and take you to the bus station or airport. No more getting lost with your huge pack on your shoulders!

Travelers are Everywhere

This may not be a plus to everyone but especially on your first trip you’ll probably be happy to be somewhere that many travelers flock to. Once you start traveling you’ll also notice that there’s a certain type of backpacker in each area of the world. SE Asia definitely has ones that are ready to meet people and usually party so making friends is a piece of cake.

Rest Assured, You Are Safe

Of course you still need to be cautious no matter where you are since no place in the world is crime free. However, SE Asia feels incredibly safe and most of the time you probably are. It’s all about using your common sense and if you don’t put yourself in a bad situation you probably won’t run into any trouble.

Great Locals

Southeast Asia is incredibly different from the Western world, which makes it fun and interesting. The street food is delicious (and once again, cheap) and the locals are the best. Even if you don’t speak the language they’ll still try to strike up a conversation. I can’t think of a good reason not to go to SE Asia. Whether you’ve got a week to spare or an unlimited amount of time, it’s definitely worth it to get yourself there to experience a brand new culture that is sure to leave an impact on you.

Girls, Time to Head to Washington D.C.

Girls, Time to Head to Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. is not only a place full of history; it’s also a place full of fun. If you’re in the US and have the time it would be a shame to skip this city! It’s so easy to get around and there’s truly an endless amount of things to do to keep you busy. Here’s just a few!

Historic Sites Galore

When you’re in D.C. you will pretty much always be surrounded by history, which is pretty awesome. There are a few places you have to be sure to see. The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool is a beautiful place to take a stroll or have a seat and people watch. Right nearby you’ll find the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial as well. Of course, when you’re in the city you can’t pass up going to the White House, it’s a D.C. must!

Some other great options include doing a night tour to see the city in a different light (haha!) and also taking a bus tour. This can be great for those of us that forgot to pack our comfy shoes or simply just want to kick back!

If you want to leave D.C. for a little bit, it’s easy enough to do a day trip to Gettysburg. The history here is astounding and not only that, it’s quite beautiful.

Fun Time

Washington is also a great place to have a good time. If you’re not too tired after exploring all of the history the city has to offer, there’s plenty more to do.

Rasika is a great place for Indian cuisine and Charlie Palmer Steak on Capitol Hill is a can’t miss. Not only that but you’ll find several lovely places with bottomless mimosa brunches, you can’t go wrong.

For all you sports fans out there, going to see a Washington Nationals baseball game is a great time. They say that baseball is America’s pastime so what better place to see a game while eating a hot dog and having a beer than the nation’s capital?

If you’re looking to have a drink at the end of the day there are plenty of bars to choose from. Penn Social, Chez Billy, and Red Derby are all as fun as their names sound. If those don’t tickle your fancy, there are always more to be found.

On You Go!

This city is just limitless. One of the best parts is that it’s a city but doesn’t even really feel like it. It’s not full of skyscrapers like most cities, which keeps it from feeling overwhelming. It can get pricey, but worth every penny. There’s so much to do here that no matter what you’re looking for, you will find it.