How to Carry Travel Gear on a Motorbike

There’s something about a great road trip that can make us feel truly free. A motorbike road trip, however, can really take the euphoric feelings of freedom to a whole new level. Feel the rush as you explore new terrain and take to the open road on your bike. Whether you’re going away for a More »

How to Survive While Driving in Exhausting Heat

Long and hot summer days are a perfect time for adventures, and your car is definitely in want of a cool drive. You’ve bought new summer tyres, planned your itinerary in details, and packed your belonging…but you still aren’t ready enough to hit the road. Travelling by car in a trying heat requires much more More »

The Best Outdoor Adventures in California

Although states like Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, Montana and Florida are hailed for their wide array of outdoor adventures, the massive state of California also has plenty to offer nature lovers.   From pristine mountain lakes and flourishing redwood forests to sunny beaches and sandy desert dunes, these are the best spots for outdoor exploration in More »

Discover The Ancient History of Cyprus

While Cyprus is associated with Mediterranean sun and banking crises in the minds of most travelers, the truth is that Cyprus has a long and varied history, making it the perfect destination for anyone who is fascinated by archaeology and ancient monuments. In fact, evidence exists of Neolithic communities on the south coast of Cyprus around Aetokremnos dating to 10,000 B.C., making Cyprus home to some of the world’s earliest examples of human civilization.

Visitors looking to understand the history of Cyprus could do no better than to start with Khirokitia, a Neolithic village dating to about 6800 B.C. that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Consisting of a set of well-preserved round stone structures that served as home to between 300 and 600 inhabitants, Khirokitia shows signs of a well-developed society engaged in hunting and farming. The site is open to visitors year-round, and makes an excellent introduction to the history of Cyprus. If you are planning to travel to Cyprus, you can find Cyprus Airways best deals on http://www.fly.co.uk.

Ruins in Cyprus

Cyprus has been shaped by many Mediterranean cultures, including settlement by the Mycenaeans starting in about 1400 B.C. Subsequent waves of Greek settlers, following the collapse of the Mycenaean culture, established much of the Greek character of the island. Indeed Cyprus occupies an important place in Greek mythology, being the birthplace of both Aphrodite and Adonis. There are numerous Greek sites in Cyprus, with perhaps the best-known being Kourion. Founded in the 13th century B.C., Kourion includes a number of Greek and Roman monuments, including an ancient stadium, a theater, a bath house, and spectacular mosaic floors.

Another impressive site that is open to visitors is the ancient town of Palaipafos, located near the modern town of Palos. This site, originally a walled city, contains many significant monuments, including the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, which was mentioned by Homer among others, a Roman house with extraordinary mosaics dating to the second century A.D., and the palace of Hadji Abdulla, the residence of the Persian governor in the fifth century B.C.

Following the division of the Roman Empire, Cyprus came under the influence of Byzantium and, following an Arabic invasion in 650, was subject to joint Arabic and Byzantine rule for 300 years before reverting to Byzantine control. There are a large number of Byzantine churches that date to this time, many of which are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Monuments.

In 1191 A.D., Cyprus fell to Richard the Lionheart, and then quickly fell under Frankish rule. Again, many impressive buildings date to this period, including Kolossi Castle, a Crusader stronghold, and the Royal Manor House in Kouklia. 

Cyprus

Subsequent Venetian, Ottoman and British rule all placed their stamp on Cyprus, creating a rich tapestry of interwoven cultures and architectures, each with its own particular beauty and merits. Today, Cyprus is a microcosm of the progress of human history around the Mediterranean and beyond, giving travelers the opportunity to experience huge diversity in a contained geographic area.

 

 

Riding the Rails with a France Rail Pass

Ahhh…France! The very name is synonymous with culture, art, wine, and of course…baguettes. Thing is, there’s a lot to see in this country of 65 million. So if you want to see it all (or at least a large chunk of it) you need to have a plan. If you’re a non-European resident, the France Rail Pass is great idea to get around the country in style while still keeping an eye on your budget.

For your consideration, here are some of the highlights you can see along the way:

Paris

The Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and the Champs-Elysées are a given when you visit Paris, but how about checking out some lesser known sites while you are there as well? Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Paris, and its gothic tombs hold the remains of such notables as Molière, Oscar Wilde, and Jim Morrison. The Catacombs of Paris is an underground ossuary housing the bones of some six million souls in a series of creepy, windy caverns. If those are both just a little too gloomy for you, then check out Mickey and the gang getting the French treatment at Disneyland Paris located just on the outskirts of the city.

Nice

At the centre of the French Riviera, Nice offers everything you’d want in a city, but with a beautiful (albeit pebbly) stretch of beach. The main attraction here is relaxation, but if you’re game for culture, there’s plenty of that to be had as well. Check out the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain or the free Galerie Jean Renoir for starters. The Musée Matisse, located in a stunning 17th-century villa, is home to many of the artist’s paintings and personal belongings.

Lyon

Blessed with impossibly beautiful cathedrals, world-class shopping, and up to its teeth in culture, Lyon is also home to something you’d not expect to see smack dab in the middle of France – Roman ruins. The Theatres Romains de Fourviere are a must-see if you like your ruins well-preserved and photogenic. And if you’re lucky, you may even catch a summer concert. Diana Krall and Santana are among some of the performers who’ve recently played at this unique venue.

 

 

How to Plan Budget-Friendly Beach Vacations

You’re trying to stick to a budget this summer. But you find yourself aching for a beach vacation when you see all those pictures of friends’ sunset getaways on Facebook. Well ache no more. You don’t have to completely give up lying on the beach this summer just because you’re traveling on a budget. There are plenty of ways to save money and plan a sandy getaway. There are also plenty of inexpensive accommodations on the beach. Here’s a guide to finding the perfect budget-friendly rooms, B&Bs, hotels, and accommodations.

Before getting too frugal, lets talk about your options. If you’re looking for a long-term investment – something you can come back to every summer – think about timeshares or building your own beach house. Bluegreen resorts and timeshares are good options if you know you’re going to spend a lot of time traveling to the beach, and will need multiple, shorter vacations throughout the year.

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Image source: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-bQkBtSCqT_g/TxYds5fmHaI/AAAAAAAABWI/W8jtaJF9pvk/s1600/beach.jpg

You can also consider vacations rentals. Browse Craigslist for anyone who might be renting their beach houses at the time and place you happen to be traveling. This may be a good choice if you have more flexibility in your schedule and can pick dates when people are renting. VRBO, Vacation Rentals By Owner, provide an extensive database of these listings.

If you’re looking for something short term and more frugal, be sure not to overlook bargain alternatives to hotel rooms. These options can be found in the form of B&Bs at Airbnb. Or you can browse flats at iStopOver (now called 9flats). If you’re on an even stricter budget, you can use social media tools such as Couchsurfing, Hospitality Club, and GlobalFreeloaders to stay in the spare rooms and on the spare couches of hosting locals.

If none of the directions are suitable for you and your group, you can always go for an old-fashioned bargain hotel at a budget-friendly beach. For example, an inexpensive alternative to the Miami Beach area is the Florida Panhandle. One budget-friendly alternative to Cape Cod would be Rhode Island’s South County. Finally, you can find very nice, far less expensive motels, cottages, and B&Bs at Huntington Beach in California. Huntington provides an affordable substitute to staying in swanky Santa Monica hotels.

Once you’ve made it to the beach, you’ll want to manage your funds during the trip as well. To save on transportation, try using Roadify to get all the information on any available public transportation. You can also post where and when you need a ride on social carpooling sites like PickupPal.

At this point, you’ve managed to plan a pretty frugal beach vacation. However, you may get the urge to explore the local area outside just the sandy beach coast. But tours cost a lot of money. At least, tours by professional tour guides cost a lot of money. But if you arrange a tour with a local at Vayable, you can save significantly. Plus, you’ll learn more unique tidbits from a local.

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Image source: http://www.denegecreates.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Denege-Tour-Guide.jpg

All Inclusive Versus DIY – Which Holiday Option Is Better?

There are two main choices to make when it comes to planning a holiday before you even decide on a destination and they are whether you go all inclusive or take a DIY approach. Both have their supporters and both camps will tell you it can be cheaper than the other – but who is the real winner?

Advantages of all inclusive

Just because something is a bargain doesn’t mean it has to be a cut down version of the real thing. There are some great cheap deals if you book at the right time but in many instances some of the highest specification luxury getaways also come in an all inclusive form.

Essentially, knowing that there will be no unpleasant extras can give you the peace of mind and freedom to relax no matter how much you are initially spending. Also, knowing every detail is being looked after for you by a dedicated team of professionals means you don’t have to worry about anything. From booking flights through to getting to and from airports at the other end, everything is covered by the price, even if you are considering Dubai all inclusive holidays.

Mauritius Beach

For those who worry the money saving benefits of an all inclusive holiday may put restrictions elsewhere, the range of destinations is clear proof to the contrary. Over recent years, all inclusive breaks have become available in far more destinations. A great example of this is the fantastic all inclusive holidays in Mauritius offered by Club Med. These represent the full scope of destinations available to travellers and all inclusive holidays in Mauritius come with many benefits for budding travellers.

DIY

For some, the idea of everything being planned out for them by someone else is the exact opposite of what a holiday should be. These people prefer to arrange everything themselves, form sourcing flights through to booking hotels and looking after their own catering needs when they arrive at their destination.

boats in Mauritius

There are cost benefits to be had with this approach too – being slightly more flexible about travelling times can mean cheaper flights and organising your own accommodation gives you a greater scope of choice, but you will be taking a slight risk if you’ve never travelled to these areas before.

Ultimately it comes down to personal choice. If you enjoy organising your own timetables and love the thrill of researching your own holidays then the DIY approach might be for you, but if you want a stress-free booking where quality and affordability is guaranteed, then all inclusive might be a better fit.

Set Your Sights on Cyprus

Surrounded by sea, kissed by the sun, and blessed with plenty of attractions to suit just about every taste, it’s surprising that Cyprus isn’t more popular than it is. Of course, that in itself is another selling point. Many regulars come to this idyllic Mediterranean getaway year after year to escape the crowds that hound the more popular European vacation spots. With oodles of cheap flights to Cyprus from Europe, and attractions like the following, it’s easy to see why they keep coming back.

World Class Beaches

With sweeping white sand and a shortage of crowds – but no shortage of amenities — the beaches of Cyprus are as plentiful as they are varied. Paphos Municipal Beach is small but easy to reach. The beach at Coral Bay is more secluded, but stunning and well worth the effort to get to. Vardas Beach is the place to go if you’re after good food and music. And St. George Beach offers up just about everything the family will need in a compact, easily accessible package.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Paphos Castle

For such a wee little island, Cyprus packs quite a punch in the history department. The island is home to three uniquely different UNESCO World Heritage sites. Head for the hills, or more specifically, to the Troodos mountains to take in the ornately decorated Byzantine Painted Churches. Then take in the Neolithic settlement of Choirokoitia and the ancient city of Paphos to get your fill of fortresses, ruins, tombs and plenty more of all that is ancient.

Fasauri Watermania

If lying on the one of the many perfect beaches Cyprus has to offer gets to be too tiresome, head over to Fasauri Watermania to get some real action. With ride names like “Kamikaze Slide” and “Tarzan Swing” the largest waterpark in Cyprus offers plenty of fun for all ages. It’s even got the largest wave pool in all of Europe.