27 August 2016

Few Days Until Budapest!

Yes, this travel bug is so excited even if Hungary gave me a very short duration of Schengen visa and a single entry for this trip I have planned for so long. Yes, I am a tad disappointed, having travelled to numerous European countries in multiple visa entry and very long duration, I am still excited to visit Budapest.

I cannot guarantee though that I will not write the embassy here to ask what their criteria is for providing me a single entry with only FOUR days duration when I applied for a multiple entry; I will certainly make it a point to know so next time, I know what to do.

Budapest is in my bucket list. I have always dreamed of visiting the place even when I was a kid. It is in my top list to visit before I seriously get old and weak to even move around. I am so curious of their past history of Communism and the beautiful architectural edifice around the city.

Well, I will be off on 10 to 13 September with my colleague who is traveling for the first time in Europe. I am not sure if she is as excited as I am but I hope she is because I want our level of energy to be in the same page because I can get very, very excited looking around a place I have listed in my bucket list.

So, I am getting giddy checking the places we will visit in the city. We won't be traveling to other nearby countries anymore considering the very tight duration Hungary gave us. The apartment I have booked is near St. Stephen's Basilica which is a famous site in Budapest, having been the usual location for their Christmas Market and a nice focal point for tourists. It is within walking distance from where we will stay and from there, we will explore the Danube and check out the "shoes" monument positioned along the river bank. We will also walk around Nyugati Ter and check out some shops in the Central Market.

I am excited and I cannot stop talking about it. This is one of the shorted Euro trip I have ever done so I better make the most of it! Watch out for the pics!

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23 August 2016

The Best Deals On Hotels

While traveling, you will need to find a motel to stay in unless you know family members in the area who have an extra room that you can use. There are a few tips to keep in mind for getting the best deals on a motel room at places that include Newport Beach Motel and almost any other location in the country. 

The first thing that you want to do is to look online and compare the prices of hotels in the area. If a hotel isn't to the fullest capacity, especially during a busy time of the year, then it will often reduce the prices of the rooms in order to get each one filled. The same thing goes for the off-season as hotels will lower prices on rooms just to get people in the hotel as it's usually not busy. Some hotels will compete with each other after finding out that one business offers a lower price for a weekday or a lower price if you pay cash. This gives you the control over how much to pay for the room at times as the hotel needs your business. 

Before booking the hotel, find out the total cost. Most hotels will display the amenities that are included, but there are some that have access to a gym or a spa but won't include those extras in the price of the hotel. Some of the smaller hotels that don't advertise on large travel sites might not have all of the popular amenities, but they are often operated by families and offer lower prices on the rooms. 

When you get to the motel, ask about coupons. Most motels will have a small coupon book in the lobby with discounts for restaurants and attractions in the area. This is a way to save money while having fun with the family. Also, ask if you can get a lower price when you get there if you pay cash for the balance of the room. Some hotels don't want to pay the extra fees associated with using a credit or debit card and enjoy working with cash better.

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22 August 2016

Road Trips on a Budget: How to Make Your Money Go Farther While You Travel

When traveling is your passion in life you have the distinct draw to seek out other lands and discover something new. Where many of us have this drive, we do not all have the budget that matches our desires so the need for budgeting is always in order. The budget conscious traveling is able to have just as much fun as those that are able to afford the finer things in life. They just have to be mindful of when and where they choose to venture off to.

Have a Plan in Mind
Road trips are sometimes planned in a spontaneous fashion. The goal is to just get in the car and drive somewhere. This may be fine if you are a singular traveler, but if anyone else such as family or friends is coming along for the ride, you may want to have some semblance of a plan in mind. The entire trip does not need to be planned out however you will want to have the basic structure of the plan in mind and also research where you want to go to ensure that your budget can survive. 

There are things to consider when you are traveling and one of those things is admission prices to the place you want to see. You do not want to pull into a theme park while on your journey and have to disappoint the kids with the realization that you simply do not have enough money to ride the amazing new rides. That will make the rest of the trip feel less thrilling. Apart from the admission costs you also have to factor in any parking fees that may be found. You never want to park in an undesignated area and have your car towed or at the very least have to pay for an unwanted ticket.

Pack Food
While you are traveling on any road trip, a cooler can be your best friend. Packing a few handy items such as your favorite sandwich items in the cooler will allow for less breaks when people get hungry as well as reduce the amount that you may have to spend on food if you venture into some of the tourist traps that dot the nation. It is also important to not look at your snack supply as just what you like to eat. Make sure that you plan to have salty, sweet, crunchy, and even fruity snacks to account from you and your family’s changes in mood so that no matter which type of snack they are in the mood for, you are prepared.

Give Camping a Try
If you have never tried camping before, you may want to. It is understandable that camping for some people brings up images of people lost in the woods picking berries for sustenance or the campers keeping wild animals at bay, but it is important to remember that camping is not what is depicted in famous Hollywood movies. It can be a lot of fun and even if you are not accustomed to sleeping in a place that does not have a television set, you will likely find that being able to get back to the basics and look at the stars at night, is truly a freeing experience.

There is also no need to trek far back into the woods and kill yourself setting up a tent. Most tents these days are very easy to set up and there are campgrounds in every place you go that maintain their grounds very well. Some campgrounds even offer activities for the kids to keep them entertained and in the event that the weather is not so cooperative with your camping plans, most campgrounds have some form of built shelters that can be rented at a marginal price when the traditional tent is just not an option.

Get Your Vehicle Checked Out
Even if your vehicle is running perfectly fine at the moment, a road trip can be quite a long journey so you want your vehicle to be ready for the trip. Before embarking make sure that you take your vehicle to a mechanic for a proper inspection. They will be able to tell you if any of the belts and hoses need to be replaced and make sure all of the fluids are filled to the proper level. You never want to be caught out in a town that you do not know very well and have something happen to your vehicle. In addition to checking the vehicle out you may also want to think about putting a spare credit card or extra cash somewhere within your luggage just in case a mechanical failure does happen. If you have your vehicle properly checked out before you leave, it is unlikely that anything will happen, but you want to make sure you are prepared for everything.

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20 August 2016

Next Stop, Budapest!

Yes! My friend and I got our visas few days ago. It was rather fast, around 5 days tops only. This is the first time my friend is travelling with me and her first to to travel in Europe. So she's excited.  I am too. Why, this is my first time to visit Central Europe and Hungary at that!

We both applied for a multiple entry visa but has been granted only single entry with a very short duration. I am too embarrassed to state the duration here. This is the very first time I have been granted a single entry ever since my family and I have been travelling to Europe. I am not sure what was the basis of their decision but who cares. We have our visas so the trip is on!

We are on a tight budget for this trip because I am in the process of applying for another visa for my husband and myself. I will tell you more about it next time when we also get that visa (wink!). For now, my budget is all allocated to travelling as much as I can because I want to enjoy it while I can and able.

I booked for an apartment for my friend and I and it is way cheaper than staying in a hotel. I got the good deal from Booking.com.  I also got a nice rate for return airport transfers with an add-on of Hop-on and Hop-off tour.

The apartment I booked is within walking distance to St. Stephen's Basilica and other notable landmarks in the area. So, as soon as we settle ourselves in the apartment, we'll head out the door and explore.

I am also excited with the souvenirs! I love collecting knicks and knacks from my travels abroad. I can't wait to get my hands on the fridge magnets, snow globes, and shot glasses.

We are leaving for Budapest this September and will be back shortly. It's just a short vacation during the Eid Holidays. It is a vacation that I have been dreaming about since I was little, to visit Budapest someday, and that someday is on Sept. 10, 2016.

Budapest, here we come!

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18 August 2016

Planning the Ultimate Laid-back Vacation in the Dominican Republic

Sometimes when you travel, you want to be on the move all the time. But other times, you just want to sit back and relax. You don't want to have to worry about anything, set any deadlines or be pressured to do anything. Maybe you want to spend your time on the beach, do yoga in the forest or check into a spa. If you want to have a laid-back vacation, you need to plan it carefully. Getting everything organized before you go will allow you to relax once you arrive. The Dominican Republic is one of the best places for a relaxed vacation. If you want to create the ultimate escape, you can even set up a permanent base you can keep returning to.

Pick the Right Destination

There's no shortage of places you can go to relax in the Dominican Republic. The important thing to do is consider what sort of location you would prefer. If you're looking for somewhere quiet, you don't want to be somewhere too touristy. So consider the kind of landscape and environment you want to enjoy. Beach resorts are obviously popular on the island, but they're not the only option. You can move away from the beaches and even try out a tree house eco-lodge.

Consider How Quiet You Need It to Be

Once you've decided where you want to go, you should think about how much peace and quiet you want. For some people, relaxing on the beach is possible when they're surrounded by others. But for other people, more space is necessary, and a private beach might be best. You should think about whether you can share your space with other people and still relax. If you can't, resorts and hotels are likely to be off the table. There are plenty of private residences in the Dominican Republic instead.

Organize Everything in Advance

If you want your trip to be laid-back, you don't want to be rushing around once you arrive. You don't need the pressure of booking activities, and you certainly don't want to spend time looking for accommodation or hiring a car. Getting everything done in advance is the best thing to do. In fact, if it's a place you've fallen in love with, you might consider setting up a permanent base. You might like the look of luxury villas in the Dominican Republic, for example, which you can often find for sale. You could keep returning to your property whenever you want to get away.

Leave Home Behind

The Dominican Republic can be a wonderful place to relax, but only if you allow yourself to. When you arrive, don't bring the stresses of home with you. Roaming charges on your phone could be expensive, so turn it off and pay attention to your surroundings. There are some beautiful places to visit, or you could stay put and enjoy the view from your accommodation.

Try the Dominican Republic for your laid-back vacation. You can find peace and quiet, but there's a lively atmosphere to discover if you get bored.

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13 August 2016

The Historic Route 66 in the USA

Route 66 is a very famous thoroughfare in the US. It is also a historical road which is known for many other names like Main Street of America, Will Rogers Highway, or the Mother Road. It runs the whole stretch of Los Angeles to Chicago.

This famous highway was opened on November 26, 1926 and was decommissioned on June 26, 1985. It was used as a migrating route by those who wanted to move to California for a better life during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

The highway began in Illinois and ended in Santa Monica, California.  It crossed several states in between and below are the states it covered from end to end:

(Photo credit: lonelyplanet.com)

Even if this highway has been decommissioned, it still attract plenty of travellers who are adventurous to add this old route to their travel bucket list.

(Photo credit: not mine, due credit to the owners)

The highway had gone through plenty of realignments and since it was decommissioned, part of the highway that are still intact have been famous for travellers who want to see and feel the drive thru the once-famous road. Although some parts of Route 66 are still passable (with careful planning), some part have been removed and replaced with Interstate highways.

Route 66 was famously mentioned in a popular song called  "Get Your Kicks on Route 66." It has been a famous attraction for road trippers too.

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12 August 2016

5 Must Visit Places In The US

Unravel America’s full potential as you visit some of the most amazing locations. The US boasts a number of fun places for tourists to check out, so why not look around for somewhere that suits you?

Grand Canyon.jpg
Image Credit- Pexels

The USA isn’t a location that appeals to a specific demographic; it’s more of a ‘one size fits all’. It has something for every group, young families can enjoy a beach holiday, or older couples can embrace Times Square.

1. Disney World

For those looking to keep little ones occupied, this is the number one choice. Known worldwide for its abundance of excitement, it’s worthy to turn adults into children. Meet all of the Disney characters as they walk around the theme park. There’s plenty for the whole family to-do with places to eat, drink and enjoy rollercoasters. Based in Orlando, Florida  has a list of other fun activities you can participate in too.

2. Mount Rushmore

Many of us wish to visit this monument at least once in our lifetime. Mount Rushmore showcases the sculptured faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. The artistic work is a breath-taking experience for tourists to enjoy. Tick this one off your must visit places with Mount Rushmore being one of the places we would all like to see.

3. South Beach
This Miami based beach is a famous holiday hot spot. Known for surfing, skateboarding and rollerblading it is a beach with a twist. The front stretches across the Atlantic and brandishes a variety of eating facilities plus more. You can take part in the beach activities as it encompasses a wide-range of things to do. Visit the beach gym or sit-back and relax in the beautiful weather.

4. MGM Grand

Apply for a US visa today and enjoy a break in Las Vegas, Nevada. Used in many films this location is portrayed as a crazy city of gambling, socialising and sporting events. Elite boxing takes to the stage in Las Vegas with the MGM Grand Casino hosting the world’s biggest sporting events.

5. Grand Canyon

Another scenic location of huge magnitude, this is one of those ‘bucket-list’ experiences that most wish to see. The American icon is based in Arizona and hosts natural views sure to astonish all sightseers. This 227-mile all-rounder is a truly impressive wonder that will inspire all that choose to take a trip.
The USA is a desirable place that visitors travel around the globe for, that American dream is something that pulls in all nationalities. It makes for a fantastic holiday and there’s more than just one destination to absorb. For anybody that enjoys adventures, this is the country for you. There are great places for sightseeing, theme parks, water parks and natural wonders. There are plenty more must-see locations too, take a look at other incredible places such as San Francisco, Boston and Times Square. You could embrace shopping in New York for the weekend or even venture further with options to apply for Camp America places as well as 30 day travelling trips that are available online.   

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Must-See Stops For Your Oklahoma Road Trip

Seen as you’re on this blog, you probably have a keen understanding of the magic of the American road trip. There’s something uniquely wonderful about having no schedule to stick to, and miles of open road stretched out in front of you. No matter where you are in the states, there’s always incredible things to see and do, but one particularly “road-trippy” state is Oklahoma. Here are a few great attractions you should try to hit on your Oklahoma road trip.

Credit: Wikimedia

You can’t have a road trip across Oklahoma without seeing the iconic Route 66. The entire stretch of road can take you from Chicago all the way to LA, passing through all kinds of beautiful rural areas. However, the longest stretch of miles goes right through Oklahoma. Starting at the north east corner, you can see the whole of Tulsa and Oklahoma City before hitting the border into Texas. There are several roadside attractions and camping spots where you can park up your travel trailer along the way. See the route 66 museum in Clinton, the Elk City transportation museum, and get a priceless selfie in front of the Catoosa Blue Whale.

Credit: Wikimedia

While you’re in Oklahoma City, the one stop you simply have to make is the Oklahoma City Zoo. We’ve all been to a zoo before, but this one is something very special. Furthermore, it will give your kids something to look forward to past another long stretch of highway! Here, long, sweeping pathways take you through several different biomes, ranging from the plains of Africa to the rainforests of South America. This fascinating place was first opened over 100 years ago, and have cared for over 500 species. While the zoo gets pretty packed on the weekends, this is when you’ll get the best displays, demonstrations and educational exhibits. Some of the highlights include a stingray touch tank, a train ride around the whole zoo, and taking a boat out on the zoo’s lake.

Credit: Wikimedia

Finally, be sure to stop at the Cherokee heritage centre in Tahlequah. This settlement has been the capital of the Cherokee nation since the 1800s, but this incredible heritage centre takes you back to far earlier history. Head down to Diligwa, and you’ll find a brilliant recreation of a 1710 Cherokee village. Here you’ll be able to learn all about the period when the country had just started to be settled, and the various challenges that were part of everyday life in the early 18th century. Then, head over to the Adams Corner Rural Village, which shows the ins and outs of Cherokee life over a hundred years later. Everywhere you look you’ll be able to find fascinating exhibits and beautiful craftwork to enjoy. Both of these attractions are well off the beaten track, so once you’ve had your fill you can wind down by having a nice, relaxed walk around some rural beauty spots.
While planning your road trip across Oklahoma, be sure to include these three attractions in your stops. Remember though; they’re only the tip of an incredible iceberg!  

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11 August 2016

How to Road Trip Solo... And Have Tons of Fun

If you’re like many people, you probably get a sudden craving for adventure once in a while, or maybe you just get the urge to take some time off and run away on your own to find new things. The idea of road tripping alone can be scary, though, so it helps to know how to take the stress out of it and make it a fun and memorable experience.

Parking Pointers

If you have a specific city in mind as your destination, you’ve probably already done some research into local sights, attractions, lodging, and more. But one thing that you might have overlooked is parking. If you are calculating that you will be pulling into town long before you can check into a hotel after driving for many hours, you will probably want a place to park your car and rest for a while. In this case, you can use www.yourparkingspace.co.uk to look for and reserve a spot in advance so you can just pull right in and relax or go check out the sights, all without worrying about circling around looking for parking while you’re tired.

Explore Everything

If you are taking a solo road trip and you don’t necessarily have to be at a certain place by a certain time, be sure to tap into that curiosity that everyone occasionally feels when they drive by new things. How many times have you passed by a sign for something that you wish you had the free time to check out? Well, during your solo road trip, you do have the time, so go for it while you can. Follow new roads along your path, check out some new sights, and try new food. If you see a billboard for a strange attraction, go for it. After all, what do you have lose, aside from a little bit of time and a few miles off of your day? You just might find your next favourite place. Plus, if you want some advise on where to start www.tripadvisor.co.uk is packed full of reviews of local attractions, venues and restaurants.

Document Everything

It sort of goes without saying in this day and age, but take pictures, take video, take selfies, and document your trip so that you can look back on it later on. Mount a dash-cam inside your vehicle so you can revisit the scenery and the route. Grab a lot of neat images and videos, and then upload them to social media as you go. You’re never really alone if you have your Facebook and Twitter friends virtually riding along with you, and it makes it a lot of fun for them to live vicariously through your adventures. You’ll become a star every time you post something new and unique.

A solo road trip might sound fun, but it also might sound scary. However, with clever planning and a little self-entertainment along the way, it could be unforgettable. The key is to have a sense of adventure and a willingness to explore. Don’t treat it like a ‘point A to point B’ task, and allow yourself to wander. Just make sure to pack what you need, keep safety in mind, and go explore the world.

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10 August 2016

The Travel Bug Is Biting

People close to me know that I am a traveler and I love it! I enjoy going out of town even for just a day. I love seeing new places and it is my way of de-stressing. It's a semblance of normality for me when I go somewhere and just soak in the beauty of a new place I haven't seen yet.

Just last Monday, my colleague and I applied for a Schengen Visa. It is her first time and it's my 5th time. I love visiting Europe because I love their culture, the beautiful architecture and old cobblestone streets. I just love the old feel of Europe. It's something I always miss each time I fly back to Dubai from Europe. I just look forward to the next one.

I am not divulging the whereabouts of my next European sojourn. Let's just say, it's a very beautiful place and somewhat farther from the other European countries I have been to in the past. We will be visiting this place for just 4 days and 3 nights. We both can't afford a longer vacation at this time since I am spending Christmas back home.

I am excited! I wish to get approved for multiple entry as I plan to visit the Christmas Market before flying to Manila for the Christmas holidays.

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04 August 2016

Making Australia Your Best Trip Yet

Australia has something for everybody, whether you want to relax on some of the prettiest beaches you’ve ever seen, or see some amazing sights. Australia can be travelled on a luxury budget, but it’s not impossible to do it when you’re short on cash either. You just need to be smart. Whatever you require, it’s possible to make Australia your best trip yet. These pointers will help you to plan a trip you’ll never forget:

Consider Working As You Travel

If you want to travel Australia indefinitely, as many do, then it’s a good idea to consider working as you travel. You won’t need to turn up with a fortune in your back pocket. All you’ll need is a working visa so that you can get work, save up, and travel around. However, you want to avoid the trap of staying in Sydney and only ever associating with the backpacking crowd. This is what many people do, and they never end up saving more money to travel or seeing any of Australia properly. Many people who have worked and travelled Australia admit that they worked more than they travelled and absolutely loved it. This could be an option for you if you’re unable to save the thousands you need to make your way around.

Shop Around For Your Flights

Always shop around for your flights. The flights to Australia will always be the most expensive thing about the trip. You may need to look into connecting flights, or flights from different airlines to find the best deals. Using a comparison site will help you to do this with minimal hassle.


Arrange Airport Transfer In Advance

Arrange your airport transport in advance to get to where you’re going with minimal fuss. All the major airports will have this available, so make sure you book.

Don’t Forget Your Visa

Everybody will need a visa to visit Australia unless you are a citizen of New Zealand. Make sure you apply for your visa in plenty of time so you don’t experience any delays.

Get Through Customs Safely

Getting through customs as safely as possible will help you to avoid delays and any hassle. You will need to be aware of what you can and can’t take through. It goes without saying you should leave any dangerous items at home. You will also need to declare your cash if you’re taking more than $10,000.

Always Take Out Insurance

Always take out insurance. Australia can be an amazing place to visit, but it can be dangerous depending on what you’re doing. Regardless of whether you’re taking part in exploring and adventure sports or not, you should take out an appropriate level of insurance cover to protect you. You never know what could happen.


Know Climates In Different Areas And Plan Accordingly

Different places in Australia have different climates. Some have very hot temperatures, while others will be freezing cold. Plan and pack accordingly. You’ll usually still need to take a high SPF with you to avoid burns, as you can still get burns from the sun when the weather is cold. You don’t want sun stroke or anything like that to ruin your trip. Stay hydrated too!

Research Accommodation

Research your accommodation to make sure you find what you are looking for. If you’re a backpacker, you’ll be able to find plenty of backpacking hostels to accommodate you. There are hostels that offer more of a party atmosphere, and some that are quieter. If you’re travelling in luxury, look at places like this Sorrento accommodation so you know what is available to you.

Create The Perfect Itinerary

Create the perfect itinerary for yourself so you know what you want to do and when. Don’t be rigid here; leave a little room to do your own thing and explore, as you’ll definitely find things to do once you arrive. It’s OK to stray from your itinerary for something worthwhile. If you don’t feel confident creating one of these yourself, find one online and go from there. You can use it or edit it as you see fit. Learning from somebody who has already done it is a great idea!

Australia is a popular place for tourists, with good reason. You’ll likely change as a person once you’ve visited Australia. You’ll experience a new culture and learn so much. You’ll also make memories that last a lifetime. Whether you’re a backpacker or a luxury traveller, these tips apply to you. Good luck and have the most amazing time!

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