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3 Tips To Help You Stay Safe When Traveling Alone

 

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Photo Credit

There’s nothing wrong with solo-traveling, some people argue it’s better than traveling in a group as you only have to depend on yourself and there’s no risk of anyone stopping you from doing what you want to do. The only real issue is that it’s not as safe to go traveling all by yourself. Does this mean you shouldn’t go? Absolutely not! If you are planning a solo-travel adventure, then read these safety tips before you go:

Invest In Extra Safety

When traveling alone, you have a tendency to try and find the cheapest accommodation or the cheapest ways of traveling. It’s natural; the more money you save, the more traveling you can do. However, if you want to stay safe, then I suggest you invest some extra money to guarantee your safety. Yes, hostels may be cheap, but it’s just safer to spend more for a hotel with actual security. Again, accommodation in bad locations is very cheap, but they’re bad locations for a reason. Pay extra to stay somewhere that’s in a safer area, and it gives you peace of mind. The same goes for transport; taxis may be cheap, but are they that safe? I’d avoid getting into a taxi on my own in a foreign country, so spend extra on safer transport options like the train, or even hiring your own car.

Take Self-Defense Classes

Look, it won’t hurt to get a bit of self-defense training before you travel alone. Hopefully, you’ll never need to use it, but it’s better to have the skills than to not have them. It’s sad to say this, but a lot of people will directly target people traveling on their own. So, it pays to know what to do if someone does try and attack you or mug you. Remember, you’re acting in self-defense, and every criminal lawyer in the country will tell you that you’re not in the wrong for defending yourself when someone comes at you. Again, I hope it never has to come to this, but you will feel more confident and less on edge if you’ve been to a few classes before you go.

Don’t Accept Anything Free From Anyone

If you’re traveling on your own, then there’s a fair chance the locals will deduce that you’re not from around here. As such, they will try and take advantage of you in any way possible. One common thing is to offer you free drinks or any other type of freebies. Never accept anything free from anyone when you’re traveling. There’s no knowing what’s really in that free drink, and the chances are any other freebies aren’t actually ‘free’. They’ll probably end up demanding you pay for it somehow, which is how things turn ugly. So, to remain safe, just say no!

There are loads of people that go traveling on their own and remain perfectly safe for months on end. You shouldn’t be worried about doing this, just make sure you’re prepared! These three tips will help you stay safe and feel more in control when you’re flying solo.

 

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Our Etna Experience

Each holiday has at least one big highlight, and while we were in Sicily, one of the highlights was visiting Etna. I admit, it was long overdue – in fact, visiting Sicily was long overdue! I bet not many Maltese people can say that they have not been to Sicily by the age of thirty. The thing is, that I am fascinated with the UK, and I mostly ignored all other countries for a big chunk of my life. It was in 2016 that I started exploring properly and I have not looked back ever since.

We left Etna for our very last day, it being so close to Catania airport. We arrived at around 9:30AM after a two hours drive from where we were staying. The Etna car park, by the cable cars was almost full. It happened to be May the 1st, which is a bank holiday in most countries, so there were a lot of tourists there.

Steffi enjoying Etna, Sicily!

We bought our tickets and made our way to the queue for the cable cars. Once we were at a reasonable height, we queued again for 4×4-style buses. Most of the tourists were laughing hard while we made our way on what we could only describe as a bumpy ride!  It took us to almost to the top of the volcano in no time. It was rather astonishing seeing people walking all the way up from ground level, seeing that Etna is 3,500 meters high up. I bet it takes most of the day going up and then down. We thought it was money well spent as this way we could enjoy walking around and inside the craters for a longer time.

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As you set foot out of the bus, you realise that the temperature changed drastically. From almost 20 degrees to around 2 degrees! Once you get accustomed to the change of weather, you start to embrace the surroundings. The view is breathtaking, the colour of the gravel varies from black to red to yellow. I have never seen so many colours on such a huge stretch of mountain-like land. It was simply amazing being there. No words were enough to describe what we saw, what we felt being so high up, on such a clear day. You could see steam coming out, touching the floor underneath your feet feels warm. You could tell you are walking on top of an active volcano. A bit scary and risky, but it’s an experience I will never forget.

We spent roughly two hours walking and exploring, and around three hours in total including the transport. The souvenir shop comes highly recommended. While we were there we tried several liquors and the famous mandorla wine. We ended up buying some, as well as lava made statues and decor, adding onto the issue we already had since we traveled with just a hand-luggage for a five day long holiday! On the way down to the car-park, there is a restaurant which in our opinion had the best arancini in Sicily. Do give them a try if you feel peckish!

Choosing your Wedding Venue

Wedding-Venue-SearchChoosing your wedding venue is probably the biggest decision you have to make after the proposal. Everything else starts falling into place when you know where the reception will be held. In our case, we chose the venue, then we looked for a church which is not on the other side of the island. Then we proceeded with choosing our caterers, which was the next headache…

Before deciding on wedding venue, read through the points below, to form your basic wedding requirements:

  • Budget: Make sure the wedding venues you are looking at are within your budget.  Although daydreaming is nice, if you have a restricted budget, it is important to not waste time on venues that you can never afford. Harsh, but it will be a let down eventually. When looking at venues, make sure you ask the right questions, for example, are there any hidden fees involved? What is the overtime hourly rate? And how does it work? What are the payment arrangements?
  • Guest-list: Having an idea on the number of guests that you would like to invite would help ensure that all of them will fit comfortably in the venue. Further, it will also help you to determine if the venue is too big for your wedding party. You really wouldn’t want the wedding reception to look empty.
  • Availability: This is a crucial point when it comes to choosing the wedding venue. The reason I have put this as a third point is as I am a strong believer on the fact that one should know the budget and number of guests before starting to look at venues.
  • Weather-friendly: Make sure that the wedding venue is appropriate for your big day. If you are getting married in the dead of winter or in the hottest month of the year, make sure that there is an indoor space for all your guests. You might get lucky, and you will not need this space but best to be safe than sorry. If it is too hot, air-conditioning is a must, if it is cold or rainy, then a warm space (or at least an indoor space) is ideal. Have a back-up plan at hand for the worst case scenario.
  • Catering: This will be tackled separately, however one must keep in mind that certain venues have catering exclusivity, meaning that you cannot choose your own catering. In this case, make sure that the venue package is affordable, and that the venue’s caterer is to your liking. Food and beverage is essential in a wedding, and one simply cannot take it for granted.
  • Parking: Appropriate amount of parking the vicinity of the wedding venue is considered an asset now a days. Most of the guests will be attending with their own means of transport, and wouldn’t want to walk for half an hour to the wedding reception and back to the car. If parking is an issue, then make sure to reserve a parking lot for your big-day and instruct your guests to park there.
  • Ambience:  Think about the theme and the decor you are after. Does this match the style of the venue? If you want to dress up the venue completely to make it unique, yours, make sure you have budgeted the decor required. Ensure also the venue is ideal for your guest list. For example, if you are inviting elderly, make sure there are chairs available. As much as you wouldn’t want all the guests to sit down, you need cater for everyone’s needs.

Wedding in Malta: How to get started

Daniel and I are both planners, which I’d say is of an advantage when it comes to organizing our wedding plan. We have heard about so many stories, where couples are stressed beyond compare, fighting every minute they get, that we were a bit paranoid. Truth be told, none of this has happened. Three months into the preparation, we have been very respectful towards each other, and we have managed to compromise on everything so far, be it budget, and choosing our providers.

We believe, that the hardest thing that we had to come up with was our budget. The main reason being that we had absolutely no idea on how much a wedding should cost.  We heard of weddings which costed 10,000 and others which were 30,000 and more! This confused us further, as we were unsure how two weddings which had roughly the same items (sizable venue and guest-list, food, DJ, open bar) could differentiate so much in terms of cost!

wedding to do list

So how did we come up with a budget? In reality, we did not! Wait, what? We decided on what we can afford. We decided on the guests we wanted to invite. I come from a large family, and we had to draw a line somewhere. We made the guest list, and we asked vendors for quotations based on these numbers. Then by priority, we started to add additional costs – listing the must haves and the nice to haves.

This is the must-have list we came up with:

– Gather an approximate Guest list and request quotations for food and drinks
Chapel & Venue – booked on the same day
Food tasting from top 2 or 3 caterers (based on price, reputation and wedding date availability)
Photographer – A beautiful memory to cherish in the years to come
DJ – a wedding reception without music, is not really a celebration. In Malta, DJ is the most common form of entertainment for weddings. Some choose to have a live-band or singer
Cars – Bare necessity is a bridal car and taxi for groom and our respective family
Hair & Makeup – We all want to look at our best for our big day
Rings – The symbol for our marriage
Invitations – Compulsory
Souvenirs – A small thank you gift for our guests
Clothes – Bride, Groom, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen
Bride’s flower bouquet

Nice to have list:

Flowers (for the church)
Church Singer
– Themed Decor (for the venue)
Lighting
– Videographer
– Red Carpet (for the church)

Travel To These Countries When You’re On A Budget

If you’re travelling on a budget, chances are you’ve had some of the best holiday trips of a lifetime. You’ve mingled with locals, taken part in local activities, and bunked down in countless hostels. Yet, a lot of people don’t believe the amount of enrichment a person can get from a budget!

There’s a lot of budget friendly destinations out there, and even when you only have a few dollars in your pocket to pay for the street food, the accommodation and experiences can still be fantastic! Make sure to include these places on your bucket list whilst you’re missing out on rolling in the millions; there’s a lot you can do for free when you know where to look.

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Take a Trip to South Africa

South Africa is one of the most culturally enriched and beautiful places to see in your lifetime, and there’s a lot to do considering the size of the continent itself. One of the biggest and most famous activities to undertake is the Safari, as this is a gateway to a whole world of nature with the biggest and best-est animals all on show. Thankfully, this is totally within your reach when you’re on a budget!

You can even travel via the air here quite cheaply when you’re got the right resources in your pocket. When you have the best airline credit card promotion on your side, the travel itself is going to become a lot cheaper to manage. Getting rewards out of the vast mileage it takes to get here is going to be lovely to live on when you get home again!

Head to Prague

This is one of the most popular tourist destinations when it comes to capital cities, and that may immediately turn you away from it, but it’s incredibly cheap to visit when you’re on a budget. There are so many amazing sights to see for free, such as the Vltava River. Even just taking a bridge tour can take an entire day here!

There’s a lot of history on offer here, with Europe having one of the most extensively recorded histories in the world for you to explore. Similarly, if you like the pub scene, there’s a lot of world famous local brews to try out here; always good for a night out with you and a couple of friends!

Try Out Bulgaria

This country definitely deserves a spot on your travel wishlist! It’s a little known tourist spot, and that title is completely unjust considering the amount of beaches alone. You can visit any stretch of sands and stone; discover so much history and nature in one.

There’s an entire and extensive arts district on offer for your eyes, and your wallet, if you pay Bulgaria a visit. Check into some of the biggest cultural hotspots in Europe just by taking a trip to this capital city, which is also pretty cheap.

Remember: a budget never has to mean you can’t explore the planet you were born on!

 

Travel Plans, But Empty Pockets? Explore The World on a Budget!

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As the saying goes, nobody has ever said on their deathbed ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office.’ According to research, one of the things people do regret not doing more of is travelling- and so if every year you vow to travel more but never do now is the time to make a change. You don’t need loads of money to see new places, so if you have the opportunity to take some time out and broaden your horizons with travel you should definitely go for it. Here are some of the ways you can go about it if you don’t have a whole lot of money in the bank.

Earn As a Freelancer

When you work as a freelancer, you can take your job with you when you travel. All you need is a laptop and you can continue earning money while you’re away. It could be blogging, Youtube, freelance writing- once you have regular work coming in you know that you have a way of earning additional money while you’re away. You can get free wifi in lots of places, from hotels to coffee shops and restaurants unless you’re going somewhere very remote. If you have plans to travel in future and are a huge fan of all things travel, starting a Youtube channel or blog in the year or so before is a smart move- then when you go away yourself you could track your trip.

Work in Another Country

Moving to another country for work is another option. Not only could you improve your career prospects in some cases, but you also get the opportunity to live in a new place. It’s different from being a tourist since a lot of your time will be dedicated to working, however you really get to know a place when you live there. You will learn about their customs and cultures, their food, meet lots of new people in a different way than perhaps you would as a tourist. You could search for jobs in Singapore to jobs in Australia, America- wherever has interested you as a country why not go for it. You could move out for six months, a year, five year, permanently- whatever suits you. But you’ll get to explore and understand a new part of the world and support yourself while you’re there. Voluntary work is another option, you won’t get paid but you get to spend time in another country and help out, in return for accommodation and food.

Go on a Road Trip

Road trips are something that most of us have on our travel bucket list. And with incredible routes in different places in the world, it gives you the chance to see lots of different places while stopping at whatever landmarks and attractions interest you. If you hire an RV or campervan you have the benefit of accommodation and transport in one, it’s easy to eat cheaply too as you will either have a fridge in your vehicle or you could buy a cool box. Fill up with food and snacks from the grocery store and you save on expensive restaurants. Many campsites offer hookups for RVs including electricity and water and don’t cost much, but you can park up and sleep anywhere providing you’re in a safe and legal space. You could always have the odd night at a motel if you’re going to be travelling for a while- it won’t cost much and you can have a shower and sleep in a proper bed. RV and campervan hire is relatively cheap, check out companies in the destination you will be visiting and be sure to shop around. Once that’s paid, you only really have your fuel and food to pay for, and any attractions that you plan on seeing.

Go Backpacking

Backpacking is an incredible experience. While humble you see your destination in a different way, it’s not about the five star restaurants or fancy hotels. Instead you’re in the midst of the action, chatting to locals, meandering through markets tasting the street food, finding interesting places that are off the beaten path. It’s a cheap way to travel as most of the time you’re on foot or on public transport, fill your pack with the essentials and some staple food items and you’re good to go. Keep an eye on flights to see if you can snag some cheap ones, and if you sign up to a chain of hostels you can stay in any of them in the world meaning it’s easy to find a place to lay your head.

Explore The Country You Live In

When most of us think about seeing new places, we think of exotic destinations far from home. However there’s a place right under your feet, and chances are you’ve not explored the half of it. It’s much cheaper to visit the country you live in because there are no flights needed. Think of all of the different cities, countryside, beaches, lakes, rivers, tourist attractions there are to see where you live. Put it on your bucket list to visit them all, whether it’s with family, friends, a partner or just by yourself. Don’t rule it out just because you haven’t travelled thousands of miles to see it. Other tourists have, so take advantage of what you have where you live!

Seeing new places and travelling really broadens your horizons. You can meet new people and will probably develop a new outlook on life. Plus it’s fun too, and sometimes doing things just for the fun of it is exactly what the doctor ordered. If you work hard all year, a few weeks or a month of to indulge in culture, history and spectacular sights will give you a new lease of life for when you return.

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Will you be travelling this year? If someone was on the fence about seeing a new place in the world this year, what would you say to them?

Flee To Florida, And Escape The Rain!

It’s dull, drizzling, and the sky is really lacking inspiration. It no longer feels as if winter is around the corner… it’s here, and it’s here to stay! But, don’t fear. Some parts of the world are never really that cold, or miserable. One of the great examples, and a great holiday location is Florida. If you’ve never been, you’re really missing out. This post will go through the State of Florida, city by city, to inspire your next big trip!

Orlando

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You’ve probably heard of Disneyland in Paris, right? Well, Orlando is home to something a little bigger; Disneyworld. It’s also home to several other large theme parks, including Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. All in all, there are over a dozen theme parks in Orlando. And, some of them are the biggest in the world.

Like much of Florida, much of the Orlando area is filled with marshland and swamps. But, you’ll also find miles of white, sandy beaches to the east of the city. In areas like this, wildlife refuses to budge. This makes for a city that feels like it’s at the heart of nature, while still incorporating nightclubs and shopping into the mix.

Tampa

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For lovers of history and culture; look no further than Tampa. This city focuses more on intellectual pursuits than either of the others. The city has numerous zoos and aquariums, making it perfect for youngsters who don’t like rides! It also has several museums, and even plays host to the famous Busch Gardens; an African-themed amusement park.

Most of the cities nightlife and dining can be found in the Ybor City neighborhood. This area is steeped in history, having been established by Cuban and Spanish tobacco workers at the turn of the 20th Century.

Miami

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Miami is one of America’s hotspots for fashion and culture. For those who want to spend the nights on the town, Miami is the place for you. Much of Miami consists of art deco buildings and trendsetting diners. It truly is the best place to go to sample some of the finer things in life.

The city is famous worldwide for its beautiful white, sandy beaches and crystal clear ocean. Miami is a popular spot for surfers and other extreme water sports, adding, even more, culture to the already bustling city.

Getting yourself into a hotel in Florida is easy as pie. You have so many options available; the hardest part really is choosing. You can spend two weeks in a luxury hotel, or have a stint in vacation rentals in Florida. The world truly is your oyster. It’s best to avoid traveling to a place like this with food included in your trip. You’ll want to get out and try all of the different offerings these cities have for you.  Remember to take plenty of dollars with you, too!

All that’s left to do is get planning! Make sure that you plan well to avoid any unwanted issues on your journey. Good luck, and enjoy the trip!

Perfect Perth

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Perth not only enjoys wonderful weather, beautiful beaches and a laid back demeanor but there is more to this captivating city than the myriad of bars, restaurants and activities. Perth’s pristine parkland, nearby bush, and river and ocean beaches allow its visitors to spread out and enjoy what’s on offer.

The transport system is fabulous but to truly take advantage of all that’s on offer you may wish to hire a car. Burswood Car Rentals offers free delivery to all city hotels allowing you to explore further afield and visit some of the less well known yet spectacular spots that cost next to nothing. (Please note that costs may apply for some activities)

Shoalwater Islands Marine Park is accessible from Rockingham which is less than an hour’s drive south of Perth. Swarming with marine life including sea stars and urchins as well as a number of fish species flitting through the shipwrecks and makes for excellent diving, snorkeling and wildlife watching. While in the water you’ll probably run into a pod of bottle-nose dolphins and can swim with these on the regularly operated tours.

Penguin Island, a breeding colony for an array of perth1incredible birds, has Little Penguins which breed in the burrows and you can watch them being fed at the interactive center.

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If you have a dive permit, The Saxon Ranger, a 400 tonne former fishing vessel takes residence at the Park. The boat is first purpose sunk dive wreck in the Perth metropolitan area.

Just 20 minutes east of Perth, sample the divine fruits of the vineyards of Western Australia’s oldest wine region at the Swan Valley and Darling Range.  Here you may indulge on award-winning local produce, discover the incredible local heritage or simply relax in the stunning bush-land of the Darling Range. The antithesis of the bustle of city life, it can be reached via road or aboard a Swan River Cruise from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty.

Sharing a glass of red with the vineyard owners, they are happy to recount stories of the generations of their families who owned the vineyards before them, some dating back to the early European settlers.

With over 70 eateries to choose from you are spoiled for choice or pack a lunch enjoying the breathtaking views of your surroundings.

You can also partake in many activities including horse riding, cycling and Indigenous culture.

perth2If you fancy getting even closer to some furry friends, head to Caversham Wildlife Park –  where close encounters with kangaroos and koalas is order of the day.

Alternatively you could choose to drive along the Great Eastern Highway to the blissful tranquillity of the Avon Valley heritage town in under an hour and a half. One of the few towns in WA to hold ‘Historic Town’ status, the proud residents of York have taken great care over restoring its many Victorian and Federation buildings. Due to retaining its heritage charms, it remains Perth’s favourite country escape.

No wonder this area is a top spot for romantic weekends or family fun.