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Destination Tips

Five of The Top Destinations to Visit During December

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Holiday season is almost upon us in every sense of the word. With so much excitement building and preparations to be made some people just want to get away from it all.  There are many great destinations to visit during the month of December and some excellent skiing holidays to choose from.  All those pretty snow scenes would definitely have the avid ski lover gathering up those skis and poles to pack for the snowy climes.Zugspitze view & clouds

Visit the Caribbean for Winter Sunshine

This is the number one paradise of choice with the world’s most beautiful unspoiled beaches, the best hotels, villas and restaurants.  Saint Barth comes highly recommended with one of its highlights being the venue for one of the world’s most thrilling yacht races. It is a hotspot for the super-rich and celebrities from across the globe and especially during December when they need to unwind from hectic schedules.isla mujeres beach mexico

Guatemala

Guatemala comes highly recommended and number two on the top list of destinations to visit during December. It is a beautiful and colourful country. It borders Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador. It boasts astonishingly beautiful coasts both on the Pacific and Caribbean sides. It has amazing volcanic landscapes and very pretty towns and as December has the sunniest and driest days this is the best time of year to visit.Antigua Street & Arch

Things to Do in India in December

December in Konark is home to classical Indian arts and culture. Here one can enjoy a celebration of classical dances hosted by an annual dance festival. Jammu and Kashmir which are known for their nature walks, parks and views during the summer months’ play host to one of the best skiing and paragliding destinations in December in India. India comes in at number three of the best locations worldwide to visit during December.indian family in hampi

South-East Asia, a Top Winter Delight

Cambodia and Laos have the perfect climate during December. Why visit while the weather is hot and wet – wait until it is perfect and embrace beautiful colonial towns buzzing with amazing places to eat and drink. They are both large countries with plenty of space to get away from the crowds and have some peaceful alone time in gorgeous surroundings. It may take some extra planning but nowadays with international money transfers it is always easy to top up while away from home. This destination is rated number four in the world’s top destinations for December.vientiane temple

Prague’s Old Town for December

There is nowhere prettier to be found in December than Prague. Those gorgeous ancient streets look like something right out of a fairy tale, and even come with a real castle. Prague is extremely cold in December but is well equipped with lots of cosy restaurants and rich cuisine. At number 5 Prague must be added to the list.mdina cathedral door

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Golf Destination Travel: Danang, Vietnam

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Danang is the third largest city in terms of urban population in Vietnam and remains one of the most important ports in the country.  Located in central Vietnam, Danang is known for its lovely beaches and interesting history, as a French colonial port.  New hotels and restaurants are emerging all the time and the street food has to be seen to be believed, it’s delicious.  Danang makes a good base for day trips in this region of Vietnam and more importantly, a great base for sampling the nearby selection of golf courses.  Below, we have some of the best Danang golf courses, which are must-play when staying in this region of Vietnam.laguna-lang-co-golf-club

Ba Na Hills Golf Club is a mountainous design, created by Luke Donald.  It’s the first golf course to be designed by the English golfer, not just in Asia but the world and can be found near the cable car station, in the foothills of Bana Hills.  Managed by IMG, the layout of Ba Na Hills Golf Club is spread through several valleys and features plenty of elevation changes, throughout the 18-holes.  The higher points of the course provide great views of the valleys below and large trees and streams are prominent on many of the holes.  Playing at over 7,800 yards, the course is quite long and is enjoyable and challenging in equal measure, for players of abilities.  The back nine holes are perhaps the more testing and come complete with many blind shots and doglegs.  The greens are not as undulated as one would expect, giving the style of the rest of the golf course and this allows them to be attacked, with good pin positions throughout the 18 holes.  With a modern clubhouse, driving range, putting green, pro shop, restaurant and flood lights, allowing late night play, Ba Na Hills is a great Danang golf course.

Another quality Danang golf course, which should not be missed, is BRG Da Nang Golf Resort.  This golf course is designed by Greg Norman and was opened in 2010, to great acclaim, as it went on to win a number of awards.  It was voted best golf courses in Asia, by readers of Asian Golf Monthly on three occasions between 2011 and 2013.  Constructed on the sandy soil of Danang beach, the course is steeped in history, as this was the sight of the first American landing during the war in the 1960’s.  This is a true links-style golf course and has mother nature to thank for its layout, as much as Greg Norman.  The undulating greens, make good approach play crucial and the fairways are framed by long needle pines, so anything off the fairway, can lead to a difficult second shot, off the sand and needles.  Large, natural waste areas have been cut from the sand dunes and the wind can also be a factor here, making club selection tricky.  If the links courses of Scotland are your thing, you are sure to revel in playing at BRG Da Nang Golf Resort, it’s a truly excellent golf course.montgomerie-danang

A 90-minute drive from Danang, is the Nick Faldo designed, Laguna Lang Co Golf Club.  Opened in 2012, the par-71 course is suitable for beginners and experienced golfers alike, measuring 6,958 from the back tees and 5,263 from the front tees.  Nestled in a picturesque area, between the beach and the mountains, the backdrop to the course is a delight, with ocean and mountain views across the course.  The 18 holes weave their way between the natural streams, trees, paddy fields, imposing rocks and alongside the beach itself.  There is a great variety of holes, each offering something different and man-made influences have been kept down to a minimum, which adds something a little special to the course.  Laguna Lang Co Golf Club also includes the Banyan Tree Resort and they combine to make this on of the great Danang golf courses.

When discussing the top Danang golf courses, one which always makes the list, is the Montgomerie Links.  This course was designed by famous European golfer, Colin Montgomerie and was voted as being Vietnam’s best championship course, in 2013.  As the name suggests, this is a links-style golf course and if it was not for the warmer temperatures, you could easily believe you were playing in Scotland or Ireland, it really is that good.  Rolling fairways and huge greens are the key features to this testing and exciting golf course, with thick rough and deep bunkers being the major hazards.  The only difference from a traditional links course, are the natural lakes and streams which are situated throughout but these add a local feel to the course and do not detract from it in any way.  When considering where to play golf in Danang, the Montgomerie Links should be at the top of your itinerary.danang-golf-club2

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The cultural attraction of Havana

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Cuba is like nowhere else. Thanks to the long trade embargo with the United States the Caribbean island nation has been stuck in its own unique time warp. For better or worse this has given the country a uniquely timeless flavour that endures to this day. As the relationship with its larger neighbor finally starts to thaw, now is the best time to visit and experience this unique country before everything changes.

Havana

Nowhere are Cuba’s contradictions more apparent than in its Capital Havana. The most evocative of all the cities in the Caribbean, Havana has a special dichotomous allure. It is also the best place to experience Cuba’s richly complex and proud culture.

The wealth of different treasures found just below the city’s often shabby façade reward discovery, and before the island turns into another typical holiday destination you should take a chance to experience it for yourself.

One of the most striking this for first-time visitors in Havana is how grand the city is. Despite the obvious signs of neglect, the city boasts impressive boulevards, resplendent city squares and striking colonial architecture all around. Combine this Spanish colonial grandeur with the ever-present 50s muscle cars, erstwhile Americana, and Caribbean verve and you have one of the world’s genuinely unique cities.

Walk along the Malecón

Havana’s most famous thoroughfare the Malecón (or the Avenida de Maceo to give it its official name) is a five-mile-long sea-front road. As popular with locals as it is visitors, the Malecón is one of the best places to people spot and take in the Cuban capital’s atmosphere. Thanks to years of disuse many of the buildings along its length have fallen into ruin, giving you a fascinating glimpse into the history and struggles of the city, yet it remains as alive and vibrant as ever. The street is one of the safest in the city and is seeing improvements as Cuba continues to open itself up to western visitors. Make sure and visit at sunset, as the views across the water are worth it.cuba

Image by neiljs used under Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.0)

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

While more famous for its music, Art plays a vibrant and vital role in the country’s cultural life. One of the best places to experience Cuban art is at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Found in the beautiful surroundings of Centro Asturianas, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes contains the finest examples of Cuban art as well as many international pieces from the colonial period and beyond.

La Fábrica de Arte Cubano

A multidisciplinary cultural/community hub, there is always things going on at the La Fábrica de Arte Cubano. Located in an old renovated government-owned factory, the FAC is always a buzz of life with everything from folk dancing, photography exhibitions, painting, and all manner of other cultural goings-on.cuba2

Image by Anton Novoselov, used under Creative Commons license CC by 2.0

331 Art Space

Another artistic space, Studio 331 offers a small slice of Cuban art as the studio of three young local painters Frank Mujica, Alex Hernandez and Adrian Fernandez. Found in a recently refurbished colonial-era mansion, the aim of the space is to bring attention to contemporary Cuban art and has a range of paintings available to buy.

Fusterlandia

Fusterlandia is the nickname of the seaside village of Jaimanitas on the outskirts of the Cuban capital. It gained this moniker due to the artistic endeavors of local artist Jose Fuster. Originally found in his home of Casa de Fuster, these murals and 3D pieces of art are now found across the village offering visitors a rare way to experience Cuba’s artistic side. You can also still visit Fuster’s original studio for yourself.

 

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Explore America’s Beauty with an off the Beaten Track Adventure

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America is one of the most stunning, diverse and breathtaking continents in the entire world. Great lakes, canyons, desert, swamps, mountain ranges and electric cities are just a handful of what there is to explore. This makes it the ultimate adventure destination. Often, when people visit the States they will fly in to the major cities, which can be fantastic, but often the most amazing experiences are found off the beaten track and in the lesser explored areas of this great country.

The Ultimate Road Trip

It is the dream of many people to do the ultimate American road trip from coast to coast, but sadly not many people get to experience this. A group of friends, the open road, great music and a breathtaking and varied backdrop is the perfect setting for an unforgettable and eye opening adventure. This is not your typical holiday and a break from the norm, and it is always the off the beaten track expeditions which are the most exciting and create the most stories.

Monument Valley street

Must See Places

There are many highlights to see in America, with a few being absolute musts for those wanting to break the norm. Southern gems such as Nashville, Mississippi and New Orleans provide breathtaking scenery along with a distinctive atmosphere, whilst The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also a must and be sure to take your camera.

St Louis CathedralThe Grand Canyon in California will be the top of many people’s lists and for good reason, but be sure to head into Las Vegas for some fun and games. Yosemite National Park cannot be missed, and a drive through the desert will have you reminiscing about all the great Western films. Driving along the Pacific Coast will give you amazing views and an eclectic mix of brilliant cities and perfect beaches which many visitors miss. Deadwood in South Dakota is a charming town where you get easy access to amazing places such as the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park.Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas

Small Group Adventure Tours

All of this only scratches the surface of what you will find on an American road trip off the beaten path. To ensure you do not miss a thing, it may be in your best interest to use holiday companies like TrekAmerica to plan your trip. These companies organise brilliant small group adventure tours that uncover the best hidden gems in all of America. Additionally, many of these companies can also arrange fantastic activities such as horse riding, white water rafting, mountain biking and more.Monument Valley horseback ridingAmerica is a land of awe-inspiring natural beauty. This landscape is also incredibly diverse, making it an incredible place to explore both in the major cities and everywhere in between. An adventure off the beaten path in America is sure to be an astonishing, fun and life changing experience and a trip out of the ordinary.

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Explore the World’s Hidden Treasures on an Unforgettable Cruise

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There is nothing greater than expanding your horizons and seeing more of our beautiful planet. It can be an eye opening experience and also one which gives you a much greater appreciation for the globe, but unfortunately not many people get to see anywhere near enough of it.

An Adventurous Holiday

When deciding on vacations, it is common for people to select predictable destinations and places they have visited before. Whilst this will still be a great trip, it is also not particularly adventurous and there are many incredible yet often overlooked destinations. One terrific way of seeing areas of the world that not many people get to see is to go on a cruise. With cruises, the journey becomes the holiday and you will be treated to often unseen natural beauty out at sea and along the coastlines.

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What You May See

A cruise enables you to see many amazing things, regardless of the destination. You will gain a better understanding of the size of the globe as you will be travelling by sea and not by air, and this will allow you to see and visit many secluded ports in some of the most wonderful countries on the planet. Whilst out at sea, there is a very good chance that you will see some majestic and colourful wildlife which you would not get with any other type of holiday.

The World’s Hidden Treasures Uncovered

On top of all this, some cruises will allow you to explore and get up close to some of the greatest sights in the entire world. The Norwegian Fjords cruise from specialists such as Bolsover Cruise Club, for example, takes you on an unforgettable trip where you get unparalleled views of the breathtaking Fjords. Thanks to these cruises, anyone can explore and discover some of the more unusual and magical places on the entire planet.

cinque terre.JPGThere are many other brilliant destinations that you could visit and cruises that go around the globe. You could see the Polar Regions, Angel Falls (the world’s highest waterfall), Hawaii, the diverse landscapes of the Middle East, the Black Sea, the Caribbean Islands and many other incredible sights. Not only this, but cruises are also brilliant fun and there are many benefits of going on one.

An Eye Opening Experience

Whilst there is a lot to be said for going on a safe and simple holiday, it is also not particularly adventurous. There are all kinds of breathtakingly beautiful places and things to discover out in the world; seeing these could give you a greater appreciation for the planet and be a real eye opening experience. The best way to explore the world and uncover these gems is through a cruise, as this will take you on a fun and unforgettable journey across the oceans to your destination.

corsica & cruise ships

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Seven restaurants you can’t miss in Dubai

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Dubai is one of those idyllic destinations where a traveller can enjoy sunny weather all-year-around, even when the summer heat may prove a little too much for some (there are still many ways to enjoy yourself indoors with air-conditioning on full blast). Everyone knows there’s no shortage of things to do in trendy and sleek Dubai, there’s a plethora of attractions beckoning your call. Endless skyscrapers, huge shopping malls, a buzzing nightlife, fantastic beaches, stunning resorts, desert safaris and many more unique draws makes Dubai a top destination for virtually every type of holidaymaker.

But Dubai is not only known for its skyscrapers, ultra-luxurious hotels and ambitious malls, but also for its extravagant culinary options and gastronomic experiences. Dubai Holidays is a site with a great collection of restaurants for you to plan your trip as it would be incomplete if you don’t take the opportunity to experience at least one of the top culinary options offered across a variety of quality restaurants. And you don’t have to break the bank either, there’s a tasty meal for every pocket, and even some gourmet delicacies to be found at moderate prices. You can also find freshly-prepared meals expressly hand-crafted to satisfy a variety of dietary conditions – from gluten-free to lactose-free, vegetarian and even vegan, there’ll be a restaurant in Dubai (often more than one) to cater for it all. Be it continental, Emirati, Thai, Mediterranean or Indian, you will find a sea of delicacies to taste.

Let us now go over our pick of hotel restaurants where you can experience some of the best gastronomic experiences in Dubai:

Omnia Gourmet: Designed by Silvena, this celebrated Emirati theme restaurant is the best option for health-conscious diners. Foodies arriving here are welcomed with lush green, mismatched ceramic tiles giving a perfect ambience that echoes the restaurant’s green credentials. The 24 carat gold chocolate sphere is a must- dessert to finish off a healthy meal and the cafe is ideal for those looking for vegan, organic, glute-free or raw cuisine.

Bateaux Dubai: If you want to experience dining by the waterways of Dubai Creek, then this restaurant is the best option to go for. There you can enjoy some finely prepared gourmet dishes and premium beverages with top-notch personalised service.

Zuma: Considered one of the finest restaurants in the world, this Japanese restaurant has a variety of menus on offer. It’s most famously known for its Japanese Izakaya specialties, perfectly complementing the Japanese theme prevailing all-around. If you’re looking for a fine-dining experience with a Japanese twist, then this is the one not to miss.

zuma restaurant
Zuma by Côte d’Azur on flickr.com

Mint Leaf of London: This restaurant is the perfect combination of sweet aromas and an electric atmosphere. Located on the 15th floor of South Tower in the Emirates Financial Towers, this is the place to enjoy a contemporary take on Indian food, not to mention the breath-taking views over the city that can be admired through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

Armani Hotel- Amal: If you’re looking forward to enjoying typical Indian fare then Amal is the right option to go for. Located in the magnificent Burj Khalifa, and part of the exclusive Armani hotel, this elegant restaurant serves some authentic Indian food along with signature luxury.

Entrance to the Armani Hotel at the Burj Khalifa
Entrance to the Armani Hotel at the Burj Khalifa by David Jones on Flickr.com

Pier Chic: Located at Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, this refreshing restaurant offers high-end Mediterranean seafood for real foodies looking for a fresh taste from the ocean. This romantic eatery is open for lunch and dinner with a menu featuring the finest selection of oysters, scallops, sashimi and lobster. The restaurant also has bar and lounge for those looking to enjoy a nice pre-dinner or apres-dinner cocktail.

Sarband by Nillo’s: This is the best Iranian restaurant in Dubai, and you’ll find it in Century Village. It’s famous for the high standards of its cuisine and its relaxed al fresco setting. It is also known for a reputed Iranian Head Chef who serves classic Persian fare like Khoresh-e-fesenjan. Many expats and tourists in Dubai are frequent diners and come here for simply the best Iranian food anywhere around.

abshar sangak with cheese, walnuts, greens
abshar sangak with cheese, walnuts, greens by Krista on Flickr.com

As you can see after checking out this list, Dubai’s gourmet gastronomy spans a wide variety of worldwide cuisines. Whether you’re visiting during the Dubai Shopping festival, to enjoy the awesome theme parks and eye-opening attractions, or to simply unwind on the beach, you should certainly not miss the most highly recommended restaurants.

Photo credit: All images used via Flickr’s creative commons licensing. (1) Zuma restaurant by Côte d’Azur; (2) Entrance to the Armani Hotel by David Jones; (3)Abshar Sangak with cheese, walnuts and greens by Krista

 

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How to Mix Relaxation and Adventure in Your Cuba Holiday

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Cuba is an incredibly appealing holiday destination, whether you’re after an action-packed vacation or simply seek a relaxing week or two away. As the largest island in the Caribbean you can create a holiday that has everything, from spending a few days exploring the jungles to chilling out on one of its many beaches.

You can create your own personalised vacation to the Caribbean nation or book an all-inclusive one with Cuba Holidays. Either option can help you have a holiday in such a glorious location that is the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation.

Life On Cuba

Beaches

There’s nothing more relaxing on a holiday than lying on the beach, taking in the sun’s rays with an ice cool drink nearby. As a large island, Cuba has many beaches in every corner. Varadero beach on the north side is a popular tourist destination, great for families with many quality hotels and restaurants nearby. Playa Pilar and Sirena beach on Cayo Largo to the south are also scenic beaches, surrounded by blue waters and golden sands.
Postcard from Cuba
Music and Bars

For the fully immersive Cuban experience you will definitely spend a lot of time relaxing in numerous bars and restaurants dotted across the island. From the hustle and bustle of the capital Havana, that could involve the odd dance in the street, to sipping on Cuba libres, music and food play a big part in the country’s culture. Expect to eat plenty of fish and rice based dishes in your downtime, with rum a key ingredient for a lot of meals and drinks.

Mojito

Water sports

Now for the more active side of things. Trinidad de Cuba is the place to go if you love, or just want to try out, some water sports. The sandy beaches are ideal for anyone not wanting to get involved, while clear blue waters are a dream for water-skiing, swimming, diving and just generally having fun in the sea. It’s also a highly picturesque little place, steeped in tradition.

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Trekking

Get up and out into the hills with one of the many great trails around the country. From dramatic landscapes, mountain treks and strolls by the beach, a wide variety can be found, whether you’re after a short jaunt or long hike. The heat can be pretty intense at the heights of summer, so be sure to pack plenty of water and trek to a place that takes in either a lake or the seas to cool off in.

Cuba Cars

Photo credit: All images used via Flickr’s Creative Commons license. Title picture: Faces Of Cuba by Bud Ellison; (1) Life in Cuba by Angelo Domini; Postcard from Cuba by Nick Kenrick; Mojito by Jean-Philippe Rebuffet, Cuba by Domenic Scarturchio; Cuba Cars by Angelo Domini

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Jaw-dropping Attractions in Nusa Dua and the Greatness of Grand Hyatt Bali

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Located in the southern peninsula of Bali, Nusa Dua offers so many jaw dropping beauties and attractions. Yes, Bali isn’t always about Kuta. Nusa Dua can also make anyone’s traveling in Bali more memorable. Various 5-star resorts located along the beaches and beautiful public parks along the road make Nusa Dua even more charming. So, what can be done while spending the time in Nusa Dua?

Shopping Heaven

Shopping in Nusa Dua can be a little more interesting. It’s not too crowded like the shopping spots in Kuta but it’s possible to find exotic and high quality stuffs there. In total, there are more than 90 fashion stores around Nusa Dua. Tons of art workshops are available too. What’s even more stunning is the existence of public chairs located all around the area. This is so perfect for those who are so keen on shopping. The travelers can rest for a while on those chairs and then carry on shopping.

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Beautiful Beaches
For the beaches, Nusa Dua is really comparable to Kuta. Nusa Dua Beach is the first alternative. Located right behind Bali Collection shopping center, this beach is so perfect for those who want to enjoy shopping and great time on the beach at the same time. This public beach is also so safe for both swimming and sun bathing. Nusa Dua beach has a really famous surfing spot called Mushroom Rock. This area is the favorite for surfers all around the world. If it’s not enough, check the condition around the beach and there will be local restaurants.

Tanjung Benoa
Tanjung Benoa is the next traveling destination in Nusa Dua. Located in Benoa harbor, it takes about 10 minutes driving from Nusa Dua. Water sports and water activities are two most important things to do in Tanjung Benoa. Taste the excitement of parasailing, jet ski, and banana boat.

Culture-related Attraction
Is there any culture-related attraction in Nusa Dua? Of course, there is. Just simply go to the Teater Nusa Dua and travelers can enjoy Devdan Show. It’s a 90-minute performance where travelers can enjoy stunning dances and various cultures in Indonesia in one package. Combination of traditional and modern dancing will certainly keep the travelers in an awe. But it’s not all. Devdan will also catch more attention with world class acrobatic attraction completed with high-end special effect. nusa dua grand hyatt

Great Hotel in Nusa Dua

Yes, it’s not too much to say that those destinations in Nusa Dua can make traveling in this heavenly island complete and memorable as long as the right hotel has been chosen. True, don’t ever be reckless about this matter. Book the rooms in Grand Hyatt Bali Nusa Dua to guarantee the awesome traveling. There are so many awesome things offered by this hotel and it’s impossible to name all of them here. Just learn about how this hotel has private white sand beach. Imagine how the guests are able to enjoy private beach expanding within 650 meters. And the big name of Hyatt is surely out of the question. The facilities and privileges will make staying in this hotel far away from being disappointing. Use the help from Traveloka to book the room with ease and fast.

 

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How to have a successful adult getaway to Disney World

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The days when Disney World was ‘only for kids’ are long gone – these days, up to a third of visitors to the Disney Theme Parks are child-free! Who doesn’t like to channel their inner child, indulge in nostalgia and relive childhood memories or simply enjoy everything Disney. Almost everyone I know loves Disney movies, and everybody grew up with Disney stories, so even if you aren’t a fan of Mickey Mouse it’s likely that you have a favorite Disney character.Disney - Partners at Dusk (Explored)I know several people who visited Disney World as grown-ups, spending several days exploring the parks, and I know that some friends of mine with kids are pushing for Disney vacations because they really want to go, not necessarily their kids (although, which kid doesn’t love Disney World?). Going on a grown-up vacation to Disney World is different than visiting with your family though – you’ll be interested in different rides, different food, and you will find it much easier to whiz around the park without children in tow. So how do you go about planning a trip to Disney World for grown-ups? Here are my top tips for a successful adult getaway to Disney’s Florida Theme Parks (most of these tips are also applicable to family vacations to Disney World, by the way):

Get a FastPass

This is my #1 tip, because there’s only so much standing in line with a bunch of impatient children you can stomach. You beat the queues with Disney world tickets that you can buy online before you even go, and you can choose how many days (or even weeks!) you need a ticket for. Buying advance tickets means that you have admission to all Disney Parks (including Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot Center, the Disney Water Parks, Oak Trail Golf Course, the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex, and more!) for several days, you can visit multiple parks in one day, and, best of all, you can reserve tickets for the rides you want to go on. You can choose the exact time for each ride you want to go on and simply show up there at the time you booked, instead of waiting in lines for hours – and trust me, this will make your trip so much more enjoyable. Since most of these advance tickets are valid for a week or longer (and still worth it, even if you’re only visiting parks on three or four days), it’ll also enable to take a break from the parks for a day or two, and plan other activities instead. Plus: multi-day tickets work out to be much cheaper per day than a single day ticket, and you’ll need at least four full days to visit the main parks.   Magic Kingdom - What Will Tomorrow Bring

Plan your trip thoroughly

Now that you have your tickets, it’s time to make a detailed plan. Don’t just show up! Disney World is gigantic, and there is no way that you can see everything, so you’ll have to plan thoroughly which attractions you want to include and which aren’t all that important for you.

Be realistic with your planning – start with six attractions per day instead of trying to cram in ten (which is impossible anyway). Research all the rides and which one you really want to go on – rides like Space Mountain, Tomorrowland and the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad are usually the busiest ones at Magic Kingdom; the Rock’n’Roller Coaster, the Great Movie Ride, or the Tower Of Terror are popular with grown-ups at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Look up which park the rides that sound most appealing to you are at, and then plan your itinerary and your route around your must-do attractions.

You can order a free DVD from the official Disney World website (or watch it online) which has plenty of useful information and tips on how to make your trip to Disney World a successful one. If this is your first trip to Disney, I highly recommend watching it.

Another good resource to get you started is Disneytouristblog’s Disney World Trip Planning Guide, which is regularly updated and has fantastic sample itineraries for all parks, and tips on everything from dining at Disney to where to stay.

During your time at Disney, you can always use the free My Disney World Experience app, which tells you where everything is located and also has the locations of the nearest restrooms and restaurants for you – plus wait times for rides, should you not want to opt for a Fast Ticket.Epcot Spaceship Earth Walt Disney World

Include grown-up activities in your itinerary

There’s plenty to do near the theme parks, and you should plan some non-Disney related activities. Since you’ll be on your feet all day long on most days, a spa day might be a welcome change. You can spend one day golfing or mini golfing, include a beach day, lounge by the pool, or take a day trip. There is plenty to see in Central Florida! If you enjoy cocktails, why not head on the Disney Monorail Bar Crawl, which doesn’t only make for some excellent drink experiences, but also allows you to see the various Disney resorts (and their bars, of course) even if you don’t stay there. You can find more information on it in this Yahoo article. Snapshot In Serenity
If you’re into food, you might want to plan some elaborate dinners – while the food inside the park is mostly average theme park fare (and not very healthy) there are some great restaurants in the Disney hotels and around the park. Looking into the restaurant options before your trip and reading some recent reviews will help you make your trip much better (especially if you’re a foodie like me, and food can make or break a trip for you!). There are lots of upscale options, but reasonably priced eateries with excellent reviews can also be found.

Epcot is a must-visit, of course, but can be made into a great travel-the-whole-world-in-one-day experience with lots of international foods to try – and a great place for a travel-themed scavenger hunt for grown-ups.

If you feel adventurous, sign up for the Wild Africa Trek, an animal-filled three-hour guided trek through Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park with lots of exotic animals, and that has you hike through jungle forests, cross rope bridges and have close wildlife encounters that make you think you’re on safari in Africa and not in a Florida theme park.

Avoid school vacation time

Since you’re going on an adult getaway in Disney World, you are luckier than families planning a trip to Disney – you can actually avoid visiting during school holidays! Make sure to check U.S. vacation times before you book anything, and avoid universal holidays such as the Christmas and Easter break at all costs. If you are able to visit during off season, say in November or March, and on weekdays instead of weekends – perfect! You’ll beat the crowds, get better rates for accommodation and have a much more enjoyable experience all around, and this being Florida, the weather will still be pleasant.Soarn' Back to Disney (Explored)

Plan wisely where you’ll stay

There are several Disney-owned hotels in the imminent vicinity of the theme parks, but their price tag is quite hefty. Since you’re able to travel in off-peak times though, you might be able to snatch a great deal on one of the many hotel booking websites out there. If not, find out which of the Orlando hotels offer free shuttles to the parks (most hotels do), otherwise you end up spending lots of money for taxis or for parking, should you decide to rent a car. An advantage of staying in one of the Disney hotels is that you’ll get early access to select parks, and you can stay longer than the regular opening hours. An invaluable benefit if you’re pressed for time! Disney’s free Magical Express even offers complimentary shuttle services to and from the airport to select hotels – see if you can find a good deal for one of these hotels. If you’re looking to save money, make sure to research hotels with a decent breakfast buffet (included in the room rate), and several hotels have free dining options that can save you lots of money, considering that most Disney restaurants aren’t cheap.Daily Disney - Future World Monorail

Have you been to Disney World? Feel free to share your tips for a successful trip to Disney in the comments below!

Photo credit: All photos used via Flickr’s Creative Commons License, unless stated otherwise. Title image by Jeff Krause; Epcot Center by Anothony Quintano; Serenity at the Grand Floridian by Christian Lambert; Soarin Ride by Scott Thomas; Monorail by Joe Penniston.
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Five reasons to visit St Martin

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A couple of weeks ago, I almost bought a plane ticket to Martinique. Why? First of all, I figured a Caribbean getaway from New York in January, around the time when the first blizzard usually hits, seemed like a fabulous idea. Second? I stumbled upon flight tickets for $79! To one of the Caribbean islands furthest away from New York – an absolute steal. It was hard to resist, but I tried to figure out how to get to Colombia from there (take a look at the map- it’s pretty close to Martinique), where I’ll be spending the winter, and couldn’t find a flight that didn’t go back through the U.S. There’s always the option to rent a private jet though, if money is not an issue, and it makes me wonder how much it would cost to rent a private jet.

St. Maarten/St. Martin

Researching the island and looking into what to do there got me looking into other Caribbean island getaways though – seeing that I’ll be spending most of next year in New York, there’ll be plenty of chances for island getaways and I should take advantage of the cheap airfare from New York to the Caribbean while I’m there. Another island nation that caught my eye? St Martin! The island looks like a picture perfect Caribbean dream, and when I found private St. Martin villa rentals on the beach, I knew right away which of my New York girls I’d invite to join me for this island retreat. Why did St Martin catch my eye? I’ll give you five good reasons to visit St Martin shortly, but let me give you a brief overview of this Caribbean nation first.stmartin_carisa_01The island is located about 200 miles east of Puerto Rico, and sits just south of Anguilla (only a 30 min boat ride away!). It’s a relatively small island (33.59 mi²) and it is divided in two parts: Saint Martin, the French side in the north, and Sint Maartin, the Dutch side on the southern part of the island. The island has been shared peacefully by the two nations since 1648, and each side has a very different feel to it. The Dutch side is notably more developed and touristy with lots of resorts and casinos, while the French side feels sleepier and more natural.

Here are five reasons why you should visit St Martin:

37 white sand beaches

Despite the island’s compact size, it offers a whopping 37 beaches! All come with white, powdery sand and the inviting turquoise waters that the Caribbean is famous for. Mullet Bay is often regarded as the most beautiful one, but you can find a full listing of all 37 beaches with detailed descriptions here.

Relaxing TouristVisit two European nations

Since Sint Maartin, the southern part, is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Saint Martin in the north is an overseas collectivity of France, you’ll basically get to visit two European nations! The French side uses Euros as their currency, the Dutch side Netherlands Antilles Guilder. There are two different capitals, and you have to call internationally from one side of the island to the other. St Martin is the smallest island in the world that is divided into two nations.St. Maarten/St. MartinThe culinary capital of the Caribbean

St Martin might be tiny, but it has over 300 restaurants! The island is known for its excellent cuisine and there are quite a few gourmet restaurants on the island. But no matter if you’re looking to dine fine or sample local cuisine from a shack on the beach – you’ll love the combination of local Caribbean flavors and European culinary influences. Plus, there’s a surprising number of international restaurants on the island as well. Thai? Indian? Mediterranean? You can sample a different cuisine every night of your stay! Fodor’s has some great restaurants recommendations for St Martin.

Maho Bay: A spectacle for plane watchers

It’s very likely that you’ve seen photos of Maho Bay, a beach on the Dutch side of the island that is famous for its spectacular plane landings and take-offs. Whenever a large plane arrives in St Martin, the plane flies so low over the beach that it seems like people can almost touch it! It’s a spectacular sight unique to St Martin and every visitor who’s even just a little bit fascinated by planes visits this beach at least once to witness a take-off or landing.American Airlines Plane Looming Over Maho Beach

Scuba paradise

St Martin is a paradise for scuba diving – you can do just about any dive you want here. Wreck dives, night dives, reef dives or cave dives – all possible here. One wreck that’s particularly noteworthy is the 1770 British warship HMS Proselyte, which sank in 1801. If you’re not into diving, then there’s fantastic snorkeling along the island reefs which have been declared an underwater nature reserve.

Photo credit: All images used via Flickr’s Creative Commons License unless specified otherwise. (1) St Martin by Derek Hatfield, (2) St Martin Villa via Luxury Retreats, (3) Beach by Jorge Quinteros, (4) Border in St Martin by Derek Hatfield, (5) Plane landing by Richie Diesterheft
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