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Destination Tips

Six Best Destination Wedding Ideas

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You don’t have to blow up your budget or compromise to have the best destination weddings. Check out these 6 breathtaking places to get married in the world.

Every couple opting for a destination wedding has a vision, what they want the wedding to look and feel like. And this begins by scouting the best places for a destination wedding which inspires them with the right wedding ideas. Whether a grand, intimate, beach, budget or same-sex wedding, there’s the perfect spot to give you the best destination weddings.

From New Zealand to America, Jamaica to England, Mexico to Italy, you’ll find the most romantic places to get married. So before you say those wedding vows, see our 6 best destination wedding ideas!

la paz wedding couple

New Zealand

Do you have an intimate wedding in mind? Then head off to Helena Bay Lodge one of the remote wedding islands in New Zealand. This spot gives you the most intimate and romantic wedding getaway you can think of.

Helena Bay Lodge is a recent boutique hotel postcards are made of. It has its private coastline and is secluded in a 750-acre woodland. With a distance of one hour to the nearest town, it does a good job of cutting down a guest’s size.

The boutique hotel has only five villas which can take only 10 guests per time. And in great weather, you can hold a party on the beach. The seclusion, serenity, and number of guests allowed, makes it the perfect plug for intimate and small destination weddings.sunset lovers

United States of America

Are you a same-sex couple or LGBT+ couple looking for comfortable, accepting and romantic marriage locations? Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs, California is one of the best places you can find. The first quality about this place is that it has a huge LGBT+ community, so you’d be among folks.

The setting of the hotel also makes it the most romantic. It boasts of Palm flanked pools, candlelit walkways, and bougainvillea filled garden, where you can have an intimate ceremony. The year-round blessing of sunshine and desert-like landscape allows couples to have stunning outdoor weddings.

At the end of the day, lodge at the rustic-styled villas. And sleep to the views of San Jacinto Mountains.kuala lumpur flowers

Jamaica

Even if you’re working on a budget, you can always have your dream destination wedding, fireworks and all! Hotel Rui Montego Bay, Jamaica has you covered from start to finish. The hotel is calmly situated on the white sand beach, a stone throw to Montego Bay’s main town. Their wedding packages begin at $1700, and this includes all the essentials to make your wedding a hit.

Talk about the wedding cake, the wedding coordinator, and a reception covering 20 guests. For lodging, you can get 3 nights to stay for $200. And this includes all your meals and alcohol. Perfect budget dream, right?boracay beach palm trees

England

For the couple who are country lovers at heart, Leeds castle is one of the most romantic places to get married. Located in Kent, its historic and sports stunning gardens, vineyard, and plush rooms. The place looks like it walked out of a postcard!

Think fairy tale wedding and this place in the countryside of England gives the perfect backdrop. And the countryside doesn’t mean bland, you get the grandest experiences here. From having a grand ceremony in the sophisticated ballroom to enjoying vintage champagne toasts in the drawing-room. And for the luxury evening banquet and partying, King Henry VIII 13th century banquet hall is at your service.

Couples can also begin their honeymoon by touring the vineyards, and going back home with a ton of history.Scottish Castle

Mexico

The couple who dreams of a destination wedding on a picture-perfect Mexican beach, can’t have it better than the resort at Pedregal! Located in Mexico, along the Baja California coast, this resort boasts of a secluded beach. This atmosphere is further overrun by ethereal cliffs, and golden sunsets, infusing romance, drama and glow.

Have the ceremony on the unending ocean terraces of the resort, or the beach itself. And take your reception to the open-air restaurant expertly carved into the cliffs, for some fine dining. The restaurant is named El Farallon, and it overlooks the Pacific Ocean.sayulita sunset sky mexico

Italy

Are you up for the celebrity life? A grand wedding in mind? Nowhere “grander” than the Grand Hotel Tre Mezzo in Italy. Located at Lake Como, this is a surefire luxury stop for celebrity weddings.

Have the grand ceremony at the 17th-century villa Carlotta, or the lake front garden. Swing by La Terrazza for a candlelit dinner, then drink and dance the night away at L’Escale bar.Riomaggiore sunset1

 

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Destination Honolulu – Where to Stay, Eat & Explore on The Cheap Side

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Budget friendly holidays can create some of the most amazing memories! As the growing number of humans who prefer to spend their money on experiences, rather than things, are setting off on adventures, finding cheaper options are a must. Your Honolulu holiday doesn’t have to be expensive!

Here are a few tips and tricks to staying on budget, while still having the holiday of your dreams:

Where to Stay in Honolulu

There are plenty of amazing adventures to be had on Oahu and around Honolulu! However, finding the right place to lay your head after a long day of hiking, visiting museums, or water sports is a MUST.

Here are a few key factors to look for when booking your accommodation:

  • Hotels: Yes, you can stay at a luxury hotel, or resort, for cheap! Depending upon whether you book with a coupon, the time of year you make your reservations, or even booking a package deal. There are lots of ways to stay in a first class hotel without having to pay a first class bill!
  • Guest Stays: Using websites and apps like AirBnB, you can find homes, rooms, or apartments to stay in while you’re in Honolulu. You can find amazing places with low price tags, that allow you to travel on a budget.
  • Hostels and Group Spots: A great way to save money is to find a group hotel, or a hostel. They are great for traveling in small groups as well as on your own, and they are also an amazing way to save money.

When you find a good deal, stay in a hostel, or even choose a great local residence to rent, there are ways to be in this gorgeous place cheaply!

Honolulu

How Should We Travel To Honolulu

There are options for cheap travel everywhere you look. Whether you’re interested in a ride share, or you’re looking for a cheap plane ticket, there are lots of companies to make your exploration less costly. Finding how you get to your destination is a huge part of budgeting out your holiday.

Using websites that offer deals on train, plane, and auto rentals are a huge help. JustFly is an example of being able to save money while booking a flight. You can also look at apps for cheap train tickets, or even deals that can help you find cool stuff to do on the island as well as save you money on your transportation.

Hawaiian Airlines

Where To Eat In Honolulu

One of the most expensive aspects of a vacation is eating out at different restaurants for every meal. There are plenty of ways to save money on food in Hawaii. No need to load your brand new carry on with groceries for the trip!

Here are a few tips on saving money at restaurants:

  • Early Bird Specials
  • Breakfast at the Hotel
  • Lunch from a local grocery
  • Food trucks
  • Local spots, away from heavy tourist traffic
  • Coupons and online deals

There are lots of ways to eat on the cheap in Honolulu – all you need to know is where and when to look!China Town Honolulu

Photo Credit: Title Image by markof4123 via Pixabay. All other images used via Flickr’s Creative Commons Licensing. (1) Honolulu by Karen; (2) Hawaiian Airlines by Alan Light; (3) Chinatown Honolulu by Prayitno
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Beyond Miami: Exploring Florida

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Nicknamed the Sunshine State, the state of Florida offers so much more than just the vibrant city of Miami. With wild nature, theme parks, excellent shopping and an abundance of seafood to enjoy, there’s plenty to occupy your time while you’re on holiday. Stay in one of the stunning villas in Florida so you can bring the whole family along to enjoy its world-famous attractions. Here are just some of the amazing activities and sights you can enjoy in Florida.

Theme parks

There’s no denying that Florida is famed mostly for its epic theme parks. Orlando is less than a four-hour drive north from Miami. Here you’ll find several famous theme parks with roller coasters, water rides and popular experiences at the world-famous Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios Florida. With lots of excitement, there’s plenty for the whole family to explore and enjoy while you’re here together.

wizarding world of harry potter.

Scuba diving

South of Miami in the Florida Keys is the spectacular John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Dive under the water to explore a hidden paradise. As well as colorful coral, sea creatures and fish, there are also peculiar stone statues that have sunk to the seabed. Snorkel or explore further with a scuba diving instructor. It’ll be an experience you’ll never forget. 

Wildlife and wild nature

Florida is also known for its wildlife, especially it’s crocodiles and alligators. One of the best places to see these creatures is in the Everglades National Parks. These sprawling wetlands are made up of several ecosystems that have the right conditions for different kinds of wildlife to thrive. Throughout the park, there are 350 species of bird as well as bottlenose dolphins, alligators, snakes and crocodiles. Take in the setting from a 65-foot observation deck or venture to ground level for walking trails and boat trips into the mangroves.   

American Alligator

Beautiful beaches

With powdery white sands, cool blue waters and water sports on offer, Florida is fringed with beautiful beaches. Anna Maria Island, on the west coast,  is stunning. Walk along the long promenade that stretches into the sea to catch a glimpse of the resident fish, dolphins and manatees. Turtles also nest here at certain times throughout the year so you could witness the magic of hatchlings running to the water for the first time.

Fantastic golf courses

Sarasota is located near Anna Maria Island and is a great place to stay if you’re in Florida to play golf. There are 20 golf courses in the area including championship courses, several driving ranges and putting greens. Palms Golf Club at Forest Lakes allows you to play a challenging set under the shade of the lush trees. At Bobby Jones Golf Club, play on 325 acres of green where lakes and bunkers add challenging features to the picturesque course.   

Destin Beach

Photo Credit: All photos used via Flickr’s Creative Commons Licensing. (1) Wizarding World Of Harry Potter by Diana Kelly; (2) Alligator by Dennis Church; (3) Destin Beach by Phanatic
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5 Alternative Luxury Honeymoon Destinations

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Being smitten with love needs to be expressed in an unforgettable honeymoon experience! That said, you can get to enjoy your honeymooning phase with your loved one by checking out these 5 alternative luxury honeymoon destinations that are sure to sweep away your feet with memories:

  1. Colombia

First on our list is the Republic of Colombia which lies in the north of South America. It is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, making it the perfect luxury honeymoon destination, not to mention it’s filled with a number of panoramic beaches and resorts.

If you are looking for the most romantic experience, the sandy Caribbean beaches and the Pacific’s thriving coastline will surely cap off your marital bliss with joy and excitement.

Colombia is home to cozy rest houses in mountainous places, breathtaking countryside, a view of the Amazon jungle, and also adventure-filled modern cities.

You can spend your honeymoon nights in Bogota enjoying alcoholic cocktails. You may also traverse the cobbled streets of the La Candelaria colonial quarter or visit the Gold Museum, Monserrate, Plaza Bolivar, and the 93 Park.

Another place worth visiting is Cartagena which is a port city in Colombia. There, you will have a luxurious stay at the panoramic views of domed rooftops in Iglesia de la Popa. You can spend your evenings riding horse-led carriages towards the festive seafood restaurants which serve sumptuous dishes. Also, don’t forget to visit Plaza Santo Domingo, Bazurto Market, the walled cities, and the Old Boots.

  1. Borneo

They say that Asia is one of the most romantic getaways to experience an unforgettable honeymoon destination. Borneo is undeniably one of those places that you’d want to spend your luxury honeymoon in. As an island of pristine and exotic wonders, Borneo is a rugged peninsula that will surely take your breath away. Among the honeymoon destinations that it has to offer are the following:

  • Towering peaks of Mount Kinabalu
  • Mineral baths at Poring
  • Jungle treks at Danum Valley
  • Beaches and snorkeling in Tanjung Aru
  • Kuching Cat museum for cat enthusiasts

beach

  1. Egypt

Spend your luxury honeymoon the ancient way by heading to Egypt for a wondrous experience with Millennium-old monuments, tombs, pyramids, and sand dunes.

One of the best places to visit is the Giza pyramid complex which is one of the oldest ancient wonders of the world. At the Giza pyramid complex, you will also get to explore the Great Sphinx, a limestone sculpture of the mythical creature with a lion’s body and a human’s head. Other Egyptian wonders that you can visit for your luxurious honeymoon are as follows:

  • Valley of the Kings in Necropolis
  • Temple ruins of Karnak
  • Submerged islands of Philae
  • Iconic Aswan dam
  • Biblical Mount Sinai
  • Ras Muhammad National Park

Egypt

  1. Iceland

Nothing beats a luxurious honeymoon when it is done in European style! Travel to your heart’s content when you spend your honeymoon vacation in Iceland. Get to experience classic boutique resorts where tours for volcanic hot springs, Northern lights, and geysers are included. What will be more romantic than cuddling in cold weather while watching the night skies dance with colorful Northern Lights?

Among the many romantic destinations and activities in Iceland are the following:

  • Geothermal spa in Blue Lagoon
  • Rugged volcano park in Thingvellir
  • Multi-section waterfalls in Gullfoss
  • Glacial geysers and hot springs in the Golden Circle
  • Active geysers that erupt from time to time

  1. Italy

Live out your lover’s fairytale dreams by spending a your romantic holiday in a luxury Tuscan villa, placed in one of the most romantic countries in the world. Located between Florence and Siena. Tuscany is famous for wonderful wine (Chianti) and ridiculously relaxed landscapes. This is a honeymoon for those looking to getaway and relax in the process.

Romantic things to do include:

  • Escaping to the Italy countryside and staying in a beautiful secluded villa.
  • Walking through the vineyards and of course wine tasting along the way.
  • Head out for a romantic candle lit diner at any of the endless resteraunts.
  • Take a stroll around the town and learn the rich medieval history, the birth place of Renaissance.

Riomaggiore village Cinque Terre Italy

What are you waiting for? Include these romantic honeymoon retreats in your wedding plans, and make sure to check out this short guide so you won’t miss out on anything!

Photo Credit: Egypt by Rab Lawrence via Flickr’s Creative Commons Licensing.

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Five Things You Have to Do on a Girls’ Getaway to Pigeon Forge

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Planning a girls’ weekend getaway is a lot of fun, but it turns out, it’s good for you too. Going on vacations with your girlfriends can strengthen bonds, and strong friendships have been linked to a lower instance of heart disease, fewer instances of depression, and even a decreased risk of premature death. Taking regular trips with your girlfriends can actually help you live longer!

It really doesn’t matter if you stay overnight or if you plan a weeklong vacay, you’ll still have a lot of fun and enjoy the benefits of vacationing with your close friends. Especially if Pigeon Forge is your destination and you make sure to do these five things.The Old Mill - Pigeon Forge (version 2)

Catch a Dinner Show

Going out to dinner is a great way to spend time with your girlfriends. Catching a show is a great way to spend time with your girlfriends too. Why not do both by catching a show?

Pigeon Forge has a wide variety of dinner shows that are sure to appeal to you and your crew. Just a few include:

  • Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Show features Gary Davis, the only four-time banjo champion in the entire country, horseback riders, and much more.
  • Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show will keep you laughing as you watch dancing, singing, and stunts on stage.
  • Pirates Voyage Dinner and Show takes place in its own arena with a 15-foot indoor lagoon complete with pirate ships where the show takes place.
  • Magic Beyond Belief Starring Darren Romeo features tricks from Siegfried and Roy’s protege, as well as animals like white tigers, Bengal tigers, and more.

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Stop at the Spa

No girls’ trip is complete without a trip to the spa! You’ve got nothing to worry about when you’re staying in Pigeon Forge. There are many different spas to choose from.

You can spend an hour or two getting your nails done, or you can plan an entire spa day. There are spa destinations in the mountains, as well as hotel spas, so you don’t have to go far to get that facial and massage. Consider getting your hair done at the spa before a night out on the town!Incredible Views at Pigeon Forge Cabin Rental

Do a Little Shopping

No girls’ trip is complete without a trip to the spa, but no trip is complete without at least a little shopping too! No matter what kind of shopping you like to do, you can bet Pigeon Forge has it.

Pigeon Forge outlet shopping is popular with residents and visitors alike because it’s a great way to find deals on your favorite brands, but don’t forget to check out some of the local stores that offer items you won’t find anywhere else.

If you’re looking for souvenirs and gifts, there’s no better place to stop than The Old Mill General Store. The Village Shops feature one-of-a-kind stores, like the Candle Cottage, and the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen is the perfect place to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Have a cat-lover in the group? Make sure you stop by the Smoky Mountain Cat House!"Pigeon Forge, Tennesee, United States of America"

Take the Newfound Gap Smoky Mountains Pink Jeep Tour

If you’re looking for a little adventure and want to spend time in nature with your girlfriends, take the Newfound Gap Smoky Mountains Pink Jeep Tour.

Tour the Smoky Mountains in style in a pink jeep, traveling along winding paths, learning about the area at the same time. You will be able to stand in two states at the same time, and as your adventure concludes, you’ll be taken off road for an experience you will never forget.

Spend a Day at Dollywood

You don’t need the kids to enjoy a day at the theme park, especially when that theme park is Dollywood!

There are plenty of thrill rides to get your heart pumping at Dollywood, but there are many other things to do in the park that your girlfriends will love. Learn more about Dolly in the Chasing Rainbows museum, see eagles up-close-and-personal, or catch a show inside the park.

Depending on the time of year you decide to visit, you may be able to catch an annual celebration, like the Summer Celebration that enables you to stay in the park after dark, or Dollywood at Christmas Time.Sunday morning run in Pigeon ForgeIf you’re looking for a fun way to reconnect with your girlfriends, a trip to Pigeon Forge is a great idea, especially if you stay long enough to do all the things on this list!

Photo Credit: All photos used via Flickr’s Creative Commons Licensing. (1) The Old Pigeon Forge Mill by Brent Moore; (2) Dixie Stampede by Richard Franklin; (3) Smoky Mountains Cabin by SmokyMountains.com; (4) Pigeon Forge Decorations by Olin Gilbert; (5) Dollywood by Joel
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Top 7 Things to Consider When Traveling to the UAE

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a popular tourist destination–and when many people think about traveling to the UAE, they’re really planning a trip to Dubai. One of the seven UAE states, Dubai has Western-style values and openness to tourists and expats, making it an ideal location for visitors. That said, if you’re going to visit the UAE, you’ll want to be prepared for the culture and recreation opportunities.

When you’re traveling in the UAE, there are a few important things you’ll want to consider. Here’s a few of our best tips to make your trip a great experience.

1. Theme Parks Galore

Dubai wants to be a destination for theme park visitors. The city has several major theme parks and will soon have the largest water park on Earth.Dubai

2. Yes, You Can Drink

Alcohol isn’t banned in the UAE. Dubai is well-known for a vibrant bar and nightclub scene. You can obtain a liquor license to buy alcohol if you need to, although many visitors focus on trying the happy hour specials at the local drinking establishments.

3. UAE Can Be Expensive

Although it’s definitely possible to budget as you travel through the UAE, you should keep in mind that the UAE is also very expensive and has a high standard of living in many places. Dubai, for instance, is popular with expats and is a major center of industry and global commerce. So traveling there is worth budgeting for.Dubai

4. It’s Not All Oil

If you’re expecting the UAE’s economy and culture to be 100 percent driven by the oil drilling industry, you’d be wrong. The UAE now has a fairly diverse economy and a vibrant culture. There’s so much to see and do when you visit.

5. The UAE Has Diverse Values And Culture

Historically, there are many different cultural influences in the UAE. You can see the best of Emirati culture on your trip to the UAE by taking in the museums, visiting mosques, and taking in the art scene. 

Think you’re visiting a conservative Muslim country? Think again. Although many areas of the UAE follow traditional Muslim values and the nation largely thinks of itself as conservative Muslim, you’ll find a more liberal culture in Dubai and a somewhat more liberal culture in Abu Dhabi. Each of the seven ’emirates,’ or states, have autonomy over their own affairs. So don’t be surprised if the culture around you is completely different as you travel through more than one emirate.Dubai

6. The Internet Is Censored

Like many countries around the world, the UAE censors internet use within the nation. Many websites aren’t available within the UAE and you’ll need a good VPN to access the internet content you want.

7. It’s Worth Slowing Down And Taking It In

With so much to see, the UAE is worth taking your time. You could easily spend several days in Dubai alone. Budget carefully, take in the culture and be open to learning. You’ll see how much the UAE offers for visitors and you’ll wish you could stay longer or visit again.Dubai

Photo Credit: Lead image via Pixabay. All other photos used via Flickr’s Creative Commons Licensing. (1) Dubai by Nacho Pintos; (2) Dubai by Julien Mattei; (3) Dubai by Dominuz; (4) Dubai Desert by Nacho Pintos
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Wonderful Adventures Near Honolulu Hawaii

Paradise

There is no shortage of amazing activities in and around the bustling Honolulu, Hawaii metropolitan area. Located on the diverse island of Oahu, this Hawaiian paradise has something for everyone. Whether you want to catch a sporting event or concert in the city, participate in an exhilarating outdoor adventure, or simply relax on the tranquil beaches, Honolulu has all of your travel dreams covered. Here are some key things to consider before you set sail on your Hawaiian adventure.

Waikiki Beach, 1994

WHERE TO STAY:

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa: Wake up in this resort just steps from the welcoming waters of Waikiki Beach. The world-class spa boasts sweeping views of the azure waters, providing the perfect backdrop as you enjoy a customized massage, facial, and more. Each of the spacious guest rooms features a private lanai, allowing you to soak up the smells and sounds of this paradise. Click here to visit their website and book your stay.

Halekulani: This ultra-premium hotel delivers a luxurious experience every step of the way. The guest rooms are known for their soothing white decor that perfectly complements the sparkling waters just outside your room. Three restaurants and two lounges make it easy to never have to leave this oasis.

Waikiki sunset

‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach: This newly opened resort is conveniently located in the heart of Waikiki. This resort features a rooftop infinity pool, a dedicated pool area for children, and a 230,000-gallon oceanarium located in the lobby. Combine this with a modern fitness facility and two full-service restaurants and bars and you have everything that you need to enjoy a wonderful vacation.

WHAT TO DO:

Pearl Harbor: No trip to Honolulu is complete without a visit to the venerable Pearl Harbor. There are myriad memorials and attractions to explore at this historic site, including the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri. This moving destination is a must-see for any American.

Waikiki Aquarium: This charming seaside aquarium is easy walking distance from many of the hotels of Honolulu. Explore a variety of native Hawaiian sea life such as jellyfish, Hawaiian monk seals, and tropical fish. Children will delight in the hands-on interactive exhibits while adults will appreciate its stunning setting right along the ocean.

Diamond Head: Towering over the beaches of Waikiki and the city of Honolulu, it is hard to miss this iconic volcano. Outdoor recreational enthusiasts relish the opportunity to hike to the top of the crater. Once there, you are rewarded with sweeping views of the city and its coastline. Be sure to pack along lots of water.

Diamond Head Volcanic Cone, Honolulu (503265)

The Pualeilani Atrium Shops: Shop ‘til you drop at this vast collection of more than 60 retail shops. This shopping destination is centrally located at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa. As one of the premier hotels in Waikiki, it is no surprise that this resort offers an impressive collection of boutique shops. The open-air atrium is the perfect place to wander the stores as you soak up the lovely Hawaiian vibe.

Photo Credit: All photos used via Flickr’s Creative Commons Licensing. (1) Waikiki Beach by Alan Light; (2) Waikiki Sunset by Kanaka Rastamon; (3) Diamond Head by Robert Linsdell
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Alles was man über das ESTA Visum für die USA wissen muss

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Eine der Fragen, die mir von meinen Freunden in Deutschland oft gestellt wird, ist: Was für ein Visa brauche ich, um in die USA einzureisen? Die gute Nachricht ist, dass man mit einem deutschen Pass KEIN Visum benötigt, um die USA zu besuchen, denn Deutschland ist in ein Programm für visumfreies Reisen integriert.

Das gilt übrigens nicht nur für Deutschland, sondern für fast alle europäischen Länder, einschließlich aller drei deutschsprachigen Staaten (Schweiz, Österreich, Deutschland). Diese Länder sind einem automatischen elektronischen Reisegenehmigungsverfahren, das als ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) bekannt ist, zugehörig. Dieses Verfahren wurde 2009 von den Vereinigten Staaten als erweiterte Sicherheitsüberprüfung für Reisende in die USA eingeführt. Für Reisende hat das Programm den Vorteil, dass sie die USA ohne ein Visum besuchen können, sondern stattdessen unter dem Visa-Waiver-Programm.

Im Folgenden findet ihr alles, was ihr über das ESTA wissen müsst: Wer es braucht, wie man es bekommt, und welche Dokumente und Reiseinformationen man benötigt, um es zu beantragen.

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ESTA oder Visum?

Visum USA oder ESTA? Für die Regierung der USA ist das ESTA eine Maßnahme, Reisende herauszufiltern, die eine Bedrohung für die Vereinigten Staaten und seine Bevölkerung darstellen könnten. Dazu werden die Daten aller ESTA-registrierten Reisenden vor Reiseantritt mit den amerikanischen Fahndungs- und Strafverfolgungslisten abgeglichen.

Für Bürger der Länder, die am ESTA-Programm teilnehmen, vereinfacht sich die Einreise in die USA, da diese nun nicht mehr den langwierigen Prozess eines Visumsantrages durchlaufen müssen, der einen Besuch einer U.S. Botschaft oder eines Konsulates bedarf. Das ESTA ist außerdem wesentlich preisgünstiger als ein Visum.

ACHTUNG: Wenn man für länger als 90 Tage in die USA einreisen möchte, muss man nach wie vor ein Visum beantragen, auch wenn man aus einem Land kommt, das am ESTA-Programm teilnimmt.

Wer benötigt ein ESTA?

Jeder Reisende, der die USA via Flugzeug oder per Schiff bereist, muss im Besitz eines gültigen ESTA-Visums sein. Dabei macht es keinen Unterschied, ob man die USA aus touristischen oder beruflichen Gründen bereist. Ohne das ESTA wird Reisenden die Einreise in die USA NICHT gestattet, und dabei gibt es keine Ausnahmeregelungen. Ohne das ESTA darf man nicht einmal mehr ins Flugzeug steigen – und die Fluglinien sind sehr streng, was diese Regel angeht.

Das ESTA-Visum wird für alle Reiseteilnehmer benötigt, Kinder eingeschlossen.

Wer in Deutschland residiert, jedoch keinen deutschen Pass hat, und aus einem Land stammt, dass NICHT in das ESTA Visa Waiver Programm integriert ist, muss nach wie vor ein Visum für die USA in der U.S. Botschaft oder im Konsulat beantragen. Nur Personen mit einem Reisepass für eines der Länder, die in das ESTA Programm integriert sind, sind berechtigt, ein ESTA Visum zu beantragen.

Welche Staaten gehören zum ESTA Programm?

Gegenwärtig sind 38 Länder in das ESTA Visa Waiver Programm integriert. Das schließt fast alle europäischen Länder ein, eine Anzahl asiatischer Länder, Australien und Neuseeland, sowie Chile als einzige Nation Südamerikas.

Die komplette Liste der Länder, die am ESTA Visa Waiver Programm teilnehmen, ist wie folgt:

  • Europa: Andorra, Austria, Belgien, Dänemark, Deutschland, Estland, Finnland, Frankreich, Griechenland, Irland, Island, Italien, Lettland, Liechtenstein, Lithauen, Luxemburg, Malta, Monaco, Niederlande, Norwegen, Portugal, San Marino, Slowakei, Slovenia, Spanien, Schweden, Schweiz, Tschechische Republik, Ungarn, Vereinigtes Königreich
  • Australien & Neuseeland
  • Chile
  • Folgende asiatische Länder: Brunei, Japan, Südkorea, Singapur, Taiwan

Grand Canyon

Wie man ein ESTA beantragt

Man muss das ESTA mindestens 72 Stunden vor der Einreise in die USA beantragen, aber es wird empfohlen, den Antrag auszufüllen, sobald man die Reise bucht, für den Fall, dass es eine Verzögerung bei der Bearbeitung des Antrages gibt.

Den ESTA Antrag auszufüllen, ist relativ einfach. Der gesamte Prozess wird online ausgeführt und sollte nicht länger als eine Viertelstunde dauern. Ehe man anfängt, den Antrag auszufüllen, sollte man sicherstellen, dass man alle benötigten Dokumente und Informationen zur Hand hat.

Was man benötigt, um das ESTA zu beantragen

  • Einen gültigen Reisepass
  • Kreditkarte, um das ESTA zu bezahlen
  • Persönliche Daten
  • Reisedaten (Adresse während des Aufenthalts in den Vereinigten Staaten – das kann Hotel / Airbnb, etc sein)

Zusätzlich müssen noch einige Fragen beantwortet werden, zum Beispiel über ansteckbare Krankheiten, die man hatte; Straftaten / Verurteilungen in der Vergangenheit; vorherige Besuche und Visa in den USA; Reisen in Länder, die auf der Beobachtungsliste der USA stehen: Irak, Lybien, Solmalia, Jemen, Syrien, Iran und Sudan).lufthansa A380 LAX

Braucht man ein ESTA wenn man auf Durchreise in ein anderes Land ist?

Ja, man benötigt auch ein ESTA, wenn man nur auf Durchreise in den USA ist – selbst wenn es sich dabei um zwei kurze Stunden handelt. Solange man auf irgend einem Weg in die USA einreist, muss man ein ESTA vorweisen können.

Wenn man einen Flug von Europa nach Südamerika findet, der über die USA geht, aber wesentlich günstiger ist al sein Direktflug, lohnt es sich in der Regel trotz des ESTAs über die USA zu fliegen. Das ESTA ist letztendlich nur eine Formalität.

Wie lange ist das ESTA gültig?

Das ESTA ist zwei Jahre gütig, und in dieser Zeit kann man eine unbeschränkte Anzahl von Reisen in die USA unternehmen, ohne jedes Mal ein neues ESTA zu beantragen – solange man sich an die Visumsbestimmungen hält (d.h. in der Regel 90 Tage für ein Touristenvisum nicht überschreitet).

Personen, die nicht regelmäßig in die USA reisen, aber schon einmal ein ESTA bekommen haben, sollten vor einer bevorstehenden USA Reise unbedingt prüfen, ob das alte ESTA noch gültig ist.

Ein ESTA verliert auch dann seine Gültigkeit, wenn ein Reisepass ausläuft oder man einen neuen Reisepass bekommt. In diesem Fall muss man ein neues ESTA beantragen, selbst wenn das alte ESTA noch gültig ist (jedoch registriert für die Nummer des alten Reisepasses).

Andere Umstände, die ein ESTA ungültig machen, sind: Namensänderung (z.B. nach einer Heirat), Geschlechtsumwandlung, neue Staatsbürgerschaft.

statue of liberty at sunset nyc

Kann man einen ESTA Antrag im Nachhinein ändern?

Ja, es ist problemlos möglich, online auf seinen bestehenden ESTA Antrag zuzugreifen und im Nachheinein bestimmte Daten zu ändern (z.B. E-Mail-Adresse; Telefonnummer; Flugdaten, Adresse während Ihres Aufenthalts in den Vereinigten Staaten).

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Travel on A Budget in South Africa with these Simple Tips

south Africa penguin

South Africa’s currency, the Rand, has seen a steady decline against the US Dollar over the past few years, meaning traveling to South Africa has become much cheaper. If planned in the right way, a trip to South Africa can be an incredible bargain now – even with a safari, which is usually pricey. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your South Africa Holiday whilst traveling on a budget.  

Drive yourself

Hiring a car in South Africa is definitely the best way to get around. Companies such as Europcar rental make it so easy for you to rent a car and enjoy your time taking a road trip around this beautiful country. It is also cost effective as you are not trying to navigate unreliable public transport or paying high prices for private tours. South Africa’s Garden Route is regarded as one of the most scenic road trips on the entire continent. If you’re traveling alone, check out BAZ bus, South Africa’s backpackers bus which runs between 40 destinations in the country.Addo Elephant Park, South Africa

Keep to a food budget

It can be expensive to eat out every day, and it definitely helps to have one meal in your hostel or vacation rental. Groceries are cheap, and you can have a good homemade breakfast each day before you head out. Visiting a grocery store is especially advised before doing a self-drive safari – the restaurants in the National Parks are overpriced, and you’re much better off packing picnic lunches. Then you can indulge in the delights of ice cream, street food and South African wine along the way as a treat.Vineyard in a glass

Choose guided game drives

Of course, during your trip you will want to enjoy an African safari – a bucket list item for many, for both the animals as well as the beautiful landscapes of South Africa. However, if you book all-inclusive packages at the national parks you will pay a premium rate that may not suit your budget. By staying outside Kruger or Addo National Parks and choosing day trips into the park in your own vehicle you will save a massive amount of cash for what will still be an amazing experience. Plan your trip wisely and you will get the most out of your visit for as little the cost. It is also cheaper to book your safari trips when you get to South Africa instead of booking it from the U.S. Check out these useful tips on how to safari in South Africa on a budget.Sunset giraffes

Pay for the big stuff

Some activities in South Africa come with a big price tag but are worth the money depending on your desires. So, if you are visiting with your heart set on Shark-cage diving in Gansbaai, bungee jump at Bloukrans Bridge or taking the cable car to the top of Table Mountain make sure to budget for this. South Africa has plenty of cool activities to offer, and on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, you don’t want to miss out on any of them.Lions Head and Table Mountain

Find budget accommodation

Decide which features you want in your accommodation before you book. There are plenty of options ranging from simple camping, hostels and self-catering apartments to hotels and lodges. Hostels are the cheapest option, but there are also great deals on vacation apartments and hotels – especially now thanks to the favorable exchange rate. If you’re planning to eat in some of your meals, make sure your hostel has a kitchen – or go for an Airbnb.Safari Tent Tlopi Tented Camp Marakele South Africa

South Africa has a reputation of being an expensive country – but with these tips, you can travel this fascinating country on a budget, and still feel like you’re not missing out on anything.

Clifton Hot Spot - South Africa
Have any tips to add? Feel free to share them in the comments.

Photo credit: All images used via Flickr’s Creative Commons Licsensing. (1) Elephants by Brian Snelson; (2) Stellenbosch vineyard by Neville Nel; (3) Giraffes in Kruger National Park by Sumarie Slabber; (4) Lions Head and Table Mountain by Jonathan Gill; (5) Safari Tent in South Africa by Amanda; (6) Clifton, South Africa by South Africa Tourism
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The Best Five Places In The World To See Big Cats In The Wild

Cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, at Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Nort

Seeing big cats in the wild is the dream of every wildlife lover, but it is also something that only very few people in the world ever get to experience. Not only aren’t there many wild cats left in the wild, but the places where you can see them roam freely aren’t easy to reach – they are far away, mostly ‘off the beaten trail’, and expensive to get to.

And yet there is something so captivating and majestic about seeing especially the five largest big cats – tigers, lions, leopards and snow leopards, and jaguars (those are the ones that can roar) – and smaller ones like cheetahs and pumas (those are the ones that aren’t able to roar) in the wild, that wildlife lovers add it to their bucket lists.

Lion

Every year, the population of big cats in the wild shrinks, which makes seeing them in their natural habitat even more exclusive. If seeing big cats roam freely is on your bucket list, here the five best places in the world to see big cats in the wild:

1 Lions, Cheetahs and Leopards: Tanzania and Kenya

If you want to see as many different big cats as possible in one trip, Africa is the place for you. On the entire African continent, there are now fewer than 25,000 left – a rapidly disappearing population because of hunters and a rising human population claiming their land, and you have to visit a wildlife conservancy to hear lions roar in the wild, or even better, watch them hunt. Seeing lions is almost guaranteed on any African safari, which usually promise sightings of the Big Five (elephants, lions, leopards, rhinoceros, African buffalo).

Cheetah Seq2 007

Tanzania is the African country that has the largest numbers in terms of wildlife, especially if you want to see cheetahs, which are the world’s fastest mammal, with sprints that can reach up to 70 miles per hour (114km/h). There are about 200 of them in Serengeti National Park, more specifically in the Namiri Plains (Namiri means Big Cat in Swahili). In addition to cheetahs, Serengeti National Park is home to 3,000 lions, and if you’re lucky, you’ll spot leopards there as well.

Another great place to see lions, leopards and cheetahs in Africa is Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve, famous for its high population of wildlife and the fact that all of the ‘Big Five’ can be found here.

Like in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park just across the border, you can witness the Big Migration here between July and October, when 1.5 million wildebeest migrate through the Mara Region. During that time, lions can often be spotted preying for wildebeest along the shores of the Mara River and you often even get to see them take down their prey.

Lion Cub with Mother in the Serengeti

To get a photo like the one above, make sure to invest in some very good camera gear – if you don’t come equipped with super zoom lenses, your wildlife photos won’t look anything like this. A very good camera, a zoom lens with stabilization, and a fast memory card (to capture every single moment quickly) are key.

2 Tigers: India

The tiger is the most awe-inspiring big cat – the largest in the world, weighing up to 660 pounds (300 kilos). Today, less than 4,000 tigers still roam freely, making it the most endangered of all big cat species. The best places to spot one are India and Nepal, particularly India, where the regional subspecies, the Bengal Tiger, makes up for the largest number of remaining tigers in the wild: there are reportedly around 1,700 tigers on the subcontinent.

The state of Madhya Pradesh in Central India has not one but two tiger reserves: Kanha Tiger Reserve and Bandhavgarh National Park. The tiger density in Bandhavgarh National Park is one of the highest in the entire country, with about 50 tigers, which means that here tiger sightings are almost guaranteed. Kanha Tiger Reserve has less tigers, but sightings are almost 100% guaranteed on a safari here as well.

April to June are the best months for tiger safaris, and the more days you can spare, the higher your chances for tiger sightings.

For other places to see tigers in India, check out this CNN article.

Beautiful animal

3 South America: Jaguars in Brazil, Pumas in Chile

If you are traveling to South America, you can see two different big cats on your trip (if you are lucky, of course!) – jaguars in Brazil and pumas in Chile.

To see jaguars, which are the third largest cats after lions and tigers, you will have to travel to one of the most remote places in Brazil: The Pantanal.

The Brazilian Pantanal is the world’s largest inland wetland area, spanning an area estimated at between 54,000 and 75,000 square miles (140,000 and 195,000 square kilometers). It is located in the southwestern part of Brazil, reaching all the way into Bolivia and Paraguay. The two Brazilian states that make up the Pantanal are Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. For jaguar spotting, Mato Grosso wins by a large. Between July and September, during the dry season when water is low in the Cuiabá River, many jaguars come out to hunt during the day and enjoy chilling along the river. Excursions are usually done by boat, which allows for fantastic undisturbed wildlife watching. During the dry season, visitors report up to three jaguar sightings in a single day, and often you can witness a hunt firsthand!

Jaguar (Panthera onca) male back in the water

If you have time for another elusive wild cat, head down to Chile from here to see pumas in the wild. They are known to be extremely fast and can run as fast as 50 miles per hour. Not only that, they also can jump 18 feet (around 5.5 meters) in the air.

You can see pumas in the far south of Chile, in Patagonia. Torres del Paine National Park, named after the imposing Torres Del Paine massif, is where they live – but you can hardly ever see them without a guide who knows their favorite hangout spots, since pumas are very shy animals. The closest airport, Punta Arenas, is four hours south of here, which makes you aware of just how isolated this part of the world is.

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4 Snow Leopards: Northern India

To see snow leopards in the wild, you will have to make more of an effort than for any of the other big cats. Because of their low numbers (it is estimated that there are between 4,000 and 6,400 left), it is extremely rare to see them in their natural habitat, and your best chances are in Hemis National Park, a high-altitude National Park in the eastern Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir in Northern India. Hemis National Park is home to around 200 snow lions, but seeing them is not an easy task. It involves high-altitude camping where temperatures drop to -13Fahrenheit (-25 Celsius) at night and hour and hours of scanning the snowy slopes in hopes to spot the rare white coated cat, and for many lovers of big cats, a trip to see one represents the ultimate challenge. No motorized vehicles are allowed inside the park, which means the only way to get around is to trek, and due to the park’s remote location, it is quite difficult to get here – flights only connect Leh, the closest town (3 miles from the park) with larger cities such as Delhi, between June and September, but the best season to spot snow leopards is winter, between late January and March.

Since trying to see snow leopards in the wild is not an easy undertaking, I recommend you check out Bloomberg’s What to Know Before You Go Tracking Snow Leopards at 13,000 Feet.

Snow Leopard

5 Leopards: Sri Lanka

Seeing leopards in the wild was one of the highlights of my Sri Lanka trip for me, and I can highly recommend an open-jeep safari to anyone dreaming of a leopard encounter. The wild population of leopards here is estimated at 700 to 950 individuals – quite a large number considering the small size of the country. These amazing animals with their distinctive yellow coats, covered with dark spots, can reach up to almost 220 pounds (100 kg).

You have the best chance to see these majestic cats in the wild in Yala National Park, which is known to have the highest density of freely roaming leopards in the entire world. The closest town to the park is Tissamaharama, but there are several hotels right outside the park, and if you want to go all in you can stay in a luxury resort, the Wild Coast Tented Lodge, right inside the park. There are no fences or boundaries, allowing you to watch wildlife right from your breakfast table.

The best time of year to see leopards in Sri Lanka is between March to October when the water tables are getting low and many animals come out to the lakes to drink. Even though the odds to see leopards in the wild here are extremely high, it is advisable to plan in a couple of days so that you can go on safari more than once, increasing your chances to spot one or several of these beautiful cats.

Sri Lankan Leopard

Photo Credit: All photos used via Flickr’s Creative Commons program. Title photo of cheetahs by Derek Keats; Lion by Mario Micklisch;
Cheetahs in Mara, Tanzania by Nick Ward; Lion mother with cubs in Serengeti National Park by David Dennis; Indian Tiger by Brian Scott; Jaguar in Pantanal by Bernard Dupont; Puma in Chile by Murray Foubister; Snow Leopard by Nathan Rupert; Sri Lankan leopard by Shanaka Aravinda

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