A Great Way to Explore an Area: Geocaching Has Big Appeal

If you’re into geocaching, and you’ve never found a cache Boston, what in the world are you waiting for? Beantown is home to dozens of fascinating geocaches, are more caches are being hidden all the time. In the interest of happy hunting for all, we are pleased to present a few things to know about geocaching in and around Boston.

Geocaching 101

In a nutshell, geocaching is a global treasure hunt enabled by GPS. Cachers stash an item in a weatherproof container, then other players use clues and solve riddles to locate the secret cache. Geocaches may be as small as a film canister, but some can be as big or bigger than a bucket. When a cache is found, the player can take the item, as long as they replace it with something of similar size and value. Most geocaches contain a logbook signed with usernames. Users can also log into Geocaching.com and leave a digital signature and description of their treasure hunt after finding a hidden geocache explains Geocaching magazine.

Geocaching Boston

Boston’s first geocaches were hidden throughout the Emerald Necklace parks at the behest of Mayor Tom Menino in 2012. Today, caches can be found in Dewey Square, in Fort Pont Channel, along the Greenway, on some offshore islands, and in dozens of other secret spots. More than six million geocachers play the high-tech game of hide-and-seek around the world, and many of them are right here in Boston.

To geocache Boston, you’ll need a few things. First, you will need a smartphone with built-in global positioning, or GPS.  This will help you find nearby caches. You’ll also need a compass. Most Apple phones come with a compass. Android users may download a free compass app to aid in geocache location. The GPS locator that comes in your phone is perfectly adequate technology to aid your 21st-century treasure hunt. Many geocachers who become obsessed with the game opt to purchase a handheld GPS device, says caching experts at the Boston edition of Outdoor Fun Club magazine.

Join the global caching community

To find a geocache near you, punch in the coordinates of your present location. For instance, login to Geocaching.com and input the GPS coordinates for the Marriott Long Wharf Boston. Within seconds, you will be presented a list of local caches along with their difficulty level. Some caches are easier to find than others, so if you are new to geocaching, you may wish to start by hunting for a cache with a simple solution.

A series of handicap-accessible magnetic nano geocaches can be found along the scenic Boston Harborwalk. Bring a small piece of paper upon which to leave your cacher username for the next cache hunter to find and replace.

If you already enjoy hiking and exploring, ramp up the excitement when you participate in the planetary game of geocaching. Add geocaching to your travel itinerary, and add a whole new dimension of fun to sightseeing.

The Beautiful Beaches of Phuket, Thailand

If you are looking for soft white sand, aquamarine water nestled against a deep blue sky and the bliss of sun-kissed warmth caressed by a tropical breeze, then the amazing beaches of Phuket, Thailand are perfect for you! Phuket is an island treasure blessed by geography and geologic destiny, a masterpiece of steep mountains, clear waters and exceptional beaches and bays.

Tourists visiting Phuket find a wide range of amenities, ranging from fine restaurants to annual festivals and luxurious Phuket villa rentals. These features, plus the superb beaches, keep visitors coming back year after year.

Located just off the mainland of Thailand, Phuket is a 208 square mile island that stretches south into the clear waters that emerge from the depths of the Andaman Sea. Over the course of time the coral reefs and shells in the area have been ground down into very fine sand. This sand helped form over 30 picture-postcard beaches on the island, each offering different vistas and magnificent settings that will take your breath away.

Most Popular Beaches

Kata is famous Phuket beach with fine white sand that gently slopes to the sea. It is lined with Casuarina trees that offer shade to those sensitive to the sun. Swimming conditions are wonderful most of the year, and surfing waves appear during the monsoon season. There are numerous tourist amenities here including lounge rental, the Ska Bar built around a tree and restaurants along the beach. Local vendors are happy to serve you sandwiches, snacks and beverages right at your oceanfront lounge.

One of the best Phuket beaches is Bang Tao, where you will melt into bliss as you gaze along a 5 mile expanse of sand kissing the water’s edge. There are a number of upscale resorts in the center of the beach. The northern part of the beach is the most quiet and least developed. Dining choices include inexpensive, delicious food from Thai food stalls and offerings from high end restaurants.

If you are looking for a great place where you can swim at high tide venture over to Kamala Beach. It’s a popular destination with families and there are lounges for rent along the way. The fine white sand is beautiful and slopes gently toward and continues into the sea. There are restaurants, bars and shopping along the south end of the beach, while the northern part offers a more serene and quiet setting.

The sand of Karon Beach is exceptionally soft and fine. Because of the near perfect mix of silica, coral and ground shells, this beach is often chosen as a venue for the Asian Beach Games, sand building contests and other activities. In addition to the stunning sand, the water is crystal clear and the long beach is great for extended walks. It’s a great beach for singles, families and couples.

Gems off the Beaten Path

Your search for small, hidden gems should begin with Freedom Beach, which is one of the least accessible beaches on the island of Phuket. To reach the beach you will need to traverse six-tenths of a mile through thicker jungle on private land or go by boat. The setting is right out of a Hollywood movie, with a bay nested against hills of deep jungle and powder-like white sand. You can easily spend the day relaxing here, in a rental lounge under the shade of tall coconut palms.

Snorkeling is a popular activity at Kata Noi Beach, one of Phuket’s most gorgeous beaches. There are plenty of services and activities but the relative quiet of the beach will appeal to those who want to spend a day mesmerized by the sweet golden sand and the ocean waves. Drinks and snack stalls are available at the beach.

Nai Harn Beach is nestled in the most beautiful bay in Phuket, with lofty hills surrounding the sides and a coconut palm covered island immediately offshore. A Buddhist meditation retreat is there and the sacred monastic title of the land has kept development to a minimum. It’s a perfect place to enjoy the view and while away the sun drenched day.

Another hidden beach is Nai Thon, which is renowned because of it’s squeaky sand. As part of the Sirinath National Park it is immune from development and is located far from Phuket’s major tourist centers Here swimming conditions are wonderful and the fine sand extends into the sea. The local community here is small although there are some hotels across the street and back from the beach area.

If you find yourself yearning for endless ocean, beautiful sand and the feel of a timeless tropical beach, Phuket is the place for you. The variety of beach settings, beachside services and pure beauty is unparalleled. There’s a reason why travelers to Phuket always come back for more!

Discover The Artisans Behind The Scene – Private Shopping Tours In Barcelona

 

Are you planning a getaway this summer to the bright and bustling Spanish city of Barcelona? What better way to spend a week than strolling the lanes of the city, districts such as Las Ramblas or beautiful examples of architecture such as the Sagrada Familia? Barcelona is one of the hottest places in Europe for visitors, often seeing huge flocks of tourists in the summer months when the mercury sneaks up to higher temperatures and the sun seekers come out to enjoy the heat. Barcelona has a little something for everyone – especially for those tourists who like to get a bit of history, culture and shopping in on their trip away.

Tours Of The City

Throughout Barcelona there are numerous fantastic sights to see and areas to explore. Sometimes it can be a bit daunting to organise yourself to make sure you see absolutely everything that peaks your interest so you can take advantage of some of the amazing city tours to help you get a real feel for the city – and you can go one further and book a private tour that encompasses private pick up and drop off from your hotel as well as your own guide for the duration of the tour through the streets and sights of the city.

Private transport is included and you might find yourself learning a little something extra that those on public tours might not get to. There are additionally a plethora of group tours available for those who are happy to rub elbows with other fellow tourists. Most tours include the major sights of Barcelona such as Park Guell, Sagrada Familia and Gaudi’s House as well as some of the other districts like Las Ramblas. Tours including Montserrat and other areas away from the city can be arranged as well.

Shopping Tours

A private shopping tour through El Born is simply one of the best ways to get a glimpse of true Barcelona culture and experience ‘behind the scenes’ of the artisans who create beautiful works of art that are available for purchase. A private tour through this shopping district will allow you to meet the artisans themselves and get a peek inside their studios where the creative process takes place. Pick up a souvenir for yourself or someone you love and know you are truly making a difference in the lives of these artists who have devoted their lives to the development of Catalan art and culture.

So if you’re coming out to Spain for your next holiday – whether as a family or as a group of friends – or for whatever reason, be it a family getaway or a celebratory trip for a birthday, stag or hen party, you should consider a private tour of Barcelona, Montserrat or El Born. No trip to the region is complete without seeing all the sights of the city and beyond. You might find yourself surprised at just what you learn and see! So come check out Barcelona – you will leave enchanted.

A Guide To A Weekend In Cannes

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If you have been wondering where in France you should book for your next high flying and luxury getaway, you don’t have to look any further. The port city of Cannes is the ultimate in luxury city breaks, and if you’re going in and around the month of May, you get the added benefit of the Cannes Film Festival being on, which means the city turns almost into a mini-Hollywood, giving you the opportunity to see some of the best and brightest in the film industry. Read ahead for a quick weekend guide to this beautiful French city, simple and easy to get to from almost anywhere in Europe.

Getting To And Around Cannes

Most people from outside of France will have to fly into the Nice Cote Azur airport and transfer to Cannes. Likewise there are trains and buses from other areas that will come to Cannes, so it depends on your individual situation. Once in Cannes there are a number of options to getting to and from the airport as well as around town and the surrounding area. If you’re looking for that extra touch of luxury for your city break, why not consider booking a private car ahead of time to take your trip to the next level. With great services available and servicing the city and immediate area, there’s no better way to truly see Cannes like a celebrity.

Things To See And Do

Undoubtedly if you’re coming to Cannes, the ultimate thing to see and do is the world famous Cannes Film Festival which is held annually in May. This is a perfect chance to hobnob with famous celebrities and catch a glimpse of some of your favourites as they work the French red carpet. If that isn’t your thing though, Cannes has a fantastic marina, beautiful old town centre and luscious beaches that are fit for a king. La Croisette is a great place to stroll along the seafront enjoying different boutique shops and restaurants. For a truly unforgettable dining experience check out the covered market area of the city (Marche Forville) – a perfect place for people watching as well. Finally the Old Town has the standard winding and cobbled streets with interesting cafes and shops, leading to some old castle ruins atop a hill with some spectacular views. Check out a French Riviera cruise – you can enjoy some fantastic music while dining on the water for a flat fee.

Accommodation

Without doubt there is a whole host of accommodation on offer in Cannes, from the very exclusive and luxe down to some basic but decent hotels. There are a number of boutique hotels that have quite the style such as Le Mistral. For something on the high end, check out Hotel Martinez, which is where the celebs stay when they’re in town. On the cheaper less extravagant end of the spectrum is the Hotel Alnea, with basic but good facilities and rooms.

So there you have a quick run down to a weekend in Cannes. One thing is for sure – once you have checked out the French Riviera and all it has to offer the luxury minded, you’ll find yourself returning again and again!

6 Overlooked Backpacking Destinations In Eastern Europe

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If you’re an avid backpacker and you’re looking for the next great destination, look no further. Backpacking has been done throughout the world for years now and some of the destinations have been almost literally done to death. After all – how many more secret spots can be found in the places that have been frequented for years by thousands and thousands of people? One region of the planet that seems to be lesser visited than others is Eastern Europe, perhaps due to its relatively negative connotations as former deeply Soviet regions people think there may not be much worth seeing here, but as this article will show you – nothing could be further from the truth.

Belarus

Belarus maintains to this day a strict, enforced and almost militant border policy and government. A visa for most nationals, along with state issued medical certificates and a letter of invitation are required for a trip to Belarus and it could easily be considered one of the “final frontiers” of real adventure travel given its lack of any real tourist infrastructure, especially outside of Minsk. Internet is difficult to find in Minks and nigh on impossible in the countryside. If planning a trip to Belarus ensure you look into the visa situation for your own individual country of residence as it varies from nation to nation. Saying all this though, Belarus is home to a number of very unique experiences and sights, with some of the countryside featuring old world villages and very old world farming practices still used. The food, drink and language is similar to the culture of Russia and Ukraine, so you will find soups similar to Borscht and dumplings such as vareneky with ease. Crime is strictly punished, so street crime is low, however there can be theft from hotel rooms by cleaning staff so ensure you take all your valuables with you or lock them away somewhere safe.

Romania

Despite the fact that Romania is part of the European Union, travel seems to remain a bit wilder in terms of tourist infrastructure and simplicity in some parts. The cities are well equipped to host tourists of all levels of class and style depending what you’re looking for, while out in the countryside depending where you go you might be faced with home stays and local transport. It depends how off the beaten track you want to get, but Romanians on a whole are welcoming and helpful and will help you get from A to B with no worries. With a number of beautiful old world towns – many with their own castles to see – along with the Carpathian mountains you will wonder why you didn’t come to Romania sooner. Don’t forget to check out Dracula’s Castle – a hot tourist spot and a bit of a creepy stopping point for anyone in the country.

Ukraine

Ukraine gets a bad rap due to reports of its supposed rampant corruption, but nothing could be further from the truth. With their attempts to clean up their reputation for hopeful EU admittance, Ukraine has cracked down on former corrupt policies in its borders, police and government and is now a very warm, welcoming place. Kiev (sometimes spelled Kyiv) is the very spread out capital city where you won’t have trouble getting around or communicating your needs with the locals – even those whose English is poor can understand some and most wait staff in restaurants and bars speak at least some English. The food is absolutely top notch – we recommend ‘Shato’, a chain restaurant that features an impressive local and imported beer menu as well as traditional Ukrainian fare such as vareneky, borscht (beet soup), sausages of all kinds and cabbage rolls (holuptsi). Shato is also home to live music by night. Ukraine on the whole is a very affordable place to travel through, especially if you take local transport (Kiev’s metro costs 4 US cents per ride, regardless of how far you go), and longer bus journeys, although somewhat uncomfortable in marshrutkas can be under $10 depending where you’re going. Ukrainiain culture is very vocal and musical, so ensure you take in a show by a live band or dance troupe – you won’t regret it.

A side note to those interested in going to Chornobyl – the site of the nuclear disaster in 1986, ensure you book well in advance and get the checks started, As you’re going into a restricted area they do background checks on you prior to the tour, so you will need to submit for this about ten days before your scheduled tour. You will also need to take your passport with you for the checkpoints along the way into the exclusion zone of Pripyat and Chornobyl. Accommodation wise throughout Ukraine is that you would be better off staying in the likes of an Air Bnb or similar – you will get more for your money and get to hob nob with a local or two who might have some suggestions on absolutely top notch places to see during your trip – they might even join you too!

Moldova/Transnistria

Another unique region slightly similar to Belarus, Moldova and it’s “non-existant” neighbour Transnistria are unique and exciting places for any backpacker who might want to check out something new and unusual. Transnistria is a de-facto self-governing nation with no governmental ties to Moldova, however the sovereignty of the region is not widely recognised by many other countries. Transnistria is the region immediately east of Moldova, sandwiched between Moldova and Ukraine.

The general region of Moldova in itself is perfect for those who enjoy outdoor activities. With the steppes and wide open spaces featuring lakes and rivers, it’s a great place for hiking, kayaking, hill walking and generally getting out and about. The cities in Moldova feature beautiful town squares and the city of Soroca specifically is considered the home of the Romani Gypsy – so their buildings reflect this culture and are ornately decorated and colourful. The food of Moldova is similar to that of neighbouring Ukraine and Romania – soups, and a lot of use of root vegetables in many dishes as well as breads and dumplings with varying fillings with regional differences.

The Baltics – Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia

These three countries are tucked away in the north eastern corner of Europe, between Sweden and Russia and south of Finland. Tallin, the capital of Estonia is fast becoming a favourite locale for stag parties from western Europe, but still retains its classical, beautiful European charm and is a welcoming place for travellers of all ages. All three Baltic states are great places to travel through consecutively with a number of interesting and pagan-oriented festivals to be enjoyed throughout the year. Each of these three countries has their own unique flavour but one thing they all have in common is their twisting backstreets lined with cafes, their own regional beers and takes on various dishes such as dumplings, soups and breads as well as their skylines which consist of beautiful church steeples and Orthodox church domes sparkling in the sun. They also enjoy good, well scheduled train and bus links between them to make movement around the Baltics easier than expected.

Georgia

While not officially designated as Europe, Georgia is fighting for its inclusion into the EU and is making a large effort to attract a higher class of visitor as well as backpacker. The capital city Tbilisi is home to a number of high class hotels such as the Radisson Blu and a Marriott. Its low train and bus fares mean Georgia is not only cheap and easy to get around, but it offers links to almost every corner of the country too. From the sloping grape covered wine region of the east, with beautiful vistas over to the mountains around the Caspian sea and Azerbaijan, to the Black Sea coast that features strange cities like Batumi which is more like a Russian’s Las Vegas, Georgia is a peculiar but amazing nation. It’s something that’s come out of a time warp, with cinderblock villages set high in the mountains and roadside vendors selling snacks for almost criminally low prices. With so much to see and do, and multiple climate zones in one place, Georgia has something for everyone – not to mention its nearly 8000 year old wine making traditions!

So there you have six great places in Eastern Europe to explore on your next backpacking trip that each have their own unique flavour and history. So check out some of Eastern Europe next time – you won’t be disappointed!

Tasmania, How To Get There And What To See Or Do

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Travellers “down under” would often stop at hitting the Australian mainland and restrict their visit primarily to the coastal cities like Sydney and Brisbane or the other choices like Melbourne or perhaps out into the outback somewhere like Alice Springs to see the famed Ayer’s Rock. Not many consider taking the opportunity to traverse a little further south to the island of Tasmania, across the Bass Strait to see and experience all the strange and wonderful things this lesser known area has to offer. This article will look at getting to Tasmania and all the things there are to see and do once you’re there.

Getting There

Getting to Tasmania is pretty straightforward, however be advised that if you have rented a car that it’s unlikely you will be able to take it to Tasmania. Instead you’re better off arranging to rent another car once in Tasmania.

Tasmania is serviced by several airlines that fly from major cities in Australia as well as a reliable ferry service from the southern coastal city of Melbourne. The crossing takes a full day or night depending on the season, so be prepared to spend a long time on board. If this isn’t your preference though, flights operate from all the major cities on the eastern side of Australia. From Perth you will likely have to connect in the likes of Sydney or Melbourne.

Getting Around

Cars are the best way to get around Tasmania, letting you go at your own pace. If you are unable to rent a car, however, you can get around by public transport such as on the TassieLink bus system. Do plan ahead though as some services can be infrequent on both TassieLink and the other bus system, Redline Tasmania. These are the two bus lines that service the greater region of Tasmania.

Things to See and Do

First and foremost, relive your childhood by seeking out the famed Tasmanian Devil – the only carnivorous marsupial that calls Tasmania its home. While a generally quite rare sight, the chance of seeing one alone will excite you. Normally seen by roadsides at night eating the remnants of other animals hit by cars.

Other wildlife include kangaroos, bandicoots, wallabies and the like, with some wildlife being more common than others. Stay a night in a national park to encounter a ring or bushtail possum.

Tasmania is nearly 50% covered in protected national parks, so finding a slice of paradise on the island won’t be difficult. It’s perfectly possible to find an area that’s quiet or even deserted to set up for a picnic and enjoy the natural scenery of the island.

There are countless things to see in Tasmania, with favourite landmarks including the Cataract Gorge – a 15 minute walk from downtown Launceston, where you will find the gorge in all its natural beauty along with restaurants and a beach. Hastings Cave is a huge tourist draw, featuring the largest tourist dolemite cave in all of Australia as well as a network of other enjoyable caves. The Bay of Fires is a perfect place for nature lovers with the white sand, blue waters and red cliff faces the camping, swimming and general relaxing here is idyllic.

For those who like history, Port Arthur is the best preserved convict site in Australia and is well worth a look. For the shopper, check out Salamanca Place in Sullivan’s Cove – a treasure trove of handmade, antique and unique items as well as fresh fruits and vegetables at the markets.

So in all Tasmania is a unique and interesting place to head to if you’re spending time in Australia. The benefit of Tasmania is that it enjoys some of the wildlife and other scenery similar to the mainland, but with temperatures much more comfortable in the summer months. So pack your bags – Tasmania awaits!

Things To See And Do In Madrid

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Whether you’re from Europe or not, one thing is for certain – Spain is one of the hottest travel destinations for Europeans and foreigners alike. Conjuring up images of back alley cafes, local wines, delicious tapas and beautiful stone buildings framed with cascading greenery and floral highlights, nothing could be more welcoming than Spain and its people. Regardless of your taste and travelling preferences, one city that has something for everyone is Madrid, and here we look at the top things to see and do in this bustling, beautiful city.

Architecture and Museums

Madrid is awash with architecture and museums – from the beautiful Royal Palace to the Plaza de Sol, a favourite meeting ground for locals, Madrid has beautifully decorated and ornate buildings, statues and more. The Royal Palace is open to visitors, with Wednesdays being free entry days so the lines get incredibly long so make sure you go early. Regardless though, the Palace any day is worth a visit.

The museums on offer are almost countless and cover nearly every topic you can imagine, so a trip to one of their museums along your interests is a must do. Head to the Museum Triangle – literally the Madrid museum district for a great selection of museums. While some of the museums are almost eye wateringly expensive for the budget tourist, most museums do offer free entry at certain times of day or on certain days. Check in advance which museums, which times and which days to take full advantage of some of the fantastic museums in the city. Perhaps the best ones, especially for art lovers are the Museo del Prado and the Sofia Reina National Museum and Art Centre – both of which house classical paintings by famous artists from around the world. The Sofia Reina is in fact the home of Picasso’s famous Guernica.

Parks and Getting Outside

Madrid is lucky enough to enjoy a temperate climate most of the year although it can be chilly in the winter months, but nevertheless getting outside is a favourite past time of both locals and tourists alike. Madrid is home to numerous parks and gardens, with Caixa Forum being a great example of a vertical garden (also on the side of one of many museums!). The Royal Botanical Garden as well as El Retiro park are two of the best parks on offer in Madrid, with El Retiro being home to drumming circles in the summer evenings that are a great way to see the dusk in.

Cuisine and Culture

The Mercado de San Miguel is a fantastic spot to stop off if you’re looking for high quality wines, cheeses, dried and smoked meats and more. An indoor market, this is a great place to go on a rainy day or if you just want to pick up a delicious snack of local fare or a bottle of wine to take home with you. For cultural aspects of Madrid, check out one of the many Flamenco shows that are on around the city – with their bright colours and quick movements and fantastic music. Corral de Moreira is the top rated location to take in a show in Madrid, if not the world, and shouldn’t be missed on any trip to the region.

So there you have the top things to see and do in Madrid on any trip to the area, whethere you’re on a budget or not. Madrid is a great city any time of year, but to take advantage of all the outdoor things to do, summer and autumn are the best to enjoy the warm weather and welcoming patios with local beers and tapas. So pack your bags – next stop: Madrid!

Round The World Gear List – For Women!

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If you’re thinking about heading off on a round the world trip of some kind, you might be wondering what the best things to pack are, especially if you’re a woman. After all, there are so many eventualities to be prepared for, how can you pack for absolutely every single one? It can seem daunting, but this handy dandy list will help highlight a couple of things that are absolute must haves – personally and practically.

Bags, Bags, Bags

This sounds like a given, but there are a lot of bags that you can employ when you’re on the road – with great results. Take a “bag for life” style plastic bag with you to keep your dirty laundry separated from your clean stuff when you’re moving around and don’t have a chance to get any washing done. Aside from this, organising bags such as vacuum bags can help you really keep stuff organised and help you save space too, so consider taking some of these with you as well – preferably the kind you don’t need a vacuum cleaner to make work correctly as chances are you won’t see a vacuum for awhile. Get the roll up kind that squeeze the air out instead!

A Woman’s Secret Weapon

Okay, this one is going to sound potentially a bit gross for those who are squeamish in the audience but this is an integral part of a woman’s travel kit – MoonCup or Diva Cup. Some places in the world do not have the same quality of feminine provisions that are available at home which can make “that time of the month” even more unpleasant, especially when on the road. The Moon/Diva Cup (or other brands) are silicone cups that you use in a way similar to tampons, but are reusable and washable, making them not just an absolute must have for women on the road but also inherently better for the planet than traditional feminine hygiene products.

General Necessities

Necessities for each woman can depend on what you plan to do and your own personal interests, but some things to consider also bringing with you anywhere you go include birth control pills, if you use them, condoms (better to have some just in case!) and of course a well stocked medicine kit featuring bandages, gauze, antiseptic, cotton buds, nail clippers, mosquito repellent, your anti-malarial medication (if going to a malaria zone) and your yellow fever certificate (again if necessary). Don’t forget to bring sun cream as well, as sun cream and mosquito spray abroad can be significantly expensive. Some things you can forgo purchasing before you leave – like shampoo, conditioner etc as you can get most of this in most countries, but things like sun cream and mosquito repellent should come with you as standard, if even to save some money on the road. One other thing that is a necessity is your own towel. Some places provide a towel at your accommodation, but some places don’t so you will be left drying off after a shower with your t-shirts otherwise!

Of course these are the “extra” practicalities and the overall gear list will depend where you go and what you plan to do, but the general waterproofs, snorkel gear, sunglasses is a given. Everyone will have their own list of these specific things they use, so making a list will help you remember to pack everything you need to bring. Get that bag organised – the wide world awaits!

Road Tripping – Canada On A Budget

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Spring break and summer are around the corner and with the holidays come the plans to hit the road for an adventure somewhere fun, interesting and perhaps wild and free. Heading out on the road is always a must do for many people, groups of friends, couples and families alike, but how to know where to hit the highway for a truly enjoyable getaway? For many people, Canada is a country that beckons from the north, and there’s no better time to visit than the late spring or summer when everything is in bloom. Read ahead for some great tips on road tripping Canada on a budget!

The Year of the Freebie – 2017

There is no better year to visit Canada than this year – the year of Canada’s 150th birthday. The National Parks from coast to coast will be sharing the wealth by providing year-round FREE admission, so get in now! Most of the parks are sometimes in the region of $30-50 per day or more depending on what you’re doing, so this is the perfect time to take advantage of a real money saver especially if you’re a fan of beautiful scenery, nature and camping!

Small Towns, Big Hearts

From coast to coast one thing Canadian towns have in common is their unusually huge hearts and warm welcomes to visitors, especially to people from abroad! You can take advantage of cheaper hotels (if you aren’t renting a camper van or RV) and cheaper roadside “greasy spoon” restaurants in the smaller locales than in the big cities, however this being said, if you’re wanting to spend a night or two in a city, try to find hotels offering one or two night last minute deals. Failing that, there’s usually a motel or hotel chain on most highways just outside of main centres which may have lower rates.

Speaking of renting cars and RV’s….

Gas in Canada and renting cars and RV’s can be pretty expensive, but not if you know how to find a deal. RV’s might be expensive to rent and run, but you will have the added benefit of not having to pay for hotel rooms or dinners out along the way, being able to cook your own. Ask around at car rental companies for vehicles needing to be returned to a specific location – if you don’t really mind where you go, and you’re going one-way, this can be a great way to get a reduced – or even free – rate.

Beware the PST

To keep costs low, beware the Provincial Sales Tax. This is a tax that is in effect on almost all goods and services in almost every province/territory except for Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon, and Alberta. It is in addition to the GST (Goods and Service Tax) which is a federal tax and is on almost everything throughout Canada at a flat rate of 5%. PST is dependent on the province you are in – some provinces have 7% PST while some have as much as 8-9 or even 10% PST where it will be clearly outlined on your receipt the two tax costs. Some provinces have adopted the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) which is a blend of PST and GST into one tax rate and will appear as one tax on your receipts. Saskatchewan has an added tax of 10% on liquor, so it might be worth staying dry in Saskatchewan unless you’re willing to pay a bit more.

Campgrounds

To keep costs low consider stopping at campgrounds that are away from main regions and that are a bit further to get to. You won’t regret it and usually many of these campgrounds have fantastic facilities as well as great lakes, streams and sometimes even sandy beaches. Some campgrounds can be as low as $20 a night per RV or per pitch (for multiple tents) so it can be a really great savings.

So there you have a couple of great ways to keep a road trip in Canada cost effective and easy on the wallet. Grab the sleeping bags and tents – summer is perfect for spreading out under the stars anywhere in Canada, just remember the mosquito spray!

Road Tripping – Sydney To Canberra

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Like most things when you travel, the road lesser travelled is often the more enjoyable and adventurous one and nothing could be more true than when you’re driving from Sydney to Canberra. What seems like it could be a lengthy and interesting drive on the highway is in fact fairly unimaginative – unless you take the scenic route that is. This article will look at helping you plan this little journey and what there is to see along the way if you fancy getting out of town with your mates for a bit!

The Road

There are two options when heading out of Sydney depending on the time you have at your disposal. One route is the coastal route down though Wollongong and the second route is down through Campbelltown. The Campbelltown route is more direct, but still offers some great scenery through some beautiful parts of the Highlands, but the coastal road is fantastic. The Campbelltown route can take around 3-3.5 hours and the coast road around 4.5-5, so it depends how fast you want to get there and what you want to see on the way.

For something truly unique, but lengthy you can choose to go all the way down the coast to Bateman’s Bay and then back up through the Monga National Park to Canberra. This is a bit longer – around 6 hours in length depending on where you stop and for how long but lends itself to some truly unique road trip opportunities.

Things to See and Do

Either route will take you through some fantastic natural areas filled with forests, land formations and if you take the coastal road – the coast! Pack a picnic lunch and stop off somewhere new and wonderful – either in the woods in Yerriyong State Forest or on the beach a bit further down the road. The world is your oyster on a road trip between Sydney and Canberra and the only thing stopping you is yourself!

The Wine Region

As you approach Canberra you will enter the wine region. This is a perfect opportunity for you and your travelling companions to head to a vineyard for a tour or some wine tasting. Perhaps pick up a bottle or two to enjoy once you reach your destination. The wine region stretches all around the city, so it’s easy to find a vineyard that hosts tourists and wine connoisseurs.

Canberra

The city of Canberra is surrounded by hills and is separated by a lake which makes it an enjoyable city to wander around in for those of an outdoor nature. With interesting buildings, the city centre lake and great walking trails around the city, it’s a great place to just hang out and take a stroll. Have a coffee and people watch on one of the outdoor terraces or check out some of the historic buildings that date back to the early part of the territory. Lake Burley hosts boats for hire, making it an ideal place to take families for various lakeside activities, and there are a number of mountain biking tails around for those who like to get out and moving. Head to Mount Ainslie for a truly commanding view of Canberra and the area, and don’t forget to catch some kangaroos in the wild – the Pinnacle Nature Reserve – 10km west of the city centre – is the best place to view large mobs of Kangaroos for free.

There you have a couple of great suggestions to consider for your road trip from Sydney to Canberra. Depending on what you like to do, there’s just as much to see and do on the way there as there is once you get to your destination – so make sure you take the time to enjoy the journey as much as the end result!