The Ultimate Guide To Family Holidays Off The Beaten Track

It’s all too easy to surrender to the allure of the family package holiday. For one lump sum cost, you can secure your flights, transfers, accommodation, food, drink and excursions for every member of your travelling party.

There’s no need to worry about the planning and preparation of any holiday abroad, and you can relax knowing that somebody else is taking care of all the paperwork.

While the odd jaunt to a Balearic might be pleasant, and the volcanic vistas of the Canaries are lovely, sometimes you want to venture a little more off the beaten track and break from the norm.

If you want to provide your offspring with some more authentic, exciting and unique travel experiences, read on to discover the quirkiest destinations for family vacations.

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The Ultimate Guide To Family Holidays Off The Beaten Track

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Iceland

When we talk about great trips abroad, we want an adventure that will tick something off our bucket list. Heading to Iceland in the winter does just that.

With kids in tow, you can marvel at the natural phenomenon that is the Northern Lights. Dancing streams of green and pink will create a laser show above your heads as night time falls; much better than another random evening spent in a Greek taverna.

During the day, you can head out on the open seas for a spot of whale watching, do a smidgen of glacier walking or take a tour of the geysers dotted around the island.

The people of Iceland are friendly, the food is plentiful, and the vibe is relaxed. For a unique family holiday, Iceland is hard to beat.

The Ultimate Guide To Family Holidays Off The Beaten Track

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Azores

If a sunnier climate is more your bag, but you don’t fancy the usual jaunt to a Costa, why not consider venturing a tad further afield.

The Portuguese Azores are a dramatic set of volcanic islands without the tourists of Spain or France.

If you are a family who loves getting your kicks by taking part in high octane outdoor pursuits, then the Azores should be on your list of potential destinations.

Activities in the Azores consist of kayaking on the crater lake of Sete Cidades, hiking up a dormant volcano and caving on the island of Sao Miguel.

For a more relaxed experience, you could also take a dip in one of the many natural hot springs adorning the beautiful landscape.

The Ultimate Guide To Family Holidays Off The Beaten Track

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Isle Of Skye

If you are less inclined to venture to distant shores and you’d like an experience a little closer to home, you should consider the stunning Scottish island of Skye.

The scenery is magnificent, the tourists are few and far between, and there is plenty to keep the kids busy.

Head to Portree, the island’s central hub and you’ll meet many Scottish fishermen willing to take you on a tour of the coastline.

Sea eagles are common, often diving down to catch a fish or two from the waves.

The iconic Old Man of Storr provides superb hiking opportunities as does the Trotternish peninsula high above sea level.

On those rainy days, the island’s museum is fun, interactive and a fun way to while away a few hours.

For an off the beaten track holiday, take a look at these three destinations when booking your next trip.

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Happy Travels

Love Lucy x

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The Ultimate Guide To Family Holidays Off The Beaten Track

Consuming Culture: Broaden The Heart and Mind Through Travel

The main reason that most of us enjoy travelling is because it’s fun. We get to see stunning sights, do fun activities and take a break from our daily lives where we can be a slave to routine.

But travel also has the ability to make us a more interesting and well-rounded person.

It can open our mind, show us a different perspective and allow us to understand and appreciate where we come from.

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One of the ways we can do this is by submerging ourselves in another culture, learning about how life is for different people and appreciating and understanding different customs and lifestyles across the globe.

Whether you’re travelling for a few weeks or months on end, here are some of the things you could aim to do to consume culture while you’re away.

Consuming Culture: Broaden The Heart and Mind Through Travel

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Meet New People

In your daily life, there might not be a whole lot of opportunity to meet new people.

You see the same faces at work, you have a close friendship group and you see the same family members.

But meeting new people is what makes life interesting, so when you’re away try and speak with as many as you can.

Chat to the locals, find out about their lives and aim to learn more. Chat with vendors, market stall workers, waiting staff, taxi drivers.

Just be social and find out about the people that live in the destination you’re visiting.

Meeting other travellers like yourself and chatting about their experiences and findings of the destination is also worthwhile.

You can use social media and look on online forums as a way to meet people while you’re travelling, and often it will be the people you speak to along the way that really make the trip special.

See a Performance

It could be a show at a theatre, an outdoor performance, a circus, a local musician or acting group performance or anything else that’s on offer.

Theatre, music and performance are great ways to get a glimpse into the culture of others.

Check out lists of shows before you go and where possible pop one on your itinerary.

Not only is it fun but it’s another way you can find out more about the culture – pay attention to the colours, songs, dancing and more.

According to the Guardian, performing arts provide a necessary opportunity to develop the skills of socialisation and communication required by a healthy democracy.

They can serve as a meeting place for the public, there is a definite relationship between theatre and citizenship.

As a tourist, you can take an objective view on this as a way to understand and appreciate the culture through performance.

Consuming Culture: Broaden The Heart and Mind Through Travel

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Try The Local Cuisine

If there’s one way to get to the heart of a culture it’s by tasting its food.

Ingredients, cooking methods and techniques will have been perfected over centuries, and passed down through generations.

Many places consider their food to be absolutely integral to their culture, but wherever you go, you will get an insight into your destination.

Go to markets and eat delicious food from street food vendors. Go into cafes and restaurants of varying budgets.

If possible, buy some fresh ingredients and cook some dishes yourself. For example, if you were in Australia you could purchase some local meat and seafood and cook it on the barbeque.

Learn About Religion

Whether or not you’re a religious person and what religion you believe in, there’s no denying that this is still a highly important part of many people’s lives.

We all know that it’s important to respect the beliefs of others, and so religion is worth looking into and learning about when you visit different places in the world even if the views of its believers and different to yours.

Some religions are centuries old, and for some cultures around the world their religious beliefs are integral to their lifestyle.

It can affect their laws, what they eat, what they wear and much more.

You can learn more by chatting with locals, and visiting religious buildings (many of which will be open to the public) and finding out about their specific beliefs.

This can be incredibly interesting and can open your mind to all kinds of possibilities.It can help you to understand the culture of the place you’re in.

Even in places like the UK where religion isn’t necessarily a large part of many people’s lives, places like churches and abbeys can provide a fascinating insight to the past as well as the current position of religion in the country.

Consuming Culture: Broaden The Heart and Mind Through Travel

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Go to a Festival

Vibrant and exciting, festivals are a celebration and can be for anything from music to art to religion to food.

If the destination you’re visiting has an annual festival then see if you can visit when it’s on so that you can attend.

With different stalls, decorations and excitement it could well be the highlight of your trip.

An annual festival in a town, country or city will often be linked to its roots, what it’s famous for or what the current citizens and tourists most enjoy.

Sing, dance, eat and be entertained – and soak up the spirit of whatever the festival is celebrating.

It could be anything from the BFI London Film Festival to Coachella in California, it could be the Cannstatter Volksfest beer festival in Germany or Panagbenga which is a flower festival representing the ‘season of blooming’ in the Philippines.

Look at Dress and Clothing

Clothing is a huge part of culture. It could be clothing that’s worn due to religious reasons, for example burkas in Islamic traditions cover the body and face as the Quran calls for modesty.

It could be the high fashion observed in places like Milan and Paris which are centred around designers, catwalks and fashion which filters down to the general public.

It could be Geishas with their long robes and distinctive makeup.

Not only do you need to check that your own wardrobe is ok for certain places in the world.

For example, you might not be permitted to wear very skimpy clothing or have a lot of skin on show in more modest cultures.

But observing the dress of the general public, entertainers and more will all give you a glimpse into the location’s culture.

Consuming Culture: Broaden The Heart and Mind Through Travel

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Observe the Languages and Ethnic Mixes of Locals

You don’t have to learn a language to be able to appreciate the culture of a place.

But listening out for the language, or in some cases mix of languages can be an interesting way to appreciate the culture.

Observing the ethnicities of the locals is also a good way to find out more about the culture.

Take places like Amsterdam, New York and Singapore which all have an ethnically diverse mix.

A little research will help you to understand how, why and when immigrants first came to the destination, and how that has affected things like language, food and other aspects of the culture after multiple generations.

Culture is an incredibly interesting thing, made up of many different elements which come together to explain the past, present and future of a destination.

When you understand the culture of others it can really open your eyes, and can actually help you to understand yourself and where you come from better too.

Keep this in mind next time you go away and try to incorporate as much culture into your trip as you can.

How do you make sure you’re consuming culture and appreciating every location you visit when you’re travelling?

If you enjoyed reading this contributed blog post, please share on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest so your friends and family can read too. Sharing is caring!

Happy Travels

Love Lucy x

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Consuming Culture: Broaden The Heart and Mind Through Travel

 

The Ultimate Beginner's Guide To Singapore

If you’re planning on travelling to Singapore for the first time, this guide will help you to navigate your way around and have the best time.

Whether you’re going for a couple of weeks as a vacation or you’re looking to stay there even longer to soak up the culture, learn the language, and make friends, many of the tips here will help you.

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Take a look and see what you can take away before you visit Singapore for the first time:

The Ultimate Beginner's Guide To Singapore

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Finding Your Way Around Singapore

Public transport is one of the best ways to make your way around Singapore. You’ll really be able to explore and find some awesome things you wouldn’t have found any other way, too!

The MTR is incredibly clean, so don’t worry about that –  they are very strict when it comes to things like no spitting, eating or gum. Very strict!

The escalators and subways are incredibly fast and efficient. You can buy single tickets or get a card for multiple rides – purchase an Ez-link card from the ticket office at any major MRT station.  

Alternatively, it’s a good idea to get an Uber for late nights. You even have the option to share the ride to reduce costs.

Then there are hop on hop off buses, which are a fantastic way to see the city and get to where you’re going. 

Make sure you don’t go wondering off alone if you haven’t got your bearings yet.

Have numbers read for your Uber, a fully charged phone, and perhaps a map or an app to help you find your way.  

The Price Of Alcohol Is Extortionate

Something almost everybody is surprised about when they visit Singapore is the sheer cost of alcohol.

With high import taxes (that are set to increase by a further 25%!) you’ll want to make sure you stock up on duty-free wine, beer and spirits when you come through Changi Airport.

It’s the smartest thing to do if you plan on having a drink when you’re in Singapore, (plus it’s one of the cheapest places to buy wine on the island).

Even if you plan on having a casual drink, it’ll be cheaper to buy it in the airport.  

Diverse Neighborhoods

Something that is absolutely incredible about Singapore is the diverse neighborhoods.

From Little India to Chinatown, Labrador Park and Kampong Glam (which is a very pretty place to take pictures for your Instagram account).

Singapore is one of the most diverse and interesting places you will likely ever visit in your lifetime.

The Ultimate Beginner's Guide To Singapore

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Where to Stay

There’s no denying that Singapore is expensive when it comes to finding somewhere to stay – there’s a steep price tag that is easily compared to London, New York, and Shanghai.

Be aware of this when finding the right place to stay for your trip. You might find it cheaper and easier to find a room for rent rather than looking to stay in a hotel for the duration of your stay.

However, there are some cheaper hotels, they’re just not cheap compared to cheap hotels in other countries. Be prepared for this and have a big budget!

Things To Do In Singapore

Now that you know how to get around and where to stay, you’ll want to know a few of the great things that you can do here. Here are some suggestions:

Gardens by the Bay – beautiful botanical garden spot for couples. Great for families and nature fans too.

The Flower Dome hosts different exhibits of plants and flowers according to the season. The Cloud Forest, is opposite; a magnificent indoor rain forest.

Some of the domes are open for viewing until late at night, and this is when the trees light up! It’s a wonderful way to spend some time, and you’ll have an even better time if you stick around for the light show in the Supertree grove.

Whether you’re out with friends or on a date, this is a wonderful activity to try.

The Ultimate Beginner's Guide To Singapore

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Exploring the city and shopping – you may have heard how amazing the shopping in Singapore is.

Fancy Orchard Street is great for those who have the budget for shopping, or Boogies will allow you to find knick knacks and souvenirs.

For those who want to shop in boutiques, make sure you head to Kampong Glam.

If nothing else, you’ll take some great pictures. On Arab Street and Haji Lane, you can find art galleries, handmade perfumes, hipster eateries and great coffee.

Murals and backdrops all over the place make it another fantastic place to take pictures. 

Taking the colonial tour – you might already know that English colonialism impacted massively on Singapore and because of this, it has become a big part of its history.

Many history nerds actually spend whole days taking this tour. Unbelievably, there are places to enjoy real English experiences in Singapore – like their version of afternoon tea.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve – this is the perfect place for greenery amongst the skyscrapers.

This place isn’t too far from the city, but it feels like a different world when you’re there.

When you visit, you can see bats, iguanas, crocodiles, an array of birds.

Going for walks through the mangrove forests. Is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry!

Some people are even lucky enough to spot pythons on their trip – if that sounds like something you want to do, then make sure you visit at night.

Hopefully, you enjoyed this beginner’s guide to Singapore and you now have a list of things you’re going to do and try while you’re in the area.

Singapore is a diverse place where you can experience many different cultures, activities, people, and food – it really is somewhere we should all visit at least once in our lifetime.

Let us know when you’re visiting Singapore and what you plan on doing on your trip – will you use any of the ideas here? Leave a comment below! Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed reading this contributed blog post, please share on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest so your friends and family can read too. Sharing is caring!

Happy Travels

Love Lucy x

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 The Ultimate Beginner's Guide To Singapore

 

Here’s How You Can Have the Time of Your Life when On Vacation

 

If you want to go travelling but you don’t know if it is the right time to do so then you need to understand one thing- it’s never a good time for you to travel.

There is never a perfect time, and you’ll never be fully sure if you’re making the right decision when you book a holiday.

That being said, it is more than possible for you to have the holiday of a lifetime whether you go to a cheaper destination or even a more expensive one, and the whole thing is what you make it.

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Go Somewhere You Never Thought You Would

You may be thinking, “when is the best time for Umrah?” or “when should I take a gap year to travel?” and this is completely normal.

The problem is that if you are constantly basing your decisions on the opinions of other people then this can cause you to miss out.

You need to go somewhere you never thought you would and you also need to take your life into your own hands.

Instead of going to the biggest countries in the world, try and go somewhere a little more underground and don’t let other people tell you where to go.

This is where the best experiences happen. If you’re stuck for ideas, why not try Budapest?

Here’s How You Can Have the Time of Your Life when On Vacation

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Get in Touch with Nature

When you arrive at your destination, you may feel a little out of place. You may also feel tired from your journey as well.

Instead of going to your hotel room, try and get out there and see the sights. Find somewhere that makes you feel as comfortable as your hotel room, whether that is an open serene lake or whether it is endless fields.

This can really help you to connect with the location you’re in and it is a great way for you to really take in what is around you.

 

Here’s How You Can Have the Time of Your Life when On Vacation

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There’s No Such Thing as a Diet When You Go On Vacation

When you go on vacation, it’s important to know that there’s no such thing as a diet.

You need to make sure that you don’t limit your treats, and you also need to try whatever you want when you are out and on the move.

After all, each country has such a great food culture and it would be a shame for you to miss out on this just because you don’t want to add an inch to your waistline.

Go Out At Night

One mistake is to do all of your travelling during the day and then spend the night in your hotel room.

Your best experience could happen at night and this is when people usually go out to have fun.

If you want to really have a spectacular travel experience then don’t limit yourself to certain times of the day and always make sure that you do everything you can to see the world in the way that it was meant to be seen.

For example, if the Eiffel Tower looks better at night then this is the way that you should see it for the first time.

 

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Happy Travels

Love Lucy x

 

6 Steps to Finding the Perfect Cheap Holiday

 

There are many fantastic low-cost holiday providers out there, but there are a few sure-fire ways to get a cheaper holiday. Here are 6 easy ways to cut the costs on your next getaway.

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1. Book flights early, but not too early. Experts believe that the golden booking date is 53 days before departure. Also, on that note try and keep your bookings to a Tuesday or a Wednesday, avoiding weekends and bank holidays where possible.

2. While hotels can often be the lap of luxury, you might end up paying the price for the preference. For example, rather than booking an expensive hotel in Spain, try checking out Spain holiday lettings instead. Although the perk of some hotels is the all you can eat bars, the cost when pitched against a self-service apartment is steep. For larger groups, you can all pitch in and book a gorgeous fancy villa, for smaller groups, couples or solo travellers check apartments. Sometimes there are perks like private pools, private beaches, and fantastic friendly neighbours.

3. Could you get a refund on your ticket price? Some airlines have a refund policy if the price drops between when you purchased and when you fly. After you have purchased your flights, set up a price alert to get updates sent to your phone. Then, if the price appears cheaper – without being on sale – you can call to claim a voucher for the difference in price. Check with your airline upon booking to see what options you have.

 

6 Steps to Finding the Perfect Cheap Holiday

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4. Decided on a package holiday? Spend some time on comparison websites. If you can be a bit more flexible on your departure dates and times, you’ll be able to trim some of the cost with ease. Set up accounts with a few, and opt to get offers, sales, and discounts sent to your email address. You’ll need to be quick to snap these up though!

5. Don’t be afraid to haggle. The aim of the game here is to be armed with all the information you need, to get the bargain you want.
The trick here is to make sure you have noted the total cost for:
• Hotel
• Meals
• Transfers
• Tour operator
• Extras – kids go free / activities

Now, it is time to drop a polite and friendly call to travel agents, to give them the opportunity to beat the quote. In general, it’s better to ask for a discount per person, rather than overall – the reduction will seem smaller when broken down.

6. Don’t think of travel insurance as a luxury or unnecessary item. There are some simple tips you can follow to keep you and your friends and family safe while travelling. One of those is to purchase the correct travel insurance for your trip. Millions of people don’t book travel insurance in quite the right way. For a start, book it the moment you book your holiday. Why? It can help protect your money if someone due to go on the holiday falls ill or you need to cancel. Check out money saving expert for the lowdown on getting excellent travel insurance.

If you enjoyed reading this contributed blog post, please share on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest so your friends and family can read too. Sharing is caring!

Happy Travels

Love Lucy x

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6 Steps to Finding the Perfect Cheap Holiday