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Vacation Planning for Fun

5 Ways to Make Your Vacation an Experience to Remember

A vacation should be an experience you remember for all the right reasons. However, this is not always the case and many individuals and families have a less than ideal time away. With some planning and consideration of the following factors, you will increase the likelihood of having a vacation you will look back on fondly for many years to come.

Certain times of the year are better than others to go on vacation to a particular location. The weather often dictates what activities you can take part in. As well as the weather, certain times of the year are more popular with visitors than others. When there are festivals, holidays and other special occasions, these are the times that most people will want to take a break.

For example, companies like Leisure Time Tours provide Sukkot travel programs for Jewish people who want to celebrate the festival in a different location. In other situations, some visitors may want a quieter vacation and want to avoid the busier times of the year at a certain place.

Using Vacation Planning to Make it Fun

Here are 5 Ways to Make Your Vacation an Experience to Remember:

Online Research

It’s never been as easy as it is now to research almost every vacation destination. Most people are only too willing to share their experiences with other people, give advice and prevent people from making common mistakes while they are away from home.

The internet, in particular, is a mine of information. Travel related websites, blogs, discussion forums and social media pages contain thousands of pages of content about popular vacation destinations. This means there is no excuse not to be properly prepared for your next trip.

Be Prepared

Once you have carried out the appropriate research, it’s time to take action. The more prepared you are for a vacation, the more enjoyable it will be and the less likely it will be that any problems will occur. Using the internet is also helpful in the step, because you can get most of what you need for your travels through online discount stores that offer low prices or rebates on brands that specialize in travel gear and outdoor apparel. Make sure you have access to the local currency, and pack the appropriate clothing. If there are any dangers you need to avoid such as diseases like malaria, make sure you get the proper medication before leaving home.

Local Knowledge

When you travel to an unfamiliar destination, obtaining local knowledge is extremely important. Local inhabitants will tell you what to avoid and many locals usually have a deep knowledge of their city, town or village. To obtain this knowledge, find out where these people hang out online and talk to local people and tourist representatives when you reach the place you will be staying in.

Go Off the Beaten Track

It’s tempting to visit the main tourist traps when you visit a new location. However, the most interesting and exciting places to visit are often located off the beaten track. When you get local knowledge, you can find these tourist gems and have a much more fulfilling vacation. Before you decide to go off the beaten track, make sure it will be a safe place for you and others to spend your time.

The difference between an enjoyable vacation and a forgettable one depends on how well you prepare for your trip away. The five factors above should always be taken into account each time you go on vacation to make sure you can enjoy yourself while you’re away.

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Fatima Portugal Postcards

Fatima: The Hidden Gem of Portugal

Karolina & Patryk – On behalf of A Week at the Beach

Fatima is a charming, small town situated in Portugal, approximately 140 km North from Lisbon. It’s famous for its Sanctuary, which is visited annually by millions of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. If you are looking for a quiet and idyllic place where you can meditate or find inner peace, add Fatima to your travel bucket list. You won’t regret it.

Fatima, Portugal

The town, in addition to being picturesque and religious, offers a lot to its visitors, from authentic Portuguese cuisine, spectacular churches and museums to lovely parks and hospitable locals. Here are some tips on how to explore Fatima with a smile on your face:

Getting into Fatima, Portugal

You can easily get into town by bus, train or car. It all depends on your preferences and budget.

By bus

The cheapest and quickest way to reach the town is to travel by bus from Lisbon. Head to the central bus station in Sete-Rios, then purchase a ticket at the station for around €10. Buses leave for Fatima almost every hour from 8am to 8pm and the journey lasts about 90 minutes. There is Wi-Fi available on the board so you can surf the internet during the ride. It is awesome because as digital nomads, internet is as necessary as air.

By car

If you want to drive a car, it takes less than one and half hours to get there. The highway is safe and good quality.

By train

If you wish, you can travel to Fatima by train. The closest train station is Caxarias, approximately 10 km away. Twelve trains run daily from Lisbon to Caxarias and the journey takes two and a half hours. Tickets costs €5.70 one way.

Woman in Fatima
Getting around

Because Fatima is a very small town, you can easily explore it on foot or rent a bike and go cycling (rental fees start around €5 a day). There should be free maps of Fatima available at your hotel reception, so don’t forget to grab one before you start exploring. At night, Fatima offers truly beautiful scenery for romantic walks, so you can take your partner on a date if you’re travelling as a couple.

Top travel attractions on the cheap

The Sanctuary of Fatima in Portugal

See the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima.
It’s a holy place built in 1928 at the site of the Marian apparitions reported by three Portuguese children in 1917 (Francisco Marto, Jacinta Marto and Sister Lucia dos Santos). Entrance is free of charge and it’s open 24 hours.

Attend mass at Fatima Sanctuary.
If you are religious, or if you just feel like praying or meditating, you should definitely attend one of the masses at Fatima Sanctuary. Although the mass is in Portuguese, the ceremony is quick and probably similar to what you may experience in your home country.

A holy site in Fatima Portugal

Explore the story behind Fatima.
Many tourists go to the Fatima Sanctuary (which is free to visit) to explore the story of three children who witnessed an apparition of the Virgin Mary on May 13, 1917. If you’re interested, grab a free leaflet from the sanctuary and read the story while having a nice Portuguese lunch.

Visit Casa de Lucia (The house of Lucia).
A small house where Lucia grew up has been saved and minimally renovated over the years. You can walk through the house taking in a few pictures and descriptors on display for you to read. It’s not huge, but it’s meant to show you how simply she lived. The whole town is still inhabited around the house, undisturbed and residential. You are allowed to touch some things, but some rooms deny entry so that you can only walk by.

Eating and drinking

Fatima is filled with small, local restaurants, coffee and pastry shops, so finding a nice, affordable place to dine out won’t be a problem here. If you want a cup of tea and a Portuguese dessert, Apollo Caffe is perfect for you. They serve Portuguese cakes and pastries and there is a great variety of hot and cold drinks as well as quick snacks and filling dinners.

Typical Breakfast in Fatima Portgual

Milano Pastelaria and Confeitaria serves the best gelato and egg tarts, while Pingo Doce (located at the Fatima bus station) is a great place for your daily grocery shopping.

Accommodation

Ribeiro Hotel is highly recommended in Fatima. It’s only a 10-minute walk from the Sanctuary of Fatima, offers free Wi-Fi, free pick up, a typical Portuguese breakfast buffet, tours and local activities. It’s a budget hotel that provides a quality worth every cent.

Have you ever been to Fatima? If not, do you fancy going there this summer?

Karolina and Patryk are travelling couple who decided to quit the college, start a company and live a free life. They have been on a journey ever since, visiting many countries in Europe, Asia and America. On their blog, they share their travel experiences and relationship advice. They are encouraging people to fulfill their dreams and being happy everyday.
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Round Travel Towel

Best Travel Towels for Yoga and the Beach

Let’s talk about travel towels for a second. They’re one of those things you never knew you needed until you hit the road, and then suddenly can’t imagine yourself living without. They somehow unintentionally come to indicate your level of commitment to traveling and once you have one you’re initiated into a secret club. Like Fight Club, but for travelers: Towel Club. Only, unlike Fight Club, the first rule of Towel Club is that you tell anybody who will listen about how amazing your towel is. Travel Towel Carry Bag

You tell everyone because once you’re in the know, you realize how many travel towels are out there in the world. You’re sure yours is the best because you’ve explored different brands, different sizes, different colors. Maybe the only thing you haven’t explored at this point is different shapes– but even that’s about to change. Of all the travel towel options that exist, only one company is daring to go where no one yet has: in a circle.

Dock & Bay, a new beach and travel apparel startup founded by two travel enthusiasts, is determined to brighten up the travel towel market with twist. Leading up to their launch last year, founders Andy and Benno invested a great deal of time in choosing the right mix of material to make luxury towels that are soft to the touch yet quick to dry, lightweight, super absorbent, and, most important, compact (also making them perfect for your yoga practice). Because all of these are crucial considerations when choosing a travel towel, Dock & Bay took it one step further and even made them easy on the eyes; their more traditional travel towels come in varying shades of bright, beachy stripes. dnd-round-model-shoot-20

Having sold 10,000 towels across the U.K., U.S. and Australia, Dock & Bay is setting out on its next adventure: a round revolution. Their newest product, a round microfiber towel, will be the first – and the largest – of its kind. With more than six feet in diameter, the shapely towels are ideal for sharing. Better yet, they still pack down to the size of a paper towel roll, making it the perfect fit for any bag and taking up at least 50% less room than its cotton counterpart. Like their first model, though, the new design comes with a fashionable pouch that doubles as a beach bag in the same, super sweet colors (blue, red, green and pink).

round-collage-others

In order to make your travel towel dreams come true, they’re launching a Kickstarter to raise around $14,000 for full production of the playful and practical microfiber towels. Check them out here, and further your status in the Towel Club by pre-ordering a new towel (£25 Early Bird Offer / RRP £40), designing your own or heading out on an exciting trip hosted by Andy and Benno.

 

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oly2

Road To Rio: Canada’s Olympic History And Facilities As Explored By FlightHub

With the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil quickly approaching, people across the world are starting to get Olympic fever. With preparations steaming towards completion in Rio, many countries are looking back at their Olympic histories. While Canada has not hosted a large amount of Olympic events, it does have a history worth exploring. Between Olympic events in Vancouver, Calgary, and Montreal, Canada’s Olympic heritage spreads nearly from coast to coast. In order to get the lowdown on these specific Olympiads and their remaining facilities we spoke with FlightHub, an online travel agency with deep ties to the city of Montreal. They gave us the rundown on what remains of Canada’s Olympic past.

1976 Summer Olympics – Montreal, Quebec

Canada’s first foray into hosting the Olympic Games, the 1976 Olympics represent Canada’s only experience hosting the Summer Games according to FlightHub’s review. While it is Canada’s oldest Olympic host city, many of the stadiums and facilities remain in use in Montreal’s East end. These include The Olympic Stadium, which played host to Major League Baseball’s Montreal Expos until their untimely departure in 2004. Other repurposed facilities include the Velodrome, which was converted into a ecology center called the Biodome. This indoor nature reserve includes replicas of four different ecosystems and allows for people to walk among the many different animals and climates on display. As for performance, Canada failed to win a single gold medal in Montreal.

1988 Winter Olympics – Calgary, Alberta

An Olympic games made famous for a series of odd stories like the debut of the infamous Jamaican Bobsled Team and the heroic failure of British skier Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, these Olympics were among the most costly at the onset of the Games and Canada’s first attempt at a Winter Olympics. It’s two main facilities, McMahon Stadium and the Olympic Saddledome, remain in-use today as facilities for the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders and the NHL’s Calgary Flames. As for those two stories mentioned above, both resulted in major film deals according to FlightHub, with Eddie The Eagle releasing in 2016. Just like in Montreal, a Canadian failed to win a gold medal in Calgary.

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2010 Winter Olympics – Vancouver, British Columbia

A very successful Olympics athletics-wise with Canada winning a leading 14 gold medals, Canada finished off the Olympics in dramatic fashion, sweeping the Ice Hockey medals with dramatic wins by both Canada’s men’s and women’s teams. Many facilities in Vancouver were repurposed for the Olympics, including massive renovations to Vancouver’s football stadium. In terms of new construction, the Richmond Olympic Oval won many design awards as it served as the host of speed skating events. That venue continues to be used today for a variety of sporting events.

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in the village

Plugging In After Checking Out: Top Three Travel Chargers for any Trip

When you stop and think about it, travel balances a number of very fine lines. It straddles comfort and growth, expectations and reality, disconnecting and tuning in. Sometimes we take trips solely to put some distance between ourselves and our everyday lives, often needing a break from our jobs and the routines that keep us plugged into electronics. In the last couple of years, even taking a virtual vacation from social media has become key to maintaining sanity.

Though, when traveling, many of us rely on the very devices we seek to escape to keep in touch with friends and family at home, to meet up with new friends we’ve made on the road, and to share our enlightening experiences with everyone who might enjoy them vicariously. Depending on where you travel, staying connected through your devices can either prove very easy or especially challenging. Some countries have vast infrastructure and free wifi to support your social escapades, while others barely have the cell service, much less the power, to keep you connected.

No matter the circumstances, there are a few handy devices that can help you prepare for whatever kind of electronic network you’re met with. Because, without a charge even readily available wifi is useless, we’re highlighting three travel chargers to keep you plugged in wherever you are.

An International Power Adapter

First things first, a charger of the more traditional variety, but, like, on steroids. This guy will be your best friend whenever your road map is a little unclear. Universal adapters work in almost every country, and while they are bulkier than other varieties, you’ll be happy to have just one to keep track of rather than having to pack two to five for each place on your list.

phone charging

A Quick Car Charger

Regardless of where you find yourselves, most cars come stock with a standard AC outlet. If you’re on a long road trip or simply shuttling from the airport to your hostel, having something like this handy will give you enough charge to get you where you’re going. Chargers like the ZUS are especially helpful because it comes with two USB ports and fast-charging capabilities, providing enough juice to power two tablets at once.

 

A Portable Power Bank

AKA the battery life-saver. Seriously, don’t go anywhere without one. The Lumsing, for example, is fairly compact, though admittedly a little heavy, and comes with dual charging ports. You can get up to four full smart phone charges before it needs recharged itself, making it perfect for long bus rides, airport delay, or just your run of the mill rolling blackout.

Wherever you take your technology, we want to hear about it! Tell us in the comments how you stay connected even when you’re well off the beaten path!

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