Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Five Amazing Beaches to Hang Your Hammock

If you’re looking for the perfect place to swing your hammock, there are some places in the world that seem to have been truly made for the purpose --  places made for those who love relaxing in the sun beside the waves and want to be sun kissed when doing so. So, where should you set up your family hammocks for the long haul?

Curonian Spit

This beautiful area of beach, stretches  for almost 60 miles and mixes pine forests and dunes. It provides the perfect place for you to hang up your  hammock and also to bathe in the ocean when you feel like stepping out from your beach bum paradise. The area is a beautiful one and has been visited by many of the greats from history including Thomas Mann. Some have compared it to a Baltic Sahara and there is one wonderful must see dune that is more than 170 feet high in Nida – do visit.

Curonian Spit by Kyle Taylor - Dream It Do It Wold Tour!


Tanzania is one of those places that is still not been subjected to the ravages of significant tourism. This beach is the perfect and most idyllic place in the world to hang your hammock. There’s little to do as the tides are low and drink coconut milk. Watch the fishermen, read a book and just sit back and bake in the sunshine. You might even go on a boat ride in the evening when it cools down and the time feels right – but don’t stress.

Early morning on Jambiani Beach by Andrew Moir

Kerala Coast

This region of India is one of those places that should be on everyone's bucket list for its miles and miles of coconut palm lined, white sand beaches. The coast spans more than 370  miles and boasts the bluest of waters. It’s the ideal place to sit back, watch the horizon and see the evening and the ensuing sunset arrive in all its glory. Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala's capital, is a must visit if you want to see the most spectacular sunsets.

Kerala Coast by parentless_org

Isla Mujeres

This Mexican island, situated near the tourist resort of Cancun is the perfect place to bring family and friends and set up your family hammocks. It’s a tropical beach with the sought after turquoise waters and also offers you plenty of options to frequent bars and the like for some great cocktails. There are also some wonderful fishing tours, as well as golf courses resorts and all the mod-cons for those that enjoy them.

Fishing Nets and Even a Hammock by Michael C. Rael.

Ko Pha Ngant

Thailand is a tourist center for some time now, however Ko Pha Ngant though busy, still has some great spots to visit. Obviously if you're after complete peace and quiet, you want to avoid the regions where the Full Moon Partiers revel. The island is loved by the Thai Royal Family, which explains why the outlying regions are so overwhelmingly beautiful and also under developed. The island is blissful and the perfect place for a hammock once you avoid the hedonistic full moon fun.

Coconut Trees Are Good For Something Other Than Hammocks! Photo by 0005_Marco

There is nothing better than chilling out on a hammock and these areas are the perfect place for the experience.

The author writes for Westmount Living, offering a wide range of extra large family sized hammocks which are great for taking on your holiday adventure around the globe!

Tripadvisor - How To Find The Good, And Avoid The Bad And The Ugly

BeforeTripAdvisor, travelers whose hotel turned out to be more a fleapit than a Pharoah’s palace had to grin and bear it to a certain extent. Holiday disappointment almost used to be part and parcel of some holidays – and tour operators and hotel management continued to get away with misrepresentation, shoddy maintenance and lousy food, knowing that tourists could do very little about it.

TripAdvisor has given a voice to holidaymakers – and checking out hotels and holiday resorts before you book can not only help you avoid the bad and ugly – but also can help you find an even better hotel or resort.

The most common complaints that holidaymakers have include:
  • Accommodations not as described in the brochure: e.g., no sea view, balcony, entertainment or à la carte menu;
  • Tour details changed without notice beforehand – you set off and discover on arrival that your itinerary has been changed or another hotel has been allocated;
  • Shoddy and dangerous hotel maintenance – poor plumbing, dodgy electrics, broken steps and paving stones, a dirty swimming pool;
  • Poor service from hotel staff – rude staff and rooms not ready on arrival, or even not available as booked: e.g., no double bed, bath or terrace or non-smoking rooms.
Holidaymakers work hard to afford their vacations and it is hugely distressing to arrive and feel as though you have been ripped off.

Checking the reviews on Tripadvisor before you book can alert you to any recurring problems at your hotel, as well as poor maintenance, unhelpful staff, dirty rooms and bathrooms – and any amenities which have been misrepresented.

Miserable staff and a poor  reputation are also signs that all is not well, so do your homework before you book – and also take a look at other hotels and resorts on Tripadvisor, which you might enjoy more and which might even be better value for money.

If tour operators and hotels cannot deliver, the best thing to do is give them a wide berth and book with a company or hotel which can offer you your dream holiday.

Make sure you return the favor - if your trip was great, write a positive review. if there were problems explain what happened and whether they were resolved or not. At first, it may feel as though by posting your complaints on Tripadvisor that you are being petty, but even a dirty showerhead could prove fatal if it is harboring Legionnaires’ disease – and serious illnesses like salmonella or E.coli should not be included as part of a package holiday. Of course, that's extreme - but remember how helpful you found the reviews in planning your trip.

If you have had an unsatisfactory holiday, first it's best to make a holiday complaint direct to the tour operator and let them know your opinion and see what they can do for you.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hotel Tips: What You Need To Know To Travel With Fido

Essential Questions to Ask When Booking a Pet Friendly Room

Is your pet not just an animal, but a full-fledged member of your family? If so, you would probably never consider going on vacation without your little pal. The hospitality industry is taking notice of the buying power of pet lovers and more and more hotels, B&Bs and vacation rentals, offer pet friendly accommodations.

Flagler Beach, Florida

Whether you are looking for a room at a large chain, an intimate little inn, or a vacation rental, there are pet friendly choices all over the world. Before m you book, though, it is important that you fully understand the pet policy of a particular establishment. Most places state the pet policies clearly on their website. With others, you may need to make a call to find out the details. Here are the questions you need answered before choosing pet-friendly lodgings:
  • Restrictions – Some lodgings will allow almost any pet with a deposit. Others, however, may allow only dogs. Still others may only allow very small dogs. In addition, some lodgings may have breed restrictions and will not allow certain breeds, commonly Rottweiler or pit bull. Get the specifics before making a deposit.
  • Costs – Many establishments charge a security deposit and may also charge additional fees for the privilege of accommodating your pet. Make sure to find out all applicable fees and their amounts as well as whether or not the fees are refundable. While it's worth it to you to pay extra for your furry friend, it's helpful to know how much you are paying in advance. This is also a good factor to use when comparison shopping for lodgings.
  • Location of the dog-friendly rooms – In many establishments, the least desirable rooms are designated as the dog-friendly rooms. Check to make sure that the pet-friendly rooms are of the same quality as other rooms. Ideally, you will want a room on the first floor with an outside entrance, so you can easily walk your dog when he or she needs to go out.
  • Availability of an Outdoor Area – Speaking of going out, is there an area close by where you can walk your dog? The last thing you want is to get up in the middle of the night and have to walk a long way to get to an area for your dog to do his or her business.
  • Vaccination requirements – Many places will require you to show proof of current rabies and other vaccinations. Check for such requirements in advance to make sure you have everything in order and be sure to pack your paperwork before you head out.
Having a run on the beach ...
  • Off-limits areas – If you are choosing a particular hotel or inn because of a special feature, it can be a nasty surprise to find out that your dog is not allowed there. Find out if any areas of the property are off limits to your furry companion before you make a reservation.
  • Local attractions – The vacation will be no fun for Fido if he sits alone in the room all the time. Find out if there are any dog-friendly attractions nearby, such as outdoor eating areas, parks, beaches, and more. 

Hannah C. is a writer for BestOnlineCollege.org. If you are interested in a career that lets you travel and get your career. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Riga: Architecture Through The Ages

The Latvian capital of Riga has gained popularity in recent years as a destination for tourists seeking a cultural European city break. It is no surprise, as the city hosts many fine buildings and a range of architectural styles from the Medieval period through to the modern day. Built by German crusaders the city’s earlier buildings, including its churches, were constructed in Romanesque and Gothic styles, examples of which you can find throughout Riga. However, there are also over 800 buildings in the city built in an Art Nouveau style.

Religious Architecture of Riga

St. Peter's Lutheran Church
by Arian Zwegers
Riga's skyline dominated by three steeples. If you don’t have time to visit all three churches, be sure to see St Peter’s, arguably one of the most beautiful Gothic churches in the Baltic region. This church is thought to be around 800 years old and its main facade took on a Baroque appearance in the late 17th century. Although the church tower has been destroyed on a number of occasions, it was last restored in 1973. Take the lift up 72m to an observation platform for excellent views of the city below.

The Dome Cathedral is also well worth a visit. Construction commenced in 1211, but changing architectural styles over the centuries have molded the cathedral to its present appearance – Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque features are part of the building's architecture today.  St George’s Church is also worth a visit; the church, the oldest building in Riga, was founded in 1202 and is the only Romanesque monument in the city.

Defensive Architecture of Riga

Riga’s castle was built in 1330 on the banks of the River Daugava. It housed the ruling power and its position was important to oversee ships entering the port. The castle is a square building with a tower in each corner; it has twice been rebuilt with a third floor added in the 19th century. Latvia’s current President has his residence in one of the wings of the castle.

The Architecture of Dwellings in Riga

The oldest dwelling houses in Riga, known as the Three Brothers, are located on Backer Street, with the oldest built at the end of the 15th century and the other two in the 17th century; their building style is typically Medieval. Built in 1685 by the famous Bindenschuh, the Reitern House – not far from St Peter’s Church - was Riga’s first new style of house. It was a revolution in building traditions, as it was the first time that the longest side of a building had been along the street or that high ceilings and large windows had been used in a living dwelling in the city. The facade made by a stone cutter is also of note. It is a fine example of a merchant’s house and of Baroque architecture.

Art Nouveau Architecture in Riga

Detail on one of the Art Nouveau
buildings on Alberta by upyernoz
The city has often been called Europe’s capital of Art Nouveau and this is best displayed in Alberta Street, where the buildings are exclusively designed and decorated in an Art Nouveau style. Built between 1901 and 1908 from designs by Eisenstein, Mandelstam and Pekshens, Alberta Street – named after the city’s founder – is one of the most splendid streets in Riga. While here visit the Riga Art Nouveau Museum at number 12, which was home to one of the architects; see for yourself the interior design and learn more about this style of architecture.

This is merely a taste of what this remarkable city has to offer. To truly appreciate Riga it is best to explore on foot, though there are a number of walking tours that you can join to see the architectural highlights of the city and find out more about its history.

Julia writes finance and travel articles for a number of UK websites including one of the biggest landlord advice portals.