Thai Massages in Thailand

Thai Massages in Thailand: Tips for First-Timers

When you travel in Thailand, the following scenes can be found everywhere:

small shops lined with comfortable chairs with footstools with visitors having foot massages, and inside, a line of comfortable chairs with footstool; many visitors, rolling up to their knees, are enjoying a special Service-Thai women are kneeling beside their feet and continuously kneading these overworked limbss.

A similar place, not too far away from that, many visitors are laying pleasantly on a comfortable mat and being pulled and stretched into pretzel shapes again and again by local women.

All visitors seem to be lost in such a state.

What is happening?

 

1. Thai Traditional Massage

The original Thai massage included the masseur massage subject’s back by feet as well as stretch the fingers and toes. But, it has been replaced nowadays. If you think the masseur’s intensity is too energetic for your taste, you can ask her to be more gentle. A superb Thai massage can relieve stress, relieve tension and stiffness in the muscles and joints, increase vitality and promote blood circulation. In short, it makes you feel great.

 

How to Do Traditional Thai Massage

You only need to wear a relatively loose casual clothes but without essential oil.If you are facing any health problem, such as back pain or knee pain, you need to tell masseur in time. Relieve yourself as undergoing massage and work with your masseur.

 

2. Massage on the Beach

You will find flock of masseuses, who usually appear on the beach in November and stay until the end of April. They looks like a cuddly auntie, waiting below the shade with pillows and mats and offering you traditional Thai massage service to help you relieve yourself. Besides, in Patong beach, you can experience foot pedicure services, including removal of dead skin and other items, but for girls, nail services will be provided. Specilists will help you remove white hair, making you feel young.

 

3. Spas

Phuket is one of the world’s top spa venues and masseurs are born with excellent massage techniques. Few people can withstand this temptation-enjoying a full suite of luxury treatments at one of Phuket’s top SPAs.

Either franchise SPA or hotel SPA, the service will amaze you, so many visitors try their best to get the most affordable spa in Phuket. Usually, when you stay at a resort with a high-end spa, you can take a multi-day course and turn the experience into a life-enhancing event. Many hotels in Phuket are as luxurious and elegant as the Roman palace, and its interior décor will leave visitor a deep impression.

 

4. Foot Massage in Phuket

Foot massage can be seen everywhere in Phuket-in the shop, in the hair salon, by the beach or even in the shopping mall ad much more. Foot Massage, renamed as reflexology, firstly originate from China. Many Chinese believe that each part of human body corresponds to a acupuncture point on foot. If we can message the spot precisely, it will bring a great of benefit to our body health. Anyway, there are many theoretical doctrines, such as it can stimulate the nervous system to get through the veins, which can release endorphins and promote lymphatic reflux. But who cares? In fact, nothing is more than to do a comfortable foot massage to restore strength after shopping all day long.

 

How to Do Foot Massage

Firs, soak feet with warm water. The masseur smudges body lotion or essential oil on your feet, one foot wrapped with a towel and the then the next one. If you fell part of pain in any spot, it is said there must be a problem with the organ connected to related part of the feet. It helps relieve yourself though you don’t face any health problem.

 

5. Naughty Massage in Phuket

Many visitors never try therapeutic massage as they worry about some traditional masseurs offering massage on untouchable body parts. You should not come inside if masseurs are massaging for others.

-It is dark inside with curtains blocked the light.

-Young and beautiful masseurs dress sexily, but a professional masseur will always dress properly or formally.

-there is a young girl yielding in front to attract you to come in. Most will ask you: would you like a “special” message?

 

6. Fish Spa or Dr Fish

As a newcomer, you may feel surprised and stop to see such a scene-people put their feet in the fish tank, but what are they doing? Dr Fish, also named fish spa, or other nicknames, such as nibble fish, kangal fish, physio fish, and doctorfishen. The Garra rufa love to sip dead skin. When people put their feet into warm water, Dr fish will flock to eat the dead skin softened by warm water. This little fish can survive at a water temperature of 43 degrees Celsius.

 

7. Massage for Pregnant Women

For most pregnant women, a nice back massage is a great experience. Many pregnant women find that they sleep better and have less paining both neck and back and less stress and discomfort. Of course, you need a choose a masseur from some perspectives-her knowledge, care and gentleness. In fact, massage should not be provided during the first three months of pregnancy. If you need a skilled physiotherapist, please consult the island’s well-known spa. Most of them have a lot of experience in pregnant women massage.

 

Some tips:

If your masseur does a good job, the may hope that you can give them some tips. In fact, masseurs who works in some big SPA or five-star hotels, they will get no salary. Instead, they share massage fee with their bosses. For beach masseuses, they need to pay for the place they rent, so if they can earn 300 baht at once, they can get 150 baht so tips therefore makes a difference. It is reasonable to pay about 50 to 100 baht for a comfortable massage.

 

Where Should You Go? And How Much It will cost?

Most traditional Thailand massage are simple without too much decoration or promtion. An ordinary massage lasts about 2 hours and consumes 300-500 baht, but a foot massage is about 40-50 minutes and costs 300-400 baht. Of course, it is more expensive if you massage at any five-star hotel – the price can be triple, or more. If you massage on the beach, it will cost you 300 baht per hour.

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Road Trip Through the Scottish Highlands

Road Trip Through the Scottish Highlands

Scotland, UK is a breathtakingly beautiful country that can make you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time with the vastness of its untouched lands and the old style buildings you’ll see in the towns.

The best way I think in which to see it all is a road trip to the Highlands.

So, grab your snacks and buckle your seats for the ultimate road trip adventure.

 

The Ultimate Scottish Road Trip

Preparing Your Road Trip

Route: Edinburgh to Inverness
Distance: 318 km
Driving Time: Around 5 hours
Length for Trip: 2-3 Days

 

Road Trip Highlights:

  • Fun, windy roads, in great condition most of the way
  • Epic views on every corner with plenty of designated places to park and take some great shots
  • Fresh seafood if you’re feeling hungry
  • The friendliest locals around to help you if you get lost

 

Renting a Vehicle

After years of collecting Aeroplan points, I was able to cash mine in with a one week car rental at Avis for 25,500 points. Yippee! For those of you who are still struggling to get those points, you can find cheap options on Skyscanner. Often if you want to rent for 3-6 days, it’s cheaper to just ask for a one week rental. My favorite rental companies are Avis and Enterprise.

 

Tips:

  • Many credit cards often offer car insurance for rentals so check if your’s provides this option to avoid insurance fees at the rental office which can often cost you more then the rental itself!
  • You will need an international drivers permit to rent vehicles abroad. Getting a permit is very easy in most places. In Canada you can visit your local CAA and apply for $25.
  • If you are a Canadian renting a vehicle in the UK, you do not need to get an international driver’s permit and will only need to show your local driver’s license.

 

Tunes for the Road

To make your road trip even better, make a Scottish playlist. Some great tunes for driving include:
•    Highlander’s Farewell by Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas
•    Johnny Tarr by Gaelic Storm
•    Hug air a’Bhonaid Mhois by Julie Fowlis
•    Hinba by Lau
•    The Cruel Sister by Old Blind Dogs
•    Celtic Pipes & Drums by Peatbog Faeries & Folk Police
•    Lough Erne’s Shore by Old Blind Dogs
•    Shooglenifty by McConnells Rant

 

The Route

Road Trip – Scottish Highlands – Day 1

Start in Edinburgh and spend at least a day there before hitting the road.

 

Fishers Leith

As soon as we arrived in Edinburgh, we headed straight to Fishers for a seafood lunch. Scotland’s seafood is so good, a large majority of it is actually shipped to Spain. We ordered some oysters, mussels, calamari which were all fresh and delicious. If you go Monday-Friday between 12:00-6:00 PM you can get a great deal with their set menu of 2 courses for £15 or 3 courses for £18.

 

Old Town

Next on our stop was to head into old town to walk off our great meal. Old town is an architecture enthusiast’s dream with every building having its own unique look and dates back to the medieval times. Make sure to look out for the Castle of Edinburgh and the Royal Mile.

 

Beer Sampling

As we strolled through old town, we popped into a few pubs to sample the local beers. Try the Fraoch which is a Heather Ale (Leann Fraoch) that’s been brewed in Scotland since 2000 B.C. Also try the Tennent’s Lager which is the local’s choice in pubs.

 

Ghost Tour

When it got to the evening, we booked a free ghost tour with CityExplorers. Our guide was Max who somehow managed to turn stories of murderers, dungeons and witch hunts into a walking comedy skit which was a lot of fun.

 

Road Trip – Scottish Highlands – Day 2

A Scottish Breakfast

The next day we started our morning at The Abbey, which is a proper Scottish pub offering a great breakfast starting at £4.95 and an unimaginable selection of whiskey (if you’re up for some early drinking). I went with the Scottish breakfast which includes egg, haggis, sausage, bacon, black pudding, white pudding, hash brown, tomato beans and toast. It was my first time trying haggis, and it  wasn’t’t bad at all!

In case you don’t know, haggis is made from sheep’s stomach and is stuffed with liver, heart and lungs of the sheep. Despite the name and what it’s made of, I would eat haggis again.

 

Arthur’s Seat

After breakfast we headed to Arthur’s seat which is around a 30 minute hike to the top of a hill,and over looks the entire city for some fantastic views.

Unfortunately, as soon as we started hike it started raining…hard. On the positive side, there were very few tourists and those we did encounter were retreating down because the rain was making it difficult to hike up.

By that point we saw it more of a challenge against mother nature to make it up to the top and pressed on. By the time we reached the top, not a single person was there and we had the entire spot all to ourselves.

After hearing stories from the ghost tour the night before about people hiking to the top of Arthur’s seat and then falling off, it felt very eery to be there on our own. Not to mention being surrounded by fog, mist, and then getting hailed on (in the middle of summer) which is when we decided it was time to go!

 

Tips

  • Arthur’s seat is located in Holyrood Park which is a great place to cycle in or have a walk around.
  • It’s also close to Holyrood Palace, which was the home for Mary Queen of Scott’s and is the official residence for the royal family when visiting Scotland.
  • Tickets for admission into the palace cost £12.50/adult.
  • If you don’t have much time, it might be worth just taking a drive around the road that circles the entire park and hill. The ride is no longer than 10-15 minutes and you can get some great views and spots for scenic pictures.

After conquering the hike up Arthur’s seat, it was time to hit the road to Inverness.

 

The Cairngorms National Park

Our first stop on the road was to the Cairngorms National Park which is the largest national park in the UK. The park itself contains the ancient Caledonian forest which has almost been wiped out from all of Scotland.

You can find many species of animals there including red squirrels and even wildcats. There are many different paths to go on for hikes, a couple estates to visit, Balmoral Castle and a steam train ride around the park.

 

Tips

  • We were short on time to catch a train ride but the Strathspey Railway runs a return trip from Aviemore through the heart of the Scottish Highlands which costs £14.25 for a 90 minute adventure.
  • If you are feeling like getting in touch with your nature side, you can find some great wild camping spots in the park.

 

A Hidden Beach

Just as you exit the Cairngorms National Park on the A86, there is a beautiful sandy beach where you can stop for a picnic lunch, do some fishing or even spend the night camping if you can brave the midges! The beach is located on Loch Laggan in between Quad Bike Tours and  Ardverikie Estate, you’ll be able to see the beach through the trees as your drive by with a designated parking spot to stop at.

 

Tip

Every encounter we had with Scottish locals they would always bring up “the midges”. They are similar to mosquitos but much smaller and will drive you crazy in the wild if you don’t have repellent on.

Apparently, the best form of repellent recommended by the locals is wearing Avon Skin So Soft. In truth we were fairly lucky considering the horror stories we heard about them, but we came prepared with repellant just in case, and you probably should too.

Road Trip – Scottish Highlands – Day 3

Glengarry Viewpoint

All along the road to Inverness you will find parking spots which are great to catch some epic views. As soon as you pass the sandy beach you will encounter three castle like buildings. Stop at Glengarry Viewpoint (about 1 hour after passing the hidden sandy beach) where you can stand on a rock and catch views of the entire landscape. Funny enough, one of the lochs is actually shaped like Scotland.

 

Invermoriston Waterfalls

Next, head to the tiny town of Invermoriston and leave your car at the local parking lot. Cross the street and follow the sounds of running water. This will take you to a waterfall for some great shots.

 

Searching for Nessie and Urquhart Castle

Head back to your car and make your way to Urquhart Castle which overlooks Loch ness for your chance to find Nessie. This is the site of an ancient ruined castle, one of the largest in Scotland which was built in the 13th and 16th centuries. Tickets to visit cost £9 per adult. Although we didn’t’t find the mythical sea monster we were able to catch the sun setting from the castle.

 

Inverness

This is the final destination for the road trip and is about a 30 minute drive from the Urquhart castle. For the best views of the city, head up to Inverness castle.

 

Exploring More in The Highlands

Your trip doesn’t need to end once you’ve reached Inverness. In the Highlands there are many things to see and do.

 

Dolphin Watching

Unfortunately, we didn’t’t get the chance to personally catch views of the dolphins ourselves but if you head to Chancery Point along the loch of Moray Firth you will have a good chance of seeing them there.

 

Glen Ord Distillery

You can’t visit Scotland without some Scotch tasting. Take a visit to Glen Ord Distillery which offers tours and tastings. We went on the most basic tour which cost £6 and includes a tasting of a 12 year old whiskey.  Interesting enough, this distillery only sells their scotch in South East Asia and is not available anywhere else, including the UK.

 

Golf

Did you know that the modern game of golf was invented by the Scotts? There are a few courses around including Torvean Golf Club, Inverness Golf Club and Fairways Loch ness Golf Course.

 

Watching the Indigenous Scottish Game of Shinty

An ancient game said to predate Christianity, shinty is a team sport that Highlanders play and was previously used to help train boys for warfare. Catch a game with local Highland teams.

 

Continuing Your Road Trip

If you feel up for seeing more of Scotland, I recommend continuing your road trip through to the Isle of Skye. Skye is well known for its beautiful, unique landscape and best explored on a wild camping road trip.

 

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From France to Greece

From France to Greece. A Summer of House Sitting Through Europe.

Imagine this, your peering out over a gorgeous Greek beach from your own balcony. Next to you is a very cute border collie patiently waiting for breakfast. You have six weeks to explore this new little village, beaches and all its delicious local food (and to think the accommodation is costing you nothing).

We, The Travelling House Sitters recently spent that time in the Greek seaside village. With a month of 28°C days, it allowed for a lovely slow exploration of the Greek coastal village!

Over the last three years, we have cared for over 29 homes, in places such as Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Ireland, The UK, France, Italy, Montenegro & Greece and The Carribean.

Below are some of our favourite house sits (how you can get started too!)

Amongst the Vines

Our first house in Europe was 30 mins east of Bordeaux. We had travelled from India to Turkey then onto Manchester to pick up our new campervan. It was a long drive and we couldn’t wait to arrive and relax!

This home was set along a beautiful river that stretched to Bordeaux and was nestled within dozens of rows of vines. The homeowners informed us that as long as you stayed a set of vines away from the farmhouse you could walk though any vineyard in the area. This made walking the dog each morning a dream come true.

True to form the wine of the area was incredible. Our little town had a just a supermarket, boulangerie and a local wine association. The baguettes were known as the best in the region ( we couldn’t agree more).

 

From France to Rome

Following the home in the vines we looked after an apartment in Barcelona, and then back to France for a house sit in Provence. After Provence, it was on to Italy! We were booked too care for a lakeside villa in Lake Como and three cats. We then braved the heatwave and made our way down to Rome for a month-long housesit.

As we journeyed south, we ticked off bucket list locations such as the Tuscan Hills, Florence, the Parmigiano cheese factories & Bologna (one of the most surprisingly beautiful cities in Europe!)

The Unexpected Views of Montenegro

We didn’t know much about Montenegro but it absolutely blew us away. We cared for two cats who until just recently had spent their entire lives living on a sailboat in the Caribbean. We think they enjoyed the views of The Bay of Kotor almost as much as we did. However, one of them preferred the sights and sounds of his favourite YouTube videos, one was a 14-hour long video of an aquamarine and the other a 10-hour video of tropical birds (it’s a tough life for a cat).

Next, it was on to Greece for the final leg of our journey. However, between Montenegro & Greece our campervan broke down in the middle of the Albanian countryside (but that is a story for another time). We sadly left the camper behind and journeyed on by bus to our next sit.

In the Greek Kitchen

Our next sit was in a Greek seaside village. Here we learnt the true meaning of Greek hospitality. The homeowners insisted we stay for two nights when they returned. They wanted us to experience a Sunday feast with the whole family.

It was an incredible experience in which we spend the morning in the kitchen learning Greek recipes then the afternoon eating, drinking and chatting with the whole extended family.

Our final house sit of this journey is in Athens at the base of the Pantheon, we look forward to experiencing the city before we head off to the Caribbean! Our next house sit involves a catamaran and another sailing cat!

This house sitting lifestyle is very enriching and can be suited to anyone. Whether you’re an adventurous traveller or someone who just needs to save some money on rent. If you’re interested in experiencing this for yourself, we are here to help! Take our online course which takes you through how to become a housesitter!

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Most Overrated Tourist Traps

The 13 Most Overrated Tourist Traps on the Planet

Whenever I’m on vacation or visiting a city on a short break, I try and soak up as much of the real, local culture that I can – I find it the best way to really explore a new place.

I’m not a huge fan of crowded tourist sites where people aren’t people anymore, they mutate into clumsy beings with cameras attached to their faces – the best way to enjoy a vacation is not through a camera lens.

There are of course some exceptions to this rule, there’s a list of what I would regard as ‘stereotypical’ tourist spots that I’ve loved and would visit again (The Eiffel Tower, Ground Zero, Vatican City etc), but the majority of the ‘must-see’ tourist traps out there are overpriced, oversubscribed and ultimately overrated.

 

Want to know the ones to avoid? Or are they overrated, still iconic and definitely a must see?

Read on:

The Louvre Museum – Paris, France

Let’s face it; the only reason you are inside The Louvre Museum in Paris is to see Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ painting, right? Well save yourself the considerable entrance fee because the thing is just tiny. I mean like miniscule, barely bigger than a postage stamp. If you want a preview of the kind of view you’ll be getting, this second image in the gallery illustrates it well!

As that image accurately demonstrates, not only is the painting small there are also a ton of other tourists blocking your view, who are desperate for their picture of probably the most disappointing piece of art in history. Be warned.

 

Stonehenge – Amesbury, UK

What is essentially a bunch of big stones in a field, Stonehenge is yet another ancient monument completely mugging off unsuspecting tourists. Don’t expect to get near let alone touch the stones (you can’t), don’t expect to see anything interesting in the immediate vicinity (there is no accompanying museum or tourist centre), and certainly don’t expect good weather (it’s England).

 

The Colosseum – Rome, Italy

We continue our stay in Europe by ‘visiting’ the impressive Colosseum in Rome. Unlike visiting Stonehenge the weather will most likely be good as it tends to be, all year round in Rome, but you’ll have to consider queue times and predict what the climate will be like when you actually get inside – average queuing times can be 6 to 8 months (okay not quite that long, but it’s a seriously long time to wait just to get into a building site). Plenty of time for the notorious local pickpockets to strike, then.

Do you like queuing? We do not! Read here how to avoid long queues for sights in Rome.

 

The Leaning Tower of Pisa – Pisa, Italy

What’s that? You have a genius idea that you’d like to go to Pisa and take a picture of yourself leaning against the tower? Nice. No-one’s ever thought of that before.

 

The Statue of Liberty – New York City, USA

The Statue of Liberty in New York is an iconic and symbolic monument, but yet another massive disappointment. You’re better off spending your time looking around the infinitely more interesting neighbouring Ellis Island, the gateway for millions of immigrants to the US during the early 1900’s.

Still want your classic tourist photograph of Lady Liberty? Take the (free) Staten Island Ferry from Manhattan to (you guessed it) Staten Island to see fantastic views of the New York Bay as well as your beloved Statue of Liberty.

 

Mannekin Pis – Brussels, Belgium

One of the most photographed statues in Europe, featured on practically every postcard in Belgium, the Mannekin Pis really ought to be a lot more impressive that it is. It’s just a little boy taking a leak into a fountain, right? Or am I missing something?!

 

The Astronomical Clock – Prague, Czech Republic

The Astronomical Clock located in beautiful Old Town Prague, is apparently the third oldest astronomical clock in the world – very interesting. What is not so interesting and is in fact incredibly irritating are the huge crowds that swell at the base of the clock every hour in preparation for the bell to chime. Seriously, that’s it. Anything that boring that results in such needlessly big crowds has to earn a place on this list.

 

The Great Wall of China – Badaling, China

Wherever on this planet you happen to call home, you’ll probably be familiar with the concept of walls. If walls interest you, then perhaps the Great Wall of China is an advisable vacation destination. If, like me, you don’t regard walls as all that impressive and certainly not visit worthy, I’d give this particular excursion a miss.

The section of the Great Wall at Badaling is especially well known for being a tourist nightmare – merchants harass you non-stop to buy their overpriced tat. It’s probably more interesting to look at from space than up close and personal.

Find here the best place to see the Great Wall.

 

Las Vegas – Nevada, USA

Las Vegas seems to be a popular destination amongst tourists, for absolutely no logical reason at all. Want to lose your savings gambling? Want a place to have a cheesy, shotgun wedding? Want to visit a place that is wall-to-wall soulless casinos and tasteless hotels? A city that is no more than a tacky theme park with neon lights? Las Vegas is the ticket.

 

The Grand Canyon – Arizona, USA

While you’re in Nevada not visiting Las Vegas you can also take a 6 hour drive east and not visit the Grand Canyon, too (this guide is helpful if nothing else). I presume that the recent opening of the ‘Skywalk’ attraction (pictured here) can only be to tempt the paying customers into ending the sheer boredom forced upon them whilst visiting the Grand Canyon.

Better have some more time and do the Rim to Rim hike.

 

Little Mermaid – Copenhagen, Denmark

Mention to anyone that you’re planning on visiting Copenhagen, and you’ll probably be advised to check out The Little Mermaid statue located on the coast of the city. My advice would be, don’t. What’s so special about it? Perhaps the mermaid is in some way related to the Mannekin Pis?

 

The Hollywood Walk of Fame – Los Angeles, USA

Don’t expect any glamour on this famous street in the heart of the City of Angels. It’s an otherwise ordinary street with huge crowds taking pictures of the sidewalk. Around them are celebrity impersonators and tacky souvenir shops – no, you won’t spot any real celebrities, just other clueless tourists as confused as you are as to what they’re doing there.

 

London, UK

Okay, so maybe it’s just me having lived in London for a time and also having frequented it many times in my life, but seemingly everywhere I go, there are tourists EVERYWHERE. What’s the deal?

Seriously tourists, London’s not all that special; it’s crowded (no thanks to you), it’s stuffy in the summer, freezing in the winter, its transport system is notoriously slow and unreliable, people are not friendly, traffic is a nightmare, things are expensive and the traditional tourist sites are frankly boring. Buckingham Palace? Really? I wouldn’t bother if I were you, but I hear that Paris is beautiful this time of year…

But maybe these travel tips are worth visiting London.

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Things to do at home during self isolation

Self-Isolation: Here’s How You Can Keep Yourself Busy at Home

Social distancing and self-isolation are now becoming very real for everyone across the globe. If you are not already self-isolating, or considering it, there is a high chance you will be in the coming months. As we’re adjusting to a more homebound lifestyle – at least for the time being – we need to start looking at the positives that it can bring.

As travel lovers, the thought of staying put for the next few weeks/months sounds rather intimidating. However, self-isolating is the most responsible thing to do at this stage. So, as we’re all getting a whole lot familiar with our houses, we’ve decided to come up with a few ideas to keep busy (read: stay sane) at home.

 

Curb your boredom with these top tips to keep yourself busy while self-isolating.

Virtually tour museums around the world

Just because all travel plans and museum visits are on hold right now, doesn’t mean that you can’t still get your museum fix. A number of museums around the world have free virtual tours available online.

Google Arts & Culture teamed up with over 2500 museums and galleries around the world to bring you virtual tours and online exhibits from some of the most famous museums around the world.

In addition to Google’s massive collection, the Louvre offers virtual tours of their Egyptian antiquities collection, the remains of the Louvre’s Moat as well as Galerie d’Apollon. Madrid’s Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza has its Rembrandt and Portraiture in Amsterdam, 1590-1670 exhibit on virtual view. The Vatican Museums offer 360-degree tours of the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Rooms and more, and the Smithsonian also has a self-guided tour of the National Museum of Natural History in New York.

 

Listen to the opera and other symphonies

Rather than cancelling their performances entirely, symphonies around the world are rather live streaming their performances. The Philharmonie Berlin is closed until 19 April, but has opened its digital library of performances, filled with more than 600 shows. Use the voucher code BERLINPHIL before 31 March to get free access to all concerts and films. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra are also live streaming their performances on YouTube.

The Metropolitan Opera is offering free opera streams each evening. Each performance will become available at 7:30 p.m. EDT and will be viewable for 20 hours. OperaVision also offers free recorded performances from all over the world.

Follow the hashtag #TogetherAtHome on Twitter to keep up with pop artists also streaming their performances. So far, we’ve seen Coldplay’s Chris Martin and John Legend.

 

Explore national parks

Get a dose of nature – even if it’s a virtual dose. Virtual visitors can travel through the trails of Yellowstone National Park, as well as the Yosemite National Park.

 

Travel the world via travel TV shows

We’re all going to be doing a whole of Netflix binging over the next few weeks. Keep your travel spirit alive by catching up on all of the latest travel related shows on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. Speaking of which, Netflix gift cards are great gifts for anyone having a birthday soon!

Netflix travel show recommendations

  • Born to Explore with Richard Wiese
  • Tales by Light
  • Epic Drives
  • Planet Earth
  • Ugly Delicious
  • Somebody Feed Phil
  • Parts Unknown
  • Girl Eats World
  • An Idiot Abroad
  • Chef’s Table
  • Travels with my Father

Hulu travel show recommendations

  • The Amazing Race (also on Amazon)
  • Basic Versus Baller: Travel at Any Cost
  • Gaycation
  • Huang’s World
  • Man vs. Wild (also on Amazon)
  • Travel Man: 48 Hours in…
  • Rick Steves’ Europe (also on Amazon)
  • Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
  • Abandoned

Amazon Prime recommendations

  • James May: Our Man in Japan
  • The Grand Tour
  • Locked up Abroad
  • Hotel Impossible
  • Great British Railway Journeys
  • Gordon’s Great Escape

There are, of course, many more options available. And if you want to explore even more options, use a VPN (like ExpressVPN) to access catalogs from different countries. It opens your viewing world to so many more options!

 

Do an online course

You might as well use your extra free time to finally complete all of those online courses that you’ve been talking about! Check out resources like Skillshare, Udemy, Docebo, WizIQ, Adobe Captivate Prime, Coursera, and LinkedIn Learning.

Sign up to The Travelling House Sitters course on How to Become a Housesitter to get you prepared for when you can start traveling again.

Also remember that Ted Talks are free! Check out this Ted Talk with Alanna Shaikh on why COVID-19 is hitting us now and how we can prepare for the next outbreak.

 

Learn a new language

Why not start learning a new language while you’re at home? Try out language learning apps like Duolingo or Babbel.

 

Make a photo album of your past travel adventures

Now is the time to finally make that photo album of your favorite travel adventures. There are loads of online platforms where you can design your travel photo album online and get it posted through to you. We love the service offered by Blurb! They have a range of beautiful templates available which makes it super easy to design and make your own bookstore quality travel photo books. Travel photo albums start at $14.99 and they ship to over 70 countries.

 

Online gaming

Gamers, this is your time to shine! Whether you’re playing solo or joining a server to play against/with other players – there are loads of options available. Sign up with Steam to play some of the top games online or update your gaming collection with new devices and games.

And if you aren’t much of a player, but keen to watch live streams then check out Twitch.

 

Read books (or listen to them)

Update your Kindle and make your way through the latest top sellers. Check out this list with the top sellers in travel writing to keep your wanderlust happy for the time being.

Or sign up to Audible to get a collection of audio books.

 

Catch up with your favorite podcasts

Whether you’re a massive crime podcast fan or prefer something a little bit lighter, there is definitely a Podcast suitable to your mood. The best places to listen to podcasts are iTunes, SpotifyStitcher, Google Play Music, Overcast and Pocket Cast.

There are also some great podcasts relating to travel – whether its sharing travel stories, helpful tips or how to create a nomadic life. A few good ones to look out for include The Thought Card, The Offebeat Life, JUMP, Andy Steves Travel Podcast, Chronicles Abroad, On She Goes and Women on the Road.

 

Get crafty

Pull out that craft box from the back of your cupboard, or stock up with new supplies to let your creative side roll. DIY craft ideas include painting, scrap booking, sewing, knitting, beading, or macramé.

 

Learn an instrument

Dedicate your new-found time to music and learn an instrument that you’ve always wanted to play. Preferably not drumming (for the sake of your neighbors also in self-isolation).

 

Try out new recipes

Get creative with trying out new recipes while you’re hauled up at home. Make sure to include some immune booster recipes to keep you healthy!

 

Keep fit

Just because the gyms are closed doesn’t mean that you get a ‘get-out-of-exercising-free’ card! It’s so important to keep fit and healthy, especially in times like these. Exercise has proven benefits for mental well being and can be a welcome break from other daily stress (which we are ALL dealing with right now!).

Below are a few great free resources for at-home fitness for every level of dedication:

 

Tidy up your house

Maybe today’s the day that you finally Marie Kondo your house? It’s time for a spring clean – clear out your wardrobe, sort through that pile of magazines, empty out your pantry and tidy up your office. Also, perhaps a good time to disinfect everything and deep clean your house?

 

Board games

Dust off the games and settle in for a night of competitive fun – that’s if you’re not all alone in your self-isolation cave. If you are alone, then you can check out this list of board games that you can get on your phone.

 

Make a travel bucket list

You can still fantasize right? While we may seem in the thick of it now with little hope of freely traveling anytime soon, the day will come when we can all safely travel again. So, in the meantime keep dreaming, keep planning and keep adding to that travel bucket list!

 

Keep in touch with friends and family

Self-isolation can get extremely lonely, especially if you are living alone! Remember that you aren’t the only one going through this so make sure to regularly check in with your friends and family. Do group video calls with your friends and family – seeing their faces will do wonders for your mental health! Make use of Facetime, Whatsapp videos, Google Hangouts and Zoom!

 

Hang tight everyone – we’ll get through this!

 

Travel tip shared by Bridget for Travel Dudes

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Common Travel Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Common Travel Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Traveling should be fun. However, there are times that we make mistakes that make our trip disappointing. This is why careful planning and research is a must in order for you to have a hassle-free traveling experience.

Here are some of the common travel mistakes and how you can avoid them

Overpacking

Surely, you love to have the perfect OOTD (outfit of the day) for your trip. However, bringing all the outfits will lead you in dealing with high baggage fees. Paying extra baggage will not only cost you bucks but will give you a hassle in the airport, too. As you plan for your itinerary, plan for your outfits as well. Make sure to only bring the necessary clothes. Pick clothes that are versatile. Clothes that you can pair with any other clothes that you bring.

Having an ambitious itinerary

Of course when we travel, we want to go to all the possible places. But this sometimes compromises time and budget. It is okay to cut your trip or change plans because of weather, time, or budget. Remember, it’s okay not to see the whole country on your first visit.

Not booking a hotel in advance

It is recommended to book accommodation in advance, especially if you travel in a peak season. To save money, subscribe to different hotel’s newsletters so you will be notified with their upcoming sale or promo. Furthermore, you can download a booking app like Airbnb or booking.com to have an easy and quick booking experience.

Not buying a travel insurance

A good travel insurance can cover you from unfortunate events, such as lost baggage, missed or canceled flights, and accidents among others. As you plan for your travel, consider purchasing a good travel insurance package that provides financial assistance while you’re out of town. You can read more about travel insurance here. Comparing different travel policies before buying helps you see a wide variety of options that fits your needs and budget. We recommend WorldNomads for a good travel insurance option – sign up here.

Forgetting the budget

When creating your itinerary, you must set a budget for the whole trip, too. Planning for your budget allows you to have an organized trip. This helps you prioritize activities and places that suit your budget. It also saves you time in picking the right accommodation within your budget. Lastly, having financial planning of your travel keeps you from overspending.

Not informing your credit card company about your travel plans

Banks and credit card companies may freeze your account in case there are fraudulent or unauthorized transactions made in your account. So, it is necessary to inform your card provider in case you will travel abroad. Also, ask if there are any foreign transaction fees. This way, you’ll not be surprised by the fees that you need to deal with.

Not making copies of important documents

Ensure to have a hard copy of the necessary documents, such as ID, passport, visa, itinerary, and booking accommodation among others. These documents are often needed in immigration. To have a backup, save a digital copy of these documents, too. You can save these in email or cloud storage. Make sure that you can easily access it if you needed to.

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3 Things You Have to Do on Vacation in Madrid

3 Things You Have to Do on Vacation in Madrid

Madrid is a thriving city of art, fashion, food, and fun.

There is something to appreciate around every corner. As great as this is, it can easily become overwhelming to decide how to spend your time.

There’s no need to go to every single museum or park in the city, and good luck trying to eat at all the top restaurants in one visit. Trust me, there are plenty.

But, there are a few things you definitely can’t miss while on vacation in Madrid.

I Make it a Point to Hit These Three Stops Every Time I Go:

1. Eat and Drink at el Mercado de San Miguel

El Mercado de San Miguel is the pinnacle of European markets.

Surrounded by all-glass walls, you can enjoy all the sights of the city center in the comfort of a controlled environment. Take off your heavy coat or escape from the summer sun as you stroll through stands of all kinds of eats.

The Mercado is home to classic tapas, fresh fish, tender meats, wine selections and charcuterie boards, and more.

There are coffee and dessert stands to top everything off, too.

Be sure to walk around the whole market as you decide what to eat, and try to snag some seats while you’re at it!

El Mercado is perfect for a quick bite or a full meal, depending on how much time (and cash) you have. Either way, this is definitely one of the most memorable places you can dine in while on vacation in Madrid.

Located in the central district, you can get here easily on foot or with the help of public transportation.

2. Catch the Sunset from el Templo de Debod

Just to the west is the Arguelles district.

This is a relatively quiet neighborhood in the city, bordering the Palace of Madrid and Sabatini Gardens. These are popular attractions for good reason.

But, something even better is a little further up the road – El Templo de Debod.

This monument dates back to the 2nd century BC. It was a gift to the Spanish from the Egyptians in the 20th century, transported and rebuilt brick by brick. The Spanish even kept the temple’s original design, building from east to west.

Today, it is an ancient wonder in the heart of a modern city. The temple looks a bit misplaced to some, but many locals and visitors alike appreciate its presence.

One thing no one can deny, though, is the epic sunsets you can see from here (picture above facing AWAY from sunset).

The temple rests high on a hill overlooking the western horizon. From its garden, you can sit back and watch the sun slowly creep away, painting colors I can’t even describe.

 

3. Take a Stroll through el Parque del Retiro

There’s no question el Templo de Debod is a gem of Madrid’s western area, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t head east.

There, you will find el Parque del Retiro.

This massive natural escape offers something for everyone who needs a break from the city. It has many classical and modern gardens, running trails, lush green fields, and even a lake.

Some locals frequent el Parque as a workout or date spot. Others go to sell their art or perform a street show, like this classic Flamenco dancer and her musician.

Whatever your reason for exploring this outdoor oasis, you won’t be disappointed.

Make the Most of Your Vacation in Madrid

At the end of the day, it’s really hard to have a bad time in Madrid.

In fact, the city made the cut on National Geographic’s best trips of 2017!

If you’re thinking of adding it to your travel itinerary, don’t wait any longer. Book your flights, see the sights – then share your experiences below.

Buen viaje!

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