Singapore’s Top 5 Latest Attractions and Shopping Centers

Singapore may be compact but it’s one of the world’s fastest-growing cities, packed with tempting attractions and luxurious shopping venues. This unique Asian city-state has so much new to offer in 2012. The top 5 novelties are: the world’s most expensive hotel – Marina Bay Sands (2010-2011), Universal Studios Singapore (2011), Gardens by the Bay Park (2012), Louis Vuitton Island Maison (2011), and JCube Shopping Center (2012).

1. Marina Bay Sands

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel is the newest symbol of Singapore. It took 4 years to build and cost two times more than the previous most expensive hotel in the world – The Emirates Palace Hotel. Marina Bay Sands is a piece of art. The hotel’s rooftop has a stunning infinity pool – it is 55 stories up. The 150-meter pool is the world’s largest outdoor pool at a height of 650 ft – it makes you feel “on the edge of the world”. This magnificent hotel has over 2,500 luxurious rooms, indoor canal, outdoor plaza, casino, convention center, theater, crystal pavilion, and a lotus flower shaped museum. Atop of the hotel, there is an impressive boat-shaped “SkyPark” – a huge observation deck connecting the hotel’s three towers.

2. Universal Studios Singapore

Universal Studios Singapore is Sentosa Island’s #1 attraction. This is the place to enjoy fantastic rides (the Transformers, Galactica, the Mummy, and Shrek 4D), as well as stage shows, live shows, restaurants, fireworks, and much more. It’s so fun that many visitors can spend a whole day there. Note: if you don’t like long lines, get the express ticket!

3. Gardens by the Bay

The new Marina Bay garden is among the top 15 attractions in Singapore. The variety of plants and flowers is mesmerizing. The two futuristic domes – cloud dome and flower dome – are great to explore and cool down from the hot sun. The lighted concrete and steel “super trees” with plants growing from them are magical.

4. JCube Shopping Center and Ice-Rink

JCube is a fantastic new shopping center in western Singapore. This futuristic building resembles a sparkling ice cube. JCube is the newest multi-faceted and trendy hub. This chic new mall has everything you could ever need under one roof: fashion, dining, entertainment, sports (including an Olympic-size ice-rink), and more. If you are looking for an unrivalled shopping experience, do explore this new mall.

5. Louis Vuitton Island Maison

Demanding travelers will appreciate the Louis Vuitton Island at the Marina Bay Sands – a new luxury shopping destination. This is the first LV Island Maison in the world. The indescribably gorgeous glass and steel crystal pavilion sits on the waterfront. Access it via a stunning outdoor bridge, by boat, or via a tunnel and enjoy a unique and sophisticated shopping experience, mixed with art and cultural elements.

Five Reasons to do a California Road Trip

Many claim that a California road trip on the Pacific Coat Highway is an unforgettable experience for the lucky ones who will decide to do it. Whether you do it with your car, with an RV or even with a motorcycle, all you need is great company and plenty of time in order to relax and enjoy this amazing and breathtaking route. The classic California road trip, driving driving highway one aka the Pacific Coast Highway. It is probably the most amazing coastline route of the United States.

Here are five reasons why a California road trip should be on your top travel priorities:

1) The Scenary

The almost 700 mile long route that stretches from the Mexican border in the south, up to Legett in Northern California, offers incredible ocean view, landscape alteration and plenty of possible activities for the Californian excursionists who will choose to devote their time for this road trip. The variety of landscape and scenery you will encounter is unique. Rocky landscape, blue colors of the ocean, green hills along the way, amazing view and relaxing of the senses is the trademark of the Pacific Coast Highway.

2) The Pacific Ocean

While you are driving on the Pacific Coast Highway, you will have a continuous contact with the Pacific Ocean throughout the major part of your trip. Crystal blue beaches for long walks, rocky spots ideal for fishing are optimal for a short or a longer break. You can stop for camping on Jalama Beach, enjoy swimming, surfing or any other water activity you like along the breathtaking coastline of the Pacific.

3) Top Cities

If you think that you need a break from the ocean and you wish to enjoy some of the Californian cities and town’s vibe, as you travel from the North to the South you will have the opportunity to visit small villages and towns representative of the Californian way of living. Not to mention the big cities of California, like San Francisco Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara where you can do some sightseeing and visit the local monuments. The famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is also a part of highway number one.

4) Hotels and Restaurants

During your California road trip, you will have no worries about where to spend the night, where to rest for a while or where to find something delicious to eat. All kinds of accommodations are available from luxury hotels to cheap hostels and campsites. The food in most places is excellent and the prices, especially in places out of the highway route relatively cheap.

5) Safety

The last reason but certainly not the least is about safety. The California highway patrol is doing an excellent job and a sense of security is being established in highway one over the recent years. However, some parts of the highway can get tricky and dangerous for the drivers. So, don’t rush it! Take your time and enjoy your road trip whether you decide to cover the whole route or just a part of it.

After taking under consideration the above mentioned reasons and after the experiences of people who have actually done the California road trip, I believe that it’s worth spending some days visiting California’s unique beauties. It is without a doubt one of the best coastal routes in the world.

Italy – A Land of Many Surprises

Italy is a land of  surprises. It is a country where visitors often see only a fraction as they rush through Rome, Venice and Florence. Some probe deeper into Tuscany and Umbria and others stop for a while on a beach or at a ski resort. There are still many facets of this country completely unknown to the majority of foreign visitors. .

Much of Italy  is a land far away from the hustle and bustle of crowded cities, a country that offers the dramatic shapes of the Dolomites’ limestone towers and spires, the rolling beauty of the Etruscan hills and scenes evoking the Florentine painters. The options  do not stop there. Go south and discover the real Mediterranean wilderness, sometimes reminiscent of Anatolia, even central Asia. Hike along little known tracks near Etna and don’t miss the Gran Sasso to the north. Sardinia, to some people, summons up a sophisticated image of the Aga Khan’s beach resorts, but you can discover the desolate and magnificent hills of limestone just a few miles away from the sound of motor boats and intrusive music. And Sicily  is not just Mafia and Murder. It is also a detached fragment of the Apennines and has volcanic mountains, picturesque bays and headlands, numerous small islands and the famous flora of the Madonie mountains.

Italy needs more National Parks, but people are becoming increasingly aware that if bears and wolves, chamois and deer, vultures and eagles are going to survive, land must be made available for these creatures to live unmolested alongside the amazing diversity of plants, trees and flowers that cover Italy’s hills and valleys.

But looking at nature should not mean excluding the history of man. Walking through the countryside is a splendid way of discovering masterpieces quite different from the well-known urban wonders that tourists, as well as Italians, normally see. Etruscan cemeteries carved into volcanic rock. Byzantine churches hidden in the depths of wild limestone canyons, old trade routes crossing the Alps, hermitages and abbeys perched on top of the wildest ridges of the Apennines. Bronze age fortifications in Sardinia and traces of ancient populations everywhere – Salassi, Piceni, Sanniti, which most guidebooks hardly ever mention.

What walking, hiking and mountaineering are all about is participat­ing in the preservation of the outstanding beauty of Italy’s nature and wildlife. This doesn’t mean turning your holiday into a Save the Wolves campaign, nor are you even required to join one of the environmentalist groups, unless you actively wish to do so. But by avoiding the crowded beaches, the bustling traffic in the towns and even by dodging those huge steel edifices which seem so necessary to modern ski resorts, you are promoting and influencing the local administrations towards the right kind of tourism. Walking and exploring many of the protected areas is in itself an act of protection. All you have to bring with you is a pair of feet, curiosity, your eyes to have a good look around and you’ll end up finding more than you can imagine. Everything else will come by itself. To everyone, welcome to Italy!

Dos and Don’ts for Western Visitors in Thailand

If you are planning on a vacation to Thailand then remember that it should be fun.  However, please do not forget to respect the local customs in this country.  Westerners often fall foul of local customers and traditions and can inadvertently make mistakes that can be construed as being disrespectful.  Here are a few hints and tips to help you make sure you can enjoy your Thai vacation and make a good impression with the locals.

The Thai Monarchy

The Thai people retain a very deep reverence for their monarchy.  Therefore it is important to show respect for the King, the Queen and the Royal Children at all times.  You will notice that in many Thai cities including the shops and restaurants there will be large pictures of the King.  Never poke fun at this situation, as there have been instances where foreign tourists have been arrested for disrespecting the monarchy.

The Thai Religion

When entering religious sites and shrines in Thailand, a tourist must be correctly dressed at all times, and should appear to be neat and clean.  Failure to do so could result in you being denied entry. In some places, such as the Royal Palace, you can actually hire more suitable clothing if you have come unprepared – however, this will more likely than not be a hot and heavy style sarong.

Therefore, it is best to get it right from the beginning and make sure that you dress in appropriate and comfortable clothing from the outset. Shoulders, waist and knees should be covered, and you should wear neat and clean shoes. In the grounds of a Buddhist temple shoes are acceptable, however please make sure that you remove them before entering the chapel.  This is particularly important when entering a shrine in Thailand where there is a real Buddha statue.

The reason for this is because every Buddha image, whether large or small, ruined or not is sacred to the Thai people. You should therefore never climb up to snap a photo, nor do something that could be considered disrespectful anywhere near the Buddha statue.

When it comes to the Buddhist monks please also note that it is prohibited for them to touch a woman, be touched by a woman, or to receive something from the hand of a woman. If you want to pass something to a monk as a tourist, you must surrender it first to a man to pass over, however archaic and strange that this might sound.

Societal Norms in Thailand

Most Thai people are happy to accept a handshake, although it is done somewhat differently in Thailand.  Their traditional form of greeting is the called the Wai which is prayer-like gesture with the palms are placed together. Generally speaking a younger person must always greet an elder person in this manner and then return the greeting using a similar gesture.

An absolute must is to avoid the head area of Thai people.  Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body (both literally and figuratively), and so any contact with the head should be avoided at all times.  Never pat a Thai person on the head as this is the highest form of insult.


Common Myths About Flying

Everyone probably already knows that air travel is the safest way to get around. For those afraid of flying though, statistics are generally of no help. Hopefully after reading this article, you’ll have a better understanding of some common dangerous flying myths and how to overcome them.


First, let’s start off with some air travel safety statistics. A study conducted in 1975 through 1994 shed some light on how safe air travel actually is. The odds of being in a fatal plane crash are about 1 in seven million. That means that if seven million people were picked randomly around the globe, only one of them would die in a fatal plane crash. Secondly, it’s also probably worth noting that if you were to fly on at least one flight every day of your life, it would take approximately nineteen thousand years for you to die in a plane crash. That’s more lifetimes than most people can count.

Lukla, Nepal 4/90
Lukla Nepal, not all runways are flat …

Still not convinced? How about we compare driving statistics to flying stats. Every year over 45,000 people die in car crashes. That’s about 150 people killed every single day because of wreckless driving. To give you an idea of how many plane crashes that is, a Boeing 727 full of people would have to crash every single day of the year and kill its entire passenger load to match the number of driving deaths there are each year.

According to the study conducted, you are approximately 20 times safer in an aircraft than you are in an automobile.


When people fly, one of the most common fears they have is rough air. When turbulence strikes, many often feel as though the plane is falling out of the sky. In all of recorded history of air travel, not once has a plane every crashed because of turbulence or rough air. While it may be uncomfortable, rough air isn’t enough to make a plane fall out of the sky.


Another common fear that people have is that while cars may be more unsafe than planes, in a vehicle people are more in control of their fate. In an aircraft, it’s generally two or three strangers at the helm who are controlling the fate of everyone on board. While it may not mean much to say it, in many cases the pilots in the cockpit are only there as a safety measure. Modern aircraft are capable of flying themselves from takeoff to landing. The computers within aircraft are so sophisticated that they are able to make perfect takeoffs and landings without any help from a pilot. That means if the pilots pass out or are unable to control the plane, the aircraft will automatically take the safety precautions necessary to land itself safely on the ground.

To recap, you are almost 20 times safer in an aircraft than in a car. And who doesn’t drive? About 3 deaths occur for every 10 billion miles travelled in the air. That’s a long way.

Azores Archipelago in Portugal

The Azores archipelago consists of nine islands in the mid Atlantic, located just less than two hours flying time from Lisbon, on mainland Portugal. With a total area of 2335 square kilometres literally every one of these islands have the most fantastic fishing potential imaginable even though being the most underdeveloped potential in the modern fishing world.

azores 9 islands in the Atlantic
Photo (c) Chris Veers via

The volcanic structure of the archipelago has created the high inland lakes, the extinct craters and those ominous looking volcanic cones that are now so verdantly green. The climate creates this luxurious undergrowth of vegetation and riot of wild flowers, tempered by the islands’ position on the latitude, and the regulating influence of the Gulfstream. The mean air temperature for the year is 17C, with a maximum of 21C, and a minimum of 14C.

The atmosphere, free from pollution, allows the amateur and professional photographer to snap away merrily. Tones are enhanced by the ever changing clouds, and the rays of the sun change Pico especially, from a bland silhouette to a plaster moulding of prehistoric times. Many of the high pressure weather systems start here, known as the Azores anticyclone belt. The wind, considering it has the entire north Atlantic to race over unhindered, is only some 12.2km per hour.

Ideal for the sailing enthusiast, (the islands are used as provisioning points by trans-Atlantic sailors) and ideal, of course, for fishing. The weather changes very quickly. It can rain and blow in the morning, then be still with a clear blue sky in the evenings. The combination of these natural conditions allows a prolific growth of vegetation, which, as well as interesting native species that are elsewhere extinct, includes various exotic plants and trees from all over the world. Game is still abundant. Buzzards, that gave the islands their name, still visit the islands. Livestock breeding is now one of the mainstays of the islanders, which together with the agriculture, wines and other industries makes tourism a joy.

Unspoiled by pollution, and undamaged by the commercialism of the rest of Europe, these islands really are one of the few places left in the world where you can get away from it all. According to the recent census there is a resident population of 287,000. Many years ago the Nova Scotia whaling boats would stop in the Azores to take on men, as the locals were among the finest and most fearless whalers of the day, with a reputation for reliability that preceded them worldwide. Looking at the islands separately they all have something unique to commend them.

Featured At TravelLinkSites

Hi, excited to be featured in a new blog which is interviewing bloggers from around the world. I got asked about Australia – a country I’ve lived in several times (though not currently). As I’ve toured all 8 states and territories, I think I’m reasonably qualified to answer the questions.

Broome, Western Australia
The amazing colour of the land and sea at Broome, Western Australia

Anyways if you are interested in reading about some of travelling Australia experiences – hop over to the article at TravelLinkSites

Could Your Hotel Have Bed Bugs? Check it Out Before You Check In

Whether you are traveling for business or leisure, it pays to be prepared for all possibilities, especially when it comes to choosing your hotel room.

Taking the rising number of incidents of bed bug infestation among hotels and apartments into consideration, all travelers are advised to be cautious when it comes to guarding against these nasty creatures. As a rule, never ever lay down all of your luggage and belongings in sleeping quarters that you have not yet inspected. This even includes the fanciest 5 star hotels, people!!

Before heading over to check out the indoor pools, restaurants, or travel destinations near your hotel, it is best to first get yourself settled into a comfortable and bedbug free room.

What are Bed Bugs?

These tiny insects are often reddish or brownish in color, depending on their age. As they are hardly noticeable, they can easily crawl into beds, bags, and closets without being seen, which explains why infestations are hard to control. These pictures of bed bugs will give you a good idea of what you should be looking out for.

What to Look For?

Although there is no sure-fire way to ensure that your hotel is 100% free from bed bugs, there are still ways to enjoy an itch-free vacation.  Fortunately, it does not take a genius to inspect a room for these puny bugs; the key is to know where to look.

1. Luggage Stand

Rather than immediately placing your bags in the closet, it is best to wrap them in plastic and place them on top of a table, or even on the bathtub. This is to prevent contaminating your belongings with these cunning insects. After securing your luggage, focus your attention on the closets and check for any signs of bugs.

2. Bed Sheets

Scan every inch of your bed, beginning with the sheets. Pull back each individual sheet and check for any blood or fecal stains. Do the same for the quilts, blankets, comforters, and mattress covers. Although the chances of actually seeing bed bugs are rare, it is still safer to check and be assured.

3. Mattress

After taking off all the sheets and covers, it’s time to inspect the mattress itself. When checking for stains, make sure to go in between the seams and creases where these nasty critters often hide and lay eggs. As mattresses are not changed as often as the bedding, you are more likely to find visible indications of unwanted guests here.

4. Bed Frame

Apart from the sheets and mattresses, also make sure to inspect the bed frame using a flashlight and mirror. Look in between crevices and holes, as bed bugs may also hide in these unlikely places.

5. Wall Hangings

Hotels often place an attractive painting or artwork above the bed to add aesthetic appeal to the room. If it is too difficult to unhook, simply use your flashlight and mirror to scan the edges and keep an eye out for trails.

6. Nightstands

As they are placed close the bed, they are also potential breeding grounds for bed bugs. To make sure that you don’t wake up with nasty bites, pull out all the drawers and scrutinize them inside and out.

Once you are confident and sure that your hotel room is bedbug-free, you can now relax and enjoy your long weekend ahead.

As a writer for, Carla recommends educating yourself before traveling. If you have already brought the pests home from a trip, then look into how to kill bed bugs with heat before turning to the harsher chemical options.

Five of the Best Long Distance Trails in the World

Hiking is not for everyone. In fact, not all athletes can survive the tough trails these adventurers have to go through on a daily basis. The combination of breathtaking sights and the uncertainty of traversing through unknown territories bring a sense of excitement and fulfillment that perhaps only hikers will ever learn to love.

If you are one of those who long for great adventure in the outdoors, then we dare you to take on the top 5 most perilous treks that will surely test your wits, patience, and endurance.

Photo courtesy of bixton via

1. Tongariro Northern Circuit

North Island, New Zealand

The island of New Zealand is home to some of the world’s most majestic views and is high on the list of the most beautiful and equally dangerous hikes across the globe.

The Tongariro North Circuit is a world heritage site that lies on its northernmost tip. Crossing this great tail involves roughly 2 -3 nights and takes hikers across 35 kilometers of magnificent terrain. Filled with a perfect mix of ashen surroundings, the Tongariro Circuit is like going to another planet.  Set on the grounds of Mt. Ngaurube, doubling for Mt Doom in the famed LOTR movie franchise, a trek around this area will take you through glacial basins, volcanic beds, and smoldering jot craters.

2. Zion Narrows

Utah, United States

Recognized by the National Geographic of America as the 5th best destination for adventures in the country, a trip through Zion Narrows will take you through canyons and streams that abounds with a picturesque sandstone wall that towers over 3,500 feet.

Despite it’s curtain of majestic views, Zion Narrows is not for the faint of heart, as it can instantly turn from calm to treacherous in a matter of minutes. Flash floods are not new to this part of the state and have claimed the lives of some of the most adventurous hikers.

3. Annapurna Circuit


Known for its lush landscape, the Annapurna Circuit’s snow capped peaks creates a perfect mantle of land for trekkers who are in search of new and refreshing exploits.

With an elevation of more than 17,740 feet, trailing through this mountain patch takes roughly 3 weeks, wherein you will pass through Buddhist temples, teahouses, and hot springs that have enamored hikers and tourists alike.

4. Inca Trail


All hikers dream of passing through the world famous Inca trail that offers some of the most captivating sceneries in South America.

Navigating through its elevated alpine terrain, trekkers can take in the sight of Incan ruins and the Peruvian mountains, but this 4 day hike can be full of surprises, which is why hikers only traverse through these lands fully prepared for the journey ahead.

5. Tiger Leaping Gorge


Situated along the historical Yangtze River and Jade Dragon mountains lays the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Dubbed one of the world’s deepest river canyons, circumnavigating this curvaceous 14 mile ravine is both challenging and rewarding.

Together, these 5 ultimate hiking destinations make up some of the best that Mother Nature has to offer, and while trekking through these paths present risks and danger, the unique experience and enjoyment they offer makes all the effort worth it.


How To Travel to Fire Island, New York

Fire Island, New York is one of the outer barrier islands found south of Long Island. It stretches 50 kilometers long and is a popular day trip destination for tourists who happen to be nearby. To reach the island, you have a number of transport options including  plane, bus, taxi, and boats.

Fire Island, NY, photo: JNR821 via

Fire Island is only 60 miles away from Manhattan. You can also fly to the Islip MacArthur Airport is situated in Long Island. From there, you can simply get a rental car, take a taxi, or board a train to reach Fire Island, New York.

Two bridges connect Fire Island as well, allowing you to get there by car or a taxi. On the eastern part of the island is the William Floyd Parkway. Over at the opposite end is the Robert Moses Causeway. Unfortunately, the bridges lead to dead ends – parkways. The island has no public roads to help you get around with the same modes of transportation.

Traveling to the island by bus is also a possibility. Unlike cars or taxis however, they never cross bridges to take you all the way to the parkways. Instead, they will only take you as far as the ferry terminals which isn’t such a bad thing if you are planning to travel by ferry boat. Ferries are the most popular means to reach Fire Island, New York.

The ferries headed for Fire Island are passenger-only which means they don’t transport vehicles of any kind. They are located on Long Island and operate all year round. Ferry rides are especially active on July and August but less frequent during spring and fall. Currently, there are three locations with ferries that will help you get to the island – Bay Shore, Patchogue, and Sayville.

The ferry terminal in Sayville is available all year round and could take you to the Sunken Forest, Cherry Grove, and Fire Island Pines. Bayshore’s ferries are also available throughout the year and will take you to even more Fire Island attractions. Patchogue has two terminals but are seasonally open. You can only catch terminals ferries leaving for Fire Island, New York between March and November. They leave for only two destinations too, the Fire Island National Seashore and Davis Park.

Break Out of the Mold and Explore Puerto Rico!

Do you enjoy going on beach vacations but tired of the same mundane destinations where the main attraction is the solely the beach and water?  If you’re looking for a destination that has beautiful beaches but also a world of much more opportunity to explore, than Puerto Rico should be at the top of your list.

Photo: Gran Canaria Co via

Puerto Rico is a beautiful island in the Caribbean and a popular spot among tourists.  Many attractions and activities are at your fingertips.  Unlike other tourist destinations, the attractions in Puerto Rico for the most part are all worthwhile and are all unique.

One of the more popular areas to visit is a city called San Juan, which happens to be the island’s capital.  A few of the top attractions in San Juan and the surrounding area include Old San Juan, the Bacardi Rum Distillery, El Yunque Rainforest and the Castillo de San Felipe de Morro.  Each attraction has its’ own island flavor and none involve a beach.

For those more on the adventurous side, the rainforest of El Yunque will satisfy this hunger.  Set off on one of the many challenging trails that await your best efforts.  As with any rainforest, many beautiful waterfalls cover the lush forest and vegetation.  Be sure to give yourself a full day to experience El Yunque and don’t leave without making it to the top.  It is at this point where the most breathtaking views of the rainforest and coast take your breath away.

Puerto Rico is also home to some of the world’s most desirable beaches.  One of the most popular ones among tourists and couples on their honeymoon is Liquillo Beach.  Beautiful white sand and turquoise colored water are perfect ingredients to a relaxing day in the Caribbean.  Sip on a tropical drink, grab a good book and become a beach bum for the day!

Another benefit to Puerto Rico is the abundance of popular brand name hotel chains such as Marriott, Hilton and the Westin.  For those that have saved up hotel points, now would be a very worthwhile time to redeem them.  If nothing else, it is very reassuring to know these companies have invested in the country which represents safety and security.  This is something that not all Caribbean Islands have.

For those on their honeymoon, check out Discover Your Honeymoon to learn more about the opportunities that await you in Puerto Rico.  Hands down, this Caribbean island has the most to offer.  Discovering all of them is half the battle!

A Few Tips On Accessing Money Whilst Traveling Europe

This is a guest post from Tom of the website ActiveBackpacker.

Old Town, Nurembery, Germany

Whenever you head off overseas, it’s always important that you have a solid plan in place as to how you are going to be withdrawing cash from the ATM’s over there, and how you are going to access your money in general.

If you don’t, you will find that the fees and costs will add up faster than you can blink.

I’ve travelled and backpacked Europe extensively, so I can definitely help out and provide a few decent tips when it comes to withdrawing money without burning a hole in your budget.

The real problems with most bank cards or credit cards when you are withdrawing funds from an overseas country are that they will charge you all sorts of fees. These fees will generally include: Foreign currency conversion fees, cash advance fees AS WELL AS international transaction fees.

All of these fees will really add up, so the best trick is to simply find a product that will provide you at least 2 of those 3 fees for free.

I personally have a travel credit card which charges me none of those fees (the best solution- but I need to ensure I am always paying off my card), but not everyone has access to something like that.
So don’t just use your local bank card, I’m telling you right now there is a great chance the fees incurred by yourself will be simply ridiculous. Shop around, and find a card that is going to provide you with some major advantages for withdrawing funds in another country.

Don’t bother with traveler’s checks. They are antiquated and a waste of time – everywhere in Europe will have ATM’s with the Visa or MasterCard symbols (or look for the one that has MAESTRO or CIRRUS on it).

I also carry around two points of access to my money back home, so I’ll bring along a bank card as a back up to my travel credit card for example. I suggest you don’t store these in the same place as each other (for obvious reasons – in case you lose one!).

If you can ultimately get a card that is low on foreign conversion and cash advance fees, you are going to be way ahead of the pack. It also means you can withdraw LESS from the ATM (because you are not being charged ridiculous amounts for each withdrawal) thus reducing the risk of carrying and losing lots of cash whilst traveling.

Anyway it’s all a little bit common sense, but I hope this article has provided some valuable tips when it comes to how to go about accessing your money whilst traveling Europe.


National Parks in Northeast Thailand

With environmental concerns everywhere, countries are looking forward for an ecological balance and Thailand is one country which is at the forefront to maintain an ecological diversity. While the country maintains its rich Isaan heritage and culture, natural eco system is also maintained at its best which can be seen within the national parks of Thailand. The north east region of Thailand is a place filled with rich flora and fauna with Ubon Ratchathani being the major province, containing around 25 national parks which speak volumes of the eco-centric character of the country.

Khao Sok National Park

Out of these 25 national parks, Pha Taem and Kaeng national parks are the popular national parks in Thailand north east region. Both these national parks are established side by side enabling visitors to enjoy a double excitement on a single trip. Pha Taem is an amazing green landscape spread over an area of 140 sq kms, towards northeast of Ubon Rathchathani and displays a great sense of beauty and elegance. This park offers awesome rock cave paintings which depict 3000yrs of Isaan history and culture. These rock paintings were a discovery by Silpakorn University in 1981 when they were exploring this area along with their professors. Pha Taem cliff, found at the centre of Pha Taem national park, is a great rock cliff which offers an awesome bird view of Laos. You can also watch the first sun rays touching the country from this cliff.

Kaeng Tana national park is established adjacent to Pha Taem Park in 1981, towards north east of Ubon Rathchathani province and is a simple extension of elegance and charm carried forward. Both these national parks in Thailand offer an enchanting and memorable experience to their visitors. Throughout the 80kms area of the park, you find green habitation, smaller hills and enthralling water caves. Another important excitement is the Mun River which flows through this park to crosscut Mekong River on the Loas border. Deciduos forests within this region host green flora like Shorea Simensis, Shorea Obtusa along with precious wild life like wild pig, macaque, gibbon and other rare mammals. In addition, enchanting flowers seen in October and November are a delight to watch, making these national parks in Thailand the most popular ones.

Camping in Thailand is another major attraction for ecotourism freaks. People who love nature can enjoy a great stay in both of these national parks. Couples of all ages can spend their most romantic moments in Tohsang Khongjiam resort here. With an amazing bundle of thrill and excitement offered by these national parks in Thailand, your next tour should definitely include this awesome region.

Azores Islands

Clearly of volcanic origin, the Azores Islands formation is still the subject of hot debate among geologists. Were the islands once part of the African continent, or did they arise from submarine fissures through which the earth’s molten core spewed out boiling magma? The latter theory is dominant, though some botanists and others dispute it, as we shall see below. Anyway, it all happened some 30-40 million years ago.

The islands’ volcanic nature is still very evident today. Periodic eruptions occur from the remaining active volcanoes, most recently in Angra, but usually with advance warning and few casualties. The cones and craters of volcanoes provide a characteristic feature of Azores landscape, with lava rivers spilling their petrified streams down to the sea, and subterranean heat most dramatically felt in the Fire Mountains of Pico and now being utilized as geothermal power. But if this conjures up a picture of aridity and bleakness, nothing could be further from the truth.

Azores Photo: impletora via

The total area of the archipelago is 2,923 square miles, the largest island being Sao Miguel and the smallest Corvo. Generally speaking, which is tricky when you’re dealing with nine such different islands, the five westernmost islands are mountainous and green, while Flores and Corvo in the east have lesser peaks and share more in common with North Africa. The highest mountain in the Azores, indeed in all of Portugal, is Mount Pico in Pico Island, the summit often snow-covered in winter. The islands all tend to have steep coastal cliffs in the north, the south coast’s generally being more level, most of the best beaches are in the southern parts. The volcanic origins are everywhere to be seen. In the profusion of cones, in the calderas or craters, great saucers with mountainous walls, such as Terceira’s Las Caliadas and Santa Maria’s Caldera de Bandama, in the malpaises, literally ‘badlands’, where grey or reddish lava streams have solidified such as the 125 sq metre volcanic desert around Flore’s Montanas del Fuego.

RV Fulltimers: the Road Life Experience

Are you one of those rowdy occasional road trippers that find satisfaction in driving around strange places just to unwind and chill out? Then you may find RV fulltiming a lifelong passion if you have accessed to well-spruced up recreational vehicles. The idea that you can live on the road with comfort is now made possible with the inventions of recreational vehicles which are not only used to get you here and fro. The highlight of these redefinedvehicles is that they are made to provide you a modern home setting that you can lavish on even while you’re constantly mobile, traveling from one place to the other.

The access to wonderful recreational vehicles thus fueled the desire of many outdoor enthusiasts, RVers and road trippers to eventually venture out the full time road life experience of living on the road. And why not? Why stay in a stationary home setting when you can encapsulate all the amenities, features and functions of a typical household setting in a well-spruced up and transformed vehicle? This is exactly what a recreational vehicle is made to do: provide you a recreational experience of overwhelming outdoor perspectives – the joy of embracing the world in various panoramic views – every single day.

The best recreational vehicle types for fulltime RVers are class a, b, and c motorhomes and fifth wheel trailers. Any truck or bus that’s redefined to accommodate more amenities and features are the best options.

Most of the RV fulltimers own their own recreational vehicles. Because mobile living has become their lifestyle, it’s important that these people get to have a ‘free hand’ in the RV customizations, redesigning plans and maintenance that will suit their tastes and convenience best. While it is true that you can now rent RV units from selected vehicle rental centers, if you are really serious to go fulltime with RV living then anyone would suggest buying one. Rented RVs are only best for both short and long term vacations.