Monthly Archives: February 2014

1 Water Bungalows at the InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora Resort as seen by kite. Photo credit to Pierre Lesage Flickr1

Staying at the InterContinental in Bora Bora

Situated amongst a hub of Islands in French Polynesia, in the Pacific Ocean is Bora Bora, known for pristine beaches, crystal clear water and holiday resorts built with a world class attitude and reputation.  With approximately only 8900 people living on the Islands of Bora Bora permanently, there’s no doubt why tourism is the largest contributor to the economy.

Most of the resorts have bungalows and rooms built over lagoons, often with glass bottoms for optimal reef and fish viewing. The InterContinental resort branch owns and runs resorts in Bora Bora and Tahiti, of which are recognised worldwide for their bungalows and five star facilities. Of course, staying at the InterContinental in Bora Bora combines beauty and luxury to give you the ultimate getaway.

Where to find the InterContinental Le Moana

Water Bungalows at the InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora Resort. Photo by Pierre Lesage, flickr

Water Bungalows at the InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora Resort. Photo by Pierre Lesage, flickr

The InterContinental Le Moana resort is located on the Pearl of Pacific Island, to the south side of the main island known as Matira Point. In prime location of some of the most stunning beaches in the world, this resort has all there is to offer in terms of aqua activities. The resort is most known for its amazing glass bottom, over-the-water bungalow rooms – venturing out onto the protected coral reef lagoon.The resort is located only eight kilometres away from the main village of Vaitape, the largest city and home to over half of the permanent population of Bora Bora. The main language of the area is French.

Scuba Diving in the tropical waters in French Polynesia. Photo by UbiMaXx, flickr

Scuba Diving in the tropical waters in French Polynesia. Photo by UbiMaXx, flickr

The resort itself is one of the easiest to get to, due to its location and closeness to the main village. The airport is located on an islet, accessible by only a boat. However, the resort has frequent shuttle boat services between the two and there are often boats between the airport and main village for those travelling between shuttle times. Keep in mind that there is no public transport in Bora Bora – if you want to get around you will have to organise shuttle buses or boats with the resort or hire a bike or car for personal travel. It’s important that you remember to let the concierge at the InterContinental know of your arrival time so that a shuttle can be organised for you. There is a fee included in this service.

Staying in a beautiful water bungalow

Endless blue skies, perfect for outrigger canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling or swimming. Photo by tuanica, flickr

Endless blue skies, perfect for outrigger canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling or swimming. Photo by tuanica, flickr

Once you’ve arrived at the resort, settled into your luxurious glass bottom room and having changed into something more comfortable, you can begin to enjoy all that Bora Bora has to offer. The InterContinental is located beside one of the best beaches in the world, with reef and coral unlike any other. The best activity to do is to snorkel. Hiring snorkel, fins and mask are all complimentary, so make the most of them and marvel at the underwater life. Kayaks are also complimentary and are a great way to see more of the deeper water around the lagoon resort. If you are up for spending a bit more money, you can choose to do introductory scuba diving for $104 USD parasailing for $347 USD or on a spectacular view hunt in a 4×4 Jeep Safari for around $98 USD.

Eating and drinking

Inside the beautiful bungalows at InterContinental. Photo by Not Been There

Inside the beautiful bungalows at InterContinental. Photo by Not Been There

The resort has its own restaurant, called Noa Noa, which opens at 7 am serving only the finest in authentic Polynesian and French cuisine. Dinner starts serving at 7 pm and on Tuesday and Saturday there are themed banquets and a Polynesian show at 6.30 pm. The restaurant is located in the middle of the resort. However, if you’re more inclined to snack and would rather enjoy delicious fruity cocktails, take a seat at the bar of Vini Vini. Overlooking the beach and lagoon, this little bar and restaurant will serve you delicious little treats and drinks up until 10.30 pm. The snack bar runs between 3 pm and 6.30 pm – great for a light dinner to accompany a dip in the pool and a cocktail or two.

Exploring Bora Bora and Mount Otemanu

One of the best things to do in Bora Bora is snorkeling. Image by HighDynamic, flickr

One of the best things to do in Bora Bora is snorkeling. Image by HighDynamic, flickr

For travellers who are more thrill seeking, the best way to see Bora Bora is by foot. You don’t need car hire or shuttle boats to marvel at the luscious beauty of this island. Hiking is a great way to climb the mountains and see the lagoons hidden from view in Bora Bora.  There are a number of great walking trails on the island which can be accomplished in a couple of days because the island is small. It is recommended that you hike as part of a tour so that you are safe, and so that you gain some more knowledge on the culture and history of Bora Bora. The most famous hiking tour is the Mount Otemanu climb, which is the highest and most recognised feature in Bora Bora.

Another beautiful sunset over Mt. Otemanu. Photo by Jave Foto

Another beautiful sunset over Mt. Otemanu. Photo by Jave Foto

As a hiker, you can only reach up to the “shoulders” of the mountain, as it is over 720 metres high. Mount Otemanu and its twin peak, Mount Pahia are part of a group of extinct volcanoes, and so hiking is often unpredictable due to weather conditions, proving a challenge and so is best as part of an experienced tour. Most hikes up Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu leave from Faanui, the harbour and lagoon area of Bora Bora and the trek lasts all day – four hours up Mount Pahia and six hours up Mount Otemanu, so pack very good shoes! From the top of the climb, however, you have access to 360 degree views of Bora Bora in its full beauty – well worth it!

Day trips around the island

Sunset at the InterContinental, Bora Bora. Photo by SF Brit, flickr

Sunset at the InterContinental, Bora Bora. Photo by SF Brit, flickr

The InterContinental offers many day trips as part of its activity itinerary, but the one most recommended, with the highest ranked positive feedback is the Bora Bora Lagoonarium. You travel by boat out to the lagoon off Vaitape for shark and ray watching and feeding. You then are able to marvel at the coral gardens, snorkel and swim off of the boat into the lagoon and reef. Later, you tour the island, learn more about the culture and history of Bora Bora and taste a traditional lunch.

Afterwards you have the option to swim with lemon sharks and stingrays, and also get free relaxing time around the island. You can organise this through the concierge during your stay at the InterContinental.  The cost of the trip is $82 USD.

Other day trips can be organised through the concierge, including trips into the main village and to Faanui for the hiking trips up Mount Otemanu. Keep in mind that costs do apply – though there are a few things that are complimentary at the InterContinental including snorkel, towel and kayak hire. There is also a snooker table, ping pong table and outrigger canoes that are offered, free of charge. While Bora Bora is known as a place of luxury, and can be quite expensive, the InterContinental offers a few complimentary services which cut the costs for guests and allows you to enjoy the finer things in life.

The romantic side of Bora Bora

Dinner during twilight at the Noa Noa restaurant. Photo by Visual Itineraries

Dinner during twilight at the Noa Noa restaurant. Photo by Visual Itineraries

This resort is perfect for honeymooners and couples, as it has great packages and prices included for couples to enjoy their time together in paradise. Register your honeymoon online or through your travel agent to add your honeymoon to your gifts! As part of your wedding gifts, have your family and friends contribute to paying for your activities or room upgrades to take the stress out of planning your holiday at the InterContinental.

The resort also offers room service, with breakfast served on private beaches or delivered to your floating doorstep by outrigger canoe, as well as happy hour every day between 5 and 6pm. Ensure a booking in either a beach bungalow or over water bungalow today with the InterContinental. You won’t be short of choice and luxury.

1 Fog clouds rise over the Lost city of Machu Picchu. Photo by Peru Tourism1

5 killer hiking trails found in North, Central and South America

North, Central and South America are home to some of the best hiking trails in the world renowned for incredible wilderness, lost cities and gushing waterfalls. This month we’ve decided to make a list of the 5 killer hiking trails found in North, Central and South America to inspire your next adventure.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru

Fog rises over the lost city of Machu Picchu. Photo by Peru Tourism

Fog rises over the lost city of Machu Picchu. Photo by Peru Tourism

Machu Picchu is known as being one of the best treks in the world. Found in the Cusco region, the ancient trail was laid by the Incas and twists its way through the mountains through three Andean passes, reaching a height of nearly 4200m.

There are numerous ways to experience the trail, from just a one-day trek for the beginner hiker to a multi-day hike along the Inca Trail from Cusco to Machu Picchu. The most spectacular way to reach this ancient Inca city is by completing the world-famous 4-day Inca Trail.

Hikers pass the beautiful historic ruins of Llactapaca on the first day, Runkurakay on the second, Sayakmarka and Wiñay Waina on the third, and then Intipunku. Hikers are finally rewarded for their grueling 4-day with a final climb to a hidden Machu Picchu, tucked in a step green valley with sharp mountain peeks on either side of it.  The views from the top of Wayna Picchu Mountain will stay with you forever.

This magical city is rich with history.  It was built in 1450, but abandoned 100 years later from invading Conquistador. It lay forgotten for over 300 years until a savvy archaeologist named Hiram Bingham excavated the buried city n 1911.

The Appalachian Trail, U.S.

Dunnfield Natural Area, Appalachian Trail crossing. Photo by Penns Woods Photography, Pinterest

Dunnfield Natural Area, Appalachian Trail crossing. Photo by Penns Woods Photography, Pinterest

The Appalachian Trail stretches along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian mountain range from Georgia to Maine. It is 3505km long and passes through 12 states, making it the longest marked trail in the US. It was completed in 1937 and passes through six national parks and eight national forests. More than 6,000 volunteers help to maintain the trail and its 165,000 blazes — painted markers that show the way along the trail.

Virginia is home to the most miles of the trail but Maryland and West Virginia are the easiest states to hike. New Hampshire and Maine are the hardest. The total elevation gain of hiking the Appalachian Trail is equivalent to climbing Mount Everest 16 times.

Expect to see lots of wildlife

The trail is home to an impressive diversity of plants and animals. Black bears, moose, porcupines, snakes, woodpeckers, and salamanders are sighted often. Plants in the area include jack-in-the-pulpit, skunk cabbage, and flame azalea.

Patagonia, Chile & Argentina

Glowing Mount Fitz Roy in Patagonia. Photo by Destination 360

Glowing Mount Fitz Roy in Patagonia. Photo by Destination 360

Patagonia is located in the southern part of the Andes and stretches through Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and Los Glaciares in Argentina. Patagonia’s pristine beauty is preserved in national parks that feature a wide-range of different landscapes, from jagged mountains to sweeping plains to freshwater lakes, and many wildlife species from Andean condors to guanacos and eagles.

Los Cuernos Del Paine, Patagonia, Chile. Photo by Ian Plant

Los Cuernos Del Paine, Patagonia, Chile. Photo by Ian Plant

Since it’s such a large hiking destination, it provides opportunities for all types of hikers. The beauty is astounding, from the black-tipped ‘horns’ of Cuernos del Paine to the ice-clad pinnacles of Monte Fitz Roy, along turquoise-coloured lakes and the incandescent icebergs in Torres del Paine. Active glaciers are found in Los Glaciares, part of the third-largest ice cap in the world.

Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park, California. Photo by Jarno Gonzalez Zarraonandia, Pinterest

Yosemite National Park, California. Photo by Jarno Gonzalez Zarraonandia, Pinterest

Yosemite National Park occupies 3027 square km and consists of 1287 km of hiking trails, ensuring that hikers will have a fulfilling experience wherever they hike. Among thick forests are glacier-formed mountains, lakes, rivers and no shortage of wildlife. More than 3.5 million people visit the park each year, and there are more than 15 000 backcountry permits are issued each year for overnight backpackers.

Out of all the national parks in North America, California’s Yosemite may win as the most almighty. There are more than one hundred lakes, plus waterfalls as tall as skyscrapers, mountains and even beaches. The splendor of the peaks of El Capitan and the magnificence of the sequoia trees are not to be missed.

Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano. Photo courtesy by Arenal Volcano Inn

Arenal Volcano. Photo courtesy by Arenal Volcano Inn

The Arenal Volcano National Park is located in the central part of Costa Rica and packs the country’s charm into one striking area. Amazing hiking, incredible views, abundant wildlife and the country’s most active volcano are all to be found in this National Park. The park lies within the 2,040 square kilometres Arenal Tilaran Conservation Area, protecting eight of Costa Rica’s 12 life zones and 16 protected reserves in the region between the Guanacaste and Tilarán mountain ranges, and including Lake Arenal.

Of the 850 total species of birds identified in Costa Rica, close to all of them, including the endangered resplendent quetzal, can be found inhabiting Arenal Volcano National Park. Moose, white-faced monkeys, jaguar, deer, coati, toucans and parrot snakes are also found within the area.

Waterfall in Rio Celeste Costa Rica. Photo by cardelmar.co.uk

Waterfall in Rio Celeste Costa Rica. Photo by cardelmar.co.uk

The active Arenal Volcano distinguishes this park from all the rest, and, while there aren’t hikes that go to the top of Arenal Volcano, there are many different trails for hikers of all levels that provide views of the famous Costa Rica volcano and the surrounding area. There are also hikes in the area that include zip lining canopy tours with views of beautiful waterfalls, such as La Fortuna Waterfall.

3 Norweigan Cruise and Lines drifting past glaciers in the northern Fjords1

Cruising through the Norwegian Fjords.

 

Norweigan Cruise and Lines drifting beside glaciers in the northern Fjords

Norweigan Cruise and Lines drifting beside glaciers in the northern Fjords

Located in the natural hub of western Norway is the Geirangerfjord; an isolated forested area with a deep river inlet, steep snowy mountain peaks and waterfalls around every corner. The Geirangerfjord is home to abandoned farms and buildings from civilization that has passed in the county of More og Ramsdal, 100km north of Aalesund. Due to its location and the scenery, the best way to really get the most of this majestic area is by water travel: whether it is a cruise boat or ferry  the water is the way.

Cruising through the Norwegian Fjords. Which cruise should I choose?

Cruising past waterfalls along the Geiranger Fjord. Photo by Fjord Travel

Cruising past waterfalls along the Geiranger Fjord. Photo by Fjord Travel

There are a number of different ways to sightsee on the water. The type of cruise you take is dependent on the amount of money you are willing to spend, and the duration of time that you want to dedicate to travelling this amazing area. There are quite a few options, depending on how much time you have so we decided to list several cruise options for every type of traveler.

1.5 hours – M/S Geirangerfjord Sight Seeing

The Lofoten Islands.Photo by Topekstram

The Lofoten Islands.Photo by Topekstram

Sail for up to two hours on a sightseeing and shore excursions tour. See the waterfalls and the abandoned farms and buildings along the carved shoreline. Tours have a minimum of six passengers (in order to sail).
Tickets start at US$17 for children and US$32 for adults.  They always operate in high season from June – August and they can be purchased on site at the pier or online here

3 hours - Kayaking adventure

Passing through villages while cruising through Norwegian Fjords. Photo by Bols Over Cruise Club

Passing through villages while cruising through Norwegian Fjords. Photo by Bols Over Cruise Club

Get up close and personal to the waterfalls and crevices along the Geiranger River by taking part in a kayak cruise. Tours begin with a short walk to the base camp, where you will be given instructions and equipment. From here, your journey begins on the water, where you can peacefully glide amongst waterfalls and deep, still water.

The price for three hours kayak hire and guiding is $129USD. For more information, click here

Day trip - Aalesund/Hellesylt/Geiranger round trip

Älesund is the first port of call along the North Cape exposure cruise. Photo by Telegraph UK

Älesund is the first port of call along the North Cape exposure cruise. Photo by Telegraph UK

Start your trip by travelling by bus through the local town of Aalesund, before embarking at a port in Hellesylt, where you will travel through the Seven Sisters and Bridal Veil waterfalls. You also stop for a few hours in the tiny village town of Geiranger, where you can snap up the atmosphere of the locals.

Prices start at $92USD for adults, covering the costs of local Bus/Boat travel through three towns. For tickets and more information click here

4 days+ Cruise ships

The aurora borealis, or northern lights, are seen on the sky above the village of Ersfjordbotn near Tromso in northern Norway

The aurora borealis, or northern lights, are seen on the sky above the village of Ersfjordbotn near Tromso in northern Norway

Norway in a nutshell offers cruises up to seven days long, showcasing the very best of Norwegian fjords. You can choose to start your trip from Oslo, Bergen or Aalesund, where you will later be transported by coach to start your cruise at the Geirangerfjord port, and travel through some highlights including Hurtigruten, Bruggen, the Kjosfossen Waterfall and more. Travel by bus, train and boat through some of the most picturesque places in the world.

Prices start at $895USD to cover the costs of travel, accommodation and some meals throughout the duration of the cruise.
You can purchase tickets and get more information on cruise ships online here

The best time to go

Northern Lights over Olstind in the Lofoten Islands. Photo by Cody Duncan

Northern Lights over Olstind in the Lofoten Islands. Photo by Cody Duncan

Based on weather and melting snow on the mountain icecaps, the best time to cruise in Norway is between April and September to ensure that you get the warmest and safest weather as conditions in the later end of the year are near extreme. Always remember to pack warm clothes as the arctic winds can quickly pick up and create a strong chill. All vessels listed here do serve hot drinks and there is always an inside lounge were you can put your feet up and admire the beautiful scenery from the comfort of your seat.

foto ruta

A beginner’s guide to photography

A beginner’s guide to photography is just what you need to begin your next adventure. Photography and travelling go hand in hand. There’s nothing quite like snapping up a few shots of your favourite location. You don’t have to be an expert to take nice photos, you don’t even need the most expensive equipment; you just need to be patient and think outside of the box. Be experimental.

A beginner’s guide to photography: Don’t go out and buy the most expensive equipment straight away

There’s no point to breaking the bank on equipment if you can’t yet use the simpler equipment first. Expensive lenses also are a lot bigger and a lot heavier and you’re more likely to be upset if expensive lenses get broken during your travels. Always remember that practice makes perfect, so get used to using your equipment before upgrading.

Learn how to use what you’ve got

Start with the simple parts like the menu settings, zoom and shutter speed. If you have a DSLR, try learning how to manually change those things instead of allowing the camera to automatically do it. You’ll get a better photo once you practice. You can look up how to do so online depending on the make and model of your camera, and if you really want to, you can apply to do photography classes for a reasonable price. Good photography isn’t about the best equipment, it’s about developing an eye for composition, lighting and depth of field.

No photo is a bad photo

Don’t delete photos, not even if you run out of space. Use an SD card (invest in one, they’re great) and put ALL of the photos you take onto a computer. No photo is bad. If your photo is a bit blurry, don’t worry about it, sometimes that’s all part of the charm.

Learn to use a photo editing program

Programs such as Photoshop are great for people at all levels of photography because you can do so many things with it, from changing it to black and white, to tweaking it to mix and blend images together. You can download a free trial of Photoshop online and practice on your own photos. If you prefer to be taught, there are also classes available but the program is not included in the fee and after your trial is complete you have to buy the program.

Keep your camera with you

Whether you’re travelling or walking around your home city, there are thousands to millions of opportunities every single day for you to photograph.Take photos of interesting people on busy suburban streets; take photos of the sunset or of animals in the park. Be creative with your camera wherever you go.

North Island Resort from above. Paradise1

10 of the coolest resorts around the world

High-end resorts around the world all offer their guests different experiences, whether that’s a water slide park, endless stretches of beach, or world famous spas. There are even a number of resorts so luxurious they’ve been awarded a 7-star rating. So we’ve put together 10 of the coolest resorts around the world and what makes them so unique.

10 of the coolest resorts around the world: Wakaya Club, Fiji

Relax at the Wakaya Club in Fiji. Photo by Healing Hotels of the World

Relax at the Wakaya Club in Fiji. Photo by Healing Hotels of the World

On a pristine island in the beautiful South Pacific lies Wakaya Island surrounded by a protected coral reef and bordered by endless white beaches. The ten waterfront villas each have 1650+ square feet of private living space, a secluded garden, personal bar, high ceilings, and luxurious bathrooms with private outdoor showers and oversized tubs. Outside individual hammocks are strung between coconut palm trees.

North Island, Seychelles

Chill out on comfy lounges by the sea in North Island, Seychelles. Photo by Idee Per Viaggiare, flickr

Chill out on comfy lounges by the sea in North Island, Seychelles. Photo by Idee Per Viaggiare, flickr

Seychelles is a part of the largest coral reef system in the world. Lying on the waterfront are stunning handcrafted villas each with their own island buggy for guests to roam freely throughout the island. Diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking, fly-fishing and relaxing on the pristine beach are popular activities on the island, as the services are tailored to meet your needs and preferred lifestyle.

Turtle Island, Fiji

Dinner for two on Turtle Island in Fiji. Photo by Andrew Morse, Pinterest

Dinner for two on Turtle Island in Fiji. Photo by Andrew Morse, Pinterest

Each villa on this exotic island is influenced by traditional Fijian craftsmanship with a modern touch. The resort only hosts a maximum of 14 couples for the ultimate privacy. There are also seven private beaches on the island that are open to relaxing, sunbathing, or horse riding alongside the crystal clear water.

Fregate Island Private, Seychelles

Fregate Island in Seychelles. Photo by Idee Per Viaggiare

Fregate Island in Seychelles. Photo by Idee Per Viaggiare

This island prides itself in preserving the native fauna and flora while not only being a romantic destination for a couple, but also families. There are sixteen large villas with marble flooring and one Presidential villa where guests can experience the rare luxury of space and serenity.

Hotel le Toiny, St Barts

Stunning Hotel le Toiny, St Barts. Photo by Chetan Dutta, Pinterest

Stunning Hotel le Toiny, St Barts. Photo by Chetan Dutta, Pinterest

This resort is located in the area of the island known as Cote Sauvage overlooking the Bay of Toiny and the Caribbean Sea. There are fifteen luxurious bungalows surrounded by lush flora. Guests can enjoy golfing, surfing, fishing and a world-class fitness gym and spa.

Amanruya, Bodrum Peninsula, Turkey

A private guest house at Amanruya on the Bodrum Peninsula in Turkey. Photo by Interior Design, Pinterest

A private guest house at Amanruya on the Bodrum Peninsula in Turkey. Photo by Interior Design, Pinterest

This resort situated in the Mediterranean seduces you with its historical beauty and interesting ancient Roman ruins. The resort features pool terrace apartments with private swimming pools and outdoor showers. The resort also features a 50m swimming pool, tennis courts, a three-storey library, boutique, art gallery and two deluxe spas.

Le Sirenuse, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Beautiful views at Le Sirenuse, Almafi Coast, Italy. Photo by Carolyn Laurin, Pinterest

Beautiful views at Le Sirenuse, Almafi Coast, Italy. Photo by Carolyn Laurin, Pinterest

Le Sirenuse is located in picturesque Positano and all of the rooms look over the beautiful bay. Each room has a private terrace and balcony, and the flooring is ornately crafted with handmade tiles.

Burj Al-Arab, Dubai, UAE

The Burj Al Arab, Dubai is consistently voted the world's most luxurious hotel. Photo by Aprille Ramile

The Burj Al Arab, Dubai is consistently voted the world’s most luxurious hotel. Photo by Aprille Ramile

This exquisite resort was architecturally built to resemble a billowing sail. It is just moments away from Jumeirah beach and provides full helicopter transfers and scenic tours. There are six award-winning restaurants within the resort and highly trained butlers at your service.

Armani Hotel, Dubai, UAE

None other than its founder Giorgio Armani personally designed the exclusive residences within the Armani hotel. Each suite consists of the modern and sophisticated beauty that the Armani brand is now associated with worldwide.

W Hotel, Puerto Rico

W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island, West Beach, Puerto Rico. Photo by W Worldwide

W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island, West Beach, Puerto Rico. Photo by W Worldwide

Modern architecture meets natural aesthetics in this grand resort located on the captivating Vieques Island. Each room has stunning views of Puerto Rico’s glowing bay, lavish mountainside, and the magnificent Caribbean. Luxury at its finest!

Whitehaven Beach Australia

The best holiday beaches in Australia + 2 vineyards

Australia is loaded with great beaches, scenic drives and scorching deserts. It has some of the most arid locations one minute and tropical paradises the next. If it’s wineries or beaches you’re after then you’ll find it here. We’ve put together some of the best holiday beaches in Australia + 2 vineyards, sure to surprise even the locals.

Palm Beach, Sydney, NSW

Palm Beach is one of Sydney’s northern most suburbs and is located on a peninsula. Palm Beach offers an ideal water front environment for activities such as surfing, fishing and golf. In fact, a lot of beginer surfers come here because of the western face beaches can provide a much graceful wind than the north-eastern beaches like Manly or Dee-Why. The location is littered with holidays homes and but still remains a quiet resort destination with scenic water front vistas.

The Rocks, Sydney, NSW

The Rocks is one of Sydney’s well known locations, its heritage listed facades and water front views make for a really unique Sydney experience. Between the tall sailing ships moored at the wharf and the sandstone structures, the Rocks has a lot to offer when compared with the rest of the modern built up city centre.

The Central Coast, NSW

The central coast is located 77 km north of Sydney and with expanding urban development it still retains its coastal and outdoorsy atmosphere. It is a nice mesh between sub urban sprawl, wine country and coastal regions. Views of Palm Beach  have been maintained and there is also space and affordable land for outdoor activities such as the Australian Reptile Park as well as a whole range of sports hire and water cruises.

Whitsundays and Surroundings, QLD

The Whitsundays lie just off the coast of Queensland about 900km north of Brisbane. The islands border the Great Barrier Reef making it an optimal destination to explore the reef.The limited urban development, natural environment  and the vivacious wildlife make the Whitsundays a great destination for couples or families. It allows you to get lost and  explore something awe inspiring.

Port Douglas, QLD

Port Douglas offers a tropical rain forest experience right in our backyard as it is 70km north of Cairns. Port Douglas conjures images of water front views with dense rainforest, snorkelling in calm waters  soaking up a small village atmosphere. The bio diversity of the region makes it well suited for the adventurous types who want the scenic water views without the people. All though there is a large economic centre in port Douglas it is comparatively small compared to other regions and offers an amazing opportunity to explore Australian wildlife on its own terms.

Bay of Fires, Tasmania

The Bay Fires in Tasmania is a unique location with in white beaches, blue water and contrasting orange hued granite rocks strewn along the beach. This makes makes for a vibrant scene.  Accomodation is generally sought at St Helens , the closest town. This location  is a good place to explore  other   Tasmainian attractions in the area.

Margaret River, WA

Margaret River is often described as a “premier holiday region” and is an alluring mosaic of forest, vines and surf combined. The Margaret River offers a slice of luxury in the western hemisphere of the country with unique activities; cave exploration at the Mammoth Cave whale watching abseiling and of course surfing.. The area produces 15% of the countries premier wine and showcases numerous artists in the many many galleries and boutiques . Margaret River is 277 km south of Perth. A short three and a half hour drive away.

Broome, WA

Compared to many other locations Broome offers a uniquely Australian adventure. Broome’s cable beach offers 20km of white sandy beaches camel rides inclusive  Broome has a rich history centered around the pearling industry . Many Japanese divers descended upon Broome to make a living in the pearl industry. Broome plays host to the annual Shinju Matsuri, Japanese for  festival of the pearl. which celebrates the Asian culture brought by the pearl industry to Broome.

Barossa Valley, SA

The ‘Barossa Valley‘ is one of South Australia’s premiere winery destinations. Its rolling hills make for a scenic country side experience. It’s a sleepy location which offers a range of tours with and without wine tasting, an array of cycle and walk tracks as well as galleries and museums. The Barossa Valley is a food lover’s heaven and most suited to those with a penchant for culinary endeavours.

Hunter Valley, NSW

The Hunter Valley is world famous and one of New South Wales crowning glories. The region with its rich soils and warm climate  has been producing wine for over 170 years. Its wines compete globally and are known for their astounding quality. The primary attraction to the Hunter is the breweries, distilleries and vineyards ready to be enjoyed by many visitors

Irish Gold by Roger Sharp

7 of the best surf places around the world

For those who have a passion for the water and waves, then this is the perfect tour for you. A holiday consisting of different surfing destinations is certainly set to make those who love surfing excited. We have researched and found a lot of places around that world which have some of the best surfing spots. But unfortunately we couldn’t include all of them so we picked 7 of the best surf places around the world.

Gold coast, Queensland, Australia

Long stretch of beautiful beach Surfers Paradise along the Gold Coast, in Australia. Photo by Sandy Robertson, Pinterest

Long stretch of beautiful beach Surfers Paradise along the Gold Coast, in Australia. Photo by Sandy Robertson, Pinterest

Producing the most surfing champions in the world, it is no surprise that the Gold Coast or as it’s known to locals ‘Surfers Paradise’ is a great surfing destination. With a great culture, and plenty of places to stay at, Surfer’s Paradise should be on your list of surfing spots to visit.

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico. Photo by Laura Chomicki, Pinterest

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico. Photo by Laura Chomicki, Pinterest

The swells that hit the sandbars at Puerto Escondido create great waves at Zicatela beach. If you’re looking for monster waves, this is the place you want to hit. Summer is the time you want to hit the waves on Zicatela beach yet Spring will be great if you want to avoid tourists in their masses.

Pupukea, O’ahu, Hawaii, USA

Surfing after sunset in Oahu Hawaii. Photo by Fabrice, flickr

Surfing after sunset in Oahu Hawaii. Photo by Fabrice, flickr

The Banzai pipeline, which is located in Hawaii are best surfed during between November and February. Big swells, up to 9 metres and more are enjoyed by locals and surfers from all around the world. The clear and crystal barrels that are produced here are fast, and has been named one of the best surf breaks ever.

Chicama, Peru

Want to experience a long wave? Here you can ride the waves for up to four minutes.  The best thing about this place, it is one of the least crowded surfing spots you will ever experience. The locals are super friendly and there is always a good restaurant to grab a cheap feed while you’re staying here.

Peahi, Hawaii, USA

Surfer about to get dumped at big wave spot in Peahi, Hawaii. Photo by Aaron Lynton, flickr

Surfer about to get dumped at big wave spot in Peahi, Hawaii. Photo by Aaron Lynton, flickr

Peahi, or better known as Jaws, is yet another place if you’re looking for a huge wave break. The annual Redbull Jaws event is held here for the best of the best. Jaws have produced some of the biggest waves in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2010. This surf spot is only for the advanced surfers. There are a few hazards here, not fit for beginners and only the brave intermediate surfers.

Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa

Sunet falls over Jeffery's Bay South Africa. Photo by Surfer Mag

Sunet falls over Jeffery’s Bay South Africa. Photo by Surfer Mag

Having a perfect right-handed point break, Jeffrey’s Bay located in South Africa is a perfect stop for a surfing expedition. There are also a lot of beaches you can visit whilst there, such as; Cape St. Francis and Port Elizabeth.

Huntington Beach, California, USA

Curling wave over sunset at Huntington Beach, California. Photo by Robbie Crawford

Curling wave over sunset at Huntington Beach, California. Photo by Robbie Crawford

The 5.6 kilometer stretch of Huntington Beach in California is one the most popular and crowded surfing destinations in the world. Annually, Vans hold an event, the US open of surfing during mid-year.  A great event for the surfing enthusiast.

Taste

The best food to eat when you’re in Singapore

Singapore is a cultural hub influenced by the Chinese, Indian, Malayan and Eurasians cultures. This kaleidoscope of multiculturalism has made its way into the culinary delights that Singapore has to offer. The mixing of each cultural influence has created new and bold flavours, while retaining the essence of each culture. Here is some of the best food to eat when you’re in Singapore.

Chili and pepper crab

Delicious chili and pepper crab. Photo by Serious Eats

Delicious chili and pepper crab. Photo by Serious Eats

No two dishes scream Singaporean better than the chili and pepper crabs. Both as famous as the other, they combine different flavours of sweet and spicy in order to create this magnificent dish.

Kaya toast

A cup of Kopi and Kaya Toast. Photo by Geraldine Lim, flickr

Nothing speaks more of a traditional Singaporean breakfast than kaya toast; toasted white bread spread with a coconut condiment called kaya and a knob of butter. Most Singaporeans enjoys kaya toast with a soft boiled egg which is topped off with soya sauce and pepper. It can also be enjoyed with a cup of hot Kopi.

Hainanese chicken rice

Hainanese chicken rice. Photo by Steamy Kitchen

Hainanese chicken rice. Photo by Steamy Kitchen

Along with the chili crab the hainanese chicken rice dish can rival it as the national dish of Singapore. Chicken which is succulent and tender is served on top a pile of fragrant rice, cucumber and delicious dipping sauce.

Char kway teow

Char kway teow. Photo by Sayantani

Char kway teow. Photo by Sayantani

Char kway teow is a delicious flat rice noodle dish. Stir-fried with soy sauce, chili, cockles, bean sprouts, Chinese sausages, prawns and eggs, it’s a great dish to have for lunch or dinner!

Chai tow kuay (carrot cake)

Interesting dish of Chai Tow Kuay. Photo by Msihua

Interesting dish of Chai Tow Kuay. Photo by Msihua

Not getting it mixed up with the well-known sweet carrot cake, the Singaporean carrot cake is fried batter that is made up of preserved radish, known as chai poh, eggs, and white radish flour. It is served with soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic and spring onions.

Bak kut tek

Enjoy a hot bowl of Bak Kut Tek when you're in Singapore. Photo by Deliciously Haute

Enjoy a hot bowl of Bak Kut Tek when you’re in Singapore. Photo by Deliciously Haute

Known as pork rib tea this dish appears to look like tea, but it an infused broth made from pork ribs, garlic, pepper, herbs and spices.

Oyster omelet

Oyster omelet commonly served in Singapore. Photo by Food in Mouth, flickr

Oyster omelet commonly served in Singapore. Photo by Food in Mouth, flickr

A favourite of many locals, the oyster omelet also has tourists enjoying its taste as well. Potato starch is mixed into an egg batter with added oysters. They then garnish it with some fresh coriander.

Fish head steamboat

Fish head steamboat. Photo by C Sea Suc B

Fish head steamboat. Photo by C Sea Suc B

Don’t let the name of this dish turn you away. The fresh soup is served with a mix of rice vermicelli noodles, fried fish bones, yams and vegetables. Fish slices are then added to the soup.

Ice kachang

Refreshing Ice Kachang with corn. Photo by Your Singapour

Refreshing Ice Kachang with corn. Photo by Your Singapour

This refreshing dessert will top off a hot day in Singapore. Shaved ice is drizzled with syrup, creamed corn, condensed milk and palm sugar.

Singapore sling

Knock back a few of these Singapore Slings and you'll be doing okay. Photo by Suma Beach Lifestyle

Knock back a few of these Singapore Slings and you’ll be doing okay. Photo by Suma Beach Lifestyle

The iconic drink for Singapore is the Singapore sling. A cocktail mixed with gin, cherry liqueur, benedictine, pomegranate  and pineapple juice will definitely get you started on a night out on the town.

prosicsmetronord

Why seeing your doctor before you travel may keep you alive

Travelling is already a costly luxury that you would have no doubt spent months, maybe even years saving for. But the one thing that may set you back while on your holiday is getting seriously sick. Here are a number of diseases you could contract while on holiday and why seeing your doctor before you travel may keep you alive.

Malaria

Malaria is potentially fatal and the disease may reoccur for years. Particularly common in places such as the sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia, malaria occurs from the bite of a female mosquito the anopheles. Symptoms may include high fever, aches in your muscles and fatigue. These symptoms may not occur until a year after being bitten.

“It was awful. I lost 2.5 stone (15.9kg) because I couldn’t eat, and the headaches were like the worst migraines you can imagine. I was constantly sweating and hallucinating and I thought I was going to die.”

- Alex Cheatle, on his ordeal of not taking anti-malaria medicine and contracting the illness. Source: NHS UK.

Dengue Fever

Dengue, which is found in tropical and subtropical destination, is a disease that can also be fatal. Contracted by the bite of the aedes mosquito, you may experience flu-like symptoms for up to 1-2 weeks.

“It started off as a mild headache and then fever. I also had a rash of tiny red spots over my shoulders, chest and back. The fever was awful but the worst thing was the headache. It was the worst headache I’d ever had, like torture. Painkillers didn’t have any effect and it was worse when I tried to sleep. So I got no sleep at all, which was horrible.”

- Hugh Wilson and his story on contracting Dengue in Thailand. Source: NHS UK.

Rabies

This occurs when you are bitten by an animal. Most bites, which are reportedly by dogs, can create symptoms such as, fever, fatigue, chills, and headaches, lack of appetite, anxiety, vomiting and irritability. Those are just the initial symptoms; there are also a range of advanced symptoms.

“I got back to London on a Sunday and saw my GP the next day. I was surprised when she sent me to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases. The doctors there decided that as a precaution I should have a course of seven anti-rabies injections spread over the following weeks.”

- Brierlie Godfrey on her story about being bitten by a wild monkey. Source: NHS UK.

Hepatitis

Hepatitis A, & B are two potential strains of this virus. Hepatitis A, which can be contracted from contaminated food or water, can last up to 3 months or longer. Whilst hepatitis  B, which is can be caused by medical procedures, blood to blood contact or unsafe sex, will last for the rest of your life. The other strain of hepatitis is C which is almost the same at hepatitis B.

“My life is ruined,” she said. I’ve never been in so much pain in my life.”

Lisa Mapley and her current condition after contracting hepatitis B while on holiday. Source: Mirror UK.

How to prevent these diseases

So how do you avoid contracting these diseases? It only takes a couple of steps.

Step 1 – Before you travel, visit your doctor at least 2 months in advance ask about a rabies vaccination or a course of anti malaria tablets

Step 2 - Be wary of your destination and be aware of mosquitos. Use mosquito repellant, avoid touching any wild animals and take medication with you.

Step 3 – Make sure you get travel insurance. If you do get sick, it will be costly. By having travel insurance you are covering yourself from a mountain of debt!

Foot steps to paradise in Santorini Greece. Photo by Evan Travels

4 places in Europe to spice up your love life

Every now and then couples may need to add a little spice into their relationship. A romantic holiday may be the answer. Europe is the place to go for an exciting and memorable romantic holiday. You may return with lighter pockets, but will have made wonderful memories for years to come. So check out these 4 places in Europe to spice up your love life.

Champagne country, France

Les Crayeres hotel in Champagne, France. Photo by Mindy Roy, Pinterest

Les Crayeres hotel in Champagne, France. Photo by Mindy Roy, Pinterest

Located east of Paris, this breath-taking region is far from the hustle and bustle of Paris. For a luxurious time, book into the Chateau de Courcelles or the Chateau Les Crayeres, two grandeur hotels that are rich in history and romanticism. The French have been making premier wines in this region for hundreds of years, so every traveler to this region must visit the local vineyards and try some local wines. There is something for every palate. Sample some and you won’t be disappointed. If wine tasting isn’t your thing, then you might want to visit some religious sites or some cool museums. Fancy some cheese? There’s plenty of that to try at the local farmers market where you can pick up some stinky blue or some aged cheddar. Perhaps a punnet of apricots if they’re in season? Oh and did I mention the breads to enjoy whilst on a romantic picnic during sunset? Devine.

Markets and vineyards you must see

Wine Vinyard in Champagne Provence, France. Photo by Tori Deville, Pinterest.

Wine Vinyard in Champagne Provence, France. Photo by Tori Deville, Pinterest.

Mercier Champagne Cellar is the world’s largest wine casks equivalent to 200,000 bottles of champagne and great tour. Champagnes Pommery offers group tours of the caves and grounds and excellent wine tasting. Hortillonnages have locally grown vegetables sold every Saturday in Saint Leu district by the water.

Florence, Italy

Terrazza Brunelleschi Restaurant at the Grand Hotel Baglioni, Florence. Photo by USA Today

Terrazza Brunelleschi Restaurant at the Grand Hotel Baglioni, Florence. Photo by USA Today

To experience the romantic old world and live like Romeo and Juliet, the destination to go to is Florence, Italy. You will be transported to a world of architectural history and an abundance of luxury.  If you have deep pockets, hotels like the Four seasons or the Grand Hotel Baglioni are a couple of places for you to put your feet up.  If you’re on a slightly smaller budget there are plenty of affordable bed & breakfasts to choose from in Florence.  You’ll create life long memories walking along the oldest streets in the city with your partner, stopping for yummy tapas or a glass of wine at All’Antico Vinaio. These will not only heighten your experience while  in Florence but will be a  memory to treasure for a long time.

Santorini, Greece

Colourful Oia Santorini Greece. Photo by Greece Islands Blogspot

Colourful Oia Santorini Greece. Photo by Greece Islands Blogspot

This next place is one that every romantic heart needs to visit. Santorini, Greece with its well-known blue and white buildings, breath-taking views and majestic sunsets over the ancient caldera will kick your love life into 5th gear. For the indulgent the 5-star Kastelli Luxury resort and the Astarte suites are the places to go. To fully experience the Santorini life, go to the seaside. Swimming on spectacular beaches at sunset with your other half is a must. Santorini will make your heart skip a beat.

Kastelli Resort in Santorini. Photo by Kacie Hastings, Pinterest

Kastelli Resort in Santorini. Photo by Kacie Hastings, Pinterest

The open air cinema in Kamari has 7€, local beer and wine and refreshments. There is a lovely Wine Museum in Koutsoyannopoulos that is a great place to learn the traditional methods about the brilliant aficionados who produce delicious wines. The next stop is White beach in Akrotiri, is a bit misleading with its oakish red sand, nevertheless  it’s a Pebble beach surrounded by white cliffs and is gorgeous in the sunshine. Great for spending the day with a cheese plate picnic and a bottle of delicious red wine.

French Riviera, France

The French Riviera. Photo by Kaun is Pieni e Lama

The French Riviera. Photo by Kaun is Pieni e Lama

With its 550 miles of coastline which is ruled by seaside towns and villages the French Riviera rounds off the list of romantic destinations in Europe. Home of the rich and famous, well, around May anyway during the Cannes international film festival. Artists flocked here in the 1900s to paint and sketch, inspired by the natural beauty of the rugged coast line. The area is also rich in cinematic history thanks to the classic touch of Grace Kelly and the kittenish pouts of Brigitte Bardot.

Hotel de Paris Saint-Tropez. Photo courtesy of the hotel

Hotel de Paris Saint-Tropez. Photo courtesy of the hotel

Today tourists may shop in the many boutiques, lounge on the sand or wile away the hours in the many bars or cafes. With an abundance of hotels on offer such as the Chateau du Domaine St.Martin and the Hotel de Paris Saint-Tropez  or smaller places for the budget conscience the French Riviera is a truly romantic destination.

11 The Sala Bar is perfect for watching the sunset or star gazing. Photo by Iris Gjymshana Pinterest3

5 things to do while staying in the Maldives

One of the most luxurious places in the world to escape reality are the Maldives. The island nation located in the Indian Ocean is made up of 1,192 islands and are divided into three main groups; inhabited islands, uninhabited islands and disappeared islands. With so many islands, there is an endless amount of palm tree laden islands to choose from.Here are 5 things to do while staying in the Maldives.

1. Diving & Snorkeling in the Maldives

Diving with a manta ray in Maldives. Photo by Taylor Adams, flikr

Diving with a manta ray in Maldives. Photo by Taylor Adams, flikr

For a picturesque look at the world beneath the ocean, diving and snorkeling are the best ways to experience the reefs. There many businesses offering snorkeling or diving courses, if you have your own gear you can haggle about the price. Choose from a half or full day trip depending upon your experience. No matter where you go on the islands, the diving and snorkeling experiences are so stunning that you will wish you were born with gills. With its clear blue waters, white beaches and many reefs there is no doubt the Maldives is a slice of paradise in the Indian Ocean.

Who to dive with

A diving school in Maldives doing their daily briefing before setting off for the day. Photo by Rahul Matthan, flickr

A diving school in Maldives doing their daily briefing before setting off for the day. Photo by Rahul Matthan, flickr

Maldives Passions Dive School in Maafushi – Great personalized service and value for money. These guys offer full service instruction from Open Water to Dive Master training. The operate every day and regular trips to outside reefs, reef passes and Thilas. Dive the World Maldives is found in Male. This crew is friendly and they run an efficient shop. Their specialty is liveaboards, which is a great way to see  more of the ocean life. Like all other operators they are fully licensed to train divers of all levels.  They also offer discounted rates for long stayers.

MORE: WHY BAROS IS THE BEST PLACES TO STAY IN THE MALDIVES

2. Spend the day at the Spa

Take a relaxing massage in the Maldives. Photo by Global Black Book

Take a relaxing massage in the Maldives. Photo by Global Black Book

Spa treatments are the ultimate when it comes to relaxation. With the oceans surrounding you, each spa offers you great sights of the blue skies, and clear waters whilst enjoying the treatment of your choice.  The high life of luxury and indulgence is after all what you came here for right? So lie back, relax and indulge youself.

Where to pamper yourself

Massage bed with a beautiful view of the sea through the floor. Photo by Teri Farley, Pinterest

Massage bed with a beautiful view of the sea through the floor. Photo by Teri Farley, Pinterest

Veli Spa at Kurumba in the North Male Atoll island –have clean rooms, ocean views and classic contemporary rooms, while the AzmaaraSpa in Male do traditional body wraps, paradise location and professional staff. The One&Only Spa is also quite good, global winner in the Best Luxury Wellness Spa 2013 in the World Luxury Spa awards.

3. Take a voyage on a Whale Submarine

Experience the world under the Maldives in the Whale Submarine. Photo by SummerSound Photography

Experience the world under the Maldives in the Whale Submarine. Photo by SummerSound Photography

No this isn’t a weird revamp of the Beatles song. It’s a wicked experience that will allow you to see the giant mammals of the sea inside the comfort of a massive metal shell. This activity is great for families, especially children who are too young to scuba dive or snorkel. The whale submarine is a passenger carrier that will transport you under the ocean waves to a world you’ve only read about in magazines. Because of the layout and windows, the whale submarine will allow you to sightsee all the coral and marine life. It’s really cool and highly recommended.

Who to book with

Located in Male the Wale Submarine Maldives Company  have an excellent reputation for finding all the hot spots to see Whales. Booking can be done over the phone or through your resort.

4. Cruise thought the clouds on a seaplane photo flight

Ride in a skyplane and check out the Maldives from the sky. Photo by Last Minute

Ride in a skyplane and check out the Maldives from the sky. Photo by Last Minute

Having discovered the underworld ocean and enjoyed someone’s oily soothing hands massaging your stressed out muscles, it is time to discover the Maldives from the sky. The seaplane will take you up into the sky, and as it glides over many islands, it will give you a great outlook on how vast and beautiful the Maldives really are. You can also take an endless supply of photos during the experience. If you want to go for a photo flight, your best bet is to book it with your resort. Normally flights will take up to approximately 20 minutes.

5. Feast and drink some of the best food and wine

Sala Bar & Benjarong Royal Thai Restaurant Dusit Thani. Photo courtesy of the Restaurant

Sala Bar & Benjarong Royal Thai Restaurant Dusit Thani. Photo courtesy of the Restaurant

The Maldives have a lot to offer for those looking for Asian cuisines. After a long day scuba diving or viewing the awesome atolls from the sky, it’s time get out and sample the food in the many restaurants. All of them serve a wide range of delicious foods. And if you’re not a seafood eater don’t worry, there are plenty of other options on the menu. Many of the islands establishments offer an international menu, as they cater to every taste. Thai, Indian and Italian restaurants abound as well a little cafes that will be great after a day relaxing on one of the many beaches in the Maldives. So kick back, crack open a bottle of wine and enjoy a delicious meal with a panoramic view of the beautiful sandy beaches.

Where to Eat

The Sala Bar is perfect for watching the sunset or star gazing. Photo by Iris Gjymshana, Pinterest

The Sala Bar is perfect for watching the sunset or star gazing. Photo by Iris Gjymshana, Pinterest

At the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant you can dine 5 meters below the sea, luxurious menu and cocktail hour. For the less extravagant, there is the child friendly Sala Thai Restaurant. If you’re feeling like Thai or Malaysian food then The Sea House might interest you with Great mix of Thai and Indian dishes, breakfast buffet and scenic views.

How to save money by couch surfing

How to save money by couch surfing

In reality travelling can get pretty expensive, so being a backpacker, having a budget is fundamental requirement. Finding out how to save money by couch surfing might just help you get to your next travel adventure sooner.

Founded in 2004 by Casey Fenton, Daniel Hoffer, Leonardo Bassani da Silveira and Sebastian Le Tuan, a group of  Icelandic students who created this idea from email conversations. Their dream was for people around the world to share their homes with people they have never met before. It’s safe to say, this idea was brilliant and now couch surfing is available in over 100,000 cities around the world with 6million participants who come from different walks of life.

It may sound scary; sleeping on a stranger’s couch, in their house and in a country that is not your own, but it is a great money-saver and will help you make friends along the way. Your best way to get started is to head to the internet. There is a significant amount of information that will become handy when it comes to couch-surfing.

How to save money by couch surfing

Logging on to a community website like Couchsurfing will help you connect to those in the backpacking community. After making a profile you will be able to communicate with others. As well as looking for vacant couches you can also list yourself as a host on the website and connect to future couch surfers.

So what are the benefits of couch surfing, other than the money factor?

First and foremost, drumroll please…you will make new friends! These connections can help you on the way, just like the scarecrow, tinman and lion. You can also discover the yellow brick road with the help of your new friends. A road you might not have discovered if you didn’t go couch surfing. You will be become immersed in their culture and lifestyle.

As a guest, it is best to be on your best behaviour. Respect the place you’re staying at and respect your hosts. Cleanliness is an important factor, so have a shower; the last thing you want is your host kicking you out because you smell like a drunk.

Stay safe and say your thanks

Gifts are acceptable, it is a way to say thank you to your hosts. But don’t waste your time on cheap gifts. Thank you gifts, such as a fruit or bread basket is a great way to show your appreciation.

And to keep safe, follow the tips such as trusting your instincts and report any negative experiences to relevant web sites as these will help build up a safe couch-surfing environment.