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The Checklist: Travel Planning Made Easy

If you hadn’t already noticed, we talk a lot about travel planning. Mostly because, though it isn’t the most glamorous part of traveling, it is absolutely essential to a successful trip. Sometimes, especially for couples or friends who travel together, just planning the planning can be a point of contention because everyone has a different approach.

Justin, for example, isn’t overly excited about planning a trip. He likes to get the basics down, sure, like where he wants to go and why and how best to get there. But beyond that, he likes his spontaneity. He likes to show up at a hostel after arriving and barter for a bed. He likes to ask locals about where he should go rather than book tours before leaving home. While I admit there is an air of charm and adventure to his style, I have a hard time even leaving the house without considering my next meal.

I am a planner, sometimes annoyingly, and we’ve had to work to find a happy medium that would satisfy us both. Because I also like a little bit of spontaneity, we have figured out how to plan practically the bare minimum and then deviate from that where we need to. It makes me feel comfortable knowing that there is plan to follow so that we won’t get stranded anywhere foreign, but it also leaves a little room for what he likes to call the magic.

It works for us, because the truth is that you can’t get very far without planning at least a little bit. You’ll need to know how to get around, what you need to get a phone number, how to get the local currency and whether you need a visa or vaccinations. Perhaps the easiest way to make sure you’ve arranged everything you need, is to create your own personal travel checklist. Consider all the things you need to know before you go, and check them off as you figure them out.

We’ve got a checklist from Storebox to get you started, and we encourage you to continue adding your own items as your planning evolves. That way you’re sure nothing is left unattended and you can simply enjoy yourself on the road!

Travel Planning Checklist

 

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Mallorca by the Mile: Why You Should Drive the Island

Every place you travel has something special to offer. No matter where you go, each destination has something that makes it unique, whether it’s the food, the people, the culture, or something else entirely. Some places are even lucky enough to have more than one thing that attracts visitors to them, like Mallorca. The small Spanish island is one of those places that seems to have it all. Despite its small size, Mallorca boasts a wide range of attractions, from adventure to leisure, and all with stunning Mediterranean beaches.

It’s easily accessible from Spain, as well as many other European locations, and ferries make other nearby destinations like Ibiza just a short trip away. The island is divided roughly into three geographic regions: the Serra de Tramuntana, the Serra de Llevant and the central plain. Here, even the prices range enough to fit any budget. The coastal towns, of course, are more expensive, but every KM into the central region will bring more budget-friendly options.

While most major locations are reachable by bus or train, renting a car and driving yourself is also a great option. Outside of high season, reservations aren’t necessary, though on-the-spot rentals can be more expensive than booking in advance. This way, you can visit all the must-see sites in Mallorca, like the Serra de Tramuntana (also known as the Spanish Grand Canyon), the Castell de Bellver, or the Coves de Campanet, all on your own time.

Then, when you tire of hiking, cave-diving, or shopping, you’ll find plenty of places to relax in Puerto de Soller or take in the views at Punta de N’Amer, where the you can visit the natural park and museum free of charge. Whatever you’re looking for on your next vacation, Mallorca is sure to have it – all within close proximity. In fact, according to Book Mallorca, it takes less than 12 hours to drive the entire island – which is exactly why you should book your car and hit the road ASAP.

Mallorca Attractions

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Caribbean Islands

5 Most Beautiful Caribbean Destinations You Should Add To Your Bucket List

With so many inviting islands for you and the family to hop between, Caribbean destinations are great for a cruise that will keep adults and kids alike entertained. Combining long days of sunshine and brilliant beaches with sporty activities, each island has a unique personality. So where should you travel to?

Take a look at these five Caribbean destinations that many cruise liners call in at and start thinking about which paradise islands you want to visit for yourself.

Old Havana series

Havana, Cuba

With newly relaxed laws on Americans visiting Cuba, you might be walking around the vibrant capital of Havana sooner than you think. Soak in the local culture by strolling around the palm trees in Plaza de Armas, the oldest square in the city, during your Caribbean cruises.

Then hire out a car to drive along the Malecon seafront stretch, stopping off to sunbathe on rocks and jump into the cooling sea waters. You might even want to ditch the car and hire out some bikes or go on a bike tour to find out more about your fascinating surroundings.

Georgetown, Cayman Islands

Another amazing Caribbean destination is over on Grand Cayman Island, you will find the capital city of George Town. Snorkeling is a favorite pastime here, for people of all ages. Exploring the underwater Cali shipwreck is just one of the excursions that you can book onto. You can also choose to go sailing, whale watching or scuba diving. Cayman Safari Adventures is another great tour to book onto, with crystallised caves to walk through.

Basseterre, St Kitts,

The lively capital of St Kitts, Basseterre offers rain forest tours, ATV excursions and an old Irish Town. With a lot of history to learn about, you can find out more about the island’s past by visiting the National Museum and taking a walking tour around Pall Mall Square. For panoramic views of the beautiful island, plan a long walk to the southern peninsula via the Brimstone Hill Fortress UNESCO World Heritage Site.

kite boarding

Amber Cove, Dominican Republic

For a quieter way of life, Amber Cove is a more relaxed Caribbean spot on the Dominican Republic. Here you can swim with dolphins for the day, go on an outback adventure and take a trip out for lunch on a boat. There’s also the option to have fun on a catamaran boat, go snorkeling and find a nice private beach to experience tranquil paradise.

Pointe-A-Pitre, Guadeloupe

Experience a little bit of the European touch in Guadeloupe’s largest city. There are plenty of bustling markets to stroll around, including the Flower Market and St Antoine Market. Guadeloupe National Park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and it’s well worth a day trip since it features an active volcano, Les Chutes du Carbet waterfall and a mangrove swamp to wow your senses.

It’s fair to say that whatever Caribbean destinations you choose, the activity-packed waters, lush landscapes and captivating culture will ensure that you all have a brilliant time together.

Images by STEVEN CONRY and NICK KENRICK used under Creative Commons License.
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Victoria and Albert museum

Why to Rent a Holiday Apartment Near London Museums

London is a city of art, but a week-long stay, or even a two-week stay won’t afford you the time to see all of it; you won’t even come close. From world famous museums to galleries, fairs, art festivals, and special home collections, there’s no place like London if you’re after a vacation that embraces art.

When it comes to art shows, collections and world-famous installations, there’s no shortage. Your only problem is where to start. London is a stunning city, and with so much to offer you won’t want to spend all of your time admiring a painting, studying the first steam engine, or marvelling at a dinosaur. No London visit is complete without exploring the famous sights, devouring a good curry, and taking in a West End show.

One solution to getting your art fix is to rent your vacation apartment in the right spot to enjoy all of it. Some of London’s best walks are also where you’re going to find a luxury apartment that suits your short, active stay. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose your rental neighbourhood by attraction.

Kensington – a Pleasure Palace

Kensington is a pleasure to walk around as the neighbourhood borders one of London’s biggest greenspaces, Hyde Park. With its mostly flat open spaces, several larger pathways and a network of pleasant walks, the park is ideal for a stroll on a lazy afternoon. If you’re looking for art and architecture, Hyde Park is home to Kensington Palace, a simple 17th century manor house that once served as Queen Anne’s summer house and now functions as the residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Kate Middleton. A Rococo garden invites visitors to enjoy the Palace surroundings.

South Kensington – a Museum for Everyone

If it’s major museums you’re after, this is the best area to stay. You might find a larger selection of options around the area known as ‘Museum Mile’, but you’re better off staying in a holiday apartment that’s not right in the loud hustle and bustle of the city. South Kensington houses three of the world’s best museums in very close proximity including the renowned Natural History Museum, The Science Museum, and the breath-taking Victoria and Albert Museum. At the very back of the V&A are two giant halls filled with life-sized replicas of world-famous sculptures and monuments. Seeing them all together in a covered space is such an impressive sight, you’ll probably have to do a double take when you first stand beside the humongous Trajan’s Column.

Chelsea

The billionaire Charles Saatchi might be a controversial public figure, but his contribution to the art world is undeniable. Everything in the Saatchi Gallery, located right in the heart of Chelsea is free to visitors and well worth a stop if you’re dying to see the latest experiments in modern art. Mr. Saatchi pays for all the art out of is own pocket.

Chelsea is also home to the annual, spectacular Chelsea Flower Show. Visit London in May to experience what their website proclaims ‘world’s most prestigious flower show.’

Tate Modern London

If you want to catch more of the city’s great art you’ll need to venture out to Tate Modern and the Tate Britain, there’s a boat you can take from one to the other for an excellent little sightseeing tour along the Thames. If you only have time for one museum, the British Museum cannot be missed. Admission is free, and you’ll find more of the Parthenon here than in Athens. See it before Greece takes it all back.

Kensington (including South Kensington) and Chelsea are beautiful neighbourhoods with plenty to explore in of themselves. Because of their prime location near to all the main attractions, either Kensington or Chelsea are the perfect place to book a stunning vacation apartment.  Your holiday near London Museums will be inspiring and memorable.

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Vacation Planning for Fun

5 Ways to Make Your Vacation an Experience to Remember

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

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

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

Using Vacation Planning to Make it Fun

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

Online Research

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

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

Be Prepared

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

Local Knowledge

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

Go Off the Beaten Track

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

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

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