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Northern Lights by Cruise

Why You Should See the Northern Lights by Cruise

The Northern Lights are possibly one of the most sought-after attractions. The phenomenon is also called Aurora Borealis in the northern hemisphere after the Roman Goddess Aurora. They make bucket lists all over the world, attracting youth and adults alike. They take place via a collision between charged particles from the sun and molecules that live way up in the atmosphere. When the two meet, it causes them to glow beautiful shades of greens and blues inspiring some of the most stunning photographs.

The good news is that you can see them from a number of destinations, including Norway, Iceland, Canada, and Alaska, just to name a few. Because they take place in an Aural Zone, there is typically a better time of year to visit no matter which place you choose to see them.

In general, the best seasons in which to catch the Northern Lights are winter and spring. This is because summer is often too bright to see them clearly and autumn can bring more clouds. For that reason, the best trips are scheduled between December and April. Whenever you go, what you may not know is that seeing the Northern Lights by cruise can be the best method of travel.

Northern Lights by Cruise

Cruises, especially to see the Northern Lights, are great for a number of reasons. The first is that they appeal to all ages. Whether you are traveling with children, or are over 50 and looking for easy travel, cruises are relaxing and enjoyable for everyone. Another reason is the isolation. The Northern Lights can be fleeting, and are subject to light pollution. Taking a cruise takes you outside the hustle and bustle of the roads and cities, giving you a clear glimpse of the magical attraction with less light pollution.

Where taking a quick trip to a Northern Lights destination would give you a brief chance to see them, taking a 15-day cruise from Southampton to Alta gives you several chances to bask in them. Actually, this kind of trip won’t be short of any impressive sights, as you’ll pass through the Arctic Circle and see Norway from a new perspective.

If you have always wanted to see the Northern Lights, it’s not too late. You can relax and take your time with a cruise to the majestic display. Plus, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you’ll have the chance to try dog-sledding or snowmobiling! Adventure is calling!

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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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