2018 has seen a shift in the way people travel. Movements towards responsible and ethical travel experiences are revolutionizing the travel industry, and right there with it is a trend to seek out more meaningful experiences, and focus on local travel.
And by local travel I don’t mean exploring your own backyard (though there’s a case to be made for that too!), I mean delving deeper into a country or city, and escaping the typical tourist circuit and main landmarks.
Really being able to experience a city … and here’s the buzz word … like a local!
We’re not all fortunate enough to have friends based in every city, but in terms of having access to someone who can show you the real side of their city, there’s definitely something to be said for paying a local to show you around.
This is especially true for a well trodden destination like Paris; private tours in Paris, led by locals, are a great way to experience a city from a more authentic point of view.
Paris. Every superlative in the world has been used to describe Paris, and whether they’ve personally traveled or not, I would wager that every person on earth could reel off an impressive list of things to do.
Photographs of Paris are instantly recognizable, and if you’re traveling to snap a photo of the wrought iron Eiffel Tower, or gargoyled Notre Dame cathedral, let’s be honest, that’s not exactly new.
Paris is, after-all, the most visited city in Europe, and many, many, people have walked the lamplit bridges of the Seine before you.
But despite being one of the most travelled cities in the world, Paris manages to keep a few secrets. Beyond the grandoise palaces and boulevards, and behind the museums and historic facades, are cobbled backstreets with many lesser-known things to do.
Whether you’re planning on staying in Paris for a few days, a few weeks or a few months, staying in an apartment is the best way to get a taste of life as a local, among locals. Hotels are still popular, of course, but if you’ve ever dreamed of living the Paris lifestyle, it’s now very easy and affordable for travelers to pick up the keys to a proper home!
With more space, a kitchen, and a washing machine, more travelers are choosing to stay in apartments over hotels (especially in Paris), and it’s become quite a popular trend. So much so that rental agencies like Paris Attitude, who cater to travelers, have gone from a portfolio of 20 properties 10 years ago, to 7,000 today!
And why not?! You get to spread out in some of the city’s most famous residential buildings for often a fraction of the normal nightly hotel price. And you have far more choice when it comes to location, with apartments on every street corner, with views of your favorite monument / attraction.
There is a definite shift away from hotels in favor of apartment rentals, so we’ve covered some of the best apartment rentals in Paris for travelers.
Paris is one of the world’s most iconic destinations, inspiring travel fantasies and capturing hearts and imaginations all over the world. But with so many highlights it can be a challenge to experience the city like a local would. And with 20 million odd travelers who visit the city every year, I wanted a more authentic experience than your average tourist would.
Short of moving to France (tempting), Cobblestone Paris offers that authentic experience even if you’re just visiting for a weekend; they rent impeccably furnished and conveniently located apartments which allow travelers to experience Paris the way a Parisian would.
Entering into a restaurant in Paris can be a formidable experience for uninitiated travelers. Not only do they have to contend with trying to make their wishes understood by a waiter who may or may not speak their language, but they must learn quickly how to adapt to local dining customs.
The Paris dining scene can be bewildering for those first time travelers who have no idea where to start, though if you’re confused about the difference between a bistrot and a brasserie, or if you feel intimidated by the prospect of going into any French restaurant and ordering a meal, then you’ve come to the right place!
Paris is a European shopping mecca, and the buzz and hype that surrounds the shopping experience here is like no other. Beautiful neighborhoods are bursting at the seams with designer fashion stores, and stylish people strutting the streets. It’s safe to say that Paris is a shopper’s dream.
Set up with over five major department stores and 17,500 + shops, the shops in Paris don’t sell clothes. They sell lifestyles. Though for those who can’t afford to shop at flagship stores, the city is still packed with an amazing range of discount and outlet stores.
In the lead up to Paris fashion week, the following is a guide for Paris fashion you can afford. For those fond of fashion who don’t want to spend a fortune, these are the best discount stores and factory outlets. You’ll find top international designer brands at prices discounted from 30 to 80%!
If you’re traveling as a family, it’s likely that you’ve set this time aside to bond with them. Travel is a fantastic way to bond with each other, and create beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.
Family travel can of course be more stressful than traveling alone; the logistics involved in coordinating group flights, accommodation, and tours, and trying your best to keep everyone happy and civilized!
But remember that less is often more when it comes to planning an itinerary, and if bonding is your main goal, the thing that matters most if that you’re spending quality time together.
The following are 6 ideas for bonding with each other when you’re on a family trip abroad.
From my seat here in Australia, Black Friday sales have not typically mattered to me.
As my friend Vanessa Chaisson wrote: “I reject the manipulation of capitalism and societal pressure which leads to environmental destruction, communities ravaged by debt, and non-ironic acid washed jeans.
I am a minimalist committed to supporting local businesses and the betterment of my community. I have been blessed with abundance this year and I need nothing more.”
But when I heard about Hotels.com offering 50% off hotels for Black Friday this was also me:
“Holy s&%t. Black Friday sales also apply to TRAVEL?????!!!”
This summer we spent a week in Brittany; a beautiful western region of France known for its delicious crepes and cider, as well as the impressive Mont-Saint-Michel.
Though unlike typical tourists who choose to stay in hotels, we chose a 5-star campsite located in Saint-Cast-le-Guildo, a charming village of the northern part of Brittany, also called the french Emerald Coast.
In a place where breathtaking beaches meet wild nature and rich history, you can explore the stunning Cap Fréhel, the picturesque Dinard or the medieval town of Saint-Malo.
Thinking of a 5 stay camping experience in Brittany yourself? This is an overview of our experience.
A charismatic country in the Balkans, with a landscape of rugged stone churches and jaw-dropping castles ripped straight out of the Middle Ages, Romania is one of Europe’s best kept secrets.
By European standards, Romania is well and truly off the beaten path, though for those willing to venture into the (relatively) unknown, the country offers one of Europe’s most authentic experiences; a wonderful blend of history, culture, and religion.
Fascinating urban centers like Bucharest offer sharp and constant contrasts; blending a cosmopolitan vibe with well-preserved medieval buildings. Rural villages offer the chance to witness fascinating age-old traditions, and come into contact with Saxon fortresses, Gypsies and wild bears.
Romania is also home to some of the most unspoiled wilderness in Europe, and from Delta villages built of reeds, to magnificent Gothic churches and castles backed by the majestic peaks of the Carpathian mountains, those seeking outdoor adventure are truly spoiled here.
Booking hotels via Online Travel Agencies (OTA’s) like Expedia and Booking has become very easy and convenient. Meta search websites like Kayak and Trivago have become so mainstream that they’re household names.
Before the internet, being able to find any information about hotels was the problem, and the above mentioned websites emerged to solve this. But now, 20 years later, shifting through the information is the problem, and the same websites are doing very little to help.
In fact, a closer look reveals that they are doing the opposite. Actively working to make the booking process confusing.
From misleading claims about discounts, to giving a false impression of room availability, and rushing you into booking decisions; in some cases OTA’s have become so bad that government authorities have stepped in to take action.
Especially for those of us who are passionate about travel and booking our own trips everyday, booking hotels online has become frustrating.
Here are the top 5 frustrations about booking hotels online (don’t worry, there’s a solution!)
Travel writing was once something reserved for the pages of books, and glossy magazines, though today we live in an age where anyone can create their own platform, and become a travel writer purely based on their own means.
Travel writing is certainly a more practical career goal than it used to be, though whether you’re writing for blogs, newspapers, or creating travel guides, the ability to create well written, quality content is still something you need.
Fortunately, if you’re passionate about writing, this is a skill that can be honed. If you’re looking to sharpen your travel writing skills, the following are 6 strategies that have worked for me.
Whether you’re travelling for business or for leisure, it’s important to know the best places to stay, no matter where your itinerary takes you.
For many travellers, accommodation is always an important factor to consider. And this is something that should involve a great deal of forethought, as your choice can really be an overall make or break.
With concerns over safety and comfort being top priorities, it’s crucial to take your time to find the best places to stay in any city or town. Follow these tips when doing so.
Let’s be honest. Making ethical travel choices isn’t always easy. And it’s often the least sustainable means of travel which come in the cheapest, while companies who champion positive ethical values and responsible travel are slightly more expensive.
Responsible and ethical travel will require you to do your research before you visit a place. It will cost time, money and effort. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and you can often make an individual impact by being willing to make a couple of simple lifestyle changes.
We can’t all live in the mountains and eat only what we have grown in our vegetable patches, however part of our duty as travellers is being aware that our decisions (yes, even on holiday!) have a significant impact on our natural surroundings.
I genuinely believe that we can explore the world and discover new cultures and places, while honouring and respecting the planet. Here are a few of my suggestions for how to travel in a more ethically conscious way.
Traveling to other countries is eminently exciting and will open up your mind to new cultures and your life to new experiences you’ll never forget.
But there’s more to traveling abroad than just getting there: you also have to think about how to get around once you do.
What makes a travel method “best?” As we explore some options below, we’ll consider speed, comfort, convenience, cost savings, and pure, full out fun as good reasons to include a travel option on our “best” list.
Europe has an allure that no other continent possesses. And with 51 independent countries, each with their own set of landmarks, natural wonders, and traditions, perhaps the great draw is the multitude of cultures and sheer diversity.
Of course, Europe is home to major destinations that dominate world tourism. The likes of London, Paris and Italy are frequented by mass tourism, and they have been written about so many times we could fill a library with their descriptions.
However away from the grandiose of commercialism and mass media slavery, Europe has many hidden gems, and authentic small villages where you can truly feel as though you’ve stumbled upon something undiscovered.
If you’re looking to take a detour from the beaten path of tourist-y Europe, the following are some of the most underrated small villages you’ll find.
Exploring a destination goes well beyond hitting the top attractions and sharing a few selfies on social media. Explorers travel in order to truly learn about destinations and to then share their importance with the world. An explorer looks to protect and give back to the places they experience, not take from or leave a negative impact.
To be human is to want to explore, it’s in our blood. And nearly all of us dream of following in the footsteps of the world’s great explorers. While many of the world’s greatest expeditions are suited to the small minority who are willing to sacrifice their lives for the expedition, there is one incredible expedition that anyone can experience without having to subject themself to brutal conditions.
Antarctica remains one of the least explored and largely untouched regions of the world. But these days it is also one of the very rare expeditions that you can experience in luxury.
There’s definitely no shortage of things to do in London, but by far my favorite experience is to take in a musical on the West End.
Whether it’s Jersey Boys or The Lion King, (and I’ve been known to take in two shows in a day!) there’s a giddy sense of excitement that comes with purchasing a West End Musical ticket, as I know I am about to be transported into another world.
Yes, I frequently superfan over the West End, so if it’s your lifelong dream to see a performance in London, the following have become my all time favorites, to the point where I’ve seen them again and again.
I have also included my “Bucket List” musicals that I hope to see during my future visits to London. So without further ado, I give you …
Imagine this: you’re scrolling through Facebook or swiping through your Instagram stories and you see one of your friends bragging about how they just booked a flight from D.C to New Zealand for $327 roundtrip.
You do a double take and wonder “How did they do it? Are fares that low even possible?”
They are indeed, and that’s what you call a mistake fare.
Mistake fares are exactly that – a mistake. It’s when airlines publish incorrect ticket prices like this $327 roundtrip from Washington D.C to New Zealand. They’re great for us as travelers, but not so much for the airlines.
Wondering how to catch these elusive fares? Here is everything you need to know about them if you want to visit your dream destinations for cheap.
Solo travel is an incredible, life changing experience, and I look back on my experiences as a solo traveler with extreme fondness. But like anything in life, travel has its ups and downs, and one particular experience that you’re also likely to encounter is loneliness.
Each of us is likely to experience loneliness in everyday life, but we rarely expect it when we’re traveling. Or for those of us who do expect it, the terrifying thought is what keeps you from getting on the plane.
And when the feeling inevitably creeps in, we feel uncomfortable talking about it, almost like it’s ungrateful to feel lonely while you’re on the trip of a lifetime.
I’ve heard travelers say things like they shouldn’t feel lonely because they’re in Paris. Or who wants to hear from a friend who is struggling with depression while vacationing on a gorgeous beach?
But it’s time to put an end to the notion that exciting cities or lovely scenery act as a magical force-field to loneliness, because it’s not true. Acknowledging that you’re allowed to feel lonely when you’re traveling is extremely important, because it then empowers you to beat it.
If you love photography, many notable sites around the world will quench your thirst. From Paris, to Rome, there are many iconic landmarks worth shooting, though adventure photographers may have a desire to explore destinations that are lesser known.
Malta is a unique island in the Mediterranean Sea that boasts many rich cultural and historic sites. And while it’s a small island, it certainly packs a heavy punch, with plenty of opportunity for unique photography.
Keen photographers will be able to shoot prehistoric temples, some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean, fossil studded cliffs, and a food scene which mixes Sicilian and Middle Eastern flavours with local Maltese ingredients.
Both man-made and natural sites make this island a place worth visiting. The following are five locations in Malta worth shooting.
Regardless of your destination, there are always certain attractions you look forward to when you travel. Whether you seek out restaurants, parks, or museums, there’s always a type of attraction you travel for.
History buffs might travel to walk among the ruins of ancient cities, foodies seek out exotic tastes and flavors, and nature enthusiasts travel for foreign landscapes and time in the great outdoors.
There’s nothing unusual about any of that – all of the above is pretty standard. But what if I told you people dream of spending their holiday in the sewer? Or pay to be locked up behind bars?
The following are 5 places you never would have guessed would be popular tourist attractions.