World’s Longest Flights

LONG-HAUL FLIGHTS

Since 23 November 2013, the longest non-stop scheduled airline flight is Qantas Flight 8 (QF8) from Dallas/Fort Worth, USA, to Sydney, Australia, and its return flight (QF7), 13,804 kilometres (7,454 nmi) flown using an Airbus A380-842 since 29 September 2014, and a Boeing 747-400ER before.

Announced
On 28 January 2016, Emirates announced it would launch non-stop flights between Dubai and Auckland on 1 March 2016 with a Boeing 777-200LR.

The 16h EK448 flight will depart Dubai at 10:00am local time, arriving in Auckland 11:00am daylight-time the next day, with the reciprocal 17h15 EK449 flight departing Auckland at 9:30pm daylight-time, arriving in Dubai 5:45am local time the following day.

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The flight will cover a great-circle distance of 14,200 km (7,667 nmi).

It will be longer than Emirates flight from Dubai to Panama City with a 266-seat Boeing 777-200LR announced In August 2015.

EK251 is scheduled in 17:35 westbound, the return EK252 to leave at 22:10 EST (7:10 GST next day) and arrive at 22:55 GST (13:55 EST) the next day in 15:45.

The flights were scheduled to begin on 1 February but were deferred to start on 31 march in order to receive codeshare approvals. The flight distance is 13,821 km (7,463 nmi).

On the same day, United Airlines announced a daily Boeing 787-9 service from San Francisco to Singapore non-stop starting June 1, 2016.

The 16 h 20m UA1 flight and its 15 h 30m return UA2 flight will cover 13,592 km (7,339 nmi).

Envisioned
Miami International Airport is in talks with China Airlines and EVA Air to launch before 2018 a nonstop 13,922 km (7,517 nmi) flight to Taipei, and Qantas is considering a nonstop 14,499 km (7,829 nmi) Perth-London service on Boeing 787-9s, to be delivered from 2017.

Singapore Airlines will be the launch customer of the Airbus A350-900 ULR, the A350 ultra-long-range variant, to be delivered in 2018 and enabling the re-launch of the world’s longest non-stop flights between Singapore to Los Angeles (14,113 km or 7,620 nmi) and New York (15,336 km or 8,281 nmi), among other considerations.

Seating is reduced from 300 seats in Singapore Airlines standard A350 configuration to 170 to allow for more fuel.

At the January 2016 Bahrain International Airshow, Qatar Airways announced it will add ultra-long haul routes between Doha to Santiago de Chile and Auckland using Boeing 777-200LR.

The distance between Doha and Auckland is 14,535 km (7,848 nmi) and to Santiago is 14,430 km (7,790 nmi), both flights would take around 18 and a half hours.

New Zealand Top 10 Attractions

New Zealand is an otherworldly, photogenic and friendly country offering visitors unbeatable changes for adventure and exploration.

The rugged islands are home to dense native forests, mountains, beaches, glaciers, thermal regions and fiords that have been well-preserved by the environmentally-conscious government and culture. New Zealand is a place where traditional Maori culture mixes with modernity in cosmopolitan cities, charming villages and vast expanses of untouched wilderness.

Pristine and heavenly, the island nation has something for everyone, including the following top tourist attractions in New Zealand.

10. Coromandel Peninsula
This north-eastern peninsula is famous for its white and golden sand beaches that frame magnificent coastal scenery, forests perfect for days of exploration and other natural wonders. Start your visit in Thames, a small but picturesque city with a rich history of gold mining.

Don’t miss a stop at Hot Water Beach, where visitors can dig their own hot pool from the springs under the sands.

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9. Abel Tasman National Park
Located on the northern tip of the country’s South Island, this vast national park is a hiker’s dream.

Closed to vehicles, one must enter by boat, foot or small plane, but the trip is well worth it. While traversing the mountainous terrain, blue penguins, wekas, oyster catchers, wood pigeons and other rare birds can all be seen.

8. Sky Towerflickr/Abaconda
The Sky Tower is an observation and telecommunications tower located in New Zealand’s largest city.

At a height of 328 meters (1,076 ft) it is the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere and the Sky Tower has become an iconic structure in Auckland’s skyline. The tower offers views of up to 80 km away and fine dining in the Orbit revolving restaurant.

7. Napier Art Deco
Napier, a small city in Hawke’s Bay on the North Island’s east coast, is famous for its eye-catching art deco architecture.

Most of Napier was leveled by an earthquake in 1931. The rebuilding period coincided with the short-lived Art Deco era and as a result Napier’s architecture is strikingly different from any other city in the world.

Thousands of tourist visit Napier every February for the Art Deco Weekend, an event dedicated to the style, vintage cars, picnics and the soapbox derby.

6. Kaikoura
This small coastal town on the South Island is a haven for seafood lovers. You can spot fur seals, dolphins, sperm whales and albatrosses off the shore, then indulge in a feast of fresh crayfish, mussels, blue cod and more.

Land lovers can take a wilderness walk through the untamed and dramatic Kaikoura forest.

5. Franz Josef Glacier
This glacier, located within Westland National Park in the southwest, is one of the world’s most accessible.

Visitors can walk right up to the foot of the massive glacier or take a helicopter ride over the dazzling Ice Age remnant. Together with Fox Glacier it is one of South Westland’s major drawcards for tourists.

4. Rotorua
Rotorua is known as the thermal wonderland of New Zealand. There are numerous geysers and hot springs in and around the city.

Many of these are in parks and reserves. Natural eruptions of steam, hot water and mud occasionally occur in new locations. Nearby Wai-O-Tapu is also a popular tourist attraction with many hot springs noted for their colorful appearance, in addition to the Lady Knox Geyser.

3. Tongariro National Park
The first national park of New Zealand, Tongariro is known for its surprises and extremes. The park’s diverse range of ecosystems includes tranquil lakes, active volcanoes, herb fields, untamed forests and desert-like plateaus.

Start your trek at the Whakapapa Visitor Center, just a three hour hike from the stunning Taranaki Falls.

The short hike will take you through scrubland and forest and across the lava line of volcanic eruptions from hundreds of years ago.

2. Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands is one of the most popular holiday destinations in New Zealand.

The picturesque area contains 144 islands, many secluded bays and some great sandy beaches. This beautiful bay has an abundance of marine life including whales, penguins, dolphins and the big marlin.

Not surprisingly, it is a popular tourist spot for sailing yachts on world cruises and international sport fishermen.

1. Milford Sound
Milford Sound is among the most famous tourist attractions in New Zealand. Lying at the most northern and accessible end of Fiordland National Park, Milford sound offers some of the world’s most staggering coastal scenery with its dramatic peaks and dark blue waters.

The area’s frequent downpours only enhance this South Island beauty, sending numerous waterfalls cascading down the cliffs.

Major Airports:

Auckland Airport is the largest and busiest airport in New Zealand.
It is both a domestic and international hub for Air New Zealand, and as the New Zealand hubs of Virgin Australia and Jetstar Airways.Auckland Airport is one of New Zealand’s most important infrastructure assets, providing thousands of jobs for the region.
It is one of only two airports in New Zealand (the other being Christchurch) capable of handling Boeing 777, Boeing 747 and Airbus A380 aircraft.

Wellington International Airport (formerly known as Rongotai Airport) is an international airport located in the suburb of Rongotai in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. It lies 3 NM or 5.5 km south-east from the city centre. It is a hub for Air New Zealand and its subsidiaries. Wellington International Airport Limited, a joint venture between Infratil and the Wellington City Council, operates the airport.

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions Thailand

THAILAND KNOWN FOR GREAT VALUE HOLIDAYS

Thailand, also known as the Land of Smiles, is a jewel of Southeast Asia. Developed enough to provide most comforts yet still wild enough to offer off-the-beaten path adventure,
Thailand is a country ripe with opportunity for once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.

Whether you start with the world-class beaches in the south or the mountain villages in the north, Thailand will not disappoint.

Cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai are bustling hives of activity and commerce, but you haven’t really seen the country until you’ve trekked in the mountains or enjoyed some face-time with elephants or the bold monkeys (who will steal your lunch as soon as look at you).

Thailand’s attractions are diverse and each provides a rewarding and memorable experience in its own way.

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Railay Beach
Krabi province is home to some of Thailand’s most famous beach destinations, and Railay is the cream of the crop.

Widely considered one of the best beaches in the country, Railay delivers on promises of white sand beaches, clear blue water, and a feeling that you’ve found a slice of paradise. You have to take a boat to reach the island getaway, with services available from Krabi town and Ao Nang.

The beaches are the main reason to visit Railay, but it’s also a rock-climbing hotspot. Railay’s karst peaks draw adventurers both experienced and novice to try their hand at climbing the towering limestone cliffs.

Among the many other active things to do, you can go elephant trekking, whitewater rafting, kayaking, and snorkeling, or take on some lighter options such as cooking classes and indulging in a massage.

There’s also the tourist-friendly Diamond Cave, with a convenient walkway to accommodate curious visitors looking to do some exploring between stretches of sunbathing.

Koh Phi Phi
The Phi Phi Islands, also in Krabi, are one of Thailand’s most popular resort areas for a reason.

Only Phi Phi Don is inhabited, with day trips available to the surrounding islands. One of the fun spots on Koh Phi Phi is Monkey Beach, where you’ll come face-to-face, literally, with the namesake creatures.

You can hire a guide to take you out on a small wooden boat or rent your own kayak. There’s also a small stand where you can buy snacks and fruit shakes, but hang onto your treats. If you leave them unguarded, the monkeys will brazenly dig in and chow down right in front of you.

Long Beach is another nice spot on the island; it’s not a secluded place, but is great for watching the sunset. If you’re lucky and the tide is out, it’s a beautiful walk back toward the main part of the island.

Tour operators offer packages for snorkeling and diving trips, as well as excursions to the infamous Maya Bay, where the Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach was filmed.

Because Koh Phi Phi draws so many tourists, there are plenty of tour companies arranging tickets to other beach destinations, such as Phuket, Koh Chang, and Koh Lanta. Though you would hardly know to see it now, Phi Phi Don was one of the areas hit hard by the 2004 tsunami.

Guesthouses, restaurants, and markets have been rebuilt and crowds still come in droves to the resort island. There is a small, somber memorial park to honor those who died in the tragedy, yet the resort areas appear otherwise revived.

The Grand Palace, Bangkok
Even if your plans for Thailand mainly involve frolicking on a beach, cozying up to elephants, and eating as much Massaman curry and tom ka gai as humanly possible, you’ll probably spend at least a day or two in Bangkok.

There’s plenty to see and do in the capital, but it’s perhaps best to start with the Grand Palace. This is the number one sightseeing attraction in the city, and it’s staggering in historical significance and craftsmanship.

The grounds are a maze of royal halls, temples, and ancient relics, the most important being Wat Phra Kaeo, Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

A relic within this temple is said to be a piece of bone or hair from the enlightened Buddha himself. Allow several hours to do the Grand Palace justice, but if you’re up for more walking afterward, you can easily take in some of the city’s other major landmarks.

The famous Wat Po and Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn (a great place to watch the sunset), are also nearby. And as Bangkok is a main hub for international travel, it’s a great starting point for excursions throughout the country.

Sunday Walking Street, Chiang Mai
Every Thailand visitor looks forward to cheap and delicious food, and it can be found in abundance at Chiang Mai’s Sunday Night Walking Street.

Vendors sell all kinds of treats: pad Thai, chicken satay, samosas, crab cakes, fried bananas, sweet rotees, and fresh fruit shakes – often for less than $2 a piece.

When you’ve satisfied your culinary cravings, you can peruse hundreds of stalls selling an array of unique goods such as all-natural soaps, hand-dyed textiles bearing the unique patterns of local hill tribes, incense and essential oils, musical instruments, paintings, wall hangings, and more.

The market gets crowded every week without fail, no matter what time of year you’re visiting, so brace yourself and try to enjoy being part of the throng.

This is a must-do in Chiang Mai, and is an essential part of the Thailand experience.
If you’re not around for the Sunday market, or just want to get a taste of other market experiences in Chiang Mai, check out the Saturday Night Walking Street or the Night Bazaar on Chang Klan Road, a daily event.

For something less touristy, check out the daytime Warorot Market, near Mae Ping River.

Pai
Thailand’s reputation as a country of beautiful landscapes and friendly people is thanks largely to the world-renowned southern beaches.

Most people don’t realise that the vast north is also home to breathtaking landscapes, though these are of a different nature entirely.

Northern Thailand, particularly the western region near the Burmese border, is marked by mountainous jungle terrain that is both rugged and beautiful.

Pai, in Mae Hong Son province, is a perfect place from which to enjoy the country’s natural beauty as well as the famed Thai hospitality and cooking.

This small town has developed a reputation as a mecca for hippies and backpackers, though you will see locals and families here as well. There is a small nightly walking street market, a variety of local and Western foods, and easy access to nearby temples, waterfalls, and the impressive Pai canyon.

There is an air of cheerfulness and relaxation as you walk through the tiny town center, and it is this vibe that continues to draw crowds season after season.

Khao Yai National Park
Elephants are revered in Thailand, and statues and paintings of them can be seen everywhere you go.

There are many tour groups and elephant camps throughout the country allowing you to spend a day or more with the creatures, trekking through the jungle, bathing them, and even getting to help out with their morning feedings. B

ut perhaps more exciting is the chance to see them in their natural environment, and Khao Yai National Park provides a great opportunity to do just that.

You’ll see elephants roaming near waterfalls, exotic birds of prey, monkeys, and plenty of other tropical creatures that call the park home.

If a one-day stay isn’t enough to take it all in, it’s possible to camp out at the park and get up early enough to watch the sunrise over the lush landscape.

Sukhothai Old City
This is a favourite stop for history buffs and photography enthusiasts, as there are many lovely photo ops in this ancient capital of Thailand.

Ruins of this old city still stand proud despite enduring centuries of battle and exposure to the elements.

Sukhothai’s Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and much has been invested to restore and preserve one of Thailand’s most significant historical sites.

Historic City of Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya presents a glimpse into the glory of ancient Thailand, where visitors can wander the haunting but romantic ruins of the former capital.

After the Sukhothai period, the city was the most important in Thailand, and the old palaces and temples stand as a testament to this.

There are also several foreign settlements, where you can gain a greater understanding of the influence other countries had in Thailand at the time.

Ayutthaya is located only a short bus trip or train ride from Bangkok, making it convenient for a day trip if you’re pressed for time.

If you’re on a more leisurely schedule, plan on spending a few days in the ancient capital and rent a push-bike to tour both the old city and the new.

Doi Suthep
Perhaps the best-known wat in Chiang Mai sits atop Doi Suthep, a mountain overlooking Thailand’s northern rose of a city.

In a crowd of monks, devout Buddhist followers, and fellow travellers, you’ll have a chance to marvel at intricate religious carvings, observe worship rituals, and gaze out over the ever-growing sprawl of Chiang Mai city.

Just be sure to bring a bottle of water and your walking shoes – the staircase to the temple is steep. At the base of the stairs, vendors hawk everything from tasty local treats to goods handmade by villagers from the surrounding mountains.

There’s also a shop selling masks, elephant carvings, and home furnishings so you can do some shopping while recovering from the trek up and down the stairs.

You can combine your trip to Doi Suthep with excursions to Doi Pui, a small Hmong village in the mountains.

It’s far more touristy than other villages, but if you’re on a tight schedule, this will give you a taste of Hmong culture and a chance to learn more about the hill tribe communities in the region, not to mention purchase some beautiful hand-woven textiles.

The Bhubing Palace, open to tourists, is on the way to Doi Pui from Doi Suthep as well.

Floating Markets
A visit to one of the floating markets is a fun way to do some shopping and eating while supporting local vendors and observing local commerce in action.

Some do seem to cater more to the tourist crowds than to be part of the fabric of local Thais’ daily lives, but there are others that make for a nice authentic travel experience.

You’ll need to get up early to visit a floating market, as vendors are out in their long wooden boats first thing in the morning with their goods, fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, and tasty dishes.

There are several floating markets near Bangkok, Amphawa and Damnoen Saduak being among the most popular. You can go it alone or join a guided tour, which can include visits to local houses and shops.

Major Airports:

Phuket International Airport is an airport serving Phuket Province of Thailand.
It is in the north of Phuket Island, 32 kilometres (20 mi) from the centre of Phuket City.
The airport plays a major role in Thailand’s tourism industry, as Phuket Island is a popular resort destination. It is the third busiest airport in Thailand in terms of passengers, after Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang International Airport in the Bangkok metropolitan area.

Don Mueang International Airport (or also [old] Bangkok International Airport) is one of two international airports serving Bangkok, Thailand, the other one being Suvarnabhumi Airport ([New] Bangkok International Airport) (BKK).

The airport is considered to be one of the world’s oldest international airports and Asia’s oldest operating airport. It was officially opened as a Royal Thai Air Force base on 27 March 1914, although it had been in use earlier.

Suvarnabhumi Airport also known as (New) Bangkok International Airport, is one of two international airports serving Bangkok, Thailand.

The airport is currently the main hub for Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways and Orient Thai Airlines. It also serves as regional gateway and connecting point for various foreign carriers.

Travellers Rank The Best Economy Seats

Economy class is rarely described as comfortable, and the shrinking size of airplane seats is something travellers have mostly come to accept.

But some airlines are worse than others, so Airfarewatchdog polled U.S. fliers, asking “which domestic airline has the most comfortable economy class seats?” More than 1,700 fliers responded, revealing the least-bad options for budget air travel.

1. JetBlue – 21%
“Apparently, even one or two inches makes all the difference.

JetBlue is famous for giving passengers more legroom than any other domestic airline in all economy class seats, so it’s no surprise that consumers recognize them as having the most comfortable seating,” said Airfarewatchdog founder and president George Hobica. “Even with recent reductions in seat pitch, JetBlue still offers a minimum of 33 inches between seat rows.”

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Seat Pitch
Seat pitch is the distance between the same two points on two seats.

Economy class on airplanes in the U.S. ranges between 29 and 34 inches of seat pitch.

2. Alaska – 17%
The 32-inch seat pitch on Alaska Airlines’ 737 planes probably contributed to its ranking, however the airline plans to add “slim-line seating” to its new planes, said Hobica. That could hurt future rankings.

3. Hawaiian – 14%
Hawaiian Airlines economy seats have seat pitches between 30 and 32 inches, according to SeatGuru.

Considering their flights are often longer than many routes in the 48 contiguous states, comfiness on Hawaiian is important.

4. Frontier – 13%
Seats on Frontier have a 30-31 inch pitch and 18-inch width.

5. Allegiant – 8%
Economy class on Allegiant offers only 30 inches of seat pitch, according to SeatGuru, but its seats still ranked above many other airlines.

6. Southwest – 6%
The non-exit row seats on Southwest have a seat pitch of 32 to 33 inches. If you’re lucky enough to get the window behind the exit row on some planes, however, you can stretch your legs out to your heart’s desire.

7. AirTran – 6%
AirTran’s Boeing 717s have a seat pitch of 30 inches, while the 737’s have 31 inches.

8. Delta – 5%
Many of Delta’s economy class seats have a seat pitch of 31 inches, although the fleet varies widely.

9. United – 3%
Like similar domestic carriers, economy class on United offers a seat pitch of 31 inches.

10. Spirit – 3%
Airfarewatchdog’s Hobica said it was a surprise that Spirit wasn’t last on the list. The low-cost carrier is known for cutting corners, not comfort.

Spirit’s CEO Ben Baldanza has taken comparisons of the airline to a public bus as a compliment.

11. American – 2%
“American and most other airlines have reduced seat pitch to 31 inches in their 737s, placing them near the bottom,” said Hobica.

12. US Airways – 2%
US Airways’ planes have a seat pitch between 31 and 32 inches. Even though that’s more than carriers like Spirit, the seats’ comfiness is ranked as last in the poll, after being adjusted for airline size.

 

Melbourne Australia Travel Guide

Victoria’s capital is full of culture and quirks, with a strong sense of artistry and home to some of the best food, dining and live music in the country.

It’s also home to a number of great attractions both natural and man-made, and with plenty of appealing surrounding destinations within easy reach of a day trip too, there’s something to keep everyone happy when visiting Melbourne.

But with such a wide variety of experiences on offer in the city and its surrounds, what is the first-time visitor to Melbourne best off doing with their time here? And if you’ve got multiple days on your itinerary, what opportunities are there for exploration outside the city’s boundaries?

From art, to attractions, to architecture and more, here, we look at the top 10 things to do in Melbourne & surrounds.

  1. Eureka Skydeck

Location: 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank, Melbourne

If you’re looking to begin your visit to Melbourne by getting an idea of the city’s layout – including the location of a number of other landmarks listed on this list – there are few better places to do so than the Eureka Skydeck.
Begin your journey with awe inspiring views from the Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing platform that boasts not only a central location overlooking the city and beyond, but a great starting point for any trip to Melbourne as it will allow you to get your bearings and determine where you’d like to go while also providing some great scenery to boot. For those that dare to take the views a step further, you’ll be able to experience Skydeck’s “The Edge” – an activity that will see you taken over the edge in a glass box, with views directly down into the cityscape.
Begin your journey with awe inspiring views from the Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing platform that boasts not only a central location overlooking the city and beyond, but a great start point for any trip to Melbourne.

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  1. The Shrine of Remembrance

Location: Kings Domain Parkland, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne

This wonderful feat of construction serves as both a fitting tribute to our veterans from wars throughout our history, as well an ideal starting point for your adventures in Melbourne for a variety of reasons.

The Shrine of Remembrance’s central location serves as a great “lay of the land” spot from which to get your bearings in the city, it offers visitors great views from the top that provide an overview of Melbourne’s Paris-style layout, and it’s an impressive piece of architecture in its own right.

Situated on a hill that provides a solid vantage point close to other Melbournian highlights such as the Botanical Gardens and Government House, the Shrine of Remembrance is easily accessible via a short walk from the city’s free City Circle Tram service.

Thus it – along with Eureka Skydeck – can serve as viable options as Item No. 1 on everyone’s Melbourne itinerary. As an added bonus, the Shrine’s views come free of charge.

“It offers visitors great views from the top that provide an overview of Melbourne’s Paris-style layout, and it’s an impressive piece of architecture in its own right.“

  1. Go Hot Air Ballooning

Location: Flights available over Melbourne CBD and Yarra Valley

Those with a bit of extra coin to spare and who are wanting some unforgettable views will want to take a hot air balloon ride over Melbourne, as it’s one of the few cities in the world that allow such an experience directly over its skyline. Take in the beauty of the city as the sun rises and enjoy a bird’s eye view of all that you survey amidst the pure calm and serene skies.
Balloon flights typically depart very early in the morning to take advantage of the calm morning air, so you’ll get the added benefit of seeing Melbourne illuminated by the glow of the sunrise which makes for a particularly scenic experience.
“Balloon flights typically depart very early in the morning to take advantage of the calm morning air, so you’ll get the added benefit of seeing Melbourne illuminated by the glow of the sunrise which makes for a particularly scenic experience.“

  1. See St. Paul’s Cathedral / Flinders St Station

Location: Flinders and Swanson Streets, Melbourne CBD

Despite its modern and cosmopolitan reputation, Melbourne is home to numerous examples of impressive older architecture – two of the most impressive of which lie within short walking distance of one another.

Perhaps the most prominent and impressive of these is St. Paul’s Cathedral. A truly stunning building constructed in typical Gothic style, the cathedral sits just across the road from Melbourne’s historic Flinder’s Street Station, and the two combine to make for a small “hub” district that feels a world away from Australia’s second-largest city despite being located right in its heart.

“Despite its modern and cosmopolitan reputation, Melbourne is home to numerous examples of impressive older architecture – two of the most impressive of which lie within short walking distance of one another.“

St. Paul’s Cathedral is just as impressive inside as out; the interior boasts impressive craftsmanship as a lot of passion and work obviously went into its construction; from the wooden pews to the carvings on the walls and stained glass which emanates an array of colours from on high, the interior is both an impressive and tranquil place.

  1. The Dandenong Ranges

Location: Approx. 1 hours’ drive east of Melbourne CBD

Those looking for a dose of nature while getting out of the city for a day or two can look inland and head towards the lush reaches of the greater Melbourne region’s Dandenong Ranges, an area that’s both scenic and provides several unique activities of its own.

The majestic mountain range is famed for its towering Mountain Ash trees and features a blend of wonderful scenery, spots to get fantastic local food, charming little villages and small stores offering various hand-crafted goods. Options for exploring the ranges are numerous; ride on Australia’s most notable narrow gauge railway through the breathtaking Blue Dandenong Ranges, visit the area by coach, join a smaller tour for the full Dandenong Ranges experience, or have the best of both worlds with a combined city and Dandenong Ranges tour.

  1. The Queen Victoria Market

Location: Corner of Victoria Street and Elizabeth Street, Melbourne

Those with a need for knick-knacks will be in their element with a visit to Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Markets, a bustling outdoor hub with an item, souvenir or meal to suit pretty much every taste.

This is the Queen of all markets and the vibrant, exciting mix of cultures and ethnicities of Melbourne can be discovered here, with a variety of foods and souvenirs from all corners of the Earth on offer.

The markets also serve as a great place for breakfast or lunch, and you’ll likely be able to grab yourself a meal from some far-reaching country for an entirely reasonable price that makes for a nice change of pace from the typical “dine-in cafe” experience that is most popular in Melbourne.

  1. Experience the Great Ocean Road

Location: Starts approx. 1 hour, 15 minutes’ drive to the south west of Melbourne at Torquay.

Often acclaimed as the most stunning drive in Australia – and one of the best in the world – no trip to Melbourne that lasts a decent amount of time would be complete without setting foot (or wheel?) on The Great Ocean Road, one of Australia’s most scenic vantage points.

Stretching over an expanse of 243km along the Victorian Coast, the sheer array of vistas and views on offer with a trip along the Great Ocean Road is staggering – enough that it’s been voted as one of Australia’s Top 10 Destinations to Experience 2013 as well as having one of Australia’s Top 10 Sunsets in our national polls by the Aussie public.

  1. Travel to Phillip Island

Location: Just under 2 hours’ drive south of Melbourne

One of the most popular natural destinations that’s reachable within a reasonable distance outside Melbourne, Phillip Island is especially famous for one reason: its penguins.

With a trip to Phillip Island, you’ll be able to watch thousands of Little Penguins make their way to shore every night at the home of the world’s largest Little Penguin colony, an occurrence which is known as the “Penguin Parade”.

There’s plenty of other things to do on Phillip Island, as well: be sure to visit the nearby Koala Conservation Centre which will let you see dozens of these cute Aussie icons up close, and check out the geographical highlights offered by Churchill Island (home to a throwback working farm environment that reflects Victoria’s heritage) and The Nobbies (a stunning stretch of headland featuring a range of scenery-rich wooden boardwalks).

“With a trip to Phillip Island, you’ll be able to watch thousands of Little Penguins make their way to shore every night at the home of the world’s largest Little Penguin colony, an occurrence which is known as the ‘Penguin Parade’.“

  1. See the Wildlife at a Zoo or Aquarium

Location: Melbourne Aquarium – King Street, riverside in the Melbourne CBD; Melbourne Zoo – 4km to the north of the city CBD; Healesville Sanctuary – approx. 1 hour drive east of the Melbourne CBD; Werribee Open Range Zoo – roughly 30 minutes’ drive to the south-west of the city CBD.

Melbourne benefits more than most capital cities by offering an array of high-level wildlife attractions of various kinds, covering all the best local Aussie animals as well as exotic species from abroad.

The city and its surrounds is rich in both zoos and aquariums, both of which are generally quite reasonably priced and provide a great destination to take the kids or to spend some time if the notoriously unreliable Melbourne weather turns sour.

  1. Explore the city’s Laneways

Location: Various locations, Melbourne CBD & surrounds

Note: Click the following link for a detailed breakdown of some recommended Melbourne Itineraries for stays of 2, 3, 4 and 5 days, or here for our comprehensive guide to Melbourne in One Day.

Melbourne the city itself is, undisputedly, the main attraction, and whether by bike, by bus or by foot, exploring the city is an absolute must. Filled with quirky alley ways, hidden shops, art galleries and indie theatres, it certainly earns its reputation as Australia’s culture capital – Melbourne simply wouldn’t be Melbourne without its laneways, thus simply exploring the city serves as viable entertainment in itself.

Dining is also an obvious focus that Melbournians take pride in, and there are entire dedicated streets and laneways to offering all manner of quality fare – while coffee is its most famous product, the mix of international cultures in Melbourne means that the likes of Greek, Italian, Chinese, and various other cuisines all have standout restaurants offering great dishes here.

Getting There:

Melbourne Airport, also known as Tullamarine Airport, is the primary airport serving the city of Melbourne, and the second busiest airport in Australia.

It was opened in 1970 to replace the nearby Essendon Airport. Melbourne Airport is the sole international airport of the four airports serving the Melbourne metropolitan area.

The airport is 23 km (14 mi) from the city centre. The airport has its own postcode—Melbourne Airport, Victoria (postcode 3045). This is adjacent to the suburb of Tullamarine.

The Melbourne–Sydney air route is the third most-travelled passenger air route in the world and the third busiest in the Asia Pacific region.

The airport features direct flights to 33 domestic destinations of Australia in addition to destinations in the Pacific, London, Asia and North America.

Melbourne Airport is the number one arrival/departure point for the airports of four of Australia’s seven other capital cities.N1 Melbourne serves as a major hub for Qantas and Virgin Australia, while Jetstar Airways and Tiger Airways Australia utilise the airport as home base.

Top 10 Attractions The Bahamas

10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Bahamas

When beach lovers dream about the perfect stretch of powdery sand, lapped by seas in sublime shades of blue, they’re probably dreaming about the Bahamas.

Encompassing 700 islands and more than 2000 small cays sprinkled across the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, this tropical paradise lies only 50 miles from Florida at its closest point.

Once a haven for pirates and Loyalists, the islands are now a playground for the rich and famous, and anyone who enjoys world-class fishing, boating, diving, snorkeling, and sailing.

Nassau, the nation’s capital, on New Providence Island, attracts the most tourists. This bustling cruise port is a glitzy mix of mega resorts, shops, restaurants, and entertainment complexes. Grand Bahama follows in second place. The other islands, affectionately called the Family Islands or Out Islands, cluster into groups, each with its own distinct character and charm.

Slung like pearls across the shallow Bahama Banks, the Abacos and Exumas offer some of the world’s best waters for boating and sailing. These peaceful islands are dotted with sleepy fishing villages and secluded beaches, and many are rimmed by pristine coral reefs. The other islands all offer something for discerning travelers.

From the big game fishing of Bimini, and the pink sand beaches of Harbour Island, to bonefishing, regattas, and uncrowded outer cays, it’s hard to beat the Bahamas. For those visiting around the New Year, don’t miss the throbbing drums and kaleidoscopic costumes of Junkanoo, the nation’s most popular festival.

1. Atlantis
Dominating the skyline on Paradise Island, this splashy, salmon-pink resort evocatively recreates the legend of Atlantis in a luxury hotel, entertainment complex, aquarium, and water park.

Guests at the hotel score free entry into the popular 141-acre Aquaventure, a waterscape packed with high-speed slides, more than 20 pools, and a mile-long Lazy River Ride. In the marine habitat, hammerhead sharks and swordfish swim through sparkling open-air pools. Guests will also find many shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues on site.

The fantasy sea theme continues throughout, capturing the imagination of young and old alike.

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2. Grand Bahama
The northernmost of the Bahamian islands, Grand Bahama is the closest major island to the United States and a popular destination for package tourists and cruise ships. The capital, Freeport, is the second biggest city in the Bahamas, though Port Lucaya has now replaced it as the tourist hub for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Port Lucaya Marketplace sells jewelry and straw goods as well as other souvenirs, and the marina is a social hotspot for tourists and boaters. Despite the island’s large all-inclusive resorts and hotels, it’s still possible to escape the crowds.

Grand Bahama boasts the world’s largest underwater cave system and nature-lovers can spot many native bird species in the three national parks.

3. Bimini
Known as the “Big Game Fishing Capital of The Bahamas”, Bimini Island is the closest of the islands to the U.S. mainland, lying approximately 45 miles east of Miami, Florida.

The fishhook shaped cluster of islands includes North Bimini, South Bimini, and numerous cays extending south from Pigeon Cay to South Cat Cay. Bimini hosts popular deep-sea fishing tournaments from March to September, and diving and snorkeling opportunities abound.

Besides the popular shark and dolphin dives, highlights include Rainbow Reef, Sapona Wreck, and Victory Reef. Ernest Hemingway spent several summers in Bimini, finding inspiration for the novels “The Old Man and the Sea” and “Islands in the Stream”. Look for related exhibits at the Bimini Museum.

4. Andros Island
Andros, the largest landmass in the Bahamas, boasts the third largest barrier reef in the world, as well as many freshwater blue holes and underwater caves. It’s no surprise then, that this is a popular destination for divers.

The island’s vast wetlands create channels, which are prime boating and fishing areas. Fly fishing is big here, and Andros is often called “the bonefishing capital of the world”. Andros also has the largest protected area in the Bahamas with five national parks.

Nature lovers will appreciate the rich bird life in the mud flats, mangrove swamps, and forests, as well as the island’s eco-resorts. In addition to all these natural attractions, tourists can visit the Androsia Batik Factory, which sells brightly-colored fabrics featuring bold Bahamian motifs.

5. Harbour Island
Pretty Harbour Island, northeast of its big sister, Eleuthera, is the oldest settlement in the Bahamas, as well as the site of the first Bahamian parliament.

English Loyalists settled here in the 1700s. Famous for its pink sand beaches and chic resorts, the island has long been a hideaway for the rich and famous. Golf carts rule the streets here, and visitors will feel as though they’ve stepped back in time as they cruise past the cute, pastel-colored Loyalist cottages lining the streets of Dunmore Town.

Harbour Island is a quiet day trip out of Nassau on the Bahamas Fast Ferries Catamaran.

6. Elbow Cay
Across the sheltered Sea of Abaco from the boating hub of Marsh Harbour, Elbow Cay in the Abacos exudes all the charm of a New England-style fishing village.

Colorful cottages line the main streets of Hope Town, the island’s principal settlement, and the center of town is off-limits to vehicles, lending a relaxed, village feel. Famous for its candy-striped lighthouse, Hope Town is home to a thriving expatriate community who appreciate the island’s pretty palm-lined beaches; proximity to Marsh Harbour, Bahamas’s third largest town; and the excellent boating opportunities.

Wyannie Malone Historical Museum is a must, and nearby Guana Cay and the Tilloo Cay Reserve, an 11-acre bird habitat, are popular day trips. Hope Town also boasts a well-developed marina. A ferry runs regularly to Elbow Cay from Marsh Harbour.

7. Green Turtle Cay
Strolling the streets of Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos feels like stepping back in time to the old Bahamas. East of Great Abaco, this peaceful, three-mile-long island is a much-loved hideaway for serenity seekers.

Golf carts are the main mode of transport in the tiny settlement of New Plymouth, a sleepy fishing village of picket-fenced pastel cottages, sprinkled with a few small shops and museums.

Fishing boats bob in the harbour, and visitors can watch the locals haul in their catch of crawfish and conch. The island’s beautiful uncrowded beaches and crystal clear waters offer excellent swimming, diving, snorkeling, and boating opportunities.

Bonefishing is also a popular pursuit. The island is a ten-minute ferry ride from Treasure Cay on Great Abaco.

8. Exuma Cays Land and Sea National Park
In the remote eastern edge of the Bahamas, the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park is a “no take zone” and marine protected area, the first of its kind in the Caribbean.

The park boasts some of the most striking seascapes in the Bahamas.

The area is popular with divers and boaters, who come here for the quality anchorages, abundant marine life, and crystal clear waters. On a good day, divers and snorkelers can enjoy 100-foot-plus visibility.

Most people visit this underwater wonderland on private boats or live-aboard dive charters. No fishing or shelling is permitted within the park boundaries.

9. Treasure Cay
Skirting the eastern shore of Great Abaco, Treasure Cay Beach is often voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. This spectacular stretch of powder white sand and aqua water wows visitors who come here to bask on its creamy, crescent-shaped shore.

The beach lies in the upscale resort community of Treasure Cay, which hosts one of the most popular fishing tournaments in the Bahamas.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Treasure Cay – TripAdvisor.com

10. Long Island
Known as one of the most scenic islands in the Bahamas, Long Island lies a little off the beaten path, in the southern half of the archipelago.

Almost 80 miles long and no more than 4 miles wide, Long Island is a land of contrasts, with sandy beaches on the west coast and steep, rocky cliffs along the east.

The island is a haven for fishing, diving, and boating, and boasts many beautiful pink and white sand beaches. Long Island is also home to Dean’s Blue Hole, the deepest in the world.

The Long Island Sailing Regatta takes place at Salt Pond in the summer. Access to the island is mainly by air or ferry service from Nassau.

Getting There:

Lynden Pindling International Airport, formerly known as Nassau International Airport, is the largest airport in the Bahamas and the largest international gateway into the country.

It is a major hub for Bahamasair and is located in western New Providence island near the capital city of Nassau.

 

 

 

Best Time To Travel

WHERE TO GO IN WINTER?
Where to go in winter in Europe, the cold, the rain, the low temperatures and short sunny periods do not encourage travelling.

The better destinations include the ski resorts in the Alps and the Pyrenees (France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Spain) or for those who feel the cold more Andalusia still has reasonable sunshine.

In Asia the season is still favourable for visitors! Thailand, Vietnam, southern China (the north however can still be icy at this time), Burma and India are still sunny with reasonable temperatures and less tourists during this time.

In Africa the north is still cool, good for discovering the Sahara but not recommended for those wishing to visit the beaches. Towards the south, in Kenya, Tanzania or South Africa, the high season is starting but with a risk of excessive heat on the east coast.

In America, we would suggest Central America, South America and the Caribbean (for example: Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Chile). The U.S. deserts are still pleasant at this time before the scorching summer heat arrives.

For skiers, the French and Spanish Pyrenees have plenty of small family ski resorts with good snow and reasonable prices even during the festive season.

Southern Australia will certainly satisfy those with a taste for adventure down under as it’s entering its summer season. The ideal time for surfing, swimming and meeting the koalas, emus and opossums, not forgetting the famous laughing kookaburra.

Between those two destinations we find Senegal; a stopover warmed as much by the weather as the smiles and sunny dispositions of the people.

WHERE TO GO IN SPRING?
Where to go in springIn Europe, the weather is becoming favourable for travelling: The amount of sunshine is increasing steadily throughout the continent; the Mediterranean coast is starting to benefit from warm temperatures and the sea is becoming pleasant for swimming.

For certain countries in the south, such as Spain and Greece, spring is the best time to visit: Neither too hot or too crowded with tourists. Andalusia, Crete, Malta and the south of Italy are good choices right now. Northern countries are becoming appealing although still a little cool. The Scandinavian countries boast endless days and holidays without nights right now!

In Asia, the weather is becoming far less agreeable: Heat waves are starting to be experienced in numerous countries. India, Thailand and Burma are extremely hot right now, enough to cause hundreds of deaths each year. China and Japan are more welcoming even if conditions are still a little trying at times. The monsoon season will settle in towards the end of spring across this area with the exception of only a few areas such as Indonesia or Tamil Nadu in India. It’s a great season for visiting Australia or the southern islands of Indonesia.

In Africa, this season is ideal for the countries of the Maghreb which are experiencing sunny weather with pleasant temperatures, like all the Mediterranean countries. In the extreme south, daylight hours are starting to diminish although the weather is still pleasant.

In America, we would suggest North America or Central America down to northern Brazil, basking in warm sunshine at present at the beginning of a pleasant climatic period. California, Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala and Venezuela are definitely worth considering at this time. The further south you go the more the season tends towards southern winter, often very humid.

If you wish to visit Europe, go to Portugal and enjoy summertime temperatures with a refreshing Atlantic breeze, or visit Scotland which is rarely as beautiful and warm as it is during spring in the month of May.

If you dream of tropical destinations then Reunion should satisfy your desires for summer weather and exoticism.

A little closer to Europe but also somewhat different in character, it is a great time to venture inland near the deserts at Tozeur in Tunisia or visit the Jordan valley just before the scorching heat of summer, it is currently experiencing warm sunshine with noticeably absent rain.

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WHERE TO GO IN SUMMER?
Where to go in SummerIn Europe, it’s the height of the peak season! Millions of holidaymakers from around the world invade the beaches and countryside of Southern Europe. The climate is great for travel for just about the whole of the continent with just a few areas effected by extreme heat (Andalusia, Southern Italy, Greece etc..)

The north of Europe is lovely, summer is the ideal time to visit those countries that are generally considered a little cold and damp such as Ireland, Scotland or Holland.

In Asia, this season is considered the least favourable: The monsoon season is at its height over the majority of this area with the exception of only a few countries (Kerala or Tamil Nadu in India, Bali and the southern islands of Indonesia, the north of Australia etc…). Everywhere else a hot, moist and very humid climate prevails.

In Africa, the Maghreb countries are invaded by tourists, the climate is hot (sometimes extremely hot close to the desert) and dry, the Atlantic coast of Morocco is pleasant thanks to the ocean influence. Further to the south it is the rainy season and it is only along the latitudes of Kenya and Tanzania that the climate becomes favourable to visitors.

In America, the north is generally hot and dry (sometimes extremely hot in the deserts towards the west of the USA). Central America experiences a short rainy season at this time but towards the south the conditions are more favourable.

For all the continents, September is generally the best choice: The end of the monsoons, no more heat waves, less tourists and lower prices. Don’t hesitate to take your holidays in September when there are only advantages.

Corsica is perfect right now for those looking for paradisiacal beaches with turquoise water, although close to mainland Europe it will feel like you are on the other side of the globe!

It is a great time to discover northern Europe, particularly somewhere such as Iceland where the sun does not set during this period.

For those wishing to go down under, Australia is great right now. The sea may be a little cool for swimming but the weather is still very pleasant and you could even go skiing in the south where it is right in the middle of its winter season!

WHERE TO GO IN AUTUMN?
Where to go in AutumnIn Europe, during the beginning of autumn, Mediterranean destinations are still pleasant: The south coast of Turkey, southern Italy and Spain as well as the southern Mediterranean islands (Cyprus, Crete and certain Greek islands).

Towards the end of autumn it will be more difficult to find sunny destinations in Europe.

In Asia, the best season is just starting! From the month of October, Thailand, Vietnam and the south of China or India will be very welcoming with a climate that is once again very pleasant now the monsoon period is easing.

In Africa, the north is also very enjoyable with temperatures easing after the summer heat waves. The inland towns of Morocco, the Tunisian desert and Egypt are seeing a lessening in the number of tourists and a pleasant but not overwhelming heat. More towards the south, Senegal, Madagascar and South Africa are entering a sunny period.

In America, we would recommend Central America, South America and the Caribbean where the rainy season is coming to a close (for example; Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Chile). The end of autumn is also a great time to visit Death Valley and the deserts of the United States.

Turkey is a very pleasant destination at this time of the year after the high temperatures of summer, especially if you wish to visit other areas than the coast.

Cyprus with its Mediterranean climate offers you warm temperatures even in October.

If you would prefer visiting some Asian countries then India is entering into its tourist season, Mumbai and Calcutta have excellent climatic conditions right now.

Honolulu Top 10 Attractions

Nestled in between rugged cliffs to the north and beaches to the south on the island of Oahu, somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is Honolulu, Hawaii’s largest city.

The population of the metro area is just shy of 1 million residents, and though the entire city is not very large, even without leaving the city area, there are so many opportunities of places to go and things to see.

While there are many different things to do in Honolulu depending on your interests, here are 11 attractions that I think everyone who visits Honolulu should include on their itinerary.

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1. Hanauma Bay
On the very east side of Honolulu, near an area of town called Hawaii Kai, is Hanauma Bay, one of the most famous places on the entire island for snorkeling.

The bay, sunken into a crater with a gorgeous stretch of golden sand, is a nature reserve and marine sanctuary.

When you arrive at Hanauma Bay, you’re normally required to watch a short video about the marine life and the preservation of it, and you can then take the short 5 minute hike to the bottom of the crater to get to the beach and get in the cool clear water.

If you’re interested in snorkeling while you’re in Honolulu, Hanauma Bay is the place to visit.

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2. Honolulu Chinatown
Like all Chinatowns in the world, Honolulu’s Chinatown is an always bustling, energetic market section of the city.

It’s not quite as chaotic at Chinatown in Bangkok or Manila, but even though it’s small, it still has that same thrilling rushed market feel to it.

The smell of fruits and vegetables and the aroma of fresh fish and meat fill the air in Honolulu’s Chinatown, just as they do in other Chinatowns around the world. You’ll find great prices on produce, and you’ll find the fruits and vegetables you need to make whatever type of Asian food you want.

I even saw a fresh (not frozen) pile of durian when I was walking around last time!

Along with fresh market foods to purchase, there are also an abundance of delicious restaurants throughout Honolulu’s Chinatown. Within Maunakea Marketplace you’ll find Filipino and Thai food, and on the outskirts of Chinatown you should not miss Char Hung Sut – a takeout restaurant that sells legendary Hawaiian style Cantonese dumplings and baozi (manapua).

Exploring and eating through Chinatown is one of the top attractions in Honolulu.

3. Diamond Head
If you love to get outdoors, do some exercise, and enjoy stunning panoramic views, hiking is one of the best things to do in Honolulu.

There are quite a few good hikes right in the Honolulu area, some of them a bit outside of the city limits, but others are right in the city.

Diamond Head is the iconic former volcano that stands proud at the far eastern side of Waikiki, and is often an emblem of visiting Honolulu. The volcano provides a great backdrop to all your beach photos from Waikiki, but the view is even better when you’re on the very top of it.

The Diamond Head crater was formerly used as military base on Oahu, but is now open to the public for recreational use. The hike is just under a mile in length, and takes about 20 – 30 minutes to reach the summit.

At first the trail is easy, then you come to a series of switchbacks where you start gaining elevation, and finally towards the end, you pass through a military tunnel, go up a few flights of stairs, and emerge through a bunker.

The views of Honolulu are great!

4. Ocean Sports
Hawaii is one of the world’s headquarters when it comes to surfing and other ocean water sports. The climate is great, the water is cool but not too cold, and the waves, depending on which beach you go to, can range from small to huge.

The north shore of Oahu is especially famous as one of the world’s greatest surfing destinations, but right in Honolulu you’ll find some great spots to surf, bodyboard, stand up paddleboard, or any other ocean sport you’re interested in.

Waikiki, Ala Moana Beach Park, Kakaʻako, Diamond Head, and Sandy’s are all great places to take to the water and enjoy whatever water board sport you love, all without leaving Honolulu.

5. Honolulu Zoo / Waikiki Aquarium
Located on the east side of Waikiki is the Honolulu Zoo.

The zoo is spread out over 42 acres and is home to 905 different animals, most of the them natives of tropical climates. Don’t miss the komodo dragon or the orangutan!

Along with the diversity of different animals at the Honolulu Zoo, the grounds are also neatly designed with many different lush tropical gardens, showcasing a variety of native Hawaiian plants and flowers.

The Waikiki Aquarium is just down the road from the Honolulu Zoo, and while it’s quite small, it’s a good place to learn about the local marine life in the oceans of Hawaii, and a chance to see the playful Hawaiian monk seals.

Especially if you have kids, visiting both the zoo and the aquarium in Honolulu makes for a fun day activity and attraction in the city.

6. Iolani Palace / Downtown Honolulu
Iolani Palace is a historical landmark in downtown Honolulu that was originally built in 1879 by King Kalakaua.

The palace was constructed in an effort to make Hawaii become more prestigious and more recognized as a nation throughout the world. It was initially known as Hale Alii, but King Kamehameha V changed the name to Iolani.

The palace is now open to the public for both self and guided tours. The first and second floors include a series of elegant greeting rooms like the Grand Hall, the Throne Room, and the Blue Room. The second floor of the Iolani Palace is home to the King’s private suites, and also the famous Queen Kapiolani’s suite.

The palace is beautifully restored and decorated with luxurious interior designs and furnishings. For a peek into the history of royal Hawaii, Iolani Palace is well worth a visit.

Also, when you’re in downtown Honolulu, be sure to check out the other important buildings in the area like the Hawaii State Capitol.

7. Manoa Falls
While Diamond Head and Koko Head, two amazing hikes in Honolulu, are dry hikes, Manoa Falls is a lush green jungle hike.

It’s actually not so much of a hike, but more of a 20 – 30 minute walk through the dense tropical forest with a pretty nice waterfall at the end of the trail.

Hiking Manoa Falls is a good chance to stretch your legs and see some of the beautiful plants and trees of Hawaii. Though there’s a sign and rope around the pool at the bottom of the waterfall with a warning to be cautious of falling rocks, many people take a quick refreshing swim in the beautiful water.

Entrance fee: They charge $5 for parking, but if you park down the street and are willing to walk a bit to get in, you can avoid the fee all together.

8. Waikiki
Occupying a long stretch of the coast on the south shore of Honolulu, is the famous area of town known as Waikiki. It’s the main touristy area of town where there’s a sea of high rise hotels and resorts that line the beach, nearly all the way from the Honolulu Zoo to Ala Wai harbor.

Even if you’re not staying in Waikiki, you can still visit the area, take walks along the beach, go shopping or dine at one of the many restaurants. For breakfast be sure to stop by the well known Eggs ‘n Things restaurant, and you’re looking to taste some awesome local Hawaii style food right in Waikiki, here’s a place you’ll want to eat at.

Also, right next to Waikiki is Honolulu’s largest shopping mall known as Ala Moana Center, a gigantic shopping destination. You’ll find mostly designer and higher end stores, but there are also plenty of other stores to browse around and many restaurants to eat at. Ala Moana is the epicenter of shopping in Honolulu.

9. Local Hawaii Food
As a person who travels to eat, food is always a part of my list.

But Hawaii holds a very dear spot in my heart for its food because Hawaii is where I learned to love food from the beginning.

My mother, being from Hawaii, my grandfather having been a Chinese chef in Honolulu all his life, and like just about everyone else on the islands, myself and my relatives… we just love to eat.

Sampling the diverse selection of food available in Honolulu is an always entertaining activity that is guaranteed to satisfy your belly.

One thing you should for sure try is Hawaiian food. You can either head to Helena’s, a famous Hawaiian restaurant, or I tried the Hawaiian plate from People’s Cafe which was excellent. Make sure you try laulau, kalua pig, and poi, a taro paste which is the staple of Hawaiian cuisine.

For other local Hawaii food make sure you try poke, plate lunches, a loco moco, and SPAM musubi, just to name a few.

If you love Asian food as much as I do, you’re going to love everything there is to eat in Honolulu. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and a few Thai restaurants are scattered throughout the city.

10. Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona
Pearl Harbor, and more specifically the USS Arizona, is not so much an attraction in Honolulu, but rather a memorial.

It was on the morning of December 7th, 1941, when Japanese aircraft made a surprise bomb attack on the US ships anchored in Honolulu’s Pearl Harbor. During the deadly attack, many lives were lost, and many ships were destroyed. It was after this attack, when the US declared war on Japan and entered into World War II.

When you arrive at Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, you get a ticket with a time on it. When it’s your turn, you meet your group and first watch a 30 minute film which explains the history of what happened at Pearl Harbor – I thought the video was concise and provided good insight into the memorial.

After the film, you board a ferry for a short 5 minute ferry ride to the USS Arizona Memorial, which is a white platform that floats above the sunken ship. You spend about 15 minutes on the platform, respecting the location and the events that happened right there years ago.

Getting There:

Honolulu International Airport is the principal aviation gateway of the City & County of Honolulu and the State of Hawaii and is identified as one of the busiest airports in the United States, with traffic now exceeding 21 million passengers a year and rising.

It is located in the Honolulu census-designated place three miles (5 km) northwest of Oahu’s central business district.
Main roads leading to the airport are Nimitz Highway and the Queen Liliuokalani Freeway of Interstate H-1.

Honolulu International Airport serves as the principal hub of Hawaiian Airlines, the largest Hawaii-based airline. Hawaiian Airlines offers flights between the various airports of the Hawaiian Islands and also serves the continental United States, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, Tahiti, Japan, China, and South Korea. It is host to major United States and international airlines, with direct flights to North American, Asian, and Pacific Rim destinations.

In addition to services to most major western cities and many smaller gateways, especially in California, the airport has succeeded in attracting long-haul services to the East Coast including the recently added destinations of Toronto-Pearson and Washington-Dulles, which have joined established services to Atlanta, New York-JFK and Newark.

 

15 Tips For Security Checkpoints

GETTING THROUGH SECURITY FAST

The savviest of travellers understand the security requirements and plan ahead. It’s best to be well organised.

In the United States, airport security is run by the Transportation Security Administration, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees border security as well as technological research, response to national disasters and terrorism, and intelligence analysis.

Tip #1: Pack accordingly
The TSA has a simple and straightforward list of items prohibited in carry-on and checked baggage.

Loaded guns, ammunition, flares, spray paint, and other highly flammable items must be left at home. (For an amusing weekly round-up of ridiculous items people try to slip past security, check out the TSA blog’s Week in Review.)

A number of items, including knives, spear guns, hammers, and brass knuckles, may be packed in checked luggage, while common lighters, scissors (4 inches or less), small compressed gas cartridges, and short tools (7 inches or less) are allowed in carry-on baggage.

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Tip #2: Pack neatly
Assume that security will need to open your bag for a visual inspection. Pack items in layers, with shoes in one layer, clothes in another, and electronics in another, and so forth.

Wind up electronic cords and secure them with twist-ties. Places personal items like toothbrushes in plastic bags to reduce the chance a TSA screener will handle them.

Tip #3: Dress like a traveller
Wear easily removable shoes (gel inserts are permitted), and don’t wear clothing with a high metal content. Leave the belts and thick metal jewelry at home.

Shed jackets and coats, as they must go through the x-ray. If you travel with a laptop, invest in a TSA-approved case that doesn’t require the computer to be removed for screening.

Keep your government-issued ID and boarding pass in a convenient bag or jacket pocket.

Tip #4: Stock up on 3.4 oz bottles
The TSA limits the amount of liquids that travellers may carry through a security checkpoint. Remember “3-1-1”:

3.4 oz (100 mL) bottle or less for all liquids, gels, and aerosols; placed in a
1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag to hold all small bottles; and
1 bag per passenger placed in a screening bin.

Stick deodorant is not limited to 3.4 oz, but gel and spray deodorant are.

As of this fall, snow globes are allowed in carry-ons if they appear to contain less than 3.4 oz of liquid (approximately tennis ball-sized) and the entire snow globe, including the base, can fit in a quart-sized bag. Larger quantities of liquids, gels, and aerosols may be packed in checked baggage.

Tip #5: Check your lunch box
Solid foods are allowed through security, but check this list for prohibited items, which includes liquid-like items such as jams, jellies, syrups, oils, and sauces, if in a container larger than 3.4 oz.

Baked goods like Grandma’s homemade apple pie are allowed through the security checkpoint, but they may be subject to “additional screening.”

Tip #6: Understand Advanced Imaging Technology
In 2007, some airport checkpoints began replacing or supplementing metal detectors with Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), which resembles a pod that travellers step into and stand, arms raised, as the unit emits harmless electromagnetic waves or x-ray beams to create an image identifying hidden metal objects.

The waves emit less energy than a cell phone transmission or the exposure of two minutes on an airplane.

The image, which is a generic human outline unidentifiable as you, is reviewed and, if passed, immediately deleted. The entire process takes less than one minute and is optional; travellers may opt instead for a metal detector or a pat-down.

Tip #7: Use your queue time wisely
Start getting ready for the screening while waiting in line.

Collapse strollers, remove laptops from non-TSA-approved bags, and take off shoes, belts, and jackets. When you get to the x-ray conveyer, immediately grab bins and begin emptying your pockets and stacking your belongings neatly.

Remove your belt, watch, thick jewelry, money, keys, and cell phone. The more you can “walk and unpack,” the more you’ll help move the line along. Feel free to ask a security officer for assistance in putting your items on the x-ray belt.

Tip #8: Prepare the children
TSA screens everyone, regardless of age, so prepare your children to go through the security checkpoint. Explain that they’ll get their favourite blanket or toy back in a minute, and put all belongings, including strollers and baby carriers, through the x-ray machine.

Children under 12 may leave their shoes on. TSA security will never separate you from your child, but children who can walk without assistance should walk through the detector separately.

If they set off the alarm, they will be allowed to walk through again before security resorts to a pat-down. If the child requires a mobility aid like a wheelchair or scooter, you are responsible for removing the child from the equipment.

Tip #9: Prepare the elderly
Travellers over the age of 75 do not need to remove their shoes for screening. If they set off the alarm, they will be allowed to walk through again before security resorts to a pat-down.

If you are traveling with a disability or medical condition, contact the TSA Cares helpline at 855-787-2227, 72 hours before your flight, for information on helpful travel practices.

Tip #10: Don’t joke about serious matters
TSA officers do not react well to travellers who are loud, belligerent, or disrespectful. Don’t joke about the words “bomb” or “terrorist” while going through screening.

Tip #11: Wait to wrap gifts
Wrapped packages are allowed through security, but the security officers may ask to see inside any bag or package, regardless of the amount of ribbon holding it together.

Avoid the disappointment of a ruined wrap job being by waiting until you get to your destination.

Tip #12: Handle the pat-down with dignity
A small percentage of travellers receive pat-downs as part of the security screening. You have the right to request the pat-down be conducted in a private room and the right to have the pat-down witnessed by the person of your choice.

All pat-downs are conducted by an officer of the same gender as the traveler. If you have a medical device, inform the officer. You will never be asked to remove any article of clothing.

Tip #13: Download the MyTSA Mobile app
We live in the future! The TSA offers a free mobile app with a 24/7 air travel guide as well as information on airport delays, security wait times, videos, and weather.

You can type any item in to the “Can I Bring?” section to get instant answers on whether that item is allowed. To access the TSA mobile app, visit the TSA mobile website on your mobile device.

Tip #14: Sign up for TSA PreCheck
Travellers who register with TSA PreCheck enjoy perks such as keeping shoes, jackets, and belts on, as well as being able to hold standard-compliant liquids and gels in a carry-on bag.

You must be a frequent flyer with American, Delta, United or U.S. Airways, and you must be traveling domestically. TSA PreCheck is currently available in more than 30 U.S. airports, including Chicago O’Hare, Newark, and Orlando. For more information, visit the TSA PreCheck website.

Tip #15: Call the TSA
If you have any lingering questions, call the TSA directly at 866-289-9673. Representatives are available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Eastern time; weekends and federal holidays, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Eastern time.

Singapore Top Attractions

Singapore has been described as a playground for the rich, and it’s true that the small city-state does have a certain sheen of wealth.

But Singapore offers more than just high-end shopping malls, luxury hotels, and fine dining (though it’s worth indulging in those a bit if you can).

There is also a vibrant history and diverse ethnic quarters to discover, along with the many family-friendly attractions and lovely public spaces that make visiting this slightly futuristic city worthwhile.

Singapore has an excellent public transportation system that makes getting around convenient and easy. Once you’ve gotten a sense of the metro map, you’ll have no problem zipping from one part of town to the next. English is spoken everywhere and signs are in English as well.

In fact, Singapore is one of the easiest and most comfortable countries to navigate in Southeast Asia. And as long as you’re not comparing prices to nearby Thailand or Vietnam, you’re in for a lovely stay.

Marina Bay Sands
The opulent Marina Bay Sands resort complex includes a hotel, high-end luxury brands, a mall with a canal running through it, the ArtScience Museum, and the Marina Bay Sands Skypark – a vantage point for taking in the entire city.

The Skypark’s viewing deck and infinity pool are found in the ship (yes, ship) that tops the hotel. Only hotel guests are allowed to use the infinity pool but anyone can visit the observation deck. From the skypark, you can see the innovative double helix bridge, the port, the Gardens by the Bay, and the impressive skyline.

While up there on top of the city, guests can grab a snack or a coffee at the rooftop restaurant or pick up some keepsakes from the souvenir stand. You can purchase a photo of yourself green-screened in front of the massive hotel as it’s all lit up at night, but the cost is steep: 50 Singapore dollars. Better to ask a fellow tourist to snap a photo of you.

The luxury and elegance of the Marina Bay Sands exemplify Singapore’s taste, and help designate a major international city in Southeast Asia.

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Singapore Flyer
If the observation deck at the Marina Bay Sands doesn’t quite do it for you, try taking in high tea while looking out over the city from the Singapore Flyer, the world’s largest giant observation wheel.

Choose from several different packages that allow you to be served and pampered while enjoying a view that encompasses not only the Singapore skyline, but reaches to the Spice Islands of Indonesia and Malaysia’s Straits of Johor.

There are several different ticket packages to choose from, and each includes access to the multimedia Journey of Dreams exhibit that delves into Singapore’s history and the creation of the Singapore Flyer.

Flights last 30 minutes each and run from early morning until late at night, so you can choose which view of the city you want to enjoy: the beginning of another bustling day or when Singapore is aglow after dark.

Gardens by the Bay
Once you’ve glimpsed this beautifully designed green space (from the top of the Marina Bay Sands, perhaps) you won’t be able to stay away.

Wander through the Bay East Garden, perfect for enjoying the vibrant plant life and escaping the city bustle for a moment.

You won’t want to miss Supertree Grove, where you’ll find a cluster of the iconic, futuristic structures designed to perform environmentally sustainable functions.

Then, head to the Cloud Forest Dome to see the world’s tallest indoor waterfall and learn a bit about biodiversity. Check the website for final ticket sale and tour times.

Botanic Gardens
Not to be confused with the Gardens on the Bay, the botanic gardens are also worth a visit. Singapore received its first UNESCO World Heritage nomination for the botanic gardens, and with good reason.

The city can sometimes feel like a concrete jungle, albeit a clean and comfortable one, but the botanic gardens preserve pieces of Singapore’s wilder heritage.

Indeed, you can visit the gardens’ heritage trees via walking trail, which are conserved as part of an effort to protect the city’s mature tree species.

Make sure to visit the impressive National Orchid Garden. Other attractions include an eco-garden, eco-lake, bonsai garden, sculptures, and several other gardens and unique sites.

Chinatown 
If you’ve ever visited China, Singapore’s Chinatown neighborhood will bring you right back there.

From the small mom-and-pop stores and authentic Chinese food to the bright red lanterns, there’s an excitement and hustle in this district. You can visit the Chinese Heritage Centre and see the impressive and beautiful Sri Mariamman Hindu temple.

Another temple worth seeing is the Buddha Tooth Relic temple. If you’re up early enough (think 4 am), you can hear the morning drum ceremony.

Or you can just check out the closing ceremony in the evening after viewing the relic.

Heritage markers have been installed throughout the neighborhood in English, Japanese, and simplified Chinese so visitors can better understand the significance of the area. But this neighborhood is not just a testament to the influence of the Chinese throughout Singapore’s past.

This is a progressive neighborhood (with free Wi-Fi for all) and it’s home to the trendy Ann Siang Hill area, where the quaint bistros and upscale boutiques could be at home in any Western city.

Little India and Arab Street
One of the most exciting aspects of Singapore is the diversity of its neighborhoods.

Yes, the country is a savvy shoppers’ paradise, but you’ll also find rich traditions, delicious foods and local character in its older quarters. Nowhere is this truer than in Little India and Arab Street (also known as the Arab Quarter).

The Indian community has a rich history in Singapore, and this enclave dates back more than 200 years. Singapore’s name actually derives from the Sanskrit words for Lion City, according to Little India’s official website. Today, the neighborhood is a thriving, colorful place where traditional holidays are celebrated, and visitors can observe worship and activity at the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple or purchase saris while mingling with local vendors.

In the Arab Quarter, you’ll want to visit the historic Sultan Mosque, originally built in 1825. Non-Muslims are not permitted in the prayer hall, though you can appreciate the distinctive golden domes and craftsmanship of the exterior structure.

Haji and Bali lanes are especially good spots to shop for something a little more unique than a designer handbag, and you’ll also find yourself surrounded by music and food, as there are countless restaurants

Raffles Hotel
This colonial building is one of the world’s last grand 19th century hotels, and was once visited by literary luminaries such as Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad, as well as movie star Charlie Chaplin.

Built in 1887, the Raffles Hotel has served as a Singapore landmark for well over a century and continues to live up to its tony reputation with excellent food and service.

The classical architecture and tropical gardens provide a refined setting, and represent another facet of Singapore’s varied and rich history.

The Raffles Hotel is located in Singapore’s Colonial District, also home to several other historic sites. Among them is the Raffles Landing Site, where Sir Stamford Raffles is said to have stepped ashore in 1819.

The story has it that he saw the small fishing village but recognized its potential as a port, so he purchased the land from the Sultan of Johor and invited Chinese and Indian immigrants to move there. And so the seeds of Singapore’s multi-ethnic identity were sown.

Changi Chapel and Museum 
Singapore was not spared the horrors of WWII, and the Changi Chapel and Museum tells the story of those who suffered under Japanese occupation.

The museum displays the letters, photographs, drawings, and personal effects that are now testaments to the imprisonment for more than 50,000 civilians and soldiers in Changi Prison.

The Changi Chapel, found in the open-air courtyard of the museum, is a replica of one of the many chapels that were built during WWII.

It stands as a monument for those who would not fold under Japanese rule. A must-see in the museum is a series of murals painstakingly recreated from originals painted by Bombardier Stanley Warren.

Guests can participate in a guided tour or opt for an audio tour that features accounts of Changi prisoners’ wartime experiences.

Singapore Zoo
Billing itself as the world’s best rainforest zoo, the Singapore Zoo is a pretty impressive place.

The facility is clean and inviting, and the animals appear well treated with plenty of lush vegetation and habitat space.

The orangutans are particularly impressive, and visitors can watch as babies and adults alike swing high above their platforms and snack on bananas. There is also a large chimpanzee family, zebras, meerkats, a komodo dragon, mole rats, white tigers, kangaroos, and many other creatures.

Guests can observe feedings for some of the animals. Allow at least three hours to make your way around the zoo. If the zoo doesn’t satisfy your need for getting close to wildlife, there’s also the Night Safari, River Safari (including a giant panda forest), and the Jurong Bird Park. Park hopper passes are available if you plan to visit more than one of the wildlife parks.

Fort Canning Park
As military strongholds go, Fort Canning has had a long and varied life. Built in 1859, the fort was an essential site for Singapore’s defense. Now in peacetime, the original building is home to modern performing arts troupes, and the park regularly sees picnics, concerts, theater performances, and festivals.

Other attractions at the park include relics from Singapore’s early history, from as far back as the 14th century, and Sir Stamford Raffles’ personal bungalow. Guests can also see a replica of the spice market Raffles established in 1822, as well as the ASEAN sculptures that were erected in the 1980s.

Sydney Australia Top Attractions

Sydney the oldest, biggest, and most beautiful of all Australian cities, lies amid a seductive intermingling of land and sea.

Glide along the glittering harbor on a ferry, see the white sails of the Opera House gleaming in the sunshine, and admire the graceful arch of the Harbour Bridge and it’s hard to imagine this vibrant state capital was once a brutal convict colony.

In 1788, it was at Sydney Cove where Captain Arthur Phillip, commander of the First Fleet, established the first British colony in Australia.

Today, visitors can explore Sydney’s fabled history in the narrow cobbled laneways and historic buildings of the Rocks, at the city’s excellent museums, and the rock paintings of the Gadigal aboriginal people who once thrived on this land.

Sydney still fizzes with the adventurous spirit of its settlers. Visitors can climb the harbor bridge, surf the green-barrel breaks at Sydney’s golden beaches, or fly over the city on a scenic tour. And national parks surround the city providing appealing day trip possibilities.

Sydney Opera House
One of the world’s great icons, the Sydney Opera House is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the star attraction on the glittering harbor.

This graceful building, shaped like shells or billowing sails, perches on a finger of land surrounded by water. Snap a photo while gliding by on a harbor cruise, relax at one of the restaurants, stroll around its exterior, or take an organized tour of this magnificent structure, which encompasses theaters, studios, exhibition rooms, a concert hall, and cinema.

Avid photographers head to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for one of the best photo opportunities.

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The Sydney Harbour Bridge
or “Coathanger,” as the locals call it, was the city’s best-known landmark prior to construction of the Opera House.

Supported by massive double piers at each end, it was built in 1932 and remains the world’s largest steel arch bridge, connecting the harbor’s north and south shores in a single curve rising 134 m above the water. Along its length run two railway lines and eight lanes for road traffic, the direction of which can be varied according to traffic flow.

Increasing bridge traffic encouraged construction of a harbor tunnel in 1992 to ease congestion, but motorists can still drive over the bridge for blue water views. Pedestrians can stroll across on walkways or join a guided ascent through BridgeClimb for a breathtaking panorama of the city and harbor.

To learn about the fascinating history of the bridge’s construction, visit the museum in the southeastern pier.

The Rocks
On a tongue of land protruding into Sydney Harbour, the Rocks historic area was once home to the Gadigal aboriginal people and later became the country’s first site of European settlement.

The name of the Rocks comes from the rocky coast on the west side of Sydney Cove, where the convicts pitched their tents.

Today, more than 100 heritage sites and buildings jostle along the narrow streets including Sydney’s oldest surviving house, Cadman’s cottage, built in 1816.

First stop should be a visit to the Rocks Discovery Museum, which traces the area’s fascinating transformation from traditional aboriginal lands, to convict slum, to tourist hotspot.

Afterwards, wander around the narrow cobbled streets with their souvenir shops, restaurants, cafés, and aboriginal and contemporary art galleries, or shop at the market stalls. Guided tours run the gamut from aboriginal heritage walks to photographic excursions and nighttime ghost tours.

Circular Quay
Built by convict labor in Sydney Cove, bustling Circular Quay is now home to the city’s main ferry terminal.

Thousands of commuters flood the area at peak hours, cafés abound, and street performers entertain locals and visitors along the sunny walkways.

For tourists, this is a launching point for the popular harbor cruises, one of the best ways to appreciate Sydney’s sparkling waterfront setting. Ferries also depart from here to prime spots such as Manly, Watson’s Bay, and Taronga Park Zoo.

During the annual winter migration, whale-watching cruises take passengers out past Sydney Heads to view these magnificent creatures.

From Circular Quay, head south along the waterfront promenade to the Opera House and Royal Botanic Gardens, while a short walk to the north leads to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Rocks historic area.

To the west, the free Museum of Contemporary Art, housed in an Art Deco building, displays cutting-edge and, often controversial, exhibitions.

Darling Harbour
A hub for tourists and locals alike, Darling Harbour is a waterfront pedestrian precinct packed with shops, restaurants, museums, exhibitions, and entertainment venues.

Families will love Madame Tussaud’s, the WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, and the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, which contains the world’s largest collection of Australian marine creatures. The Powerhouse Museum offers interactive exhibits on science, technology, design, and history, while nautical-minded history buffs can board a replica of Captain Cook’s ship, Endeavour, at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Younger children will love the carousel, playground, and water park. An IMAX and 9D theater, harbor jet boat rides, simulated flights and racing car adventures round out the exciting attractions. Those seeking a tranquil patch of green amid all the excitement can slip into the Chinese Garden of Friendship and sip tea among the willows and koi ponds.

Queen Victoria Building
A high point of Sydney shopping is the Romanesque-style Queen Victoria Building (“QVB”), linked by underground arcades with Town Hall Station.

Originally built as a market hall between 1893 and 1898, this elegant building is crowned by a high central dome surrounded by 20 smaller domes. After decades of neglect and even plans for demolition, this grand sandstone building was restored to its original state in the early eighties.

Today, more than 200 high-end shops line its light-filled galleries. It’s worth a visit even for those who shun the shops, just to admire its successful restoration as well as its beautiful stained glass windows and mosaic floors.

Sydney Tower
Soaring above the city skyline, the 309 m high Sydney Tower is the city’s tallest building and one of its great landmarks (other than the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, of course). This golden spire-topped turret rises from the busy Centrepoint shopping mall.

Express lifts whisk visitors to the observation deck at the top or to SKYWALK, an alfresco glass-floor viewing platform. While up there, sightseers can enjoy panoramic views of Sydney and its surrounding suburbs or grab a bite to eat at one of the revolving restaurants or the café. Also on offer is a 4D cinema experience, which provides an overview of the city’s major icons.

Sydney Beaches
Sydney is famous for its fabulous beaches. Tucked around the harbor are many sheltered coves with calm water and sugary sands.

Less than a 15-minute drive from the city, iconic Bondi Beach beckons with its great surf, café scene, and cosmopolitan vibe. For fantastic ocean views, take the coastal walk along the cliffs from Bondi to Coogee. Other ocean beaches include Cronulla (the only one easily accessible by train from the city), Bronte, Tamarama, and Maroubra.

A 30-minute ferry ride from the city, Manly is a favorite seaside destination with its beachfront promenade, netted ocean pool, and excellent shops and restaurants. Further north of the city, surfers will find some fantastic breaks at Collaroy, Dee Why, and Narrabeen. Swimmers should stay between the red and yellow flags.

Volunteer lifeguards patrol the surfing beaches on the Pacific during the summer and run popular lifesaving competitions.

George Street
The oldest street in Australia, George Street was once a nameless track trodden by convicts fetching supplies of water. Today, it’s one of the city’s major traffic arteries where high-rise office blocks, shops, and historic buildings converge in an incongruous jumble.

An architectural highlight is the elegant Romanesque-style Queen Victoria Building replete with graceful domes, stained glass windows, and high-end stores. Nearby, the Sydney Town Hall (1869) is a major city landmark sporting a medley of architectural styles (it’s been compared to a richly decorated wedding cake).

Another architectural standout is the neo-Gothic St Andrew’s Cathedral completed and consecrated in 1868. Shoppers will find plenty of stores in the area. Designer boutiques and jewelry stores line the Victorian-style Strand Arcade, while Pitt Street Mall, one block east from George Street, is one of the city’s major shopping precincts.

Royal Botanic Gardens
A tranquil oasis amid the hustle and bustle of the city, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Farm Cove lies a short and scenic stroll along the waterfront from the Sydney Opera House.

The gardens were established in 1816 and encompass 30 hectares of themed gardens with towering trees, palm groves, orchids, ferns, and flocks of fruit bats. Among the highlights is the Palace Rose Garden, which includes some 1,800 roses, and the Rare and Threatened Plants Garden.

For the less energetic, a hop-on, hop-off train tours the grounds. After exploring the gardens, visitors can relax at the café or restaurants, or enjoy a hillside picnic with beautiful harbor views. Surrounding the gardens is the Domain, a popular event venue with open green space and sports areas.

While at the gardens, visitors can enjoy views of Government House, the official residence of the governor of New South Wales.

Kings Cross Governor Macquarie
About 2 km east of the CBD, Kings Cross or “The Cross,” as locals call it, is Sydney’s multi-faceted red light district with an intriguing, Bohemian past.

The area was an artistic quarter around 1920, until it evolved into a popular haunt for beatniks during the 1950s and, later, hippies. During the Vietnam War, the area started its slow slide to depravity when large numbers of American troops came here on “rest and recreation” leave.

Despite its less than savory reputation at night, during the day, it wears a different face. Backpackers from the many hostels in the area huddle at hip cafes, boutique hotels beckon, and foodies come here to dine at the trendy restaurants. Look for the large Coca-Cola billboard, at the intersection of William Street and Darlinghurst Road, which is often referred to as the “Gateway to The Cross”.

Taronga Zoo
Enjoy close-up encounters with exotic wildlife plus superb views of the Sydney skyline at Taronga Zoo. Nestled on a point along the north side of the harbor, the zoo inhabits prime Sydney real estate in the posh suburb of Mosman.

Highlights include the Lemur Adventure Park, Koala Encounter, and Seal Show. From the city, buses to the zoo depart from Wynyard. Better still, visitors can hop aboard a ferry at Circular Quay. The zoo’s lively events calendar includes “Roar and Snore” overnight zoo stays and a summer concert series.

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Surrounded by beautiful parklands, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is one of the country’s most distinguished art museums.

The building dates from 1885 and houses spacious light-filled galleries and Grand Courts with collections ranging from works by the European masters and Asian artists, to evocative contemporary art from around the world.

The gallery also houses one of the largest collections of aboriginal art in Australia. After admiring all the masterpieces, art lovers can relax at the café or restaurant, or browse the gallery gift shop.

Getting There:

Sydney (Kingsford Smith) colloquially Mascot Airport, Kingsford Smith Airport, or Sydney Airport is an international airport located 8 km (5 mi) south of the city centre, in the suburb of Mascot in Sydney.

It is the only major airport serving Sydney, and is a primary hub for Qantas, as well as a secondary hub for Virgin Australia and Jetstar Airways. Situated next to Botany Bay, the airport has three runways, colloquially known as the “east–west”, “north–south” and “third” runways.

Sydney Airport is both the longest continuously operated commercial airport and oldest commercial international airport in the world, the world’s oldest continually operating commercial airport, and the busiest airport in Australia.

World’s Biggest Travellers Are?

A new survey by business consulting firm Timetric has found that northern Europeans are the world’s biggest travellers, with four Nordic countries all in the top five.

US travellers were also in the top five, but their travels were dominated by domestic trips. Norwegians were the biggest international travellers, taking an average of two international trips per year.

According to the results, the world’s top 10 biggest travellers are:

1. Finland

Finland is the most well-travelled country in the world, with the average Finn making 7.5 trips a year, including stays at home and abroad.

2. United States

The US has the largest domestic travel market in the world, with national holidays bumping up the average person’s number of trips to 6.7 a year. However, international travel is very limited, with only 1 out of 5 Americans going abroad in 2013. Fewer than half of Americans own a passport.

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3. Sweden

According to the Timetric survey, Scandinavia is the world’s most travelled region. On average, Swedes take 1.5 outbound trips and 4.4 domestic trips a year.

4. Denmark

Manay Scandinavian families own a second home in the country. In Denmark, around 1 out of 6 families own a second home, resulting in an average of 3.9 domestic trips a year and 5.3 total trips.

5. Norway

All of the Scandinavian countries are in the top 5 most travelled countries, with the total number of trips per year in Norway averaging at 5.2.

Arnie van Groesen, Timetric travel and tourism analyst said: “People in Scandinavia can afford more trips due to high incomes and relatively low unemployment rates. The cost of living is relatively expensive in Scandinavian countries, meaning that if they go abroad they’ll often get more value for money.”

6. Hong Kong

Hong Kong is the sixth most well-travelled country in the world. Although domestic tourism is almost non-existent (0.03), the average Hongkongese takes 4.3 outbound trips a year.

7. New Zealand

On average, New Zealanders make 4.3 total trips a year, the same as the Hongkongese. However, the ratios are in reverse. New Zealanders make less outbound trips (0.5) while the number of domestic trips is higher (3.8).

8. Canada

According to the Timetric survey, Canadians make 1 outbound trip and 3.2 domestic trips a year, on average.

9. Australia

In a similar trend to New Zealand, we make considerably more domestic trips (3.4) than outbound trips (0.4).

10. France

Perhaps due to the diverse nature of the country, offering everything from skiing in the Alps to relaxation in the countryside, the French make 3.1 domestic trips compared to 0.4 outbound trips.

Europe Things That Surprise First-timers

You might think you know what to expect on that big trip to Western Europe: amazing sights, overpriced coffee, unhelpful French people and drunken backpackers. And on some occasions you’ll be right.

However, there’s plenty that will surprise you on your first holiday in one of the world’s great tourist destinations.

Europe doesn’t have to be expensive
While it’s known as a pricey destination, you’ll be surprised at how cheap some Western European cities can be, particularly in the south of Spain, Portugal, and Berlin. In places like Amsterdam, however, be prepared to spend.

It’s hot. Really, really hot
You might be picturing snow-capped mountains and people named Heidi singing to cows, but if you’re heading to the south of Spain or Italy in mid-summer, prepare for the weather to be extremely hot. Almost unbearably hot.

The food is good. But it’s not always good
Despite its reputation, Europe is not a wonderland of reliably delicious food. For every Michelin-starred fine-diner or amazing local bistro, there are 10 or 20 establishments serving pretty average cuisine. Do your research, however, and you’ll be one very happy customer.

Travel concept, airliner, with push pins in european destinations and a map of the world
Travel concept, airliner, with push pins in european destinations and a map of the world

The coffee is bad. But it’s not always bad
If you’re used to good coffee, you’re going to be disappointed in France, or in Germany, or in Switzerland, or even in most of Spain. The coffee just isn’t good. Italy is your saviour. Italian coffee rocks.

Wine is ridiculously cheap. So is cheese
You don’t have to pay 20 euros a bottle, or even 10. Head down to the supermarche and you’ll be able to pick up a decent bottle of table wine for six or seven euros, plus some fresh bread and a block of the best cheese ever for the same price. Dinner is served.

You don’t have to queue
While travellers to Europe often tell horror stories of two- or three-hour queues to get into the most famous attractions, there are ways around it. For Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia, for example, booking tickets online will allow you to skip the line entirely.

At the Louvre in Paris, arriving at the “Port des Lions” entrance will also help you avoid the bulk of the crowds. Do your research.

Europe can actually be hot
Really hot. Locals need to find innovative ways to cool down.

Crime is not rampant
Despite what you may have heard, street crime is not a huge problem in Western Europe.
In fact with a few simple precautions like zipping up your bag and not keeping a wallet in your back pocket, your travels should be hassle free, even in formerly dodgy cities like Barcelona and Rome.

Trains can be expensive
I know how I can save money, you think – I’ll take the train. Except intercity trains in Europe, if you don’t book in advance or use a rail discount card, can be extremely expensive. Often more expensive than flying.

You’ll be overwhelmed. And underwhelmed
Some of the world’s most famous attractions – the Coliseum, La Sagrada Familia, the Eiffel Tower, the Swiss Alps – are truly gob-smacking to see in the flesh.

Others, meanwhile, like the Spanish Steps in Rome, or the Manneken Pis in Brussels, will leave you scratching your head and wondering if you actually came to the right place.

Everything works. Unless there’s a strike
Public transport in Europe is amazingly good, from the U-Bahn in Berlin to the hire bikes of Seville and the trams of Amsterdam. The only time you’ll struggle is when there’s a strike – which should only occur about once every fortnight or so.

You can’t buy a Europe-wide local SIM card
Annoyingly, for travellers, if you’re planning to visit more than one European country, there’s no local SIM card you can buy that will work across the EU (at least not one with reasonable rates). For the best rates, buy a new local SIM in each country.

Tourists eat early; locals eat late
This holds true for most of the southern countries, where there appear to be two restaurant sittings per night: one at about 7pm for all of the tourists, and one at about 9.30pm for the locals. If you want to get the proper experience, get used to eating late.

Asian food sucks
It doesn’t matter how much you’re craving that plate of dumplings, or that bowl of pho. Do not – I repeat, do not – go out for Asian food in Europe. You’ll be eternally disappointed. Stick to the local stuff.

Southerners really do take siestas
It’s mid-afternoon, and all of the shops are closed. In fact it’s like a zombie apocalypse in town, with all of the doors and windows shut and not a single person on the streets.

That’s because everyone’s gone for a siesta. They’ll reappear at about four.

Everyone hangs out together
One of the great things you begin to notice in Europe is that everyone – old, young, families, singles, hipsters, nerds – tends to hang out together, gathering in piazzas and plazas, drinking in bars and eating in restaurants.

There’s a strong “going out” culture in much of Western Europe, which breeds a safe, friendly atmosphere.

You can drink pretty much anywhere
You can drink in the park. You can drink on the street. In some places you can drink on public transport.

That’s because, mostly, everyone behaves themselves. Don’t give Europeans reason to doubt that.

Some stereotypes are true. Some are wildly off base
As you travel around you’ll realise that some of those tired old national stereotypes really do have a basis in truth, whereas others – Italians dress well; Germans are boring; the French are rude – are just plain wrong.

It’s not that far away; it’s not that expensive to get there
Here’s the most surprising thing about Europe: it’s really not that far away.

A day of travelling and there you are on the other side of the world, seeing things you never thought you’d see, eating amazing food, meeting amazing people. And if you shop around for airfares, it’s not even that expensive to get there.

All Stops Australia to Europe

The Kangaroo Route is dead! Long live the kangaroo route!

In April, barring any last-minute hitches, Qantas will no longer touch ground in south-east Asia on its way from Australia to Europe.

The flight formerly known by the code QF1 will instead stop in the Middle Eastern city of Dubai, changing the way generations of Australians have found their way to London and beyond.

Malaysian Airlines Lounge, Kuala Lumpur International Airport
But the south-east Asia stopover is far from a thing of the past, with a veritable squadron of airlines continuing the tradition of the two-flight trip to the Continent and Britain.

And the potential for a stopover itself – breaking the journey with a night or two in a hub city – is actually greater than ever.

Flight Centre reports the number of Australians taking a quick stay in places such as Singapore and Hong Kong is on the up. South-east Asia tourism bodies report rises in visitor numbers from Australia (while not isolating stopover visitors from those travelling to their final destinations).

With Qantas all but out of the south-east Asia stopover picture, will those numbers continue to grow?

Flight Centre for one, believes so. Qantas may be about to abandon Singapore’s Changi Airport as a hub to Europe, but its former codeshare partner, British Airways, continues to fly the kangaroo route – SYD-SIN-LHR. Singapore Airlines, which claims Changi as its home airport, does the same and more.

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Shopping at Changi International Airport Singapore
Cathay and Virgin Atlantic fly to Europe and Britain from Australia through Hong Kong. Thai Airways continues to ferry Australians north via Bangkok.

The huge upside of Qantas flying into Dubai and sharing the onward journey to Europe with Emirates is the vast growth in destinations on offer; previously Qantas only flew to Heathrow in London.

Now it can offer customers – particularly those gathering points – more than 30 ports, just as Emirates does. Of course, if you’re willing to stop more than once, the options are similarly huge.

China Southern, for instance, codeshares with Air France and KLM to allow Australian passengers to fly Australia-China-Paris or Amsterdam and on to most European cities including: Athens, Brussels, Budapest, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Istanbul, Lisbon, Luxembourg, Madrid, Manchester, Porto, Oslo, Prague, Rome, Sofia, Stockholm, Vienna, Warsaw, Zagreb and Zurich.

There are round-the-world fares, small airlines flying in and out of unusual places (to France from Perth via Mauritius, for instance) and an ever-changing landscape of airline alliances and specials the creative can explore for fun ways to their destination.

Tokyo’s Narita Airport
But one stop through south-east Asia, the kangaroo route, remains the traditional and preferred passage to Britain and Europe for most Australians.

With that in mind, here’s a guide – by no means a definitive one – of those flying it and the hubs through which they travel.

Changi International Airport, Singapore
Best airport in south-east Asia. Lots of room, plenty of seats, awesome retail and loads of free entertainment such as massage chairs and cinema-screen sports viewing.

Downside is the short leg on the way home – it’s hard to get in a good rest.

Airline Singapore Airlines
From Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, while SilkAir flies directly from Darwin to Singapore.

To London, Manchester, Paris, Amsterdam, Zurich, Copenhagen, Moscow, Barcelona, Milan, Rome, Frankfurt, Munich and Istanbul.

Airline British Airways
From Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

Codeshare British Airways codeshares with all oneworld member airlines, including Qantas, and has additional commercial agreements with Aer Lingus, Flybe, Loganair and Meridiana.

Alliance oneworld. Qantas is a oneworld member and can offer a one-ticket passage to Britain via Singapore with the second leg flown by British Airways.

Need to know Virgin Australia codeshares on Singapore Airlines flights from Adelaide, Perth and Darwin via Singapore to Europe. Starting in the first quarter of 2013, Virgin Australia will also codeshare on Singapore flights from Sydney,Melbourne and Brisbane via Singapore to Europe.

Stopover tip Arab Street
The area around Sultan Mosque has long been a hub of carpet salesmen and fabric merchants and is always worth a stroll for good quality manchester on the cheap.

But these days, it’s also home to Singapore’s unique, boutique fashion shopping, with little side street properties given over to teenage and twentysomething designer wares.

Hong Kong International Airport, China
Punters lament that it’s big on shops and light on chairs. Seating is found mostly near food, where it can be monetised. Beautiful lounges for those with access, however.

Airline Cathay Pacific
From Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns and Perth.
To Paris, Frankfurt, Milan, Rome, Amsterdam, Moscow and London.

Codeshare With Finnair and British Airways: Copenhagen, Helsinki, Lisbon, Prague, Stockholm, Zurich, Nice, Lyon, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Manchester and Newcastle.

Alliance oneworld
Qantas is a oneworld member and flies to Hong Kong. It can offer one-ticket passage to Europe via Hong Kong with the second leg flown by Cathay Pacific (see destinations above).

Airline Virgin Atlantic
From Sydney to London Heathrow.
Stopover tip Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade.

Walking the promenade is a stroll through Hong Kong’s modern history. Start at the colonial-era clock tower, pass the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, the Hong Kong Space Museum, the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Avenue of the Stars and on to Hung Hom.

The promenade also gives spectacular views of the Hong Kong Island skyline.

Baiyun, Guangzhou Airport, China
The anti-Changi. Not a lot to do, few facilities and little English signage. Online reviewers complain about a lack of cleanliness and friendliness as well as uncomfortable seats.
But Guangzhou is the hub to watch in years to come.

Airline China Southern
Guangzhou or Old Canton in southern China is the airline’s main hub. China Southern also operates via Beijing and western gateways Chongqing and Urumqi.

From Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
To Amsterdam, Paris and London.

Alliance SkyTeam.
Stopover tip Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street.

This strip in Liwan District is more than 1200 metres of shopping. But it’s the cultural showcase it affords that is so great. This is the home of Cantonese food and the restaurants along the street are cheap and fine.

Suvarnabhumi, New Bangkok International Airport, Bangkok, Thailand
Fun, friendly, full of stuff to do. The shopping is great at excellent prices and the airport flows well – just make sure you allow plenty of time to get to gates. It’s a sprawling facility. Bangkok Airport also boasts some excellent food options.

Airline Thai Airways
From Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.

To Brussels, Copenhagen, London (Heathrow), Paris, Frankfurt, Munich, Athens,

Rome, Milan, Moscow, Madrid, Stockholm, Zurich and Oslo.

Alliance Star Alliance.

epa03096249 (FILE) A supplied photo released on 21 August 2008 of a Qantas A380 VH-OQA (MSN014) making its first flight in new Qantas livery. An A380 superjumbo jet was grounded after minor cracks were found on its wings, Australia‘s Qantas Airways Ltd said 08 February 2012. It expected the Airbus plane to be back in service within a week and said the 36 hairline cracks to the wing rib feet - there are 2,000 on each wing - did not compromise air safety.  EPA/CHRISTIAN BRINKMANN EDITORIAL USE ONLY *** Local Caption *** 00000402428912

Stopover tip Chatuchak Market
Home decorators and collectors: prepare to hyperventilate. This massive retail mecca is a warren of wholesalers, offering everything from jewellery to fish tanks at crazy cheap prices. It’s good quality stuff, too – a typical Bangkok knock-off market, this isn’t.

If the urge to spend overwhelms, never fear: there are several bureaus on site that organise shipping, even by the container-full.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia
KLIA – Renowned for being efficient and friendly with great shopping, this is a clean, light and modern facility.

There are free internet terminals, good kids’ play areas and the beautiful KLIA Jungle Boardwalk in the middle of the terminal, a rainforest attraction, great for getting a breath of fresh air.

Airline Malaysia Airlines
From Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

To Amsterdam, Paris, London Heathrow and Frankfurt.

Alliance oneworld.

Stopover tip Islamic Arts Museum
Come to KL for the shopping, stay for the culture. The Islamic Arts Museum has one of the finest collections of Islamic decorative arts in the world. Here you will find pottery, textiles, jewellery and the superb Ottoman room, a recreation of a golden time.

Incheon Airport, Seoul,Korea
Not much to do if you don’t like to shop, but in addition to loads of electricals for sale, there’s free Wi-Fi, good showers and super efficient transfers in a well-planned setup.

Airline Korean Air
From Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
To London (Heathrow), Vienna, Prague, Paris, Madrid, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Zurich,
Milan and Rome.

Codeshare Alitalia, Air France, CSA Czech Airlines.

Alliance SkyTeam.

Airline Asiana.

From Sydney to London (Heathrow), Paris and Frankfurt.

Codeshare Qantas.

Alliance Star Alliance.

Stopover tip Changdeokgung Palace
Of the five palaces in Seoul, this is widely considered the best – and the one to visit if you can’t do the lot.

Built in 1405, the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site is surrounded by a beautiful garden featuring centuries-old trees and a calming, hypnotic flow to its design.

The garden was laid out to work with the landscape surrounding the castle.

Narita International, Tokyo, Japan
No fuss, no stress, efficient and clean.

One of Narita’s best features is the dayrooms, which have showers and beds, a great resource for resting during long connections.

There is free internet throughout the terminal and terrific shopping, particularly for electronics andcosmetics.

Airline Japan Airlines
From Sydney (JAL codeshares with Jetstar from Cairns).

To London (Heathrow), Moscow, Frankfurt, Paris and Helsinki (from February25).

Alliance oneworld.

Stopover tip Tsukiji Fish Market
Eating sushi in Tokyo is a must-do. Some of the best is at Sushi Dai, at the Tsukiji fish market, or the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market in central Tokyo, from where much of the city’s fish is distributed.

More than 400 kinds of seafood are sold here. Get to the market early to see the auctions.

Dubai International Airport
Great for those who enjoy stepping over sleeping bodies during a walk to the gate that takes up to 15minutes, busy DXB always feels like the whole world has arrived at exactly the same time. The spectacular-looking T3 is set to open with the arrival of Qantas, so hopefully the overcrowded hostel vibe will be a thing of the past.

Huge upside going to Europe is the flight time carve-up: it’s a 14hour-plus long leg from Australia to Dubai, from where you can be in Rome in five and a half hours.

Airline Emirates
From Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane.

To Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Birmingham, Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Dublin, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Geneva, Hamburg, Istanbul, Larnaca, Liege, Lisbon, London Gatwick, London (Heathrow), Lyon, Madrid, Malta, Manchester, Milan, Moscow, Munich, Newcastle, Nice, Paris, Petersburg, Prague, Rome Vienna, Zurich, Venice and Warsaw.

Airline Qantas
From Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Cairns and Adelaide.

Qantas owns aircraft to London (Heathrow). Codeshare with Emirates to destinations above.

Stopover tip Burj Al Arab
The sail-shaped structure cuts a beautiful figure on Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach shoreline but it’s inside the action really starts. One of Dubai’s most iconic addresses, it is home to ‘‘the only seven-star’’ (as the Dubai folk like to boast) hotel in the world. AlMahara, the spectacular underwater seafood restaurant, is also onsite.

Abu Dhabi International Airport
Great duty free, but expensive food, limited seating and organisational issues for transferring passengers. Limited things to do, but free Wi-Fi is a plus. Airline Etihad Airways.

From Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane (via Singapore).

To Brussels, Minsk, Paris, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Athens, Dublin, Milan, Geneva, London (Heathrow) and Manchester.

Codeshare Air Berlin, Air France, Aerlingus, Alitalia, Czech Airlines, Brussels Airlines, KLM, Niki, SNCF, Flybe.com.

Need to know Virgin Australia operates its own aircraft from Sydney to Abu Dhabi, connecting to Etihad Airways services to Europe. Virgin Australia also codeshares on Etihad Airways flights, which depart from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane via AbuDhabi to Europe.

Munich Attractions

THE HEART OF BAYERN

No trip to Munich is complete without visiting these top ten attractions and sights – many of them are in the center of Munich’s Old Town and you can easily walk from one landmark to the other.

1. Marienplatz – Marien Square and the New Town Hall of Munich
Marienplatz is the central square in the heart of Munich; from here, you can explore many old and wonderful buildings, churches and landmarks.

Marienplatz houses the Mariensäule, the Marian Column topped with the golden statue of Virgin Mary, and it is also home to the Old and the New Town Hall of Munich.

The tower of the New Town Hall houses the Glockenspiel, a beautiful carillon that is over 100 years old. Come here at 11 a.m. or noon to hear the Glockenspiel chime and watch the 32 life-sized figures reenact historical Bavarian events. Look out for the golden bird that chirps 3 times to mark the end of each show.

munich-new-year_2714247b

2. Frauenkirche – Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady
The Catholic Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady is the landmark of Munich and the city’s largest church; it holds up to 20,000 people.

Together with the Town Hall, the sturdy twin towers of the Cathedral shape Munich’s skyline and make it a great point of orientation.
You can also climb the steps of the towers – the view of Munich’s cityscape and the Bavarian Alps is breathtaking.

The architectural style of the brick-built cathedral is late Gothic from the 15th century. Its famous domes atop each tower were modeled on the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

3. Dachau Concentration Camp
The concentration camp of Dachau, 10 miles northwest of Munich, was one of the first concentration camps in Nazi Germany and would serve as a model for all subsequent camps in the Third Reich.

Dachau visitors follow the “path of the prisoner”, walking the same way prisoners were forced to after their arrival in the camp.

You will see the original prisoner baths, barracks, courtyards, and the crematorium, as well as an extensive exhibition and various memorials.

4. The English Garden
Just a few blocks northeast of the Munich Residence is the English Garden, Munich’s largest park. Bigger than Central Park in New York, this green oasis is a wonderful place to explore: Rent a paddle boat, stroll along the wooded paths, visit one of its traditional beer gardens, and watch the German answer to surfing on the currents of the waterway called Eisbach.

5. Best Beer Halls in Munich
If you want to drink your Bier the way it was meant to be, visit one of the many beer halls in Munich; most of them brew their own beer, and your drink will taste even better with a platter of local specialties and some oompah music.

You probably heard about Hofbrauhaus (and brewery tour), one of the most famous beer halls in Germany (the world?), but, of course, there is more than that. Here’s a list of the best Munich beer halls, where you can experience Bavarian hospitality at its best.

6. Viktualienmarkt – The Victuals Market
Only a few steps away from Marienplatz, you’ll find the bustling Viktualienmarkt, Munich’s daily outdoor farmers market. Stroll past the 140 colorful booths and enjoy the unique flavor of this market that boasts a great variety of fresh and regional food.

The Viktualienmarkt, whose beginnings date back to the early 19th century, offers everything from flowers, honey, and spices, to meat, cheese, eggs, and pastries.

Take in the garlands of sausages, mountains of fresh vegetables, and pyramids of fruits, and let your senses be seduced.

7. Residence Palace of Munich
At the edge of Munich’s old town lies the Residence, the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs.

Today the Residence houses one of the best European museums of interior decoration. The Residence, whose first buildings were constructed in 1385, consists of ten courtyards and beautiful historical gardens.

The museum itself displays 130 rooms with antique furniture, art, porcelain, and tapestries that span the Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and the neoclassical era.

8. Deutsches Museum – German Museum
The German Museum is located on an island in the river Isar that runs through Munich’s city center. It is one of the oldest and largest science and technology museums in the world and boasts an impressive collection of historic artifacts.

You can see the first electric dynamo, the first automobile, and the laboratory bench where the atom was first split. Other highlights of the museum include exhibitions on astronomy, transportation, mining, printing, and photography.

9. Museums Ensemble
Alte Pinakothek, Neue Pinakothek, Pinakothek der Moderne
West of the English Garden is a unique ensemble of three museums, each of them highlighting a different period in European art.

The Alte Pinakothek is one of the oldest art galleries in the world and home to over 800 European masterpieces from the Middle Ages to the end of the Rococo. You can see one of the biggest Rubens collections here.

The Neue Pinakothek features art and sculpture from the late 18th to the beginning of the 20th century.

Highlights include German art of the 19th century, such as paintings from Caspar David Friedrich, and a wonderful collection of French impressionists.

The Pinakothek der Moderne is the largest museum for modern art in Germany and spotlights art of the 20th century, including photography and video.

10. Olympic Stadium of Munich
This stadium was the site of the 1972 Summer Olympics, and its design was revolutionary and futuristic for its time.

Getting There:

Munich Airport , German: Flughafen München, is the international airport of Munich, the capital of Bavaria.

It is the second busiest airport in Germany in terms of passenger traffic behind Frankfurt Airport, and the seventh busiest airport in Europe, handling 39.7 million passengers in 2014.

Munich Airport serves as the secondary hub for Lufthansa including Lufthansa Regional and its Star Alliance partners besides Frankfurt. The biggest foreign carrier in Munich in terms of passenger numbers is Air Dolomiti.

Alcohol on Airplanes

What’s more fun than drinking on a plane?

You’ve got a few hours to kill with nothing to do (and probably less going on when you arrive), and after the time you just spent getting herded, strip-searched, and stressed out in the airport, well, you kinda deserve it, right?

Except sometimes it’s not as awesome as you think. Just ask Alec Baldwin. Or Courtney Love. Or David Hasselhoff. Yes, when done properly, drinking on an airplane is the best.

Emphasis on “done properly”. A lot of times, though, it’s not a great idea.
And here are 9 reasons why.

You may feel more intoxicated
In case you failed sixth-grade science, the air at 36,000 feet isn’t breathable this is why airplanes are pressurized.

Even still, the cabin air has far less oxygen than you would breathe if you were on the ground and, though some studies have shown booze doesn’t have much effect on your BAC, it can still be metabolized faster and exacerbate the effects of altitude sickness.

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Age restrictions
When you’re in the sky, technically there’s no age restriction on buying alcohol.
No official one anyway.

Individual airlines can choose their own rule but they usually stick to the laws of the country where they’re registered.

So if you’re with an American airline, you’ll probably have to be over 21.

While you’re on the ground though, the laws of the country you’re in usually apply.

‘One drink in the air is equal to three on land’ – or is it?
According to the UK’s flight regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), low air pressure when flying effectively thins the blood.

That means the effects of alcohol can be stronger.
But some experts aren’t convinced. They think you may feel drunk because flying conditions mean less oxygen gets into your brain.

Drinking limits
There’s no specific limit on how much you can drink on a flight, but it is a crime to be drunk on board an aircraft.

Cabin crew have the right to refuse to serve alcohol to any passenger.

You can’t board your connecting flight
And since those two light beers on the ground may have hit you more like a couple of Four Lokos at altitude, you’d better hope that two-mile walk through DFW to your connecting flight clears your head.

Gate agents are required by law to stop you from boarding the plane if you appear intoxicated. Which is entirely subjective.

Motion sickness is a lot worse
Because nothing settles down your nervous stomach like milk, Kahlúa, and pressurized oxygen.

You might get arrested
Airlines have a right to refuse to carry passengers if they think they’re a potential risk to the safety of the aircraft, its crew or passengers.

That could include them being drunk or showing signs of having used recreational drugs.
It also applies to anyone using “unacceptable”, threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour.

If the plane’s already taken off it could land early and passengers can be escorted off by police on landing.

Serious offences could even lead to fines or prison sentences.
Each airline has its own procedures for dealing with disruptive passengers.

Alcoholic beverages
Permitted as carry-on or checked baggage – A maximum net total of 5L per person is permitted providing the alcohol is contained within retail packaging.

The alcohol must not be more than 70% alcohol by volume and consumption alcohol carried on board is not permitted on the aircraft.

Mexico City Attractions

MEXICO ALWAYS A TOP DESTINATION

Mexico City has many attractions to explore with its rich and glorious Aztec heritage, an intriguing colonial past and exhilarating new world.

The city is divided into 16 delegaciones i.e. boroughs or districts, which are in turn subdivided into colonias or neighbourhoods.

Over a period of time, old towns like Coyoacán, San Angel and Tlalpan have been merged into the general, urban sprawl, but somehow they are still preserving their originality, charm and tradition.

Alameda Central
This is the oldest and largest attraction of the city. Now a park, originally it was used as an Aztec marketplace and execution site during the Spanish Inquisition. It borders the Palacio de Bellas Artes i.e. Palace of Fine Arts on the eastern side.

This palace houses a concert hall, museum and a theatre. Diego Rivera, a famous Mexican artist painted a mural of Alameda Central park named ‘Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central’, in 1947.

Originally, the painting was housed in the Prado Hotel, but after the disastrous 1985 earthquake, it was shifted to Museo Mural de Diego Rivera.

Mexico-City-Metropolitan-Cathedral1

Metropolitan Cathedral
This is the oldest and largest Roman Catholic cathedral in Latin America.

The construction of this cathedral started in the 16th century, and it portrays a medley of baroque and neoclassical touches. It is situated atop a site that was originally meant for a temple dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec God of War.

After the Spanish conquered Mexico, they razed much of the Aztec temples and used the stones to build their own constructions. In the case of Catedral Metropolitana, nearly all of the building blocks from the nearby Templo Mayor were used to build the cathedral.

Although this church has suffered irreparable damage over the centuries, it was designated World Monuments Fund’s list of 100 Most Endangered Sites in 2000, thanks to the continuous preservation efforts of Mexico City government.

This superb historic attraction has four identical domes with a row of supporting columns, as well as innumerable paintings and altarpieces from the colonial era.

Plaza de las Tres Culturas
This plaza, also known as ‘Square of the Three Cultures’, gives an idea about the fusion of three different cultures in Mexico history situated at a single spot.

Attracting many tourists, it signifies a mixture of Aztec, Spanish and contemporary Mexican architecture. It has the ruins of an Aztec ceremonial site, the Santiago Tlatelolco Church, built in 1609 and the Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco College built in 1535.

Arena Mexico
Arena Mexico is famous for Lucha libre, a Mexican form of professional wrestling, endorsed by Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL).

This popular tourist attraction is more of an entertaining form of freestyle wrestling then a sport. Masked men (luchadores) in spandex costumes fight until the winner unmasks the loser to prove his victory.

This loud and rowdy wrestling provides a lot of excitement for the spectators.

The place is very close to Zona Rosa and Avenida Insurgentes.

Temple Mayor
Temple Mayor is an archaeological site located in the Zocalo next to Catedral Metropolitana. It was one of the largest and important temples of the Aztecs in their capital city of Tenochtitlan.

The remains of this ancient temple were found in 1978 after workers of an electric company unearthed the Aztec stone of the moon goddess Coyolxauhqui. This amazing archaeological discovery is a part of the Historic Centre of Mexico City and included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The Museum of the Templo Mayor, located within the precincts of the discovery site, houses all the archaeological materials excavated until date.

Zocalo
Zocalo square, formally known as the Plaza de la Constitution is located in the heart of the historic centre of Mexico City.

This stunning but often crowded square is mainly used for celebrations, protests, rallies, ceremonies and other festive events. It has the Catedral Metropolitana on the north side and Federal Treasury and National archives on the eastern side.

It is the main centre of attraction on the occasion of “Independence Day,” which is celebrated on September 16th, every year.

La Feria de Chapultepec Mágico
This is a children’s amusement park located in Chapultepec Park. With more than 50 rides, it is one of the most popular venues among children.

The park features the first roller-coaster in the country, an absolute must for those seeking a quick thrill! It also offers many other attractions at reasonable prices.

Angel de la Independencia
Commonly known as el Angel, the official name of the Angel of Independence is Columna de la Independencia.

This symbol of victory is situated on a roundabout over Paseo de la Reforma in downtown Mexico City. It was under construction between 1902 and 1910.

A famous landmark of the city, it is a gathering place for post-game celebrations and political rallies.

Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe
Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe is the holiest place of Catholicism in America. This church is built near a site where a Native American named Juan Diego claimed to have seen a vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe in a blue mantle in 1531.

Every year, around 12th of December, thousands of people visit the destination for the yearly celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Feast day.

Getting There:

Mexico City International Airport Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México, Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juárez – Benito Juárez International Airport) is a commercial airport that serves greater Mexico City. It is Mexico’s busiest and Latin America’s second busiest airport by passenger traffic.

As the main hub for Mexico’s largest airline Aeromexico the airport has become a Sky Team hub. It is also a hub for Aeromar,Interjet, Volaris and a focus city for Viva Aerobus.

On a typical day, more than 100,000 passengers pass through the airport to and from more than 100 destinations on three continents. 

Most Expensive Hotel Suites

Nothing says “senseless overspending” like blowing thousands on a place to sleep, shower and store your clothes while you go about your day.

Luckily for the fortunate 1 percent, there are places that cater to exactly that.

Here are some of the world’s most expensive hotel suites.

1. Royal Penthouse Suite, Hotel President Wilson, Geneva

US$65,000 per night

With 12 rooms, this suite is essentially a house, and costs about the same.

For the security-conscious, or the merely paranoid, there’s nowhere better to stay than the Royal Penthouse Suite at the Hotel President Wilson Hotel, which has panoramic views of Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc.

With bulletproof doors and windows, it’s the perfect safehouse for visiting heads of state, or privacy-conscious celebs.

Taking up the entire top floor of the hotel, the suite has its own private elevator to whisk guests to an apartment with 12 rooms, which hold a Steinway grand piano, billiard room, library and private fitness center.

2. The Presidential Suite, The Raj Palace Hotel, Jaipur, India

US$45,000 per night

This positively palatial suite was a former Maharaja’s residence. At nearly 1,500 square meters, the suite is one of the biggest in Asia, and comprises a four-floor apartment lavishly decorated in gold leaf, stucco, ivory and mirror work.

With a private roof terrace and swimming pool offering panoramic views of the pink city of Jaipur, and its own private museum, there seems little reason to leave.

The Ty Warner Penthouse in the Four Season Hotel in New York City. Room consists of $120,000 chandelier, white silk carpet and hand-lacquered walls with mother of pearl inlay. CREDIT: Joshua Lutz/INSTITUTE for The Wall Street Journal. Slug: Bestroom

3. Ty Warner Penthouse Suite, Four Seasons Hotel, New York

US$41,836 per night

Soak in the expansive tub and try not to think about the US$30 it’s costing you each minute.

This 400-square-meter penthouse tops the entire top floor of this magnificent hotel, offering a 360-degree view of the Manhattan skyline.

The nine-room suite is the brainchild of designer Peter Marino, architect IM Pei and the hotel’s owner Ty Warner (the billionaire creator of the Beanie Babies).

It sports fabrics woven with platinum and gold, an indoor-outdoor Zen garden, a stupendous chandelier, the services of a personal butler, personal trainer/therapist and private chauffeur.

4. Penthouse Suite, Hotel Martinez, Cannes, France

US$37,500 per night

Two bathrooms, hammam, sauna, spa bath and shower — because you’ll feel so dirty after spending this much on a room.

On the Croisette, Hotel Martinez has a Michelin-starred restaurant, piano bar and huge private beach.

Decked out in art deco style, you’ll have a sitting room, dining room, two bedrooms, two bathrooms with hammam, shower, spa bath, dressing room and sauna at your disposal, as well as a huge terrace overlooking the Bay of Cannes.

5. Hugh Hefner Sky Villa Palms Resort, Las Vegas

US$35,487 per night

Bunnies not included? Not worth it then.

The Hugh Hefner Sky Villa, high in the Palms’ Fantasy Tower, is fitted out with everything Playboy: racy artwork selected by Hef himself, a huge, rotating circular bed and an indoor pool, branded with the Bunny logo, leading to a hair- — and libido- — raising cantilevered spa bath high above the Strip.

This 836-square-meter, two-bedroom pad also includes an orgy-sized bathtub, bar and poker table and an indoor waterfall.

The eye-watering price doesn’t include breakfast — or Bunnies.

6. The Royal Villa, Grand Resort Lagonissi, Athens

US$34,356 per night

Two pools, a private chef and myriad reasons to enjoy every penny of your inheritance.

With a butler, private chef and pianist at your beck and call, there’s little need to lift a finger — except to sip martinis — when you stay at this three-bedroomed villa.

When you’re feeling more active you can also take advantage of an indoor pool, outdoor heated pool and gym, as well as a steam bath and massage room.

There’s also a nearby private marina and beach.

7. Presidential Suite, Hotel Cala di Volpe, Sardinia, Italy

US$32,736 per night

One of the most exquisite, but not the most expensive. Bargain!

Perfect for sun-kissed networking, the Presidential Suite overlooks the sparkling brine of the Costa Smeralda. Billed as one of the most gorgeous suites in the world, this three-bedroom luxury pad stands above the rambling towers and pantile roofs of the luxury Porto Cervo resort.

An understated blend of Mediterranean style and sensational bay views, the suite also has its own pool on the private roof terrace, along with a wine cellar and outdoor gym.

8. Villa La Cupola Suite, Westin Excelsior, Rome

US$30,000 per night

When in Rome … blow your budget?

For the ultimate in La Dolce Vita, check into the stunning Villa La Cupola suite in Rome’s Westin Excelsior.

One of the largest in Europe, the suite is inspired by ancient Rome, with extensive use of marble, stained glass and frescoes. There’s a gorgeous wraparound terrace where you can soak up the sun, a private spa with sauna, whirlpool and steam bath, as well as private cinema.

9. Ritz-Carlton Suite, Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo

US$26,300 per night

Lofty — like our dreams of ever staying here.

At 300 square meters, the Ritz-Carlton Suite has many of the usual big suite highlights — Frette linen sheets, an oversized marble bathroom, huge beds, flat-screen TVs and individual rain shower booths.

The clincher is the fact that it tops the tallest skyscrapers in Tokyo and has proposal-worthy views over the Imperial Palace, Roppongi Hills and Mount Fuji.

10. Royal Towers Bridge Suite, Atlantis, Bahamas

US$25,000 per night

Hopefully you don’t have a gold allergy.

This 10-room suite with gold sofas, cushions, gilt mirrors and chandeliers is enough to make minimalists break out in hives. This is shameless glamour.

The grand foyer dazzles the eye with an elaborate floor made of four kinds of marble. The 15-meter-long living room holds a baby grand piano. The vast entertainment center comes with a full-service bar.

Throw in the eye-popping balcony views, and a butler, and this is no ordinary pad.

Flight Cancelled? What To Do

Whether it’s caused by a snow storm or unexpected mechanical problems, the average flyer may find himself the victim of a canceled flight at least once.

Since you’re likely to be surrounded by hundreds of other stranded passengers, moving quickly is essential to get your travel plans back in order.

Arming yourself with a plan can make the difference between getting on the next flight out and sleeping in an airport chair.

Plan Ahead
Start planning for a canceled flight before you even leave for the airport.

Check the flight status online a few hours before your plane is due to leave, particularly when rain or snow is predicted. When a storm is coming, some airlines will post offers on their websites that allow passengers to switch to later flights without paying a change fee.

If you find that your flight has already been canceled, you can start calling the airline reservations desk right away for more information.

Before you leave home, program the number of the reservations hotline into your phone, as well as the number of your travel agent, if you used one to plan your travel.

Get in Line
As soon as you see those dreaded words, “Canceled,” pop up on the departure screen, head straight to the nearest airline customer service desk; these desks should be located throughout the terminal.

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Ask a representative to book you onto the next available flight. Most airlines will book you onto a different carrier’s flight if their own airline doesn’t have another flight available; ask if this is an option and verify that you won’t be charged any additional fee for this service.

Get on the Phone
When you find yourself in a long line at the customer service desk, call the reservation hotline while you’re waiting. If a crowd of other displaced passengers is in front of you, you may be able to get a representative on the phone before you speak to one in person.

After you reach a live person, explain the situation and ask that they schedule you on the next flight out.

If you have a phone or laptop with an Internet connection, log into the flight status or flight management system of the airline’s website; in some cases, you might find you’ve already been automatically rebooked on a new flight.

Get Comfortable
If all flights are canceled due to weather, you may have little to do except wait out the storm.

Ask the agent at your departure gate if the airline gives out food vouchers to stranded travelers. If it’s getting dark, and it’s clear you won’t be flying out that night, start looking into hotels immediately.

Some airlines will pay for a hotel stay if the cancellation is caused by mechanical troubles, but you’re generally on your own if you’re grounded because of weather.

Ask the gate agent for a voucher that will grant you a reduced rate at an airport hotel.

Keep calling the reservation hotline every hour; as soon as the storm ends and they start rebooking passengers, you’ll be at the head of the line.

Advantages Of A Travel Agent

TRAVEL AGENTS DO HAVE ADVANTAGES

With the dozens of online travel sites and the ability to book directly with almost any airline, hotel or other travel service, it would seem that travel agents might go the way of the dinosaurs.

The American Society of Travel Agents, though, reports travel agents sell 85 percent of all cruises and 70 percent of all packages and tours, as of 2008.

Agents are still in demand, and offer plenty of benefits when you are booking your vacation.

Time and Money Savings
Sometimes, spending hours on the computer searching for the best travel deals gets you results and other times, it just leads to frustration.

When you work with a travel agent, she does that legwork, searching out the travel options that best meet your needs and budget.

In most cases, travel agents have access to information about rates and routes that average consumer might not have, saving you time and money, even when you consider the agent’s fee.

Using a travel agent can also help you score a great deal on a package or promotion. Agents generally receive information and access to promotions from resorts, cruise lines and other travel providers that aren’t available to the general public.

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Travel Assistance
You’re en route to a Caribbean cruise a when a snowstorm in Detroit delays your flight in Philadelphia. I

f you booked your travel through an agent, you can call him to get assistance with rebooking your travel arrangements.

When you book through an online travel site, you might not be able to get that level of personalized attention, or you could have trouble finding someone who can help you get where you need to be.

If something goes wrong when you arrive at your destination, such as your room is unacceptable or the transportation to the resort never shows up, your travel agent can usually resolve those problems.

Travel Recommendations
Perhaps you’ve always wanted to take a cruise, but you’re not sure which cruise line is best for you or where you want to go.

Maybe you want to take the kids to Disney World, but you’re having trouble navigating the endless array of ticket and package options.

A travel agent can help. Many travel agents specialize in a particular type of travel, such as cruises, Disney or Europe, and are able to make recommendations and help you plan a trip that meets your needs and budget.

Their inside knowledge helps you avoid wasting time and money on the things you’re not interested in, and lets you focus instead on taking the trip.

Perks
Travel agents who book a high volume of trips often have access to perks that you might not be able to get on your own.

Whether it’s a room upgrade, a fee waiver or even reservations at a hot resort or on a popular tour, travel agents often add perks into your vacation plan.

If you are planning a trip for a special occasion, such as a marriage proposal, a travel agent has access to the resources and people who can help you plan the perfect event.

Most Popular Hotel Booking Websites

Why use Hotel Booking Services?

There’s no disappointment quite like walking into a hotel after a long day of travel and discovering your room is nothing like what you expected.

The best hotel booking sites provide extensive lists of amenities and attractions near the hotel.

Most of these sites also provide booking and travel deals for other reservations like flights, rental cars and cruises.

Online hotel booking services like Hotels.com, Travelocity and Expedia allow you to take a close look at hotels around your destination before you even start packing.

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So here they are the 2015 World’s top 10 hotel booking websites.

Hotels.com

Travelocity.com

Expedia.com

Hotwire.com

Priceline.com

Booking.com

MoreHotels4Less.com

Orbitz.com

Agoda.com

HotelReservations.com

Hotel Booking Services: What to Look For
The best online booking services provide lots of honest information about the hotels, regardless of their star rating. Sorting features and accessible support give you the most valuable information about a room before you book it.

Among this information, look for plenty of customer reviews and images on the hotel profiles. Pictures of the hotels should include shot of multiple rooms, lobbies, the front of the hotel, as well as any special features like pools or casinos associated with it. Regardless of price, the best hotels will have many reviews with high scores.

Sorting Features
When looking for a hotel, you need to ask hard-hitting questions like, “where is the pool?”

The more people staying with you, the more features you will need in a hotel room. The best booking services online can help you sort through hundreds of thousands of hotels based on these individual needs.

You can sort by amenities like swimming pools, childcare or accessibility features. Prices, star ratings and location are also common sorting features. By using these sorting features, the hotel booking site will filter out hotels missing your favourite amenities, so you can find the best fit for your stay.

Hotel Details
To ensure you don’t accidentally book a five-star roach palace, you’ll want to find a booking service that provides plenty of information about the hotel.

The most valuable information includes images of the hotel and assorted rooms in the building, amenities and other features.

Location information and hotel policies can also make a huge difference in your comfort level.

Chances are you won’t find a five-star hotel in a bad neighborhood, but that charming bed and breakfast may be twenty miles away from your real destination, so look for readily available maps on the hotel’s profile.

Other features like guest reviews, especially from trusted sites like TripAdvisor, give you the inside scoop on the hotel from people who have had first-hand experiences with the facility.

Reservation Process
Like a hot stone massage from the resort’s masseuse, booking a room online should be mostly painless. When it comes to prices, hotel websites have different methods of delivering deals.

Some use a bid system, while others leave the hotel details a mystery to provide big discounts. Purchasing in these ways may get you good prices, but they can come with complicated website policies.

Some of the best sites also reserve flights, rental cars or whole vacation packages combined with the hotel. If you’re a frequent traveler, loyalty programs reward you for booking with the website, giving you more incentives to travel.

The best hotel search sites give you the option to pay for your hotel online or in person.

The best hotel booking sites will give you an accurate picture of the hotel you want, and they allow you to search through thousands of hotels based on what’s most important to you.

Look for a hotel search site that provides ample information about the hotels that interest you.
Guest ratings, images, amenities lists and multiple room booking are key features of these websites

Evolution of Luggage

Walk into any luggage shop these days and the choices are plenty: ballistic nylon garment bags; colorful, mod-looking hard-shell carry-ons; high-end monogrammed duffels; and sleek leather trolleys a long way from the bulky trunks used centuries ago.

It’s reported that as early as the Crusades soldiers used wooden boxes to carry weapons and armor traveling trunks were essential to hold personal belongings for an extended period of time.

In the mid- to late-1800s, as long-distance travel became popular via steam vessels such as trains and ships, so did steamer trunks.

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The most popular and iconic steamer trunk was a large, rectangular model with a flat top, favored for its durability and ideal for being stowed vertically or horizontally for easy transport.

Typically, these steamer trunks were adorned with leather, canvas or patterned paper and secured with brass or iron.

Two notable luxury French trunk makers, Goyard and Louis Vuitton, crafted steamer trunks for French royalty and wealthy customers during the travel boom in the mid-1800s. Typically covered in canvas to make them lightweight and waterproof, both brands added distinct patterns to protect from imitators Goyard added a geometric pattern, and Louis Vuitton the famous LV monogram.

Steamer trunks stayed popular until about the 1920s but were replaced with more compact, portable suitcases as long-distance travel by plane emerged.

In 1920, the Shwayder Bros. Trunk Manufacturing Co. of Denver, Colo., launched its first affordable coordinated luggage and in 1941 developed Samsonite Streamlite, suitcases made with a revolutionary vulcanized material and tapered corners.

The company’s ads claimed the luggage was “strong enough to stand on,” and a few years later, owner Jesse Shwayder changed the company name to Samsonite, after the biblical giant, Samson.

As commercial air travel started to boom for both business and pleasure, so did the demand for better baggage.

Amazingly, not until 1970 did we get the idea to put wheels on luggage. Bernard Sadow, the founder of U.S. Luggage (now the parent company of Briggs & Riley) was traveling from Aruba with his family, carrying two heavy suitcases, when he noticed a skid nearby and realized that what luggage needed was wheels.

Sadow made a prototype of a suitcase with four caster wheels made from plastic and metal and a rope to pull it along.

Sadow’s “Luggage that Glides!” hit Macy’s stores in October 1970, but it was not until 1987 that Northwest Airlines Boeing 747 pilot Bob Plath invented the first rolled luggage with two wheels and an extending handle, changing the orientation of the suitcase from horizontal to vertical.

“A major development in luggage, which changed the way people traveled, was the invention of the Rollaboard by Travelpro founder Bob Plath 26 years ago,” says Michele Marini Pittenger, president of the Travel Goods Association.

Plath began selling his Rollaboard to flight crews, but travelers soon noticed airline personnel efficiently navigating the airport with ease, and a whole market for two-wheeled luggage was born.

The Rollaboard became so successful most airlines reconfigured their overhead space to accommodate the 22-inch carry-ons. This also allowed people to carry their own luggage and sparked a trend to pack lighter.

Bob Plath eventually left his job as a pilot and started the company Travelpro, which today is the premier luggage provider to flight crews and pilots of 90 airlines.

U.S. consumers spent an estimated $25.5 billion on travel goods in 2012, according to the Travel Goods Association.

Today, frequent travelers can choose from a slew of high-performance luggage options that are lighter, more durable and contain modern amenities such as TSA-friendly technology compartments and revolutionary wheels.

Carry-ons are the clear bag of choice these days for both frequent business travelers and leisure travelers, due to airline bag restrictions.

“Over the past 18 months, we’ve seen countless developments emerge to make travel easier, smarter and more fun,” says the TGA’s Pittenger.

“Even though one size rarely fits all, travel goods manufacturers are coming as close as possible with compressible luggage bags that expand or contract to fit what you’ve packed, leaving little extra room for the contents of your suitcase to shift in transit and enabling travellers to use the same bag for a weekend or two weeks away.”

A leader in the compression category is Briggs & Riley’s Baseline CX luggage, which allows travelers to pack up to 34 percent more while staying within airline carry-on requirements.

“We developed a mechanism that allows it to expand and contract without unzipping,” says Richard Krulik, CEO of Briggs & Riley. “When finished packing, the bag goes down to the most compressed state.”

Two-wheeled luggage used to be the norm, but over the past two years the travel goods industry has seen four-wheeled models gaining momentum.

Spinner luggage features four wheels instead of the standard two and easily moves 360 degrees for easy access along airplane aisles and whisking through the airport at record speed.

10 Best Places to Visit in Canada

Awe-inspiring scenery, vibrant cities and a welcoming atmosphere all make Canada a popular tourist destination.

As the largest country in North America Canada is a vast land encompassing majestic mountains, spectacular coastlines, virgin forests, spacious prairies and Arctic tundra.

While much of the nation is of British and French descent, Canada is home to a mosaic of multicultural communities.

Calgary
The largest city in Alberta, Calgary is situated between the Canadian Prairies and the foothills of the Canadian Rockies.

After oil was discovered nearby in the early 1900s, Calgary boomed into what is now one of Canada’s largest metropolitan areas, attracting thousands every year to its world-famous rodeo event, the Calgary Stampede.

This Old West celebration is held over ten days in July with rodeos, chuckwagon races, parades, competitions, crafts and food.

Ottawa
Located at the confluence of the Ottawa, Gatineau and Rideau rivers in southeastern Ontario, Ottawa is the capital of Canada.

As the nation’s capital, Ottawa is home to many financial, commercial and federal establishments including Parliament Hill, the government seat where the ceremonial Changing of the Guard takes place daily during the summer.

Running right through the heart of the city, the Rideau Canal is Ottawa’s star attraction. In winter the canal becomes the world’s largest ice skating ring.

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Whistler
Thanks to a couple of spectacular mountains called Whistler and Blackcomb, the Whistler resort is the largest and most famous alpine ski destination in North America.

Located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Whistler is a two-hour trip from Vancouver along Canada’s most scenic drive, the Sea-to-Sky Highway.

At the base of the two mountains are three quaint villages, Whistler Village, Creekside and Upper Village. The Peak 2 Peak gondola transports visitors from the villages to the mountains.

Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island, named after the British explorer George Vancouver, is the largest island off the West Coast of the North American continent.

Located across from Washington State, it is accessible by ferry through the San Juan Islands from Anacortes, from Port Angeles on the state’s Olympic Peninsula, or from Vancouver on mainland British Columbia.

It’s famous for the quaint city of Victoria, the gorgeous Butchart Gardens, the surf town of Tofino and the wilderness in the north, where one can catch a ferry to Prince Rupert, and another to Alaska from there.

Quebec City
Vancouver Island, named after the British explorer George Vancouver, is the largest island off the West Coast of the North American continent.

Located across from Washington State, it is accessible by ferry through the San Juan Islands from Anacortes, from Port Angeles on the state’s Olympic Peninsula, or from Vancouver on mainland British Columbia.

It’s famous for the quaint city of Victoria, the gorgeous Butchart Gardens, the surf town of Tofino and the wilderness in the north, where one can catch a ferry to Prince Rupert, and another to Alaska from there.

Toronto
The capital of Ontario, Toronto is the most populated city in Canada as well as one of the largest cities in North America.

With a large number of ethnic districts like Chinatown, Little India and Little Italy, Toronto is also one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities.

The city’s main tourist draws range from impressive landmarks such as the iconic CN Tower and the fairy tale castle of Casa Loma. Additionally, the Toronto Islands are a popular destination with beaches and outdoor activities.

Montreal
The second largest city in Canada after Toronto, Montreal is the cultural and financial capital of the Quebec province.

the largest French-speaking community outside of Paris, France, Montreal is a bustling metropolis comprised of a downtown district, a historic quarter, entertainment district and several distinctive neighborhoods.

Montreal’s main sights include downtown skyscrapers like the Olympic Tower, the historic buildings of Old Montreal and several family attractions like theme and water parks.

Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is a series of three awe-inspiring waterfalls situated on the border of Canada’s Ontario and the United States’ New York.

The Ontario side of the Falls is called Horseshoe Falls and offers the best views and most attractions.

The immediate area surrounding the Falls is a premier tourist spot teeming in observation towers, restaurants, souvenir shops, casinos and high-rise hotels.

One of the best places to view the Niagara Falls on the Ontario side is from Queen Victoria Park where the Falls are illuminated and fireworks are displayed nightly during the summer.

Banff National Park
Located in the province of Alberta, the Banff National Park is not only Canada’s first national park, but also one of the nation’s largest and most visited national parks.

The park’s breathtaking scenery and wildlife draw many tourists every year along the Trans-Canada Highway, which passes through the park.

Banff National Parks large concentration of wildlife includes mammals like black bears, grizzly bears, bison, moose, bighorn sheep, wolves and bald eagles.

Vancouver
Situated between the Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean in British Columbia, Vancouver is favored for its majestic landscapes that present a natural playground where tourists can swim in the ocean, rollerblade through scenic parks and snow ski in the mountains all in one day.

The third largest metropolitan area in the country, Vancouver is one of the most poplar places to visit in Canada. Vancouver’s star attraction is Stanley Park which covers a huge area of woodlands, gardens and green spaces.

Some of the city’s other top sites include Granville Island’s remarkable food market and Chinatown’s vibrant array of shops.

Getting There:

Canada has many excellent airports the major hubs are Toronto Pearson International airport, Toronto City airport, Montreal-Trudeau International airport, Vancouver International airport and Calgary International airport.

Air Canada’s hub is located at Toronto Pearson International.

10 Best 5 Star Hotels Paris

The best luxury hotels in Paris, chosen by the daily telegraph.

Four Seasons Hotel George V
Palatial comfort, space, gastronomy and the most remarkable flower displays in town sum up the sumptuous George V, crowning it over Avenue George V in the Champs-Elysées golden triangle, with countless discreet staff lurking behind the scenes to lay on every need.

The Peninsula
A Hong Kong vision of Parisian luxury, lavishly redone with vast corridors, a reception dripping with glass leaves, panelled bar and meticulously restored rococo salon.

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View from the Peninsula Paris

A Chinese restaurant contrasts with a rooftop French restaurant and terrace.
The 200 rooms, combining comfort and technology, are very spacious.

Mandarin Oriental
Flanked by designer boutiques on rue Saint-Honoré is Paris’ Mandarin Oriental, a bastion of elegance.

Plush rooms are designed for lingering; the white-wash restaurant, Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx, designed for special occasions. It holds three Michelin stars.

Park Hyatt Paris
A hit with A-list celebrities, Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme is famed for its flamboyant Asian-inspired interiors and Michelin-starred restaurant Pur. Don’t miss the small but excellent spa.

La Réserve Paris Hotel
Expect guests that don’t blanch at suites that cost four figures a night at La Reserve: Parisians from the surrounding eighth arrondissement; politicians from the neighbouring Elysée Palace; fans of other properties belonging to the multi-millionaire owner Michel Reybier, and of the anti-aging Nescens spa treatments.

Shangri-La Hotel
Originally the private mansion of Roland Bonaparte, eccentric botanist and great-nephew of Napoleon, the 101 suites and bedrooms evoke a grand classical lifestyle, some with balconies from which you can almost touch the Eiffel Tower across the river.

Le Meurice
Stands out among the Paris palaces with its prime position on arcaded rue de Rivoli, just minutes from the Louvre.

Past guests, who included Salvador Dali, and superb staff get the right balance between obsequious and witty. Rooms are awash with pastel-toned satin and Louis XVI chairs.

Hotel Plaza Athenee
This ‘Palace’ hotel (a notch up from five-star) drips with luxury on one of Paris’ most fashionable streets, close to the Champs Elysees. Expect opulent interiors, a Dior spa and an Alain Ducasse Michelin-starred restaurant.

Le Royal Monceau Raffles
On the avenue between the Arc de Triomphe and Parc Monceau, grand Royal Monceau was reborn after a Philippe Starck makeover as a self-proclaimed luxury art hotel, complete with gallery, art concierge, concept store and cinema.

Downstairs works particularly well, with an illuminated cocktail bar and courtyard garden.

Prince de Galles
A smart, compact, and extremely stylish 1920s hotel on Avenue George V, in the heart of the 8e designer district.

The spirit of its original Art Deco design has been captured throughout, from the mosaic floor of Les Heures bar to the rooms which feature macassar veneer furniture and two-tone patterned carpets.

Getting There:

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Aéroport de Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle, also known as Roissy Airport (or just Roissy in French), is one of the world’s principal aviation centres, as well as France’s largest International airport.

The airport is located within portions of several communes, 25 km (16 mi) to the northeast of Paris.
The airport serves as the principal hub for Air France as well as a European hub for Delta Air Lines.

Best Miami Attractions Top 10

Miami lies on the southeast side of the Florida Peninsula, separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Biscayne Bay lagoon and Miami Beach.

The city’s pleasant winter climate makes it a very popular holiday destination, particularly for those in the northern regions of the country.

The beaches of Greater Miami are a major highlight, as is the Art Deco architecture of Miami Beach.
Outside the city but nearby is Everglades National Park, known for its unique ecosystem and wildlife.

Miami Beach
Is actually a separate municipality from Miami.

It is located on an island, connected to the mainland by a series of bridges. The area is known for its popular beaches and the Art Deco District, with pastel buildings from the 1930s sporting classic neon signs.

An expensive tourist district, this area features numerous beachfront restaurants, shops, hotels, and plenty of sunbathing opportunities.

The most popular street in the area is Ocean Drive, a section of road located along the oceanfront and home to some beautiful Art Deco buildings. One block inland and paralleling Ocean Drive is Collins Avenue.

Collins Avenue is actually State Road A1A, and is the main oceanfront street in Miami Beach, joining numerous neighborhoods. Here visitors will find trendy and upper end restaurants, shopping, and hotels.

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The Art Deco District
In Miami Beach brings back memories of an earlier time in Florida with its wonderfully restored 1930s Art Deco buildings.

These pastel colored historic structures display neon signs and awnings that cover outdoor dining areas. Many of them front Ocean Drive, overlooking the beach and ocean.

South Beach
Located at the southern end of Miami Beach where the Art Deco buildings line the waterfront road, this is the most famous and popular section of Miami Beach.

In summer the beach is a popular draw for locals and tourists and in winter the area is simply a popular place to stroll around.

Ocean Drive
Runs along the oceanfront in Miami Beach, passing the historic Art Deco buildings and the famous strip of sand known as South Beach. It is a popular place both day and night for a slow cruise and some drive by sightseeing.

For those with a special interest in these lovely pastel colored, 1920s and 1930s Art Deco buildings, some of the most notable structures are the Beacon (732 Ocean Drive; by Henry O. Nelson, 1926), the Colony Hotel (736 Ocean Drive; by Henry Hohauser, 1936), Waldorf Towers (860 Ocean Drive; by Albert Anis, 1937), the Breakwater (940 Ocean Drive; by Anton Skislewicz, 1939), the Cardozo (1300 Ocean Drive; by Henry Hohauser, 1939), which is busy night and day, and the Cavalier (1320 Ocean Drive; by Roy F. France, 1936).

Bayside Marketplace
is a large outdoor style mall with more than 150 specialty and tourist shops, numerous cafes and restaurants, and daily live entertainment.

Visitors will find some well known chain stores as well as many unique, one of a kind places. The marketplace draws locals as well as tourists.

As may be evident in the name, the mall is located along Miami’s waterfront, looking out over docks and boats.

Many people come here simply to soak up the atmosphere. Tour boats leave from here, visiting locations around Biscayne Bay. As well, there is a water taxi service to Miami Beach and downtown hotels located in the area.

Bayfront Park

On the east side of Biscayne Boulevard, was redesigned in the 1980s. An attractive feature is the electronically controlled Pepper Fountain.

Other highlights include an amphitheatre used for musical performances of all kinds, a tower for laser illuminations, and three important monuments: the Torch of Friendship, symbolising Miami’s relationships with the countries of Central and South America; the World War II Memorial; and the Challenger Memorial, commemorating the crew of the Challenger spacecraft which exploded in 1986.

The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Is one of Miami’s greatest treasures. The architecture, the grounds, and the artwork it contains are all worth the trip to visit this beautiful place.

This estate was the former winter home of early 20th century industrialist, James Deering. Built in 1916, the mansion features 34 rooms arranged around a central courtyard. This 28-acre estate and Italian Renaissance-style villa is filled with European furniture and decorative arts from the 15th to 19th century.

It took more than 1,100 workers and craftsmen to complete the Vizcaya project, many of whom were brought over from Europe to ensure authenticity in design.

The gardens contain a number of Italian and French fountains, pools and sculptures. A breakwater at the base of the steps leading into Biscayne Bay is carved into the form of female figures. The name “Vizcaya” is a Basque word meaning “an elevated place.”

The estate has hosted a number of world leaders and important historical events including the meeting between Pope John Paul II and the former president Reagan in 1987 as well as Queen Elizabeth II during her 1991 tour of America.

Little Havana
The Cuban district of Miami, isn’t known for its wealth of tourist attractions but more for its distinctive cultural flavor.

There are restaurants, specialty food shops, and Latin music drifting through the air. Calle Ocho is the main thoroughfare running through the district and home to much of the activity, but the district spreads well beyond into the surrounding streets and avenues

For people watching, the area offers a great deal of entertainment. There are many open air areas where people gather to socialize.

Murals on the sides of walls show important Cuban figures and scenes of daily life. And of course, this is the place in Miami to come for Cuban cuisine.

The American Airlines Arena
Is the home of the NBA’s Miami Heat. It is also the main venue for large concerts and other special events, including top name singers and performers.

It can hold more than 19,000 people. The structure itself, opened in 1999 has been awarded the Leed Green Building Certification for being an energy efficient building.

It stands out prominently on the waterfront in a modern and developing area of downtown.

Zoo Miami
Houses more than 2,000 wild animals in a cageless environment that gives the animals’ similar settings to their natural habitats, and visitors get the feeling of embarking on an safari. Large, open-air exhibits allow visitors to enjoy endangered wildlife at a safe yet close range.

This is the only zoo in the continental United States located in a subtropical climate. Although this is not a huge zoo, it often appeals to families, with lots of interaction available with the animals.

There is a children’s zoo with all kinds of attractions, including camel rides.

In addition to the animals the zoo also contains many tropical plants and trees, and a large collection of orchids.

Getting There:

Miami International Airport, also known as MIA and historically Wilcox Field, is the primary airport serving the Miami area, United States.

The airport is in an unincorporated area in Miami-Dade County, Florida, eight miles (13 km) northwest of Downtown Miami, in metropolitan Miami, between the cities of Miami, Hialeah, Doral, Miami Springs, the village of Virginia Gardens, and the unincorporated Fontainebleau neighborhood.

It is South Florida’s main airport for long-haul international flights. Miami International is also one of only eight U.S. airports to accommodate the Airbus A380 jumbo jet.

The airport is American Airlines’ primary Latin American gateway, along with a domestic hub for its regional affiliate American Eagle, and Eastern Air Lines; cargo carriers UPS Airlines and FedEx Express; and charter airline Miami Air. It is a focus airport for Avianca, Frontier Airlines, LAN Airlines and its subsidiaries and TAM Brazilian Airlines, both for passengers and cargo operations.

Miami International Airport has passenger and cargo flights to cities throughout the Americas, Europe and Western Asia, as well as cargo flights to East Asia.

Miami International Airport is the largest gateway between the United States and Latin America, and is one of the largest airline hubs in the United States, owing to its proximity to tourist attractions, local economic growth, large local Latin American and European populations, and strategic location to handle connecting traffic between North America, Latin America, and Europe.

In the past, it has been a hub for Braniff International Airways, Eastern Air Lines, Air Florida, the original National Airlines, the original Pan Am, United Airli

How To Avoid Air Sickness

Motion sickness is caused by the conflicting signals your brain receives when you are traveling in any type of vehicle.

Your inner ear senses movement, but your eyes tell your body that you’re sitting still.

This feeling is often experienced during air travel and can be very disturbing when you don’t have the option to pull over and stretch out, as you might do on the road. Symptoms of motion sickness include nausea, dizziness, headaches and cold sweats.

If you know that you are prone to motion sickness or are concerned about getting sick during your flight, you can take precautions to avoid it, as well as follow simple steps to help lessen this problem if it does occur.

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ITEMS YOU WILL NEED

Step 1
Choose a seat near the front of the aircraft, or beside a wing.

You should experience less motion in these areas. A window seat can help as well, where you will be able to see the horizon. Focusing on the horizon when you begin feeling ill can help to calm your motion sickness.

When you book your flight or pick up your ticket, you usually get a choice of available seats.

If you are unable to choose your seat prior to boarding the plane, speak with a flight attendant about moving to an open seat that meets these criteria, if it can be arranged.

Step 2
Pay attention to what you eat and drink in the 24 hours leading up to your flight. Avoid meals that are fatty, greasy, salty or spicy, and don’t drink any alcohol.

Eat small, frequent meals or snacks, and drink plenty of water. Now is not the time to try new or exotic foods, and you should avoid consuming a large meal right before you get on the plane.

Step 3
Focus the small fan above your seat so it blows directly onto your face. This will increase the air flow around you, and help keep you cool in the often stuffy interior of the plane.

Step 4
Do not read during the flight. While you may expect this activity to take your mind off the motion sickness, it can actually make you feel worse by increasing the dissonance felt from looking at a stationary page while in reality, your body is in motion.

Step 5
Apply pressure to the inside of your wrist, about two fingertip widths above the bottom of your hand. You can also purchase motion sickness bands to wear during the flight that have a small knob on the inside of the band.
The knob will apply constant pressure to this point. Many people claim that this type of acupressure greatly reduces their nausea.

Step 6
Take a ginger tablet. According to Dr. Steven D. Ehrlich, ginger may help some individuals with motion sickness, though this remedy doesn’t work everyone.

A 250 mg capsule as many as three times a day can be taken before and during your flight to reduce motion sickness. Ginger-flavored candies, and drinks such as ginger ale, often have a similar effect.

San Francisco Top 20 Attractions

It may measure less than 50 square miles/130 square Kilometers, but San Francisco justly ranks as one of the greatest cities in the world.

Famous for grand-dame Victorians, classic cable cars, dynamic diversity, a beautiful waterfront, and a soaring crimson bridge, the “City by the Bay” truly has it all.

Trend-defining cuisine ranging from Michelin-starred dining to outrageous food trucks; world-renowned symphony, ballet, theater, and opera; plus almost boundless outdoor adventures, San Francisco justifiably stands out as one of the ultimate must-sees on any traveler’s wish list.

San Francisco, is a city on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. It’s known for its hilly landscape, year-round fog, iconic Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and colourful Victorian houses.

The Financial District’s Transamerica Pyramid is its most distinctive skyscraper. In the bay sits Alcatraz Island, site of the notorious former prison.

1.PIER 39:
From amazing views and a sea of sea lions to chowder bread bowls and California wines, your visit to San Francisco starts at PIER 39. PIER 39—the most visited destination in San Francisco—offers two levels of dining, entertainment, shopping and attractions, all surrounded by unbeatable views of the city and the bay.

Located along the historic San Francisco Waterfront, PIER 39’s location provides the picture perfect backdrop for postcard views of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the famous City skyline. Be treated to an unforgettable San Francisco experience and discover why a visit to San Francisco starts at The PIER.

PIER 39 is located in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, at Beach Street and The Embarcadero. Parking is conveniently available in the PIER 39 Garage located directly across from the Entrance Plaza.

2. The Golden Gate Bridge:
Once called “the bridge that couldn’t be built,” today it is one the seven wonders of the modern world. This magnificent bridge, perhaps San Francisco’s most famous landmark, opened in 1937 after a four-year struggle against relentless winds, fog, rocks and treacherous tides. Spanning 1.7 miles from San Francisco to the Marin headlands, the bridge’s sidewalks are open during the day to pedestrians including wheelchair users and bicyclists.

San-Francisco-Skyline-TWO

3. Golden Gate Park:
One of the largest urban parks in the world, Golden Gate Park stretches for three miles on the western edge of San Francisco. There’s not a single “Keep Off the Grass” sign and its 1,017 acres are a tonic for mind and body.

Two major museums, splendid gardens and facilities for more than 20 sports confirm that this is a playground in every sense of the word. Among the ever-evolving attractions located in the park are the California Academy of Sciences, the de Young Museum, the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, the Conservatory of Flowers and the Koret Children’s Quarter.

4. Lombard Street:
Often called the “crookedest” street in the world, this scenic road on Russian Hill features tight turns, fragrant gardens and beautiful views of the bay, Alcatraz, and Coit Tower.

5. Alcatraz Island:
Alcatraz was the site of the first lighthouse in the Western United States but became a federal penitentiary from 1934-1963, housing famous convicts such as Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly.

Now, this once infamous prison island is part of the Bay Area’s 80,000-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Located one-and-a-half miles from Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz is one of the city’s most popular attractions. A visit to the island includes a tour of the cell house where visitors can see where the prisoners lived.

6. California Academy of Sciences:
Home to an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and world-class research and education programs, the California Academy of Sciences is one of San Francisco’s must-see destinations. From the splashing penguins in African Hall to the wildflowers on the roof, the building is bursting with life.

A four-story living rainforest and awe-inspiring coral reef ecosystem will delight visitors of all ages, while immersive planetarium shows will transport audiences through space and time for a new perspective on our planet.

7. The de Young Museum:
Located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the de Young showcases American art from the 17th through 21st centuries, modern and contemporary art, photography, international textiles and costumes, and art from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.

The ninth-floor Observation Level of the de Young’s Hamon Tower offers breathtaking 360-degree views of San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean.

8. SFMOMA:
SFMOMA is currently on the go, presenting dynamic new exhibitions and events around the Bay Area while its building is closed for expansion through early 2016.

The SFMOMA MuseumStore is now open in a temporary location at 51 Yerba Buena Lane, offering the West Coast’s finest selection of modern and contemporary art books, innovative design objects and furnishings, contemporary jewelry and accessories, children’s books and toys, posters and stationery, and an exclusive line of SFMOMA signature products.

9. The Presidio:
Formerly a military post, the Presidio is now a national park site and recreational paradise featuring spectacular vistas, beautiful trails, and historic and architectural treasures. Come for a hike, a walking tour, a picnic, to view an exhibit at the Walt Disney Family Museum, or take a stroll back in time.

10. Yerba Buena Gardens:
An award-winning public facility at the heart of San Francisco’s downtown cultural district, Yerba Buena Gardens features a children’s garden, public art, museums, a historic carousel, ice-skating and bowling centers.

11. The Cable Car Museum:
Located in the Washington-Mason powerhouse and carbarn on Nob Hill, the Cable Car Museum overlooks the huge engines and winding wheels that pull the cables for San Francisco’s famous trams. It also features three antique cable cars from the 1870s, photographs, mechanical displays and a fun gift shop.

12. Crissy Field:
This northern waterfront park in the Presidio offers spectacular views of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as unparalleled recreational opportunities including BBQs, picnics, and beach sports.
Enjoy long walks along its scenic marshes and catch glimpses of rare birds and native plants. Once housing the first air coast defense station on the west coast, Crissy Field is also home to numerous historical buildings.

13. Asian Art Museum:
This museum is home to one of the most complete collections of Asian art in the world, with a collection spanning cultures from Turkey to India and China to the Philippines through 6,000 years. Through providing rich art experiences, the museum strives to spark connections across cultures and through time, while igniting curiosity, conversation, and creativity.

14. The Exploratorium:
Newly renovated and now open on Pier 15 on the Embarcadero at the heart of the waterfront, the Exploratorium is a home-grown, hands-on museum igniting curiosity and inspiring creativity in people of all ages.

15. San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park:
AT&T Park is the home of the 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. Located on the city’s scenic waterfront, this classic urban ballpark is a short walk from downtown San Francisco and Moscone Center and is accessible by every means of public transit.

16. Legion of Honour:
Built to commemorate Californian soldiers who died in World War I, the Legion of Honour displays a collection of more than 4,000 years of ancient and European art and houses the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts in a neoclassic building overlooking Lincoln Park and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Multilingual tours available. Available with San Francisco CityPASS.

17. Angel Island State Park:
Often referred to as the “Ellis Island of the West, the Immigration Station originally opened in 1910 and closed in 1940 as the result of a fire. During that time more than one million individuals were processed through the center. Ferry service to the island, the largest in San Francisco Bay, is available from Fisherman’s Wharf.

18. Contemporary Jewish Museum:
Located in downtown San Francisco, the Contemporary Jewish Museum presents dynamic exhibitions and educational programs, exploring contemporary perspectives on Jewish culture, history and ideas.

19. San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall:
Founded as an orchestra for the people just five years after the 1906 earthquake, the San Francisco Symphony has offered innovative programs that provide a mix of classical and new music for more than 100 years. With performances over 200 days per year, from Mahler to pops, it’s easy to find a concert you’ll love that fits into your trip.

20. San Francisco Zoo and Gardens:
The San Francisco Zoo and Gardens is an historic treasure with 1,000 endangered and rescued animals representing 250 species on view in 100 acres of lovely, peaceful gardens nestled against the Pacific Ocean.

Their mission is to connect visitors with wildlife, inspire caring for nature and advance conservation action. The Zoo offers a rich history for its guests, including educational programs, keeper talks, fun rides and exciting events for children of all ages

Getting There:

San Francisco International Airport is an International airport 13 miles (21 km) south of downtown San Francisco, California.

It has flights to points throughout North America and is a major gateway to Europe and Asia.

SFO is the largest airport in the San Francisco Bay Area including all of Northern California and the second busiest in California, after Los Angeles International airport. In 2014, it was the seventh busiest in the U.S.

It is the fifth largest hub for United Airlines and functions as United Airline’s primary transpacific gateway.
It also serves as Virgin America’s principal base of operations.

It is the sole maintenance hub of United Airlines, and houses the Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum and Library.

Denver Colorado Visitor Information

Denver is the capital of Colorado and the largest city in the Rocky Mountains region of the United States.

Known as “The Mile-High City”, Denver sits at an altitude of 5,280 feet (1,600 m) above sea level and lies where the Great Plains give way to the Rocky Mountains.

Denver is a large city and one of the fastest growing in the U.S.

The Denver skyline
Denver is a bustling city of more than 600,000 people supporting a fast-growing metropolitan area of nearly 3 million people.

The city embraces its cowboy and mining past but also looks toward the future with a vibrant arts and performing arts scene, dozens of great outdoor festivals, and distinct neighborhoods each offering a unique experience.

You’ll find everything a cosmopolitan city has to offer including a spectacular view of and easy access to the beautiful Rocky Mountains, which are only 12 miles (19 km) west of town.

Denver does have its growing pains. Urban sprawl is becoming a problem, with the metropolitan area sometimes growing faster than the infrastructure can really handle, especially with public transportation.

Denver is generally a driving city, and some problems with pollution and traffic are a part of everyday life. Large mass transportation and freeway expansion projects have recently been completed, including the popular light rail system.

denver-co-cityscape

Denver residents enjoy a temperate climate and about 300 days of sunshine per year, with four pronounced seasons.

Although known for its heavy snowfalls, which can occur between October and April, Denver experiences average winter temperatures warmer than those of cities along Mid-Atlantic and New England.

The city typically receives about 60 inches (153 cm) of snow per year, averaging about one storm per season totaling 12 inches (30 cm) or more.

While daytime temperature typically rise to the 40s (4-9 °C), evenings cool considerably, often dropping into the teens. “Chinook” winds, which warm as they descend from the mountains can occasionally bring unseasonably warm temperatures for days at a time.

If you’re planning to visit Denver during the winter, be prepared with full winter gear just in case, but also pack a light sweater and t-shirt.

Evening thunderstorms are common in late spring and fall.
Spring in Denver is pleasant, though generally rather brief.

Trees begin budding by late March and are in full leaf by mid April to mid May. March, on average, is Denver’s snowiest month.

By June, Denver enters its summer season. Temperatures typically rise in earnest at this time, with most heat waves beginning in mid-June and continuing through July, usually Denver’s hottest month with temperatures in the high 80’s to mid-90’s (31-35 °C). By late July, the southwest monsoon kicks in.

In August, short spells of thunderstorms occur about three to four days per week. By late August, temperatures begin to drop with a noticeable difference between day time and night time temperatures.

As the days get shorter through September and October, daytime temperatures drop to the high 50’s to mid-60’s (14-18 °C). Slather on that sunscreen all summer long; the rays are strong and the air is dry, with temperatures often reaching the upper 90s (~35 °C)in July and August.

Autumn is a peaceful time to visit, with mild temperatures, little severe weather and lots of that famous clear blue sky.

You’ll get to see the trees display their fall colours, which usually peak around mid-September in the mountains and October in the city itself.

October usually brings the first snowfall of the season to Denver, although it’s very light. By November, it’s clear that winter is on its way, with plenty of clouds, some snow and much cooler temperatures.

Amusement Parks

Butterfly Pavilion
Learn about invertebrates, science and conservation through fun, interactive exhibits ideal for families with kids.

All ages enjoy visiting their tropical conservatory, which is filled with 1,200 free-flying butterflies.

Elitch Gardens
A huge amusement park with rides and family entertainment.

Waterworld
Open last weekend in May-first M of Sep (Labor Day).

Lakeside
A throwback from Denver’s past, Lakeside is an amusement park like they used to make; without all the corporate branding and commercialism.

While it may have a somewhat seedy exterior, Lakeside is still a staple of local kids’ upbringings, and remains a fixture of Denver culture as well as a much cheaper alternative to Elitch Gardens.

Coaster buffs will squeal with glee over the Cyclone, the park’s original 1940 Edward Vettel-designed wood coaster.

Festivals

January
National Western Stock Show & Rodeo, Martin Luther King Parade, Indian Market, Mile High Snowfest.

February
Colorado Garden and Home Show, Denver Restaurant Week, Buffalo Bill’s Birthday Party.

March
St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Denver March Powwow, Starz Global Lens Film Festival.

April
Doors Open Denver, Colorado Rockies Home Opener, KBCO Kinetics.

May
Cinco de Mayo, Tesoro Indian Market and Powwow, Downtown Denver Festival of the Arts, Denver Day of Rock, Colorado Colfax Marathon also includes Denver’s Navy Week.

June
Colorado Renaissance Festival, Cherry Blossom Festival, Comcast La Piazza dell’Arte, Do At The Zoo, PrideFest, The People’s Fair, Highland Street Fair.

July
Cherry Creek Arts Festival, The INTERNATIONAL at Castle Pines, Colorado Irish Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Evergreen Jazz Festival.

September
A Taste of Colorado, Brew At The Zoo, Annual Oktoberfest, Festival Italiano, Denver Beer Fest.

October
Fright Fest, Great American Beer Festival, Denver Mariachi Festival, Denver Marathon.

November
Denver Arts Week, Starz International Film Festival, Denver International Wine Festival, Downtown Denver, Grand Illumination.

December
Mile High Holidays, Blossoms of Light, Zoo Lights, 9News Parade of Lights, New Year’s Eve Downtown Fireworks.

The Denver International Airport main terminal
Denver International Airport commonly referred to as DIA, it’s about 18 miles (29 km) northeast of downtown.

Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines all maintain hubs in Concourses A, B, and C respectively. Most other major domestic carriers also have service here.

In addition, Aeroméxico, Air Canada, British Airways, Icelandair, Lufthansa, and Volaris offer service to international destinations.

Frontier Airlines discount carrier with its hub at DIA’s Concourse A and service to and from over 60 cities in the United States, Mexico, and Central America.

United Airlines the largest carrier at the airport, with service across the nation and the world from Concourse B.
Southwest Airlines the quintessential discount airline maintains its fastest-growing hub in Concourse C.

The airport is set amidst rolling plains with the towering Rocky Mountains and Denver to the west. DIA is somewhat far from any conceivable local destination.

The public transportation service SkyRide offers five bus routes from the airport with several stops each, delivering you to many “Park and Ride” locations in the metro area for $9-$12 one way. Purchase tickets at the RTD desk in the main terminal.

The airport can be crowded due to a post-9/11 security redesign that created a single central screening station, followed by a train that passengers must take to Concourses B and C.

It can take up to an hour to get from the ticket line to the gate, so travelers should get to the airport at least 1.5 hours before their scheduled departure time.

There are a number of airport shuttles you can take from DIA to the city and destinations in the mountains.

General Carry-On Allowance

If you are overseas, the last thing you want to have to worry about is checking your carry-on bag at the last minute because it exceeds the size or weight restrictions of your airline.

Every airline will have different allowances and they can often change without notice.

Three of the major international airlines American Airlines, Delta, and United all impose similar size restrictions for carry-on bags, with American Airlines being the most generous with a total bag size of 115cm (56cm long x 36cm wide x 23cm tall)

Delta allows bags up to a total size of 114cmvii and United allows bags up to 113cm.

These variations may seem small, but they could mean the difference between boarding without any hiccups and having to deal with the frustration of checking your carry-on.

Low cost US-based airlines, Frontier and Spirit, have started charging passengers for bringing their carry-on bags in the cabin.

delsey-helium-aero-international-carry-on

Frontier charge an additional $25 per carry-on when you initially purchase your ticket and $30 if you wait to pay for your bag at the time of check-in.

Spirit charges between $26 and $35 at the time of ticket purchase and between $36 and $45 during check-in .

While none of the Australian-based airlines have followed in the footsteps of their American counterparts, this highlights the need to thoroughly understand the luggage rules wherever you happen to be flying.

Hand luggage or cabin baggage (also commonly referred to as carry-on in North America) is the type of luggage that passengers are allowed to carry along in the passenger compartment of a vehicle instead of moving to the cargo compartment.

Passengers are allowed to carry a limited number of smaller bags with them in the vehicle and contain valuables and items needed during the journey.

There is normally storage space provided for hand luggage, either under seating, or in overhead lockers.

Hand baggage allowance is a topic frequently discussed in context of commercial air travel.

On one hand, passengers may want to have more of their possessions at hand during flight, skip often time-consuming baggage claim process, and avoid the risk of having their checked baggage lost or damaged.

On the other hand, safety concerns, takeoff weight limitations and financial incentives cause airlines to impose limits on how much and what can a passenger take into the cabin of aircraft.

Luggage Gauge
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) sets guidelines for cabin baggage/hand luggage/carry-on luggage size.

They are not mandatory, however, and individual airlines can and do vary their requirements.
The IATA guideline at one time stated:

Cabin baggage should have a maximum length of 56 cm (22 inches), width of 45 cm (18 inches) and depth of 25 cm (10 inches) including all handles, side pockets, wheels etc.

Carry-on weight for bags may vary between classes and airlines.

As a general guide, Economy Class passengers are allowed to carry one bag at 5kg to 7kg per person while Business and First Class passengers are often privy to a more generous baggage allowance or extra pieces.

And before you go be sure to get yourself a Smart Luggage Tag!

Do You Need Travel Insurance?

Every time you buy a plane ticket, the airline or travel agency asks if you want to add on travel insurance. Is this really worth it? What are you actually buying?

Travel insurance sounds like one of those types of insurance you don’t need, just like extended warranties are generally not worth it.

In actuality, though, in some cases, shelling out for travel insurance is a smart move.
Let’s take a look at your options and when travel insurance makes sense or doesn’t.

Do I Really Need to Buy Travel Insurance?
You can get travel insurance from a number of sources: The airline or cruise carrier directly, an independent travel insurance agency, and, sometimes, your credit card.

In general, travel insurance costs around 5 percent of your total trip.
For a $4,300 trip, for example, you will pay $158 for standard travel insurance with Allianz.

The insurance coverage varies by who you get it from as well as the individual policy you purchase.

Overall, though, travel insurance is meant to protect you against unforeseen travel misfortunes, like your flight getting cancelled due to severe weather or your baggage getting lost or stolen.

travel-insurance_2002428b

Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance:
This reimburses you non-refundable travel costs if your trip is cancelled or seriously delayed due to a natural disaster, illness, or the carrier goes out of business.

The independent and carrier-provided insurance policies offer protection up to the amount you purchased, since this is the main reason people buy travel insurance in the first place.

Coverage is usually around $1,500 per person for cancellation and $300-500 a day for trip interruption.

Only 15 percent of credit cards offer trip cancellation coverage, according to Creditcards.com, but if you own one of these cards, you might be able to skip buying travel insurance altogether, and the annual fee charged on these types of cards may be well worth it for frequent travelers.

Chase Sapphire, for example, reimburses up to $5,000 $10,000 for trip cancellation, as long as the reason you or the carrier cancel the trip is one of the covered causes (e.g., severe weather, military orders, the carrier goes out of business, or you get too sick to fly—make sure you get a doctor’s note to support your claim).

It is also one of the few cards to reimburse you (up to $500) for reasonable expenses if your trip is delayed due to things like plane failure, labor strikes, or bad weather.

Check out this short list of credit cards with travel insurance benefits or read the fine print of your card’s policy to see if you’re covered.

Baggage and personal items coverage:
If someone steals something from your bag or your luggage is lost or delayed, travel insurance will pay you for your trouble, usually up to about $500 per lost baggage and $100-$300 per baggage delay. Missing and damaged bags happen a lot more often than you might think!

So Is It Worth It?
As with other insurance policies, buying travel insurance (or not buying it) is a gamble.

You don’t want to ever regret not buying the insurance, but you also don’t want to pay for something you don’t need and, looking at the list above, you might already be covered for some of these items elsewhere (e.g., you already have life insurance that covers death or dismemberment or health insurance that covers emergencies abroad).

Two rules of thumb:
Travel insurance is worth it when you’re traveling abroad and your health insurance doesn’t cover emergencies outside of your country or when a large portion of your trip is non-refundable (e.g., you’re buying a pricey vacation package and losing out on the cost of your trip would seriously set you back).

For everything else in between, consider how much a financial disaster it would be if something bad happened on your trip or you had to miss it.

Here’s a three-step process to decide, in case you’re still not sure:

Step One:
Decide how much is at stake if something goes amiss on your trip. You probably don’t need travel insurance if you got one of those cheap $99 last-minute flights.

Travel insurance would cover lost bags and delays, but the price wouldn’t be worth it to most people.

If you’re on an expensive trip, though, or there are more chances something bad will happen (you’re traveling during cold season, for example, or to the Caribbean during hurricane season), you’ll probably want to insure it.

Step Two:
Figure out if your credit card offers travel insurance.

If it does, read the fine print to see if it would cover your insurance needs. Most cards only offer assistance if you’re in an emergency while traveling or other protections that are pretty useless, while you might want reimbursement in case you need to cancel your $2,500 plane tickets before your flight.

Step Three:
Find out how much travel insurance costs for your trip. Use comparison site InsureMyTrip to compare independent agency policies available to you.

While the insurance offered by airlines and cruise lines are often comparable (and often provided by the same third-party insurers), it’s hard to read the fine print of what your coverage will be when you’ve got tickets in your checkout cart.

Usually the independent insurers are cheaper, too (although not always, as this comparison on The Points Guy reveals).

Finally, remember that you have to get insurance before your trip starts; it won’t protect you if you get the insurance after an accident happens or your trip is cancelled (that’s like trying to get home insurance after your house has already burned down).

World’s 10 Best Airports

The world’s Top 10 Airports of 2015, which were nominated by airline customers from across the world during the 9-month survey period.

The World Airport Awards are the most prestigious accolades for the airport industry, and a global benchmark of airport excellence widely known as the Passengers Choice Awards.

1. SINGAPORE CHANGI AIRPORT
Singapore Changi Airport connects customers to over 200 destinations worldwide, with 5000 arrivals and departures a week by 80 international airlines.

Mr Lee Seow Hiang, CEO of Changi Airport Group
“It is a great honour to be named World’s Best Airport by Skytrax for the third year running. This recognition is particularly pleasing for us as it comes at a time of transformation at Changi Airport.

2. INCHEON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Incheon International Airport is the largest airport in South Korea and one of the busiest airports in the world. It is a former winner of the Airport of the Year title at the World Airport Awards.

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Pictured Incheon International Airport

3. MUNICH AIRPORT
Munich Airport is the second busiest airport in Germany and the secondary hub for Lufthansa German Airlines. Munich Airport has connections to destinations all over the world, but much more besides. With over 150 retail stores and some 50 places where you can eat and drink, it’s like a city center, offering travelers and visitors plenty to see and do.

4. HONG KONG INT’L AIRPORT
Hong Kong International Airport serves over 100 airlines operating flights to about 180 locations worldwide, including 44 destinations on the Chinese Mainland. It is a former, multiple winner of the Airport of the Year title at the World Airport Awards.

5. TOKYO INT’L AIRPORT HANEDA
Boasting both domestic and international terminals, Tokyo International Airport Haneda plays a very important role in furthering Japan’s development as a tourism-oriented nation ANA

6. ZURICH AIRPORT
Zürich Airport is the largest international airport of Switzerland and is the principal hub for Swiss International Air Lines.

7. CENTRAL JAPAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
In 2014, 9.8 million passengers travelled through Central Japan International Airport in Nagoya, better known as Centrair.
The airport has a large domestic traffic percentage, with a number of regional routes operated to Asiana cities such as Bangkok and Singapore.

Longer haul routes include Helsinki, Frankfurt, Honolulu and Detroit.

8. LONDON HEATHROW AIRPORT
London Heathrow Airport is the busiest airport in the UK and busiest airport in Europe by passenger traffic, and having been world’s busiest airport for international passengers, it has recently lost this title to Dubai Airport.

9. AMSTERDAM SCHIPHOL AIRPORT
In 2014, 55 million passengers travelled via Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, which describes itself as an AirportCity, much more than just a place where you wait until your flight takes off. Turkish Airlines

10. BEIJING CAPITAL INT’L AIRPORT
Beijing Capital International Airport is the main international airport serving Beijing and from 2014, the second-busiest airport in the world.

How To Beat Turbulance Fear

Air travel is the second-safest mode of mass transportation in the world.

This is second only to the escalator and elevator. Y

our chances of being involved in an aircraft accident are approximately 1 in 11 million.

Your chances of being killed in an automobile accident are 1 in 5000. The most dangerous part of your flight is the drive to the airport.

All airplanes are designed and built to withstand far more stress than occurs in normal flight, including ordinary and extraordinary turbulence. While it is true that a severe storm could damage an aircraft, this is why flights will divert around or cancel due to
thunderstorms.

Ninety-nine percent of turbulence injuries are from unfastened seatbelts, or falling luggage.

You have more of a chance of dying from the food onboard than being involved in an accident.

Here are my top ten tips for the fearful flier.

1. Don’t conceal it
Tell the gate agent when you check in, the flight attendant when you board, and the passengers around you when you sit down.

It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, and what you need is support, not added frustrations by suffering in silence. I know I make a special effort to check in on my fearful fliers several times during a flight.

2. Treat the turbulence like bumps in the road
Don’t tense up or fight it, but instead, let your body sway with the aircraft movements.

3. At check-in, ask for a seat at the very front of the cabin as possible
Turbulence is usually much greater in the back of the aircraft.

If you have an extreme dread of flying, don’t try to overcome your fears on a long flight. Take the shortest flight you can and preferably in the biggest plane possible.

4. Keep distracted
Watch the movie even if it’s bad or you have seen it already.

Read a book or do a crossword puzzle. Do anything that keeps your mind occupied and not dwelling on morbid possibilities.

Fear-of-Flying

5. There are various classes for those who are afraid to fly
In some cases the final test is an actual airplane flight.
The courses used to be quite expensive, but now with fares being at an all-time low, I am sure the classes are less expensive as well.
Advertise

6. Avoid coffee or other caffeine products
But drink other liquids, as dehydration only contributes to the fear process. Some people recommend a glass of wine to calm the nerves, but don’t overdo it.

7. Listen to peaceful and calming music
Your mind tends to wander and hear sounds that either don’t exist or are perfectly normal flight noises.

8. The rubber band technique
Wear a rubber band around your wrist and if you feel yourself becoming agitated, snap the rubber band against your skin.

Apparently, the pain is a reality bite, and takes the mind off the turbulence.

9. Avoid gory details
When an air disaster does occur, avoid the graphic details and overplay in the news media. It is important to be informed, but too much is too much.

10. Breathe deeply as often as you can
Remember that the sick bag in front of you can be used as an anti-hyperventilating device as well.

5 Luxury Hotels Dubai

DUBAI KNOWN FOR LUXURY!

When only the best will do. We have selected 5 Outstanding luxury hotels in Dubai you really want to stay in.

Al Qasr
The Palace of Dubai. Literally.
Compared with the city’s glitzy and unashamedly gaudy Burj Al Arab and Atlantis The Palm Hotel, Al Qasr, which translates as “The Palace,” offers a distinctive Arabic flavor (Persian rugs and ornate oil lamps) without resembling Ali Baba’s grotto.

Step inside the lobby and the scent of freshly cut rose petals — which are scattered into a center pool — hits you square on, while rooms look out onto Arabesque waterways and the Persian Gulf. +971 4 366 8888

One & Only Royal Mirage
Despite the name, there are in fact two One & Only resorts in Dubai, both within a couple of miles of each other.

Celebrity favorite Royal Mirage is the more worthwhile of the two.

Guests have included Michael Jackson and David Beckham, who’ve slept within the Arabian architecture, immaculately cultivated palm tree gardens and probably lounged on the crisp white beachside cabanas.

It’s also a great place for water sports expert South African instructors offer wakeboarding and wakesurfing lessons in the calm waters right off the beach.

Kempinski
One of your few chances in the Middle East to wake up with a penguin.

Not only is this five-star hotel a shopper’s dream (it’s attached to Mall of the Emirates), it looks out onto the most bizarre scene in the desert — Ski Dubai, one of the largest manmade ski slopes on the planet.

The hotel has crafted its suites accordingly, with chalet-style decor, Molton Brown hues and fake fireplaces.

From the bedrooms and dining room, visitors can see the piste, tobogganing track, chair lifts and even a gaggle of penguins flown in to live in the 22,500-square-meter fridge.

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Burj Al Arab
The Jumeirah Burj Al Arab is a knockout from first glance with an unusual design that is built to look like a giant billowing sail reaching over 1,000 feet into the air.

Come sundown, the hotel’s exterior is aglow with a light show that moves across the sail-shaped structures.

The hotel’s interior is equally impressive with luxurious 2-floor suites. The Royal Suite is the most opulent and features a towering 4-poster canopy bed on a rotating pedestal and a staircase built from marble and gold.

Each floor of the hotel has its own reception desk and team of butlers ready to assist you with requests, whether that’s a chauffeured Rolls Royce to tour the town or reservations for a seafood feast of Caspian caviar, Tasmanian salmon with foie gras and grilled Atlantic lobster at the on-site restaurant Mahara.

Shangri-La Hotel

In a city that strives to be over-the-top, the Shangri-La offers first-class luxury in a more restrained and very refined setting.

There are 302 guest rooms with deep soaking tubs, rain showers and warm décor with sleek lines and local artwork. The signature restaurant, Shang Palace, serves high-end Cantonese specialties while Marrakech serves contemporary Moroccan cuisine in a bright and airy courtyard.

Loungers circle the curved swimming pool where guests can relax after a game of squash or a workout in the fully equipped fitness center. And the hotel’s location on the storied Sheikh Zayed Road puts it right in the center of Dubai’s action with shopping, entertainment and wild skyscrapers just a few blocks away.

 

 

Arizona – Top 5 Attractions

Travellers from around the world come to see the Grand Canyon, but Arizona has so much more to offer visitors. Scott Craven of The Arizona Republic shares inside tips on five must-see places in the state.

Grand Canyon National Park
When it came to creating the perfect license-plate slogan, Arizona officials likely needed all of 20 seconds to agree on “Grand Canyon State” (and making a mockery of Idaho’s slogan, “Famous Potatoes”).

Why: Hmm, let’s see. Maybe because it’s one of the scenic wonders of the world? Or because some people spend thousands of dollars to get there, while you live a tank of gas away?

Money best spent: Head to the El Tovar Lounge. Order drinks and appetizers, and enjoy an amazing sunset while chuckling at the sunburned, sweat-stained visitors returning to the rim after seriously overestimating their physical abilities.

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Tombstone
Imagine the 1880s frozen in time, where tough-looking men wearing dusters fit right in.

The frontier facades are largely original, the souvenir T-shirts, mugs and refrigerator magnets are not. Still, there is an Old West charm found nowhere else.

Why: It is the perfect blend of historical and tacky. Visit the OK Corral and Historama to hear Vincent Price’s dramatic retelling of the shootout, then have a beer (or root beer) at a frontier bar.

Money best spent: $10 to see the Bird Cage Theater Museum, a former brothel that has been preserved, not restored (as guides remind visitors). The tattered nature of the museum is as endearing as it is honest. It’s OK when something shows its age.

Details: tombstoneweb.com.

Prescott
If the United States held an America’s Best Hometown contest, Arizona’s entry would likely be Prescott.

It has all the requisites: quaint downtown (Courthouse Square), area committed to adult beverages (Whiskey Row) and exuberant small-town celebrations (Christmas and Fourth of July are particularly popular).

Why: The town has charm as well as a more amenable summer climate, when temperatures can be 15-20 degrees cooler than the Valley’s.

Money best spent: For $5, you can own a Bill’s Grill T-shirt featuring an asymmetrical being of indeterminate gender wearing a hat and carrying a burger. The food is pretty darn good, too.

Details: visit-prescott.com.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
You’ve seen it on TV and in theaters. You can’t look at the towering rock formations without thinking of John Wayne, cattle drives or insensitive portrayals of Native Americans.

But you know what’s even better than seeing Monument Valley on the big screen? No, not IMAX.

Why: Two words: endless vista. The minute you see the Mitten formations, you understand why everything from Westerns to Roadrunner cartoons were shot (or drawn from) here.

Money best spent: The $159 (or more) for a room at the View, one of the most aptly named hotels ever (and the only hotel inside the park). Steep for such a remote location? You’ll understand when you watch sunset, get a restful sleep and be up in plenty of time to watch the sunrise.

Details: navajonationparks.org/htm/monumentvalley.htm.

Walpi Village
The ancient village on the Hopi Reservation first appears as if a natural part of the stony ridge 300 feet above the valley floor.

Walpi is one of North America’s oldest continuously inhabited villages. Or so many people believe. More on that later.

Why: Walpi offers a rare insight into Hopi life as well as unmatched vistas. It is an authentic, only-in-Arizona experience, rich in culture and history.

Money best spent: Hopi artists are happy to engage visitors, displaying pots, jewelry and more on small tables.

The handcrafted items are by no means cheap, given the talent and time needed to create them. But you will save money by dealing directly with the artists, rather than buying in stores or galleries elsewhere. About 20 years ago I passed up the opportunity to purchase a kachina carving for $75 and regret it to this day.

Getting there:

Phoenix–Mesa Gateway Airport formerly Williams Gateway Airport is in the southeastern area of Mesa Arizona, and 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Phoenix, in Maricopa County, Arizona.

The airport is owned and operated by the Phoenix–Mesa Gateway Airport Authority, and is a reliever airport for Phoenix Sky Harbour International airport. It is a focus city for Allgiant Air.

Dallas – Best Holiday Attractions

Planning a trip to Dallas in the late fall or early winter?

You’re in luck!

We’ve put together the best of the best things to do that are sure to make you feel that the holidays are indeed the best time of year!

Kick off the holiday season with a trip to one of many Dallas attractions that highlight the lovely late autumn and Christmas seasons in Texas.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden features a gigantic pumpkin patch with life-sized fairytale pumpkin houses that make the perfect background for family photos in November and then the beautiful 12 Days of Christmas exhibit in December.

Or escape the hustle and bustle of the city and head east to the little town of Canton and its annual YesterLand Farm attraction.

Six Flags Over Texas
More than 50 rides, including thrill rides (roller coasters), kids’ rides and family rides.

This amusement parks covers 212 acres, and is sure to please kids of all ages (including grown-up kids at heart).

It features several theme areas, onsite restaurants, live shows and more. The park is open every day during the summer season and on weekends during the spring and autumn, and select weekends during the winter.

There are a ton of seasonal events there, such as a park-wide haunted house during Halloween and and a winter wonderland during the Christmas season, complete with sledding and ice! ((817) 640-8900)

NorthPark Center
In addition to top-notch stores and delectable eateries, NorthPark also boasts an incredible collection of world-class art, with past exhibit pieces by Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg and Roy Lichtenstein.

The art collection includes a wide variety of huge sculptures, as well. NorthPark also features CenterPark, a 1.4-acre indoor park right in the middle of the mall. The park has one of the most popular sculptures, “Ad Astra,” a 12-ton orange piece.

A duck pond and biannual fashion shows also add to the charmingly fun atmosphere as shoppers browse retail favorites like Kate Spade, Burberry, H&M, Lacoste and Neiman Marcus.

During the holiday season, don’t miss the Trains at NorthPark exhibit which features 1,600 feet of track with a ton of miniature Dallas sights. (214-361-6345)

YesterLand Farm
If you want to get out of the city and experience the country life for the holidays, there’s no better place to take the kids than YesterLand Farm.

Just go East on I-20 for about an hour to reach it. This popular spot features a ton of amusement park rides designed for the little ones, pony rides, a corn maze, pumpkin patch, train rides and petting zoo.

Launch pumpkins with a giant sling shot or simply sit back and relax with a freshly-made lemonade and roasted corn on the cob. City slickers from Dallas have been visiting this park for years, and it turns into a Christmas tree farm in December. ((903) 567-2255)

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Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
Located on the eastern shores of White Rock Lake, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden features 66 acres of blooming flower beds, manicured lawns and lush trees.

The gardens house over 2400 types of azaleas, including the only publicly accessible Huang Collection specimens found outside China.

The property also showcases beautiful statuary and the DeGolyer Mansion, an exquisite Spanish-style hacienda commissioned in 1940 by Texas oil baron Everett DeGolyer.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden hosts a number of special events and festivals and makes a great stop for a scenic picnic. (214-515-6500)

Myerson Symphony Center
Located in the heart of the Arts District in Downtown Dallas, the Myerson Symphony Center is one of the best spots in town to celebrate the holidays.

With numerous concerts and events highlighting the best of the best when it comes to Christmas music, visitors can choose from a wide variety of events perfect for a night out on the town.

Kick off the first weekend of December with the DSO Pops show, featuring beloved traditions returns with an all-new concert featuring holiday favorites, Christmas classics, majestic choir music and a sing-along to familiar carols.

If jazz is more your thing, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will take place in mid-December. There is also a Santa event and and New Year’s Eve concert. ((214) 670-3600)

Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center
From the moment you arrive at the grand front entrance at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Conference Center, you’ll be taken to a winter wonderland that features a gigantic Christmas tree and millions of lights throughout the Texas-themed atrium area.

One of the most prominent offerings of the Gaylord Hotel is its ICE! featuring DreamWorks’ Merry Madagascar exhibit. Every year, this indoor wonderland features different holiday scenes created from more than 2 million pounds of ice by more than 40 international artisans.

Visitors can explore this amazing scene and even have fun on 20-foot tall ice slides. Make plans to stay and have lunch or dinner at one of the wonderful onsite restaurants. ((817) 778-1000)

Neiman Marcus Adolphus Children’s Christmas Parade
Traditionally held the first Saturday in December, this annual Dallas Christmas extravaganza features holiday floats, antique cars, marching bands from local schools, large inflatable balloons and an appearance by Santa Claus.

The parade is a major fundraiser for the Dallas Children’s Medical Center, so it’s both fun and charitable. A children’s activity area and vendor booths is usually set up in City Hall Plaza.

The weather usually is mild but chilly, and though crowds are large, finding a good spot along the parade route is fairly easy. For the best view possible, call ahead to reserve bleacher seats in the grandstand near the Adolphus Hotel. (214-456-8383, 214-456-5310)

Big D NYE
Located right in the middle of the always-happening Victory Plaza near the American Airlines Center, Big D NYE is the New Year’s party of the year in Dallas.

It features free admission, and annual party goers enjoy live music played on multiple stages, as well as the Stream Energy Fireworks Spectacular show at midnight. This event is located near the WFAA-TV Channel 8 Studio in Victory Park and the party is broadcasted live every year.

There are always multiple entertainers and special guests at this popular event, and there are also plenty of restaurants within walking distance of the American Airlines Center, along with food and beverage tents situated around the plaza.

This event has a large police presence and is a fun annual event for visitors of all ages. (214.397.4111)

Galleria Ice Skating Center
Ice-skating is always a magical experience, especially for kids, so make sure to schedule a family trip to the Galleria Ice Skating Center.

Located in the famous Galleria Dallas shopping center, this lovely rink offers year-round public skating sessions, enabling visitors to glide (or stumble) along the same ice where incredible Olympians have performed.

The rink is particularly delightful in December, when the nation’s largest indoor Christmas tree rises 95 feet from the ice. While you’re at the mall, check out the indoor play center under the atrium. Your kids will be so worn out after a day at the Galleria, that they’re sure to sleep well that night! (972-392-3361)

North Pole Express
Take the whole family to the North Pole via the Grapevine Vintage Railroad’s North Pole Express, one of the most popular holiday attractions in Dallas.

The holiday train experience starts at the Historic Cotton Belt Depot platform where riders are greeted by elves and carolers. During the train ride, visitors get to enjoy live entertainment and every child receives a silver Santa bell.

The train takes riders to a new platform that leads to the North Pole, where everyone enters a winter wonderland filled with Christmas trees, classic Christmas movies, lights and songs. Santa makes an appearance and shares hot chocolate with everyone. Tickets for the North Pole Express are $25 per person. (817-410-3185)

Dallas Transportation
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is the primary international airport serving the Dallas Fort Worth area in the U.S. state of Texas.

It is the largest hub for American Airlines which is headquartered near the airport. American’s hub at DFW makes it the second-largest airline hub in the world, after Deltas hub in Atlanta.
It is the tenth busiest international gateway in the United States and second busiest in Texas (behind George Bush Intercontinental airport).

Paris With Kids – Best Family Hotels

Tips and Recommendations

The best neighbourhoods for families are Saint Germain (central, loads of shops and restaurants), Rue Cler in the 7th Arrondissement (quieter, slower paced, village-like feel, but still close to many attractions and the Eiffel Tower), and the Marais (less touristy, hip and trendy but still family-friendly).

Le Bristol – luxury
Le Bristol with Kids in Paris
Beautiful spacious rooms. Great indoor swimming pool. Children and families are not an afterthought here and are truly welcomed and pampered. There’s a good kids menu, a garden treasure hunt, and a supervised kids club and playroom. Hotel phone: +33 (1) 5343 4300

The Westin Paris Vendome – luxury
Paris Westin Vendome with Kids
Very close to the Renaissance (also kid-friendly) but here you exchange the swimming pool for a larger room and suites are larger still. The Westin has kid-friendly service and great restaurants both in the hotel and just out the door. Tuileries metro station is very close. Hotel phone: 33 (1) 4477 1111

paris-westin-vendome-with-kids
Pictured the Vendome Paris

Gardette Park Hotel – moderate
Good hotel for families in Marais
This is a great mid-range hotel and one of my favorites in Paris for families on a budget. The family suites have 2 single beds and a queen and are a good size for Paris. Across the street is a park with a playground and there are several good restaurants within a 3 minute walk. A great neighborhood but with few tourists so you feel like you’re really seeing Paris. Hotel phone: +33 (1) 4700 5793

Best Western Paris Louvre Opera – moderate
Best Western Paris Louvre with Kids
Family suites are 2 interconnected rooms each with twin beds. Fantastic location. Many restaurants nearby. Steps from the Pyramides metro station. Hotel phone: +33 (1) 4020 0110

Novotel Paris Tour Eiffel – moderate
Paris Novotel Eiffel Tower with Kids
Chain hotel that has clean simple rooms with friendly service. Nice swimming pool. Short walk to the Eiffel Tower. Close to Bir-Hakeim metro station. Hotel phone: +33 (1) 4058 2000

Best Western Premier Left Bank – St Germain – moderate
Left Bank Hotel with Kids
Great location in the center of St Germain. Triple rooms (2 twin and 1 sofa bed) and quadruple rooms (2 twin and 2 sofa beds). Steps from St Germain des Pres metro station. Hotel phone: +33 (1) 4354 0170

Holiday Inn Paris Bastille – moderate
Paris Holiday Inn for Kids
King Suites with sofa bed are good for families. Near Gare de Lyon and many cafes and restaurants. The Holiday Inn has larger rooms than most mid-range Paris hotels. Close to 2 different metro lines makes getting anywhere in Paris quick and easy. The entire hotel is non-smoking. Hotel phone: +33 (1) 5302 2000

Staycity Serviced Apartments – budget
Family Apartment in Paris
Large suites with kitchens and cookware close to Gare de l’Est and Gare du Nord (for Eurostar train to London). Friendly staff. Surrounding streets are not the most beautiful in Paris but there are plenty of places to eat, a food market, and good metro connections with the rest of the city. Hotel phone: +33 (1) 4489 6670

Timhotel Palais Royal Louvre – budget
Paris TimHotel with Kids
Best budget hotel near the Louvre. Triple rooms with 3 twin beds are simple but good. Bourse metro stop is very close. Hotel phone: +33 (1) 4261 5390

Getting to Paris:

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (French: Aéroport de Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle, also known as Roissy Airport (or just Roissy in French), is one of the world’s principal aviation centres, as well as France’s largest International airport. It is named after Charles De Gaulle.

The airport is located within portions of several communes, 25 km (16 mi) to the northeast of Paris.

The airport serves as the principal hub for Air France as well as a European hub for Delta Airlines.

 

10 Great Budget Hotels in London

Here is a great selection of budget hotels for your stay in London

Church Street Hotel

This a fun, exuberant hotel, an unashamedly kitsch yet lovable establishment that will have you grasping for Spanish words of exclamation you never thought you knew. The bedrooms  each one decorated differently  are full of warm Latin colours and throws; the bathrooms are fantasies made of tiles. There’s a lounge bar and a restaurant-cum-tapas bar, too, so who cares that Camberwell is still so far from the tube?

+44 (0) 20-7703 5984, churchstreethotel.com, doubles (shared bathroom) £90

Stylotel
Taking their lead (perhaps a tad pretentiously) from Le Corbusier’s maxim that “the house is a machine for living in”, the owners of Stylotel have attempted to break away from the fusty old conventions surrounding the feel and look of a hotel.

The two 19th-century townhouses inside which it resides are the only things not ultra-modern about the place. Aluminium wall coverings, floor to ceiling mirrors and illuminated glass furniture are in.

As is a lounge (sorry, stylolounge) designed for “well being”, and bedrooms sleeping one, two, three or four (a “quatro styloroom” of course), which does seem eminently sensible. Oh, and it’s very useful for Paddington station.

+44 (0)20-7723 1016, stylotel.com, doubles £85, quatro £120

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Pictured the Stylotel, London

Arosfa Hotel
Say what you will about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, they had darned good taste when it came to choosing a residence. Sir John Everett Millais he of Ophelia drowning decorously in a river fame lived in this dark-brick Georgian townhouse before it became a hotel.

Ironically, it’s become an ideal spot for lovers of words rather than images, with Europe’s largest academic bookstore right opposite, a clutch of new and second hand bookshops nearby, and the British Library not too far up the road.

The bedrooms have been recently redecorated (check out those Audrey Hepburn cushions) and there’s a garden in which you can read whatever amazing finds you make during the day.

+44 (0)20-7636 2115, arosfalondon.com, doubles from £97

Twenty Nevern Square
Cocking a snook at all those other hotels whose bedrooms are carbon copies of one another, Twenty Nevern Square features no fewer than 20 individually designed rooms.

The source of influences inside the Victorian townhouse range from Europe to the Orient (the Far East, rather than Leyton) and each bedroom sports hand-carved furniture. The bathrooms are awash with marble and the whole effect is one of boutique luxury.

The hotel is situated in a quiet garden square handily placed for both Earls Court Exhibition Centre and the tube station. If you nab one of the smaller rooms, there aren’t many four-star hotels in London at which you’ll pay less.

+44 (0)20-7565 9555, 20nevernsquare.com, small doubles from £79

Avo Hotel
The word “avo” is apparently not just a lazy shortening of avocado but means “welcome” in a number of languages.

Chic is the other byword here – expect modern design, subtle lighting, black tiles, chrome fittings and an altogether sexy feel to your living quarters, with most of the rooms fitted out with king-size beds (and Egyptian cotton sheets, of course).

Dalston, which has firmly established itself as the trendy bit of Hackney, now also comes with its own shiny new tube station. But the Avo is also handy for trips to the Hackney Empire, and for getting down with the hepcats and hipsters at the London Fields lido.

+44 (0)20-3490 5061, avohotel.com, doubles from £79

55
Modern and swish – that’s what you get at Hangar Lane’s 55. Its 26 bedrooms (all doubles, for some reason), done out in muted colours with all mod cons, make for excellent crash pads (particularly since their king-size beds all have orthopaedic mattresses).

The minimalist illuminated garden provides a chilled setting for a quiet drink in the evening. There’s also a Momo Japanese restaurant downstairs and a 24-hour lounge bar featuring work by Sudhir Deshpande (India’s Jackson Pollock, apparently, so a must for all drip-art fans).

The booking system is based on supply and demand, so catch a quiet day or book well in advance and you’ll nab a bargain.

+44 (0)20-8991 4450, hotel55-london.com, doubles from £65

Arran House Hotel
A veritable Mecca for social history buffs. The family that owns the Arran House has dug into the history of both the Georgian residences that now make up the hotel.

So, while you’re relaxing on your comfy bed or slumped in the depths of one of the lounge’s sofas you can mug up on those who called this place home, including a doomed musician, a distinguished sculptor and a would-be media baron (anyone read a copy of the Illustrated Police News lately?).

Should you tire of history, there’s a private rose garden, a DVD library, and swathes of 21st century London on your doorstep.

+44 (0)20-7636 2186, arranhotel-london.com, doubles from £97 (rooms sleeping five from £130)

The Hoxton
Famous for its periodic £1 room sales (the 500 up for grabs went in 10 minutes last time out), the Hoxton burst on to the scene a few short years ago and has scooped a hatful of awards already. Though its designer chic stylings can still be pretty pricey during the week, on Sundays the rates go into free fall if you book up early, making it a glam base for forays into Spitalfields Market, Old Street or Brick Lane.

A mini-breakfast is delivered to your room, though if the yoghurt, orange juice and banana leaves a hole, you can supplement it reasonably cheaply at the Hoxton Grill restaurant next door.

+44 (0)20-7550 1000, hoxtonhotels.com, doubles from £69

The Pavilion
Usually it’s wise to steer a wide berth around any hotel described by its owners as “groovy”.

In the case of The Pavilion, however, you may make an exception. With each of its 30 rooms given a singular style, from Honky Tonk Afro (a 1970s tribute) to Casablanca Nights (somewhere between art deco and the dream a Moor had one night after eating one too many tagines), it’s no wonder the hotel has attracted the custom of so many luvvy/modelly/muso types from Helena Bonham Carter and Naomi Campbell to Jarvis Cocker and, er, Duran Duran.

What is extraordinary is the lack of a rock star bill as you celeb-spot over your continental breakfast.

+44 (0)20-7262 0905, pavilionhoteluk.com, doubles from £100

Jesmond Hotel
Another example of a cracking good value Bloomsbury hotel. (Why do so many good ones congregate in the area?) Run by the Beynon family since 1979, the hotel was built as a private residence in 1786 at the behest of one Gertrude Duchess of Bedford, no less, and is typical of the graceful Georgian style.

The place is elegantly furnished throughout, with many of the bedrooms retaining their original fireplaces complete with marble surrounds. The jewel in the Jesmond crown, however, is its traditional English garden, designed and created by a member of the family, which provides a peaceful haven for when the British Museum gets too much.

+44 (0)20-7636 3199, jesmondhotel.org.uk

London has five major airports: London Heathrow, London Stansted, London Gatwick, London Luton and London City.

How To Book Cheap Flights

As with any purchase, you need to shop around to get the best deal by trying different booking sites, altering your dates and waiting until just the right time to purchase.

But if you’re willing to put in a little time and effort, you could save big on your next flight.

1. Buy Early
Especially during peak travel periods, making reservations late in the game can cost you a lot of money. Airline ticket prices typically go up in the last two weeks before flying, so if you’re planning ahead, try to make the call before this deadline.

And if you’re traveling internationally, you’ll want to book even earlier from three to six months in advance for the best deals.

That said, occasionally you can get lucky if you wait, which brings us to:

2. Buy Late
Sometimes you can buy tickets at the very last minute for a great price if the airlines have failed to fill their planes.

You can find such fares at specialized sites like LastMinuteTravel.com, or sometimes on airline websites and online booking sites such as Expedia.

If you can stand the suspense, and if you are flexible with your itinerary and dates, you can find fantastic money-savers to very attractive travel destinations.

3. Shop Around
No matter how good it sounds, you should never book the first fare you see.

Start your search by checking a few of the major online travel providers such as Travelocity, TripAdvisor Flights or Kayak. Airfarewatchdog is another good source of low fares.

Checking these sites will give you a preliminary idea of which airlines fly your particular itinerary, what the going rate is and which restrictions might apply.

Armed with this information, you can head directly to the airline website to see if the same flights are any cheaper (some airlines guarantee to offer the lowest possible fares on their own websites). While you’re there, check to see if the airline is running any sales or promotions to your destination.

If you don’t see anything in your preferred price range, don’t be afraid to bide your time and watch the fares for a bit. Most major booking sites have alert features that will email you when your fare drops to a price you’re willing to pay.

4. Know When to Buy
The hardest part of booking a flight is knowing when to stop tracking fares and make that final purchase. Kayak.com can help you reach that decision, offering fare predictions for most major cities.

Just plug in your itinerary and the site will advise you either to book now or to wait, depending on whether the fare is expected to rise or drop. It also shows a fare history graph, allowing you to see whether your fare is headed in an upward or downward direction.

Keep in mind that many airlines launch fare sales on Tuesdays — so if you decide to buy on a Monday, you may be gnashing your teeth when your destination goes on sale the next day.

cheap-flights

5. Be Flexible
If you live close to more than one airport, check out the fares from all of the airports near you. Many online fare searching engines will ask you if you are willing to depart from or arrive in more than one city.

Yes! Also, experiment with different travel dates; shifting your itinerary by a month, a week or even a few days can make a significant difference in fares. You’ll usually find the lowest fares for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Just about every destination has a peak season — and if you can fly any other time of year, you’ll often pay significantly less.

6. Don’t Forget the Discounters
As their nickname suggests, discount airlines can save you a bundle, but they’re not always easy to find. Luckily for consumers, discounters are cropping up more frequently on aggregators and booking sites (Kayak now offers fares for JetBlue and Spirit, for example) but there are still a few holdouts, such as Southwest and Allegiant Air, whose fares can’t be found anywhere but their own websites.

7. Use Your Frequent Flier Miles
Use Your Frequent Flier MilesWhy pay a fare at all when you can use your frequent flier miles?

Although redeeming miles has gotten more difficult in recent years, it’s still a good option to consider, particularly if you’re booking early; airlines designate a limited number of seats on each flight as eligible for award travel, and these seats go quickly.

8. Get a Refund When Fares Go Down
If fares go down after you’ve purchased your ticket, ask for a refund! You may not always get one, but policies vary by airline and many do not publicize the fact that they will refund you the difference if prices go down. It can’t hurt to ask.

Yapta.com will track flights for you after you purchase and notify you if the fares go down. Orbitz.com has a Best Price Guarantee, which entitles you to money back if you find your itinerary for less on another website.

9. Consider an Air Pass
In order to promote tourism in their countries, many national airlines offer air passes at reduced rates for tourists. If you’re planning to do extensive travel in one country or region, an air pass might be your most cost-effective option.

10. Check for Deals and Discounts
Don’t forget to check our comprehensive Travel Deals for the latest fare sales — we post new ones throughout the week.

Courtesy of Independent Traveler

Top 10 Theme Parks in Orlando

Orlando, the “Theme Park Capital of the World,” has enough to keep your family entertained for weeks if not months on end.

This 10 Best gives you the rundown on what each of these fantastic parks has to offer.

Aquatica Orlando
Aquatica Orlando brings the best of an aquarium, zoo, water park and amusement park together into one experience.

With 38 slides, 84,000 acres of white sand beach and private cabanas for rent, you can easily spend the entire day enjoying the Florida sun with your family.

Don’t miss the Dolphin Plunge, a clear tube water slide that takes you through the Commerson’s dolphin habitat.

Epcot
What started as a showcase for the latest in innovation has transformed into one of Orlando’s largest theme parks, Epcot.

It’s hard to believe how much Disney managed to pack into these 305 acres; you’ll find an aquarium, 1.3-mile promenade around the World Showcase Lagoon, 11 pavilions celebrating nations of the world and numerous attractions, like the iconic Spaceship Earth.

Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios Islands of Adventure bring some of your favorite movie experiences to life.

Wander through the world of Hogwarts at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, take a thrilling raft ride past dinosaurs on the Jurassic Park River Adventure, meet your favorite children’s book characters at Seuss Landing, get wet in Toon Lagoon or fly through the air on the Marvel Super Hero Island attractions.

LEGOLAND Florida
LEGOLAND Florida, the largest LEGOLAND park in the world, features 50 rides, shows and attractions spread out over the LEGO-strewn 150-acres.

If you’re traveling with younger kids, LEGOLAND makes a great choice since its designed for kids between the ages of 2 and 12. Be sure to stop by the Big Shop to bring some of the LEGO action home.

Disney’s Magic Kingdom
Disney’s Magic Kingdom, the sister of Disneyland in California, opened in 1971 with the 189-foot Cinderella’s Castle jutting up from the center.

The park’s six themed areas — Main Street USA, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Tomorrowland and Fantasyland — are home to classic Disney favorites, like It’s A Small World and the Jungle Cruise, as well as some new offerings.

Discovery Cove
With guest access restricted to 1,300 per day, Discovery Cove feels more like an exclusive resort than a theme park.

Without crowds to worry about, you’ll get to enjoy up-close animal encounters with dolphins, sting rays, tropical fish, sea otters and exotic birds.

It’s all-inclusive too, so you won’t have to worry about food, towels or snorkeling equipment.

Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Florida, the original park of Universal Studios Resort, brings pop culture to life on its 107 acres of Orlando real estate.

Relive classics like E.T. and The Terminator or catch up with the characters of newer releases, like Despicable Me and Shrek.

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At the Animal Kingdom, Disney elevates the concept of a zoological park to something completely new.

Here you can take a safari ride through the wilds of Africa — complete with real animals, raft down the Amazon or ride a runaway train through Mount Everest. The park is home to about 1,500 animals representing 250 species.

SeaWorld Orlando
At SeaWorld Orlando, you and your family can meet Shamu, the world’s most famous killer whale.

After you’ve observed all the underwater critters living at the park, get your heart racing on SeaWorld’s rides and roller coasters, catch a comedy show featuring sea lions and otters or grab a bite at Sharks Underwater Grill.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Go to the movies with Disney at Hollywood Studios, a theme park that takes you inside the world of show business with live stunt shows, animation galleries, a backlot tour and plenty of live shows, rides and attractions.

Thrill seekers should be sure to take the plunge down the Twilight Zone.

Getting There:

Orlando International Airport is an International airport six miles southeast of Orlando, Florida.
It is the second-busiest airport in the state of Florida and the 13th-busiest airport in the U.S. and the 29th-busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic.

The airport serves as a hub for Silver Airways, as well as a focus city for Frontier Airlines, Jetblue Airways, and Southwest Airlines.

The airport also is a major international gateway for the mid Florida region, with flights by foreign air carriers.

Berlin Top 10 Attractions

BERLIN MUST SEE GUIDE

Are you on a whistle-stop tour of the capital or just looking for the Berlin Top 10?

Well look no further, because we’ve picked the top ten things to see and do in Berlin so you don’t have to. The choice was by no means easy – this city has so much to offer!

Top pick 1: Reichstag
When the decision was made to move the Federal Government to Berlin, it was time to reawaken the Reichstag building from its long years of slumber on the Mauerstreifen, the military zone between the two sides of the Wall.

The building has since been completely modernised, and today’s visitors to the Reichstag can look out from the building’s glass dome to get a bird’s eye view of the hustle and bustle in the city. There are also a number of government buildings in the vicinity of the Reichstag, for example the Bundeskanzleramt (Federal Chancellery) and the Brandenburg Gate.

Top pick 2: Brandenburg Gate
Without a doubt, the Brandenburg Gate is Berlin’s signature attraction.

Built in 1791, it was just one of many old city gates around the city of Berlin which, at that time, was still a manageable size.

The decorative Pariser Platz was laid at the foot of the gate and is now home to many of the city’s important buildings, for example, the Hotel Adlon with its wealth of history and the Akademie der Künste (Academy of the Arts).

Brandenburger Tor
Brandenburger Tor

Top pick 3: Berlin Television Tower (Fernsehturm)
The Berlin Television Tower, which is known to locals as the Fernsehturm, and is instantly recognisable from the distance, stand outs of the skyline at 368m, making it the tallest building in Berlin.

Built in the 1960s, visitors to the tower can enjoy a unique 360° panorama of the city.

Top pick 4: Gendarmenmarkt
The Gendarmenmarkt is one of the most stunning squares in the city, located close to Friedrichstraße, Berlin’s exclusive shopping street in the central Mitte district.

Three of the most impressive examples of architecture in the capital city are to be found here: the Concert House designed by Schinkel and the German and French Cathedrals (the Deutscher Dom and the Französischer Dom).

Top pick 5: Berlin Cathedral
The German Cathedral (Berliner Dom) with its magnificent dome is a remarkable example the of late 19th century architecture.

Near the Cathedral are also the German Historical Museum and the Museum’s Island. On the side of Berlin’s boulevard “Unter den Linden” stands the Catholic St.Hedwigs-Cathedral.

Top pick 6: Kurfürstendamm
Extending all the way from the ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on Breitscheidplatz to Berlin’s elegant Halensee neighbourhood, the affectionately termed Ku’damm is the most expensive address in the capital city and home to the most exclusive brands.

Europe’s biggest department store KaDeWe is also situated on the extension of the Ku’damm, on the street known to locals as the Tauentzien (short for Tauentzienstrasse). The little ones will just love the Zoological Garden, Germany’s oldest zoo.

Top pick 7: Charlottenburg Palace
The magnificent Charlottenburg Palace is located just out of the centre of the city.

The beautiful palace hosts fine collections of china and paintings and is situated in the middle of a picturesque palace garden right next to the river Spree.

If you don’t fancy a walk in the park, you can feed your mind instead in the Charlottenburg museums located directly opposite.

Top pick 8: Museum Island
Berlin’s Museum Island is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites and home to the city’s most important exhibition centres: the Altes Museum (Old Museum), the Neues Museum (New Museum) the Bode Museum, the Pergamon Museum and the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery).

The collections in these buildings encompass over 6,000 years of art and cultural history.

Top pick 9: The Berlin Wall Memorial and Documentation Centre
The Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial) is located between the districts of Wedding and Mitte on Bernauer Straße, consisting of the Memorial to the Victims of the Wall, a Documentation Centre and the Chapel of Reconciliation.

The surviving section of the wall and watchtower enable visitors to get a real feel for the reality of the border facilities. The Memorial has been undergoing extension work in recent years, the full completion of which is intended for 2014.

Top pick 10: Potsdamer Platz
Once the bustling heart of the city before the Second World War, then a no man’s land from 1945 until the fall of the wall, the history of Potsdamer Platz has been eventful to say the least.

It changed completely after the fall of the wall in 1989 and is now dominated by the presence of the Sony Center, skyscrapers and endless shops. What’s more, Potsdamer Platz is the main place to be for stars and celebrities.

Getting To Berlin:

Berlin Tegel Airport (German: Flughafen Tegel “Otto Lilienthal”) is the main International airport of Berlin, the federal capital of Germany, ahead of the smaller Berlin Schoenfeld Airport.

The airport is a hub for Air Berlin and serves as a base for German wings. It features flights to several European metropolitan and leisure destinations as well as some intercontinental routes.

10 Must See Places in Croatia

Located in the Balkans, Croatia has become one of Europa’s top tourist destination again since its War of Independence in the late 1990s.

Like much of Europe, Croatia boasts its share of medieval cities and historic ruins, but what makes this country exceptional is its wealth of stunning natural attractions such as the Plitvice Lakes, the spectacular Adriatic coastlines and gorgeous islands.

An overview of the best places to visit in Croatia.

Dubrovnik
Nicknamed the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” the old city of Dubrovnik is one of the prominent places to visit in the Mediterranean.

Located at the southern tip of Croatia off the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik was established in the 7th century on maritime trade. With orange rooftop houses sitting in contrast to the blue sky, Dubrovnik presents many sightseeing treasures.

The historic district, the Old Town, is stuffed with many historic features such as the old, defensive walls, cobblestone streets, magnificent palaces and stunning churches.

Just outside the Old Town are popular beaches like Banje and Lapad, while the nearby island of Lokrum offers even more beaches.

Hvar
One of the most popular places to visit in Croatia and in the Adriatic Sea, Hvar is a beautiful Croatian island off the Dalmatian Coast, favored for its landscapes of spectacular beaches, lavender fields and lush vineyards.

Hvar’s main city, Hvar Town, is an attractive city, featuring 13th century walls, marble stone streets, Gothic palaces, stunning churches and an imposing old fortress.

The town square is one of Croatia’s largest and most beautiful, surrounded by many historic building like the 17th century Arsenal and the Cathedral of St. Stephen.

The natural beauty of Hvar offers plenty of outdoor recreation, from hiking in the cliffs to swimming in the secluded coves and beaches.

Plitvice National Park
One of the most beautiful natural wonders in Croatia and all of Europe, the Plitvice National Park consists of several breathtaking lakes, waterfalls and lush forest.

The park’s most notable features are the 16 interconnecting lakes that are divided into upper and lower clusters. Formed by natural travertine dams, the lakes range in distinct colors from turquoise to blue, green and gray. Visitors can explore the lakes and surrounding area by walking along the assortment of wooden walkways as well as by boat.

Krka National Park
Located in Central Dalmatia of Croatia, the Krka National Park is a protected area of spectacular natural scenery, wildlife and historic sites.

Situated along the Krka River within Sibinik-Knin County, the national park is best known for its numerous gushing waterfalls and natural pools of clear, blue-green waters.

Zagreb
The capital and largest city of Croatia, Zagreb is a vibrant metropolis packed with both
historic and modern attractions.

Located in northwestern Croatia, the city dates back to the 2nd century AD when a diocese was first established by Hungarian King Ladislaus. Today, Zargreb is a sprawling cosmopolitan city and the heart of Croatian culture, academics and government.

The city is divided into an Upper and Lower Town, with Upper Town being the historic core where tourists can walk down cobblestone streets and visit old, medieval churches and towers.

Korcula
Best known as the alleged birthplace of the famous merchant traveler, Marco Polo, Korcula is a 30-mile (50 km) island located off Croatia’s Adriatic Coast.

Comprised of lush green forests, vineyards, olive groves, sandy beaches and charming villages.

The island’s main town, Korucla Town, is a historic, walled town with Venetian Renaissance architecture, colorful markets and plenty of tourist facilities.

Pula
Located at the southern tip of the Istria peninsula in the Adriatic Sea, Pula is a popular destination that has been attracting tourists as far back as ancient Roman times when fans flocked the city’s amphitheater to watch gladiator fights.

Having been ruled by various government powers over the centuries, Pula today belongs to Croatia, and is best known for its wealth of Roman ruins and mix of cultures.

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Pictured Zadar, Croatia

Zadar
A three thousand-year old city situated on a beautiful coastline rich in history is sure to draw tourists. Such a city isZadar, located on Croatia’s northern Dalmatian Coast.

Zadar could be called the ideal tourist getaway because it offers plenty to see and do without all the crowds of other popular destinations in Croatia.

At the heart of the city is its Old Town which offers fantastic sightseeing attractions including Roman ruins, medieval architecture and numerous old churches.

Besides the Old Town, tourists will find a string of beautiful beaches all along Zadar’s coastline where they can sunbathe, swim and relax.

Rovinj
Located on Croatia’s Istrian peninsula in the Adriatic Sea, Rovinj is an archipelago of 20 islands with its Old Town set on a small peninsula. Narrow streets of cobblestone, stairways, arches and other interesting architecture make the Old Town a sightseeing adventure.

Some of the Old Town’s historic gems include seven medieval city gates, the 12th century town clock and St. Euphemia’s Basilica, an imposing baroque church packed with many stunning art works.

Also worth seeing are the scenic harbor, Carrera Street with its many shops and art galleries, and Grisia Street, which is lined with artists and souvenir vendors.

Split
Nicknamed the “Mediterranean Flower,” Croatia’s second-largest city, Split, is located on a peninsula off the Dalmatian Coast.

The city’s main attraction is its historic core of beautiful Gothic and Renaissance architecture of which the Diocletian’s Palace is the crown jewel.

Built between 298 and 305 AD, this Roman Emperor palace complex is more like a small city itself with a maze of marble walkways and buildings containing shops, cafes and bars.

Outside the historic center, tourists will find plenty to see and do including strolling along the seaside promenade, shopping at the lively Green Market and swimming at Bacvice beach.

Rio De Janeiro Visitor Information

This You Need to Know Before Travelling to Rio De Janeiro

Entry Requirements: U.S. citizens need a valid passport and visa to enter Brazil.
The standard visa allows visitors to stay 90 days, extendable for another 90 within the country.

Security
Street crime is a persistent problem in tourist areas, especially after dark.
Leave your valuables in the hotel safe. All you need for the beach is a towel and some change for a cold drink.

Don’t be paranoid, but as a tourist you’re conspicuous enough. Stay alert. Avoid city buses, outdoor ATMs, and venturing alone into favelas (shanty towns).

Immunisations
Standard immunisations for Brazil are yellow fever (required for entry) and tetanus/diphtheria, typhoid, and hepatitis.

If traveling to more rural areas of Brazil like Amazonas, Pantanal, and parts of Minas Gerais, visitors should also get polio, MMR, hepatitis B, and rabies immunisations, and take anti-malaria drugs.

Time
Rio de Janeiro is three hours ahead of U.S. eastern standard time from November to mid-February, two hours ahead from mid-February until the start of U.S. daylight saving time, and one hour ahead during U.S. daylight saving time.

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Money
The currency of Brazil is the real. For current conversion rates, go to a Currency Converter.

Phone Calls
For international calls from Brazil, dial 00 country code area code number.

For long distance calls within Brazil, dial 021 two-digit area code number. For operator-assisted calls in English to anywhere in the world, dial toll-free 0800 703 2111.

When to Go
Rio has a tropical climate: hot 77-95°F (25–35°C) and humid summers, cooler 59-77°F (15–25°C ) and drier winters. Crowded during the Brazilian summer (December to March), especially at New Year and Carnival.

Getting There
Galeão-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport is nine miles (20 kilometers) north of downtown. The Santos-Dumont domestic airport is downtown.

Getting Around
When taking a cab, don’t negotiate. The meter should read “1” from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday. When the meter reads “2,” rates are 20 percent higher. The subway is modern and safe; navigating buses takes savvy.

Checklist
Credit Cards and Cash: “Forget traveler’s checks. Nobody likes them here and your U.S. ATM cards are good at ATM machines at most major banks.

Bring $100 in cash for emergencies.”—Michael Royster, 2007 president of the American Society of Rio

Language
If possible, study Portuguese before you travel. While many people in Rio speak some English, most cabbies and waiters don’t.

Spanish will help you understand signs but not necessarily the people. Buy a pocket-sized Brazilian Portuguese/English phrasebook for your trip.

Clothing and Accessories
Leave expensive jewelry at home and limit flashy attire to a social outfit or two for dining and special occasions.

“Women shouldn’t bring narrow heels; the cobblestone sidewalks are a shoemaker’s and orthopedist’s delight.

In Rio, havaianas flip-flops are a fraction of the cost in the U.S. Don’t wear a watch; the sidewalks are full of clocks, and besides, you’re on vacation.”—Michael Royster

Sunscreen
Your favorite brand of sunscreen may be hard to find in Rio. “Bring [SPF] 50-level protection.
The sun is very hot.

Best Airlines In The World 2015

AirlineRatings ‘Airline of the year’ awards, acknowledge the best of the best in the airline industry in turn helping you the passenger choose who to fly with.

These airlines are those our experienced editors feel offer the best in comfort, innovation, value and safety across Economy, Business and First Class.
All awards are judged against a strict assessment criteria put together by our editors who combined have over 150 years of experience.


1. Qatar Airlines

Qatar Airways wasn’t always a recognised name in the airline industry but the company has swiftly made a rise to the top by offering excellence at every level.

2. Singapore Airlines
The flagship carrier of Singapore, this is one of the most well-respected travel brands in the world.

3. Cathay Pacific Airlines
The competition is fierce in the industry and as this list proves, many airlines are striving to be the best in class by offering exceptional customer service and product offerings. In 2014 the best in class is Cathay Pacific as they were awarded the Best Airline in the World by the Skytrax World Airline Awards.

4. Turkish Airlines
One of the older airlines on this list, Turkish Airlines was established in 1933 and at the time flew to more countries than any other carrier in the world.

5. Emirates Airlines
The second of the flagship carriers for the United Arab Emirates, Emirates is a Dubai based airline known for their unique brand of luxury in the skies.

6. Etihad Airlines
The United Arab Emirates is well known for luxury airlines and as the region’s flagship carrier, Etihad exceeds expectations with excellent customer service and luxury products.

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And the winner is…… Qatar Airways in 2015.

7. ANA All Nipon Airlines
Japanese carrier ANA All Nippon Airways is the 13th largest airline in the world by revenue. They currently fly over 187 domestic and international routes with a fleet of over 240 aircraft.

8. Garuda Indonesia Airlines
is the national airline of Indonesia, operating one of the youngest average age of aircraft fleet in Asia, with an average aircraft age at December 2014 of 4.02 years.

9. Eva Airlines
is the second largest Taiwanese airline, flying to over 40 international destinations in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. In June 2013, EVA became a Star Alliance member.

10. Qantas Airlines
Aside from being named the Safest Airline in the World, Australia’s flagship air carrier has been receiving praise for its commitment to quality and customer service for decades.

11. Lufthansa Airlines
Lufthansa is the largest airline in Europe and the German flagship carrier is also one of the founding members of the Star Alliance Network.

12. Air New Zealand
If you’ve ever flewn Air New Zealand you’ll probably agree it deserves to be in just about any list of exceptional airlines.

13. Delta Airlines
Delta Air Lines is the preferred choice of many Americans who appreciate the company’s commitment to quality and customer service.

14. Air Canada
Canada’s largest and flagship airline has been a favorite of Canadians and North Americans for decades. The airline offers customers spectacular accessibility with more than 180 destinations on five continents.

15. Jetblue Airlines
American Low-cost carrier jetBlue has been making a name for themselves through excellent customer service and enhanced economy services.

Frankfurt Germany Visitor Information

Frankfurt is the fifth largest city in Germany, which a member of the European Union.

Located on the Main River, it is also the largest financial centre in the continent since it is home to different commercial banks such as European Central Bank and Deutsche Bundesbank.

The Frankfurt Stock Exchange is also located in this city, which is one of the world’s largest stock exchanges by market capitalisation. Frankfurt has temperate-oceanic climate, which means that it has warm summers and moderately cold winters.

The average temperature of the city per year is 10.6 degrees Celsius. The city is sometimes referred to as “Mainhattan”, a combination of the United States’ Manhattan and Main River because of its high-rise buildings and scenic skyline.

What To See & Do
In Germany, Frankfurt is one of the most famous tourist destinations.

It is home to different galleries, theatres, opera houses, and clubs. Famous galleries in this city include the Municipal Gallery of the Stadel Institute of Art, Museum of Applied Art, and the Schirn Kunsthalle Gallery.

They city also houses a town hall called Romerberg, which offers tourists a good view of old buildings dating from 14th and 15th centuries. One of these buildings includes the Archaologische Garten, where people can see the Roman settlements during the old times. There is also a bridge near the Main River, known as the Eiserne Steg.

This 19th century bridge leads visitors to Sachsenhausen and the Rententurm or the Wharfinger’s Tower.

For opera lovers, Oper Frankfurt offers high quality productions at an affordable price. Another is the English theatre, which is the largest English-language theatre in Europe.

Unlike the other buildings in the city that were destroyed during the World War II, Sachsenhausen’s old town is preserved.

Visitors should not miss Saint Bartholomeus’ Cathedral, which is located next to the Romerplatz.
Built in Gothic style during the 14th century, the main cathedral has spiral stairs leading to the 95-metre church tower.

Frankfurt also contains modern high-rise buildings, which are good for pictures.

The best view of Frankfurt’s skyline is located on the eastern part of Main River Bridge.

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People can also go to Sachsenhausen for the Henninger Turm, which is one of the highest silo towers in the world at 330 feet.

The city is also a great place for shopaholics since most shops are open until 8:00PM.
The main shopping street in Frankfurt is the Zeil. It features department stores and malls like Karstadt, Galeria Kaufhot, Zeilgaleria, and MyZeil.

How To Get Around Within Frankfurt
The best way to explore Frankfurt is by tram and bus. Aside from single tickets, tourists can also get all-day and weekly tickets.

For those who would like to visit museums and different tourist destinations, they should consider buying a Frankfurt Card since it allows unlimited travel in the city and offers discounts in some museums.

These tickets can be purchased at the airport and not at the vending machines. Frankfurt Card is relatively cheaper compared to single tickets combined. There are also many taxis in the city but the fares are quite expensive.

There also rental-bike companies in Frankfurt like the Deutsche Bahn, which can be found in many street corners and major pick-up points in the city. These bikes are available from April to December and rented using credit cards.

How To Get There
To explore the old and modern buildings in Frankfurt, tourist can take any airport transport providers that can fly them to the Frankfurt Airport. It is the third busiest airport after the London Heathrow Airport and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. A total of 107 airlines fly to and from 275 destinations served by this airport. It is a major hub for AeroLogic, Condor, and Lufthansa.

Frankfurt International Airport
Flughafen Frankfurt am Main, also known as Rhein-Main-Flughafen) is a major international airport located in Frankfurt, the fifth-largest city of Germany and one of the world’s leading financial centres.

It serves as the main hub for Lufthansa including as well as Condor and AeroLogic.

The airport covers an area of 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) of land and features two passenger terminals with a capacity of approximately 65 million passengers per year, four runways and extensive logistics and maintenance facilities.

Frankfurt Airport is by far the busiest airport by passenger traffic in Germany, the third busiest in Europe after London Heathrow and Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport and the 17th busiest Worldwide in 2015, posting record passenger traffic with 59.6 million passengers using the airport in 2014, an increase of +2.6% from 2013. As of winter 2012/2013, Frankfurt Airport served 264 destinations in 113 countries, making it the airport with the most international destinations in the world.

Frequent Flyer Programs

If you travel by plane at all, you’ve probably thought about getting a frequent flyer card so you can earn miles for free travel.
Or, you may already have an assortment of frequent flyer cards riding around in your wallet.

Today’s frequent flyer (FF) programs offer benefits above and beyond free air travel and, you can earn miles without even traveling anywhere.

The frequent flyer program is an incentive program operated by an airline to reward customers for their continued loyalty.

As a traveler, you earn free miles for the miles that you fly on a particular airline.

The concept behind frequent flyer programs is that the airlines want their passengers to become lifetime customers.

It is much more costly for the airlines to get new customers than it is to retain the ones they already have. So how do they reward you? The more frequently you fly with them, the greater your awards.

It all started in 1981, when American Airlines introduced a program called AAdvantage.

Their purpose was simple: to reward customers for using the airline and promote future customer loyalty.

American started the program by using their customer database.

They tracked the members’ number of flown miles and put together a reward system of “a mile earned for a mile traveled.” To round out the array of services for the travel customer, American also included Hertz rental cars and Hyatt hotel stays in the program. It was an instant success.

United Airlines almost immediately debuted their Mileage Plus program and upped the ante by offering an “enrollment bonus” of 5,000 miles! As expected, the other major domestic airlines soon followed suit.

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Australian Frequent Flyer Corporate Branded SuperSmartTag

Next, the hotel industry entered the game.
Initially, they merely participated as “partners” in the airline programs.

However, considering their costs as an airline partner, most hotel chains initiated their own frequent-stay programs. Today, although most hotels do have their own frequent-stay programs, they remain partners with all the major airlines because it leads to increased sales.

The rental car industry initially participated by becoming a partner with the airlines. As the costs of the relationships with the airlines rose, Hertz, the early leader, withdrew from the FF relationship. However, when their market share dropped drastically, they rejoined.
Hertz now collaborates in more than 60 FF programs (domestic and international partners combined).

In today’s market in addition to the many airline partner programs, there are several airline alliances (more about these alliances a little later).

Another perk in today’s frequent flyer market is that you can also earn “miles” or “points” (points can be redeemed later as miles) for other travel and non-travel transactions.

Travel transactions can include hotel stays, rental cars, and more. Non-travel-related awards include credit card purchases (you earn at least one mile, if not more for every dollar charged), long-distance telephone services, even mortgages and stock trades!

Finally, shopping at certain stores, both brick-and-mortar and online, also provides an opportunity to “rack up” those miles.

Your frequent flyer miles reside in your account — much like your dollars in the bank. They accumulate as you travel, although unfortunately they don’t earn interest.

At this time, most of the larger domestic airlines use a fairly uniform policy: mileage does not expire, but there must be some activity in your account once every three years.

The airlines may change their mileage expiration policies, so you should read their most current guidelines. When the mileage total reaches a certain amount, you can “redeem” them for an award, usually air travel.

Chicago Visitor Information

Great food. The world’s best museums, architecture that awes and enough shopping for days. Find it all in Chicago!

With events every weekend, live music and theatre every night, and beautiful parks and ice rinks beckoning every day winter in Chicago buzzes with energy and excitement all season.

This is a city built on the shores of greatness.

At attractions around every corner, from high-flying observatories to Millennium Park where art and music mix with lots of room to play, you’ll find fun every day of the year.

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And special events mean there’s always something new to see. Grab your family and go!

Explore amazing Navy Pier, and discover the thrilling rides, activities, dining, shopping, museums, and cityscape views that make it the top destination in the Midwest.

Don’t miss special events like Winter WonderFest and other festivals, huge expositions showcasing flowers, sailboats, art, and toys – to name just a few, and dazzling summertime and holiday fireworks.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport
In 2014, O’Hare was the busiest airport in the world in terms of number of annual aircraft operations.

More at Choose Chicago

http://www.choosechicago.com

Las Vegas Visitor Information

VIVA LAS VEGAS

Las Vegas is the fastest growing city in the United States.

The gambling Mecca, Las Vegas has also become home for many prominent Conventions/Events and simultaneously became a prominent family vacation destination.

Las Vegas has something to please everyone and it is usually available 24 hours a day.

There is a saying in Las Vegas:
If you do not find what you are looking for, please wait one moment, it is probably already under construction.

Casinos/Hotels in Las Vegas seem to know no boundaries in their creativeness and grandiose projects.

The Casinos/Hotels owners’ imaginations appear limitless.

Almost annually, a new world largest Casino appears on the Las Vegas horizon.

Seventeen out of the top twenty worlds largest hotels reside within a five-mile radius of each other in Las Vegas.

Including several casinos under construction, Las Vegas is fast becoming the Convention and Resort headquarters for the world.

There are over 100,000 hotel and motel rooms available in the Las Vegas area.

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Hotels
In Las Vegas, the hotels are the attractions!

Each with their own selection of gastronomic restaurants, extravagant theatres, mile long casino floors, mind blowing nightclubs, luxurious spas, indulgent shopping malls and gob-smacking attractions.

With many hotels boasting international themes, a stroll along The Strip will take you around the world!

Check out exploding volcanoes, Venetian canals and world-class art galleries all on one street.

Visit one of the world’s biggest hotels- the MGM Grand!

And take a camera, because no one at home will believe what you’ve seen.

Downtown
A well-priced alternative to The Strip, the smaller-sized hotels of Downtown Las Vegas are packed with excellent value and entertainment.

Downtown is home to “The Fremont Street Experience” – a free evening show (on the hour) featuring an overhead light canopy stretching the length of five football fields.

The world’s biggest LCD screen comes to life with spectacular animations set to concert quality sound. Ten hotel casinos are located under the canopy itself.

Shopping
Los Vegas is a world-class premium shopping destination.

McCarran International Airport – Flight times
Atlanta 4 hours
Chicago 3.5 hours
Dallas 2.5 hours
Denver 1.5 hours
Honolulu 6 hours
Houston 3 hours
Los Angelas 45 minutes
Minneapolis 3 hours
New Orleans 3 hours 45 minutes
New York City 5 hours
Phoenix 1 hour
San Diago 55 minutes
San Francisco 2 hours 15 minutes
Seattle 2 hours 25 minutes

Sam Boyd Stadium
Annual events and building tenants are the key to our success as a public assembly facility. They include UNLV Intercollegiate Athletic events for both men and women, Professional Bull Riders, National Finals Rodeo, Vegoose Music Festival, The Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl, family shows, Supercross, Monster Trucks, special event concerts, festivals as well as conventions and private parties.

The 20 Busiest Airports In The World

The world’s busiest airports by passenger traffic are measured by total passengers (data from Airports Council International (ACI)), defined as passengers enplaned plus passengers deplaned plus direct-transit passengers.

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been the world’s busiest airport every year since 2000, with all airports combined London has the world’s busiest city airport system by passenger count.

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Pictured Dubai International Airport ranked 3rd in the World

1. United States Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport 22,746,009

2. China Beijing Capital International Airport 21,663,240

3. United Arab Emirates Dubai International Airport 19,606,327

4. Japan Tokyo Haneda Airport 18,053,930

5. United States Los Angeles International Airport 16,416,281

6. United Kingdom London Heathrow Airport 16,364,246

7. Hong Kong Hong Kong International Airport 16,328,000

8. United States O’Hare Chicago International Airport 16,258,025

9. United States Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport 14,487,751

10. Thailand Suvarnabhumi Airport 14,139,31

11. China Shanghai Pudong International Airport 14,136,814

12. France Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport 14,113,587

13. China Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport 14,094,902

14. Singapore Singapore Changi Airport 13,076,000

15. Turkey Istanbul Atatürk Airport 12,944,832

16. South Korea Seoul Incheon International Airport 12,539,595

17. Germany Frankfurt Airport 12,508,282

18. Indonesia Soekarno-Hatta International Airport 12,314,667

19. United States Denver International Airport 2,213,404

20. Malaysia Kuala Lumpur International Airport 11,972,635

Etihad To Fly 787 Without First Class

Etihad will begin flying two-class Boeing 787s from mid-2016, with the pared-back Dreamliners swapping their private first class suites (below) for substantially more economy seats.

Read: Etihad’s Boeing 787 first class suite
The two-class configuration will retain the same number of 28 Business Studio business class nooks (below) but raise the economy count from 195 to 271 seats.

A spokesperson for Etihad Airways confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that the first of the ‘first-free’ Boeing 787-9s will be seen on the airline’s Abu Dhabi-Dusseldorf route from May 1st 2016, to be followed by Perth from June 1st, Shanghai and Istanbul from August 1st, and Johannesburg from November 1st.

The Gulf carrier is one of Boeing’s largest airline customer for the Dreamliner with 71 of the next-gen jets on order, broken down into 41 of the Boeing 787-9 and 30 of the longer 787-10.

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Speaking to Australian Business Traveller at the 2014 launch of the airline’s Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 fleet, Etihad President and CEO James Hogan said the 787-9 fleet would be divided into 20 three-class configurations and 21 with a two-class layout.

Hogan added the arrangement would be similar to Etihad’s current split of three-class and two-class Boeing 777s.

“The three-class Boeing 787s will be primarily placed into capital cities where we believe there is a strong demand for premium travel” Hogan told Australian Business Traveller.

“On secondary cities and gateways where we don’t see the demand we will operate two-class.”

Several airlines are drawing down their first class cabins on future jets in favour of the latest generation of business class, including United’s new Boeing 777-300ERs, Cathay Pacific’s Airbus A350-1000 and Qatar’s promised ‘business class bedroom’ for its Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 fleet.

At the same time, Etihad’s superlative Airbus A380 first class apartments are driving Emirates and Singapore Airlines to upgrade their own superjumbo suites.

Prevent Back And Neck Pain During Flights

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Frequent business trips and long haul travel can have a detrimental effect to lower back and neck health.

Sitting for long periods in a cramped chair and a stuffy environment can create and exacerbate musculoskeletal complaints.

It’s the last thing you need if you are in and out on a quick business trip where efficiency is the key and the worst thing to happen when you arrive at your long awaited tropical destination.

Luckily enough there are some very simple things that are easy to do that can reduce the chance of aggravating your lower back and neck.

Keep Up The Fluids
Drink lots of water before and during your flight.
This works on many different levels.

Drinking lots of water will leave you feeling less jet lagged and less dehydrated post flight.

Water keeps your joints and discs hydrated which in turn reduces stiffness and decompression of your spine.

It makes you need to go to the toilet.
This means you have to be mobile throughout the flight.

Every hour, get up and walk for five minutes around the cabin.

Not only does it increase circulation and help prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis, but it reduces stiffness in the joints and tightness in your muscles.

Complete some easy stretches for your lower back every hour. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 1 to 3 times each.

Carry a good travel pillow, preferably not a blow up one, so your neck is as supported as possible.

Also carry socks so that you don’t get cold feet and tense up.

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An additional pillow to place under your feet or at the small of your back is also very useful.

If you have a history of lower back pain, before your flight it is possible to purchase convenient blow up lumbar supports to fit into the small of your back while you are sitting. This helps to maintain the normal curve in your lower back, promoting excellent alignment and helps you to maintain good posture.

Complete some easy stretches for your neck every other hour.
Hold the stretches for 30 seconds and repeat 1 to 3 times.

Trap stretch, Pec stretch, Rotator cuff stretches, Shoulder shrugs and circles.

Research prior to your flight where the best seats are on the plane.

The websites seatexpert.com and seatguru.com have done all the research for you.

Type in the plane model that you are flying, it will outline the pros and cons of all the seats. You can then try to request one that will best suit your needs for the flight. Optimally, seats that recline fully or the pods in first class and business class are the best for your back.

As a general rule, requesting an aisle seat or exit row means more leg room and avoiding seats near the toilets where people queue will prevent being bumped into. The last row of chairs in an aircraft generally don’t recline.

Heat and Ice Packs.
It is possible to purchase heat and ice packs that can be activated without the use of a microwave.

Consider purchasing a small quantity of these to provide symptomatic relief of any back or neck pain. Be sure not to burn yourself. It is recommended to place a piece of cloth or clothing between you and the heat/ice pack. Also take note of the liquid content in the heat or ice pack. Make sure the volume does not exceed that of airline allowances.

Medication
Speak to your pharmacist or GP regarding appropriate medication that might assist you if your back becomes irritated during the flight.

In the event that you do aggravate your back and neck during the flight, it is useful to have pre researched an appropriate health care practitioner that you could visit conveniently.

This not only cuts out a lot of hassle that wastes time in your trip but also gives you some piece of mind.

If you are super organised, requesting a letter from your current health care practitioner describing your back pain complaint and current management will help the new practitioner to get a handle more quickly on your presenting complaint.

Dr. Rebecca Brugman (Osteopath)