Travel

Travel

A luxury hotel recreates poverty conditions for tourists

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In the South African city of Bloemfonteine​​, a hotel chain called Emoya Luxury Hotel & Spa has adapted an apartment complex to simulate the South African villages where they live in misery. This complex, called The Shanty Town, has adopted the “Play to be poor for a while” slogan, and it’s designed for upper-class tourists who want to feel poor for a few days without sinking their feet in the mud.

Shanty Town scenario
The Shanty Town scenario

The “poor village” has 12 cottages that keep a poverty facade (with wood and tin houses), so that those ones who fantasize about being homeless for a few days don’t stop feeling the comfort. The surroundings and the history of the place were reconstructed following business purposes: the cabins are immersed in an waste environment (placed there as the attrezzo), the bathroom is out of the houses and tourists are encouraged to heat water in street bonfires.

The Shanty Town website says: “Now you can experience how it is to stay in a hut inside a private reserve. It is the only village in the world equipped with heating and Wi-Fi … The huts are ideal for teamwork, luxury themed parties or for havig a life experience. Our theme park is completely safe and child friendly.”

Slum-themed huts
Slum-themed huts

For an estimated per night of about $80 (150 thousand pesos), equivalent to half the South African average monthly salary, adults and children can spend a night in a similar cabin to the ones in poor areas of the country. The idea, according to Emoya Luxury Hotel, is to put the tourists in contact with poverty in South Africa.

But the experience is not quite complete because the cottages are located in a private space that belongs to the hotel. Here guests have electricity, internet access, heating, bathroom with shower, and other facilities.

Obviously, this kind of fiction meant for the rich to experience life like the poor got several criticisms. In particular, considering that in Africa the majority of the population lives in extreme poverty.

Millions of roses will fly over Europe

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On Valentine’s Day, millions of people will be able to express their love with red roses by early air travel. The flowers are very sensitive to the long stalk must be transferred quickly and carefully to Europe from countries where grown in Africa and South America.These days, the Lufthansa Cargo fills its commercial aircraft with flowers to ensure that millions of red roses can arrive on time and be sold on Valentine’s Day, February 14. Overall, the top commercial airline in Europe will carry about 1,000 tons of roses from warmer climates in Frankfurt, equivalent to 1,000 small cars.

Lufthansa Cargo
Lufthansa Cargo

The logistical process of transferring up to 90 tons of roses on a flight is actually more environmentally friendly than the cultivation of this quantity in Germany. According to research conducted at Cranfield University in Britain, this process would result in the release of larger amounts of carbon dioxide as well as to develop any artificial flower needs water and additional heating. Kenya, Colombia and Ecuador, where the capital, Quito, called the City of Eternal Spring, is the largest exporter of roses. The Lufthansa Cargo connects all these countries with floral production hub in Frankfurt with multiple cargo flights a week. In order to ensure that the special needs of Valentine’s Day have launched additional flights beyond the scheduled.

Lufthansa Cargo
Lufthansa Cargo

The Lufthansa Cargo has created a special service for the movement of perishable goods such as flowers or food. A sophisticated logistics system of the airline with specialized cooling systems to freight areas and alongside the experience and specialization of crop producers in exporting countries ensure that roses will arrive fresh at their destination. Immediately after harvesting the flowers are transported as quickly as possible from the nurseries in packing and from there directly to the aircraft. This ensures that they will retain all their freshness upon arrival at the airport in Frankfurt. From there coordinated their transfer to the next destinations of Europe.

Lufthansa Cargo
Lufthansa Cargo

By Nicole P.

Tips on experiencing the magic of London on a budget

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London’s aura is unlike any other city’s on the planet. From the gorgeous Georgian townhouses in the west, the jaw-dropping royal palaces and residences in its centre, to the magnificent London Eye to the south, every area of London offers a little slice of magic for anyone who visits it.

But glitzy-ness and glamour usually comes at a high cost, especially where London’s landmarks are concerned; (just taking a ride around the London Eye costs around £33!)  Nevertheless, if you still want to experience London in all its glitzy, magical glory there are a few tricks you can try so you don’t end up overspending during your next trip to the English capital:

Visit Westminster Abbey or St. Paul’s Cathedral during mass or choir performances

Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral are two of the most visited landmarks in London – but visitors on a strict budget can’t help but be spooked by their £20 to £29 ticket costs. Luckily, however, there are a few hacks you can try in order to visit either of the landmarks (or both!) for no cost at all.

On selected Sundays throughout the year, St. Paul’s Cathedral hosts a free Sunday Organ Recital, and visitors can even see its interior for free by heading there during church mass on Sundays. You can also enter Westminster Abbey for free by visiting during Evensong and listen to the Abbey choir perform in the dazzling interior; (click here to see a list of their upcoming performances).

Walk on a picturesque trail through London’s royal parks

It’s not mystery why London’s royals parks are some of the most famous in the world – and best of all, they’re free! So if you’re only in London for a few days but still want to see the city’s most spectacular parks fit for a royal, follow the seven-mile-long Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk which leads visitors through Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James’s Park to enjoy unspoiled views of the remarkable Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, St. James’s Palace, and more.

Follow the footsteps of Harry, Hermione and Ron around London

When it comes to experiencing the magic of London, it doesn’t get more literal than visiting all the Potter-inspired locations in the English capital – and luckily you can see a majority of them for no cost at all.

From posing underneath the Platform 9 3/4 sign in King’s Cross Station, or going on a free Harry Potter walking tour around central London (so you can see the “real” Diagon Alley, Ministry of Magic and Gringotts Bank), seeing all the major Potter-related places in London could cost you less than a pint of Butterbeer!

And let’s not forget the famous London landmarks which were used as filming locations in the films, such as the Millennium Bridge (as seen in the opening scenes of The Half-Blood Prince), or Piccadilly Circus, which Harry, Ron and Hermione ran through to escape a group of Death Eaters in the Deathly Hallows (Part 1).

Head to Soho’s clubs extra early

Want to party it up in the most party-happening area of London? (Who doesn’t, right?) Well as glitzy as the streets of Soho are, unfortunately its countless clubs, bars and venues come with high entry costs – unless you head there extra early, that is.

Ronnie Scott’s at 47 Frith Street (Soho’s most historic jazz and blues venue) offers free entry before 7 p.m., and the Ain’t Nothin But Blues Bar at 28 Kingly St. has free admission before 8:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. And of course if you’re on a super-strict budget, you could always go out on a Monday or Tuesday to snag some discounted drinks, or even go on a London pub crawl so you can see a handful of Soho’s best clubs for a fraction of the cost!

New Zealand | The Land of the Rings

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For those who love the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and the Peter Jackson films they inspired, a visit to New Zealand can be the trip of a lifetime. It’s a chance to visit numerous locations seen in the films, enjoy spectacular scenery and feel the thrill of walking where the hobbits, Gandalf and their allies trod, so around 270,000 fans travel there every year. Flights.com makes it easy to arrange travel, so why not make it your next vacation? Here are some of the places that await you.

Hobbiton

Found among the gentle hills of Alexander Farm, in the Matamata area (two hours by road from Auckland), the Hobbiton film set is private property, but you can visit it as part of a tour. Almost every detail seen in the films is still visible here, including the houses, the Green Dragon (recently opened as a real pub and restaurant) and the tree beneath which Bilbo vanished at his birthday party. You can’t go inside the hobbit holes but there’s still plenty to see and a lot to learn about how the set was built and the films made. Matamata’s tourist information center provides further resources.

Hobbiton
Hobbiton

The hobbits’ hiding place

Perhaps the easiest of all Middle Earth locations to visit is right beside Wellington. There, in the parkland that runs along the edge of Mount Victoria, you can find the giant tree beneath whose roots the hobbits took shelter when the Black Riders were looking for them. There’s full public access to this site, so you can take your turn hiding there and imagine the sound of horses stamping in the dirt nearby.

Weathertop

The forbidding hill of Weathertop, where Frodo was stabbed by one of the Black Riders, is situated near Port Waikato. Although it’s on private farmland, so you can’t climb it, it makes for an impressive view even without the ruined fort present in the film, and the surrounding countryside is highly evocative of the hobbits’ early journey in company with Aragorn.

Rivendell

Deep in Kaitoke Regional Park you can visit the area where the Rivendell scenes were filmed. No buildings remain here, but it has the same tranquil atmosphere and makes a great picnic spot. There are signs to help visitors find it, and you can go swimming nearby.

Fangorn Forest

The more sinister woodland of Fangorn Forest can be found on either side of Takaro Road, near Te Anau (about two hours south west of Queenstown). There are no special facilities here, but when you walk through the trees you’ll find yourself instinctively on the lookout for orcs.

Lothlorien

Another woodland location, the elf domain of Lothlorien can be found near Featherston, an hour to the east of Wellington. They’re part of the private gardens of Fernside Lodge, but visitors are welcome, and it’s possible to stay at the lodge itself. Here you can see the white bridge and the river where Galadriel rode in her swan boat.

Rohan

Guided tours can take you into the Mount Potts wilderness where the set for Edoras, capital of Rohan, was built. Across the golden plains you can see the Misty Mountains (the Southern Alps), and you can try your hand at wielding replicas of some of the props used in the film – Gandalf’s staff, Aragorn’s sword or Gimli’s axe. If you want to spend some time in this beautiful region, you can find places to stay in nearby Mount Potts Station.

The Dimholt path

The dreaded path into the mountain that Aragorn walked to summon the dead to his aid can be found among the Putangirua Pinnacles near Wellington. There’s not much else to see here, but the scenery is truly spectacular and quite scary to visit at dawn or dusk.

Mordor

Tongariro National Park was used to create the grim landscapes of Mordor, with Mount Ngauruhoe playing the part of Mount Doom. Ngauruhoe has been erupting intermittently over the past few years, so although you may not be allowed to go up close, with a bit of luck you’ll get a spectacular display. When it’s dormant, it’s possible to climb it, but the thick ash underfoot makes this hard going. Not far away, by the mouth of Whakapapa Gorge, you can see the area where Frodo and Sam were lost when they first entered Mordor, and the field of battle where Isildur cut off Sauron’s hand. On the other side of the mountain, near Ohakune, you can see one of Gollum’s fishing pools.

The easiest way to see all these fantastic locations is to join a tour, some of which last as long as two weeks, crisscrossing the North and South Islands. It’s also possible to do it independently, by car, so you can take as long as you want to explore most of the sites. Whatever approach you take, you’ll find it an inspiring journey, the next best thing to visiting Middle Earth itself.

Best Time to Travel to Miami

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The city of Miami has a fairly mild climate: many days with sunshine and a generally warm climate. The city is located by the Atlantic Ocean, and the sea water provides high levels of humidity. Even in summer, the sea breeze can be refreshing. In summer, between June and September, temperatures range from 25 to 30 degrees with few variations, it is a very constant temperature. In winter, the environment and the climate in general continues to be quite mild, with average temperatures between 13 and 25 degrees. It is important to know that Miami has a rainy season that runs from May to October and a dry season that runs from November to March. The coldest month of the year is January and the hottest month is July.

What’s the best time to travel to Miami?

It’s hard to tell when it’s the best time of year to travel to Miami. The “when” depends on the activities you want to do there and we know that not everyone travels for the same reasons. However, taking into consideration the climatology and peaks of tourist seasons, the best time of year to travel to Miami is February to May. At the end of February the temperatures begin to increase, although they remain relatively smooth. Also, during spring, the rains are less frequent and will prevent the hurricane season.

If what you want to do during your vacation is to enjoy the beach to the fullest and have lovely summer holidays to Florida, it is advisable to plan your trip in May or June. If you do it during July or August, be prepared to live on embarrassing days (and maybe some day with rain). The best way to beat the heat will be bathing frequently, either in the ocean or in the hotel pool.

If your main goal is to visit the Walt Disney World theme park in Orlando, it would be best to do it at the beginning of the year (January and February). During the first two months of the year the weather is quite good for outdoor activities and the influx of tourists is lower. As it is low season, you will find lower prices and better deals on accommodation.

Traveling to Miami on Christmas is a fantastic choice, the weather is pretty good during the winter and you will find lots of shops, outlets and shopping malls where to do the holiday shopping. In addition, Black Friday represents the bullet of the entire shopping season and it is possible to get real bargains and discounts during that day. Black Friday takes place every year on the last Friday of November and only lasts 24 hours.

Now that you know the best time of year to travel to Miami according to the destination for the trip, you’re ready to plan your trip. If you already have the date for your trip, you can know in advance the temperature and the weather that you will find in Miami. It is ideal to decide what type of clothes to carry in your luggage.

Do you ever wonder what types of people go on Singles Holidays?

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When thinking about going on a holiday alone, many people are unsure as to what kinds of people go on holidays for singles and often ask, “will I have a good time?” and “will there be other people there with similar interests to me?” The answer is, there is no specific type of person that goes on holidays for singles. Individuals may want to make new friends, experience a holiday on their own or just want to do something different. Whatever your reason, holidays for singles are relaxing, enjoyable and offer a host of activities sure to keep you happy.

Singles Holidays UK
Singles Holidays UK

Our holidays are full of different people, different interests and different reasons for picking holidays for singles! Thanks to our range of different trips, we are able to provide the perfect trip away for you. Whether it’s painting, Pilates or cooking that you are interested in, there’s a holiday with likeminded people available for you to enjoy.

We strive to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere on each and every one of our holidays, so it won’t be long before you feel like you are surrounded by old friends enjoying all that Italy has to offer. At Flavours we make it our priority to offer holidays for singles that appeal to each and every person who is considering a trip away. Our wide range of activities are popular with a whole host of single travellers.

Singles holidays
Singles holidays

Our groups are made up of around eight people, many of whom are single travellers.  Whether you are used to travelling alone or are wanting to try something new you are sure to have an enjoyable time on a Flavours holiday. For more information on booking a holiday your Flavours Italy holiday, contact us today!

Author bio: Flavours of Italy, is a specialist tour operator offering activity vacations and holidays for singles since 1998.

The Perks of Using Prepaid Travel Cards

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As people begin to cultivate a traveling lifestyle, vendors begin to innovate their services in order to meet the needs of tourists. One of the necessities of traveling is money.

Travelers used to bring loads of cash or valuable goods with them to support their mobile lifestyle. Then came traveler checks, which are now extinct and obsolete. Then travelers find it safe and convenient to use credit and debit cards. Now, there is the so-called prepaid travel cards.

The Perks

It is relatively easy and fast to apply for a prepaid travel card. You can apply for one online, even customize its design, and then visit a nearby bank office to pick up your card.

There is usually no maintaining balance for this card. There is no charge if your balance goes zero, but you cannot transact more than your current balance. You need to deposit additional money to continue using the card.

Because prepaid travel cards are designed for travelers, they are usually accepted domestically and abroad, particularly Visa cards. Many shops and establishments in tourist destinations honor such cards.

visa

Banks generally do not charge anything on top of your purchases based on what merchants charge you. This means that you only pay for what you consumed and do not have to worry about fees and other expenses later on.

You can check your remaining balance online or via your mobile phone. You can deposit additional amount to increase your balance in order to make more purchases.

The Lows

Some prepaid travel cards do not have withdrawal feature. This means that you can only make payments to shops that honor your card, but you cannot withdraw money over the counter or even via ATMs. Whenever a transaction calls for cash, you cannot use your prepaid travel card.

travel card

Any unused balance needs to be withdrawn over the counter. If you lose your card, report the incident right away to have your lost card blocked and request for a replacement. Any unused balance in the old card is transferred to the replacement card.

Prepaid travel cards have very short terms, usually only 12 months. To recover unused balance in expired cards, file for reimbursement or apply for a new card and have the balance transferred to the new card.

Traveling With Your Dog

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Bringing your pets with you on trips doesn’t just add to the fun, it also eliminates the worry in not knowing what’s going on with your cat or dog while you’re out on the road. However, pet travel is something that needs extensive preparation and for this, you’ll have to do your assignment.

Crating Your Pet

You might feel bad about putting your pet in a crate but know that most pets don’t really mind and may even feel safer being in one. An essential thing you must ensure though is to keep your pet well-exercised prior to crating. If he’s used up his extra energy, he’ll be more likely to rest. Also, keep the crate clear of anything that can cause harm such as loose collars and leashes.

 PetDoginSuitcase

Driving With Dogs

Avoid feeding your dog too much before driving out. Don’t feed while you are on the move either as this can trigger motion sickness. Should you wish to feed your dog some treats, do it on breaks and choose protein-rich food.

Air Travel

First thing’s first: check airline rules with regards to pet travel. You may be mandated to present health certificate and submit requirements you will need to prepare ahead of time.

And if your dog won’t be with you in the main cabin, try not to create a huge goodbye scene. Be calm and your dog will be too.

 Traveling-with-Pet_iStock_000008585477Small

Choosing a Hotel

You will have to stay in a hotel that allows pets, for sure. It would be ideal to find one that’s located near a park for your much-needed dog activities. This way, if your dog starts barking and howling in your room, you can quickly take him out for exercise and calm him down.

Traveling with your pet can be a real fun experience if you make sure you are as ready as possible wherever you wish to go. Be calm and assertive. Keep your dog well-exercised and you will have the best travel companion you can ask for.

Tips on saving money on traveling in Europe

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Traveling today is a luxury that fewer and fewer people can afford given the high cost that stays require, in addition to the growing prices of planes and ferries. Taking some steps, however, can save you some money, especially for the younger ones who are best able to fit compared to families with children who certainly demand a bit more. All this is possilbe without sacrificing the quality too! Traveling to Europe with friends will not be difficult, with a special focus on spending so let’s see how you can do that.

The Parthenon, Athens
The Parthenon, Athens

First, you must know where you want to go and how to get there: choosing a destination to be reached should be done with care, taking into account all the aspects that are important to your journey. Consider then the means of transport to be exploited and the duration of the trip to the place, and to choose the location where you want to go, you can do so on the basis of culture or climate.

Once you have chosen the general features, you’ll have to look at what are the available means you have to get there. Remember that looking for low- cost is a must if you want to save money!

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Once you’ve booked your flight you will have to choose the accommodation. The hotels or residences, you know, offer comfort but if you really want to save money, especially if you are a large group, it is undoubtedly advisable to rent a vacation home and then split the cost. Also, the fact that you are not bound to have lunch or dinner in the hotel is certainly one way to save money. You have to be strategic in the choice of the area you’ll stay, so that you can get the best out of it without having to move around and use a lot of means of transport that may be expensive.

The Eiffel Tower, Paris
The Eiffel Tower, Paris

In a nutshell, traveling in Europe can be done in a quite inexpensive way only if you spend some time planning everything out. Once you have chosen the place you want to go to, look for a low-cost way to get there and when you do go, choose the place of your stay in a clever way, so that it will be close to the sights you want to see, so that you can save money on the transportation. The best choice you have is renting a house or else a hostel may be good too, as you will split the cost between your friends and yourselves.

The Colosseum, Rome
The Colosseum, Rome

If you don’t want to do everything by yourself you can always turn to the specialized agencies that will follow you throughout the planning of the tour (obviously under a minimal fee), which is useful, for example, as to learn about special promotions or for help in booking flights well in advance, saving further.

By +Nikos Kontorigas