We all love going to cinemas and theatres in our own cities, but how about when we travel? How often do we actually want to peek inside? There are a number of conceptually innovative cinemas worldwide, as well as the stunningly decorated theatres, well worth visiting. Here is our pick.
Step inside a world where magic is real. Experience the two uniquely different lands of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — one located in each of Universal Orlando’s two theme parks.
Has it ever crossed your mind which hotel beds are the most unusual and where you can find them? Look at this list and enjoy a wide range of unique hotels offering you to sleep on the concrete, in a sandwich, on ice or even – in a coffin!
Das Park Hotel, Austria
Ron Decar’s Las Vegas Hotel, Las Vegas
Grand Hotel Savoia, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Ice Hotel, Quebec, Canada
Lloyd Hotel, Amsterdam
Tokyo Love Hotel, Japan
Tokyo Love Hotel, Japan
Million Donkey Hotel, Prata Sannita, Italy
Pod Hotel, Japan
Propeller Island City Lodge, Berlin
Propeller Island City Lodge, Berlin
Qbic Hotel, Amsterdam
Sand Hotel, Dorset, England
V8 Hotel, Boblingen, Germany
V8 Hotel, Boblingen, Germany
As 2014 sinks out of sight like a bright, round pink sun and 2015 rises on the horizon promising a blank canvas of opportunities, don’t write a list of the things you’re going to do (or not) – lose weight, clean out your closet, or get fit. Instead think about all the things you can do to get more out of your travel experiences next year. Whether you have no trips planned, already have several adventures booked or even if you’re halfway through a RTW trip already, these are all easy (and fun!) to do.
Oh and P.S. you’re going to need a few of jam jars for this. So, let’s start!
1. Start a travel savings jar.
Put all your loose change in there at the end of every day or week and you’ll be surprised how much you’ve got by the middle of the year. It may be enough for a plane or train ticket somewhere new. Alternatively, keep saving until you reach a specific goal.
2. Use a completely different mode of transport.
The last few years have seen me try cycling to and around new destinations – though admittedly not always crossing country borders. Next year, I’d like to walk to a nearby city, or maybe to the coast for a short stay. Choosing to travel differently has helped me make the most of the journey and not just the destination.
Which different mode of transport are you going to try in 2015?
3. Find ten places you’ve never heard of before but would maybe one day like to go to.
Too often we wait for the inspiration to come to us and introduce us to a new destination. Make 2015 the year you discover new and exciting places. Be brave and rip up (or at least put aside) your bucket list of places you’ve long wanted to go to and find ten places that are completely new to you.
Some tips for finding these places:
- Think about a country’s second, third or fourth cities.
- Get an atlas, a globe or a map and search for place names you’ve never heard of. Then get on Google and research them until you’re liking what you read.
It may seem a strange task to do, but how often do you go somewhere that you’ve literally never heard of or been told about before? Make 2015 the year you lead, not follow.
4. Learn a new skill that will help you travel in 2015.
It could be a new language, a first aid course, a new vocational qualification or maybe you could learn to teach English as a foreign language? It could be something that helps you get volunteer or paid work abroad or maybe you could go on a photography course to help you document travels with better photos in 2015? Whatever it is, enjoy the journey of learning before your journey of travelling!
5. Help/connect with travellers in your own city/country
If, for whatever reason, 2015 means you need to stay put more often than you would like, don’t be disheartened! One of the best parts of travelling – meeting fellow wanderlust-addicted souls – can still become a reality when you’re at home. Maybe you have a spare room or couch to offer a visitor through Airbnb or Couchsurfing? You don’t need to lose the social side of travel, just because you’re not travelling yourself.
6. Celebrate travels past.
How often do you look through photos from a previous journey? When was the last time you dug out a photo album (yes, one with real life photos you can hold in your hands) and flicked through it, taking the time to remember where you were one, two, three or more years ago. You’ll be amazed how many memories come flooding back. This is best done with a glass of wine and a travelling buddy by your side.
7. Send postcards to your friends abroad (and ask for one back!)
Where you live is abroad and foreign and interesting to someone else, and I’d be very surprised if you can’t get your hands on a postcard of your town, area, or city if you tried. (Top tip: Try post office or tourist information points!) Send a postcard to friends of yours who live in other countries and ask for one back… If you can’t go explore the world, the world can come to you.
8. Find the smells that remind you of your happy places.
Next to music, nothing takes me back in time… or around the world, like smells.
The instantly recognisable smell of fresh basil always makes me think of Italian food so I always make sure I have a plant on my kitchen windowsill.
Which smells take you on a journey? Identify them, then get shopping for candles, reed diffusers or shampoo. Relive your travels in the comfort of your own home.
9. Give the gift of travel.
Remember that guy who needed to find a woman called “Elizabeth Gallagher” to join him on a round the world trip after he broke up with his ex? Well, motivate by some of the emails he received from those who couldn’t travel but really wanted to, he set up A Ticket Forward, which aims to help those with health, financial or other constraints to achieve their travel goals. Or you may use this AirBnB gift voucher.
While the majority of us aren’t able to fund all the travels we want to go on in our lifetime, I’m sure many of us are much luckier than most, and you don’t need to buy someone’s RTW ticket to contribute. You can give as little $25 towards somebody’s trip or you can read and support some of the individual stories people have shared.
10. Start a “Good Things 2015″ jar.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
The Northern Lights are one of nature’s great displays: a mysterious, multi-coloured show in which the night sky is suddenly lit up with a wondrous glow that twists and swirls like a heavenly lava lamp.
Elusive and ethereal, it is one of the great, timeless thrills of travel, a beautiful, shifting dance of nocturnal rainbows that many viewers find a humbling and spiritually uplifting experience.
It occurs most commonly in the Arctic region, and in recent years the chance of enjoying the spectacle has become a prime reason to fly north for a winter break, despite the often high costs and the cold. The good news is that the range of holidays available for viewing the northern lights has never been better.
Where and when to go
The lights are formed from fast-moving, electrically charged particles that emanate from the sun. These are driven towards the poles by the Earth’s magnetic field – their varying colours are a result of the different gases in the upper atmosphere. In the northern hemisphere they are known as the aurora borealis and hang above the planet in an oval-shaped halo. The lights also have their southern counterpart, the aurora australis, but the principal audience for this is penguins.
To see the celestial disco in its full glory, you will have to head north towards the Arctic, above latitude 60 degrees at the least.
The snowy wilds of Canada and Alaska are fine viewing spots, but for most of us it is more affordable, and convenient, to fly to Iceland or northern Scandinavia, commonly known as Lapland. Here it is possible to see the lights from late September to early April, with October to November and February to March considered optimum periods.
The hours of darkness increase the farther north you travel, and while the aurora can be sighted at any moment, 9pm to 2am tends to be prime viewing time. It’s surprising how often the lights reveal themselves just as dinner is served, and many hotels offer an aurora alarm service if you don’t want to stay up waiting.
Where you go will depend on your budget and the time available, but a more crucial decision is what else you want to do when you’re not standing outside in sub-zero temperatures staring up at the night sky with fingers crossed.
It’s important not to become obsessed with the single goal of beholding the aurora, but to see this as just one of many thrills of a winter holiday to the Arctic. Sparkling white landscapes, fairy-tale ice hotels, romantic husky-sled rides, the hi-tech-meets-frontier lifestyle of the indigenous peoples, cool city breaks – these are reasons enough to go.
With luck you will also see the heavens ablaze with a silky, swirling light, but this can never be guaranteed.
As with whale-watching or a safari, you need some luck to get a good sighting – but there are a few things you can do to improve your chances.
It helps to pick dates that avoid a full moon and to visit locations away from the light pollution caused by large settlements. Good weather is also crucial, but this is harder to predict. Local conditions can vary wildly, with sensational sightings at one spot but thick cloud just a few miles away. One solution is to go for as many nights as you can spare, and to visit more than one place.
What to take
Pack clothes in layers as you would for a skiing or winter holiday, including a hat, gloves, waterproof jacket, thermal underwear and boots. Many hotels provide guests with a thermal suit and boots for snowmobile trips and outdoor activities, so there’s no need to buy special kit, as long as you are of a regular size.
A driving licence is required to drive a snowmobile. Photographers will need a tripod, and don’t forget your swimming gear for the hot tub.
For months I have been searching, debating, considering and dismissing a ton of hand-luggage sized suitcases, always hoping, but never finding that something slightly special that could accompany me on my monthly short trips to various European cities. Or I should rephrase, I’ve never found anything special that did not come with a $900 price tag on it. I’m not sure what exactly I am looking for, I just hoped I would see it and know. And so today, as I was browsing the DesignVerb, I came across something that was quite the sight to my luggage-sore eyes. It’s called Micro Luggage, it’s a collaboration between Micro Mobility (who produce city scooters) and Samsonite (who produce suitcases) and it looks like this:
A suitcase that turns into a scooter! Brilliant, isn’t it? Unfortunately it’s a bit on the heavy side with 5kg of weight and the overall size is pretty tiny as well, but still pretty decent for a weekend’s stay or a business trip somewhere. Unfortunately no price is listed with this item just yet, but it’s definitely on my to-buy list.
For some, traveling is as simple as throwing a t-shirt and a tooth brush into a backpack and locking the door behind them. For others, months of meticulous planning takes place locating and purchasing the perfect bikini, travel bag and accessories for their trip. More info
Attracting an audience of over 300 participants, the conference was held at the end of November in the stunningly located town of Sogndal, organized in a partnership between the Centre for Recreation and Tourism Research, the Western Norway Research Institute, Sogn og Fjordane University College, the events company Bratt Moro, and the DMO Fjord Norway/NCE Tourism.
Until recently, Amsterdam was under reconstruction. Some of the most famous museums – Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk – were the subject to an ambitious renovation process which is why the attention was temporarily diverted from the rich cultural and artistic heritage to the relaxed, hedonistic activities of the locals and visitors.
A charming Belgian town, painted in copper and chocolate shades, will easily make you think you are taken back in the past times. Authentic medieval architecture, compact buildings, flower markets at squares, lace motifs, avenues of willows along the canal banks which reflect in the water, the sound of horse carriages in the narrow, cobbled streets.