Prep your phone before you leave home

In pre-mobile and pre-internet days, travel meant cutting yourself off from your regular life – whether it was for a week’s trip to the beach, or for an extended backpacking trip around Europe. Today, though, with all of us having smartphones and so many Wi-Fi spots available, wherever we go, there’s no need to feel ‘disconnected’ from life at home. If you need any help getting away from it all, check this out…


Caption: Where to go to get away from it all in Australia

It’s true that there was something magical about that disconnection from normal life, but today we can have the best of both worlds. The freedom to travel without worrying about missing out on anything going on with our friends and family at home, as we’re constantly connected, but also having the option to switch off from it all when we want to. While there might be some things that you want to forget about while you’re away – work emails, for example – there are often plenty of things you’d like to keep an eye on.

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Caption: The mobile phone – today’s most useful travel accessory?

So when you’re planning a trip, make sure your phone has all the apps you’ll need while you’re away to keep track of what’s happening back at home. Here are just a few examples.

You may do all your banking online and not yet downloaded a banking app on your phone. However, when you’re busy spending your hard-earned cash on the road, it can be really useful to be able to check up on your balance wherever you may be.

If you’re a sports fan, you may want to keep up to date on what your favourite team is up to, or what’s happening in the world of tennis or golf. Any of the betting site apps like the one from bet365 not only provide you with constantly updating odds and betting opportunities, but you can also get the latest sports news on them.

Apps can ensure that your trip goes more smoothly. Instead of loading your bags with books, download some fresh reading fodder on an eBook app such as Kindle to make sure you have plenty to keep you entertained during those times you’re waiting for connections on public transport. Another book you don’t have to take with you anymore is a guide book – download an app such as TripAdvisor so that you have all the info on what to do wherever you might be.

This and other travel apps such as Lonely Planet or Rough Guide can give you interesting insights in the history of a destination as well as where to eat or go out for a drink and where to sleep. Download one of them to see just how much information you can access about Sydney or Alice Springs before you go. See which travel app suits your style best and take it with you, leaving the printed versions at home.

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by  mripp  Caption: Your location doesn’t matter – you can stay connected if you choose to

Wherever you’re headed, for pleasure or business, be sure to update your phone’s apps before you leave home. It’ll keep you connected with what’s going on at home, but also make it easier for you to negotiate life on the move.

The 10 Commandments of Traveling Wisely

The world seems to be getting smaller and smaller. It is becoming increasingly easy to go traveling and to visit some of the most amazing places in the world. This is a good thing, because it means that people get to experience new things and share in cultures. However, it has to be done right. When you go on Insight Tours and Vacations, for instance, the ultimate goal is for you to enjoy yourself and to relax. But this doesn’t mean you can just do anything. Read on to see what the 10 commandments of traveling wisely actually are.

1. Make sure your travel documentation is in order well before you leave. Your passport often has to be valid for at least another 6 months if you want to travel abroad.

2. Arrive at the airport with plenty of time to check in. Two hours for international flights is a minimum. Check whether there is heightened security, in which case you may need to get there earlier.

3. Pack sensibly. Do you really need ten t-shirts when there is a laundry service at your destination? Can you not buy shampoo in the hotel?

4. Be ready for a long flight. Hydrate yourself, stay away from alcohol, take your contact lenses out, have a meditation tape ready and so on. Stretch regularly while on the flight as well.

5. Keep a travel diary! You will have so many new and amazing experiences and it may be difficult to remember it all. Keep a diary and put some souvenirs in there as well.

6. Be nice to people. Anyone you encounter during your travel, whether locals, fellow tourists or staff, is deserving of respect. If you do have something to complain about, do so calmly and nicely.

7. Make your experience authentic. If you are going to Kenya, for instance, do you really have to get a sandwich from Subway when there are so many local things to try?

8. Perform random acts of kindness. If every person on this planet did something nice for someone else just once a day, we would have world peace.

9. Don’t pollute! The world is already one large trash belt so make sure you don’t make it worse. Clean up after yourself, don’t disturb nature and leave wild animals alone.

10. Enjoy yourself! This is probably the most important commandment of all. You are going on vacation because you need some time to unwind and to leave all the stresses of daily life behind. Embrace this experience to the fullest and try to actually forget for a while that there is a home waiting for you as well.

With these 10 commandments, you should be able to enjoy your vacation to the fullest. You will also be respected by tourism employees and Mother Earth will be thankful to you. They are 10 very easy things to do and everybody should be able to commit to sticking to them.

Tips for people moving to Australia

Moving to Australia is a dream for many people, but not many of us actually make the move. However, if you are serious about starting a new life in Australia there are some things that you will need to know before making that life-changing move.

Making the move may seem daunting and while some who move may be a powerful and rich, such as Fahad Al Rajaan on Bloomberg, many ordinary people also successfully make the move to a new country.

The first thing that you need to know about Australia is that it is hot. Australia is renowned for its fantastically sunny summers, but to survive in Australia you need to be able to cope with the heat. Even coastal cities such as Melbourne and Sydney will see temperatures in the 30s and often into the mid-40s. People may also be surprised by the property prices. Living in cities such as Sydney can be expensive, so if you do not have a big budget you may want to research rental and property prices in various areas.

Before you get to Australia you will need to get the right visa. Which visa you require depends on why you are moving to Australia, for example for work or study. For advice on visas you should start with the Australian Department of Immigration. You will need to provide information such as evidence of available funds, health insurance, skills and qualifications assessments, police checks and English language testing. For some visas you will need to have an Australian bank account. It is important to get the right visa as some have restrictions, such as not being able to work, or restrictions on healthcare. Some visas are also a pathway to Australian citizenship.

Moving all your stuff to Australia can be a daunting prospect, but there are a number of removal companies that specialise in international removals. Use the internet to find different companies and check out the different options that they provide. It is best to get testimonials from people who have used the removal company before. It is worthwhile having a hard think about what you need to take with you. Check with Australian customs if you want to take items such as plants and animal material.

You will need a visa before you can start looking for a job in Australia. To find a job in Australia you should keep an eye on Australian websites that will give you an idea of what sort of salary you could get for your skills. National newspapers are also a good source of job information.

Travelling to Australia can be expensive depending on where you currently reside. To get a good deal on your airfare you need to book early. If you do not have a fixed date for leaving for Australia, try setting up alerts on some low-cost sites to pick up any offers. Australia has an extensive internal airline so you may find that you can fly to Australia and then on to your final destination.

Moving to a new country can be daunting, but it can also be the start of an exciting adventure. A new country offers opportunities and the chance of a better life.

Design ideas for your Australian holiday home

The way you style your Australian holiday home is likely to be influenced by its location and the weather patterns that you will experience when using it. Top designers say they like to create interiors that are in tune with a home’s location and environment. Your chosen décor can reflect your home’s surroundings, at least to a certain extent. Whether your home is a beach house, a lodge at the edge of a vineyard or a cabin tucked away in rural mountains, there are plenty of ways to make the most of it.

Colour according to the climate

If you take a holiday to relax and rest, you may want to consider using calmer colours when you decorate. Avoid messy clutter, and keep surfaces clear and clean. Try using cooler shades of blue, white and green in places that get very hot, and opt for warm, rich, earthy shades in cooler locations. Keeping colours neutral means that you can add brighter tones in certain areas and personalize your spaces with accessories.

Get the light right

Before you rush out to buy the latest light fixtures, consider the amount of natural daylight your holiday home gets and make the most of it, as natural light is known to improve your productivity. If you’re intent on putting your energy into recharging your batteries during the holidays, you’ll do it better with plenty of natural light. Architects have long known the benefits of natural light and now tend to design buildings with this in mind. When it comes to styling windows and doors, wooden shutters are your best friends in terms of daylight control. Those with louvres are ideal for controlling how much light you want inside, and they have the added advantage of protecting your privacy. They will also keep warmth inside your home if you’re in a cooler location.

Cultural artefacts

Dressing your holiday home can reflect Australian cultural life as well as those items that are local to your area. Wall art, vases and dining ware can fit with the current trend for handmade items. Designers are favouring textured finishes such as ceramic, marble, sand and stone. Beach homes often feature shells, ropes and boats, while cushions and artwork use motifs on nautical themes in blue, white and navy. Forest lodges tend to look better with animal-themed or forest-based decorative objects in shades of brown and green. There are many craft fairs in Australia where artists exhibit their work, and if you browse the websites for the larger events such as those at Melbourne, you can see a great range of items that will inspire you to select what you want to include. Textiles, including quilts, wall hangings and cushions are particularly popular.

Keep it comfy

Finally, when it comes to furnishing your holiday home don’t forget it is there so that you can relax. Make sure the seating is ultra-comfortable, the barbecue is always nearby and your hammock is positioned with just the right amount of shade and light.

Snowshoeing: An Ancient Winter Sport Reborn

When you go on a winter vacation to a popular resort like Mont Tremblant, you are going to find a huge range of activities to enjoy for all the family. For many, skiing and snowboarding are at the top of the list. However, there are many other activities to try out, and one of the most popular is snowshoeing.

Here’s what you have to know about this ancient sport if you want to try it out this winte

What Does a Typical Expedition Involve?

If you go snowshoeing in Mont Tremblant, you will easily be able to arrange a day out snowshoeing on a tour. You will go in a group accompanied by an experienced guide who will provide you with all the equipment you need as well as tips on getting your technique right

You may head all the way to Versant Soleil’s shelter, where a hot meal awaits after all that hard work. It could also involve some night snowshoeing on the way back. In general, a tour will be about 5km long, and it is suitable for most ages depending on abilit

Essential Equipment for Snowshoein

One of the most important things when you go on your snowshoeing day out is that you use the correct equipment. If you go on a guided tour this will all be provided, but if you go on your own, here the main items that you will need include.

  • Sensible clothing, which often involves dressing in layers. When you first start off, the weather may be cold, but you may become hot as the day progresses. Wearing layers, including a base layer to wick the moisture away, a fleece, and a waterproof jacket, means you can add or remove layers depending on how hot or cold you are. A hat and a good pair of gloves are also a good idea.
  • Some good boots to wear, such as a strong pair of quality hiking boots. They should be comfortable and waterproof.
  • Gaiters that are waterproof and breathable will prevent snow from getting into your boots and making your feet cold.
  • Poles to provide you with support. These are not essential, and some people may not want to take them, but they can be very useful on longer trips into the snow because they provide you with extra stability and support.

Stay Safe on Your Snowshoeing Adventure

The first and most important rule when it comes to safety on your first snowshoeing trip is to go with an experienced guide. When you find Tremblant hotel deals and stay in accommodation here, you’ll be able to arrange a guided snowshoeing adventure with ease, and all the guides will be highly experienced.

You may choose to go in a group without a guide if you are more experienced, but either way you should always check the weather forecast before heading out. This will help you to prepare better—or to cancel the trip—depending on the weather conditions.

If you are quite new to the sport, make sure you don’t do anything too strenuous to start with. If you go on a guided tour, you are unlikely to do anything beyond your ability level. But if you are going off without a guide, practice on some easier trails first.

You should also pack some extra safety equipment, especially if you are heading out without a guide. These could include a GPS unit, a compass and map, a repair kit, and sunscreen. Keep all of these in a high-quality rucksack but try to keep it as light as possible.

Gary Cummins has spend a number of years working as a tour guide and is passionate about Winter sports. He enjoys being able to share his insights online. He has posted his thoughts previously on several relevant websites.

6 Must-See Things To Do In Australia

There is no shortage of interesting and fun things to do while travelling to Australia.  In fact if you are to spend a week or two there, it will be impossible to see and experience all that the country has to offer.  With that in mind, you will probably want to compile a shortlist of things that you don’t want to miss out on and to help you with that list, the following article looks at some of Australia’s “must-see” sights and experiences.

Trekking Daintree Rainforest

North of Cairn in Northern Queensland, Daintree Rainforest is home to what is considered to be the one of the world’s most diverse array of animals and plants.  The rainforest is World Heritage listed and there is plenty to do from crocodile-spying trips to four wheeled drive tours, bush walks and river cruises on serene and tranquil early mornings.

Take The Great Ocean Road From Above

Although the Great Ocean Road in Victoria is one of my most amazing drives in the world, there is more than one way to experience it.  One particularly unique way to follow the road is in the sky by taking a helicopter ride that will take you past such sights as the Gibson Steps, Loch Ard Gorge, Glenample Homestead and the Twelve Apostles.

Cairns Yacht Charter

For Australians, Tropical Queensland is their Hawaii.  The best way by far to experience the beautiful Whitsunday Islands and the magnificent Great Barrier Reef is by hiring a yacht at Cairns with a full crew so that you can enjoy a memorable and luxurious cruise.

Melbourne Crown Casino

If you have a bit of spending money that you just want to burn while having a bit of fun and are visiting Melbourne during your time down under, you should definitely make a date with destiny at Crown Casino.  As well as the blackjack an roulette tables you would expect from any good quality casino; at Crown Casino you will also find international entertainers and performers there.  Open 24 hours a day with 11 bars and 25 restaurants; even when you are not burning a hole in your pocket, you will have a great time.

Take A Dip In Lake McKenzie At Fraser Island

People flock in their thousands every year to Fraser Island because it is the largest sand island in the world.  The best thing about Fraser Island though is not the sand but the island’s lake – Lake McKenzie.  This is a beautiful, spellbinding crystal clear blue lake surrounded surrounded by a dense forest.  If that hasn’t sold you on it yet – take into consideration the fact that the lake is located 100 metres above sea level!

Enjoy Some Casino Action From Comfort Of Your Hotel

While it is fun to pack your holiday with as many activities as you can fit in the time you are there, it is nice to have some downtime to recharge.  If you plan on chilling out at your hotel and don’t want to get too bored and have exhausted the hotel’s own features;; you could have a try at some online gambling.  Slots Heaven is an Australian based online casino that has wide selection of the popular games you would expect and is a great way to wile away the hours in your hotel when you aren’t out and about seeing sights.

Travel Ideas For Over 65s

In the UK, the biggest growing social group is baby boomers. In 2013, record numbers of people began claiming their pensions, and for many, retirement is an exciting time. If you have recently retired, you will find that you have plenty of spare time and be thinking of how to spend it – with no more 9-5 workdays or children to raise, your time is your own, likely for the first time in decades. You may have been envious of friends who travelled the world – so if you’ve always wanted to travel, now is your chance.

Take A Golden Gap Year

In the UK, the phenomenon of the ‘Golden Gap Year’ has boomed in recent years. Traditionally a ‘world tour’ taken by aristocratic young men prior to beginning University, for many retirees a golden gap year offers a chance to travel far and wide without any children or work commitments to restrict them. The costs can be high, but are absolutely worth the money if it is your idea of the trip of a lifetime. Don’t forget to keep your safety as a priority – for any long-term travel, ask your GP to provide you with plenty of medication to keep you going, getting necessary vaccinations, and specialist travel insurance for over 65s in case of emergencies.

Go On A Cruise

Another popular idea for pensioners who want to see the world is a cruise – which offers all of the international sightseeing of a gap year, but without the hassle of unpacking. Cruises are ideal particularly if mobility is an issue, as there are staff on hand at all times to assist you, guaranteed wheelchair accessible rooms, dining, and entertainment. It’s also quite a comfort to know that most cruises are all-inclusive, so there’s no worries about a sudden unpaid bill to disrupt your holiday.

Live Like A Local

Another travel idea popular for students and now for pensioners, housesitting abroad is an excellent way to experience other cultures. This is especially helpful for cost-cutting, as many homeowners will allow you to stay in their property for no cost, usually on the condition that you look after their pets. If you have always wanted to live abroad but had hesitations, housesitting provides a great opportunity to give it a try, as well as giving you the time to relax and acclimatise that is not available with a shorter holiday.

5 Holiday Activities You Can Do on the Water

When we think of going on holiday, a tranquil beach or lakeside setting often comes to mind. Whether it’s a short escape to your favourite beach, or an extended exotic break in a tropical setting, experiencing the water is often best done by participating in a number of different water-based activities. For your next coastal holiday, these five water sports may be worth considering.

Fishing

Fishing is among the most relaxing of water-based pastimes. Sure, it may not be for the adrenalin junkies, and you may not even catch anything. Throwing a line in, however, is all about the anticipation, watching the world go by, and relaxing out on the deep blue. Whether off a jetty, or from a boat, fishing is also best enjoyed with a cold one in hand. There’s also a massive amount of satisfaction of hooking dinner on the end of your line. You just don’t get fresher than that!

Jetskiing

For those that love the spray of the surf in their hair, little compares to cruising the open water on a jet ski. Many holiday destinations, especially resorts, offer water sports rental, including jet ski hire or you can simply purchase your own through suppliers such as JSW Powersports. Whether you’re circling the reef or lagoons, or running the waves off the beach, hiring a jet ski is always an action-packed and thrilling activity. Who knows, you may have such a great time, that you’ll want to hit the waves every weekend!

Kayaking

Paddling along canals, rivers, lakes and streams on a kayak is a great way to immerse oneself in the natural environment. There are also some serious fitness benefits; kayaking increases leg and torso strength, and it’s easy for all ages to master, while also offering a sense of adventure as you can explore the expansive waterways on your own terms. When you need a break, just let the kayak float on its own.

Snorkelling

Just a snorkel and a set of flippers allows you to see what’s going on below the waterline, as you immerse yourself in the aquatic world below the surface. There’s something especially mesmerising about snorkelling in the tropical waters, enjoying the colourful marine life, coral, and the peaceful silence of the activity. Depending on where you holiday, often the activity offers the chance for a close encounter with many large aquatic animals, including manta rays, reef sharks, and sea lions.

Surfing

What’s a beach holiday without taking to the waves? Little compares to the rush of excitement as a wave catches your board, propelling you forwards down the face of the wave, complemented by the deep echo of rushing water as you enter a barrel. Sure, surfing may take a bit of practice, but the benefits and sense of accomplishment from getting a wave can be well worth it. For those who have trouble on a surfboard, body boarding or body surfing can offer a comparable experience and are definitely activities worth trying on your next beach holiday.

What other water-based activities are worth trying on holidays? Share your favourites below!

5 Reasons You Should Move To Australia In The Future

Have you ever thought about leaving your old life behind and building a new existence in a foreign country? It could be one of the best moves you ever make if you get all the finer details right. In this short post, we’re going to highlight five top reasons you should consider Australia as your destination of choice. With a bit of luck, we will inspire you to research that country in a little more detail.

  1. Australian people are friendly. No matter which city or town you might select, there are sure to be lots of smiling residents ready to greet you and offer assistance.
  2. Australia has an amazing climate. There aren’t many countries in the world where you can expect to see the sunshine for more than 300 days each year.
  3. Australia offers many opportunities. As it is such a young country, Australia still has a lot of room to grow. That means there are ample opportunities for people with the right attitude and mindset.
  4. Australia is not expensive. While there are some upmarket areas where house price have risen during the last ten years, most homes are cheap to purchase in that country.
  5. Australia has some amazing sights. Most of the country is still untouched, and so there are some fantastic sights to see. You can take outback tours in your spare time and get some alluring photographs of yourself stood next to Ayers Rock.

Anyone who wants to find out some fun facts about that nation should take a moment to look at the infographic we’ve attached. Who knows? This time next year you could be half way through the planning stages. In two years time, you could be living down under legally.

Infographic Creditsendmoneyaustralia.com