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A Guide To The Perfect Honeymoon in 2018

February 13, 2018

One study revealed that, amongst couples who opted for a traditional wedding, 99% go on a honeymoon. In the UK, the average honeymoon costs just over £3,500. Considering that the average cost of a summer holiday for a family of four costs close to £1,000, its clear to see that couples certainly splash out for their after-wedding vacation.

If you’re just starting the honeymoon planning process, begin by looking at what your friends and family have been up to. An outstanding 80% of honeymooners in the last five years used social media to research their ideal destinations.

Once you’ve decided on where you might like to go, there’s a lot to consider in order to narrow it down. To ease the stress, we’re here to tell you the top luxury honeymoon locations of 2018 and how to perfectly plan your romantic trip there (down to the pound).

Popular destinations for 2018

Kuoni, a luxury travel operator, revealed its top honeymoon destinations based on popularity.

1. Maldives

The Maldives is a dream destination for many of us. It’s made up of more than 1,000 coral islands and is famous for its sugar-white sand beaches, private islands and luxurious resorts. It oozes magnificence and romance, no wonder it was revealed to be the top honeymoon destination of 2018.

Cost of flight: £474*

Accommodation cost per night:

Budget: £110 – £290
Mid-range: £220+
Top-end: £545+

A must-do:

Take a romantic trip down to the Piano Deck at Baros. This is a platform built in the heart of the ocean that can be hired for a few hours for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or spa treatments. Why not treat yourselves to a sunrise breakfast for £235?

2. Sri Lanka

Famous for its countless ancient sites and beautiful beaches, Sri Lanka is a destination like no other. It has so much to offer, with eight UNESCO sites and many opportunities to have memorable experiences.

Cost of flight: £346*

Accommodation cost per night:

Budget: £10 – £17
Mid-range: £17 – £42
Top-end: £42+

A must-do:

Take a once in a lifetime trip to World’s End — a sheer cliff situated in Horton Plains National Park which overlooks tiny villages and tea plantations. The round trip is around 7.5km by foot, and many say that you won’t regret it (and it costs under £20).

3. Mauritius

Sitting in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is a luxury haven. There’s plenty to do in the way of activities but, of course, you can lie on the beautiful beaches all day if you’d prefer — take your pick…

Cost of flight: £369*

Accommodation cost per night:

Budget: £35 – £66
Mid-range: £70 – £133
Top-end: £133+

A must-do:

Take a trip down to the Chamarel Waterfall. Surround yourself with luscious vegetation instead of the sandy beaches you may have become accustomed to and explore the southern side of the island.

4. Thailand

According to Kuoni, Thailand is the second most popular destination for LGBT couples after the Maldives. It’s become popular with backpackers over the past decade but that doesn’t mean it’s not full of hidden gems and romantic spots.

Cost of flight: £279*

Accommodation cost per night:

Budget: £13 – £23
Mid-range: £23 – £91
Top-end: £91+

A must-do:

Don’t forget to visit the Phi Phi islands. Considered to be some of the most beautiful islands in Southeast Asia, you can reach them by a short speedboat journey from Phuket or Krabi. Discover true paradise and turquoise-blue waters with your partner.

5. Indonesia (Bali)

It’s a destination you’ve probably heard of. In Bali, you’ll experience the locals’ unforgettable culture combined with beautiful landscapes. The people are friendly and the beaches are one-of-a-kind — we’re not surprised it made it into the top five.

Cost of flight: £345*

Accommodation cost per night:

Budget: less than £36
Mid-range: £36 – £109
Top-end: £109+

A must-do:

Visit the Gili Islands by sea. Take the fast boat over from Bali to the islands and sit on the famous Datu Swing at Hotel Ombak Sunset with your loved one as the sun goes down.

When you’ve decided on your dream destination, you just need to pack! Make sure you budget for the following — according to one survey on wedding couples, these are the items most likely to be bought before honeymoon travel:

  • New wardrobe (70.1%)
  • Swimsuit (69.9%)
  • Sunglasses (69.9%)

*At time of research. Based on cheapest month to fly and cheapest return.  

This research was gathered by Angelic Diamonds, retailers of diamond shoulder engagement rings.

Sources

https://www.skyscanner.net

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/maldives/a/nar-gr/money-and-costs/357011

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/sri-lanka/a/nar-gr/money-and-costs/357442

http://www.dive-the-world.com/reefs-and-parks-maldives-hanifaru.php

http://www.baros.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Piano-Dinners.pdf

https://www.undiscoveredguide.com/sri-lanka/nuwara-eliya/worlds-end

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-4596054/Could-slash-cost-summer-holiday.html

http://www.phiphi.phuket.com/#

http://www.kuoni.co.uk/upload/misc/pdf/honeymoon%20trends%202017.pdf

https://www.tripsavvy.com/wedding-statistics-and-honeymoon-facts-1860546

https://www.hitched.co.uk/wedding-planning/organising-and-planning/wedding-survey-2016_1193.htm

 

Travel

5 Great Backpacking Locations in the US

January 10, 2018

With the potential costs involved, taking a breather from the stress of city life is but a dream for some. However, there are plenty of ways to go on an adventure without breaking the bank, and backpacking is a great example. The United States is a vast mass of land featuring everything from sweltering deserts to frozen peaks.

This makes for some great backpacking trips. All you need is a large enough bag to pack the essentials, a good camera to capture your experience and most importantly, the right location. Listed below are five of the best in the country.

Rocky Mountain

Situated in Colorado, this iconic mountain range is home to some of the most jaw-dropping views the North has to offer. This one-week route goes through some of the most scenic and remote areas. A popular way of getting around it is the 45-mile Grand Loop, which starts on the east at Bear Lake, moving through Flattop Mountain before taking a break at Grand Lake.

Death Valley

While California’s vast desert flat may be aptly named for its inhospitable conditions, certain parts of it make for an unforgettable backpacking adventure. The Cottonwood to Marble Canyon loop is a 32-mile, five-day trek through a unique desert environment that’s home to wild horses and ancient rock art. Due to the harsh desert conditions, it’s advised to go during the winter season when the days are cooler.

Great Smoky

Moving away from the desert is the Mount Sterling Loop, which is a 28-mile trek along the borders of North Carolina and Tennessee. Great Smoky’s variety of microclimates has given it World Heritage site status, which has helped the park become one of the most visited in the US. Featuring a plethora of hidden valleys and endless mountains, this diverse environment is the perfect four-day adventure for beginners and avid backpackers alike.

Gates of the Arctic

This 30-mile, one-way trek takes you through the Alatna and Noatak rivers, deep in the Brooks Range where no humans reside. With little to no roads or trails, this journey is better suited for those with more experience. Alaska is home to numerous predators, from massive brown bears to packs of menacing wolves. Picking up a rifle from a reputable store such as woodburyoutfitters.com may pay off.

That said, this seven-day journey is one like no other. With beautiful mountains and a multitude of flora and fauna, the Gates of the Arctic is sure to be an unforgettable trip.

Glacier

Montana’s Brown Pass route takes you on a three-day, one-way route from Kintla to Bowman Lake. Along the way you’ll be spoiled with elegant snow-capped mountains, glistering lakes and colorful meadows of wild flowers. There’s also the 800-foot waterfall known as Hole in the Wall, which is explained by visitors as a sight like no other.

A sad reality is that our glaciers are quickly melting and its predicted that by 2030, these amazing sights will have completed disappeared. So be sure to see and appreciate them while you still have the chance.

Travel

Top 3 Summer Vacations for Families with Kids

November 8, 2017

Any parent who has ever had the misfortune of planning a family vacation that didn’t go over too well with the kids knows that it might have been better to simply stay at home bored, but that much richer. Too many times we plan family vacations based on what we think the kids will enjoy without taking into consideration their needs and desires.

Planning a Trip Everyone Can Enjoy

Yes, it’s your vacation time too, but why not choose something that the entire family will enjoy? You can actually spend much more time in leisure and less time battling ill-behaved kids if you plan a vacation that they will enjoy. According to some of the most well-respected trip sites online, children and teens alike enjoy time in the great outdoors. Forget those 5-star restaurants and Broadway plays in the Big Apple you’ve always wanted to visit. Are you looking for a bit of R&R? If so, these are the top 3 summer vacations for families with kids. Keep them happy and you might even have a few moments for yourselves as well!

1. Theme Parks

If there is one thing kids of all ages absolutely love, it would be all the amazing theme parks the country has to offer. From water parks to fantasy land and everything in between, there is no lack of exciting parks to enjoy throughout the year. It may be freezing cold in the Midwest in January, but South Florida or Southern California have water parks open 12 months out of every year. Take the kids to a theme park and you might even be able to wear them out enough so that you and hubby can enjoy an evening out on the town!

You’ll need a babysitter, of course, but that is easily remedied as well. Check out online listings of babysitters around the nation and you’ll see just how easy it will be to do a bit of mom and dad time while the kids rest for the next day’s fun in the sun.

2. Primitive Camping

Have you ever considered what it would be like to sit around a campfire roasting marshmallows with the kids, singing those same camp songs you sang as a kid and hiking through some of the loveliest forests this country has to offer? Most national forests and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) lands have free, or almost-free primitive campsites you can explore.

All you need is a tent large enough to accommodate the entire clan, some basic camping gear and a desire to leave the electronics behind. If you are not sure what kind of tent or gear you need, you can find all the answers you need on the My Family Tent website. If you are looking for a cost-effective vacation, this is your best bet.

3. A Trip to the Beach

Although booking a room on the beach might be a bit costly, especially during high seasons, most kids absolutely adore the beach. Whether they can swim or not, kids love to play in the sand, search for shells and sand dollars and wade in water that laps at their feet. Just remember to bring a high number SPF sunscreen along if you are not accustomed to being out in those blinding rays of the sun.

Taking a summer vacation with the kids needn’t cost an arm and a leg. From camping to spending a few days at a theme park, you can often find something that everyone enjoys well enough so that you have time (and money!) left over for mom and dad. It’s all about how you plan your next trip away, so start now and next year you’ll actually be able to say you had an enjoyable and restful vacation – maybe for the first time ever.

Travel

Does the Blue Hole of Belize Hold the Answer to What Happened to The Mayans?

October 31, 2017

It is not very often that a new scientific discovery provides possible answers to a mystery that has been puzzling historians for centuries. However, a recent analysis of the Blue Hole of Belize may well have done just that.

The Disappearance of The Mayans

The ancient civilization known as the Mayans are thought to have been one of the most advanced of their age. They had an impressive knowledge of things like astronomy, architecture, and agriculture. The Mayans returned to fame a few years ago, as some believed the end of the Mayan calendar prophesized the end of the world in 2012. Fortunately for us, either the Mayans were wrong, or their Doomsday Prophesy was misinterpreted, as life went on!

The Mayan civilization began around 2,000 BC, but then almost 3,000 years later, somewhere between 800 and 900 AD, the Mayans died out.

Clues to The Mayan Mystery Found by Researchers in Belize

There is no historical evidence of a war or conquest destroying the Mayans; they simply vanished. This is something that has been a mystery ever since. Now, over 1,000 years after their demise, researchers believe they may have an answer, according to a fascinating story published by Wall Street OTC.

While still just a theory, it comes from a careful analysis of the 400 feet deep, 1,000 feet wide Blue Hole of Belize.

Were the Mayans Forced Away by Drought?

By studying minerals taken from the bed of the Blue Hole and nearby lagoons, the research team, which included people from several universities working together on the project, discovered that there was a significant difference in the ration of aluminum and titanium around the time the Mayans disappeared.

What they believe this indicates is that there was a significant period of drought, which may have forced the Mayans to adopt a more Nomadic lifestyle and move further north.

Essentially, the drought could have been the result of an unusual weather phenomenon that caused normal monsoons to bypass the Yucatan region during that period.

As advanced as the Mayans were, like any early civilization they depended on rainfall and access to fresh water in order to grow their crops. A sustained period of intense drought could well have been enough of a disaster to cause their population to abandon their homes in search of a better climate.

According to one of the study’s members, Andre Droxler, the information gleaned from analysis of the Blue Hole of Belize also indicated that the drought did eventually end, with seasonal rains returning to the region. However, by this time the Mayans had gone.

While this is just one theory as to why the Mayans disappeared, it has drawn some interest in the scientific community. It also carries some weight, as a drought would have been impossible for a civilization of their type to endure for very long. We may never know exactly what happened to them, but this is a fascinating hypothesis!

Travel

Top 5 Countries to Retire to Abroad

September 28, 2017

After many years of hard work, it’s only fair that you get to reap the rewards of your hard work while you enjoy your retirement. If you’re planning on retiring and want to get the best value for your money, you should consider retiring overseas because the cost of living in some countries are very low and your money can be better spent there.

Retiring abroad has become so popular today, and Schofields Insurance revealed 57% of people would like to retire abroad. If you are nearing the retirement age and are considering spending your golden years overseas, we have compiled a list of the top 5 countries to retire overseas, which we listed below.

5. Spain

There are a few countries that are more cost effective to live in, but Spain makes it on our list because it has great infrastructure and one of the best health care systems in the world. The laid back atmosphere in the country is also a plus.

If you live on a budget, Spain is still ideal for you because a couple can live comfortably in one of the smaller cities for about $1900 a month, which includes rent.

4. Colombia

The first thing that comes to people’s minds when it comes to Colombia is the country’s reputation for drug cartels and regional conflicts that plagued the country for decades. However, those days are long gone in Colombia, and it has now become an attractive destination for tourists and retirees.

Colombia has a great climate, an excellent health care system, and most importantly, a low cost of living.

3. Costa Rica

When you’re looking for an affordable place to spend your golden years, it is tough to beat Costa Rica. You can live comfortably there for $1,000 per month. The health care system is also great and costs a fraction of what you would pay if you lived in the United States.

The country also has an incredible atmosphere with breathtaking landscapes and beaches which is great for active retirees.

2. Ecuador

Ecuador is not only affordable, it is also a place where retirees are more than welcome and are offered senior discounts. The real estate prices are also great for those living on a budget and a couple can live comfortably there for $1,500 a month.

1. Mexico

Like Colombia, Mexico has a reputation for cartels and other unsavory characters, but it tops our list because it is not only affordable, it is also a very beautiful country with plenty of benefits for retirees. There are plenty of seaside accommodations and expat communities to choose from, and a couple can live very comfortably in Mexico for $1,200 a month.

Travel

Four Reasons to Visit Vienna this Summer

April 28, 2017

Are you having difficulty choosing your 2017 summer holiday? While sun-kissed beaches and exotic far-off lands are the usual choice, why not change things up with a European city break instead? There are hundreds of places to choose from, but Vienna should be top of your list – especially with the dozens of events they have planned over the summer months. Read on to find out what that top four are…

A Summer Of Sounds

From June to September, the cultural hub of the Museumsquartier will be home to a brand new exhibition. Exploring the complex relationship of space and sound, artists and musicians will use a variety of art forms to communicate with their audience, from exhibitions and concerts, through to visual performances, installations and even hands-on workshops. Spread over three months, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy what’s on offer, and there will be plenty of outdoor events for children too, such as the electric mini boat races in the pool of the museum courtyard.

The Nureyev Gala and other shows

Given that Vienna has such a rich history when it comes to music, the Vienna State Opera house is a hugely important building to the population. Each year, the director and former ballet dancer, Manuel Legris, stages a lavish ballet gala at his home. You’ll be able to see traditional interpretations of classic Nureyev choreographies first-hand if you manage to get yourself tickets for the event on 29th June. However, if not, you could always treat yourself to an opulent evening at the Vienna State Opera itself. This summer, you can see performances such as Rigoletto, Don Pasquale and Prince Igor – just make sure youyou’re your Vienna opera tickets well in advance to avoid missing out.

Donauinselfest

The annual Donauinselfest, or “Danube Island Festival”, is a classic Viennese summer celebration. Held this year from 23rd to 25th June, it’s Europe’s largest free open air festival, so it’s no surprise that tens of thousands of people make their way here every year. If you like to be at the heart of the action, this is the place for you, as dozens of international pop stars drop by for performances across the three days the festival runs. The best part? It’s all free to the public! With traditional Viennese cuisine on offer too, there’s really no excuse for missing out on this fun-loving event.

The Vienna International Dance Festival

The Viennese don’t just love music – they’re huge supporters of all performing arts, which is why they’ve come to hold their own globally renowned annual dance festival. For a whole month from July to August, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the art of modern and contemporary dance. Over 50 productions by around 500 dance and performance artists from all over the world, will take to the stage for your entertainment, and whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned dancer, you’ll be able to book on to your own week-long workshops too, to further hone your skills.

Are you heading to Vienna this summer?

Travel

Thinking of Moving Abroad? 5 Things You Would Miss The Most

February 26, 2017

Moving abroad is something a lot of people so each year. Some do it because their jobs require them to, while others do it because they need a change of scenery or just want to experience what life is like in other countries.

One of the most common things people that move overseas admit to is missing some of the things they left behind in their home country. If you are planning to move abroad, anytime soon, here are five things you are sure to miss.

5. The Language: This applies to people that move to countries where their national language isn’t used. If you speak English and move to an English speaking nation, you won’t miss the language. However, if you speak English and move to a country where the locals speak another language, you will have a hard time adjusting because you won’t have anyone to converse with if you don’t speak the local language.

4. Food: When you are in your home country, it is easy to take the local cuisine for granted, but when you are overseas, you might not have access to your country’s native food, which will cause you to miss the food.

3. Power: There are still some countries in the world without consistent energy, which is a problem if you came from a country with constant power like the United Kingdom. Companies like Flogas, which is an energy provider in the UK won’t be available, so you might have to buy a generator to power up your home.

2. Family: Even if you take your immediate family with you on your trip, you won’t be able to see other members of your extended family as you would if you were back home, which is something a lot of people who move abroad complain about.

1. Television: This might sound trivial to some people, but after being accustomed to watching certain programs in your country, they might not be available in the country you move to. If you are living in a country where they speak another language, not being able to watch something familiar is very frustrating. In this situation, you might want to invest in a satellite dish or try to stream your favorite shows online.

If you plan on moving abroad, it is important to understand that you will experience some of the things on this list. However, it is also important to know that a lot of the obstacles can be overcome easily, even learning a new language isn’t as difficult as it sounds.

Travel

Visiting Liverpool – Things To Do

February 7, 2017

Liverpool is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The city, which is also the birthplace of the Beatles, is known as the culture capital of Britain and has a lot to offer its visitors. If you plan on visiting Liverpool in the near future, here are some of the top things to do.

Philharmonic Hall

If you’re into classical music, this is the place to be. The Philharmonic Hall, which is located on Hope Street, originally opened in 1849, but a fire destroyed the old building. The new building was constructed in 1939, and is surrounded by the most decorated of Liverpool’s Victorian houses.

At the Philharmonic Hall, you can listen to classical music, jazz, blues, contemporary music, rock, and many more. The Philharmonic Hall also has a cinema screen where guests can watch classic movies.

The Beatles

You can’t visit the birthplace of the Beatles without visiting their old stomping grounds. The Beatles Story is a good place to start as you learn about the humble beginnings of the band members and how they became one of the greatest bands in the world. Since there is a lot to see here, make sure you allocate enough time to enjoy the trip.

You can also take a two hour bus tour that takes you through the old neighborhood the Beatles grew up in and the local pubs they frequented in their youth, including landmarks like Penny Lane.

Anfield

Other than being the birthplace of the Beatles, Liverpool is also home to the Premier League’s Liverpool Football Club. Every year, fans from all over the world travel to Liverpool to pay visit Anfield, home of the Liverpool FC.

As far as stadiums go, Anfield is as revered as they come, and nothing beats being in a packed stadium with Liverpool fans singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Even if you aren’t a fan, it is something you have to experience at least once in your lifetime.

Liverpool ONE

You can’t go on vacation without doing a little shopping, which is why Liverpool ONE is the top destination for anyone visiting Liverpool.

Liverpool One is a great place to shop because a lot of major retailers have stores there. You can spend a few hours or the whole day there and you will have plenty to do. Liverpool One also has a lot of greatest Liverpool restaurants to choose from, a park the whole family can enjoy, and a pier to take a nice leisurely walk on.

If you want to plan your visit to Liverpool ONE and need some information on the services offered there, visit their website at https://www.liverpool-one.com/