30 places to visit, virtually

Travel and travel planning are being disrupted by the worldwide spread of the coronavirus. For the latest updates, read The New York Times’s Covid-19 coverage here.

When we published our list of 52 places to visit in 2020 three months ago, no one could have guessed how much our world would change. And now, given our stay-at-home circumstances, we’d like to invite you on a series of virtual journeys: You can wander into the belly of an Egyptian pyramid, explore the house where Mozart was born, or fly over the rocky peaks of Glacier National Park. Sure, you’ll be looking at a screen, but you’ll see new places, hear new languages and pick up some interesting tidbits about other cultures. Call it a warm-up for that moment when you’ll actually be packing your bags and heading out for your next adventure.

[Sebastian Modak, the 2019 52 Places Traveler contacted friends he met on his journey around the world to see how they were doing during the pandemic.]

Credit…Mandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The U.S. capital makes for an engaging and varied virtual destination. Without leaving your sofa, you can commemorate the 100-year anniversary of American women winning the right to vote by visiting the Library of Congress’s online exhibition about the suffrage movement, then click through another informative exhibition from the National Archives. To explore the city further, tour the buildings around the Capitol, wander through the National Museum of Natural History, and explore the many online resources offered by the National Air and Space Museumthe National Gallery of Art and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which was due to run through April 12, has gone completely virtual. Visit the festival’s website to take a video tour of the tidal basin and watch highlights from previous years.Se

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story


Credit…Robert Rausch for The New York Times

Anyone dreaming of white sand beaches might enjoy browsing the views from this collection of webcams scattered around the British Virgin Islands. Admire the shifting light over Scrub Island Marina, or just watch the breeze wafting through the palms in front of Soggy Dollar Bar. You can also sail around the islands with a group of friends who visited last year.

Credit…Federico Rios for The New York Times

The Amazon jungle is about as remote as you can get, but you can get a sense of the place from home by reading the remarkable story of the tourist who spent nine days lost in the region’s dense rainforest (he said that monkeys helped him survive). Or skim around the waterways and look out for birds, turtles, caimans and other wildlife.

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story

Credit…Kieran Dodds for The New York Times

Get a bird’s-eye view of Greenland’s stunning frozen scenery in this elegant nine-minute video from the Swiss filmmaker Stefan Forster. Without leaving your sofa, you can also watch the Northern Lights shimmer over the country’s snowy mountains, or even learn a few words of Greenlandic (Aluu!).

Credit…Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The New York Times

Australia’s wild northwestern corner is another out-of-the-way region that offers a gorgeous natural escape. To visit from afar, start with Tourism Australia’s guide to the Kimberley, then dive into a vivid photo gallery of the otherworldly Bungle Bungle Range, and wrap up with a fun video tour of some of the region’s most popular spots.

“Field of Light at Sensorio” installation is closed, but can be viewed online.
“Field of Light at Sensorio” installation is closed, but can be viewed online.Credit…Beth Coller for The New York Times

Paso Robles is known for its wineries, and good news: You can now visit many of them online, while enjoying a glass of whatever you have on hand at home. The area’s vast and dreamy Field of Light at Sensorio installation is closed to visitors, but this collection of images and videos gives a vivid sense of the place.

Credit…Susan Wright for The New York Times

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story

Embark on your own Sicilian adventure by exploring this series of panoramic photographs and videos from around the Italian island. (Just click on “Sicilian tour map” to get started.) Gape at the ceiling of the Monreale Cathedral, admire the ruins at the Valley of the Temples, or take in the sweeping coastline at Cefalù. For a loftier perspective, spend a few minutes watching this impressive footage of a recent eruption of Sicily’s Mount Etna.

Credit…Andreas Meichsner for The New York Times

Get an online taste of Austrian tradition through some entertaining snippets offered up by the Salzburg Puppet Theatre. Start with 10 minutes or so of The Magic Flute — composed by Mozart, Salzburg’s famous native son, then skip over here to take a virtual tour of Mozart’s birthplace.

A view of Tokyo from the Skytree tower.
A view of Tokyo from the Skytree tower.Credit…Andrew Faulk for The New York Times

Tokyo’s MORI Building Digital Art Museum: teamLab Borderlessoffers a range of immersive videos that take you inside the museum’s trippy and wonderful exhibits. Start in the forest of resonating lamps, then move on to the universe of water particles, or the weightless forest of resonating life. Want to get “outside”? Head over here for a virtual rickshaw ride around the city.

Credit…Andreas Meichsner for The New York Times

The Roman ruins of Caesarea occupy a beautiful stretch of Israel’s Mediterranean coast. Enjoy the landscape, as well as a lofty view of Caesarea’s impressive amphitheater, in these sweeping aerial shots. Then head over to the Jewish Virtual Library to find more detailed images of the ruins and to read about the history of the site.

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story

Credit…Marcus Westberg

The world’s remaining giant panda population is set to get a helping hand from China’s proposed new Giant Panda National Park, which will spread over five mountain ranges and more than 10,000 square miles. You can read about the development of the park here and here. Or just get straight to the point and enjoy the highlights of these panda cams, which offer a glimpse into a panda center that lies within the proposed park.

Ploughing fields outside Maloti-Drakensberg Park in Lesotho.
Ploughing fields outside Maloti-Drakensberg Park in Lesotho.Credit…Joao Silva/The New York Times

One of the top sights of this tiny mountain kingdom is Maloti-Drakensberg Park, which straddles part of the country’s border with South Africa. The park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to the largest and most concentrated group of rock paintings in sub-Saharan Africa. Check out these images from around the park, then enjoy some drone shots of the country’s dramatic landscape.

Credit…Benjamin Rasmussen for The New York Times

There are a number of ways to get to the top of Pikes Peak, the 14,115-foot mountain that rises above Colorado Springs, without leaving your house. You can ride the cog railway (which — in real life — is scheduled to reopen next year after major renovations). You can hike. You can drive yourself up the Pikes Peak Highway. Or, if you’re maybe a little bit crazy, you can even try to run.

The Main Market Square in Krakow, Poland.
The Main Market Square in Krakow, Poland.Credit…Andreas Meichsner for The New York Times

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story

This ancient city in southern Poland can be fully explored through an extensive virtual walking tour. Go for a guided stroll through the Old Town, admire the ornate interior of the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre, or visit the peaceful grounds of the Old Jewish Cemetery. Then head over to the National Museum in Krakow to peruse its collection online.

A clothes presser in the old part of Jodhpur, India.
A clothes presser in the old part of Jodhpur, India.Credit…Poras Chaudhary for The New York Times

The 15th-century Mehrangarh Fort, which stands at the top of a cliff above the city of Jodhpur, can be visited online. Wander through the ornate rooms and admire the views down to “the blue city” spread out below, then visit the Mehrangarh Museum Trust to learn about the history and architecture of the site. You can also check out these highlights from the international folk festival that the fort hosts every year.

Credit…James Silverman for The New York Times

Good news, nature lovers: Without leaving home, you can spot a moose in the forest, go for an evening swim, or enjoy the views from the top of a spectacular waterfall. These 360 videos of the Swedish outdoors allow you to choose your own perspective as the scene unfolds. Enjoy.

Credit…Getty Images

Explore some of the great pyramids of Egypt with this panoramic video, or this clickable virtual tour. Then have a look inside the Pyramid of Giza with this 360 video from the BBC. You can also watch this video or read this story about the development of the Grand Egyptian Museum, an enormous complex that is nearing completion.

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story

Credit…Beth Coller for The New York Times

La Paz sits on the coast of the Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California), which has been described as “the world’s aquarium” because of its extraordinary biodiversity. The region’s islands and protected areas have been recognized by UNESCO, although the site was added to the organization’s “in danger” listlast year because of ongoing threats to the vaquita, an endemic porpoise. Learn more about the region, then check out UNESCO’s gallery of images. You can also get lost in this mesmerizing scuba-diving video.

Credit…Robert Rausch for The New York Times

Get to know this tiny barrier island off the coast of Louisiana with this short video, then read about how environmentalists are working to protect the island’s remaining maritime forest, which serves as a critical habitat for migratory birds. Finally, get a sense of the size of the place with these flyby shots along the coast.

The Chow Kit Market in Kuala Lumpur.
The Chow Kit Market in Kuala Lumpur.Credit…Lauryn Ishak for The New York Times

Kuala Lumpur’s Chow Kit neighborhood is home to one of the most popular markets in the city. Following along with an American family, you can wander among the stalls loaded with pineapples and plantains and plucked chickens. Then take a few minutes to learn some words of Malay, the native tongue of more than 33 million people.

Kistefos Museum in Jevnaker, Norway.
Kistefos Museum in Jevnaker, Norway.Credit…Laurian Ghinitoiu

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story

You can explore the many sculptures of Norway’s futuristic Kistefos Museum and Sculpture Park by clicking your way through this interactive map. You can also watch this video of the museum’s emblematic “Twist” structure taking shape (and get a taste of the Norwegian language at the same time).

Credit…Danita Delmont/Shutterstock.com

So brilliant is the sunshine on display in this panoramic tour of the Bahamas that you might be tempted to put on sunglasses (or at least dim the brightness of your screen). Gaze at the turquoise waters of Pipe Cay, stroll across the boardwalk through Lucayan National Park, then gape at the size of the ships in the cruise terminal in Nassau.

Credit…Poras Chaudhary for The New York Times

Ride along with two young travelers as they explore Cambodia’s riverside city of Kampot and tour a nearby pepper plantation. Or just enjoy some drone shots of the city and nearby Bokor Mountain, which is home to a waterfall, a Buddhist temple and a towering statue of Lok Yeay Mao, whom locals revere as the protector of the mountain and sea.

Credit…Lauryn Ishak for The New York Times

The largest city on New Zealand’s South Island, Christchurch offers a range of cultural attractions, some of which are available on the web. Start with a tour of the online exhibitions of the Canterbury Museum, including a look at the evolution of New Zealand’s tourism posters. Then head over to the website of the Christchurch Art Gallery, where you can browse the artwork and even create your own gallery.

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story

Credit…Emilio Parra Doiztua for The New York Times

The Asturias region in northwestern Spain is home to dramatic mountain scenerysacred sites and even an extensive network of ancient Roman gold mines. Asturian dairy farmers continue to produce the region’s celebrated products, including cheeses and various types of milk, cream and butter. You can browse a photo gallery of local farmers at work, and other lovely images from the region here.

Credit…Ema Peter for The New York Times

Get your first taste of this remote Canadian archipelago with this panoramic video from Parks Canada. You can also take a close-up look at some of the area’s bald eagles with this GoPro footage, or learn about the proud history of the Haida nation.52 Places to Go in 2020We picked destinations to inspire you, delight you and motivate you to explore the world.

The Jester King Brewery in Austin.
The Jester King Brewery in Austin.Credit…Stacy Sodolak for The New York Times

Austin, the capital of American cool, is packed with quirky landmarks, vibrant street art and sparkling green spaces. Dive into all of them thanks to YouVisit, an immersive virtual reality platform whose Austin tour will take you from the elegant grounds of the Texas Capitol to the summit of Mount Bonnell and even to the packed, smoky barbecue pit of Salt Lick BBQ. And for a taste of Austin’s celebrated live music scene, take a look back at last year’s Austin City Limits music festival.

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story

Credit…Marcus Westberg

Amid the volcanoes, dense rainforest and fluorescent blue water on this corner of Borneo, Sabah’s Mount Kinabalu, with its distinctive granite peaks, sits like an imposing crown. And now you can hike to its summit from home, thanks to Google Street View, whose trekkers captured sweeping panoramas all the way to the top. Want more thrills? Follow along on the world’s highest via ferrata (a mountain pathway of bridges and cables), which sits on Kinabalu.

Credit…Laurens van Engelen

Wildlife enthusiasts head to Churchill, Manitoba, the Polar Bear capital of the world, for a glimpse of these incredible white mammals. Get to know some special sea bears, then climb into a Tundra Buggy, an all-terrain vehicle that can handle snow drifts, via an on-dash webcam, whose stunning footage can be viewed from home.

Credit…Marcus Westberg

There is perhaps no better spot on earth to see gorillas than Uganda, home to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park, a habitat for half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas. And the virtual reality house VR Gorilla will take you right into the dense forest to meet them up close.

The 10 romantic destinations in Africa

There’s no doubt that romantic destinations in Africa are the best in the world. Africa is filled with some of the most beautiful and perfect places fit for a proposal.

If you plan on proposing to your partner, Africa has the most romantic destinations for combining love and travel. Here are the top 10 spots across the continent to make your proposal extra special:

Kirstenbosch Garden, Cape Town

Known as one of Africa’s most beautiful gardens, the Kirstenbosch Garden, which has the Table Mountains overlooking it, is an ideal spot to declare your wish to spend the rest of your life with your loved one. The garden was established in 1913 to promote, conserve and display the extraordinarily rich and diverse flora of southern Africa and was the first botanical gardens in the world to be devoted to a country’s indigenous flora. It has a variety of plant life, including fynbos and cycads. It lies in the heart of the Cape Floristic Region, also known as the Cape Floral Kingdom, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 thus making it one of the best romantic destinations in Africa.

Kirstenbosch is open to visitors every day from 08h00 to 19h00 in summer and from 08h00 to 18h00 in winter.

Pemba Island, Tanzania

Pemba Island, located 50 km from Zanzibar in Tanzania, is one of East Africa’s most idyllic and romantic gems. It remains largely untouched by mass tourism, which means that you’ll fully enjoy the warm crystal blues beaches, an abundance of mangroves and lagoons, great diving spots and the company of friendly locals.

You can propose to your loved while diving at calm and spacious diving sites and exploring untouched coral reefs and abundant marine life or while enjoying a delicious dinner at sunset of coconut curry with prawns at Pemba Misali Sunset Beach in Wesha.

A Desert Tour in Morocco

Enjoy the beautiful sand dunes of the Sahara Desert while on camel back on a desert tour in Morocco. You and your partner will get to explore Berber nomadic life while experiencing the beauty of the largest hot desert and the third largest desert in the world after Antarctica and the Arctic.

A customized desert tour will be ideal for proposing to your loved as you explore the valleys of the Sahara desert, namely Draa Valley, Ziz Valley and Dades Valley, or travel from Marrakech to Fes or to the Zagora dunes, Merzouga & Erg Chebbi. Trips vary from 2 to 4 days, depending on the trip you select.

Mount Kenya

If you and your partner are adventure lovers, then a romantic proposal on Mount Kenya is a must. This mountain is viewed by many as one of the most romantic destinations in Africa.

The awe-inspiring mountain is Africa’s second highest peak and is believed to be the home of Ngai, god of the local Kikuyu people. Its peaks are crowned with snow and its slopes are thick with forest, making it the ideal romantic destination. The mountain is best seen at dawn when the early morning light creates a beautiful silhouette high over the surrounding plains. The forests are ideal for game viewing, and if you’re in the mood for a challenge, mountain climbing is available.

Mauritius

The East African island nation of Mauritius is an ideal romantic getaway for proposals and honeymoons. Mauritius is definitely one of the best romantic destinations in Africa.

One of many beautiful destinations to choose from includes Cap Malheureux, which is located on the island’s northernmost tip. It’s most famous for the picturesque little church, the red-roofed Notre Dame Auxiliatrice. There’s a fishing village just north of Grand Baie which is the perfect place for a secluded stroll or a picnic for two. It has magnificent views over the offshore islands of Coin de Mire, Ile Plate, and Ile Ronde.

Riambel Beach is a must visit, where you and your partner can enjoy horse-riding at sunset and experience the stunning location while the sun goes down.

Manda Island in the Lamu Archipelago of Kenya

What better way to enjoy a romantic getaway than on a secluded island paradise. Manda Island, located in the Lamu Archipelago of Kenya is just that. You and your loved one will enjoy beautiful architecture, white sands, and crystal blue beaches as well as great food and friendly locals.

What makes this a great getaway is the island’s picturesque scenery, as is expected with East Africa’s islands.

Kakum National Park in Ghana

If you and your partner are nature lovers, then a romantic tour through Kakum National Park in Ghana is an ideal proposal location. The national park is a dense tropical rain forest in southern Ghana which is home to over 40 species of larger mammals including forest elephants, forest buffalo, Mona-meerkats, and civets. It’s also a bird watcher’s paradise as it is home to over 250 species.

The highlight of the park is a stroll on the Canopy Walkway that is built 30 meters above ground, crosses several bridges and is over 1000 feet (350 m) in length. You get a unique view of the forest on the walk with the assistance of trained guides. The park also has a basic campsite should you want to stay overnight.

La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort in Lagos, Nigeria

La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, located in Lekki in the city of Lagos is a beautiful beach resort situated on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean bordered by the freshwaters of Ikegun Lake. It is regarded as one of Nigeria’s best beach resorts, where couples can enjoy strolls on the beach, fishing or simply taking in nature. Couples also get to enjoy the best in Nigerian cuisine at the resort’s restaurant while overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Ibo Island in Mozambique

Ibo Island is a beautiful piece of paradise in Mozambique. No wonder it’s among the romantic destinations in Africa. It is only accessible by boat or plane and is known as the central island of Mozambique’s Quirimba islands.

The island is home to peaceful fishing villages and a wide variety of indigenous bird species. It is also home to one of the largest mangrove forests in Africa. It is the perfect remedy for wanderlust where couples can enjoy the warm Indian Ocean, great Mozambican cuisine and the beauty of nature. Ibo island is magnificent, no wonder it’s among the best romantic destinations in Africa.

Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains in Lesotho and South Africa

If you and your partner enjoy the beauty of mountains, the Big 5 and the warm Southern African weather, then a visit to the Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Park, which straddles the border between South Africa and Lesotho, is a must.

Attractions at the park include the majestic Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains and animal populations including blesbok, oribi, duiker and leopard. You can go hiking while exploring important palaeontological sites as well as sites of late Iron Age settlements that define Basotho origins.

How to explore Egypt in full Agatha Christie style

Beetles and mosquitoes crawl along the walls. Snakes rear up, as if levitating, and then a line of hawks appears, each with a human head. The deeper I go, the weirder it gets. 

By Ruaridh Nicoll, Travel writers

Other visitors begin to disappear and we, a select and pampered little group of fellow travellers, find ourselves alone in the tunnel deep within the Valley of the Kings. Alone, that is, but for jackals, slaves tied to sticks, and, at the deepest point, the shattered sarcophagi of Ramses V and VI.

We grin, unable to believe our sudden solitude. We point out favourite hieroglyphs and pose for photographs. And then down the burrow come men with guns.

I push up against the wall. Flanked by the guards is an ageing lady, lacquered and coiffured and moving like a ship under sail. “Like a rich Florida pensioner,” says one of my friends, the hint of cruelty sounding as if it had risen from the pages of an Agatha Christie novel. I ask one of the guards who she is. “The Queen of Jordan,” he replies. A queen come to visit the tombs of long-dead kings.

There is a new film of Death on the Nile due to be released in October, by the same people who gave us the 2017 rehash of Murder on the Orient Express. Kenneth Branagh will tweak his moustache as Poirot, while Tom Bateman, Jennifer Saunders and Russell Brand gambol on the famous steamship. 

Advertisements

The film – with all its (alleged) new twists – comes just as travellers are returning in numbers to this, one of the truly necessary places to visit in a lifetime. 

Four days before running into the queen, we fly into the southern Egyptian city of Aswan, descending across Saharan sands that give way to the snaking Nile, the ochre and blue separated by the thinnest strip of green. We are met, and driven to the river where Sanctuary’s white and sleek 32-cabin Nile Adventurer is moored. 

The boat, one of the finest on the river, is newly refurbished – “like she has a new dress,” says general manager Moustafa Awad. The crew welcomes us with lemonade, while memorising our names. The shimmering and polished wood of the reception, bar and restaurant is calmed by pastel awnings and cushions. 

I take in my shipmates. Many are ageing elegantly, but there’s a smattering of the wealthy young, and a family or two, including that of a Singapore government minister. All seem perfect for a murder mystery.

CREDIT: Timo Kerber Stylist: Tona Stell

After leaving the bags, we head out to tour the city, starting with the quarry that is home to an unfinished obelisk. At 137 feet, it was the largest ever attempted in ancient Egypt, ordered by Hatshepsut, a queen who by the end of the trip will have become an idol of mine. 

We’re a small group – only eight strong – so I can take it in. I stand in the heat of the sun, imagining the workers – who the guides insist were not slaves but rather the devout – sculpting this vast, 1,200-ton pillar out of the bedrock with only smaller stones as tools, and shudder. 


Weekend briefing

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

Our next stop is Philae, a temple on an island in the middle of the river, believed to be the resting place of the god Osiris. After he had been chopped up into 14 pieces by his jealous brother, his wife Isis spent much of her time trying to reassemble her husband – only to discover a Nile catfish had eaten his penis.

This early in the trip, such stories seem fragmentary and confusing. Ancient artists carved their history into the sandstone in hieroglyphics, but then later visitors scratched out the bits that offended them. Coptic Christians then left their mark in an altar, and then, later yet, idiot British grand tourists chiselled their names. Memories are stacked on memories. 

A map of Egypt 

As I take it in, I’m struck by how much the glamour of Agatha Christie’s book, and the earlier film with Mia Farrow, have coloured people’s expectations and clothing. A wannabe explorer passes in tight shorts with a tighter expression. A young flapper slowly unwinds from the base of a column, glancing around as if for a stranger to sweep her out of the way of a falling rock. An old lady ties her straw hat down with a silk scarf.

More deeply though, the feeling of a shared cultural history persists. We climb on board a felucca, a timeless wooden boat, to sail among the islands. We pass Lord Kitchener’s house, and then the monument to the third Aga Khan, who moved to this arid land for his health, while disinheriting his son who was courting Rita Hayworth.

The water whispers under the sails, and within it I hear the siren song of fantastical lives.

Advertisements

The ropes are slipped as we step back onboard the Nile Adventurer, and we are pulled into the stream. From the sun deck, under the gently flapping awnings, I watch the river accept us. Egrets lift off from the bank. A pair of two masted riverboats – long and elegant dahabiyas – push upstream while lashed together, making their sails like a butterfly’s wings. And the call to prayer drifts in on the breeze, from minarets that rise from the shore like bullrush stalks.

This will be my favourite part of the trip. Masterpieces, mysteries and marvels will be revealed to us in the temples that interrupt our progress, but the ease of the journey downstream amidst the river traffic of this foreign land, while being brought drinks by sympathetic waiters, is exquisite.

Still, the stops come thick and fast. First Kom Ombo, with its astonishing columns that top out like flowering papyrus and its trove of mummified crocodiles. Then it’s the Temple of Horus, the god with the hawk’s head, reached by a journey from the river in a horse- drawn carriage.

With such a small group, our guide, Mohamed Taher, has the room not only to tell us the stories, conjuring up the gods and kings, but also to reveal small treasures. He nods us around corners and into rooms to show us the offices of the perfume seller, the secret carved insult to Alexander the Great, the surviving paints that reveal how colourful this world would once have been. 

CREDIT: Timo Kerber Stylist: Tona Stell

I make friends with Sharon and Greg Amaya, doctors from Atlanta, who forswore children so they could have the money to travel. “In 2500 BC they had the engineering, architecture and brilliance to build these treasures,” marvels Sharon. “And then it all falls to ruin because of conflict. What could have been achieved if we hadn’t spent so much time fighting each other?” 

Moustafa Awad leads us to the bridge for a sunset drink, introducing the captain. Rather than a patriarchal figure of cruising lore, he is a modest, watchful old man dressed in a jalabiya, a traditional robe. It seems a knowledge of the riverbed only inches beneath our keel is more important than an urbane presence. 

“This is the place where I can have peace of mind,” Awad tells me as the sky turns scarlet. “In this environment, being close to the river is a blessing. In ancient times, the first job of the pharaoh was to pray for the river, because the river means life.” On the bow, a mast is festooned with flags and topped with the words Allahu Akbar, God is Great. 

We pass through the locks at Esna. Hawkers in rowing boats offer to throw up tablecloths. Lunch is a huge spread of foreign and local delicacies, the waiters competing to carry my plate to the table. Dinner is soup and fish, washed down with local wines, of which the Egyptians are perhaps a little too proud.

Advertisements

We play murder mysteries at the dinner table, but occasionally the subject of real security arises; the terrorism that scarred Egypt’s reputation in the past – and still sees some areas beyond the Nile Valley subject to FCO advice against travel. Sharon tells me that they have been wanting to come for years, but their mothers are still worried. “We’ve spent a little more on this trip,” said Greg. “Just because of security.” 

The guides refer to the “so-called” Arab Spring and Awad is keen to convince me the worst has passed: “There was a moment when we lost hope, but now we can see the future. Our Egypt is a mix of many different religions. So if someone comes with a certain view, and says you have to be like this, it doesn’t go down well. We invented religion here so we understand it.”

Sail Away – A felucca (a traditional wooden sailing boat) on the Nile CREDIT:  Mark Williams

It all feels very relaxed. Before flying south, I spent three days in Cairo, staying at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza and visiting the ancient pyramids at Giza and Saqqara. Gazing out over the great river from my balcony, I could feel the city’s 5,000 years of living assault my senses. I wish I had ended, rather than begun, my trip in the capital – its hectic nature would have fazed me less.

On my last day, I am woken by the call to prayer at 4.30am. The boat has moored at Luxor, the city that was once Thebes, and I lie cocooned in crisp linen. I have been dreaming of Hatshepsut, the 1500 BC queen who Mohamed the guide claims murdered her half-brother/husband in her quest for power. My sleepy state is enchanted by the muezzin’s voice, and the luxury within which I am being kept – the soft linens, the pale cool of the woods, the shimmer of the silvery curtains keeping out the night. It is all giving me delusions of grandeur.

It’s not helped by spending the day among Luxor’s glories, including the regal encounter in the Valley of the Kings and Hatshepsut’s temple, which could pass as a modernist masterpiece. Mohamed’s stories are no longer fragmentary, but are fully formed and intoxicating. Come the evening, I am looking at huge statues of Ramses II in Luxor temple. The pharaoh, known as the Great Builder, leaves our modern TikTok stars in the dust when it comes to narcissism.

Advertisements

The sun’s going down and the muezzin is at it again. A guard yells at me for straying too far into the ruins. I return to my fellow travellers, one of whom looks remarkably like Russell Brand, and then to the boat.

Philae

Temple of Isis at Philae CREDIT: Getty

Constructed

650 BC, but most of the ruins visible now (left) go back to 330 BC.

Highlight

Two sets of massive pylons (monumental gateways), with depictions of Ptolemy XII grabbing his enemies by the hair and hitting them with a club. Story Philae’s network of temples are rich with treasures, but are also an example of the ups and downs of modern engineering. Flooded by the Nile due to the British- built Aswan Low Dam, Unesco moved the whole complex to higher ground during the 1970s, in 40,000 pieces. 

Philae has inspired generations of romantic tourists. “If a procession of white-robed priests bearing aloft the veiled ark of the God were to come sweeping round between the palms and pylons – we should not think it strange,” wrote the writer Amelia Edwards in 1873.

Kom Ombo

Temple of Kom Ombo CREDIT: Getty

Constructed

180 BC.

Highlight

A relief shows medical implements, which reveal, with startling clarity, the state of surgery at the time.

Story

Much of the temple had disappeared under Nile silt, until the French archaeologist and mining engineer Jacques de Morgan cleared the site in the late 1800s. Now it is one of the riverbank’s most wonderful sights (left). Half of the temple is dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile-headed fertility god, and so there is a nearby museum with many mummified crocs (there were originally 300).

Karnak

emples of Karnak CREDIT: Getty

Constructed

2000 BC, although with 30 or so pharaohs building on the site, building continued all the way up to 300 BC.

Highlight

Too many to mention, but the Great Hypostyle Hall is hard to beat with its 134 columns. Story A vast complex (right), with as many as 20 temples, and much of it still closed to the public, Karnak is best known for the Precinct of Amun-Ra, with its great hall, avenue of ram-headed sphinx, sacred lake and the grand obelisk put up by Queen Hatshepsut and then covered up by her successor.

Advertisements

Karnak has inspired many writers and film-makers. It is the name of the boat in Death on the Nile and plays host to the scene where the stone is pushed from the great hall’s roof. It also appears in movies from The Mummy Returns to Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

Saqqara

Djoser’s step pyramid CREDIT: Getty

Constructed

2650 BC.

Highlight

Djoser’s step pyramid. Story Rather than the pharaoh Djoser, the star of this story is his high priest, Imhotep. Doctor, magician, sage and architect, Imhotep invented the pyramids by placing one traditional burial chamber, or mastaba, on top of another. Other pharaohs went on to build around 130 of the monuments, before realising that these were place markers showing where their graves were hidden, and moving to the Valley of the Kings. Unlikely claim There has long been a theory that the pyramids were created by aliens, due to the difficulty of construction and Giza’s apparent alignment with Orion’s Belt. Such a view really annoys Egyptians. Yomna Salama, a guide, debunked it by pointing out the mistakes the builders made, most notably in the bent pyramid of Dahshur. “Aliens don’t make mistakes,” she says, without revealing her evidence. 

Imhotep’s tomb is yet to be found – professor Walter Emery of London University spent years looking for it – but is believed to be hidden in Saqqara. 

Essentials 

Abercrombie & Kent

Sunset over Nile Adventurer’s sun deck

Offers a seven-night trip to Egypt, with three nights in Cairo at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza on a bed & breakfast basis, including a full-day visit to Cairo, and four nights on the Sanctuary Nile Adventurer, from £2,850pp, based on two people sharing. Includes flights, accommodation and full-board while cruising in low season (01242 547703; abercrombiekent.co.uk).

How to plan your next Safari

To get the food, shelter and safari experience you want, you need to research your trip. Here’s a thorough list of the details you should consider.

By Steve Bailey

A safari vacation in Africa is probably the most organized vacation you’ll ever take. While it is possible to simply fly to a few places — Arusha, Tanzania, or Maun, Botswana — and rent a car to take off into the countryside, few people want to risk being alone on unmarked dirt roads patrolled by hyenas, cheetahs and lions.

No, you use professionals to help you choose an itinerary and arrange transportation. Your travel company will have a driver waiting for you, and from the time you land, you’re in the hands of people who will feed and shelter you and take you amazingly close to fearsome beasts. To get the food, shelter and safari experience you want, you need to research your trip.

Plan on at least two weeks. That should allow for at least three different camps in different areas, for three nights each. Generally, you get an early morning game drive and a late afternoon game drive each day, so two full days in each camp almost guarantees that you’ll see a lot. My wife, Jane, and I went on safaris in January and February in Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. It was the wet season in some places, but it wasn’t particularly rainy. Although the vegetation was lush, we saw elephants, hippos, giraffes and baboons beyond counting. In the drier Serengeti, Kalahari and Sabi Sands, we saw a lifetime’s worth of cheetahs, leopards and lions. We also got to see the Serengeti’s great migration of wildebeests and zebras.

Advertisements

A doctor friend who lived and worked in Malawi until recently says that the best thing you can have on a safari is a generous parent to pay for it. Daily costs per person range from $200 to well over $1,000, and typically include travel, including airplanes, between different camps. It would not include airfare from the United States. Tips are suggested and expected at each camp. A couple should figure on up to $50 per day total for guides, drivers and food service. Tips should be in the local currency and are given upon departure.

My wife and I used African Portfolio, a Connecticut-based company, when we spent six weeks in Africa in 2016. We started planning our trip with a different company, but it ignored our budget concerns and other requests by giving us an itinerary of super-deluxe camps. You also could simply deal directly with a company that operates multiple camps, such as Asilia Africa or Wilderness Safaris. Cultural and educational organizations offer safari packages. African Portfolio got us to the Asilia and Wilderness camps that really intrigued us, as well as to camps operated by other companies. Whoever helps plan your trip will take care of getting you from one remote camp to another, often in small airplanes.

Follow our Lifestyle page


The Big Five — lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and Cape buffalo — were the most challenging game animals for hunters on foot in another era. They’re still worthy targets for your camera, but so are zebras, giraffes, exotic antelopes and almost countless kinds of birds. All of these are in Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana. Gorillas are in Rwanda and Uganda.

Lodges, from hostels to luxury hotels, are found near some game-rich areas like the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania and Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa. In the Kalahari Desert and the Serengeti you’ll find tented camps, which are clusters of individual cabinlike tents and one or two large tents for the dining room and staff operations. The individual tents usually have real beds and attached private bathrooms with heated showers and flush toilets. There are also mobile camps, which move to follow game, especially the migration in the Serengeti. All your meals will be at the camp. Most camps supply the usual toiletries as well as sunscreen and insect repellent.

Some safari agencies will hook you up with a guide who will go with you from camp to camp. We had the same guide for two camps and he relied on radio contact with other guides to find game. Elsewhere we had guides supplied by the camps. All knew their areas and the wildlife. With camp guides, you can pay extra to have your own vehicle, or you can share a vehicle with other guests. Do the latter. Your fellow riders are likely to enrich the experience with their knowledge and camaraderie. And listen when the guide in your open-air vehicle tells you not to stand or move. There’s nothing but air between you and that hyena.

Advertisements

You will need fast-drying nylon clothes. Your luggage may be limited to a small duffel bag. Camps generally provide laundry service, usually washed by hand and dried in the sun. Guests may be expected to wash their own underwear. You don’t need an all-beige wardrobe. Most of the animals can hardly distinguish colors, but you should avoid white because it attracts attention. Black and other dark colors attract tsetse flies. Popular safari areas can be chilly mornings and late afternoons and very hot at midday, so dress in layers (and wear a hat).

Steve Bailey is a former travel editor at The New York Times who now runs the travel blog, TouristFirst.blogspot.com.

Five places to visit and shop in Tanzania

For in-the-know locals and travelers alike, the downtown area is a place to linger and shop in a city known as a quick layover to safari destinations.

merlin_145427424_b6d997cc-33dc-4bba-a8ea-4bea21f21c37-superjumbo

By By Shivani Vora


This sprawling city in the northern tourist region of Tanzania is the gateway to popular safari destinations and Africa’s highest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro. But even if your stay is a brief stopover, you shouldn’t miss some of the stores that locals enjoy in Arusha’s downtown, an area of mostly low-slung concrete buildings where street vendors hawk everything from local crafts and fruit to children’s toys. These establishments sell goods made exclusively in this East African country and show off a side of Tanzania that’s beyond its prime game viewing.

A social enterprise and destination for design lovers, Shanga sells handicrafts made by Tanzanians with disabilities. These artisans produce an expansive range of goods such as drinking and wine glasses made with recycled colored glass, woven cotton shawls and place mats and decorative metal objects. Prices from $1.

Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge, shanga.org

merlin_145427364_e1a3e60c-10de-4e2d-ace9-d85c4e24841b-jumbo

When Arushans want to buy local culinary staples such as peanuts and cashews, honey, dried fruits like bananas and mangoes, and spices like turmeric, chai masala and clove powder, they go to this simple store. On the second floor of a mall, Gohil’s stocks premium versions of these staples at affordable prices. Prices from $1.

20, First Floor, AIM Mall, gohils.co.tz

merlin_145427439_96798eec-d103-4e82-859a-074550533528-jumbo

About 100 Masai women who live in the countryside around Arusha make the fashionable jewelry sold at this airy store. Their works range from delicate to dramatic, but beadwork is a common thread among the pieces — a slender cream bead bracelet was recently for sale, for example, but so was a thick cuff with bright red, blue and green beads. On Tuesday, market day, the women come from the countryside to display their talents on the lawn just outside the boutique. Prices from $15.

13 Kanisa Road, sidaidesigns.com

merlin_145427583_5c177832-91da-49e7-bf46-589ec0ca780b-jumbo

Just beyond downtown, you can see verdant coffee plantations in the distance. A trip to this lush 1,200 acre coffee farm, built around 1899, is well worth it to learn about the pride Tanzanians take in their high-quality coffee production. Burka grows Arabica beans and produces five blends including its signature bold house variety; and for $35 a person, it’s possible to get a tour of the estate and the roasting facility, as well as a tasting. Prices from $7.

Dodoma Road, burkacoffee.com

merlin_145427562_8836f2fc-9b22-4bbe-81ea-df91fee65102-superjumbo

Beate Allard, a Tanzanian with a Swiss background, sells stylish home goods and clothing out of an airy 1952 bungalow that’s adjacent to her Mediterranean restaurant, The Blue Heron. Expect eye catching wares such as lampshades made of cowhides, beaded candle holders, handwoven table linens and wooden footstools adorned with bright, patterned fabrics. Prices from $3.

The Blue Heron, Haile Selassie Road


A version of this article originbally apeared on The New York Times website with the title: Five Places to Shop in Arusha, Tanzania.

Cover photo: Shanga is a destination for design lovers in downtown Arusha, selling goods made by Tanzanians with disabilities. Photo: Adriane Ohanesian for The New York Times

Easy steps to renewing a U.S. Passport

If you’re planning to travel internationally in the next year, it’s time to check the expiration date on your passport. While processing times for passport renewal can vary (it typically takes four to eight weeks, depending on seasonality), travel experts and the U.S. Department of State recommend starting the process as early as possible.

thumbnail-3071b843e3823af423eb7c4f12210729-e14951174625831
U.S. Passport Offices Face Record Demand for Applications. Photo: Skift

However, if you’re in a rush, you can choose expedited service – and receive your passport in two to three weeks – or you can visit a regional passport agency, but both will cost extra.

Read on for a step-by-step guide from U.S. News on renewing your passport.

Passport Renewal by Mail

If your passport was issued less than 15 years ago (and you still have it), you can renew your passport by mail. You’ll need to submit the existing passport, a new photo that meets passport requirements, a completed Form DS-82 and a personal check or money order for the fee. The fee for a standard passport book application is $110, and payment must be made out to the U.S. Department of State and include the full name and date of birth of the applicant. If your name has changed since your last passport was issued, you’ll need to also provide documentation, such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree or court order, to prove the name change.

You can mail all your materials in a large envelope, including your old passport and any name change documents, through the U.S. Postal Service to one of the National Passport Processing Center’s designated post office boxes. The address varies depending on what state you live in and whether you choose expedited or routine service. Expedited service ensures you’ll receive your new passport faster, but it will cost an additional $60. To expedite your passport by mail, clearly write “EXPEDITE” on the outside of the envelope.

You can also choose to expedite the process by renewing in person, but you’ll pay the same additional fee. The Department of State also recommends applicants use a trackable delivery method.

Passport Renewal in Person

If your passport has been damaged, lost or stolen, or if it’s more than 15 years old, you’ll have to renew in person. You’ll need to fill out Form DS-11 and provide proof of U.S. citizenship along with a photo ID. Proof of citizenship can be an original or certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate, a certificate of naturalization or citizenship, or a consular report of birth abroad. Your identification document can be a driver’s license, a government employee or military ID, a valid foreign passport or a certificate of naturalization or citizenship.

Keep in mind, applicants can use an expired passport as either evidence of citizenship or photo ID, not both. No matter what evidence you decide to provide, you’ll need to supply the documents in person, as well as submit photocopies of both your proof of citizenship and your photo ID. You’ll also need to provide a check or money order made out to the Department of State for the $110 fee, along with a photo that meets passport requirements. Credit cards are not accepted when renewing in person. When renewing your passport in person, you’ll also need to pay a $25 execution fee. (Note: This fee will increase to $35 on April 2, 2018.) An additional $60 fee applies if you choose expedited service.

Once you’ve gathered all your materials, you can make an appointment to visit a passport acceptance facility near you. Facilities range from post office locations to clerks of courts to other government offices. Some passport acceptance facilities include on-site photo facilities as well. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t sign your passport application until you’re instructed to by an acceptance agent.

Passport Renewal for Minors

Passports for children younger than 16 are only valid for five years, so parents will need to keep that in mind when obtaining and renewing passports for youngsters. Much of the same documentation used when first applying for a child’s passport will be needed for a renewed version. This means you’ll have to fill out the DS-11 form, provide proof of citizenship and present photo ID (as well as photocopies of both), submit a photo and pay the appropriate fees. Additional documentation is required to prove the parental relationship (like a birth certificate or adoption decree), and proof of parental consent is mandatory from both parents. The cost for renewing a child’s passport is $80, plus the $25 execution fee for applying in person. (Note: This fee will increase to $35 on April 2, 2018.) For more information on renewing a child’s passport, visit the Department of State website.

Passport Photo Requirements

Whether you’re applying by mail or in person, you’ll need to provide a photo that was taken in the last six months to go along with your passport application. The 2×2 color photo should have a white or off-white background with your head facing forward and a neutral expression or natural smile (don’t show your teeth). Keep in mind that glasses, hats and head coverings aren’t allowed in passport photos, except for medical and religious purposes. If that applies to you, you’ll need to provide a written statement from your doctor or religious official that verifies your traditional attire. You can obtain a passport photo from select post offices, passport acceptance facilities and some major drugstores. You can learn more about specific passport photo requirements from the Department of State website.


SOURCE: US News

New Google tools and tips for travelers


mw-fs883_studya_20170822175425_zh
These young Americans are seeking fun experiences and ‘cultural capital’. Photo: MarketWatch


Flight delay predictions, mobile trip-planning, automatic itinerary management, language translation through Bluetooth earbuds, and a smartphone that enables users to learn about landmarks by tapping an icon and aiming the phone at them: These are among the travel innovations Google has been introducing in recent days and weeks. While a Google Pixel 2 smartphone costs upward of $650, the company’s latest tools are free. In fact, they may already be on your phone, nudging Google closer to being a one-stop destination for on-the-go vacation planning.

Searching Google for a hotel or flight was once two separate activities. You could run a search for a flight across multiple airlines. Or you could search a city for hotels. Now, however, when you use an Android or iOS smartphone to search Google for a flight, a hotel or even a destination, you’ll find a blue navigation bar. It appears on your screen when you tap your Google search result — be it “Rome flights,” “Rome hotels” or simply “Rome.” There are separate tabs for flights and hotels (like you see on sites such as Priceline), as well as an “explore” tab to check out the destination’s top sights and best times to visit, and a “your trips” tab where Gmail users can see their future and past travel reservations, and email those reservations to others. (Travelers can also edit their itineraries and see them offline if they use the Google Trips app, which allows users to check out things to do and places to eat; review transportation options; see emergency numbers; and find out about local currency and free Wi-Fi locations.)

With the blue navigation bar, users can now easily move between flight and hotel options. The feature is currently being rolled out on mobile phones in the United States. A spokeswoman for Google said there are plans to expand globally in the coming months.

Google has also added new features to Google Flights, its online airfare search and comparison tool. Now users can see what’s included (or not) with new fare types like basic economy. For instance, you can find out whether a particular fare on Delta or United allows you to choose your seat or store a bag in an overhead bin. Users may also be able to find out why their flights are delayed (to check your status, just search your flight number on Google), as well as view predictions about whether a flight will be delayed, based on historic flight status data and machine learning algorithms. (Google said it will share predictions only when it’s at least 80 percent confident of the prediction). These days it’s also possible to book certain flights through Google, as opposed to clicking a link and purchasing the flight on the airline’s website or that of a third-party like Expedia.

While these digital tools are free, they aren’t the only additions that may be of interest to travelers. Google Pixel Buds ($159), Bluetooth earbuds that work with Google Translate on the company’s Pixel 2 phone, offer translation in 40 languages, including Italian, Hindi, Chinese and Spanish. For example, let’s say you’re in a cafe in Provence. You begin by gently pressing the right earbud touch pad and saying, “Google, help me speak French.”

“Sure,” the Google assistant virtual helper will say, “opening Google Translate” (the app must be installed on a Google Pixel phone for this to work). When the waiter comes by, you can touch the right earbud again and say: “May I have a coffee with milk and a glass of water, please?” Google Assistant will then speak aloud on the phone in French what you just said in English. When the waiter replies in French, you’ll hear his words translated into English in your ear. Throughout the exchange, the phone will transcribe the conversation in English and French, enabling both parties to read on the screen the words being spoken.

I’ve been testing the buds for language translation in controlled environments, and the performance has been impressive. Of course out in the real world — where there’s noise and rapid talkers who are not necessarily interested in playing along — results may be different. I’ll be road testing these in other countries soon. Stay tuned.

The buds can be used for other travel-related tasks as well. By touching the right earbud, you can ask for the location of the nearest museum, gas station or McDonald’s. Request directions to a restaurant and you’ll be shown a map and suggested route on your smartphone. Aiming to trip up Google Assistant, I said, “Google, make me a reservation at Nougatine,” referring to Nougatine at Jean-Georges, a restaurant in Manhattan. The assistant replied: “OK, let’s make a reservation with OpenTable at Nougatine at Jean-Georges. For how many?”

“Two,” I said. “Sounds good,” the assistant said. “For two people. For when?”

“Tonight.”

“At what time?”

“7:30.”

“Sounds good. For 7:30. It looks like that time isn’t available. Would 5:30 p.m. work for you?” It would not. But Google Assistant certainly did.

The Google Pixel 2 (starting at $649; the Pixel 2 XL starts at $849) comes with a widely praised smartphone camera. It also has Google Lenstechnology, which enables users to tap a Lens icon and then point the phone at things such as a landmark, an artwork or a movie poster to learn more, whether it’s about a building’s history, an artist or how a film was reviewed. Lens can also provide this kind of information after you’ve taken a photo.

That said, these are early days for Google Lens, just as they are for the Pixel Buds. Lens is currently limited to popular images: It can identify, say, the Golden Gate Bridge and Mona Lisa, but not necessarily lesser-known objects, making it a fun-to-have feature for early adopters who can afford a premium smartphone, though not yet a travel game changer. Google said it’s working on expanding Lens’ range.

New features were also added to the company’s smart speaker, Google Home, and its siblings, Home Mini and Home Max. Home has long been able to assist with travel by answering aloud the sorts of questions travelers type into Google search: whether they need a visa to visit a particular country, the best time to visit, current weather, currency conversions, how to say “thank you” in another language, as well as flight departure times and traffic conditions. New to that list is flight-price tracking.

Google Home users can begin by saying aloud, “O.K. Google, how much are flights to Hong Kong?” Google Home will then reply with the best current price for the route, ask you if you have preferred dates and if you want to track flight prices for those dates. Say yes and you’ll receive an email confirming that you’ve begun tracking prices for that route. If the cost of the tracked flight significantly changes, you’ll receive an email alert.

This has also been a feature of Google Flights, and indeed those who don’t have Google Home can sign up for route-tracking online instead.


Stephanie Rosenbloom writes the Getaway column for the Travel section, as well as features about solo travel and notable destinations. Over the years, she has had beats in the Business, Styles, Real Estate and Metro sections. @stephronytFacebook

SOURCE: New York Times

4 tips for choosing the right travel buddy

4 tips for choosing the right travel buddy

How to find a travel buddy? The key issue in the organization of travel is to find the right fellow traveler. Whether this trip will be exciting and interesting or will make you nervous and you will never want to repeat it again – all this will depend on your fellow travelers.

4 tips for choosing the right travel buddy
Photo: Grand Pacific Resorts


In order to completely exclude the second option, it is necessary to carefully approach this issue, taking into account all the nuances: from your wishes concerning the country of destination to the budget of the trip. So, https://vavadating.com/girls/ have some tips for you:

  1.      Travel alone

Sometimes we want to get away from people, think, and look deep into ourselves. Do you feel the same? Congratulations! You are a person with a rich inner world and a subtle spiritual organization who is not bored in seclusion. Here we can definitely guarantee: no one will spoil your trip (except perhaps you yourself). Before you go on a trip alone, look for appropriate country of destination. For example, we strongly don’t recommend going alone to the Amazon jungle. And, conversely, it is unlikely that you may get in some dangerous situation in Barcelona, for example. Although…. Anything can happen. Also, your experience and health condition is important. So, if you plan to travel alone, it will be not superfluous to undergo a medical examination.

  1.      Travel with your soulmate

It sounds very attractive, right? Even if you are going to a very ordinary place, there should be a place for romance. What can we say if your goal is a romantic city or country? Experts have different opinions concerning joint trips: some of them advise people to travel separately. But we will give the advantages of joint trips: finding a travel buddy in the person of your soulmate, a joint holiday will help understand each other better, reveal your inner selves, experience the brightest emotions with your loved one and immediately share your impressions. And it is also a trip that can help to breathe new strength into your relationship. In addition, after such a holiday, you can confidently answer yourself whether it is the right person.

  1.      Travel with friends

Carefully look at your future fellow travelers: it is very important that the worldview, goals, and, very importantly, budgets coincide. If all the above coincide, there is a great chance that the trip will pass as well as possible. But even in this case, there are no guarantees. Maybe you have no conflict for the years of friendship, but who knows what may happen during a two-week non-stop communication. When we travel, we live a few lives. This is an excellent indicator for any relations – all our bright points and flaws appear there. So, be ready because you can return home without friends. But if you don’t quarrel, know – this is a real friendship.

  1.      Travel with groups of interests

Often we want to completely change the environment. In this case, groups of the same interests will help you. So, looking for a travel buddy, you can organize a trip with like-minded people, but here you can’t guarantee a positive result, especially if, as it often happens, you see each other for the first time. Gloomy people don’t travel, but it is never out of place to be on the lookout. So, when you finally find a travel buddy, it’s best to meet this person a couple of days before you leave. Thus, you can discuss the details of a trip and make sure that this particular person or people are good. When this happens, you can actively prepare for the departure and go on your trip.

And whatever you decide, the most important travel buddy is you yourself. So, be always happy, regardless of the environment and country of destination.

Five tips on how to create memories when traveling with your friends

photo_-instagram-rickontherun-e1518428177876


Travelling and creating memories with a group of friends is one of life’s best adventures. The ability to share the highs and lows with one another, create stronger bonds, share travel stories, and even split travel costs, is priceless. Group travel, when done right, can be fun and fulfilling.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure the trip ends successfully.

1. Set the expectations straight before the trip

We are all wired differently with varying expectations and needs. Before embarking on a group trip, it is important to set the expectations straight as a group and make sure everyone is on the same page. Be sure to do this before the planning phase begins as it gives people the option to opt-out if it does not align with what they have in mind.

2. Have the money conversations

Money remains a huge factor when travelling so it is important to have the money conversations before embarking on a trip together. Who pays for what? How are expenses shared? What mode of payment is allowed? What is the budget of the trip? Knowing this will help you plan more effectively.

3. Draw up a rough itinerary and share it with the group

While you should avoid over-planning a trip and leave room for spontaneity, it is also important to have a rough plan and itinerary of daily activities to take part in. There is nothing worse than going to a new city and having arguments on what and what not to do. Having an itinerary helps you put a plan in place so that everyone knows what is happening when, and can prepare accordingly.

4. Be willing to make compromises

While group travel is fun, it also involves a lot of compromises. Sometimes, you will have to let go of some of your plans to accommodate the plans of the group, for the greater good. Be open and willing to make some sacrifices and maybe try something new yourself. Isn’t that what travel is all about?

5. Remember to have fun!

What’s a trip without a good amount of fun and laughter? Travel isn’t always perfect and not everything will go as planned. But you are there now and you will make the best of it. Do not be the party pooper, the one who spoils all the fun for the group, isn’t willing to try anything new, or is constantly complaining. Go with the flow, get spontaneous and have fun while you can. You will be thankful for it.

Group travel is an amazing opportunity to bond with different people and create lasting memories. While it comes with a certain level of sacrifice, there are endless benefits to it. So, grab a friend or two, book those tickets, and go have the time of your lives in a new city. Happy globe-trotting.

UK launches priority visa service in Nigeria to reduce cost of visa processing

The United Kingdom has launched super priority visa service in Nigeria to allow customers to process their applications within 24 hours. Continue reading “UK launches priority visa service in Nigeria to reduce cost of visa processing”

New walking tour reveals Barcelona’s slave trade history

Modernisme, Catalonia’s stunning take on art nouveau, is as important to the Barcelona brand as Barça striker Lionel Messi. Continue reading “New walking tour reveals Barcelona’s slave trade history”

How to Visit Cuba Right Now

Travel to Cuba just got easier and, probably, less expensive. The Continue reading “How to Visit Cuba Right Now”

Worlds 10 happiest countries: Denmark takes the lead

Fans of Denmark must be even happier than usual: Denmark has retaken the title of “world’s happiest country,” knocking Switzerland into second place.

Continue reading “Worlds 10 happiest countries: Denmark takes the lead”