Spitsbergen – Wildlife on a Polar Expedition

Feeling a bit bored lately? Need to get out of the house? Or out of your rut? Need some adventure? Alright, let’s go! This beautiful big blue marble in space, our fair planet Earth, is filled with incredible places of nature and wildlife that most people have never heard of, and even more have never seen with their own eyes. It used to be that extreme adventures were available only to the very wealthy. And those who ventured forth faced knowing that they might never return.

Glacier river
[Photo by Kitty Terwolbeck / Flickr]

The Times, They Are A’Changin’

But, no more! Now even the most average of humans can plan for, afford, and go on adventures throughout the world – this is the time of tourism on the edge! Let’s jump right in for a super extreme adventure in tourism and see some wildlife on a polar expedition!

How Far Can You Go?

Spitsbergen, the wildlife capital of the Arctic, is calling to you! With an exciting wildlife expedition cruise, you can experience the exotic and untamed wilderness of the Arctic in comfort and safety. The waters are calm and the views are majestic, from mountains and fjords to the rugged coastlines, a cruising trip is the way to go.

Spitsbergen is an island in the Arctic Ocean, the largest inhabited island of Norway, with six national parks. With a population of around 3,000, Spitsbergen is one of the safest places on Earth with no crime. There is an airport, but many arrive via ship and boat.

Check It Out!

The area around Spitsbergen is a region of near constant daylight! Get your vitamin A and D from the sun, even when it’s cold. You’ll find your spirits uplifted!

This may surprise you, but the Arctic is full of wildlife! While touring near Spitsbergen you may see herds of reindeer running free, polar bear families hunting and living on the ice, giant walruses guarding their stable, and so much more!

Birders will also love this journey and will see thousands of seabirds flocking together.

And, whales! There is little more awe-inspiring than these giant ocean mammals breaching near the boat.

If you really want an immersive experience, try sea kayaking! You’ll glide by towering glaciers and captivating frozen splendors. Nature will be up close and personal!

Another way to immerse yourself in the region is to go on a guided hiking tour. A bit more agility and stamina is needed for this, but you can do it. Maybe even on snowshoes!

After you’ve cruised around this wonderful polar island, you can also tour the surrounding regions and towns – some of the oldest in Europe!

YOLO

While it’s not as frigid as you might expect, it’s still the Arctic, so button up for Winter and check the forecast before packing. Don’t miss out on life and this huge world – as they say, you only live once, and this is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. So seize the day and travel to Spitsbergen as soon as you can.

Written by: Heidi Loser planned a holiday getaway in Europe online and saved a lot of time and money. She’s been traveling the world since she was a very young girl.

Why the Australian Travel Industry is Hot

Considering take an overseas vacation and craving an exotic environment. You can go wrong with taking a vacation to aesthetically pleasing Australia. From witnessing the Great Barrier Reef to taking in the rain forests and white sandy beaches, the number of tourists booking flights to this vacation destination is ever-growing.

Australia 2009
[Australia 2009 by stoofstraat, on Flickr]

Facts on Australian Tourism

Tourism in the Australian part of the globe has had some hard hits over the past years. The newscasts from Asia has been overrun with natural disasters, including floods, cyclones and tsunamis. While this may have dampened tourism numbers just a bit, it certainly hasn’t deterred vacationers from exploring Australia beautiful country. Here are some fast facts on the tourism industry for the country:

– Visitors travelling to Australia rose 5 percent in 2010 and were steady in 2011.

– China, Australia’s primary inbound tourism market, saw a growth of 19.4 percent in 2011 of arrivals, and a 15 percent growth in tourism exports.

– From 2010 to 2011, tourism contributed 23.7 billion to the country’s export earnings.

– Also in that time, tourism’s indirect contribution to Australia’s economy was $38.7 billion. This stat includes industries who do not have direct contact with visitor, rather provide goods and services to the tourism industry.

– This brings the total contribution to Australia’s economy for 2010-2011 $73.3 billion dollars!

– It’s only going to get better from here. Experts are forecasting total visitor consumption to come in at $102 billion this year.

– Australia is faring well in economy, prompting many Australians, themselves, to travel overseas for vacation.

– Tourism in Australia rakes in about $35 billion to the economy.

– Tourism accounts for 8 percent of the country’s total exports.

– The country’s tourism industry provides jobs for over half a million Australians.

The Costs of Australia Travel
Sold on a vacation to Australia? Below is some information to help you plan and give you a little hint at what you’ll be spending – a glimpse as to why Australian tourism brings in so much dough and why you might want to get an Australian certificate 4 in hospitality.

Typical costs in USD:

– The cost to stay in a hostel ranges $20-$35 per nite. These are probably the most economical choice for visitors, unless they choose to camp, which is only $10-$20 a night. Low-cost hotels average $80 a night.

– Food could be a traveler’s biggest expense. Meals at restaurants average $20, or $10 for fast-food sandwiches. Some choose to cook their own meals if staying in hostels.

– To get around and see the sites, trains and buses cost $2-$3. Taking a bus on a long haul could be an option, with Greyhound bus passes ranging $107-$2,500. Camper van rentals start at $45 a day, and these can double as sleeping accommodations.

– There’s no shortage of things to do in Australia but they can be pricey. In example, a one-day trip to the Great Barrier Reef can cost up to $170, and a 2-night island sail can cost $400.

Written by: Kathryn Thorn is a librarian and advocate of continuous education. She writes for the local paper and is currently taking up a business course in Sydney.

Best Places to Visit in Sydney

When you think Australia, you think about the ever-spanning outback terrain, koalas and crocodiles, and the Great Barrier Reef. But within the city of Sydney, you’ll find all the luxuries and excitement you should expect from a world-recognized metropolis.

From walking the parks and farmers markets to wandering around the Taronga Zoo or the boutiques and restaurants in the Rocks, you’ll find more than a few reasons to explore Sydney. There’s wondrous beaches, beautiful sightseeing, and an intense nightlife. This is why a lot of people like choosing colleges in Sydney.

Sydney
[Sydney by ►CubaGallery, on Flickr]

The Sydney Opera House

Known worldwide as an amazing man-made icon, the Sydeny Opera House draws over 1.2 million people every year for more than 1,500 performances. Year-round, you can find many tours around Sydney Harbour that will emphasize the opera house.

The Botanic Gardens

You can find a wide array of floral beauty at the Royal Botanic Gardens, also showcasing a panoramic view of scenic Sydney Harbour. The trees through the gardens are filled with native birds and wildlife such as cockatoos, sleeping bats, and flying foxes. You can access the Gardens by train, ferry, and bus.

The Blue Mountains

Fitted with a blue haze horizon, the Blue Mountains are color-rich with Aussie vegetation and wildlife. It’s an ideal getaway spot for Honeymoons and full of must-see spots like the Three Sisters, Wentworth Falls and the Everglades. You might need more than a day to see everything, but efficient tours are also available to catch the highlights.

Bondi Beach

Known as one of the top beaches in Australia, Bondi Beach is famous for its great sand and clean waters. You can find it situated just off the Eastern suburbs of Sydney. With how strong the beach’s rips and currents can be, the beach is also well-known for lifeguards of amazing diligence.

Sydney Aquarium

The Sydney Aquarium features exhibitions of five different habitats of aquatic life from the ocean, rivers, estuarine environments. Located by Sydney Harbour’s Circular Quay, you can observe stingrays, sharks, and turtles, to name just a few, in walk-through aquarium exhibits, and the seal show is a must-see. Great for the whole family, enjoy thousands of creatures from cold, fresh, tropical, and salt water homes.

Sydney Tower Eye

A great starting point for your first visit to Sydney, the Sydney Tower Eye will help you get your bearings with a 360 degree view of the city. From the tower, you can get a good idea of where all the hot attractions are, including the harbour and the Blue Mountains. Admission includes a 4D show that takes you on an amazing flight through Sydney.

Now that you’ve read about some of the highlighted attractions of Sydney, you’re more familiar with just how exciting this metropolitan region can be for your next vacation. Along with these hot spots, the city provides top-notch restaurants and activities keep you happy at any time of the year. Tourists are always welcome to enjoy the urban and surrounding bounties of one of a world-class city.

Beauty and Adventure at Byron Bay

Byron Bay is a beautiful little seaside town located in the far northeastern side of New South Wales. Byron bay offers everything from relaxing on amazing beach with crystal clear waters to a long hike looking at scenery on the way to a light house on the easternmost part of New South Wales. Byron Bay is very family friendly so vacationers with kids can bring the entire family worry free. Don’t forget to call a car hire though. Without a car hire one would find themselves walking great distances from their lodging, to the beach and to attractions.

Lighthouse Trail

The top rated adventure amongst Australians and tourists is the lighthouse trail. For those looking to take in all the beauty of Byron Bay the lighthouse trail is your best. Starting from the center of Byron Bay, the trail takes you up a picturesque route up to the easternmost lighthouse in New South Wales. The trail is not too intensive with people of average fitness levels easily walking the trail. The trail is also a hot spot for exercise buffs, what could be better than burning some extra calories while soaking in all the beauty of the natural world? Once visitors reach the end of the trail they can climb the lighthouse and get one of the most beautiful sights nature has to offer.

Cape Byron Lighthouse

Ranked number two of the places you have to see by locals is the Cape Byron Lighthouse. Located in a conservation area the Cape Byron Lighthouse takes a bit of a walk to get to, but locals say it’s well worth the effort. On the way to the lighthouse visitors can see the unspoiled splendor of nature. Once you’ve made it to the lighthouse you can climb up the lighthouse to what locals call, “The most beautiful view of the area.” At the top of the lighthouse you can see hump back whales migrating, depending on the time of year of course. One can also see bottlenose dolphins playing in the bay.

Byron Bay Ballooning

Another high ranked attraction in the list of must do activities is Byron Bay Ballooning. This company offers hot air balloon rides giving you a birds eye view of the bay, all its lighthouses and all the aquatic life you could wish for. Tourists who wish to take the balloon ride should also set their alarm for 4 in the morning. This way you can get all your education and get the balloon ready to go so you can see the epic seaside sun-rise. Scratch hot air ballooning off your bucket list in the best way possible with a trip from Byron Bay Ballooning.

With all these attractions and natural beauty Byron Bay is a must see for all people who love beaches, awesome views, surfing, friendly people and working on their tan. The next time you find yourself looking up places to go for vacation why not put Byron Bay, Australia on the top of your list?

Tips On Preparing For Long Term Travel

Many people dream of long term travel – a round the trip that may take up to a year, or more. While it can seem daunting it is not as hard as it seems. Stop worrying about your native country, the people you will leave behind and be ready to take an adventure by traveling abroad. It is fun! It may not be an easy undertaking though, since people would worry about what to do with their belongings back at home and how they will cope while abroad. Worry less; here are some tips on how to prepare for a long term travel.

1. Setup a bank account
It is very crucial that you set up a bank account solely that is most suitable for international travels. You might already have such a bank account, but keep in mind that some that while some bank accounts are good for domestic use they may incur larger fees when withdrawing from abroad.

2. Get international credit cards
You will need to determine the best credit cards for travel as well. When looking for a suitable card keep in mind what features you want and what the international charges are. If you have a few credit cards already then now might be the time to consolidate the cards to get a better deal. There are lots of choice but the best credit card deals can be compared online.

3. Get your vaccinations
You may be exposed to harsh and unfamiliar conditions abroad. It is therefore important that you get travel vaccinations before you leave. For this you will need to start planning a few months in advance because some of the vaccinations would require a series of treatments for a period ranging from one month to six months. Some of the most common vaccinations are typhoid, yellow fever and hepatitis A and B. The shots actually are not too much painful and you can find out more on the NHS travel vaccinations page.

4. Selling unwanted stuff
When planning for a long term trip this is a good time to assess all the junk you have accumulated in your life. Rather than putting it in storage you can sell off unwanted stuff which will add to your travel budget.

5. Cancelling subscriptions to TV
Keep in mind that you will be out of the country for quite a long time, it is therefore important that you cancel your active subscription to TV because you will not be using it for a length of time. Save the money that you would have otherwise incurred paying for these subscriptions. Check if you have any other subscriptions that you will no longer be needed.

6. Get a travel insurance
There is that old travel saying that if you can’ afford travel insurance you can’t afford to travel. It is important that you get this planned before you go as well. Make arrangements for it before leaving abroad such that in case of anything, you are covered.

Once you are abroad, remember to stay in touch with your loved ones back back home and enjoy your trip!

World’s Most Spectacular Pools

Take a look at some of the best pool designs in the world.

Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc

Located in France, this hotel has a long and rich history of being the place for wild parties that last all night. It was originally built in 1870 by Hippolyte de Villemessant, the guy who started Le Figaro newspapers. Years later in 1914, they added the salt water pool and the hotel hasn’t been the same since – it’s been better. Today, celebrities and royalty both kick back and relax at one of the most interesting salt water pools in all of France – or maybe even Europe.

Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc
[Photo: flickr/MD]

Pelican Hill

The COLISEUM Pool @ night

Built in 2008, this resort is already a favorite with travelers from around the world. Some might say it’s the best resort in the entire United States. This may have something to do with the exclusivity of the resort. You have to be someone in order to get in and enjoy the place – even the pool. The swimming pool is one of the most aesthetically pleasing in the world – not to mention it’s fun to lounge around in as the sun sets in the distance. With views overlooking some prime real estate, this place is just amazing.

Wildflower Hall at Oberoi Resort

The Oberoi Cecil, Shimla

If you’re going to be in India for any reason, you may want to check out Wildflower Hall at the Oberoi Resort. When it comes to enclosed swimming pools, this one is majestic and fills you with a sense of awe – even if you don’t go swimming in it. The mosaic tiles (blue) are a sight to see, especially when the light hits the pool just the right way. The entire resort sits on many acres, but this is one of the main reasons a lot of people travel to the Oberoi Resort in India. And when you’re in the pool and looking through the arches, you can’t help but feel you’ve finally made it.

Beverly Hills Hotel – Pink Palace

Beverly Hills Hotel, California

This historic 100 year old hotel is home to what’s known as the pink palace – and one of the better swimming pools on the entire West Coast. Over its history, the location has been a favorite stomping ground for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills and surrounding areas. The good news is that now the public has more access and it still looks like it did 50 or more years ago. You’re still going to get all the modern conveniences, however, so don’t worry. This can be the location for a vacation of a lifetime.

One & Only Reethi Rah

Infinity Pool

Located somewhere in the Indian Ocean, this atoll is home to a paradise on Earth. Once you see the rest of the resort, you’re going to be blown away. The big feature that everyone seems to love, however, is the awesome pool that looks out on the ocean. The resort opened in 2005 and is home to 130 small villas that are perfect for one or two people. Just be sure to spend some time lounging in the pool if you’re going to go. What’s really cool about this swimming pool is that it actually extends 100 feet out into the lagoon. Yes, it’s quite impressive – as you can see from the photo – but it’s even more impressive in person.

Other Great Swimming Pools

If you’ve ever wanted to go on a travel adventure, you can do so by choosing to travel around and looking at all the world’s greatest swimming pools in person. Just be prepared to journey all over the planet in your quest. The good news is that there are a lot of different locations that you can check out on your own or with that special someone of yours.

Is Travel to Lithuania Safe in 2013?

The Answer to This Question is Better Than You Might Think

While Lithuania is a stable democracy that is not known for violent protests, some tourists have reported being mugged and running into other problems. As long as travelers keep safety in mind and plan for security during their time spent in the country, they’re not likely to run into any problems. Lithuania is actually fairly open to foreigners and tourists. Still, the list of tips for safe traveling will help out no matter where you’re planning your holiday abroad.

Trakai Castle, Lithuania
[Photo by Charlie Phillips / Flickr]

Tips to Stay Safe When Traveling Abroad

Here are some simple and practical ways to make sure you stay safe when you’re traveling to Lithuania or anywhere else in the world.

Passport and Money – The first thing you want to think about – very carefully – is keeping your money, passport and other valuables safe. From fake wallets to travel safes, there are a lot of ways you can accomplish this, but it’s something you need to consider before you leave.

Physical Safety – In order to avoid potential problems, it’s a good idea not to frequent the bars and clubs late at night. This is when most tourists have reported having problems – especially when alcohol is involved. This doesn’t mean you can’t go out at all, but you should be careful when you do.

Go in a Group – If you’re out and about seeing the sights, try to go with a group – even if it’s a small one. The more people you have around you, the less chance you’re going to be singled out by a crook or someone who wants to just cause mischief.

Be Aware at All Times – No matter where you are in Lithuania, you should know where the local police are located – as well as the nearest hospital. While you don’t want to run into any problems, if you do you want to know who to contact before all the adrenaline is running through your body.

Carry Mace – If you’re really concerned about running into trouble, you may want to keep a small bottle of Mace in your pocket or purse. You’ll want to check local laws, of course, but this can be a good non-lethal way to protect yourself when you’re out and about in a foreign land.

As you can see from the tips above, there’s a good chance you’re going to be safe when you’re traveling in Lithuania, but you’re still going to want to be careful. The more precautions you take, the greater the chance you’re going to be safe when on holiday abroad. If you have any other tips or advice for traveling to Lithuania, leave a comment below and let us know.

Bio

Sheila Kurdinger likes to look at Casamundo holiday homes to plan her future holiday travels. When she’s not visiting locales around the world, she likes to write articles for various websites on the Internet, including this one.

Keeping busy: Five must-see places in Malta

If you’re traveling to the picturesque island of Malta, you could be forgiven for kicking back and simply letting any cares melt away just as quick as the ice in your cooling cocktail. However, you’d be missing out, as this Mediterranean gem has some amazing attractions to visit. It’s perfect for keeping any itchy-footed traveller happy.

Lying just 80km south of Sicily, the gorgeous little haven might only be 316km2 but it packs a punch comparable to islands twice its size! Traveling from the North to the South of the island only takes an hour, but you can lose days in the historical sites and quaint towns along the way. Malta is easily explored by using the local vintage yellow and white buses. However, they don’t run late into the evening, so if you’re trying to see as much as possible within a limited timeframe, hire a car for a few days. You could collect a little run-around direct at the airport from Economy Car Hire at a reasonable price that allows you to stay out as late as you want and start exploring as soon as you land.

1. Valletta
Described as one of the most highly concentrated historic cities, Valletta was named a word heritage site by UNESCO’s in 1980. Malta’s capital may only be less than a square kilometre of space, but it packs in an astounding array of 16th century buildings and monuments – all immersed in Baroque charm and history.

2. The Three Fortified Cities of Cottonera
Sat across the harbour from Valletta are the cities of Birgu and Sengle. Both are well worth exploring due to their rich history, waterfront bars and restaurants, a WWll air raid shelter and Malta at War Museum. This area of Malta is still quite unspoilt so you can guarantee a genuine experience whilst there.

3. Megalithic temples
Dotted all across the Malta are prehistoric temples unlike anything else you’ve seen. It would be a sin to travel to Malta and not visit these ancient monuments, of which seven are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Just make sure you take your camera.

4. Mdina
Malta’s hidden jewel provides travellers a unique experience due to its distinctive narrow streets and nobles houses. Take a slow stroll through this ancient, lamp-lit town that shows hardly any signs of modern development.

5. The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon in Comino is simply stunning. The shallow, turquoise waters and explorable caves are a true must-see when in Malta. The Lagoon is sealed off to boats so you can enjoy a bay with beautiful, glass-like water only making ripples when the odd swimmer enjoys a dip or colourful fish pop up to the surface.