Your Next Holiday Will Be Your Best

We’re predicting it for you right now. Your next holiday is more than likely going to be your best, and it definitely won’t be your last. We’ve sai more than likely, because a lot of you might just disregard the information we’re about to list below for you. But what you don’t realise is that the information listed below for you is the key to a better holiday. Everyone deserves to have one of those holidays that is just a cut above the rest every once in a while as well. The ones where you sit and think, ‘omg, as if we just had a holiday like that!’. If you haven’t thought that before, and the most you think is that you’ve got an excellent tan from sitting on the beach all day, then times are seriously about to change for you. We love holidays, we love everything about them. Which is why we don’t want you to to miss out on making sure that your next holiday is definitely your best! Have a read on, and totally transform the way that you think about going on holiday.

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Think Outside The Box

If you don’t think outside the box with your holiday, you’re always going to go for the same type of holiday. Let us demonstrate. We bet that the first thing you do when thinking about taking a trip abroad, is open up your laptop, and go straight to the tour operator that you trust the most. Or, you’ll walk into your local travel agents, and you’ll sit down with the same traveller advisor that you always do, and book the same kind of holiday. Well, now we think it’s time for you to think outside of the box just a little bit. To come up with something that will change the way you view holidays. One way we think you should do that is by booking everything separate. You wouldn’t believe the amount of luxury hotels that are out there, but just don’t connect themselves with the tour operators you use. Not only could you save a hell of a lot of money by doing this, you’re also just experiencing something a little more unique in a way. You could even search for your own apartment to rent out for the duration of your trip, and then go self catered. To some of you, going self catered is like the antichrist of a holidays. You want to be waited on, right? Well, who is to say that you can’t go out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and experience some of the finest foods that you definitely wouldn’t get to experience if you were to go self catered.

Treat Yourself To Something Fancy

Again, something you probably don’t do. It’s not often that the all inclusive options you go for will usually offer something fancy, so it’s time to go out there and find it for yourself. There are so many different excursions that will allow you to experience something a little upmarket. Yes, we are implying that you should get off your bum, and go out and do something! If you have a look at this blog, you will find a review of some of the best wineries in Napa Valley. Now, even if wine tasting just isn’t your thing, it’s definitely something that you should be considering. The views you get are absolutely amazing, and a lot of these excursions actually come as a package. You get to try some nice food, you get a tour round all of the winery, and you obviously get to try some amazing wine. They’re usually not that expensive either, and most of the time they’re an all day thing in the blazing hot sun. If you want a bit of fine dining and elegance, we would definitely recommend giving a trip to a winery a go.

As well as this, you could think about treating yourself to a little shopping trip. If you don’t go on holiday and buy something for yourself from the shops, are you really holidaying right? The shops abroad seem to have so many choices, and you’ll find brands that you’re not usually used to wearing.  There’s just something so exciting about going on holiday and going on a little shopping trip, more so than if you were to go shopping when you’re back at home. Top tip, the jewelry always seems to be more flashy, yet cheaper, in countries such as the Caribbean and Spain.

Go With Someone Different

If you’re always going on a holiday with your partner, or your family, you’re only allowing yourself to experience the same sort of vibe. If you’re a family holiday type of person, all you’ll most likely do is sit around the pool, take the kids to the beach or waterpark, and repeat. Don’t get us wrong, it is so lovely to see them having so much fun, and you’ll just be able to make so many memories along the way, both for you and for them. If you go with your partner, then holidays usually are more special. It’s always so nice to get away and have some quality time together, we often don’t seem to have enough of it. But, one holiday we definitely all need from time to time is a best friend holiday. They’re just made for fun, laughs, and having too much to drink. If you haven’t planned a holiday with your best friend before, we definitely think you should start talking about it today.

Go Somewhere A Bit Off The GridFinally, if you want an experience like no other, you have to go to a place like no other. We’re always so focused on going to some of the mainstream holiday destinations out there, when in fact, the world has so much more to offer than that. This link gives you just a few examples of some off the grid places you could visit. You never know, it could be the best holiday you’ve ever been on!

Roosevelt Island

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Roosevelt Island

A gem of New York City. Roosevelt Island is a narrow island located in the East River. The Island is considered to be  apart of the borough of Manhattan. Manhattan sits to the west of the island and the borough of Queens sits to the east. Once known as Blackwells island, and also welfare island. The island was home to prisons, hospitals and asylums. The island was renamed in 1971 after Franklin D Roosevelt.

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What to see and do

Roosevelt Island tram

Take the aerial tram at least one when visiting Roosevelt Island. The views are amazing, providing a unique skyline view of the city. The tram runs from 59th street and second avenue in Manhattan to Tramway plaza on Roosevelt plaza. The tram ride definitely offers an exciting aerial view of the city. A must see for anyone visiting New York City.

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Four Freedom Park

This beautiful four acre park is a memorial, dedicated to President Franklin D Roosevelt. The park celebrates the Four Freedoms he articulated in his 1941 state of the union address. The park is located at the southern tip of the island, and I would recommend this to be the number one sight that you must see on Roosevelt Island. The landscape is stunning and the views of Manhattan and Queens are gorgeous.  If you love sunsets, I would suggest viewing one during the winter the months, they are absolutely breathtaking.

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The smallpox hospital

A very unique sight to see in New York City. The hospital is a historic landmark structure. The hospital was built in 1854 and was the first major hospital in the United States dedicated to treat the victims of smallpox. It is an interesting sight to see and represents an era of old New York life. It is great to see at different times of the year. The fall foliage is gorgeous, the winter adds more of an eerie vibe and it is  very pretty during the warmer months, with the greenery covering the hospital.

Small pox in the fall

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Cornell tech

An impressive engineering campus, with  an innovative design and beautiful grounds. Exploring this area is a change of scenery from the rest of the island, as it represents modern growth.

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Blackwell Island light house

The majority of the sights to see on the island, are located in the southern region. However, a visit to the northeast tip is well worth the walk (or bus ride) to view the pretty stone lighthouse, which was built in 1872.

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From stunning aerial views, escaping the chaos of midtown,  relaxing with  the breeze of the east river and exploring historic sights Roosevelt Island is a top place to visit when exploring New York City.

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Brooklyn bike tour

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Get up and ride

Explore New York City by bike, with your guide as a local New Yorker. Get up and ride is rated as New York’s number 1 biking tour company! So I was honored to be asked to join and review one of their tours. The company did not disappoint. I love the concept of get up and ride – allowing visitors (or locals) to bike around the city in small groups and learn about the area from a New Yorker. Not only do you get to bike around, your guide will also highlight interesting facts about the area, and take you to their favorite coffee and food places! You definitely learn a lot, experience the real New York and have fun while doing it!

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Bike tours

Get up and ride offer three tours:

1. The central park and more bike tour

On this tour, your guide will take you around central park and through the upper west and upper east side of Manhattan.

2. The lower Manhattan bike tour

This bike tour will take you around the charming greenwich village, the trendy lower east side and Chinatown.

3. The Brooklyn water front tour

Ride through the hipster neighbor of Williamsburg, then onto the stunning Brooklyn water front.

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The Brooklyn waterfront bike tour

It was hard to decide which bike tour I would like to attend, in the end I decided to go on the bike tour in my neighborhood-  I live in Williamsburg. I thought this would be a nice way to explore my surroundings via bike and as I have already biked around Central park and the west side of Manhattan numerous times I thought the Brooklyn tour would be best.

And it was amazing! Even though I live here, I still learnt a lot from our friendly and engaging tour guide. We met at the get up and ride bike store in Williamsburg, here we were fitted with our bikes and set up our walkie talkies – this would be the way our tour guide could communicate with us during the ride. It was a nice small group, with four people from Germany, a lady from California, the tour guide and the two of us. A small group allowed for a more intimate and fulfilling tour.

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Williamsburg

So the start of our tour began in my neighborhood of Williamsburg, a hip neighborhood which has a great nightlife scene, with plenty of rooftop bars and live music venues, trendy cafes, chic boutiques, the cutest coffee shops and vibrant street art. We rode through the streets and the gorgeous McCarren park, stopping to see some of the oldest street art in the area, then at one of my favorite coffee shops “Devocion” here we stopped to rest, enjoy each others company and drink a delicious coffee in a beautiful setting.

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Brooklyn navy yard

After our coffee, we continued on our bike tour. From Williamsburg we headed to the Brooklyn navy yard. The navy yard was once a ship yard and is now an industrial park with a mission to “demonstrate how modern manufacturing can thrive in urban America”. A highlight of our visit to the navy yard was our tour of the Brooklyn Grange – a world leading rooftop farm with a sustainability center. Here, they design, build and offer landscape services for gardens, farms and green spaces in NYC. As I work within the sustainability and conservation field, I was so excited that this stop was on our tour. The rooftop farm is very impressive, and the views of Brooklyn and Manhattan make it even more impressive! Our guide also pointed out that the navy yard also has a rooftop vineyard, which is now on my list to visit.

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DUMBO – Down under the Manhattan bridge

After the Navy yard we continued on, riding through the gorgeous Vinegar hill with cobble stone streets before stopping in the trendy neighborhood of DUMBO. The neighborhood of DUMBO is now one of the most expensive areas in NYC – once an old industrial area, the warehouses have been transformed into high end boutiques and pricey restaurants. Plus the area is now known as the tech hub of Brooklyn, with many tech companies moving in. DUMBO is also one of my favorite neighborhoods because of the stunning views of the Manhattan skyline and it’s access to the Brooklyn bridge park.  After learning about DUMBO we rode through the Brooklyn bridge park absorbing the cool breeze from the east river and taking in the iconic Manhattan skyline.

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DUMBO

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Brooklyn Heights

We continued riding through the stunning Brooklyn bridge park to the charming neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights. Brooklyn heights is an affluent residential neighborhood with the most gorgeous brownstones. The Brooklyn heights promenade is also amazing, with great views of Manhattan and the statue of Liberty. We stopped for a slice of coal oven pizza at table 87 – so delicious. Next it was time to ride back to Williamsburg, we rode through the Brooklyn bridge park and continued on the greenway trail to return to the store.

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Overall I was extremely satisfying with this tour. Biking is a great way to explore an area, and I loved how Get up and ride go above and beyond, their guides are very knowledgeable and friendly and I love how they  added in coffee shops, food places, and interesting places to stop at. I would  recommend them to anyone visiting (or living) in New York City.  Check out there website here for more information.

 

 

Rocky Mountain National Park

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Zion National Park

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Road trip from Las Vegas to Zion

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Everglades National Park

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Grand Canyon National Park

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Seren del Grappa

Panoramic mountain views

Seren del Grappa is a gorgeous Italian village located in the province of Belluno, in the Italian region of Veneto. The small village is located near the sacred mountain, the Monte Grappa. Three battles were fought here during world war one.

A visit to this pretty village, will provide you with an authentic local Italian experience. The locals are very friendly and helpful. The homemade food is amazingly delicious – I had the best Italian meal of my life here. Seren del Grappa is a great place to explore  history and the natural reserves by hiking the many trails, either by foot or by bike. The views are just gorgeous.

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Two days in Seren del Grappa

My boyfriends grandfather  was born and grew up in Seren del Grappa. We were visiting Venice, which is located 70 km away and his mother asked if we could visit this small village. So we decided to go. We took a train from Venice to Feltre a hill town located 7.4 km from Seren Del Grappa. The train journey was really nice and quite picturesque, with the ice, snow and mountain views. From the Feltre train station we took a local bus into the small village of Seren Del Grappa.

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So now we had arrived, with no plan! His mother had given us the name of the bed and breakfast that her cousin owned. So we walked around the village until we found it. We walked in, and started to talk to the man and women at the desk. Luckily there was a man who could speak both Italian and English who was able to translate between the two parties. Next thing, they were greeting us with big hugs and kisses, as his grandfather was a well know and respected man. The family put us up for night, and made us the biggest and most delicious authentic meal. The warm welcome and generosity was a true indication of the people in this village.

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We spent our time in Seren Del Grappa, connecting with the family and friends and then exploring the gorgeous mountains. The mountains are just so pretty here! The hiking trails are very enjoyable. Other points of interest include the thirteenth century church of San Siro and scenes from the world war one battles that occurred at Monte Grappa.

The trip to Seren del Grappa, was really enriching as it provided an insight into the small village life of Italy. I have visited some of the big cities in Italy which are gorgeous, but this was a nice change, and we didn’t run into any other tourist! A very memorable trip.

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Brunei

Brunei Darussalam

Brunei is a tiny country located on the northern shore of the Island of Borneo. This small nation is surrounded by Malaysia’s Sarawak state and the south China sea. Brunei is one of the smallest nations on earth! It is also one of the richest, due to the countries natural gas and petroleum resources.

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24 hours in Bandar Seri Begawan

We had two months off from University. We made a rough plan to visit Bangkok and then to travel from the North to the South of Vietnam, first arriving in Hanoi. There were four of us going on this backpacking adventure in South East Asia. Next step, we needed flights. Trying to find a good deal with stumbled upon Royal Brunei airways – who were offering a great deal from Melbourne to Bangkok! Perfect. This flight deal came with the option of a stop over in Brunei….I had never heard of this country until this moment. We quickly looked it up and saw that we could also visit other parts of the magical island of Borneo, so we decided to book with this airline, and add Borneo to our travel plans.

We departed Melbourne and flew about six hours to arrive in Brunei. Flying with Royal Brunei airlines was a great experience overall. When we fist arrived, we took a connecting flight to Kota Kinabalu located in the Malaysian part of Borneo. We spent four days in Kota Kinabalu, before heading to Bandar Seri Begawan. We had 24 hours to explore the capital of Brunei before flying to Bangkok.

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We spent the day wandering around the capital of Brunei. We found the Royal Regalia Museum and looked around the museum for a good portion of the morning. A nice relief from the heat. The museum is a tribute to the Sultan, it was an interesting museum to explore.

The afternoon was spent exploring the markets and the pretty water front. The Tamu Kianggeh market was a highlight, so vibrant and filled with energy.  Strolling the promenade was nice,  I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. Late afternoon, we were all quite hot and bothered…due to carrying our luggage around all day, and from being hangover. So we tried to find accommodation for the night. Being so late in the afternoon and having no internet access. This didn’t work out so well. In the end we decided to have dinner and then visit the impressive Sultan Abdul Samad building. This is a must see and looks so spectacular during the night with the city lights. After this we heading to the airport and spent the night there before flying to Bangkok early the next morning.

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Kota Kinabalu

Gateway to Borneo

Kota Kinabalu also referred to as KK is located on the northwest coast of Borneo, in the Malaysian state of Sabah. Kota Kinabalu, which was once formally known as Jesselton is the state capital of Sabah. The location is an ideal base to explore the northern region of Borneo.

Borneo

Borneo is the third largest (non continental) island in the world. Located in South East Asia, and surrounded by the south China sea to the north and northwest. The Island is divided by three separate countries. Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia. Brunei has the smallest portion of the Island. The Malaysian part of the Borneo is split between two different states, Sabah and Sarawak. The Indonesian state of Kalimantan controls the largest portion of Borneo.

Borneo is a nature lovers playground. The majority of the island is covered by dense rainforest, with a great richness of species diversity. This rainforest is one of the oldest rainforests in the world! Estimated to be 140 million years old. Home to a range of unique fauna and flora, and the center of evolution and distribution of many species. It is understandable that a lot of ecological research is conducted here. With this, Borneo is also home to a number of sustainable, conservation and responsible travel projects. The Island of Borneo is a really unique and magical place.

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Four days in Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu was our first introduction to this amazingly unique island. Spending four days in this city was truly wonderful, the only negative was that it was not enough time! We stayed at a backpackers hostel, close to the center of the city. As we arrived in the afternoon, our first day was spent walking around and taking in the atmosphere of the city. Our first evening was spent at the night market, then on to an all you can eat buffet – and buckets of beers, the price was ridiculously cheap. The next morning, we woke up and started to explore more of the city. In addition to visiting the  sights and attractions of KK, the majority of our stay was spent island hopping, which included snorkeling and hiking adventures.

City highlights and attractions

KK water font and times square

With crystal clear waters and sunny skies the waterfront is gorgeous to walk along. Times square represents the commercial downtown area of Kota Kinabalu.

Sabah state mosque

Located close to the city center, the mosque is worth a viewing. The architectural design is very impressive.

Signal hill observatory tower

Provides gorgeous views of the city at the highest point.

Atkinson clock tower

This is the oldest standing structure in Kota Kinabalu. The towers sits on a hill overlooking the city.

Central market

A vibrant and busy market located on the waterfront. A great place to explore and take in the atmosphere of the city.

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Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

The Tunku Abdul Rahman park is a marine park with a cluster of five islands (Gaya, Manukan, Sapi, Sulug and Mamutik) located off the coast of Kota Kinabalu. These islands are easily accessible. The distance ranges from three to eight kilometers off the coast, and you can take a 15-20 minute speedboat ride from the Jesselton point ferry terminal.  Plus, all of the islands are a short boat ride from each other. Island hopping was the highlight of our time in Kota Kinabalu.  We were able to visit many stunning beaches, go snorkeling, hike through jungle trails and see some pretty impressive animal and plant species.

Kota Kinabalu, with its tropical islands and stunning landscape is a nature lovers playground, and is rapidly becoming a more popular tourist destination, due to the city being a cultural hub with natural beauty. Kota Kinabalu was the perfect introduction to the island of Borneo. I am so eager to return and explore even more of the Island. I would love to experience a wilderness trip, absorbing the true remoteness and adventure that Borneo can offer.

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