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Victoria, Australia: Is It The “Place To Be?”

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Australia is a great country to visit and often you will find the country on best bucket lists around the world. But, as Australia is so big, it is also vital that you are specific with your locations. One of the most popular areas is the state of Victoria, thanks to its capital Melbourne. The state is commonly nicknamed as “the place to be” and Melbourne has been visited to most liveable city in the whole world. However, there is more to it than that. I wanted to share with you some of the things to see and the places to go in Victoria, so that if you do find it on your bucket list you are prepared.

Something for the car lovers

If you love all things motoring then Victoria provides you with an sun dense of activities and things to see. Whether you want to witness the driving or do the driving yourself there is something for everyone. First up, there is a great charity event that includes driving and the Bayswater Charity Drive Infographic is full of information to explain what it is all about. If you like to drive then the Great Ocean Road is one thing you must do on your visit to Victoria. Not only do you get to take in sights such as the twelve apostles but you can also visit places like Logan beach where the whales come to have their calves.

Something for the cosmopolitan amongst us

If you love the idea of something a little more cosmopolitan. A chance to enjoy fine restaurants and bars, shop in all the designer shops and enjoy the famous coffee culture then, of course, we couldn’t talk about Victoria without a special mention to Melbourne. It is a fabulous city full of plenty of activities to do. The zoo, sea life Center and the abundance of shops and restaurants will keep you busy for days.

Something for the people who love their nature

Maybe you are interested in animals and nature, then there’s much to do in the state of Victoria. First up, you may want to take a visit to Phillip Island. There are tours that will enable you to see the march of the penguins as well as Koalas in their natural habitat. There is also the Blue mountains tours that can have you seeing some of the most famous Australian Wildlife.

Something for the wine lovers

Finally, if you love your wine then Australia won’t disappoint, and neither will the state of Victoria. The Yarra valley has an array of vineyards and wine tasting opportunities that will have you wanting to explore some of the different tastes and varieties around. You could even experience wine tours that incorporate food and different restaurants which will have you experiencing some of the best fine dining experiences around.

I hope that this has inspired you to consider the state of Victoria when it comes to visiting Australia. In my opinion it certainly is the place to be.

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Travel Tips

Cheap Flights:  When To Get The Best Deal

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Whether you fly once a year or are regularly jetting off on your holiday, you always want to be getting the best prices for your flights. If you’re looking at your next break and wondering when the best time to book flights is, then you may be in luck, as online travel agents Opodo have just released their annual findings. So not only can you find cheap flights, hotels and car hire with www.opodo.co.uk, you can also make a more informed decision as to when to click that ‘booking’ button. So if you’re hoping to get the best deals on the best holiday, check out the key times when buying your tickets will get you ultimate in cost-saving travel value.

Getting the timings right

It used to be that in order to get the best flight prices possible, you’d either book well in advance, or take advantage of those last minute deals that were all the rage. However, if you’re still using that strategy, you may be spending more money that you should be. According to the research findings by Opodo, the optimal time for getting the best deals is by buying your tickets six weeks in advance. There’s a six to seven week window, where flight prices are consistently lower than at any other time, so if you’re hoping to pay less for you travel, that’s the best time to aim for.

What if you miss that window?

It’s very easy to miss that six-week mark, but if that’s happened then don’t worry too much, as there are still options available to you that will still get you a better chance of getting those low-cost tickets. As well as the advanced booking, you can also take advantage of the slight dip that occurs in the two-week window before take-off. That window between 8 and 14 days before travel is definitely the best time to buy if you’ve missed the 6-7 week dip in prices, so don’t put it off in the hopes of grabbing those last minute deals in the week before. Those last-minute offerings are not the deal that they used to be.

Even your choice of day helps

You’re sat at the computer, and you’re ready to book your flights. You’re in the right week and you’re all set up for the best deal, but before you make your flight decisions, it might be worth checking what day of the week you’re on. That’s right, buying your tickets on a Monday is a big blunder, with cheaper prices for the same flight available if you buy on a different day. Depending on your flight type, you may find that booking your flights on a Sunday, Tuesday, or Wednesday will get you a much more satisfying price, and make it more likely that you’ll have a little extra spending money while on your travels.

With a little bit of knowledge and a minor amount of planning, you could find that the possible savings can be quite substantial. If you want to get the best prices for the cheapest prices, then check out the handy infographic, and make sure that you’re buying your tickets at the times when prices are proven to be the lowest.

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Travel Tips

The Perils Of “Cheap” Holidays (And What To Do Instead)

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When it comes to travelling the world, there is one potential downside that stymies even the most determined of travel plans: the cost. Travelling is undoubtedly a very expensive hobby, which means if your wanderlust is biting and you can’t wait to travel the world, the idea of a cheap holiday is incredibly inviting.

However, cheap holidays are rarely a good idea— in fact, they can be incredibly problematic, and can cause you untold stress. If you’re currently being tempted by a cheap and cheerful vacation, then there are a few things you might want to bear in mind…

The perils of “cheap”

Why is cheap so damaging? Well, it tends to mean that every aspect of the holiday has been chosen not for how beneficial it is to the customer, but to how cheaply it can be obtained for the provider.

This means that you could find yourself at a hotel with malfunctioning electronics, bed linens so uncomfortable you can barely sleep, and just a generally poor level of service.

Cheap flights could mean that you are a victim of overbooking, or that the flight will be landing a huge distance away from the city it claims to be landing at.

Finally, cheap deals — such as sightseeing tours — will often be cut short, poor value, and even fail to deliver on what you have been promised.

Taking all of the above into consideration, does that mean that trying to book anything related to a holiday means that you have to pay over the odds just to ensure your safety and security? Not quite…

There’s a difference between “cheap” and “low cost”

Low cost, on the other hand, means that the hotel or deal is being provided with the budget traveller in mind. Yes, the provider wants to keep the costs down, but that’s not the only factor in the decision making. While holidays with low costs providers and hotels won’t be a byword for luxury, they shouldn’t be unpleasant or outright dangerous.

So, the key question: how can you differentiate between “cheap” and “low cost”?

The signs of a “cheap” deal

Learning how to spot the difference between “cheap” and “low cost” is incredibly important.

Signs of a cheap hotel  

  • Very few reviews of the hotel on the website
  • Limited number of photos on the site— or worse yet, the only photos on the site appear to be stock images. You can use a reverse image search to see if this is the case for a hotel you’re considering.
  • Little to no social media presence
  • The website doesn’t use a secure protocol

Signs of cheap deals:

  • Vagueness when discussing travel arrangements or requirements; information is never clearly presented.
  • The deal keeps dropping in price, with often only a few days in between the price drops.
  • There is no set itinerary for what you should expect

Signs of cheap flights  

  • Cheap flights will usually be just that— cheap. They are otherwise indistinguishable any other flight.
  • If you spot a particularly cheap deal, you need to do your research. Don’t take the destination city as read. Let’s say, for example, that you’re planning on flying to Rome. This is the destination that the flight is going to, so you might be happy to make the booking. However, a little research will reveal that Rome has two airports; one of which is convenient, the other of which is nearly an hour from the city itself. You will likely find that a cheap flight provider will be flying to the distant airport, while low cost will be flying to the main airport.
  • So always check out the airport that the flight is travelling to, rather than just the city, if you want to be cautious of cheap flights.

So what are the other options?

You want to travel, but your budget is compromised. The only types of deals that you can find within your price range appear to be alarmingly “cheap”, and you’ve decided not to take the risk… but you still want to travel. What are your options? Here are a few suggestions you may want to consider…

Change your destination  

While travelling is often about exploring foreign lands and delighting in other cultures, you can have a wonderful time in your home country if you’re on a budget. Pick an area that you have never visited before and that you know relatively little about, then visit using public transport and your own knowledge of securing good deals in your home country. It might not be the far-flung foreign travel you dream of, but it should be enough to keep your wanderlust under control until you can afford your next big trip.

Lean on your reward points 

If you’re a frequent traveller, then chances are you have amassed a few reward points or frequent flyer miles. If you can add some funds to your reward points, then you might be surprised by just how fantastic a holiday you’ll be able to afford. As inspiration, consider how Alex Miller from Upgraded Points was able to cover the cost of an incredible trip with relatively little financial investment— the rest was covered by his reward points. This is a great choice if you have some money to spend, but not enough money to spend on an entire holiday— use your reward points to make up the difference and secure yourself a great deal.

Wait

Yes, it’s the option that no traveller truly wants to consider; if you want to travel, then the idea of waiting for a trip can feel extremely stifling. However, it’s better for your financial situation and your own well-being to opt to stay home rather than take a risk with a cheap deal. As you wait, you can keep scouring the internet looking for low cost, rather than cheap, deals that might fit into your available budget.

In conclusion 

So while you may be desperate to travel, it’s important to be careful. Hopefully, one of the alternatives above may help to settle your wanderlust… for awhile, at least!

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Travel Tips

How to Spend a Weekend In a New City

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So, you’ve either planned a mini-break or else you’re stopping over in a nearby city to see the sights while you can. Either way, two days in a city you’ve never visited before may not seem like much, but you can definitely tread some serious ground while you’re there. Whether you’re the outdoorsy type or you prefer perusing art galleries, it’s important to soak up as much culture as you can from the experience, so you don’t feel like you’ve missed out. With this in mind, here are five tips to help you make the most of your weekend in a new city.

Dine In the Best Restaurants

Before you land in your city of choice, do some online research to determine the best restaurants in the area and make some reservations. You can check out the Top 10 lists on Trip Advisor and read customer reviews to find the top picks. If money is an issue, you might want to avoid the pricier options, but you should aim to try as much as you can of the local cuisine especially if it’s food you wouldn’t normally eat.

Take a Historical Tour

If you’re visiting a big city like London or New York, there’s bound to be plenty of history to fill the gaps in your knowledge. Most touristic places offer guided tours of or bus-top tours that show the local highlights, so book yourself on one of these and try to see as much as you can while you’re there. You can also visit local monuments, museums, and landmarks where you can take some great photos of your trip.

Book an Escape Room

If you’re looking for that extra bit of excitement to get your adrenaline pumping, an RVA Escape Room could the perfect way to while away an afternoon. These crop up in most major cities and they’re increasing in popularity all the time. Whether you’re traveling alone or with a partner, you can call upon your inner sleuth to solve clues, crack codes and work on puzzles to break out of the “locked” room.

Stay Somewhere Unusual

Whether you’re a full-time traveller or a summer vacationer, chances are you’ve stayed in your fair share of hotels. Why not switch it up and try something different, such as a Botel (hotel on a boat) in Amsterdam or an undersea lodge in Florida. Staying somewhere new and exciting will give your weekend trip an edge and make it even more memorable.

Fight the Jet Lag

A weekend in a new city often isn’t long enough for you to explore properly, but for this time at least it’s all you have. Therefore, you don’t want to spend the whole period jet-lagged and not be able to enjoy it. If possible, avoid jet lag by selecting a flight that lands early evening, and try to stay up until at least 10pm to keep your body clock on your side. You should also avoid alcohol and caffeine on the plane and drink plenty of water when you arrive. Take short naps if you must, but don’t let jet lag overshadow your experience!

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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