How Far In Advance To Book International Flights

The excitement of travel begins right from the time you book your ticket. You undoubtedly look forward with anticipation to the joys of exploring the world and meeting new people.

Perhaps like most people you agitate about the best time to book your ticket. Opinions vary on how far in advance international flights should be booked.

How Airlines Set Their Prices

Airlines open flights for reservation a year in advance, however, it’s best not to book your ticket that early. This is because fares fluctuate, hence you should aim to identify the best window that will yield the lowest fare.

Airlines are in business to market and sell their product. Their goal is to make a profit, therefore among the factors that determine ticket prices include the price of oil, the distance of the destination, and what the competition is offering. 

Governments collect taxes on air tickets, therefore this too can influence the fare. In addition, airlines set fares according to the category of traveler they wish to target. 

Leisure travelers are more likely to book in advance, and they are usually in search of budget fares. Business travelers on the other hand are less flexible with their dates and they are prepared to pay more.

How Pricing Works

Pricing is set on the basis of the principle of supply and demand. Weeks before a flight departs when the flight is still open, an airline will post reasonable fares. As it gets closer to the departure date and the demand increases, the fare will increase accordingly.

Since the airlines peg their fares to the availability of seats, this means that fares are never constant; they keep fluctuating. You may be surprised to obtain a cheap fare shortly before your departure if for some reason the airline was unable to sell seats on  that flight.

The Destination Has a Bearing

There are certain destinations that are popular and have a clearly defined ‘peak’ season. For example, everyone heads to Europe for the summer, starting from the end of May to August. Therefore, if you are intending to travel to Europe in summer, you need to book your flight by February at the latest. For travel in the Fall, you can make your reservations in March or April.

The Season, Time, And Day Of Travel Have A Bearing

Fares are highest when there is a demand for seats, hence advance ticket purchases are necessary for travel over long weekends, special holidays, sports tournaments, Christmas and New Year. Moreover, try to schedule your departure on a weekday; Monday and Wednesday are recommended, and Sunday too yields lower fares.

Similarly, you may opt to stay over at your destination on Saturday and commence your return journey on a weekday.

Early morning flights are unpopular, therefore you will find that fares are considerably lower if you take a 5am flight, for example. Late night flights too, tend to be affordable.

Try to make your reservations early in the morning. This is because airlines sometimes post promotional fares during the night. 

Experts say that from 4 months to 6 weeks prior to departure is the best time to reserve international flights. Therefore during this window, monitor deals that are posted on airline and travel websites, and you may succeed in zeroing in on an excellent deal.

4 Types of Souvenirs Worth Buying

Souvenirs are an invaluable part of your travel experience. The urge to take home mementos comes naturally to most of us as we want to hold onto memories of a special time and place. Here are ideas of souvenirs you can take home with you.

The Inexpensive Knick-Knacks

These are the readily available tourist souvenirs that are found at markets and road-side stalls. They make good giveaways and will be appreciated by friends and relatives. 

These include:

  • Fridge Magnets – For example, available in London are magnets of Big Ben, red double-decker buses, and Buckingham Palace. In Japan, popular magnets feature fake food images like sushi.
  • Dishcloths – In Madrid there are dish towels available with motifs of popular sites such are Puerta de Alcala.
  • Aprons – In Spain, you can obtain aprons with local recipes on them
  • In most countries, you will find key chains, t-shirts, and postcards that feature famous landmarks

Souvenirs That Are Decor Items

Many travelers source for souvenirs that will add interest to their decor and even choose their destination specifically with that goal in mind. Items that make great decorative pieces include:

Trunks

Trunks and chests that you pick up on your travels are a real showstopper. You can use them as a coffee table. In addition, you can paint or embellish them to fit in with the existing decor. Best of all, they are great for storage purposes.

Tribal Masks

African and Mexican masks have become collectibles and they make a bold statement when up on the wall. The colors, patterns and textures add an element to your decor that tells a story of its own.

Woven baskets and bowls

 A great idea is to group different sizes of woven bowls and hang them above a sofa to create a striking wall feature. Woven baskets can also be used as hanging plant holders and bathroom organizers.

Food Items as Souvenirs

Food is an essential part of the travel experience and specialty food makes great souvenirs and gifts for friends back home. Along with food, you may also choose to carry along some of the ingredients, such as spices, special herbs, and sauces.

The following destinations are well known for specialty foods:

Spain – A large percentage of the world’s olive oil comes from southern Spain, hence this is a good place to obtain your extra virgin olive oil.

 Singapore – Carry home some exotic Kaya Jam which is made from coconut milk, sugar, and eggs.

Italy – A perfect souvenir to take home with you is Italian cheese such as Pecorino Romano (Roman sheep milk cheese) and Parmigiano Reggiano.

Wine and Liquors as Souvenirs

Portugal – Obidos is home to a liquor known as Ginja, made of sour cherries and alcohol, a great memento to take home with you.

London – Freya Birch Spirit made from sap obtained from birch trees is a drink with a very unique taste, often compared to that of peach schnapps.

Paris – Chambord – This is a cognac based raspberry liquor that is flavored with blackberries and vanilla. 

Whatever your budget, it is possible to carry home a memento of your memorable experiences from somewhere special. By doing that, you will also give local artists and small business people your valuable support.

Here are 5 of the World’s Most Underrated Beaches

Reports indicate that up to 50% of international travelers head for coastal destinations. For many people what constitutes a perfect getaway is a beautiful, warm, sunny beach. A beach holiday is indeed special, and even more so if you discover little-visited locations. For example, here are 5 of the world’s most underrated beaches just waiting to be discovered.

Santiago, Cape Verde

Santiago is the largest island in the archipelago of Cape Verde, located in West Africa. The capital Praia is on this island. Santiago is known for its beautiful beaches, such as Quebra Canela with its lively scene and numerous beach bars, Prainha Beach, and Tarrafel Beach.

As an archipelago, Cape Verde offers a wide selection of white sandy beaches fringed with palm trees. One of the most popular beaches is Santa Maria beach, located in Sal. This beach has golden sands and azure waters, and it is good for kite-surfing and scuba diving.

Boa Vista is blessed with long sandy beaches and Sao Vicente too, has several beaches all suitable for swimming. The best time to visit Sao Vicente is in February during the carnival.

Furore, Italy

Location on the Amalfi Coast, Furore is a scenic beach hidden behind a fjord. This gem of a beach is small, however, it offers spectacular scenery. The Amalfi coast is safe for swimming and diving, and it is renowned for its clear and bright water. Aside from the beach, you can explore other natural rock formations and hidden caves in the area.

Pyla Sur Mer, France

A charming coastal resort on the Atlantic, Pyla Sur Mer is located south of Bordeaux. It is not only home to the highest dune in Europe, but its beaches, sports, and numerous events render it an ideal holiday destination.

Whilst you are here, schedule a relaxing day out at the majestic Dune of Pilat and enjoy the breathtaking landscape. You can also visit one of the large sandy beaches in Arcachon Bay. Arcachon’s main beach is popular for its cafes, bar, and various watersports. From here, you can also plan a day trip to Bordeaux, France’s famous wine region.

Windansea Beach, San Diego

Renowned for its clear, clean water, this is a small hidden beach which offers beautiful scenery and a pounding surf break. The beach is located in La Jolla, San Diego, and is more popular with surfers that family groups. Windanssea was named after a hotel that was located in the vicinity but later burned down.

The beach offers a classic surf break, and you are guaranteed good surf all year round. Waves range from 2-10ft, hence this is not a location for novices. However, if surfing is not your thing, you will enjoy sunbathing on the rocky plateaus, also a romantic place to watch the sunset.

Curacao

Some of the world’s most underrated beaches are found in Curacao. This is an island located in the Dutch Caribbean. Curacao boasts 35 beaches, each lovelier than the other. The weather is great, ideal for windsurfing and the waters are warm. This has been described as a diver’s dream. 

The nightlife is vibrant and possible activities include dancing at street parties, shopping, and the enjoyment of fine dining. The beaches popular with tourists include Mambo Beach and Jan Thiel beach

For lovers of sand and sea, there is no shortage of exquisite, hidden gems. All it takes is a little research, and you can soon be off to the beach holiday of your dreams.

 

5 of the Best Budget Destinations

Contrary to popular belief, it is indeed possible to enjoy the delights of an exotic vacation without spending an arm and a leg. Even better, you can do so without compromising on your comfort. There are several destinations that are renowned for offering value for money. Here are a few of them.

Fiji

Located in the South Pacific Ocean, these lovely islands do have expensive resorts, however, for the budget-conscious, there is also a profusion of reasonably priced, comfortable guesthouses, hostels, Airbnb options, 2 and 3-star hotels. There are countless activities to be enjoyed, such as surfing and whitewater rafting. Plan an excursion to the Colo-i-Suva forest reserve for hiking, swimming, and bird-watching. Enjoy the sight of waterfalls set in the jungle, a truly memorable sight.

Cambodia

A beautiful country rich in culture and history, Cambodia is a great budget destination due to its reasonably priced food and accommodation that offer value for money. Accommodation is available in local guesthouses, good standard low-cost hotels, and Airbnb properties. The food is cheap and very good. Places of interest to visit include the Khmer City of Angkor and the Angkor sites. Less known are the beautiful beaches and island resorts; these are also waiting to be explored.

India

This is a country that is larger than life. India is packed with adventure and culture. The possibility of exotic places to visit is endless, ranging from the beaches of Goa to Jaipur, the pink city. It is however possible to explore such treasures on a shoestring budget. Cheap accommodation is available in hostels and guesthouses, street food is readily available, and rail travel is kind on the wallet.

Poland

A warm vibrant country, Poland is an excellent choice for a budget holiday. It offers old historic cities, lovely coastlines and National parks. Possibilities of budget accommodation are numerous, ranging from low cost-dorm rooms, hostels, comfortable budget hotels, and self-catering facilities. In addition, there are numerous campgrounds and local food is reasonably priced.

Hungary

Also located in Eastern Europe, Hungary is another gem waiting to be discovered. Budapest, the capital of Hungary is a charming city, full of history. Accommodation is affordable here, with numerous high rated hostels to choose from. Also available are bed and breakfasts, and private apartments. Traditional Hungarian food is available at low prices.

Go on a walking tour of Budapest, a picturesque city built along the Danube River. The city has grand city squares and seamlessly combines the old and the new. Plan a visit to the Museum of Fine Art; take a cruise on the Danube for memorable views of the city landmarks.

If you check out available offers and schedule travel during off-peak months, it is possible to travel cheaply without sacrificing comfort and to obtain value for your money.

 

Ljubljana, Slovenia Travel Guide

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and it lies right in the center. It is almost an equal distance from Croatia, Hungary, Austria, and Italy. Ljubljana is a small but innovative city with a mythical history, a hip attitude, and a car-free heart. You will see images of dragons wherever you go in this city. Legend has it that a dragon once lived in the Ljubljana river many centuries ago, preying on locals until it was defeated by a Greek hero.

It serves as a symbol of this charismatic town that is very protective of its people, its environment, and its history. Once you are in the town center’s narrow streets, you will hear bicycle bells instead of traffic and you will find riverbanks lined with historic architecture, pubs, and cafes, instead of gridlock. The city banned cars in 2007 and it has been churning out sustainable programs since then. Here are the top must-see attractions in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Ljubljana Castle

Take the gentle stroll or ride the funicular to the Ljubljana Castle. It is one of the city’s beloved landmarks and has been standing for over 900 years. Apart from being a Window into history, this castle is also part of daily life and is sometimes used for art shows, concerts, and weddings. At the Museum of Puppetry, you can also discover the tradition of puppeteering or simply enjoy the spectacular views over the city.

Ljubljana River

On the east bank of the river lies the old town while the more recently built galleries, parks, and buildings lie in the West Bank. The Triple Bridge links the two. The Triple Bridge is one of the many iconic masterpieces designed by architect Jože Plečnik, the city’s favorite son.

Preseren Square

This oval-shaped square is the city’s heart and a popular meeting point. This Square was named after France Preseren. His poem “A Toast” became the national anthem of the country. Enjoy a pastry and a coffee on the steps of this square’s statue, meet the locals or watch as the city goes about its activities.

Franciscan Church

The Franciscan Church is another great place you should explore. It had a dramatic staircase that faces the Preseren Square. It was originally painted red, but it has now faded to salmon pink.

Congress Square

Congress Square was built on the site of a ruined monastery. You can see the main building of the University of Ljubljana from here. Many political hard hitters have used the balcony of this building to address the crowds.

Slovene Philharmonic Orchestra Building

This is one of the oldest musical institutions in the world. It has connections to composers such as Brahms and Beethoven. It is still a delight of many music lovers today.

Ljubljana Central Market

The Ljubljana Central Market is another great place to catch up with the Town Square and locals. This city also offers free bicycle rentals that you can easily pick up to further explore the city.

Planning and Optimizing a Vacation With Your Friends

Vacation season is one of the most anticipated times of the year. Regardless of how old are you or whether you work or not, it is safe to say that you – just like everyone else – are looking for your next vacation, aren’t you? There are many different reasons why we love holidays so much, and if you have the ability to go on a vacation every now and then, you should consider yourself lucky, because not everyone can do that.

Although planning a vacation brings many different benefits, it can also be a pretty boring and painful process. This is especially true if you cannot realize your plans because you don’t have enough money. It takes time to decide where you want to travel, which route to choose, where to spend the night, and even who to go with. That being said, let’s try to optimize this process together, shall we? Let’s go!

Vacation With Your Friends

Choose the Right Destination

When it comes to planning a vacation, the first thing that you need to do is decide where you want to go. There is a lot of beautiful places in the world that choosing just one can be a pretty hard thing to do sometimes. That is why you need to be realistic when it comes to choosing your destination. With this in mind, you should choose a destination that your current money situation actually allows you to travel to. This will make the rest of the process much easier not just for you, but for your friends as well.

Choose Your Company

If you want to have a great travel experience, you need to choose your company wisely. After all, you don’t want to bring someone who will just ruin the whole experience, do you? You certainly don’t, which is why you need to choose someone you trust, love, and care about. Bring that one friend who you never get tired of.

Packing

Many people find packing to be the worst part of vacation planning process. Although packing can be pretty annoying, it needs to be done before every road trip. Make sure not to overpack though. Only take the things that you will actually need during the road trip.

How To Stay As Safe As Possible When Traveling

Generally speaking, travel is always a fun experience. It is all about seeing new places, meeting new people, escaping from your personal problems, and simply having fun. However, it is not all fun and games when it comes to traveling, because there is one major downside to it, and that downside is the fact that travelers are usually main targets of crime. Although this can happen anywhere, the biggest chances of it happening are in tourist areas, since these places are usually filled with all types of people, including thieves and criminals.

By educating yourself about different types of crimes on the streets today, the chances of you becoming a victim of such crimes become much lower. That being said, here are some of our best tips for keeping both you and your loved ones, as well as your friends safe during a road trip. Please sit back, relax and enjoy the ride to your amazing destination!

Don’t Forget To Bring Your Safety Gadgets With You
It is always a good idea to have a couple of safety gadgets in your backpack during a road trip, and spending a few dollars to get them is always a money well spent. Not only are safety gadgets relatively inexpensive, but you get get them pretty much everywhere these days as well. These gadgets can really help you out when it comes to defending yourself, as well as your loved ones from criminals.

Separate Valuable Items From All the Other Items
Make sure to only carry what you need with you. This will make everything a lot easier for you. Once you have taken the items that you need, take the rest of your stuff and lock everything in your hotel room. Using fake phones and wallets in crowded areas is a great way to trick thieves.

Bring Printed Copies of Your Documents
Bringing printed copies of your documents with you is very important when it comes to traveling. Of course, digital copies work too, but having printed copies ready is always a good idea – just in case something unexpected happens and you need to show them to someone. The next time you want to travel, remember these tips, and everything should be okay.

How To Fly With a Toddler

Are you feeling stressed out about being in an airplane with your baby? Well, we are more than happy to inform you that you shouldn’t be. Of course, just thinking of being in an airplane with a baby is probably more than enough to make you scared, but there are always some things that you can do to make the whole experience a little bit better.

In order to help you cope with all the disadvantages that flying with a toddler provides you with, we decided to put together a list of some things that you can do to make your trip as pleasant as possible. Not only should these tips help you and your baby have a great flight, but they should help all the other passengers as well. Enjoy the ride!

Plan Your Seat Ahead of Time
When the time for making reservations comes, make sure to let the agent know that you are going to bring your baby with you. This would enable the company to place all the necessary child safety equipment where needed. Also, try to keep away from the back of the plane, since it is usually louder than the front of the plane. By sitting in the first few front rows, not only will you have a great flight, but your baby as well.

Protect Your Baby’s Ears
During both the descent and takeoff, make sure to give your baby something that he or she can suck on. It can be either a bottle, or a plastic seat back safety card. Not only will this protect your baby’s ears, but it will be a fun experience for the baby as well.

Always Bring a Safety Seat With You
Buying a ticket for your baby and bringing a safety seat with you is one of the most important rules that you need to follow when it comes to flying with an infant. Although kids that are less than two years old usually get to fly for free, it is still a good idea to buy an extra ticket for them, just in case you need it. Better safe than sorry, right? And one more thing – make sure to keep your baby strapped in as much as possible during the flight.

Keeping Your Luggage Safe When Traveling

So, you are going on a road trip soon, but you are not feeling sure about the safety of your luggage? Don’t worry, because you came to the right place. Basically, when it comes to keeping your luggage safe when traveling, there are two basic things that you need to know – what to bring with you, and how to use the things that you brought once you hit the road.

Packing everything yourself is probably the safest way to ensure that everything is in the right order, and that everything is actually there. What this means is that you always know what is in your bags, which means that passing through Customs, crossing borders, and catching flights should all go smoothly.

Good Travel Insurance
If another passenger offers you to carry something across the border for them, don’t do it. If you, however, do accept the offer, it could be a way longer road than you expected. That being said, the best thing to do in this situation is to just refuse the offer. Better safe than sorry, right? Also, before actually hitting the road, make sure to get the best travel insurance that you possibly can. You never know what could happen to you during a road trip, which is exactly why having a good travel insurance is always a good idea. Seriously, those guys can get you out of some really nasty situations.

Protect Your Day Pack
First of all, take everything that is valuable out of your bag, and put it into your daypack. Okay, let’s assume that you have already done that. Now, what you need to do is secure your daypack as good as you possibly can. Don’t leave the pockets wide open or zips undone, because if you do, it could be very easy for a person that is sitting next to you to reach into your daypack and take something out of it.

Don’t Leave Your Bag Unattended
Regardless of where you are, make sure to never leave your bag unattended. Either bring your bag with you everywhere you go, or ask someone you trust to protect it while you are away. Also, don’t forget to close all the pockets and lock all the zippers.

Five Reasons to Travel in a Group

There is a huge difference in traveling alone and with a group. Each type of travel has its benefits. When you are alone, you get more space and privacy. But, there are many perks to traveling in a group. Here are top five reasons to travel with a group.

  1. Planning the trip

When you travel in a group, you will not have to do all the planning alone. Many believe that group travel is difficult and complicated. It is not the case. When you travel in a group, you will not do all the panning by yourself. You may divide the planning task among the group members. For example, you may plan the food; another may plan the accommodation, etc. It also becomes easy to plan the entire trip.

  1. Less Cost

Traveling in a group is less expensive. Just like you divide the tasks for traveling among the group members, you can divide the cost too.  When the cost is less, you can plan a long trip which you cannot do if you are traveling alone. If you’d like to stay in a really nice, big Airbnb rental complete with a pergola and terrace, much like what Awnings And More provides, traveling with a group is a great way to afford it.

  1. Experience new things

When you travel in a group, it may give you a new experience. It will bring new and more opportunities for you. When you are in a group, you can travel with a local guide. You may visit places which you cannot visit alone.

  1. You’ll bond with your group

You may not know, but when you travel in a group, it creates a great bonding environment between the group members. Even if you are traveling with your friends, it will create a stronger bond.  The group travel allows you to share your life experiences with others. You can sit together and share your stories at night. It also allows you to learn more about the group. You will learn about them and their lifestyle, and they will learn from you.

  1. You’ll make new friends

It is another great reason to travel in a group. When you travel in a group, it is not important that all the group members are your close friends. You may have a friend of a friend in a group or others. It will allow you to know them and make new friends. According to the studies, the friends that you make while traveling will have a strong friendship bond.  When traveling n a group, you will also get new opinions and perspectives. It will be a learning experience.