Eco-Design Hotel

In tourist accommodations, the green trend is growing, whether it’s an eco-resort cabana on a beach in Mexico, a rental yurt in an Austrian forest, or a green-theme city hotel.

I recently enjoyed a stay at a green hotel in one of the greenest cities in the world, Amsterdam. It’s a city where bikes rule the streets, public transportation is excellent, and people still rely on their own two feet to get around. My stay at the Conscious Hotel was an education in how a business can make environmentally conscious and healthy choices in its furnishings, food, and overall operation.

With two locations in Amsterdam, Conscious Hotels strive to be as green, sustainable and eco-friendly as possible. They say they’re more hip than hippy, which does reflect the cool, modern look and attitude of the hotel and its staff. I stayed at Conscious’ Vondelpark location, which is named for the neighboring park. The city’s largest green space, Vondelpark is a tranquil green paradise for walking, biking or picnic lunching.

A few green features of the hotel stood out. The desk in every guest room is made out of recycled materials and only green cleaning products are used to clean the rooms. Made from 100 percent natural materials, the beds were super plush and comfortable – no compromises necessary here to be green and natural. After a peaceful sleep, I headed to the hotel’s restaurant for a satisfying breakfast made with organic ingredients.

At the end of my two-night stay, I was well-rested and my need to be green was also satisfied. I saw that the hotel was truly striving to be green in a meaningful way. Conscious Hotels is a fairly new Dutch hotel chain that deserves credit for doing their part to make the hotel industry more environmentally responsible while making tourists more environmentally conscious.

Getting Married On A Cruise

Decide Who Will Perform The Ceremony

The whole idea of getting married at sea sounds fun, getting married by a captain is surely exciting, but it also limits your choices of cruise lines since every ship is registered with a different country having its one legal restrictions. There are not a lot of cruise ships that allow the captains to marry their passengers, so before getting all excited about the marriage on the cruise be sure to check it with the ship if it allows any such thing.

Decided Where You Want To Get Married?

Getting married in a foreign country while your ship is docked at the port can be pretty tricky. Every country has different laws, some prohibit the cruisers from getting married at port unless they are planning a residency there or that their parents or grandparents were married there.

Ask About Any Extra Requirements

Regardless of where you are planning to get married, you will need to register for your marriage beforehand so make sure that you make these arrangements in advance.

Decide Whether You Want To Pay Extra Charges For Peak Season

Getting married on a cruise ship is becoming trendy these days, and since it has gained popularity some cruise lines now charge extra fees for getting married in peak “wedding season” which is normally between mid-April and September, as well as on special days like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. So it’s best that you also consider this factor and plan your wedding accordingly if you can make your wedding dates flexible.

Chiang Mai Spa Retreat

You can choose from plenty of remarkable spa resorts in the city. Its central location also allows you to explore the northern part of Thailand. The resorts here also offer various spa retreats for weekends or for longer durations. Whether you want to explore Thailand or just take a break from your busy routine, Chiang Mai is the best spot for you.

The spa retreat programs are designed according to different criteria. The main goal behind all these retreats, however, is to help a person feel completely relaxed and recharged after the retreat. Many spa resorts also offer detoxification programs that help remove any toxins built up in the body. The healthy and balanced meals provided in these retreats also help you get started on your wellness journey.

If you are planning to adopt a healthier lifestyle, a spa retreat gives you the perfect opportunity to get started. Since you will be away from your home and daily chores, you will be able to focus on building your new habits. Once you get through this crucial period of breaking the old unhealthy patterns and forming new ones, you will be able to go back home and still stay on track quite easily.

Treatments like hydrotherapy, full body massages, and many other services relieve stress, removing tension from the muscles. Full body massages and most targeted treatments also improve blood circulation in the body, making you feel energetic and light. Many retreats also include holistic activities such as yoga to improve your muscle tone and enhance your overall wellbeing.

You can take this time to relax and take a break from technology. It is far easier to unplug from the constant chatter of the virtual world when you are sitting in the lap of nature. You can take this time to meditate in between the activities at the spa retreat.

Luxury spas also offer programs where they club spa services and treatments with activities such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Shiatsu, Reiki, Pilates, etc. You can practice these fitness activities under the guidance of trained instructors. It helps to learn these techniques to get the maximum benefit out of the practice you chose. It will help you stay on course even after you come back from the spa retreat.

Passport Protection

Do not keep your passport, cash and credit cards together.

I thought I was being a wise, careful traveler when I got my husband a shiny new “RFID-blocking” leather passport/wallet combination. No one could steal the data from our chips now. He looked like a spy on a mission, like a traveling diplomat. Everything was together, easy to keep track of.

Huge mistake. Huge. Because when everything’s together, then every time you need to pay for anything, you have to get it all out. And, if you’re dealing with cash, which you will in many countries, you have to lay everything down, organize packages, separate cash and coins, and get it all put away.

And at some point, you will lay it down and that will be the end of it. Keep your cash separate from your credit cards, and keep your passport separate from everything else.

Thieves don’t actually want your passport. In fact, most of them don’t even want your credit cards. Credit card theft is easier to trace and the risks are higher. And passports are not easy to sell. Ask the police, and you will discover that passports and credit cards are usually found in a convenient dumpster.

What the thief wants is your cash. So carry cash, but only what you need that day. If you discover it’s missing, it’s only a little and you can replace it from the stash you left in the hotel safe. But if you discover your passport is missing, the fun stops till it’s replaced. And when you start adding up charges for changing flights, extra hotel days, extra meals, transportation and replacement passport charges… losing your passport is not just a scary hassle, it’s also very expensive.

When you get to your hotel, leave your passport in the safe.

You need your passport at the airport. But once you get to the hotel, leave it.

I know, the State Department says to carry it with you. But virtually every hotel has a safe, and many of my most traveled friends leave their passport there. You can leave your extra cash and extra credit cards there, too.

It works great while you stay in one place. The problem, of course, comes when you move around. We’ve all left things behind. Which presents a whole new scenario.

You know who you are, and whether the safe is a good idea for you or not. Still, it has to be said-many experienced travelers find the hotel safe to be the smartest, easiest and safest choice for passport protection.

If you decide to carry your passport with you at all times, like the State Department says, then carry it close, and in a place you never have to access.

I’m a rule-keeper, so I carry mine. And besides, having my passport seems to present at least some level of protection should things suddenly go bad. But if you carry it with you, it’s for official emergencies, not for flashing.

You can wear one of those “inside your clothes” pouches, though for heaven’s sake do wear it inside your clothes, not outside. If you hang it around your neck, possibly with your money as well, you might as well put up a flag that says “Steal this!”

And please, be sure the little tie thingie doesn’t show. It just looks silly.

You can tell I’m not a fan of inside pouches. Probably because I can’t think of any place where I’d really like that kind of a bulge. I wear a small shoulder bag with an inside zip pocket, where my passport goes and never comes out. It’s close to my chest, under my arm, and behind two zippers. And any wandering hands encounter my fake wallet first.

The most important thing is not to put your passport where you have to get it out. Ever. Getting it out defeats the purpose of secreting it away, and ups your chances of losing it. That’s exactly how my husband lost his.

Reasons Why We Love Beach Resorts

Indulge in Fun Activities

You also get to indulge in a lot of fun activities. Most beach resorts organises a number of sports activities on the beach as well as within the resort.

The Ultimate in Luxury

Some of the top-notch beach resorts are the ultimate in luxury. They will have luxurious rooms and suites, with all the modern amenities to pamper you to the fullest.

Beach Resorts Are For The Entire Family

Kids too love them as they also get to have fun engaging in a whole lot of wonderfully exhilarating activities. They even offer vacation package deals targeting the family crowd.

Unwind on the Beach or Near The Pool

At the beach resort, you can unwind on the beach or near the pool at the resort. You can enjoy a swim with your friends at the swimming pool and have a few good drinks at the pool bar. If you love the beach more than the pool, take a dip and then relax on the beach, soaking in the soothing scenery.

Catch Your Fish and Eat It Too

You can also go fishing as most resorts offer this facility to their guests. There’s nothing better than the taste of a freshly caught fish. Some of the resorts offer this facility where you get to catch your fish and eat it, too. The chefs at the resort will prepare your catch, seasoned to perfection.

Vacation at Christmas

If you live in a warm place, let’s say Florida, then maybe you’re dreaming of a white Christmas and would then choose a place, let’s say Colorado for Christmas. On the flip side, if you aren’t a winter fan but live in, say Minnesota, known for the cold and snowy winters, you may be dreaming of heading to somewhere, anywhere where there is a beautiful warm beach and the beaming sun. So while some may just want a change of pace, others actually just want to ‘get away’ for the holidays.

If you aren’t at home you won’t need to get the food in for the Christmas dinner, this means you won’t have to stand in lines and jockey for position at the deli counter or the bakery aisle. You don’t need to fight others for the perfect turkey or to worry that you don’t have enough marshmallows for Uncle Bob’s famous salad. If you are on vacation someone will make your Christmas dinner for you. No muss, no fuss.

A vacation at Christmas also means that you are prepared for the big day in advance. You will want to take gifts with you for the morning, presumably, so those will have to be purchased before you leave. If the trip itself is the gift it makes a great surprise for those not in the know which is another reason some choose to get away for the holidays.

Some find leaving the extended family at home gives them a more relaxing experience at Christmas. There are no arguments, no who is going to make what and no bad feelings that can come from too much togetherness especially during the holidays.

So, escape the lines, escape the stress, let someone else do the cooking and the cleaning for you, prepare for the big day before you leave and above all make some memories that will be with you for years to come when you choose to leave home for a Christmas trip. It may even turn into a new tradition for the family, one that can be relived year after year. So all that’s left is where to go?

Hotel Package Deals Information

It might also help to read reviews on different hotels and to look over ratings from previous guests. Even though some reviews might be biased, it’s still important to know if there are any potential problems with a particular hotel. When looking for hotel package deals, you can filter out the results by number of stars, price, number of reviews, location, and so forth.

Another important thing to consider is room type. A deal might sound nice but once you arrive at the hotel or inn, you find that the room isn’t what you were hoping for. Even if you’re not picky, you must remember the old saying that you often get what you pay for. For this reason, the lowest rate might not be the best offer as it could be for a cheap, dirty room.

Think about the location. If this will be your first trip to the destination, you will want to stay at a place that is easy to get to from the airport or bus station. Ideally, it should be near some of the places you want to visit during your trip as well. Look at Google Maps to find out what kind of restaurants and stores are nearby. If you’re traveling alone, look into the crime rate for that particular neighborhood.

These are just a few important factors to consider when searching for hotel package deals. Just make sure you get an understanding of what each deal includes, and book at a legitimate site so you’ll know you won’t be getting scammed. Use any online travel coupons you come across to help you save extra money.

Connect With Locals On Your Next Trip

Check Out Local Places

Once you have done sightseeing some of the major tourist locations of a place, go to the less popular ones. You can ask around to know where you can get a glimpse of the native life. If your trip was planned by online travel agents, they might be able to help you out in this regard. Sometimes, they might even know a local guide who can take you to shows that reflect the culture of that place.

Stay with a Host

Instead of staying in a hotel, you can choose to stay with a host. This way, you will be able to see how the people of a place live and also get a closer look at their culture. You can also taste the local delicacies. This will also help you talk to the locals and become a part of their lifestyle, even if for a small amount of time.

Make Use of Public Transportation

When you want to know more about the local culture of a place, always make use of the public transportation. Perhaps, you will catch a conversation on the bus or train ride and get to understand how people of that place think or live their lives. Or, you might meet someone who might give you a few insights into their culture and lives. Also, when you use the public transportation, you will become a part of their everyday lives.

Have a Local Meal

When you are travelling to a new place, don’t go to an international chain of restaurants to have a meal. Instead, opt for a local eatery. Maybe, you can take a meal at shack on the beach or a small cafe on the hilltop. This way, you will be able to taste local delicacies. You can even enquire about the recipes so that you can recreate them once you are back home.

About Cruise Ship Security

On Board the Ship:

  • Keep your doors locked at all times when you are in the room
  • If your room has a safe, use it for your valuables
  • Know who your room steward is, so you can recognize that person
  • Take a walk around the ship so you get comfortable with finding your way around
  • Do not drink so much that you get drunk
  • If you see something suspicious contact the ship’s security
  • Remember that the internet on board the ship is open, this is a public place

On Shore:

It might be better to sign up for shore excursions that are organized by the ship. Yes, they are more expensive than tours you can get with on shore operators but they offer the convenience of signing up in advance and even paying in advance. And the most important thing to remember if you are on a tour organized by the ship and that tour is late getting back, the ship will wait for you. This is not the case with on shore organized tours. If they are late the ship’s captain could depart before you get back to the ship.

If you decide to go into town on your own, then make yourself aware of the local means of transportation. Bring the correct identification with you. Bring a copy of your passport, leave the original in your cabin safe. The most important thing is being aware of your surroundings and where you are. If your gut tells you not to go down that street, listen and find another way.

Taking a cruise is a very easy, and for the most part inexpensive way to see many other countries and experience other cultures. Cruise ship operators take security very serious. There are a lot of things going on out of sight that directly relates to passenger safety.

Just like on land at home your personal security always starts with you.

Looking For Hotels In Istanbul

If you haven’t planned your trip yet and want to know more about Istanbul, you should know that the city is pretty much big – in fact, a great province in Turkey connecting the East with the West and lying on the shores of the Golden Horn. This is the ‘borderline’ on water which separates the old Istanbul district from the new one, but also creates a waterway to the Eastern part of Istanbul.

Because the city is driven by the spirit. There is no ordinary list of things to be seen – instead you should listen to your instinct and start wandering in the city discovering new things. In fact, there are a lot of places you should see and attractions that really matter.

Another thing worth mentioning is that Istanbul tailors to the expectations of every single tourist, regardless of the age or ethnicity. The hospitality of the Turkish people along with the spirit of the city create a magnificent experience.

Now that you know more about the tourism in Istanbul, you need to know more about planning your Istanbul trip.

First of all, there are several big flying gateways leading to the city – the international Ataturk Airport is the closest one to the city and probably the airport you will be landing on when visiting Istanbul. Once you step on the ground, you should know that there are multiple types of transportation you can consider in the city. There is a tram line going through the old city and the famous shopping street Istiklal Caddesi, a waterline connecting the old Istanbul with the newer parts but also the Eastern part (Asia), as well as a metro line with several stops in the ground beneath the old town.

Speaking of hotels, there are many beautiful ones in Istanbul. There are hotels built many decades ago, but also new ones delivering a modern appeal. However, among the very top rated hotels you can choose are the names of Hotel Amira, Witt Istanbul Suites, Basileus Hotel, Millennium Suites and many others. Basically, you can use Booking and find a hotel matching your interests and budget.