A Pre-holiday Housekeeping Checklist

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You can’t wait to jet off on your next holiday — you may have even found the perfect property to rent while abroad, but there’s one very important thing you can’t forget: your own home. Before you leave, remember to take a few extra precautions, to ensure your own home stays safe and disaster-free when you’re gone. After all, the last thing you want after a refreshing break is to come home to a burst water pipe or a house that’s been robbed.

Whether you’re spending a month on the beach in Thailand or a long weekend in Prague, the steps you should take are the same. There’s a wealth of useful home maintenance resources online, but remember to also run through this quick housekeeping checklist before you leave on your holiday:

For a Weekend Break

  • Take out your rubbish – Untended rubbish, especially in the kitchen, can grow rotten or attract mice. You don’t want to come home to the smell of rotting rubbish — or have it strewn all over your kitchen floor — so remember to leave it outside for the bin man, before you take off.
  • Turn down your heat, or turn it off – If it’s winter, you may not want to come home to a freezing house, so consider turning your heat on low, or on a ‘holiday setting,’ if your heater has that feature. Either way, turning the heat low or off will ensure your house doesn’t accidentally burn up in flames — and it’ll save on utility bills.
  • Set a lamp on timer, so your house doesn’t seem empty – If your house is obviously empty, you may attract burglars. To combat this, you can buy a timer and set it to turn on a lamp in the front room regularly, for a few hours each evening, to make it appear like someone’s at home.
  • Switch on your security system – Finally, make sure your house will be a safe one to come home to. If you have a security system, turn it on, remembering to take the details with you and possibly leaving them with a close friend at home.

For Four Days or Longer 

  • Temporarily stop your post and newspaper deliveries – Burglars look for houses where post or newspaper deliveries are piling up. So contact the postal service in advance and have them temporarily hold your post while you’re gone. Do the same thing with newspapers and any other regular deliveries.
  • Leave a key with a trusted friend or neighbour – To be extra safe, arrange with a neighbour ahead of time to water houseplants, feed pets, and check on your home while you’re gone. Leave your emergency contact details with them, too.
  • Unplug appliances and electronics – Save on electricity bills and protect your items from an unexpected power surge. Unplug stereos, televisions, computers, lamps, microwaves, toasters – anything you don’t want to have to replace.
  • Toss out food that will expire – You don’t want to come home to a kitchen full of mouldy food or a fridge that needs to be disinfected. This can attract pests and create an unhygienic environment. So go through your fridge and pantry, and make sure to bin any food that will go off, or give it to a neighbour or friend.
  • Turn off your water valves – If you’re gone for a while, it’s a good idea to turn off water valves to your sink, toilets, dishwasher, and washing machines. Otherwise, a leak or burst pipe could lead to a leakage and water damage at home.

This straightforward housekeeping checklist should be easy enough to follow. Give yourself a day or two to go through these tasks, and you’ll be able to enjoy your holiday even more, knowing that you’ve done your best to keep your home tidy and protected!

Luxury Yacht Charter Destinations – The Greek Cyclades

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The days are getting lighter and the long Northern winter is almost at an end, which means that it’s definitely time to be booking your summer luxury yacht charters.

There are few places on earth that scream idyllic yachting holiday more than the Greek Islands, with their bewitching blend of ancient civilizations, whitewashed villages and turquoise and sapphire waters.

Each year the superyacht fleet comes visiting the Cyclades islands, and it’s extremely easy to see why. This mesmerizing chain of islands offers a beguiling mix of night-time glamour, ancient culture and astonishing natural beauty.

Dock in famed Mykonos to walk amongst windmills and along long sandy beaches, and dance the night away in one of the sophisticated clubs. Have an elegant beach party at night amongst the lanterns and white cloth tables set up next to the silvery sea. Eat rustic fresh food in a quiet hillside taverna or dine in one of the excellent restaurants along the harbor front, looking out across the lights of the gathered yachts. This island is a mecca for the superyacht set each summer, and it has a buzz of excitement during the summer months that is extremely hard to resist. Part high glamour, part deep relaxation: this is yachting bliss.

Santorini, meanwhile, is simply unmissable. This is the island that launched a million postcards, with its whitewashed village perched on top of towering, vertiginous cliffs that plummet down sheer to the deep sea. An extinct volcano, the beauty of this island beggars belief, with its sandy isolated beaches and quaint villages reached by donkey paths. Anchor off and spend a morning wakeboarding or swimming in the shadow of this ancient fire-mountain. Go ashore for an exquisite lunch, or spend an afternoon being pampered in a spa with a panoramic view off the edge of the cliffs across the sparkling Aegean. Have a cocktail, while watching a limitless pool running off the edge to nowhere, your deckchair waiting in the warm afternoon sunshine, immense cliffs glowing red as the sun drops into the sea.

Where Mykonos offers glamour and Santorini staggering scenery, Delos offers the heart and soul of the Cyclades chain. The birthplace of the immortals Apollo and Artemis, this is sacred ground, on which no-one is allowed to be born, or to die. No-one lives here now, but even in the days when it was the bustling trade heart of the Cyclades, women in labor or those close to death would be ferried off the island to ensure that it remained pure and sacred. Today, it exists as history you can walk amongst; a deserted island full of sculptures and artifacts standing strong against the ravages of time. It is an enchanting, magnificent place, and one where you can feel the echo of the ages.

The delights don’t stop there; set your yacht’s course to meander through the Cyclades island chain, taking in the breathtaking beauty of Naxos, Andros and Amorgos, or visit Homer’s tomb and enjoy the great nightlife of Ios.

This summer, anchor your yacht in a perfect cove and plunge off the swim platform into sapphire waters shot through with shards of light. Walk among lemon groves and sail among the peaks of sunken mountain ranges. Eat and drink and soak up the Mediterranean sunshine. Tomorrow, you can do it all again.

To find out more about booking a luxury yacht charter in the Greek Cyclades, please contact the yacht charter experts at Northrop & Johnson.

Awesome Adventure Holidays For The Whole Family To Enjoy

Are you sick and tired of spending your annual family vacation in Spain where every bar plays reruns of Only Fools and Horses all day long? You’re not the only one. Experts predict that thousands of families will think outside of the box this year and travel to somewhere a little different. Opting to take an adventure holiday might be a little more expensive, but it is guaranteed to present you with lots of awesome new experiences. If you have children, your time away this year could create memories that last a lifetime. At the end of the day, the last thing you want to do is waste your money on a trip to the same old locations.

The best thing about planning an adventure holiday? It’s much simpler than it used to be. These days, there are so many apps available for your smartphone that it is easy to make all your arrangements from a mobile device.

Safari

There are so many different options open to you when planning a safari that you can’t pass on the opportunity. While most people decide to travel to countries like Kenya, there are lots of other places you can try. We saw an excellent review a few days ago from a family that booked an India tiger safari. It all comes down to which places you’d like to visit, and which animals you’d like to encounter. Children love getting up close and personal with some of the biggest beasts on earth. Going on safari will let them do that without risking injury.

Jungle trek

You’re going to need a lot of stamina to handle a jungle trek, but some people find it to be the best experience of their life. You could travel to somewhere like the Democratic Republic of Congo, but that can be a little too dangerous if you have children in your party. With that in mind, we always recommend that people visit Peru. Organizing a trek through the Amazon rainforest is simple, and incredibly enjoyable. You could even follow the Inca Trail and witness the awesomeness of Machu Picchu. Just be warned that it takes around eight days to reach that mountain paradise on foot. Most people trek half way and then arrange a helicopter ride. However, the decision is down to you.

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Ross Huggett

The Arctic

Presuming you don’t mind freezing temperatures, you could have a very enjoyable experience in the Arctic. Most people steer clear of that area because most of it is inhabited. However, therein lies its beauty. If you want to visit a place that hasn’t been ravaged by humans, there is no better location on earth. Your best bet is to book a cruise that visits the Arctic. There are plenty of them around, and you might be surprised at the price. Just don’t forget to take your camera as you’re sure to see some amazing sights.

We hope you have gained some inspiration from our suggestions, and that you will consider something a little different this year. No matter what size your family might be, the perfect holiday is just waiting to be discovered.

 

 

 

How To Plan Your Vacation Trip Using Your Mobile Device

Planning a travel trip could be a head ache as there are many things to consider before you travel from place to place. Worry less, as you can now create a perfect travel plan for your next adventure using only your mobile device. But first, you might be asking why only mobile device? The simplest answer to that question is, because it is so handy you can bring it anywhere you go. No need to bring book travel guides, maps, etc. your mobile device is your perfect travel buddy.

This guide is categorized into 4 essential phases each of these category have and equivalent apps that will help you manage your trip in advance.

Phase 1:  Choosing your desired location

If you are still unsure of the places you want to visit, I suggest downloading TripAdvisor app which will help you decide which places are great to visit. TripAdvisor help you find the lowest airfare, best hotels, restaurants, prices based on other traveler’s reviews and opinion.  Next thing is to make sure you’ll never get lost in the place; prior to your travel use Waze Social GPS Map to track your future route destination and save it for offline viewing.

Phase 2: Choosing when to travel

Before traveling to a place make sure the weather condition is good. AccuWeather app lets you stay connected with the latest weather forecast. It is also best to check out the current and future events of a city you wanted to visit. Nearify app helps you discover upcoming local and current nearby events, use this app to fully maximize and enjoy your trip.

Phase 3: Budgeting

As a traveler you want to make sure that you have enough money to spend while on vacation, that is why it is important to budget your expenses prior to your trip to make sure you won’t over spend or be short on money. Travel Expense app helps you record all your expenses by importing your credit card this app automatically creates a receipt of all your purchases from fare, food, hotels and other miscellaneous.  For instance, you are planning to visit France to play casino estimate a budget and input in on the app, this will then serve as expenses guide. If you want to play casino Visitez Vegas Casino Francais for more information.

Phase 4: Finalizing and Organizing

Last and the most important part, after you decide which places you want to visit list down each of these places using Evernote this app will remind you the places you wanted to visit and those you have been visited already.

Your trip should look like this in the image below:

So in summary, here are the mobile applications what will help you plan your next perfect adventure trip.

  1. TripAdvisor – Finding great travel destination
  2. Waze – Real time GPS map
  3. AccuWeather – Real time weather forecast
  4. Nearify – Event discovery
  5. Budget Manager – Travel expense manager
  6. Evernote – Travel reminder

Once you are done planning your next adventure trip, make sure not to lose your mobile device when you travel or else your whole trip can be ruined and keep in mind that safety is the first priority. Enjoy your future travel with these tips!

5 Amazing Things To Do In Italy

Ahh, the sights and sounds of Bella Italia! This place of unrivalled beauty is a top travel hotspot and is included on many a bucket list. With the new year now firmly upon us, we can start thinking about ways to reach our travel aspirations and how we can plan the perfect trip to enrich our lives this year.

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pixabay image source

There are so many genuinely amazing things to do in Italy that it can get a little overwhelming. When you take stock and think about things from an objective view, you can narrow them down to a few ‘must see’ essentials though. This is perfect if you are going on a shorter break or have specific travel goals in mind.

Depending on whether you are travelling as a family, a couple or as a solo traveller, there are various avenues to explore. You can begin to think about finding the cheapest flights and the best deals, before settling down to plan some top sightseeing adventures!

1 – Take a romantic moonlit night ride on a beautiful Venice gondola

There is nothing more romantic than taking a romantic gondola ride. Except, of course, taking a moonlit evening gondola ride! This is a magical way to see the city and experience a charming and romantic ride. It’s not just for couple’s though. If you are travelling alone then, you can still take a ride and enjoy the moment. Why not?

2 – Take a cycling tour around Italy

It is nice to do something different and Italy has beautiful scenery. You could start by searching for italian cycling holidays with the chaingang.co.uk as an interesting first step to your research. Take a look at all of your options and look into some of the top cycle routes to make the most of your journey. Breathe in the fresh Italian air and lose yourself in stunning mounting views and lush green scenery.

3 – Eat a genuine Italian pizza in a renowned restaurant or setting

We can all try our hand at making a genuine italian pizza. However, nothing quite lives up to being able to sample of of Italy’s top pizza’s in a romantic or renowned setting. Find a great restaurant, order a glass of red wine and take in the sights and sounds as you dine.

4 – See an Italian opera

You might never have seen an opera before. You may not even have any desire to. However, when it comes to visiting Italy, one thing that is really worth doing, is seeing an opera. There is a famous opera company in Verona where you can sit and enjoy the beautiful music in a stunning amphitheatre. This absolutely sums up the beautiful and versatile nature of this stunning travel destination.

In short, whatever you choose to do when you travel to Italy, just make the experience you own. You can spend a lifetime planning and preparing, but nothing beats actually getting out there and doing something about it. Expect the unexpected and jump in with both feet for a fun and rewarding adventure this year.

A Guide To England’s Beautiful Countryside

When it comes to a relaxing break, nothing beats England’s beautiful countryside. The picturesque hills, the charming villages and stunning scenery are the thing of dreams. You can get lost in the magical surroundings and breath in the clean air. The peace and quiet is all you need to help you forget the stress and strains of working life. Just two days out in the countryside and you’ll immediately feel better.

The best thing about England’s countryside is the huge range on offer. Whatever sort of person you are, you’ll find something for you in the rolling green hills. For the walkers, the countryside offers endless routes and pathways. For the more extreme, you can find rock climbing and mountain treks. For those who prefer to take it easy, England’s pubs and tea rooms are renowned the world over.

That stereotypical, idyllic English vision is alive and well. It won’t take long to find your peace and quiet once you start looking. We’re here to help you out with a quick rundown of the best places that England has to offer. Whether you want to venture far into the unknown, or stay close to London, we’ve got you covered. First up, the beautiful counties of Devon and Cornwall.

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Thanks to JR P for the image

Devon and Cornwall are the perfect seaside counties. England has plenty of beautiful coastline but this south coast section is the very best. You’ll indulge in clotted cream teas, cornish ice cream and buttery scones. It whets my appetite just thinking about it! There is far more than just food on offer here though. Devon and Cornwall have the best coastal walks in the country. Some run along the cliffs, others wind down to the beach. For the thrill seekers, you’ll find the best waves to surf on the north shores of Cornwall.

The Lake District is perhaps England’s most famous area of beauty. The lakes and mountains provide a truly stunning backdrop to any visit. The lakes are renowned for their romantic allure. The lakes themselves are magnificent, it’s worth hiring a boat and just drifting away for a few hours. Cute villages and towns dot the countryside. Keswick and Kendal are particular highlights and worth a visit.

Cheshire is the place you think of when you imagine cute English villages and markets. The county is famous for its sheer number of stately homes and gardens. Stately homes are richly decorated and palatial in many cases. You can step back in time to the decadent and indulgent periods of old. Cheshire residents take pride in the gardens that surround these houses. They are beautifully kept and often follow a theme or tradition. You’ll find mazes, oriental gardens and traditional English features.

Essex is the place to go if you don’t want to stray too far from London. You could use a London car hire company and be in the Essex countryside within an hour or so. The scenery here is wonderful. When it comes to finding great walks and trails, Essex has it all. The county has the highest number of designated walking routes in the country. You’re bound to find one for you, each one leading to a quaint rural village.

Yorkshire has plenty of rich and diverse options for travellers. The North York Moors boast stunning views, rock outcrops and endless hiking options. You also have the historic city of York right on your doorstep. The winding, cobbled streets and medieval shops are really worth a visit. Take a walk along the ancient city walls or explore the castle and Minster. If you prefer a more cosmopolitan environment, Leeds is only a short train ride away too.

Hadrian’s Wall Country is truly magnificent. Stretching from Carlisle in the West right across to Newcastle in the East, the ancient wall is a wonder. The Roman built wall remains in tact at many points along the route. In some places, the wall has succumbed to ruin, but for the most part you can walk the full length. Dotting the walls are ancient forts, shrouded in history, battles and folklore. Occasionally you’ll come across wonderful tea shops and traditional pubs.

Shakespeare Country is a small area in the heart of England. Stratford-upon-Avon is the traditional centre and birthplace of Shakespeare himself. Walking around the city really gives you a sense of literature history. You can visit the house that Shakespeare grew up in. You can see the inspiration that led to the fine masterpieces he created. The original theatre still remains and you can really envelope yourself in the magic of Shakespeare.

Dorset is another small area steeped in literary history. It is the home of Thomas Hardy amongst others, and it makes the most of its rich heritage. In addition to that, the county has the highest number of conservation areas in the entire country. That makes it one of the most beautiful and serene places to visit. Be sure to pop into one the local markets to savour the famous chocolatiers and cider brewers. They are among the finest in England.

The Peak District is the destination for the hikers and explorers among us. Its rocky outcrops and mountainous peaks are a goldmine for adventurers. The scenery will leave you breathless as the misty, foggy mountains loom over you. Waterfalls crash through the villages and lakes sit quietly at the foot of the mountains. The Peak District is one of the most peaceful and serene places you’ll ever visit.

The New Forest is the final area on our list and only a short train journey from London. If you only have a short time in London, be sure to get out and see this cute landscape. The thatched cottages and the quaint village greens are picturesque. It really is England in a postcard. The New Forest is only a quick hop from the vibrant seaside town of Brighton, too. We can highly recommend a visit.

The English countryside is a true gem. Among the vibrant cities are beautiful, picturesque villages and scenery. The countryside is what makes England great. If it’s here on your doorstep, get outside and enjoy it. If you’re visiting England for the first time, put it right at the top of your list.

 

Your Ultimate Guide to a Weekend in Berlin

City breaks are the perfect way to unwind. What could be better than exploring a new city for the weekend? The great thing about city breaks is that you can take in as much or as little of the local life as you want. When it comes to choosing the perfect weekend getaway, there is a raft of choice. So, why not make the search easier and head to Berlin?

Berlin has always had something of a cool, edgy vibe. It’s the perfect place for a weekend retreat.

Here are some of the best bits of Berlin.

Head Out in the Summer Time

Without a doubt, the best time to visit Berlin is during the summer. There are a wealth of festivals to behold and events throughout the length and breadth of the city. The weather is a balmy 30 degrees and is the perfect way to spend a leisurely summer weekend. The weather during the winter can be harsh. So, head out between April and September to see the best of the fine weather.  Whether you are into arts, history and architecture or whether clubbing is your bag, Berlin has something for everyone.

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Berlin Wall

Getting Around the City

Berlin has an excellent transportation system that runs 24 hours per day. You can use the underground system, known as the U-Bahn or the over rail lines, the S-Bahn. You can also head to Berlin via Stratos Jets. These are connected the city centre and the major airport. So, you won’t have difficulty getting around.

Major Attractions

When you are in Berlin, you must see the remains of the Berlin Wall. This has now been declared as a national monument. It’s a true testament to the war-torn history of Germany. The monument is a must-see for any history buff. Admittance is free, and the museum around the site is open all year round.

Of course, if you want something a little more light-hearted, head to the Berlin Zoological Gardens. The zoo is the most famous in Germany. It was opened in 1844 and is one of the oldest zoos in Europe. While you are there, do make sure that you check out the polar bears. The conservation efforts that are undertaken at the zoo are phenomenal too.

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Berlin at night

For those that want to wander around the many parks that Berlin has to offer, head to Treptower Park. The park is one of the largest in Germany and is a popular place for recreational activities within the city. The park has a soviet memorial within its confines too. So, if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the perfect place to relax. What’s more, you get a little bit of history thrown in the mix too.  During the summer, rock concerts are held in the park. So, if you love music, you are in for a treat.

 

Grunewald is one of the most popular destinations for tourists. Germany is well known for its green spaces. The large forest is a must see. Do be aware that access to some of the Grunewald is forbidden due to conservation efforts. But, do head there in the height of summer.

The Ultimate Guide To Chicago Nightlife

When the sun goes down a lot of cities change completely. Chicago is one of these, a city with a completely different character in the night when compared to the day. If you’re planning a trip to the city, it will always be worth doing your research, but you should be careful not to overlook the nighttime attractions. It would be the worst thing in the world to have a great day around town, and then be lost for things to do after sunset.

Well, to make sure that you aren’t marooned when the sun goes down, we’ve assembled the ultimate guide to the nightlife. From gay clubs in Chicago to after-hours screenings of the best horror movies, the city has it all. And we’re here to make sure that you can get the most of it.

Cocktails

The chances are that if you’re visiting the city, you’re in town for something a bit special. This means that you might be willing to spend a bit more on the whole experience of going out for a drink. Cocktails are a great novelty that can let you get a sense of the city, especially with its reputation for booziness during the time of prohibition.

You should be looking for local hotspots, like George’s Cocktail Lounge. This is a great little place that heats up late at night/early in the morning. It is both a bar and cocktail lounge, as well as a liquor store. This has given it a great local reputation, and it endows it with a lot of character.

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Source: Pixabay

Clubs

Of course, once you’ve partaken in some fine dining and classy cocktails you might want to move onto something a bit more energetic. And luckily for you, Chicago is home to a number of great clubs with a national reputation. Berlin is a great example, with a fascinating history that dates back to the new-wave music movement. They have a strong focus on the retro and the classic, but it remains a completely accessible place. The costs are also significantly lower than any other club in town, making it a great option for a relaxed night on the town.

Food

At sunset, you probably indulged in something fancy and expensive. But if you’ve been up for the whole night then you’ll be looking for something cheap and filling. Chicago has a reputation for great comfort food (think “deep dish” pizza), so you have nothing to worry about in this regard.

Clarke’s Diner is amongst the best. You won’t be looking for a pizza on their menu, as it’s the breakfast that truly entrances the senses. Maybe you’re just looking for a cup of coffee as you are on comedown from your night on the town. Or maybe you’re looking for a big breakfast to soak up all of the cocktails from earlier on. Either way, this is the place for you. Modestly priced and centrally located, it’s hard to beat the menu of Clarke’s, and it’s well worth making a pilgrimage there.