3 Travel Essentials For Every Adventure

For some, the next great adventure is only a flight away, and it’s a matter of pack up and jet off. Some others are embarking on an experience for the first time.

Today we are going to be looking at some often overlooked items that can be useful to all involved. After all, imaging reaching your first destination and wishing you had one of the items below.

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Image Credit – Pexels – CC0 Licence

Laptop

One thing that often goes overlooked when people go travelling is the company of a laptop. A laptop can be one of your finest companions while travelling. There are two things you should always consider when thinking about taking a laptop travelling. One is its weight, and the other is its battery life.

While travelling, you will, of course, be spending a lot of time commuting from place to place, and this is the ideal time to take out the laptop and start documenting your trip. If you are lucky enough to have access to a WiFi point while commuting, you can update your social media and let everybody know where you are in the world. 

If you are one of the many people that travel with a Mac. Make sure you are up to date and know how to DM on Instagram on Mac this will save you having to drain your important phone battery during long commutes.

Great Camera

The importance of a great camera while travelling is often overlooked. A lot of people presume that just purchasing any camera with a reputable name will be good enough.

The thing about cameras is, they are complicated pieces of equipment and knowing exactly how they function is vital before purchase. Becoming familiar with many camera brands and even some testing will pay off hugely in the long run. Remember what a camera advertised is not always what you get.

Cameras like the Canon M50, for example, have a USP of 4K addition. The 4K is however cropped 4K so spoils 30% of your image. You can get better 4K for a lot cheaper by opting for the Panasonic G7.

Having the right selection of lenses for your trip is very important for you to capture the right images. Capturing the perfect image is essential, especially if you plan on uploading them to your blog or social media later on.

The Smart Suitcase

You read that correctly, the latest injection into the smart tech line is the smart suitcase, and these guys are quite smart indeed.

Smart suitcases look like a regular suitcase, and they just come packed with some hidden features. Most smart suitcases come with a digital weight reader but depending on the option you choose, and there is a multitude of extras you can choose.

There are options now that allow you to charge your phone while pulling the suitcase and there are even cases like the recent Modo. The Modo will enable you to sit on the case and ride to your destination. The only trouble with ride-on luggage is you like slightly insane.

Smart luggage, however, all comes with GPS tracking, so for every traveler, this could be essential.

 

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Reykjavik – World’s northernmost capital

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND: My 62nd country to visit – Iceland is a country of the Vikings, where trolls and elves live in the mountains and where Norse Gods like Odin, his powerful sons Thor and Loki were once worshiped. This modern Nordic island, in the North Atlantic Ocean in between Europe and North America has dramatic landscapes and extreme geological contrasts. On one hand, Iceland has some of the largest glaciers in Europe and on the other, it has some of the most active volcanoes in the world. This is a land of “Fire and Ice”. 

Downtown Reykjavik, Iceland

Downtown Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe with a population of only 350k and most of them live in the capital, Reykjavik. The country is big on exporting fish. Over 80% of the houses and buildings are heated by geothermal energy. 

Contemporary art by Trjonin Lake in Reykjavik, Iceland

Contemporary art by Trjonin Lake in Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, which means smokey or steamy bay, is the capital and the largest city of Iceland; also a focal point to start your journey in this island. Keflavik International Airport is a little less than an hour drive from the city center of Reykjavik. Flybus is a cheaper way to reach the capital. We took a taxi from the airport and paid about $130 USD one-way for 4 of us. Renting cars or camper vans are very popular here, especially if you are planning to explore the Ring Road. 

Walking around city center in Reykjavik, Iceland

Walking around city center in Reykjavik, Iceland

Few things to keep in mind while traveling to Iceland: currency here is Icelandic kronas or ISK. U.S. citizens don’t need visas for a short stay. Visiting this island nation can get very expensive, a lot more than mainland European countries. Good thing is tipping is not a popular culture here, in restaurants or in excursions. I didn’t see anyone tipping anywhere. For public transportation, Straeto mobile app for public bus is pretty handy where you can pay ahead of time, look at the map, and schedule for each route.

TIME of TRAVEL: It was during my kids’ summer break (end of July to be specific) when we flew to Iceland. My sister flew in from the East Coast. We met and stayed together in Reyjkavik during our whole stay. We were in Iceland for 5 nights. Although we were prepared for rain and sun with waterproof jackets, hats, rain boots, and hoodies, it barely rained during our stay…nothing we couldn’t have handled with just a t-shirt. But it does get chilly and windy in some places. So, being prepared doesn’t hurt, especially if you are traveling with children like I was. 

The sun used to set around midnight when we were there and it was out before 3am again. It didn’t get completely dark outside even with those couple hours without the sun. To see the complete midnight sun, June is the best time to visit Iceland. It only lasts for 2-3 weeks around that time. Summer is definitely the best time to explore since chances are that all of the sites will be easily accessible. It was a bit cloudy, gloomy, and drizzled a few times those few days. But I can imagine winter in Iceland would be very magical with snow covered mountains and landscapes. 

EATING and SHOPPING: Since Iceland is very expensive when it comes to…well, everything, my sister and I brought package food with us, like pre packaged udon soup from Costco, Ramen/cup noodles, tuna cans, and some snacks. We also made a trip to a 24/7 small grocery on Laugevaur to buy basic things like eggs, bread, oil, mayonnaise, fruits, and etc for breakfast where I paid around $60 for just a handful of few stuff. We still ate out for a few meals and the cost for some of those plates were A LOT. But when you are in Iceland, you have to try their lamb and seafood. There are lots of American chain fast food restaurants also, like Subway, Taco Bell, KFC and etc. Even the 6 inch Subway sandwich we had for one meal, I paid about $12. 

Laugevaur Street is packed with a variety of restaurants. Our first lunch was at Shanghai, a small Chinese on Laugavegur strip. Do stop at Sandholt for coffee and pastries. I loved its contemporary looking interior and lots of desserts options. Another awesome place to dine in Reykjavik is Icelandic Street Food on Laugevaur street…while I wasn’t a big fan of their “Volcanic Soup”…a smokey tomato based soup, the pan-fried cod was perfect. 

For one of the lunches, we came to Messinn’s…few minutes walk from the Trjonin Lake. Saltfish mousse with rye bread for appetizer is something I’ve never tried before and was tasty beyond expectation. For the main course, we all had Icelandic fish. All the dishes came with potatoes and spinach. Lastly for dessert, apple crumbles with ice cream was a yum. Icelandic lamb and seafood were my most favorite items here. I could eat seafood here at every meal if the price wasn’t like $30 per plate. We had lamb only once …it was exceptionally flavorful and perfectly cooked. 

Our lunch at Messinn’s in Reykjavik, Iceland

Our lunch at Messinn’s in Reykjavik, Iceland

For souvenirs, Laugevaur would be a great choice. Icelandic wool products, like socks, hats, gloves are definitely popular souvenirs. We bought a few wool products from the Icelandic brand store, Icewear. These items run very expensive….woolen sweaters can be a couple hundred dollars. Miniature Viking ships, beer-mugs, trolls, and elves are fun items to bring back home. I bought some lava soaps, Icelandic chocolate bars, a photo book of Iceland, and bracelets made from real volcanic stones. 

Trolls of Iceland

Trolls of Iceland

MY HOTEL: We stayed in Sif Apartment, very close to the center of Reykjavik. You will find lots of apartment style hotels in the capital. Sif Apartment is a newly renovated stylish, Scandinavian looking building with new furniture, features, and everything. There was no front desk on site but their great communication and accurate instructions made it very easy for us to check-in and to store our luggage in their facility before our check-in time. The apartment is located only 15 minutes walk from the city center and the big touristic spots, like Sun Voyager or Harpa. Hlemmur, one of the main bus stations in central Rekjavik, was only 2-3 minutes walk away from our hotel. 

Sif Apartment in Reykjavik, Iceland - our hotel

Sif Apartment in Reykjavik, Iceland – our hotel

PLACES I’VE VISITED: We had about a day and a half to really explore the capital. While Reykjavik is very scenic and ready to entertain its guests with different tastes, the most fascinating part of Iceland is outside the capital. There are lots of excursions that you can take from Reykjavik with different options and price ranges. The best and cheapest way to roam around is renting a car with a GPS and go around the Ring Road. Good thing is that most of the sites here don’t have entry fees. 

The actual downtown area is pretty small and the focal point of tourism. Walking around the city center which is characterized by Scandinavian style colorful houses is nice and highly recommended, since most of the attractions are within walking distance. 

Here are all the places we’ve visited in Reykjavik:

  1. LAUGAVEGUR DISTRICT: Laugavegur street is where we headed on our first day. It’s the main shopping street and the primary commercial hub of downtown Reykjavik…also, one of the oldest shopping strips in Iceland. After our lunch at Shanghai Chinese restaurant, we kept walking on Laugavegur. Options for souvenir shops, boutique or designer stores, cafes, and restaurants on Laugavegur are endless.
Laugavegur District in Reykjavik, Iceland

Laugavegur District in Reykjavik, Iceland

2. SUN VOYAGER: From Laugavegur district, it’s about 5 minutes walk to Sun Voyager. It’s a huge steel boat sculpture set on granite by the sea. 

Sun Voyager in Reykjavik, Iceland

Sun Voyager in Reykjavik, Iceland

3. HARPA: You can see the glass made honey-comb concert hall, Harpa, while walking by the water from Sun Voyager. It’s the home of national opera and symphony. The building opened back in 2011. It’s free to go in and look around. They also have few guided tours inside the building. We spend about half an hour walking around and checking out couple stores inside Harpa. 

Harpa in Reykjavik, Iceland

Harpa in Reykjavik, Iceland

4. HALLGRIMSKIRKJA or CHURCH of HALLGRIMUR: After our Golden Circle and Snaefellsness excursions, we spent a full day in Reykjavik downtown again. And this was our first stop. It’s about 10 minutes walk from Laugavegur street. 

Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik, Iceland

Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik, Iceland

Hallgrimskirkja is a striking architecture with 73 meter high tower, inspired by Icelandic traditions. But unfortunately, they were preparing for a concert and the church was closed to the public when we were there. The tower was open and visitors can climb it for a fee (although we didn’t do it). This is an iconic landmark of Iceland for its artistic and modern edifice.

5. AUSTURVOLLUR SQUARE/ICELAND PARLIAMENT/THE CATHEDRAL of REYKJAVIK: This is a tiny square in the heart of Reykjavik. Both the parliament and the national cathedral stand by Austorvollur square. 

Austorvollur square and the Icelandic Parliament in Reykjavik, Iceland

Austorvollur square and the Icelandic Parliament in Reykjavik, Iceland

The Icelandic Parliament is a classical 19th century structure built in 1881. Don’t let the size fool you…it is one of the important buildings in Reykjavik. Opposite of the parliament near Austurvollur is the Cathedral of Reykjavik. This is the seat of the Bishop of Iceland. Recent renovation reflect its original 18th century design. 

Cathedral of Reykjavik in Iceland

Cathedral of Reykjavik in Iceland

6. TRJONIN LAKE and TOWN HALL: This is a small but a prominent lake in central Reykjavik with the City Hall on one side. We passed along its shore and spent a few minutes. Few museums are close to this lake. There is also an outdoor restaurant right by it. 

Trjonin Lake and the Town Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland

Trjonin Lake and the Town Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland

 

7. OLD HARBOR and PUFFIN EXPRESS TOUR: This trip was put on our itinerary specifically for my 9-years old daughter. She loves animals and birds…and this was a perfect opportunity to get some real life education. We learned a lot about puffins and their history in Iceland. The short boat ride to the puffin island was enjoyable too. 

Old Harbor in Reykjavik, Iceland

Old Harbor in Reykjavik, Iceland

It was $57 per person for one hour boat ride to a nearby island where puffins live. It departs from the old harbor There are other places in Iceland where you can go puffin watching but this was something closer to Reykjavik that we could do. 

The Old Harbor is a starting point for most (if not all) of the water cruises/excursions to nearby sites. Few restaurants and cafes are here with different tour companies. 

From the Puffin Express Boat in Reykjavik, Iceland

From the Puffin Express Boat in Reykjavik, Iceland

IF I VISIT ICELAND AGAIN: If I come to Iceland again, which I probably will, I would stay in the same Sif Apartment for its location. I would also like to rent a car or a camper van to go around the Ring Road and visit some secret lagoons, beaches, hot springs, small villages, and especially some ice caves. I still regret not buying a woolen sweater or a wintry jacket from Icewear or 66 North. Finally, I wouldn’t miss eating more of their fresh fish. I do want to see the northern lights too, but I’m not sure if I can take the freezing temperature here…let’s see. 

 

3 of the best road trips to take in Canada

Vast terrains of untouched wilderness, secluded silver lakes, glacier-tipped mountains and coastal perfection – Canada’s rugged and diverse landscapes are every road tripper’s wildest fantasy. Driving along these scenic roads allows you the opportunity to discover Canada’s hidden beauty at your own pace – to stop and soak in gorgeous scenery or ramp up the excitement with hiking or kayaking. And with so much uninhabited country to explore, you’re sure to wander countless times off the beaten track, which is exactly what fantastic journeys on the road are all about.

The sheer expanse of Canada’s natural sights is unbelievable and nearly unparalleled, and there’s no better way to see it all than on a road trip. But driving on Canada’s icy roads during their extreme winters can be challenging if not done slowly and with care. Make sure you research Canadian driving laws before you go, too, so you’re as prepared as you can be. They’re not as wacky as some country’s laws – in Cyprus, for example, it’s illegal to drink even non-alcoholic drinks when driving – but it’s still worth doing some research.

From mesmerizing snow-capped peaks in the west to glittering eastern shores, here are the finest road trips you can enjoy in picture-perfect Canada:

  1. The Cabot Trail

The Cabot Trail is one of Canada’s most infamously picturesque roads. You’ll find this 300 km long highway on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. The trail curves around the north of the island alongside the coastline for the most part, affording breathtaking views over the sapphire waters of the North Atlantic. The island also sports a number of excellent hiking trails such as the Skyline Trail, which promises unforgettable sights around every corner. Autumn is the best time to be here, but the road offers heavenly views of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park throughout the year. Here you’ll find plenty of walking trails where you can rub shoulders with wildlife and appreciate the clean ocean air.

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Link to image: https://unsplash.com/photos/UVyOfX3v0Ls

  1. The Sea to Sky Highway

This road links Vancouver and Whistler and is the perfect journey for travelers looking to be inspired by the unique and dramatic views of Canada’s West Coast. You’ll find a handful of great places to stop on the way including the Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver and Shannon Falls, the third largest waterfall in British Columbia. The Britannia Mine Museum is another curious attraction close by, packed with engaging sights for the whole family. You’ll also find the Sea to Sky Gondola on the way, a truly unmissable stop offering delightful views and an amazing suspension bridge. The best months to visit are from July to September, when Vancouver’s dry season creates ideal hiking and road tripping conditions.

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Link to image: https://unsplash.com/photos/xOigCUcFdA8

  1. Icefields Parkway

With 232 km of blissful and ravishing natural landscapes, the Icefields Parkway is a highway serenaded by magnificent woodlands, roaring waterfalls and rugged mountains on either side. This road takes you through the heart of the Rocky Mountains and affords bewitching views of both the Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. These beautiful reserves play home to the Columbia Icefield, the largest ice field found on the Rocky Mountains. Here you can go on guided hikes to visit the Athabasca and Saskatchewan glaciers and learn more about the area’s unique geological composition. You can also camp out at Jasper National Park and seize the opportunity to gaze at constellations in one of the best dark sky reserves on the planet.

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Link to image: https://unsplash.com/photos/aCWbZNTkDtw

 

Why It Makes Sense To Stay At The Dan Giles Makati Hotel

If you are looking for the best hotel in Philippines, you should look no further than the Dan Giles Makati hotel. This hotel is located in Makati, Manila and it is guaranteed to meet all your needs. Now, you do not have to take this writer’s word for it. Just read the rest of this article and you will discover all the goodies the Dan Giles Makati hotel has to offer.

Excellent Location

This hotel is located in Makati city in Manila. As you probably know, Manila is the capital of the Philippines. Now, Makati is right in the central business district of Manila. It follows that if you are on a business trip here; staying at hotel in Makati is a wise choice because you can conclude all your business transactions without having to leave the economic and commercial hub of Manila.

Great Cuisine

There is no sense in staying at a hotel that does not offer you excellent cuisine. To enjoy your experience in any hotel in the Philippines, you must ensure that the hotel you have chosen has a number of top class restaurants. Now, this is what you get if you stay at the Daniel Giles Manila hotel. This hotel has a number of great restaurants that offer mouth-watering and delicious meals. You can opt for the classic Philippines cuisine if you like. You can also go for exotic options like Chinese, Indian, Continental, African or Mediterranean cuisine. If you are looking for something special, you can get vegetarian diet and even the vegan diet. Just state what you need and the chefs here will go the extra mile to make you happy.

Great Shopping Experience

Manila is a great place for shopping and the best part is that you do not have to leave the precincts of Dan Giles Makati hotel to do our shopping. There are many boutiques and classy stores in the immediate vicinity of the hotel. All you have to do is walk into the stores you like and you can do all the shopping you want.

Music and Nightlife

If you love partying and nightclubbing, Daniel Giles Manila is the perfect place for you. This hotel offers you an eclectic collection of music so you can dance and party as much as you like. Some of the nightclubs here offer local music while others give you music from other climes. As you already know, the language of music is universal. It follows that even if you do not understand the language of the lyrics, you will definitely understand the language of the rhythms.

Excellent Facilities in Your Rooms

The best thing about staying at the Dan Giles Makati is that you get to enjoy excellent facilities in your room. This hotel offers 24-hr electricity, air conditioned rooms and first class room service. You also get to enjoy well-furnished rooms, reliable internet service and other facilities that make your stay at this hotel a pleasure.

Final Word

Do not settle for less when you can go for the best. Check into the Danny Giles Philippines and you will happy with this excellent choice.

 

Reasons To Visit The State of New York

new-york-668616_1280.jpgPhoto by mpewny from Pixabay

You might think more songs have been sung about New York than there are people in this fascinating place. But there is one thing that anyone who has visited this state can agree, it is a helluva town. And that is the first thing that we should address, New York is a state and not just NYC as you might think. So we are going to take a look at why a tourist should visit New York, the whole state.

Attractions

If there is one thing you can say for sure with New York, it is that there are enough attractions to keep you busy for weeks. We are going to break them down into different categories to demonstrate just how broad a trip you can have in this part of the US.

 

  • Theatre

 

The first thing that a lot of people will want to do when they arrive in New York is book Broadway show tickets. The reason for that is pretty straightforward, aside from the West End in London there isn’t anywhere in the world with such a great range of commercial theatre on offer. Every show you can imagine will be available on this historical stretch of New York from the classics such as Chicago and Oklahoma to the modern hits like Mean Girls and Book of Mormon.

 

  • Architecture

 

If there is one thing that attracts the world to New York City it is the architecture. Home of the skyscraper is one way to describe this stunning part of the world. Some of the feats of engineering haven’t been replicated anywhere in the else from King Kong’s favorite hot spot the Empire State Building to Rockefeller Centre; home of NBC and Saturday Night Live. Be careful not to hurt your neck looking up at these incredible buildings and make sure you pay a visit to the beautiful memorial to the tragic events of 9/11. You will be amazed at how in such as busy city there can be this peaceful place for reflection and respect – a true testament to the spirit of New York.

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Photo by 12019 from Pixabay

Natural Beauty

As promised we aren’t going to stay in Manhattan, no we are going to explore the other parts of the state and the place to go if you are looking to get out of the city of New York is, Buffalo. Now, it might not sound like much but this is the home of Niagara Falls; the natural phenomenon that straddles the border of the US and Canada is not to be missed and is accessible by car from New York City. Niagara is the perfect example of why you should look beyond the city when it comes to New York. While there are some incredible things to see in the state’s capital, there is natural beauty like nothing else in the world just a short drive away. While visiting Niagara Falls, be sure to take a trip on the Maid of the Mist so that you can get up close and personal to hear to the thunderous roar of the waterfall.

 

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