Essential Things You Should Always Pack

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Most travelers plan their trips carefully. One issue is not to forget the most essential things for your  travel; you don’t want to create problems by forgetting something really important. Our clients often ask us about the most necessary things to bring with them on a trip.

Here is a list of those essentials:

First Aid Kit

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This is essential, especially for adventure travelers. Even if you’re just planning to do a little shopping and sightseeing, it doesn’t mean you won’t need a first-aid kit. Accidents can happen anywhere.  Especially if you travel to a different climate, your body may feel stressed and weak as it struggles to acclimatize. Always bring medications you require in your travel kit, especially if you are allergic to something. Health is a primary issue everyone should think about in their lives, and there is no exemption when you go on a trip.

Copies of Your Travel Documents

Collection of Travel Documents - Passport, International Driving Permit, International Vaccination Certificate and Airline Boarding Passes.

An important thing for any traveler is identification documents. Today, if you have lost your passport in a foreign country, you can face a lot of troubles and difficulties. A lot depends, of course, on the country and its laws, but keep in mind that there are always positive and negative aspects of going abroad. You may need several copies of documents for bureaucratic purposes, or in case you misplace the original.

Wet Wipes

Essential things for travelers

From refreshing your hands to wiping dirty surfaces – wet wipes come in handy when traveling, especially with kids. There are different types of wet wipes that you can use: facial, for hands, hypo allergic, for the whole body, for sensitive skin, antimicrobial, and many more. They are useful and compact so it shouldn’t be a problem to take some in your travel kit.

Chargers for electronic devices

different types of chargers for phones and tablets on white background

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There are numerous apps that you can be useful on your cellphone, tablet or notebook. There are lists of extremely useful apps to use for travel. Think about taking several chargers with you to be sure that your devices will keep working for long periods of time.

Cash

Essential things for travelers

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Try to take some currency of the countries you plan to visit in case there are problems with card payments, ATM withdrawals, or currency exchanges. Be prepared for unexpected circumstances and to buy something you need urgently.

Published: 16/08/2017

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Traveling with Your Cat or Dog: Essential Tips

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  1. Check the policy of your airline before taking a flight with your animal.

 All necessary information is usually available on a company’s website. Check it carefully and note the most important things.

  • Carefully read all the info about the veterinary certificate every pet must have before boarding a flight. This document is necessary to confirm that your pet is healthy.
  • Consider rules regulating the size, weight, and type of carrier.
  • Attentively read the entire pet travel policy of your airline to avoid problems and know your rights (rules can vary depending on the company you choose).
  • Carefully read all the regulations concerning bringing pets into the country you plan to travel to. Rules vary and are sometimes contradictory.
  1. Arrive at the airport early

Remember, when you have a pet with you, there will be additional measures required to verify your documents at the security check point. These will probably include weighing and measuring the pet carrier, and may involve paying a fee.

travel with cat

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  1. Book a direct flight

The most important thing that every pet owner should consider when traveling with pets is the health and safety of other passengers (besides his own well-being and that of his pet, of course).

You should understand that long layovers, airport transfers, and even changes in climate and air pressure can have an effect on your pet. Moreover, they can influence the animal’s behavior, health, and psychological condition in unexpected ways. Don’t make your pet suffer from being overly stressed.

Don’t let your animal drink for 4 hours before the flight, and don’t administer any analgesics or sedatives. They could have negative side-effects on your cat or dog as their temperature rises or falls during a flight. Pills might just complicate your whole trip.

two twin brothers sitting around a campfire in a birch grove

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  1. Make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian well before the flight

You’ll need a special certificate about your pet’s vaccinations dated within 10 days of departure. Have a specialist check your pet’s physical condition, and discuss the upcoming flight with them – especially if it’s a long one.

Preparation of your pet is A MUST. If you are planning a long trip, you might need to take your pet on several short trips to gauge its reaction and ability to stay calm while traveling. Consult your veterinarian for more information concerning your pet’s breed, health condition, and other circumstances.

YYZ Travel Group, TICO:#04332359. 7851 Dufferin Street, Suite 100. Thornhill, Ontario L4J 3M4.

Published: 15/08/2017

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Tips for Travel Addicts

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  1. Book tour packages rather than discrete services

Tour packages have a lot of advantages since everything is included in one deal; so, you don’t have to think about each step of the trip – booking flights, reserving hotel rooms, and planning excursions– by yourself. A tour package is a time-saving and problem-solving proposition.

You don’t have to adjust anything according to availability of hotels and tour guides, or to think about possible variations. It is all done for you in the best possible way!

  1. Reserve panoramic restaurants

They offer incredibly beautiful views, and they usually prepare the most popular traditional dishes of the local cuisine. Besides the restaurant, such places often have a bar area where the prices are more affordable – and the fantastic overlook is the same.

Hiker woman in Bryce Canyon hiking looking and enjoying view during her hike wearing hikers backpack. Bryce Canyon National Park landscape, Utah, United States.

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  1. Buy tours and cruises through travel agencies

There are many benefits to using the services of an agent to arrange travel. Bookings made through travel agents are more effective for tourists as they can provide bonuses and discounts.

For example, cruises booked through travel agencies may cost the same as when purchased online or through the cruise company itself, but you might also enjoy bonuses like “sip and sail” promotions or other discount opportunities.

  1. Use travel gadgets

While traveling to diverse destinations, you should take advantage of the great variety of technological gadgets available to make your life easier. New technologies are ubiquitous these days, and they generally make our lives more comfortable. So, why not use them while traveling? From smart suitcases to cozy high-tech pillows, a lot of shops have everything to satisfy the needs of even the finickiest traveler.

Travel addicts

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  1. Get acquainted with locals

The best way to learn about the culture and traditions of a foreign country is to communicate with local residents. That is the easiest and most effective way of learning interesting information about a country,  finding out more about popular attractions, and getting to know native traditions.

  1. Visit less popular places

If you want to explore a country beyond its stereotypes, and avoid thousands of tourists at the major attractions, try exploring less popular locations where you will encounter the unique atmosphere of out-of-the-way places and get acquainted with the country’s hidden gems.

Nothing but friends and road ahead. Group of young happy people enjoying road trip in their white convertible and raising their arms up

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  1. Study foreign languages (at least at a beginner’s level)

If you don’t speak the language in a foreign country, you start feeling like an outsider who will never quite fit in. On the other hand, when you know some of the most important words and useful phrases, you can more easily find your way, order properly in a café or restaurant, and possibly make friends with locals!

Published: 14/08/2017

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Here’s the Scoop: Five Ice Cream Shops Around the World You Can’t Miss

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Nevería Roxy’s – Mexico City, Mexico

Indulge in Mexico City’s most beloved ice cream produced using artisanal methods. Fresh, fruity flavors shine, including strawberry, pineapple, and lemon – try any of the four locations across the capital.

 

Nevería Roxy’s
Nevería Roxy’s, Mexico City.

Amy’s Ice Creams – Austin, Texas

Many Austin locals will send you to Amy’s for your sweet tooth cravings – their colorful parlors and funky servers stay true to the city’s pledge to weirdness.

Amy’s Ice Creams.

Berthillon – Paris, France

Perfect your Parisian stroll across Île Saint Louis accompanied by a double scoop of Berthillon’s iconic glace, introduced to the city over sixty years ago.

Berthillon, Paris.

Glacé – Sydney, Australia

Known for their inventive ice-cream-based desserts, such as bombe Alaska and checkerboard terrines, this shop (located in the Summer Hill neighborhood) is a must for all the Australia-visiting gourmands out there.

Glacé, Sydney.

Kurt Farm Shop – Seattle, Washington

In the heart of Capitol Hill, you’ll find an ice cream shop that stays true to the “go green, go local” spirit of Seattle. The owner, Kurt, somewhat of a Seattle food legend, provides fresh products (notably ice cream!) from the cows and crops he raises on his small farm in Vashon. Try one of the more unusual flavors, like rose and fig, or tomato jam.

Published: 11.08.17
By Evan Upchurch

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Why Cuba is One of the Top Caribbean Destinations

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Colorful kayaks and sailing boats on a tropical beach in Cuba

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Cuba remains one of the top Caribbean destinations in 2017 and continues to be a favorite holiday location. It is on the list of most popular tourist spots in the region – along with Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, and Guadeloupe. Every year Cuba attracts millions of visitors to its hospitable culture and wonderful natural sights.

There are reasons why many Canadians choose Cuba over other Caribbean destinations: Cuba has seen huge advancements in the tourism sector in recent years, especially in its accommodations infrastructure, with many new hotels and resort complexes built and high quality services instituted. Moreover, a number of new agreements were concluded with various air companies to develop new routes – making Cuban destinations more accessible to many travelers.

Cuba

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Cuba is a favorite Caribbean destination where people return over and over again.  Among the factors which contribute to this tendency are undoubtedly Cuba’s nature and crystal clear turquoise waters – as well as its very special atmosphere.

The beautiful nature is specifically and exotically Caribbean and has been declared a Biological Reserve by UNESCO. Not all Cuba’s territory is considered a Biological Reserve, but there are many protected areas around the country which have unique biodiversity and fragile ecosystems.

HAVANA, CUBA

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In the seas of the western coast, for example, Guanahacabibes Peninsula has one of the best preserved coral reefs in the world. Furthermore, you can see here special kinds of animals and plants, 22 distinctive beaches, and, the most exciting thing – along the shore are the remains of some pirate ships from the colonial period.

In addition to coastal regions being protected Cuban territory, marine areas – which reach depths of 200 meters – are protected zones as well. In total, reserves cover one fifth of all Cuban territory; the most famous are Sierra del Rosario, Guanahacabibes National Park, Cuchillas del Toa, and Buenavista.

Although the tourist sector in Cuba is developing quickly and attracting a lot of investment into the country, ecological issues are studied thoroughly – assuring visitors a holiday in a safe and ecologically balanced environment.

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How to Stay Healthy During your Summer Trip 2017?

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Staying in shape while on vacation does not seem such an easy task. Seeing the abundance of delicious food and exotic drinks around you, the temptations are hard to resist.

Happy family walking at the beach at the day time. Concept of friendly family.

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However, a sense of proportion will help you stay healthy and enjoy your holiday. Getting some physical exercise and eating healthy food on a trip is not that difficult! Let’s see what else will be useful for your health on vacation:

  • A strong immune system is the best defense against disease. So, take some natural remedies for 1-2 weeks before departure to increase your immunities.
  • It may seem obvious, but pay attention to clothes and shoes. Clothing should be from natural fibers when changing climates since synthetic fabrics can irritate the skin. For winter trips, always choose loose clothing. Shoes should be comfortable, preferably of natural leather and not new; otherwise, you risk getting calluses.
  • Because of the heat, your water consumption will need to increase. You should drink 3 to 4 liters of water per day.
  • Try to drink alcohol only in the evening and stick to one beverage choice. Ideally, it should be a transparent cocktail with minimal sugar content, for example, gin and tonic. Avoid beer and ale.
  • Also avoid desserts in the evening. Yes, it’s hard, but if you must satisfy cravings for sweets, it’s better to eat things like ice cream early in the day since the sugar is more likely to be used by the body to produce energy rather than turn into fat
  • Do some quick physical exercises right in your hotel room every morning for 20 minutes. Work with your own weight, such as doing squats and lunges without heavy stress, as well as push-ups. Go for a run every two or three days – it’s a good time to admire the views.
Young couple riding mountain bike in spring meadow nature on sunny day

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  • Swimming is also very effective. This is the perfect exercise, especially if you are in a hot country. If the hotel has a swimming pool, dive in and do a few laps.
  • An effective way to remain mobile is walking long distances. In addition, you will quickly get accustomed to the terrain and a different climate – maybe even start to understand the local language. (Just be sure to minimize noshing on éclairs at the pastry shop.)
  • Cycling is an ideal option for a detailed city tour! Rent a bicycle and blow like a breeze through the city or go for a ride through the suburbs, parks and forests.
  • If you are going to the coast, why not take a few surfing lessons? This is both comprehensive training and fun entertainment for the whole family. You can even get a photo of yourself on the crest of a wave.
Mother and daughter playing with balloons on the beach at the day time. Concept of friendly family.

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  • Many hotels have tennis courts – book some time for a couple of sets.
  • Yoga: Put a yoga mat in your suitcase and enjoy a relaxing workout on your vacation. Yoga is ideal because you do not need any heavy equipment for it. Yoga is also perfect when it is very hot outside.
  • When traveling abroad, try not to use public transport all the time. Imagine how much you are NOT seeing through the window of a bus! Plus, walking from point A to point B has a number of benefits for your body.
  • Take care with protection from the sun. Use sun screen according to your skin type and take medication if you do get sunburned. Consider when solar activity is greatest and try to stay indoors at this time.
  • Do not go outside without a hat, because getting heat stroke in a hot climate is easier than it seems.
fashion and lifestyle concept - beautiful woman in hat enjoying summer outdoors

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  • If a large number of people touch something, it is a potential problem. Specialists strongly advise washing your hands thoroughly with soap as often as possible, or use an antiseptic gel. No matter how trivial it may sound, stay away from coughing and sneezing people: the distance that a flu virus can travel via airborne droplets is about 6 feet.
  • Prepare for the change in time zones. From the first day of your trip, go to bed and wake up two hours earlier (or later) than usual, and the change in time zones will not be a big deal.
  • A problem with airplanes is recycled air in the cabin. It increases your chances of catching a cold if one of the passengers is sick or recently ill. High doses of vitamin C can really strengthen your immune system and help you to not get sick.
  • As you know, prolonged stress can lead to illness. Healthy sleep, morning sun baths with proper protection, plenty of time in the open air, the possibility of being distracted from work and electronic devices for a while – these obvious measures will support physical and mental health. Let rest be your main objective and only responsibility throughout the vacation.
  • Finally, stay positive! It is your long-awaited vacation, so enjoy every minute of it – even if it is raining outside. Remember, that rain always ends, and the sun will shine again!

Published: 04/08/2017

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Fitness Tourism

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If you are tired of lazy beach vacations, consider fitness tourism. Not everybody knows about the existence of this type of recreation, and even fewer have experienced it. Nevertheless, in Europe such tours are in a great demand. They can satisfy your desire for rest and new impressions, while also improving your health.

Let’s see what fitness tourism is!

Attractive Couple with Stand Up Paddle Boards, SUP, on the beach in Hawaii

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Fitness tours involve active rest. This does not mean that you will sweat until exhaustion in the gym and eat only vegetables. Everything is much nicer. J You still observe and enjoy the sights, the sea and sun – as well as breathe in the clean mountain air. At the same time, you play sports and eat proper food.

You can improve your health, stay fit and make new friends. There are also programs with psychological training. An experienced instructor will always be with you. In addition, you can go on such a tour with the whole family. Even if they don’t want to do a fitness program, they will just be with you.

Fitness woman runner relaxing after city running and working out outdoors in New York City, USA. Girl looking and enjoying view of Brooklyn Bridge. Mixed race Asian Caucasian female model.

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Fitness tour is a general term that has many varieties – dance, relaxation, power, mixed and so on. There are also narrowly focused tours, such as yoga tours. Since India is the homeland of yoga, it is the most popular country for that theme. Such tours are best for those who want to relax, to relieve persistent stress, and to know more about themselves.

 If you prefer something more active, you should choose a dance focus. Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, and countries of Southeast Asia all offer something special and unusual.

Fitness tours do not depend on vacation and holiday seasons. Of course, most of them are near the sea, but in winter time you can choose a trip to the mountains. Fitness tours are of two types: narrowly focused and combined. The first involve classes in one sphere; for example, you will study some kind of dance or practice yoga.

In the second case, the tour program is more extensive and full. You can try different types of fitness: Pilates, stretching, aerobics, jogging and much more. Programs are usually arranged by level of complexity, so everyone gets adequate physical activity.

young happy smiling caucasian woman doing exercises in the park, outdoor fitness

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According to statistics, by 2017 the world market for wellness tourism had grown 50% faster than the traditional tourism market, and the World Travel Guide predicts a serious boom in fitness tourism. It will open a lot of new business opportunities as hotels prepare to provide guests with round-the-clock access to favorite sports and well-considered menus.

Traditional hotels have also got enthused and involved with the new trend. In Fairmont hotels, for example, it is possible to rent sports equipment – from specialized clothing to yoga mats. There is also a popular Running Concierge service, meaning that a hotel employee helps you to map out the best route for jogging in a new city.

Hotels and spa resorts are starting to form partnerships with fitness clubs and even race events, and to employ coaches in various sports from Bikram Yoga to kickboxing and fencing. Sport has proven its powerful potential in socialization: it is able to unite different people who are eager for a healthy and interesting lifestyle.

Today, large companies regularly arrange teambuilding events for their employees, such as snowboarding camps.

Man Doing Yoga Exercise Concept

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Moving toward a goal is easier when there are people who share your beliefs and help you to make progress. Fitness tours offer ideal places to communicate with such people. A fitness tour is an exciting adventure in the search for your true self.

The format of travel and training allows people to really reboot since they are in an unusual, but safe and cozy environment. Because to get out of one’s comfort zone, it is not necessary to live in a cave, sleep on bare stone slabs, and drink only water.

Fitness tours are usually held in exotic places of the globe with rich nature. They allow you to practice yoga early in the morning on an ocean shore, or at night in a rainforest clearing.  Instead of traditional cardio in a gym you can climb mountain peaks, and let meditation be your relaxation procedure.

That sounds a lot better than just sleeping in a hotel room!

Published: 03/08/2017

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Reasons to Use A Travel Advisor in 2017

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The proportion of people who independently arrange their own tourist trips abroad is quite small. According to various estimates, it is 10-13% of the total volume.

Despite the fact that the market for independent travel is growing (due to an increased number of hotel and ticket booking systems) there are still many more adherents of organized tourism in general. Independent tourism is not only fraught with troubles, it is also expensive.

ravel or tourist concept - map and destination signs on it. Close-up.

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The independent tourist is a person who determines the route of the trip, books hotels himself, buys flight tickets, arranges cars and transfers, and also takes care of visas and medical insurance.

That people decide to travel independently from a desire to save money is not entirely true.

Most people who organize their own trips do so because of the dearth of tour packages offered – especially for countries that are not popular in the mass tourism market.

travel advisor

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Separate bookings of future segments on popular travel routes are 30% more expensive on average. At the same time, self-booking earns a commission or fee for the booking system that is no less than the one charged by travel agencies in the price of their package tours.

Organizing trips independently does not seem so economical when these factors are taken into consideration.

The growth of independent tourism is conditioned primarily by the desire of some tourists to conquer more and more new destinations.

For most other “organized tourists” who go to popular countries like Turkey, Egypt, and Thailand – families with children and people who want to save time but get full service for their money – it is cheaper to buy packaged tours.   

Why the Cheapness of Independent Travel is a Myth

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Countries where it is less expensive to visit on your own include Cambodia, China, Singapore, Germany, Luxembourg, Ireland, and Switzerland.

The difference between purchasing a tour and paying for tickets and hotels yourself can range from 45% (Cambodia, Singapore) to 70% (China, Switzerland, Ireland).

In Turkey, Croatia, Latvia, and UAE it is 15-25% cheaper to buy a tour than to book a trip independently. Traveling as part of a tour group to Malaysia can result in savings of 65%; Greece – 60%;  Sweden and Tunisia – 30%.

Why the Cheapness of Independent Travel is a Myth

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There is also a question of visas. Depending on your citizenship, you might not be able to go to Japan, for example, without a travel agent – because to get a visa there you need an original invitation from a company that will act as your guarantor.

Hotels and hostels, as a rule, do not make such invitations, so the only way for some to get into Japan is to use the service of a travel agency.

Interest in “indie” travel has increased since many people think it is cheaper and more secure; however, this is not always the case. Most importantly, the tourist who travels on his own should understand that he alone is responsible for the entire trip.

Pretty young female tourist studying a map at St. Peter's square in the Vatican City in Rome

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In 2010, when flights over Europe were interrupted for an extended period after eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, there was a reverse trend away from independent tourism.

Self-tourists had been totally stranded by the force majeure situation that no one could have foreseen.

Other tourists were protected through their travel agents – who provided them with hotel rooms at no additional expense, organized alternative modes of transportation, and offered other support services.

Why the Cheapness of Independent Travel is a Myth

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The reverse trend intensified when the Italian company Wind Jet went bankrupt in August 2012. Tourists realized that there was a cost to independence, which, in fact, made tour tickets more economical.

This basically caused many tourists who had gone on independent trips to return to their travel agents.

Travel or tourism concept. Passport, airplane, airtickets

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The Global Business Travel Association, after interviewing nearly 4000 business travelers from around the world, found that 35% of respondents had gone back to traditional travel planning because they did not know who to contact to resolve unforeseen problems that had come up during their self-arranged trips.

So, as you see, organizing travel by yourself is sometimes cheaper and easier. Nonetheless, in case of an emergency or force majeure situation, a travel agent will deal with most issues and assume overall responsibility for your comfort and safety on a trip. 

Published: 31/07/2017

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Relax in Dubai’s Luxury

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FUN IN DUBAI
  • Play a round of golf at Emirates Golf Club, which offers 36 world-class holes on two distinctive courses
  • Dubai Creek Golf Club challenges players with its par 71 over 6,967 yards
  • Splurge on a shopping spree at the Dubai Mall, the biggest in the world
  • Barter for gold in the Gold Souk
  • Seek out carpets, textiles and spices
  • Embark on a desert safari – complete with camels and Arabian traditions
  • Head to the race track; Dubai is home to the world’s richest horse race: the Dubai World Cup
  • Gaze up at Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower
  • Check out the reclaimed islands just offshore – including The World, an archipelago that forms a world map

 

Dubai

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What to Eat in Seoul

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When traveling in the Korean capital, every traveler asks themselves about meals and dishes that he or she will have an opportunity to eat. Korea is a perfect country to try something unusually Asian.

Korea is a favorite foodie destination; many tourists adore its wonderful dishes and fabulous meals.

Koreans live for food; so, when you come to Seoul, be ready to try an unbelievable array of tastes, meals, and diverse ways of cooking. As most people know, Korean food is spicy – even more so than food in other Asia Pacific countries.

Korean cuisine set

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If you like barbequed food (which is extremely popular in this country), try Kalbi (or Galbi) – one of the most popular Korean BBQs. It is short ribs of beef flavored with spices and marinated in sweet sauce, often served with steamed vegetables, kimchi, and rice.

American Korean Style Dukjuk 닭죽 Chicken Porridge with peppers, boiled egg and chili powder.

Photo: depositphtos.com

If you are afraid of anything that is too spicy, salty or hot, try Juk. This is a very popular meal in Korea, truly beloved by country guests and locals. “Juk” is a type of rice porridge which is quite palatable for kids and elderly.  Locals, however, often add various spices as well as kimchi.

Bibimbap korean food is delicious on wood background

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If you want to try Korean seafood, there is no better option for you than Ganjang-gejang. Eaten with rice and topped with orange roe, the dish is salted crab in fermented soy sauce. It is especially popular in spring and summer.

Korean fried chicken

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For those who prefer fried chicken over other foods, we suggest trying the Korean version. While in most places it is fried once, in Korea chicken gets fried twice. The result is wonderful; the meat seems milder, while the dish itself is less oily.

Korea spicy soup in black bowl

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If you would like to try something truly exotic, order Sundubu-jjigae. This is a pot dish of various types with rice, eggs, vegetables and even tofu added.  This food is served in a pot, boiling hot and fresh.

We have mentioned some of our favorite Korean dishes,  but there are plenty of other meals that you can try in Korea. Choose the best ones for you and enjoy the cuisine and culture of this wonderful country!

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