A Right Royal Hunt – Royal Residencies in the U.K.

They say a persons’ home is their castle. Well in this case, they really are! Here are some of the best royal residencies in the UK, how you can visit them and what to look out for!

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5 Reasons For A Ski Trip To Europe!

The glitz, glamour and après ski of the Alps is calling. And some of the great ski destinations of the world are calling – Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, and more.Rossütte mit Blick auf Seefeld- copyright Olympiaregion SeefeldOlympiaregion Seefeld

A European Ski Vacation is as much about experiencing culture, history and alpine scenery as it is about skiing. The full European alpine experience is hard to beat – après ski thermal baths to soothe sore muscles; Italian cappuccino in Italy (after skiing in from Switzerland); drinking beer in Munich after a day of skiing on nearby mountains. A European ski vacation offers a unique experience on another continent with different cultures —and world class skiing!

Here’s 5 points to ponder if you are thinking it’s time for a ski trip to Europe:

  1. Why Europe?

Why not? If you haven’t been to Europe, you have to go (ski season or any season). Almost everything is different – language, cuisine, money, electrical outlets, time zone. And now add the ski specific differences in Europe – over 4,000 ski areas; huge terrain; great snow; incredible lift systems and super long top-to-bottom runs.

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  1. When To Go?

Generally speaking, most mountains in Europe open at the end of November and close mid to late April, with a few exceptions.

January tends to hold the best deals for European ski resorts and is less busy than peak holiday times. Most resorts are quiet and more peaceful. Fewer skiers on the slopes means that there are of course shorter lift lines! Prices can be almost double at peak times such as Christmas and New Year, and during the school holidays of Christmas, Easter, and particularly February Reading Week.

If you are going on your skiing holiday during late March-April (with longer and sunnier days), you’ll greatly reduce the risk of poor skiing conditions by skiing at a resort with a higher altitude. Val Thorens, France; Zermatt, Switzerland; Livigno, Italy all fit the bill. As a glacier, Zugspitze is skiable from early autumn until late spring, the highest (2,100m) and most snow-sure mountain in Bavaria, and just 90km from Munich.

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  1. Where To Stay?

Choices for accommodation range from traditional Alpine chalets and guestrooms in charming historic hotels to fully equipped apartments. Deluxe and moderate accommodations are available at most ski resorts in Europe. Austria and Italy are known in particular for their great value. If you’re after luxury, there’s no shortage of first-class transportation, five-star boutique hotels and world-class experiences! A few top Europe luxury ski resorts include Courchevel, France; St. Moritz, Switzerland and Cortina,Italy.

Modern ski resorts, (purpose-built ski resorts) are of course perfect for skiers and boarders. Purpose-built ski resorts are situated at higher elevations and have consistent snow conditions. They offer ski in, ski out and true slope side lodging. Think Val D’isère, and Les Trois Vallées, France.

Historic Alpine villages provide both true alpine ambiance and the quintessential Europe experience with skiing. Walk cobblestone streets; eat traditional local cuisine and stay in centuries old chalets. The nearby slopes are typically a short shuttle, train or cable-car ride away. Think Zermatt, Switzerland; Chamonix, France; and St. Anton, Austria.

  1. What To Do? (When You Are Not Skiing)

Many European resorts offer spas, boutiques, bars, restaurants and other off-mountain activities. Resorts near major cities offer city shopping, dining and sightseeing—perfect for a day away from the slopes. For example, skiers in Seefeld, Austria can take a quick 20 minute train ride down the mountain to Innsbruck. Or do it in reverse- stay in the city and travel to the slopes. Munich can be a perfect springboard to the nearby mountains of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Nearby Wallberg or Alpspitze are great options too. You can ride all day, and then enjoy the city of Munich by night.

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  1. Ski Terrain, Passes and Guides

Europe is home to thousands of miles of groomed and off-piste terrain, and several resorts are interconnected by lifts and trails. A multi-resort ski pass like the Dolomiti Superski Pass offers 700 miles of Italian Alpine terrain spread over a dozen resorts. The world’s largest ski area, Les Trois Vallees in France, includes Meribel, Courchevel, Val Thorens and 5 more resorts. The Milky Way Ski Area straddles France and Italy and offers the opportunity to ski across actual country borders (and have a croissant in France or espresso in Italy).

A local ski guide is also worth your consideration. An experienced local can take you through little known ski terrain and has the inside scoop on lunch spots for locals and après parties. A ski guide in Europe packs a ton of value and can go for as little as 250 euros per day.

And at the end of your European ski holiday, you can still have more Europe! Add on a trip extension to an iconic city like Paris, Berlin and Rome, rich in history and culture. Europe anyone?

How to Pull-off the Perfect Trip with Your Pet

More and more pet owners decide to take their furry companions with them when traveling. Separation is hard for both the owner and the pet, so the whole family coming on the trip is the perfect solution. However, traveling can be quite stressful, for pets especially, so make sure to study these travel tips before you set off.

Have a test trip
Take your pet for a test road-trip, especially if they aren’t used to driving in a car. Make sure to create a lot of positive memories on this test trip, like going to a dog park, to the beach or a pet shop. This way, your real trip will be easier.

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Pack up
Your pets also need some travel luggage, so get packin’. Bring a few bowls, a leash, waste baggies, grooming supplies, meds and some food and water. Also, give your pet that homey feeling by packing his favourite toy or blanket.

Buckle up!
A huge number of car accidents are caused by unrestrained pets in the vehicle. If your pet freely wonders in the vehicle, this can be a really dangerous distraction for the driver. Additionally, an unrestrained pet is more likely to be seriously injured in the case of an accident. So, in order to have a safe and stress-free trip, restrain your animal companion. Experts recommend getting a crate of a carrier for bigger dogs (you might also want to invest in a partition that will protect your passenger backrests from damage). Smaller breeds can be effectively restrained with harnesses with large and comfy belts and a sturdy metal attachment.

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Stretch those paws
Just like you, your pets also get stiff and tired from a long drive. So, make sure to stop every two or three hours and give your pets some much needed exercise and a potty break.

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Ready for take-off
If you’re flying to your destination, here’s what you should know. Very young, very old and pets in poor health should avoid flying and are better off at home. Additionally, some breeds like pugs and French bulldogs might experience breathing difficulties flying in the cargo hold. Many airlines don’t even allow them to fly. Other healthy pets that can get on board must have a roomy kennel (your pet should have enough room to stand up and turn comfortably). If your pet isn’t used to kennels, make sure to spend some time getting her used to the new circumstances. Besides the kennel itself, your dog should also travel with a food and water dish, a “Live Animal “ sticker on the crate and comfy bedding.

Make sure your hotel is pet-friendly
Before you depart, look for pet-friendly hotels that will welcome your furry friend with open arms. There are platforms such as GoPetFriendly.com that offer information on pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, stores and dog parks.

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Prepare light meals
Don’t feed your pet too much while traveling. It’s best to start with a light meal a few hours before departure. Never feed your pet in a moving vehicle, even if your trip is long and she hasn’t eaten in a while. Also, pack some extra pet food for when you arrive at your destination. You might not be able to find a pet shop right away, and you don’t want your cat or dog to be hungry. Another, more practical option is to order advance dog food online, and it will wait for you at your new address.

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Pay a visit to the vet
No trip should be taken without your vet’s approval, especially if your dog has health problems. Additionally, if you’re taking your trip across the border, make sure to get all necessary vaccinations and to bring your pet’s medical history.
If you follow all of these tips, your trip will be 100% pet-friendly and stress-free. Have a safe and pleasant journey with your furry friend.