Best Birthday Gifts for Travelers

the ultimate gifts for travellers

Finding the right present for anyone is a difficult task. The person you are buying the present for might be your best friend, your boyfriend, girlfriend, even your brother, but that fact doesn’t make the gift-picking process any easier. So, the best way to find the right present for them is to see what things they like or think about their hobbies just a little bit. Do they like reading? Do they like listening to music or perhaps painting pictures, or photography? Are they into fashion? Or, in the case of our today’s topic, do they like to travel? If the answer to the latter question is yes, then these are just some of the things that you can use in order to give the most original and, most importantly, useful gift for all the travelers out there.

The scratch-off map

One of the most popular gifts for travelers lately has been the scratch-off map of the world. This map has been all over Instagram and other social media, and more and more people tend to buy one in order to scratch the country they have been to. This is an amazing way to motivate people who like to travel, to travel even more, and to travel to destinations that are quite exotic. Having a map in front of you with all the countries that you have seen and all the ones that still remain to be visited is, first of all, an amazing way to decorate your walls and secondly, a great motivation board for anyone who likes to travel. Apart from that, this type of gift might be a cliche right now, but it’s helluva lot of fun.

A nice watch

best gifts for travellers

Even though you might not think “trip” once this gift comes to your mind, getting the traveler in question a watch is indeed a great idea. First of all, watches are always important – they are not only amazing fashion accessories, but it is something that can prove itself quite useful. As far as travelers are concerned, this might even be more useful for them, as they are traveling to countries in different time zones, so it is always important for them to have a watch by their side. However, the case with buying a watch in these situations is a bit more complicated, as you cannot buy them any type of watch. For example, it wouldn’t be a good idea for them to travel with a very fancy and expensive watch, so instead focus on one that looks amazing, is very fashionable, and is of high quality, such as a good automatic watch that they will be able to use both in formal and nice events but also in sporty combinations. Apart from all of these reasons, a watch is also a great gift because this is one of the rare items that they will be able to use even after they come back.

Portables

This is definitely not the sexiest gift that you can come up with, but it is definitely one of the most useful ones for travelers. The first option is the portable charger, which is, if you really like to travel, your #1 thing you need to have by your side. However, there are different brands, different price ranges, and power banks of different power, so you can get the most powerful one. This type of gift is one that will make everyone extremely happy as charging your phone while on a trip is really an excruciating job. Apart from that, bear in mind that power adapters might differ from country to country, so getting them a universal USB travel power adapter is also an amazing option. This will most certainly prove rather helpful and is also quite original.

A great travel bag

a great travel bag for travellers

Traveling with a bag that is not meant for trips is quite a task, and if you have traveled somewhere taking your things in a regular backpack, then you know what it means to have something in it but having to reach it. So that this doesn’t happen to your fellow traveler, you can find a good travel backpack that are quite popular nowadays. These bags are extremely functional as they have different departments for laptop and tablet, a shoe compartment, a pocket for the water bottle, a compartment for documents, and even some hidden compartments and pockets where you can store your valuables. In case a traveler has this type of a travel bag, then they might not even need luggage.

You’re buying a gift for a person who likes to travel. Perhaps not the easiest task in the world, but there are so many different options that you can go with. The only thing you need to do is think outside of the box and try to put yourself in the shoes of a traveler. What would you like to get if you were traveling a lot?

Time for a Trip to LA? Here’s Your Guide

Planning your Trip to Los Angeles

If you’ve been to the typical vacation spots – Florida, Caribbean, Mexico, etc., it’s time to change it up and add a “new” destination to the mix. Los Angeles, California will give you a bit of everything you can want or need in a vacation – sights, beach, activities, food and more!

Plan your Trip to LA

A trip to LA gives you the chance to explore neighboring cities in southern California. Long Beach, Anaheim, Malibu, Santa Monica are all nearby and each have things to do. As a major city known for entertainment, LA always has a raft of upcoming events- special events, game, concert or festival. The chance to see a great show or band may help you settle on your travel dates.

LAX (Los Angeles Airport) is a very busy airport with lots of airline and flight choices so booking your flight is easy. While you could try getting around the LA area on public transit (subway, light rail or bus), taxi or Uber, it’s a lot easier to rent a car. Traffic in the LA area can be challenging and very busy so allowing extra travel time for traffic is a necessity.

With hundreds of Los Angeles area hotels, there’s no shortage of places to stay. Think of your hotel as your “home base” because your LA and area vacation will have you taking day trips in and around LA. For example, Disneyland is in Anaheim (southeast from LA); the Queen Mary ship is in Long Beach (south from LA). Santa Barbara is northwest from LA; Newport Beach is southeast from LA.

Where to Stay in LA

While you can, of course, stay anywhere you want in LA, there are some distinct areas to consider: Hollywood/Beverly Hills (movie history, studios, walk of fame, high-end shopping); Santa Monica/Malibu (beach, pier, dining, outdoors); Downtown LA (events, dining, nightlife) and Venice Beach (people-watching, boardwalk, boutique shops) among others. It’s a pretty good idea to figure out what you want to do and see (including distance, traffic and total time to get there) before you book your hotel.  Take a good look at the images, descriptions and reviews of Los Angeles hotels. There are hundreds of hotels to choose from based on our budget and preferences.

Photo by MarkTravel via Trover.com

Cool Things to see and do in LA

Los Angeles City Tour – To maximize your trip to LA, this is the way to go in one day. You’ll get the full LA experience including Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Hollywood Walk of Fame and more.

Hollywood Experience Tour – Your top choice, the immersive Hollywood experience, is right here. You’ll see the Hollywood sign, landmarks, celebrity homes and cruise Hollywood Boulevard. Last up, Paramount Studios, a busy and unique working studio. The odds are you will see familiar actors on the lot, and you will definitely see movie sets and props.

Photo by MarkTravel via Trover.com

The Getty Center – The building itself is an architectural masterpiece containing some of the finest art in the world. Visitors rave, and many recommend a tour. A private tour will get you past the lines and provide expert insight into this spectacular collection.

La Brea Tar Pits Tour by Segway– The Tar Pits contain hot bubbling tar and have been in existence for 40,000 years. The neighboring Page Museum contains tar pits artifacts and one of the world’s largest collections of Ice Age fossils. It’s hard to believe that this is in Los Angeles. This is a really different and unique experience!

Sunset Strip Walking Tour – It’s 1.5 miles of quintessential LA on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. This stretch contains the Roxy Theatre, Whisky a Go Go, and the Comedy Store, plus shops, bars, and restaurants. This is the time to walk in LA and find out about the history of LA and the Sunset Strip!

With all there is to see and experience in Los Angeles, make your trip to LA a memorable one! Enjoy the California sunshine and plan your trip to see all that Los Angeles and area has to offer!

The Charm of Old Quebec City

The charm of Old Quebec City never gets old. Old Quebec is the only walled city in Canada or the U.S. and is designated as a World Heritage treasure by UNESCO. It’s a mix of history, architecture, heritage, art, and culture and is widely viewed as the home of French civilization in North America.

I’ve been to Quebec City a few times. The first time as a youngster on a driving vacation with the family. The first overnight stop from Toronto was Quebec City. I remember walking through the gates of the old city and feeling like I had stepped back in time. Thankfully the old city is still there today. And it’s a real treat.

Early Canadian and French history abounds with numerous historic buildings and museums including the Musée de la civilisation . There are many art galleries and boutiques with a French flair. Restaurants and pubs have a warm and intimate feel and most feature Quebec fare including rabbit, deer, and duck confit poutine.

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While there’s a variety of hotels to choose from within Old Quebec and Quebec City itself, my favorite is the Auberge Saint-Antoine. Located in the heart of Old Quebec, the Auberge sits on an historic site dating back to the 16oos. As a member of Relais and Cheataux, the hotel has a strong focus on service and luxury. There are only 60 rooms with no 2 rooms alike, and each contains artifacts that were found on site. Their Panache Restaurant is incredible with Michelin star chef and a very imaginative menu.

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Quebec City is like 2 different destinations in the winter and the summer. In the winter, it can hit -30c. So cold it’s painful but beyond beautiful especially during the Carnaval de Québec (the annual Winter Carnival runs from late January to the middle of February).

In the summer, there’s the Festival d’été de Québec in July, Canada’s biggest outdoor music event. Quebec City is warm and inviting with quaint streets to wonder down and walking trails to explore along the St.Lawrence River. Outdoor cafes abound and you’ll find yourself stepping back in time… and thinking about your next visit.

San Diego – The Ultimate Californian Weekend Getaway

If you’re up for some California dreamin’, there is no better place in the world than San Diego for the ultimate Californian Weekend Getaway. The city’s sunsets and surf is so laid-back that no one would ever believe it to be the nation’s 8th largest city. Still, that’s exactly what it is, and it’s everything you would expect it to be: bikinis, khaki shorts, raucous and ritzy beaches, sunny days and, of course, Legoland. If you’re planning to spend a weekend in San Diego and don’t know how to make the most of it, here are some tips that will help you.
San Diego - The Ultimate Californian Weekend Getaway

San Diego – LaJolla Shores

If you’re looking for the ultimate stretch of sand in San Diego, you must definitely visit the La Jolla shores, where you will be able to enjoy several different beaches featuring dramatic cliffs, secluded coves, and sandy expanses. No matter if your interest – swimming, surfing, sunbathing or watching the adorable baby seals, you will find a beach for you. Windansea Beach is secluded and picture-perfect. Couples go to enjoy romantic scenery there, and surfers go to enjoy the waves. La Jolla Children’s Pool is not that convenient for kids (although this was its original intention), but more for families of seals. If swimming, diving and snorkeling are your hobbies, than you should head out to La Jolla Cove. Beautiful and isolated, Black’s Beach is ideal if you want to get a nudist experience.

San Diego - LaJolla Shores
San Diego - LaJolla Shores

San Diego – Gaslamp District and Little Italy for Dining and Partying

Great food and fun nightlife are not rare things in San Diego, but when you have only one weekend in this fabulous city, you want to try only the best. And for that, you’ll have to go to these two neighborhoods.

  • Gaslamp District is San Diego’s historic neighborhood with Victorian-era buildings and skyscrapers side by side. It hosts more than 100 of the city’s retail shops, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs. You can dine fine at a rooftop lounge or try some delicious street food on the sidewalks. Live music and dancing after your belly is filled are a must.
  • Little Italy is, as it name implies, the best quarter in the city to eat authentic pizza, pasta and gelato. This eclectic neighborhood has a number of adorable sidewalk cafes, charming little shops, and specialty stores.
San Diego - Gaslamp District and Little Italy for Dining and Partying

San Diego – The Best Neighborhoods for Shopping

Sure, you can just head to one of San Diego’s numerous shopping malls, but where is the fun in that? Instead, try searching through some of the most charming shopping neighborhoods (La Mesa, Encinitas, Chula Vista, Coronado, Solana Beach and South Park). Who knows how many unique things you can find in the charming local shops? From artisan jewelry to vintage clothing, San Diego has it all.

San Diego - The Best Neighborhoods for Shopping

San Diego – Visit the City’s Top Attractions

Sometimes, you must do things by the book and be a true tourist. For that you will have to visit some of the best San Diego’s attractions.

  • USS Midway Museum offers not only indoor exhibits, but also local tours around the city’s most famous historic sites.
  • Belmont Park will not only welcome families with kids, but it will also awaken your inner child, when you take a ride at the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster.
  • San Diego Sports Museum is a sentimental journey through the history of the city’s sports.
  • Museum of Photographic Arts reveals fascinating, moving and surprising images which are witnesses to the history of photography.
  • Seaport Village is a charming and quiet part of the town, where you can go to shop, explore art and drink wine.
  • San Diego Zoo is basically a huge park with animals and plants.
San Diego - Visit the City’s Top Attractions

Two days are not enough to enjoy all the wonders of San Diego, but if you plan everything carefully, you can see the best it has to offer.

This article was written by Roxana Oliver, a travel enthusiast and an occasional blogger from Sydney, Australia.

11 Things I Never Travel Without

This Post Was Originally Published on the TuGo Travel Blog on July 19, 2019 by Mark Crone

Whether travelling for work or on vacation, you want your trip to be smooth and easy. To do that, you need to pack a few things to make your trip as easy and comfortable as possible. Here’s my list of things I always travel with (and never travel without):

1. Money/Credit Cards

Credit cards offer the convenience and security of access to your funds and credit any time. Even with a credit card, you’ll still need travel money for tips, snacks, cabs, and other “cash only” items. It’s easy to get major exchangeable currencies like the U.S Dollar, Great British Pound or Euro before you go. Other currencies, for example Poland’s Zloty, are best purchased in small quantities for your stay while in that country.

2. Travel SIM

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While Wi-Fi is tempting, it’s not secure in public places and is very limiting when you travel. A SIM card saves on roaming and data charges while keeping you connected. TravelSIM is my choice because its pre-paid (providing cost control), works in over 170 countries and incoming calls and messages are free.

3. Tablet/iPad

Between flight delays and in-flight entertainment, this is an absolute must to keep informed and entertained. There’s nothing worse than getting on a 4-hour flight without the airline app required for viewing in-flight entertainment, or a 4-hour flight delay while sitting at an airline gate. Watch Netflix, look at social media, receive emails, or your Kindle. On the plane, you can watch movies that you’ve missed. Before you know it, you’ll be at your destination!

4. Hard Case Luggage

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I usually travel with a small backpack (for my gadgets) but always take a smaller hard case luggage as well. They’re lightweight, sturdy and easily fit in the overhead bin. Your belongings are better protected with a hard shell, they’re easy to pack and unpack, and even easier to roll around the airport.

5. Portable Power Bank & Adapter

A pocket-sized portable charger is a great toy to have for travel or anywhere. Keep it in your pocket or bag to charge your phone when you can’t find an outlet. When you’re travelling abroad, it’s also a good idea to invest in a combination adapter/converter. You can plug it into different electrical outlets and convert power from 220/240V down to North America’s 110/120V to use your devices.

6. Noise-cancelling Headphones

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These are essential in today’s world of packed flights and delays. Travel is certainly easier when you can “noise cancel” the snoring neighbour beside you, the crying baby and/or the arguing couple. With these headphones, deep relaxation and sleep are within your reach. One of the best choices is the Bose QuietComfort 35. Although there are wireless ear bud options from Apple (AirPods), they aren’t really noise-canceling and aren’t nearly as effective as over-the-ear headphones.

7. Note Pad/Pen

I always carry a notebook and pen when I travel. Nothing fancy required here, just a small notebook and everyday pen (often a hotel branded giveaway). You can always jot down your thoughts, to-do list, next blog post, etc. at any time and won’t forget to hit “save”.

8. Toiletry Bag

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Amenities and toiletries vary greatly by accommodation and destination. An Air BnB may not have any; a resort may have soap on the wall in the shower; a better hotel may have product that leaves you with skin rashes. It’s easy enough to pack a toiletry bag with small travel-sized containers. If you’re not checking your bag, make sure you pack your <100 ml liquids in a small clear bag to show at security.

9. First Aid Kit

A small and basic first aid kit that includes medication is a must. Painkillers, band aids and other medical essentials come handy during travel, especially if you get a small cut or catch a cold. With a first aid kit, you’ll save time and money being able to take care of yourself!

10. Water Bottle

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A water bottle or travel mug is a real travel essential. If you’re off to explore, hike or even just relax on a beach, you need to stay hydrated throughout the day. And by bringing your own reusable bottle, you’ll be doing your part to save the planet from plastic water bottle waste.

11. Phone and/or Camera

You won’t forget your smartphone when you travel (or camera if you have one). You’ll need it for your boarding pass and other important travel apps. But you may well forget your phone charger, so here’s your reminder: don’t forget it! If you happen to forget one, go to the front desk of any large hotel and let them know that you forgot your charger in the room. Chances are, they’ll pull out a basket full of various chargers that were left behind. Choose the compatible one for your phone, and you are back in business.

And of course, don’t forget the essentials like travel documents and travel insurance. You can’t get around the world without your passport, and you shouldn’t travel without the protection or peace of mind that travel insurance provides.

Safe travels,

Mark

Visiting Spain: Visit the Essentials First

visiting spain

It doesn’t matter what your travelling preferences are, we all love a fiesta, and what better place to have a fiesta than by visiting Spain itself? Located in one of the warmest parts of the European continent, Spain does not only offers long sunny days, but also a rich history and culture. This country can cater to anyone’s taste. Partying all night, visiting museums and researching Spanish history or eating their delicious cuisine until your heart pops out. The only thing that you should know is where you’re heading, and this is where we step in. Look at the list below, and try to find the best Spanish ciudad for your holiday, especially if it’s your first time:

Madrid: The heart of Spain and capital of flamenco

It doesn’t do to visit Spain and not see the capital of the country, does it? As any other European capital, Madrid has everything to offer – bars that are open until late at night, great shopping centers and some of the most amazing parks in Europe. One such is the El Parque del Buen Retiro, or simply shortened to El Retiro. It was once a royal ‘’hangout’’, and it staged many concerts and garden plays. Nowadays, it is a great tourist attraction (even though greenery might not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Madrid), as people can rent one of the many rowboats and paddle in the huge man made lake in the center of the park. However, Spain is the only place in the world where you can see a live performance of flamenco dances, and Madrid is the best place to do this.

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Barcelona: The diamond of Catalonia

You’ve no doubt heard of Barcelona. There are numerous tourists who hit the road to Spain and decide to visit this place only. And it doesn’t matter how many days you stay, Barcelona is a city which you can never fully explore. If you really want a European holiday of your lifetime, you should find one of the best Barcelona holiday packages that are offered, and see the home of the very impressive pieces of Gaudi’s architecture such as the legendary La Sagrada Familia. Moreover, taking a walk-through Las Ramblas and having a cup of coffee in one of its many cafés is definitely something that you should experience at least once in your lifetime.

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Seville: From bullrings to beautiful barrios

To all the animal rights activists out there – no, we don’t agree with this either, but we must agree that this is one of the symbols of Spain and an inevitable part of Spanish history. Even though bullfighting originated in Ronda, Seville is its spiritual home. So, is it a form of art or simply animal cruelty? Well, it would be best to visit one of Seville’s many bullrings and see for yourself. However, don’t think for a second that Seville is only good for this. As the heart of Andalusia, this magical city has many other things to offer – such as the Barrio Santa Cruz, one of the most beautiful barrios of Spain, or Alcazar (perhaps better known as Dorne from HBO’s Game of Thrones).

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Granada: The place that’s the richest in Spanish history

First and foremost: you’re visiting Spain and you want to try tapas. Since Granada is one of the rare places in Spain where you get tapas for free alongside your drink, it should be on the must-visit list. Moreover, this is a place where you’ll see the most important historical monuments of this country. It is a paradise for every history buff. One of the best things you can see here is the Alhambra fortress – a fortress so huge that you will need a whole day to explore it to the smallest detail. If you want to imagine what it looks like, it’s said that you must imagine the world’s most beautiful gardens, add a fortress and multiply the whole image by ten. Alhambra overlooks the whole city of Granada, offering a most breathtaking view. And it’s also an excellent place to take amazing Instagram photographs! The ticket is around 13 euros, and it’s open from March to October, so make sure to plan your stay there accordingly.

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And these are only the essentials. Spain has so many other things to offer, such as 24/7 Ibiza parties, spring days in Valencia, visiting the tomb of Christopher Columbus. You can walk across the world’s scariest bridge, see the Museum of Funeral Carriages, or eat at the world’s oldest restaurant in Madrid. Spain should be your next destination. And maybe even the one after that, because you can go there as many times as you want, and you’ll still have more things on your bucket list.

The Paris Series (Part 2) – Sainte-Chapelle

Among the many things that Paris is famous for, its collection of museums is second to none. There are over 50 museums and noteworthy monuments in and around Paris. There are of course many very well known ones including the Musee du Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, Musee Picasso and monuments including the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Chathedral, Chateau de Versailles and more.

One of Paris’ greatest jewels, and often overlooked sites, is Sainte-Chapelle. As you walk down Boulevard du Palais, you’ll see a line of people that appear to be waiting to enter the Palais de Justice (a large building from 1868 that still functions as a court house). Behind the entrance and in the courtyard is what they are actually waiting for – the entrance to Sainte-Chapelle. (Unlike some other museum sites, your Paris Museum Pass does not get you queue-cutting access here).

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Sainte-Chapelle is a royal medieval Gothic chapel dating back to the 1200s and Louis the IX of France. Although damaged during the French Revolution, Sainte-Chapelle contains one of the most extensive and beautiful collections of stained glass anywhere in the world. As you enter the chapel, you’ll see a small sample of stained glass and a gift shop. Look for the stairs on either side of the room to ascend a very narrow staircase to the second floor and you’ll enter the main room. You will be awestruck. It is absolutely spectacular and breathtaking !

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