How to pack wisely for travelling

The end of the year sees more people wanting to get away from it all. Traveling opens the door to a wealth of new experiences. It is time for a little relaxation and fun. It is also stressful. A holiday sometimes leaves you with more crease lines than a normal routine. Packing your suitcase the wrong way and forgetting important items contributes to much of that stress.

These suggestions on how to pack wisely and finding the right travel gear, especially for winter travel, should help.

Preparing for the trip

Before you start to pack, you must make the necessary preparations for the trip and have contingencies ready. Get an updated list of items allowed in checked-in and hand-carry luggage from transport authorities. You do not want to abandon or lose any items at the airport.

Consult with your tour agent about luggage regulations if you are traveling with a group. Space constraints cause some agencies to limit the number of bags each person can carry.

Note what not to take with you on a plane as well. These include safety hazards such as knives and scissors. Certain foods, such as peanuts, may lead to allergic reactions in other passengers.

Making a checklist for your trip is helpful and necessary. The list will include the usual suspects such as clothing, shoes, toiletries, administrative documents and travel guides. It should also include commonly forgotten items such as toothpaste, hats, deodorant, razors and pajamas. Consider necessary items for winter travel.

Put important documents such as passports, tickets or driver’s licenses in a folder. Do not include these in your luggage as it is a hassle to retrieve them when you need them. Carry them with you. This also lessens the likelihood of you losing them.

A few weeks ahead of your trip, find a large space, usually a guest room, to gather the items you intend to take with you.

Selecting and packing luggage

If you want to combine backpacking convenience and suitcase chic, choose a convertible suitcase or backpack. These allow you to convert your bag depending on the occasion.

When choosing a backpack, check it for firm stitching. It should have enough side pouches to stuff odds and ends. Select one with a low profile color as you do not want to attract unnecessary criminal attention at the airport.

If you are carrying a laptop, consider a TSA-approved bag. This allows airport authorities to x-ray the laptop. They may ask you to remove the laptop otherwise.

Make sure that you pack your bag only two-thirds full. This leaves room for the items you may buy on your trip. Place the heaviest items at the bottom of the bag.

Use gallon or Ziploc bags to pack your items. Roll them up. The conventional “roll” method saves space and helps to prevent creases.

Packing toiletries

Toiletries are among the items we tend to forget when we travel. Make sure that the toiletries you use daily are on your checklist.

Buy travel-size quantities of these toiletries. If you have specific shampoos you need to use, pour the amount you need into smaller, unused bottles. Pack extra tissue and sanitizing hand gel.

Note that you cannot bring more than a certain amount of liquid on a plane, as some substances are flammable. Do check with airline authorities about how much liquid you can carry with you. You may have to display these liquids for inspection at the airport if you are carrying too much. Pack liquids bottles in resealable bags, separately from other items.

Gathering clothing/footwear

It is always best to travel light. Ladies, especially, tend to forget this as they have more clothing choices.

Plan your outfits ahead of time so that you do not end up over packing. Wear travel pants that you only need to air instead of wash. Choose three or four pairs in neutral colors that you can mix and match with different shirts. Clothing made of synthetic fabric or polar fleece as these are insulating and less bulky.

When traveling during the winter months, pack long-sleeved shirts. These give extra warmth and are comfortable as day wear. Sweaters and knitted scarves, too, keep you warm as you enjoy recreational activities such as skiing.

Winter conditions are harsh and wet, so it is important to pack wet weather gear. Wear a jacket made of firm polyester or nylon, as these materials are breathable. It should have extra pockets for you to keep the extra items you will have to carry with you. Waterproof jackets come in three categories, lightweight, mountain or all-purpose. The area you travel to will decide which kind you buy. If you are not going to a terribly cold area, a lightweight waterproof jacket that you can also use on summer days will do.

Footwear is extremely important during winter months. Even in warmer conditions, make sure that your shoes can withstand wet and slippery surfaces. Heels, of course, are a terrible idea.

Winter hikers should pack steel-toed boots. Choose durable, low-temperature boots if you are traveling to an area where the climate is exceedingly cold. If the temperature is warmer, you may consider boots that are not rated for the lowest temperatures.

If you are participating in many physical activities, do not choose boots rated for low temperatures. High activity levels keep your blood circulating and your body warmer, so such boots may have an adverse effect.

Consider the terrain of the places you will walk on. If it is mostly rough, icy or mountainous choose boots specially designed for that terrain.

On other occasions, sleek leather boots keep you warm and fashionable. Casual footwear may include vintage-style sneakers instead of tennis shoes.

Pack clothing items in a vacuum pack. This saves you a lot of room.

Packing Miscellaneous Items

Do not forget miscellaneous items as well. Pack these in a Ziploc bag. Do not forget your camera as you will want to capture those important memories.

While this seems trite, you may need a first aid or sewing kit in times of emergency. Include stationery for jotting down important notes.

Make your vacation a relaxed one by packing wisely.

Getting to know Istanbul


Istanbul stands out as one of the great metropolises of the world. The city that bridges two continents has seen empire come and go and in the process each age has left its mark on the city. With its strategic location it is one of the largest cities in the world and the largest urban agglomeration in Europe. Life in Istanbul is an experience like no other. It is Turkey’s entertainment centre, fashion centre of the region and the administrative heart of the country. There are so many things for you to see and do in Istanbul that one short visit can’t do justice.

Lovely museums

Istanbul is endowed with a wealth of museums and other historical monuments. If you want to learn about the history of ancient civilizations, Istanbul is one of the places you can visit. Here you will find the Hagia Sophia; an impeccable architectural masterpiece. The Hagia Sophia is one of the most impressive museums in the world having been in existence for over a thousand years.

Originally this imposing building was a church back when Christianity was spreading across the Middle East and Europe. It was designed in the sixth century by Emperor Justinian and plays host to hundreds of mosaics of the Virgin Mary, Gabriel the Archangel and several emperors and empresses of the Byzantine kingdom. It was later converted into a mosque and eventually turned into a museum.

The Turkish and Islamic Art Museum is also a must visit for any person visiting Istanbul. It was the palace of a man so powerful known as Suleyman, the sultan felt threatened and commanded that he be executed. The museum plays host to the world’s finest carpet collection. There are hundreds of other museums in Istanbul for you to visit.

Istanbul is home to some of the finest architectural designs representing many centuries. The Topkapi palace in Istanbul has been home of the Ottoman sultans for close to half a millennium now. It is a striking building that receives thousands every year.

The Grand Bazaar

When it comes to markets Istanbul has the grandest of them all. The Grand Bazaar is a world renowned market. It’s the largest covered market in the world, thus its fame. Close to half a million visitors walk along its labyrinthine streets daily and this market has more than three thousand shops each of them with something nice on offer.

Exploring more by living here?

While it is nice to visit Istanbul for a few days, you really need a lifetime of visits to begin to unravel the secrets of the city. On thing to consider is buying Istanbul property as either a place of residence or an investment property. This is a popular option for British residents as what you can get for your pound is much better value than buying in the UK, especially if you are looking for a second home. The cost of living is also cheaper than in the UK and as Istanbul is so well connected with flights you will never be short of travel options to other destinations.

Get the Most From Your Trip to Charlotte

In a city as great as Charlotte, visitors with only a little time to spend can quickly become overwhelmed by the possibilities. By focusing on the vibrant Center City neighborhood and taking advantage of these inside tips, you’re guaranteed to have a fun-filled adventure and get the most from your time in the Queen City.

Grab a Deal on a Charlotte Hotel

[Image via Flickr by jacreative.]

Before you start planning what to do with your time in Charlotte, you need to know where to call home. With countless attractions, shops, and restaurants packed into its walkable, bustling area, Center City is where you want to be, and a quick stop at Hipmunk is all it takes to find a great hotel at an unbeatable rate. Traveling at the last minute? Use the Tonight Only feature on the mobile app to find amazing deals on eleventh-hour reservations!

Get Around by Bike or Rail

Not planning on renting a car for your day in Charlotte? In Center City, there’s no need. The B-Cycle program is the largest bike sharing network in the southeastern United States, boasting 200 bikes and 20 stations around the city. If biking isn’t your thing, use the Lynx rail system, which has seven stops throughout Center City, or hop aboard a CATS bus at the Transportation Center. Stay at a hotel close by, like Aloft Charlotte Uptown at the EpiCentre, and you’ll have the whole city at your feet!

Eat Like a Local

There’s no better way to get a sense of a city than to taste what local growers have to offer. Head to 7th Street Public Market to sample Charlotte’s bounty and taste the ingredients that local chefs are buying to serve up at dinner. In addition to produce and grocery merchants, the market features vendors offering an amazing selection of wine, chocolate, sushi, coffee, confections, and more. The market hosts regular events like Tuesday night wine tastings and chess classes. It’s easy to get to via public transportation; just take the Lynx blue line to the last stop at 7th Street Station.

For an unforgettable dining experience, head to Bentley’s on 27, where you’ll find panoramic views of the city skyline, outstanding service, and delectable French American cuisine. The Dunhill Hotel is just a few blocks away, offering boutique accommodations and tons of charm.

Check Out the Nightlife

The city comes alive at night, and Center City is the heart of the action. Your first stop should be the EpiCentre entertainment complex, where you’ll find a state-of-the-art movie theater, an ultra-hip bowling alley, five live music venues, and numerous bars and clubs. Regular events include rooftop concerts, sports meetups, and happy hours.

Beyond the massive EpiCentre, try TILT on Trade to mingle with hip young professionals and locals ready to blow off some steam after a hard day’s work — but make sure you pack something sexy, because there’s a dress code.

Charlotte’s Center City is filled with activity, you could easily spend several days exploring here and never visit the same place twice.

 Author Bio:
Rebecca Metz is an avid road tripper, hotel hopper, and sufferer of wanderlust. She has a soft spot for national parks and wine regions, and writes about her adventures either online or in a well-worn journal, preferably while relaxing in a beach chair.

Travel and Shopping: Top 4 Cities to Buy Designer Clothes

Shopping when traveling is very popular and shopping often forms a key part of most itineraries. Many travelers enjoy buying items, especially if they are staying in cities with famous shopping districts. In many countries, you will find a popular shopping district that you can check out and shop until you drop. However if you are on the lookout for luxurious products, like designer clothing, only a few cities make it on the list.

Designer shops are not available at all overseas locations. They can only be found in certain cities that are known to be premium tourist destinations. So if you are planning to travel, here are the top four cities where you can indulge yourself in sightseeing then luxury shopping for designer brands.

Milan, Italy

The city of Milan is recognized as one of the most important fashion capitals across the world. It has been the home to several famous fashion designer brands, especially Italian labels, such as Prada, Armani, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and more.

After riding the gondola and visiting the ruins and cathedrals, make your way to Milan’s main shopping districts, like Quadrilatero della Moda where you can find the streets of Via Montenapoleone, Via Andrea, Via Gesu, Corso Venezia, Via della Spiga and Via Borgospesso. In this area, you can run into some of the prominent couturier names in the industry offering outrageously expensive masterpieces. If you can afford their creations, then go for it and spend up big in this exclusive location. Get inspired and have a ball flaunting the latest collections of these world-renowned Italian designers.

Paris, France

Paris holds numerous fashion shows every year and makes a huge contribution to the fashion industry globally. It is the final venue of the ‘Big 4’ fashion weeks after London, Milan and New York. In addition, the city holds spring, summer, autumn and winter events to showcase the latest trends in the fashion world so you are always kept up to date with the latest styles.

Visit the Eiffel Tower and other tourist spots in Paris to make the most of your getaway in France. After sightseeing, you can check out the creme de la creme fashion designer shops in town. The Faubourg Saint-Honore district is the heart of fashion and design in the city where you can find classic designers such as Hermes and Versace. In addition, the Avenue Montaigne and Avenue des Champs-Elysses are perfect fashion junctures to find products from Chanel and Dior. In Paris, you will never run out of place to visit to discover what’s trending in fashion.

London, UK

One of the leading trendsetters in the fashion world today is London. It hosts the clothing trade show Fashion Week semi-annually along with New York, Milan and Paris. About half of the fashion designers in the United Kingdom are centrally located in the city of London, with around 46,400 people working in the fashion industry.

No matter what type of apparel you are looking for, London boasts several luxury shops waiting to be explored. Large designer shops offer a wide array of products. Browse through Bond Street, which is widely known for its exclusive labels, famous designer brands and fine jewelry. Bond Street houses some of the elite retailers including Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, Jimmy choo and Tiffany & Co. In London, you will feel like a real life princess when you visit and shop in the popular London shopping districts.

New York City, New York

When talking about fashion, New York is close to the top of the list. New York City (NYC) or Manhattan is the hub of fashion in the United States. The busy streets of New York City are a mecca to the top fashion retailers, making NYC the best location to shop in America. Fashion Week held in New York annually attracts the top designers from around the world in spectacular cat-walk shows and is an iconic event not to be missed by fashionistas.

If you are in New York, check out the hottest shopping streets where you find the biggest names in the fashion world. Explore Madison Avenue, Broadway, Fifth Avenue and nearby streets and enjoy the worlds best designer shops. So many iconic fashion stores offer the finest clothing lines, gowns, dresses, and accessories, like the Prom Outfitters.

Shopping is a fun activity, especially if you are traveling and exploring in another city. There are numerous fashion retailers that you come across that will take your breathe away – you can be sure to find something to make you trip even more worthwhile. The best dresses from the best designer locations – start planning your fashion adventure today!

Internet security for travellers – tips and tricks

With technology and online activities becoming such an integral part of our lives, it’s inevitable that you’ll want to use your favourite services when abroad, such as Facebook, Gmail and perhaps access your iCloud. For those travelling for business, you may even find online banking to be an essential part of your trip – however, you must always be wary of your internet safety, in an age of hacking scandals and identity fraud at every turn. Some of these tips deal with security of your account and others still seek to stop your computer being infected with malware – they’re all useful tips to make you feel more confident when travelling abroad whilst ensuring that your Internet security is on top form.

Update everything before you leave

It might sound like common sense, but many people forget to update their gadgets and computers with the latest security software before their departure. The majority of users are using an out-dated version of their operating system and their security programmes are far behind in catching the latest viruses. Hackers will happily send viruses through the web knowing that many users haven’t updated their system, so make sure everything is up to date before you leave for the airport.

Change passwords

Many services such as Facebook, Google and Skype recommend you change your password regularly even when not travelling, so making the change before you set off can make it easier to keep these accounts secure. Try not to save passwords on your device as it makes it easier for hackers and thieves to gain access to your accounts and your information.

Back up, storage and locks

Sometimes the best advice can be the physical security of your devices and information. Create a backup of your device before you leave and always leave valuables locked away and secure when away from your accommodation. Make sure that the most essential information on your device is backed up to a physical drive – this means that should your device become compromised, the information and valuable items is stored elsewhere and is therefore safe.

Avoid using public PCs

It can be a temptation to use an internet café or a public terminal to do the most essential work online, but remember that these devices are used by perhaps thousands of people doing both legal and illegal activities. As a result, these computers may be infested with spyware – programmes and software that monitor a user’s actions whilst online and usually do not have virus protection. If you use a public terminal for your online activities, your details may very well be stolen and your security compromised.

Using hotel WiFi and the power of VPNs

Many hotels and accommodation centres now offer free or premium WiFi to their clients when travelling, and whilst it’s great to be able to access everything from the comfort of your room, it’s still a fairly public connection. If you can, look into setting up a VPN (Virtual private Network) for when you’re travelling, as this can create a far more secure network whilst using Internet connection from the hotel’s WiFi. This means that you can feel safer when accessing important and sensitive information online, so it’s worth doing your research into VPNs to decide whether they’re a viable option for you.

How To Save Money On Your Skiing Holiday!

The ever-rising popularity of skiing holidays is a true testament to the unbeatable excitement, escapism and overall experience that they provide to holidaymakers. Once solely a preserve of the rich, now it is possible for people with regular jobs to enjoy several days in thrilling skiing environments, such as the Swiss Alps or the Pyrenees, without breaking the bank. That being said, skiing holidays do, however, still tend to be more expensive than the majority of other holiday types that are available. This is partly inescapable due to the cost of hiring equipment and the fact that there aren’t a large amount of budget options for skiing holidays in the way that there are for the more popular beach and city styles of holiday. However, with careful planning and by following the helpful money saving tips below, it is possible to save a significant amount of money when booking your skiing holiday. Let’s take a look at the tips!

Carefully Choose When To Book Your Skiing Holiday

As with any holiday, the time of year that you choose to book it for will have a large effect on the amount you have to pay for what will be, in effect, exactly the same holiday. With skiing holidays, this is an especially relevant fact to be aware of as, due to there being far fewer skiing holiday resorts than regular types of holiday and getaways, the difference in what you pay usually ends up being even more. The cheapest times of year to book a skiing holiday are away from major holidays – such as Christmas, New Year and Easter – and are to be found when people are normally still at work and when there is a slight chance there may not be snow. The weeks from late November through to mid-December usually offer excellent value compared with times such as the term break during mid-February.

Some Countries Are Less Expensive Than Others For Skiing Holidays

If you want to seriously lower the costs of enjoying a wonderful skiing holiday, then one of the most important decisions you can make is not to go to one of the most expensive countries for your holiday. Some countries are markedly more expensive for what will be a largely similar experience for the skier. Switzerland, Austria and France have tremendous reputations as countries with outstanding skiing resorts, however, booking in these countries will come at a cost, not only in terms of what you will pay for actually skiing, but also in terms of food, drink, accommodation and transport. Looking slightly further afield to countries with excellent options for skiing as Slovenia, can potentially halve your costs when you look at the entire cost of your skiing trip.


Skiing is never going to be the absolute cheapest type of holiday you can book for you and your family. However, nowadays, it is possible to reduce the cost of a skiing holiday to an affordable level which wasn’t possible a decade or two ago. Key to achieving this reduction in cost is to choose carefully both the dates and the country you want to go to for your skiing holiday.

5 Reasons Pittsburgh is the Best City to Travel to in Pennsylvania

With a population around 305,000 within city limits, Pittsburgh is a mid-sized city with big city amenities. Known as the City of Bridges, Pittsburgh is an increasingly popular destination in Pennsylvania. Lacking the traffic and bustle of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh is a safe, clean, and convenient city to visit.

Pittsburgh boasts internationally renowned museums, serves up authentic and delicious eats, and is regularly touted as one of the best sports cities in the United States. If you’re planning a trip to Pennsylvania, these are the top five reasons Pittsburgh is the best city to visit.  

Fun (and Easy) to Go Downtown

[Image via Flickr by kla4067.]

Downtown Pittsburgh is a compact, pedestrian-friendly 50-acres bordered by Grant Street, Penn Avenue, and the Boulevard of the Allies. When downtown, you are only a few blocks from any destination. Unlike larger cities like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh provides 20,000 parking spaces, making exploring the downtown area convenient. Visit the Strip District on the Allegheny River. The area is home to unique shops, art galleries, produce and meat markets, and a variety of delicious restaurants. Pittsburgh’s hotels are just as great as the eccentric vibe of this upcoming city.

Oh, Brother the Delicious Food

Pittsburgh Sandwich
[Image via Flickr by Dan4th.]

In Pennsylvania, there is a continuous debate on Philadelphia’s famed cheese steaks versus Pittsburgh’s Primanti Brothers sandwiches. Although cheese steaks are delicious, Primanti Brothers’ corned beef sandwich, topped with crispy fries and creamy coleslaw, is divine. 

In addition, Pittsburgh’s multicultural heritage is well-reflected in its food, and many immigrant and blue-collar dishes have become Pittsburgh culinary staples. Pierogies, kielbasas, and chipped ham have all been perfected by Pittsburgh chefs over the years.  

Impressionist to Pop, Excellent Museums

Pittsburgh Sandwich
[Image via Flickr by Eva Blue.]

Pittsburgh is home to a number of internationally recognized museums, namely the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Carnegie Science Center. Both institutions were founding by steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie in the late 1800s. The Carnegie Museum of Art boasts an stunning collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings, and the Carnegie Science Center offers 250 interactive, hands-on exhibits and houses the Rangos Omnimax Theater, a domed-shaped, four-story IMAX Theater. Another beautiful art destination is on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, the Frick Fine Arts Building is a beautiful medley of history, art, and architecture.

For American Pop Art enthusiasts, the Andy Warhol Museum is also in Pittsburgh. Opened in 1994, the museum houses a large collection of paintings, movies, drawings, and prints created by Warhol, who is originally from Pittsburgh.  

Steeler Nation and Pirate Pride

Pittsburgh Steelers
[Image via Flickr by Paula R. Lively.]

No matter when you visit Pittsburgh, professional sports will dominate Pittsburgh’s headlines. Grab a Terrible Towel and root for the Steelers, one of the most successful football teams in NFL history. Looking for something more relaxing? PNC Park is a beautiful baseball stadium, and watching the Pittsburgh Pirates makes for a wonderful afternoon. For hockey fans, the Pittsburgh Penguins have one of the most feverish fan bases south of the Canadian border.

Safe to Enjoy and Explore

Pittsburgh is an incredible safe city. In 2013, Farmers Insurance ranked Pittsburgh as the third safest city in America. In 2014, a study performed by Smart Growth America also ranked Pittsburgh as the second safest city for pedestrians.

With Pittsburgh’s incredible safety ratings, your visit to Pittsburgh and all its wonderful destinations will be a fun, entertaining, delicious, and safe experience. 

The history of currency

When I’m at home I never stop to think about the currency that I use in day-to-day life, but once I visit a new country that changes. Maybe it is part of the excitement of going on a trip, but I love to study the currency of the land I am about to visit. You should anyway, so you can be familiar with the denominations and colours and not be caught out with the wrong change.

The history of currency is an interesting story as well. Our friends at Travelex are experts in international payments and they have put together this infographic on the history of different currencies from the most popular travel destinations around the world.

The history of currency

Unlocking the history in Europe

Whether visiting just one European city or region, or taking an extended tour of England, Italy, Germany and France, there is so much history to discover that a single trip will only allow the traveler to scratch the surface. While each country has its own distinct culture and history, each has waged war and been conquered by one another, and/or shared kings and queens, sometimes on more than one occasion. The result is an often bewilderingly complex and colorful history that can be traced back for many thousands of years.

Although it is almost impossible to list everything a visitor to Europe should see and do, here are just a few suggestions to whet the appetite.


Most visitors to the UK will arrive in London, which has countless historic sites and museums. There is the Tower of London, which William the Conqueror had built in the 1080s; 11th century Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, the British Museum and the Natural History Museum… the list is endless.

Outside the capital, one of the country’s most popular and ancient monuments is Stonehenge, which is thought to have been constructed between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago. There are dozens more ancient stone circles and monoliths dotted around the country. Dating from more recent times, 1775 to be precise, the world’s first cast iron bridge is located in Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, some 158 miles northwest of London. A World Heritage Site, featuring a number of museums and craft centers, it is widely accepted as being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.


Rome has so many museums and ruins it seems there is something to see around every corner. There is the Coliseum, the Circus Maximus and the Palatine Hill, while in the Vatican City there is the 15th century St Peter’s Basilica.

Florence is home to the Uffizi Gallery, with its sculptures and paintings by artists such as Michelangelo, Rubens and Rembrandt. Construction of Florence’s cathedral, The Duomo, started in the 13th century and the cathedral is dominated by a magnificent dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. Also not to be missed are the Leonardo da Vinci museum and the Accademia Gallery, which houses Michelangelo’s David.

During the Battle of Cannae Hannibal of Carthage, outnumbered more than two to one, defeated an 80,000-strong Roman army led by Consuls Varro and Paullus II. Fought on August 2, 216BC, it is claimed to be the bloodiest battle in history. The site of the battle is near the town of Barletta, some 250 miles south-east of Rome.


Germany has been at the center of Europe for many centuries, from its early tribal beginnings, through invasion by the Romans, to the 20th century when it was epicenter of two world wars. After the Second World War the country was divided into East and West by the Iron Curtain, before finally being reunified in October 1990.

Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, which was constructed between 1788 and 1791, was originally the entrance to King Frederick William II of Prussia’s Palace. It became the symbol of the reunification of both the city and the country following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Short sections of the Wall, which was erected in 1961, have been preserved throughout the city. A 1.3-km length is visible at the open-air East Side Gallery.

Going back much further in time, the Imperial Baths of Trier were constructed in the 4th century AD by the Romans, who fought numerous skirmishes and battles with Germanic tribes between the 2nd century BC and the 5th century AD. The Baths are the largest outside Rome and significant sections remain standing. Visitors are also able to see and explore the Baths’ underground tunnels.


One of the first structures travelers arriving in Paris are likely to spot is the Eiffel Tower. This iconic landmark was opened in 1889 and, along with Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Palace of Versailles and the Arc de Triomphe, is sure to be high on any tourist’s list of essential sights.

Another major attraction in the city is the Louvre Museum, which contains over 35,000 objects in an area that covers over 652,000 square feet. The museum’s exhibits date from modern to prehistoric times, though it is most famous for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, which the artist is thought to have completed while at the court of Francis I.

France has seen numerous battles over the centuries but those fought during the First and Second World Wars are likely to be of most interest to today’s visitors. The First World War saw some particularly bloody encounters and, at the site of the Battle of Belleau Wood, which took place between June 1 and 26, 1918, 2,289 US soldiers are buried in the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery. At Bayeux in Normandy, where thousands of Allied troops landed on D-Day, August 29, 1944, the conflict is remembered at the Battle of Normandy Memorial Museum. Many other museums and memorials can be found all along this part of the French coast. Bayeux is also where the famous tapestry depicting a much earlier battle; the Battle of Hastings, in 1066, is displayed.

Europe offers something for everyone and each country has its own language, though English is also widely spoken. Whether traveling on a budget or staying in five star hotels, there are comfortable accommodations to be found in almost every town and city. What’s more, by checking out websites such as, getting there need not cost a fortune.

Is a timeshare a good investment?

More and more families who love to travel are finding timeshare’s as a viable investment option for their annual holiday vacation spending. Here are some reasons why:

Its acceptance worldwide lies largely in the people’s need for quality holiday vacation that allows them to explore different places around the world with loads of benefits. Generally, a timeshare accommodation is more than just a hotel room. It has enough space for a family and more friends with its homey and self-catering facilities like kitchen, living, dining rooms, laundry washers and even sauna, Jacuzzi, pool and kids facilities in other accommodations. Timeshare providers like Resorts Condominiums International, Interval International, Holiday Club, The Registry Collection and Preferred Residences, to name a few have thousands of destinations around the world for their clients to enjoy.

Added to that is the flexibility of when and where to use it. They have various types of ownership to choose from that would suit their lifestyle: fixed week, floating week or rotating/flex week ownership. If the owner is unable to use his timeshare for that year, he can rent it out or give it out as a gift to friends or donate to charity. And if he and his family get tired of going to the same holiday accommodation venues and want to try other new destinations, they can swap their timeshare with other affiliated vacation ownership resorts around the globe. They may also join in the timeshare networks in order to exchange their timeshare ownership with another timeshare owner directly or thru third party agents.

It also carries along with it a sense of ownership. Timesharing is vacation ownership or having a long-term vacation plan for yourself and your family. It allows a timeshare owner to have a part-ownership in a unit in a host of resorts, vacation rentals, holiday homes and hotels for at least a week every year. You own your annual vacation time in your purchased holiday accommodation or in your choice of new destination as part of timeshare exchange options.

Many satisfied families appreciate the value of being able to spend quality time with family and friends in luxurious destinations worldwide. One couple said that if it had not been for timeshare, they would just be staying in the usual budget hotels and not be able to see majestic destinations within and outside their country. Certainly, it will multiply your opportunity to enjoy and afford quality experience because of your exposure to various destinations.

It allows you to plan your vacation in the long-term. One satisfied owner said that with a timeshare, it forces him to make time for his family’s yearly luxury holiday vacation which helps keep the family together. It saves him also from current huge hotel rates as he is paying at today’s prices the cost of tomorrow’s vacation.

Also, instead of purchasing a vacation home, timeshare gives you the liberty to go to a different destination each year and saves you on a full mortgage, tax and maintenance cost as you are sharing the burden of maintenance cost with other owners. You only pay for a fraction of the cost of ownership proportionate to your use each year.

Timeshare is definitely a good alternative for keen travelers but must ensure that your payments are processed thru the help of reputable timeshare merchants that will allow your transactions to be facilitated whether in-person, over the internet or by phone.

Blair ThomasBlair Thomas is an electronic payment expert, who loves all things finance and planning.  He is also the co-founder of, the #1 timeshare merchant account provider in the country. If you would like to see what he’s up to, add him to your Google+ circle.