Great Pyramids of Egypt
The top man made wonder of the world comprises three pyramids. They were about 4500 years ago. Khufu's (the most famous) is one of the Ancient Seven Wonders). Gaza, near Cairo.
Pyramids of Egypt
Great Wall of China
This man made wonder once stretched 5,400 miles across northern China. The best preserved Great Wall sections lie north of Beijing. Northern China.
Great Wall of China
Many consider the white-marbled Taj Mahal the world's most beautiful building. Agra, India.
Machu Picchu has been called the "Lost City of the Incas". Its Pre-Columbian ruins rest spectacularly on a mountain saddle. Peru.
The tropical island of Bali is blessed with scenic rice terraces, mesmerizing traditional dance & music, stimulating arts & crafts, exotic temples, interesting food, to name just several of the island's enchantments. Indonesia.
The architectural masterpieces (now ruins) were built in the jungle in 12th century. Then, Angkor Wat was mysteriously abandoned and eventually hidden by jungle growth. Cambodia.
The Forbidden City is an enormous palatial compound. Emperors ruled China from it for almost 500 years. Beijing, China.
Bagan Temples & Pagodas
Bagan is an immense religious complex built in the 11th to 13th centuries. It once had over 10,000 Buddhist structures. Myanmar.
Bagan Temples & Pagodas
Karnak is a colossal temple along the Nile River. It was the religious epicenter of the Egyptians several thousand years ago. Egypt.
Teotihuacan, an ancient religious complex, is best known for its Pyramid of the Sun, which soars as high a 27-story building. North of Mexico City.
In Jamaica , lazy reggae rhythms, endless sunny days, miles of sugar-white sand beaches, and spectacular orange-hued sunsets dipping into the sparkling, azure waters of the Caribbean are a way of life. If you can pull yourself away from your beachside hammock, you’ll discover a rich culture of lush greenery and mouth-watering cuisine. For a primer to this island paradise, try our top 10 list of things to see and do.
Swimming with Dolphins in Ocho Rios
Take the Bob Marley Nine-Mile TourMusic fans should definitely take the Bob Marley Nine Mile tour, which takes you to the birthplace of reggae icon Bob Marley. On your way through the Jamaican countryside, you’ll wind your way through rural villages and spectacular mountain scenery. The house where Marley lived as a child is filled with cool memorabilia and music, of course, is playing everywhere. Throughout the experience, a Rastafarian weaves tales of Marley’s childhood and musical sojourns.
Catch a Jamaican Sunset at Rick’s CafeThere’s no denying it. Whether you come to this Negril waterfront hangout spot for dinner or daiquiris, you’ll be among other bronzed bodies who are here to check out the most spectacular sunset in Jamaica. And it is a sight to behold. Off the cliff that plunges 33 feet (10m) into the ocean, the sun turns a blazing orange and dips slowly beneath a shimmering blue Caribbean.
At the Bob Marley Memorial
Bobsled through a RainforestBobsledding in Jamaica? You bet! The normally cold-weather winter sport is alive and well here. Various tours will take you into the rainforest to a winding course high up in the Blue Mountains. Once buckled in, you’ll head down a path for an exhilarating ride through a lush landscape of natural springs and exotic flora and fauna.
Hang at a Beach BarBeachside bars are ubiquitous in Jamaica, from mellow posh resort spots to lively raffish shacks. And you are on holiday – so why not make a day out of it? Grab a seat, order daiquiri, a rum punch, or a bottle of Red Stripe and soak up the sights and reggae rhythms on the beach.
Take Home JamaicaDon’t leave this tropical island pearl without bringing a little back with you. Crafts are abundant—woodcarvings, weavings, jewelery—especially at the Crafts Market in Montego Bay or at Harmony Hall in Ocho Rios. Blue Mountain coffee and Appleton Estate rums and rum creams are also favorite take-home treasures.
Snorkel the reefs of Montego Marine ParkYou can spend hours lazing the day away on the dazzling white sands of Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay. But if the warm, turquoise Caribbean waters beckon, head over to Montego Bay Marine Park for some of the island’s best snorkelling. You can explore some 15 acres of vibrantly colored reefs, where a dazzling display of fluttering sea life abounds. For above-water frolics, rent a jet ski or take a glass bottom boat ride.
Jerk Stands Along Highway in central Jamaica
Taste Jamaica’s Authentic Jerk FlavorsForgo lunch at a beachside restaurant and instead stop at one of the ubiquitous ramshackle roadside stands for some jerk. This is truly an authentic Jamaican experience—and a spicy one! Jerk is like Jamaican barbeque. Meats and fish are flavored in seasoning then grilled on slats of pimento wood over a wood fire. Too spicy? Order a bottle of Red Stripe beer to wash it down.
Explore the Green Grotto CavesOne of Jamaica’s most fascinating natural sites is Green Grotto Caves , west of Ocho Rios . Wander among a forest of stalagmite and stalactites that hang in these limestone caves, filled with eerie chambers that are home to bats and marine life. The caves were once used to hide runaway slaves.
Swim with DolphinsA top not-to-be-missed Jamaican experience, swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Cove , in Ocho Rios, provides the best one-on-one encounter with these lively critters. This exhilarating adventure includes touching, holding, feeding, and swimming with the dolphins. Afterward, you can dig into a Jamaican-style buffet and linger over tropical drinks at the bar. The more adventurous should ask about the shark program.
Seven Mile Beach
Take a Stroll along Seven Mile BeachWith nearly 7 miles of white, powdery sand, strolling Seven Mile Beach defines “tropical paradise.” Palm trees sway on the beaches, nude sunbathers soak up the never-ending rays, inviting aquamarine waters beckon snorkelers and swimmers, and reggae rhythms pulsate from the endless line of resorts, clubs, and beach bars. A true hedonistic wonderland. Families and conservative folk may want to go elsewhere.
1. The technological determinist: iPhone lens dialHow are those Mac Hipsters going to fit this into their skinny jeans?
You know the guy; he frowns at the girl with the Nokia E71 like she’s an escaped Amish milkmaid.
When it comes to photos, the technological determinist believes the iPhone breathes eternal digital life to all real-life experiences.
He never looks up from his camera and only documents vacations via iPhone where he will Photoshop and upload to Facebook/Twitter/Google+.
This geek will appreciate the gift of a multiple iPhone lens -- since the digital SLR will be obsolete in a matter of years.
The attachable extension has three lenses, a 0.7x wide-angle to snap panoramic views, a 0.33x fisheye lens for extra drama, and a 1.5x telephoto lens.
Photo Jojo Lens Dial, US$250, photojojo.com
More on CNNGo: iPhone photos like you've never seen
2. The Doraemon: 18-pocket trenchPerfect for moms and cartoon spies.
The Doraemon always has a bottomless bag, but instead of guided missiles and dream-reading machines, she unknowingly accumulates lipsticks, lighters, manicure kits, needles and nunchucks.
Airport security is always a nightmare with this one.
With this figure-flattering trench, the Doraemon can pull off her coat and throw it into the X-ray bucket, and there’s no need to sift through a large purse.
iPad, camera, phone, water bottle, sunnies and more can all get tucked into the coat without looking like she’s extremely bloated.
Features include: 18 pockets, clear inside pockets, zipper and magnetic closures on pockets, and water bottle holder. Comes in red, black, mud, mist, thyme, periwinkle and paprika.
Scotte Vest Woman’s Trench, US$150, www.scottevest.com
More on CNNGo: Essential travel clothes for girls on the road.
3. The typo artist: Laser keyboard cubeThere are laser beams. What other reason do you need?
The typo artist doesn’t like to travel with his heavy laptop so sometimes he just brings the iPad on business trips.
But his untrained fingers have sent enough embarrassing autocorrect gaffes to develop a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Save him, with the 19 millimeter QWERTY Cube Laser Virtual Keyboard. It’s compact (a bit larger than a matchbook), and perfect for banging out emails from the express hotel desk.
The keyboard connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to iPhone, iPad, some Smartphones, and most laptops. It charges via USB and requires no installation. The rechargeable battery lasts for 150 minutes straight.
Cube Laser Virtual Keyboard, US$169, www.thinkgeek.com
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4. The ski bunny: GPS ski gogglesThe only thing these are missing is X-ray vision.
She’s brags about shredding every mountain in the world from Whistler to Niseko, while you’re still figuring out how to tie the boots up without tripping.
How will you win her affection when she won't give you the time of day? Give her an extremely complicated pair of GPS ski goggles that she can't understand. That'll get her off her high horse.
Zeal Optics’ Z3 GPS Goggles have adjustable light levels, and reduce 99.9 percent of glare from the sun. The head-mounted display technology has 3D data-capturing features.
The James Bond-inspired goggles capture your ride by providing real-time access to performance statistics including speed, altitude, temperature, and time during your run down the slopes.
Users can see their fastest and slowest speeds, review individual runs, and see vertical distance covered.
Zeal Optics Z3 GPS Goggles, US$549, www.zealoptics.com
More on CNNGo: 10 top ski resorts to visit this winter
5. The humanitarian: Clear UV water purifierRumors of the bottle surfaced in 2009, but the much-anticipated Clear UV Water Purifier is worth the three-year wait.
The humanitarian spends all her winter holiday volunteering in developing countries and never fails to come back with a horror story of waterborne disease.
This makes you feel guilty for playing Xbox all winter and not having diarrhea for five days.
Feel guilty no more, the CamelBak UV Water Purifier will purify her water anytime anywhere. The purifier has an ultraviolet light bulb built in the bottle cap and is good for 10,000 cleaning cycles.
The UV light sterilizes 99.999 percent of the bacteria, protozoa and viruses in 60 seconds.
So get back on that couch and send her on her way.
Camelbak Clear UV Water Purifier, US$99, The UV purifier won’t be available until March 2012, but you can read more about it at www.trailspace.com and see other Camelbak bottles atwww.camelbak.com
6. The tea connoisseur: Tipping loose-leaf tea cupStarbucks take note, loose-leaf is going mainstream.
Train or plane, this tea Nazi doesn’t care about the convenience of bagged teas while sitting around a campfire.
He has to quaff his tea in loose-leaf format because the suffocating tea bag might constrict the leaves' “circulation” and the tea must expand to properly “unfuuurl.”
You’ll never have to roll your eyes again if you get him the tipping tea cup. Just fill the strainer side with tea, tip over the thermo-resistant plastic cup, steep, and tip back to strain out the leaves.
Magisso Teacup, US$20,www.uncommongoods.com
More on CNNGo: 12 secrets from a kung fu tea master
7. The humanoid robot: The battery messenger bagWhen he gives you a hug, check for a USB port in the back of his neck.
This guy is always connected. He can text, type on his laptop, play Scrabble on the iPad, pick songs from his mp3 player and eat a hamburger while walking to a meeting.
But he gets jittery when his life tools are on 15 percent battery power during a long train journey with no plug.
Behold the messenger Power Bag. With a built-in battery system, the bag can charge the average smart phone four times, including Apple, Micro-USB, mini-USB connecters and USB ports. The humanoid will last all day.
The Powerbag, Instant Messenger model, US$180, www.mypowerbag.com
More on CNNGo: iPhone photos like you've never seen
8. The dad: Flexible tripodIt's better than a tie.
Dads feel the paternal need to document every single family moment and they will do anything to get that perfect vacation photo for the mantelpiece.
Unfortunately lovable ol' dad never seems to have any EQ and will ask the busiest, shyest, or most irritated passerby to snap a photo, then make them take it again if it doesn’t come out right.
To avoid the embarrassment, get him a GorillaPod Hybrid so he can wrap the camera around anything to get the perfect family portrait, even in the strangest of places.
The rubber-gripped GorillaPod Hybrid supports point-and-shoot cameras weighing up to one kilo. Includes bubble level for instant setup and perfectly level images.
GorillaPod Hybrid, From €40 (US$52), www.joby.com
More on CNNGo: How to take stunning city photographs
9. The nocturnal drunk: BedphonesGreat stocking stuffer for the insomniac on your list.
One of your travel mates has come back from the nightclub later than everyone else. He wants to pump his fist to techno, but you want lights out.
Give him your BedPhones, convince him in his drunken stupor that they're a variation of Beats By Dr. Dre.
Connect any Android or iOS smart phones to a pair of Bedphones to play music that is automatically gradually turned down to lull the wearer to sleep.
These light ear-hooked headphones are wafer thin, and lie flat on the ear, comfortably designed for sleeping.
The app comes with three modes: basic mode turns your phone into the controller with a play/pause button; timer mode sets a timer for when you want to turn it off; smart mode actually shuts the app down by detecting how much you're moving.
Bedphones, US$30, app is free, www.bedphones.com, www.bedphones.com/mobile-app (The Bedphones Music Controller app can be used with other headphones)
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10. The slacker packer: Pocket e-readerWe know you'll feel like a sell-out, but think about all that extra space in the carry-on.
Getting lost in the pages of an enlightening novel is all part of the relaxation process for many travelers.
But then again, on a recent trip to Italy, a friend of mine ripped her 566-page novel in half and discarded the completed 300 pages to avoid traveling with the weight.
E-readers aren’t new, but the new pocket sized Amazon Kindle 3G is particularly handy for travel.
The pocket-sized reader weighs next to nothing and has 3G access all over the world, so there is no wireless connection or international data fee to download books any time. Data like itinerary, travel insurance and medical can be stored in PDF.
Amazon Kindle 3G, US$139, www.amazon.com
More on CNNGo: Leave your iPad home, travel with an Indian tablet
Budget Travel Magazine
10 issues per year
Budget Travel magazine offers money-saving, practical travel advice for travelers. Find city guides, restaurant recommendations and more for your next vacation on a budget in each issue of Budget Travel magazine.
Coastal Living Magazine
10 issues per year
Coastal Living is written for the lovers of the seashores! Whether you live along America's great coasts, or simply love life at the beach, you will love this magazine's charming style.
Conde Nast Traveler Magazine
12 issues per year
The insider's guide to the outside world.
8 issues per year
An award-winning, spectacularly visual magazine for island travelers and dreamers. ISLANDS focuses on places we all dream about: islands around the world.
National Geographic Magazine
12 issues per year
A monthly publication with occasional special editions, National Geographic provides you with everything you need to know about scenery, history and traveling to all ends of the earth. National Geographic is most well known for its award winning photojournalism.
National Geographic Traveler Magazine
8 issues per year
Discover a wealth of vacation ideas for the U.S., Canada, and overseas destinations. Each issue features superb photography and lively stories, plus a wide range of practical travel advice. This award-winning magazine has everything you need to plan the perfect trip.
12 issues per year
For 25 years OUTSIDE magazine has been the intelligent person's guide to the always exhilarating world outside. Award winning writers, great stories of adventure, tips on the latest gear, where & when to go for active travelers.
Travel + Leisure Magazine
12 issues per year
Your guide to the best the world has to offer, near and far-the world's #1 travel magazine.
Travel 50 & Beyond Magazine
5 issues per year
Discounts, tips and new vacation ideas for travelers over 50.
6 issues per year
Fun on a budget.
Which countries will come into their own as travel destinations in 2012? We’ve collated hundreds of ideas from everyone at Lonely Planet, including our extended family of travellers, bloggers and tweeters to work out the very best. This list of the top 10 countries for 2012 – in ranked order – was voted for by a panel of inhouse travel experts, based on topicality, excitement, value and that special X-factor.
1. UgandaIt’s taken nasty dictatorships and a brutal civil war to keep Uganda off the tourist radar, but stability is returning and it won’t be long before visitors come flocking back. After all, this is the source of the river Nile – that mythical place explorers sought since Roman times. It’s also where savannah meets the vast lakes of East Africa, and where snow-capped mountains bear down on sprawling jungles. Not so long ago, the tyrannical dictator and ‘Last King of Scotland’ Idi Amin helped hunt Uganda’s big game to the brink of extinction, but today the wildlife is returning with a vengeance. This year Uganda also celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence; Kampala, one of Africa’s safest capital cities, is bound to see off the event with a bang. Still, Uganda still isn’t without its problems. Human rights abuses aren’t uncommon, and the country breathes a collective sigh whenever President Museveni thinks of another ruse to stay in power for a few more years. But now, as ever, explorers in search of the source of the Nile won’t leave disappointed.
Travel alert: Lonely Planet refers would-be travellers to Uganda to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice on the country:
“There is very little social tolerance of homosexuality, which is illegal. There have been moves, initiated by a Ugandan MP, to introduce reactionary legislation that would further criminalise homosexuality and introduce the death penalty for some activity… you should be aware that homosexuality is generally seen as taboo and exists on the margins of society.”
Travel to areas of northeastern Uganda is not recommended – seek specific advice if you are seeking to travel to Kidepo Valley National Park.
2. Myanmar (Burma)‘We want people to come to Burma.’ That’s the words of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the opposition party that has urged foreigners to stay away since 1996. This changed in late 2010, when the NLD revised its boycott to encourage independent travel (as opposed to package tours) following the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, who had spent 15 of the past 20 years under house arrest. As a result, Myanmar is set to be a hot new destination for independent travellers. Rimmed by mountains and white-sand beaches, the kite-shaped country’s most accessible area is the centre, which is filled with timeless towns and countless pagodas, especially the 4000 examples found on Bagan’s 26-sq-km riverside plain. Beyond the attractions, there’s the fervently Buddhist locals, who might just be the world’s sweetest people. If you do go, be aware that the revised boycott doesn’t mean troubles are over.
3. UkraineWhen we don’t know much about a country, we just fill in the gaps with clichés – andUkraine, the great unknown of Europe, has had plenty hurled at it. Wide-scale counter-espionage? No, not even in Odessa. Communist grime everywhere you look? One glimpse of glorious Old Town Kiev or the wildlife on unspoilt Crimean shores will set you straight. Cheap beer? You bet: it’s cheaper than water. Football? Funny you should mention that…It’s through the power of soccer that Ukraine is poised to showcase its charms to unprecedented numbers of visitors. It will co-host Euro 2012 (the European footballchampionships) and the four match venues have been cunningly selected to encourage further travel by visiting football fans. So Lviv becomes the jumping-off point for Carpathian exploration, while Kiev, which stages the final, will become base for forays to the Black Sea coast and, yep, the grim tourist attraction that is Chernobyl.
4. JordanThe word is getting out that Jordan is not just about Petra and Indiana Jones. Yes, the ancient ‘Red Rose city’ is still the jewel in Jordan’s crown, but sights such as Wadi Rum, Jerash and Madaba are adding weight to the country’s tourism boom. One of the most open, friendly and welcoming nations in the Middle East, Jordan is an example to other states in the region of how to modernise while preserving cherished ancient traditions. This year marks the 64th birthday of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a relative baby on the global scene. Though poverty is still rife, Jordan’s economy is on the up, and its history and tourist infrastructure make it one of the most accessible Arab states for English-speaking travellers.
5. DenmarkEvery year, Denmark tops a ‘quality of life’ list and is revealed as the coolest/happiest/best-looking place on earth, because not only is the living easy in this small, perfectly formed country, but it’s also easy on the eye. Viking raids aside, the Danes have long tried to make the world a better place (think generous foreign aid programs and the pursuit of green technology) and they make sure that they lead by example: their homes are stylish recycling-savvy havens of hygge (a sense of contented cosiness) and their public spaces are enjoyed by all. And all you have to do is hop on your bike – literally. Countrywide, you’ll find around 10,000km of bicycle routes and some four million bikes to share them with, plus you’re rarely more than a short pedal from the bracing seaside, the picturesque countryside or an architectural delight, making Denmark the perfect place to put pedal power into practice.
Image by jmhullot
Beautiful Buddhist Bhutan has always coyly shielded its charms from the wider world, but new areas of this remarkable mountainous land are finally opening for business. Of course, you’ve been able to visit for years, but most tours hit the same highlights: a part-awesome, part-terrifying flight into peak-protected Paro, a jaunt around western Bhutan’s cultural sights, then perhaps a trek through pristine mountains (Bhutan’s conservation credentials are exemplary). There’s no independent travel here; itineraries are sanctioned by the Tourism Council and guides are compulsory. But now, at last, it’s possible to visit other parts of this famously reclusive country. Royal Manas National Park, prowled by some of the planet’s last remaining tigers, has reopened. And the far east, where most locals have seen more yetis than tourists, is accessible and is getting better infrastructure. The only downside? It’s not for those on a budget at US$200 a day (though admittedly this covers many on-the-ground costs).
7. CubaFor years people have been saying it, and for years (53 and counting) the Castro brothers have staved off the inevitable – that Cuba has to change. Its socialist credentials are gradually crumbling in the face of international capitalism, as evidenced by dramatic public sector cuts and the relaxation of restrictions on private enterprise. This is good news for Cubans, but bad news for fans of peeling Plymouths, crumbling colonial charm, impromptu salsa sessions in half-collapsed yet elegant houses, all-day coffee-and-rum breaks, and horse-drawn carts in the fastlane of highways. The beaches will still be pristine 10 years from now, and the world’s best mojitos will still flow. But the country mightn’t be quite so, well, distinctive. Or fun. Go while the clock is still stopped at 1959.
8. New CaledoniaHow strange it feels. You’re greeted with a bonjour when you step off the plane, then you breakfast on croissants and baguettes at a pavement cafe in Nouméa – yet you’re in the heart of the South Pacific. At first glance, New Caledonia resembles nothing less than a chunk of France teleported directly into the tropics. Nouméa could be easily mistaken for city in the French Riviera. But beyond the très French panache of the capital and the west coast of the main island, Grande Terre, the indigenous Melanesian culture quickly comes to the fore. The rebirth of Kanak traditions has been gaining momentum for the past 30 years, and today is at an all-time high. Head to the Loyalty Islands or Ile des Pins and you’ll enter another world. For the enquiring visitor, it’s a fascinating opportunity to experience New Caledonia from a different perspective. Amazingly, despite its fabulous islandscapes and unique mélange of Gallic and Melanesian cultures, New Caledonia rarely makes it onto people’s travel shortlists.
9. TaiwanTaiwan has always had a jaw-dropping landscape – oversized sea cliffs and denselyforested mountains barely start to describe its majesty. And then there’s the museums,which are simply bursting with treasures (including the best of imperial China, spirited across the strait after WWII), plus a thriving folk culture that includes some wild displays of Taoist and Buddhist worship. In terms of cuisine, Taiwan is a fusion and slow-food showcase. So why is 2012 the time to visit? Because Taiwan is best seen on two wheels and in recent years the authorities have embraced the biking market with surprising enthusiasm, vision and (most importantly) funding. This year sees the linking of thousands of kilometres of paths, including two round-the-island routes, and a host of other cycling friendly infrastructure projects.
10. SwitzerlandWhether it’s economic growth, political stability or sustainable snow, little-miss perfect Switzerland always finishes at the top of the European class. With its model railways, chocolate-box towns and outrageously beautiful mountains, the country should be the envy of all. But, critics say, doesn’t perfect actually mean dull? Isn’t Switzerland all holey cheese, skis and lights out by 10pm? Well, not quite. Stand in the wave-shaped shadow of Renzo Piano’s Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, party in Züri-West’s industrial-chic clubs and experience a heart-stopping moment while glacier bungee jumping in Interlaken, and you’ll discover a Switzerland with art, attitude and an insatiable appetite for adventure. This year Switzerland’s gloriously accessible Alps will become even easier to reach, thanks to the launch of 19 new TGVs from Paris, and the construction of the groundbreaking Gotthard rail tunnel getting underway.
No.10 Packing (+TO DO!)
Coordinating what you need to bring for both short and extended trips is often an exhaustive exercise in memory and attention. Luckily, this Packing app helps take some of the preparation stress off travelers by allowing users to create packing lists and check items off as they're packed. Not exactly sure what needs to be on the list in the first place? Well, Packing allows you to also view recreated sample packing lists or templates built for a variety of common trip types. Lists from previous trips can be saved for future reference should travelers want to equip themselves in a similar fashion. From a practical standpoint, the application can be just as helpful for reminding users what not to forget when returning as it is for pre-trip organization.
Booking flights on the fly is one of the most frustrating and costly experiences a traveler can face. Go for the cheapest flight you can find and you’ll probably end up in Atlanta for 36 hours waiting for your connecting fight. Here to change all that is the Hipmunk app, which although searches flights based on costs, also filters them based on variables like “Agony” (the amount of stops you’ll have to make in order to get to your final destination).
No.8 XE Currency
Unless your name is Thomas Crown and you're prepared for international travel at a moment's notice, chances are you'll need to exchange some money in order to get by. XE Currency is a useful tool for converting money from all over the world, helping users to better understand just how much cash they should expect to receive in the event of an exchange (before fees). Since it makes use of the iPhone's internet connection, exchange rates throughout the app are also updated as new information becomes available, insuring your exchange calculations stay up to date with the changes in the international currency markets.
Going on vacation often means taking more than a few snap shots of your adventures to share with others at a later date. Of course, regular snap shots will always remain a standard, but panoramic shots can sometimes be the best solution for capturing especially beautiful landscapes. Along those lines, Pano is an amazingly easy-to-use app that allows even novice photographers to shoot panoramas with up to 16 photos using the iPhone's onboard camera. Simply point the camera at the desired panorama scene, and follow the app's handy semitransparent guide to help line up each shot perfectly. From there, the software's advanced alignment, blending and color-matching algorithms do the rest of the work to create seamless images which can then be stored directly to your iPhone's photo roll.
No.6 Flight Tracker
There is nothing more frustrating than making an hours-long commute to your airport only to find out your flight has been delayed for half a day or cancelled altogether. Well, the Flight Tracker app aims to make this a thing of the past. Now, you can track flights with amazing maps, and receive real-time info on departure info, delays and gate assignments.
While we'd always recommend securing a hotel at your destination before you travel, it's understandable that sometimes sorting those details out once you arrive just can't done. Created with these scenarios in mind, HotelPal uses the iPhone's GPS functionality to show all the hotels around you. Going further, it also allows users to view rates after inputting their desired length of stay, see pictures of the hotel in question and view a compatible list of the hotel amenities. In other words, it's a great way to avoid endless drives searching for vacancy signs.
Though the iPhone's built-in maps application is unquestionably useful for understanding where you are, it often requires 3G connections to function properly. So, if you happen to be out of the country and roaming, the cost of this 3G access can become overwhelming quite quickly. Luckily, oMaps allows iPhone owners to download maps to destinations ahead of time, then browse through them on the phone without the use of 3G or a connection to the internet. Based off the OpenStreetMap service, otherwise referred to as the Wikipedia of map pages, this service may not be as detailed as Google, but overall should be more than suitable, especially in heavily populated areas.
For instance, it still provides point-of-interest info related to restaurants, ATMs and mass transit stations. Also, since your phone's GPS functionality does not require a data connection to work, users can still press the GPS button to view where they are located on downloaded maps. Considering the savings this application offers, along with the possibility to still provide quite a bit of guidance in areas where there is no cell phone signal, it's an iPhone user's best bet for avoiding being completely lost in a foreign place.
Perfect for travelers in search of the best restaurants, this app is powered bu users' own reviews and pics, making it a foodie's best friend. For each city, users can browse the app's selections alphabetically, by category, rank, and even neighborhood location. Naturally, you can also search for nearby restaurants on the list based on your current GPS location.
The company that has revolutionized the way people book their vacation accommodations now has an app to match. With a couple of taps on your phone, you can find available residences, book them, communicate with the property’s owner, score crazy-cheap time-sensitive deals, and much more. Plus, you can access your online profile so that you can upload freshly taken pics in real-time.
No.1 Google Translate
Spanning over 50 languages, Google Translate allows you to translate text between 57 languages, receive translation by speaking into the phone for 15 languages, display translations so that they are easier to read, and much more. This is the definition of a game-changer.
1. Never buy from a travel agent, tour operator or airline.
This will almost certainly cost you more.
2. Decide on the cover you need before finding deals on comparison sites
Taking your iPad with you on holiday? That £10 cheapo one-week cover is useless when you realise it has a £250 excess and a single item limit of £150, so it won't cough up. Which? recommends travel policies should cover medical expenses of at least £2m (Europe) or £5m (worldwide); at least £3,000 for cancellation; and at least £1,500 for baggage and belongings cover.
3. Be sensible about the excess
That is the amount that you, the policyholder, has to pay towards any claim. If, for example, you claim for £600, and the excess is £150, the insurer pays out £450. If you set the excess high, the policy will be cheaper, but may not be worth having.
Moneysupermarket.com, warns some policies charge an excess "per benefit section". "For example, if you were mugged, you could be charged £75 excess on the medical costs plus a £50 excess for loss of personal effects. Other policies charge just one excess per claim, which can work out much cheaper," it says.
4. Check what is already covered by your home insurance policy or bank
Home policies often include insurance for personal possessions when away from home, so you can opt out of having baggage cover and save money. You may also have a credit card or current account that includestravel insurance but check that the cover is sufficient for your needs – such "free" insurance can sometimes be very basic.
5. Choose annual cover if you travel more than three times a year
According to Moneysavingexpert.com, if you travel three times or more a year (or twice or more if one trip is to the US) then getting an annual policy that covers the entire year's travel for one fee is likely to cost you less than buying separate single-trip policies. But note that annual policies won't cover backpackers on extended trips: they usually cover trips up to a maximum of 31 days.
6. Egypt is in Europe, but the US is not in the world
You don't need to buy a worldwide policy for much of north Africa: as Egypt, Morocco and Turkey come under Europe in most deals. But watch out, some "worldwide" policies exclude the US and Canada.
7. Look out for age limits and medical exclusions
Many policies, particularly the cheapest, will not insure anyone aged over 65, however fit and active. Most standard policies will also not cover any pre-existing conditions. So, for example, if you are asthmatic and suffer an attack on holiday that requires medical treatment, your policy will not pay out. Tell your insurer about any ongoing medical conditions and answer questions honestly. Some insurers may then agree to cover certain conditions for a small extra premium or, if your condition warrants it, refer you to a specialist insurer.
8. Even horse riding is adventurous
Many policies exclude "risky activities", which can be horse riding, scuba diving, jet skiing or mountain climbing. If you are going on a skiing holiday make sure the policy includes comprehensive winter sports cover.
9. Independent travellers should opt for scheduled airline failure cover
If you tend to make your own flight and accommodation arrangements, rather than booking a package, it's important your insurance includes scheduled airline and end-supplier failure cover, which protects you if an airline, villa company or ferry firm goes bust after you've booked your holiday. Note that even five-star policies may not cover airline failures.
10. Get an EHIC card
If you are heading to Europe, get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which gives you access to state-provided healthcare, at a reduced cost or sometimes free, when temporarily visiting an EU country, and also Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Some travel insurance policies will waive the excess for medical claims if you use your EHIC to get medical treatment while travelling in the EU. The easiest way to apply for, or renew, an EHIC – which is valid for up to five years – is atehic.org.uk. Alternatively, you can call 0845 606 2030 or pick up an application form from the Post Office. You'll need to supply the NHS or national insurance number, surname, forenames and date of birth of applicants.
1. Sydney, Australia
The first and the largest major city to ring in the New Year, the Aussies know how to do it right. There’s something for everyone in Sydney, from families to backpackers to retirees to everyone in between. The fireworks display on the Sydney Harbour is the main highlight for anyone celebrating here, and the fact that it’s summertime in Sydney gives it a different feel for those in the northern hemisphere. The setting of the city, with the Harbour and Opera House, creates a wonderful backdrop. If massive crowds aren’t your thing, look into getting a spot on a boat and enjoy the festivities from a unique vantage point, the water.
Sydney Harbour is the place to be if you find yourself down under for the New Year’s celebration. The massive fireworks display is one of the main reasons people from all over the world come to Sydney to celebrate, so be sure to check out the vantage point map. The more popular viewing places fill up early, so planning ahead and arriving as early as afternoon is essential. There are plenty of restaurants and bars in the area hosting their own parties; check those out if you aren’t interested in battling the one million plus people that will be in and around the Harbour area.
2. Tokyo, Japan
If you plan on celebrating the new year in Tokyo, know that you’ll be celebrating for a while. In Tokyo, the New Year’s celebration can last up to a week, with festivities beginning on December 29 and lasting until January 4. One negative aspect visitors should be aware of is much of the city shuts down (most restaurants and a bars will remain open), but if it’s an authentic, local experience you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Tokyo. Fireworks, dancing, and singing are the norm, as well as the traditional eating of Toshikoshi Soba (New Year’s Eve noodle), whose long noodle symbolizes a long and healthy life, and listening to Juya No Kane (the Watch-Night Bell), which rings 108 times at temples all over the Japan, symbolizing a prosperous New Year.
The Tokyo Tower is the most popular place in the city with the largest gathering of crowds. But the cool thing about ringing in the New Year in Tokyo is that you don’t have to go to the most popular of places to have a unique and memorable experience. Because of the Japanese tradition of ringing the Watch-Night Bell, as long as you’re near a temple, you’ll be close to a celebration. In addition to the New Year’s Eve festivities, another major highlight of spending your holiday in Tokyo is that the gates to the Imperial Palace open to the public on January 1, one of only two days in the entire year this happens.
3. Koh Phangan, Thailand
If you’re into partying and dancing, there aren’t many places better to welcome a New Year than Koh Phangan. Known for its full moon parties and festive year-round atmosphere, Koh Phangan amps it up a notch for New Year’s Eve. Over 50,000 people descend on this Thai island for several days of debauchery, and if you’re young (or young at heart) and concerned with finding one of the biggest and wildest parties on Earth, this is your place. Celebrating with so many like-minded people should be reason enough to come, but the fact that attire is swimming suits and flip-flops, and down time can be spent lounging under palm trees on beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters, should put Koh Phangan over the edge.
Haad Rin is the center for the party, so if you have your heart set on staying here, plan and book in advance. If you don’t care about staying at party central, then you’ll have no problem staying at another beach. Planning transportation is another important part. Many Thais are on holiday during this time, so trains, buses, and planes book up early. Once on the island, you won’t have a problem finding where the party is.
4. Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh has perhaps one of the most unique and longstanding New Year’s traditions, even having their own name for their celebration, Hogmanay. A fireworks display and torchlight procession through Edinburgh are just a few of the traditions still celebrated today, taking after pagan celebrations hundreds of years earlier. Many Scots still adhere to “first footing,” a tradition in which the first person to enter your house in the New Year should be male and dark (this tradition started in Viking times when a blonde visitor usually meant trouble). The guest is also expected to bring a few presents, usually whiskey and shortbread.
The Hogmanay celebrations last three to four nights, with the torch procession kicking off the celebrations on December 30. Upwards of 100,000 people join the street parties on December 30 and 31, keeping the celebration going with fireworks, live music and entertainment, and plenty of eating and drinking. January 1 sees several activities, including concerts and other cultural events. Anyone can take part in any of these celebrations, with the torch procession beginning on High Street in the Old Town and ending at the Edinburgh meeting ground of Calton Hill. Be sure to come back on New Year’s Eve itself and take part in the street party running the length of Princes Street. A massive fireworks display above the Edinburgh Castle rings in the New Year at midnight.
5. Paris, France
Because you’d be celebrating New Year’s in one of the world’s greatest cities! Dancing and clubbing, eating and drinking, or simply enjoying a quiet evening with friends, Paris offers it all for New Year’s. Several street parties, at the Champs-Elysees and Montmarte, are the places to go if large groups of people and large fireworks display tickles your fancy. If you’re in Paris for the food, then options abound to satisfy your taste buds. If entertainment is what you’re looking for, then you’ll have no problem finding plenty of cabarets. Or perhaps a more low-key dinner cruise is your cup of tea? Finally, Paris is filled with plenty of bars and clubs to drink and dance the night away and celebrate the coming of a new year.
Champs-Elysees is ground zero for the Parisian street party, with large crowds and an impressive midnight fireworks display around the Eiffel Tower. If this is what your heart is set on, make your plans ahead of time and arrive early. For a similar experience that is not quite as hard-core, consider heading to the Sacre Coeur Cathedral plaza in Montmarte for a more laid back street party. If it’s a clear night, you’ll have no problem seeing the Paris skyline and midnight fireworks display. Thousands upon thousands of restaurants, bars, cabarets, and clubs dot the City of Lights, and most all offer a New Year’s party of some sort, so be sure to check around and find the perfect celebration for you.
6. Barcelona, Spain
If you’ve ever been to Barcelona, you’d know it has an energy and style unlike any other, and its New Year’s celebrations dip into that uniqueness that is Barcelona. If dancing and partying until the first sunrise of the New Year sounds like it’s right up your alley, then you may want to celebrate with some of the greatest partiers in the world. The Spanish culture of late meals and even later nights out don’t change just because it’s New Year’s Eve. Unlike most other cultures around the world, the party in Barcelona doesn’t even begin until close to midnight, with the traditional eating of the twelve grapes during the twelve chimes of midnight. It’s typically family time when the clock strikes twelve, then it’s off to the clubs to celebrate in style until the sun comes up on the New Year.
Unlike many other major cities, there isn’t one major area of congregation in Barcelona to celebrate New Year’s. Because of the tradition of getting together with family for a meal around the stroke of midnight, people seem to scatter all over the city. If you’re traveling in Barcelona and don’t know a local family, you’ll probably be heading to a restaurant for a celebratory meal and drinks. Make plans and reservations in advance, as restaurants fill up early. Many will offer special New Year’s parties and set menus, with a higher price than usual, so be prepared. After dinner is when most of the city, especially the young folk, will hit up the clubs and bars for dancing and celebrating. Expect the celebration to continue all night long, until the early hours of the next morning, so don’t skip your siesta that afternoon.
7. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Like Barcelona, Rio is known as one of the party capitals of the world, so you know what you’re getting into if celebrating the New Year in Brazil. Like Sydney, you’ll find yourself in the middle of summer here in Rio, so beach parties, bikinis, and swim suits could be the norm for the night, depending on your preferred party location. While other cities on this list offer a myriad of entertainment options, if you’re going to Rio, you’re going to dance and party with some of the best in the business – Brazilians. These people know how to spend a night out, so attending the city’s second biggest annual party (after Carnivale) will have you boogying the night away on the beach.
Like many things in Rio de Janeiro, it begins and ends on Copacabana beach. Party central is located up and down this famous beach, with all different genres of music and plenty of activities to keep you up and dancing all night long. This year’s New Year’s celebration will feature the usual massive fireworks display (11 barges with 1200 fireworks) in addition to four different stages set up along Copacabana beach, each featuring different music. This decade is an important one for Brazil as they will be the center of the world by hosting both the World Cup (2014) and the Olympics (2016), and they will be celebrating their national pride by dubbing this the “Golden Decade.” Rio will surely be a fantastic, rowdy, fun, and unique city to ring in 2011.
8. Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
A unique celebration completely different from any other on this list has Canadian revelers celebrating amidst the gorgeous scenery of the famous Niagara Falls. So much goes on at Queen Victoria Park that it makes this one of the busiest nights of the year at Niagara. Live music, two rounds of fireworks (at 9pm if you want to bring little ones and the obligatory midnight display), and 30,000 of your closest friends will ring in the New Year in style. And the best part of this whole party? It’s absolutely free.
The festivities kick off at 8pm at Queen Victoria Park with the aforementioned live music. This year’s lineup features rock legend Styx. If freezing outside in Canada isn’t on your list of ways to celebrate the New Year, keep in mind that there are plenty of options in the area. Casino Niagara and Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort offer entertainment for those in the mood for a more adult atmosphere, and families not wanting to brave the crowds at Queen Victoria Park might have a better time at Clifton Hill, an amusement park of sorts offering plenty of activities for everyone. The Niagara Skywheel, a Dinosaur Park, and glow in the dark mini-golf are just a smattering of activities on offer at Clifton Hill. Come celebrate in a way that may not be typical of New Year’s Eve celebrations but is sure to be memorable.
9. Las Vegas, NV, USA
An entire book can be written about the entertainment options that await you in the world’s biggest and best adult playground, Las Vegas. And while it’s true that Vegas is a great place to celebrate just about anything and is raucous and fun year-round, New Year’s Eve does offer a different and interesting way to see this crazy city. The strip is closed down to vehicular traffic, with a midnight fireworks display shot off from the roofs of seven different hotels and casinos. In addition to the street party, obviously the clubs and casinos will all be offering plenty of parties and activities to whet your Vegas appetite.
All the clubs and bars in town will have special plans for the night, and there are countless shows and concerts being put on all over the city (including the biggest one this year-Jay Z and Coldplay at the brand new Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas casino and resort). But the biggest party in Vegas on New Year’s Eve is on the streets itself. The strip is closed down to traffic, and partiers are encouraged to take to the streets to celebrate. Beer stands and port-o-potties are all over, so enjoy wandering around with drink in hand (casinos will also pour your drink in a to-go cup). One thing to keep in mind if you do plan on partying in the streets is that casinos close their doors to anyone who is not a guest, and once the fireworks end shortly after midnight, it can be a mad rush to get in the doors of the nearest bar or club. Like with anything New Year’s Eve related in a busy city, plan ahead and be organized.
10. New York City, NY, USA
No list of places to celebrate New Year’s Eve would be complete without mentioning a trip to New York City. One of the largest celebrations in the world has seen the giant ball drop over historic Times Square for over 100 years. More than 1 million people attend the free event, with millions more watching on TV from all over the world, as 1 ton of confetti will be dropped over the city at the stroke of midnight. If the giant crowds and hype aren’t your idea of the best way to celebrate, it’s a good thing you’re in the city that never sleeps. Offering perhaps the most varied restaurant and bar options on the planet, you’re sure to celebrate in any style you want if visiting the Big Apple.
Most people who bother coming to New York City for New Year’s Eve are coming to celebrate in one place, Times Square. With this major event come crowds – large ones – so planning is essential to get the most enjoyment possible out of this historic celebration. It’s necessary to get there in the afternoon to stake out a good spot. After that, it’s all about waiting in your “spot” for the ball to drop. No backpacks or alcohol are allowed, so if boozing it up is on your itinerary for the evening, you may want to start checking out restaurant, bar, and hotel options. If you’re staying and celebrating in Manhattan, there are several restaurants and hotels in the area that allow a glimpse of the famous ball dropping on the New Year. New York City truly does have entertainment for everyone on the final day of the year, so take the opportunity to be part of a celebration like no other.
New Year’s Eve is a special night for people all over the world. This day means something different for everyone, and parties and celebrations reflect those differences. Each city and country has their own way of doing things, so if you have a chance to take part in a celebration unique to what you’re used to, take advantage and embrace it.
kaZantip is a self-contained 60’000 square metre resort situated directly on a beautiful Black Sea beach on the Crimean peninsula in the Ukraine. the spacious complex comprises ten unique, exquisitely designed dance floors, fifteen bars and lounges as well as three restaurants. it has been created to allow you to dance, party and have fun outdoors by the sea 24 hours a day, day and night, over a period of 1 to 3 weeks somewhen from the end of July to the end of August.
More than 150’000 young people, mostly between 16 and 30 years old, come together at this party. they travel from the former Soviet Union, the whole of Europe and the rest of the world to live the dream of partying peacefully day and night accompanied by music from the turntables of the most renowned DJs in the world. listening to music, dancing, meeting new people, having fun together is the number one priority in kaZantip. more than a million partygoers in the last ten years can confirm that kaZantip is an experience that stays with you forever. simply a must for everyone in this world who wants to holiday in paradise.
THE KAZANTIP PHILOSOPHYPHILOSOPHYthe self-contained complex can only be entered and exited through one gate. however, kaZantip is not simply referred to as a holiday complex but has been symbolically proclaimed an independent “republic”. It has its own government leaded by the king (organiser), its own foreign ministry (communication with the imperfect world outside) with its own ministers (ministers of happiness, dance and rave, intellect, visuals and illusions etc.) and laws. by far the most important law to obey is:
S C H A S T I E“ — be happy and have fun!
Entry is granted to those who can show a multipass, a so-called visa to kaZantip. this multi visa costs a one-time fee and is valid for the entire duration of your stay, be it one week or more weeks. it is valid for the whole complex and includes all ten dance floors.
At kaZantip everyone who has bought a multipass, gets a virtual citizens of the party land with all its rights and obligations. citizens who play against the rules (constitution) of kaZantip, lose their multi pass and are deported back to the imperfect world. those that need to be repeatedly deported, will be barred for life from entering the party land.
However, everyone else can keep the multipass for life and gets the chance to acquire every year an new multipass and participate on the lifestyle and spirit of kaZantip. it belongs to the cult, to wear the multipass from the past years like trophies.
THE MARS AREALMARSas a visit to the kaZantip republic can be called, without doubt, out-of-this-world it was just a matter of time until the organisers captured a real planet from the sky, namely Mars. by day the top names from the kite surfing world elite meet at the Mars site for their celebrated annual contest where it seems that they use their jumping prowess to try and capture even more stars from the sky.
And when day turns to night, earth dwellers congregate on the site of Mars with its starlit backdrop, on the faberge dance floor and the multi-level space-age trance floor. others simply marvel at a safe distance, from the elevated bridgeways, at the various strange creatures landing in the complex. feeding is forbidden by the way…
In order for earth dwellers to gain access to Mars, you first need to answer some questions on the Russian web site before you arrive in Popovka. only then will you gain entry to the complex. however, on arrival in kaZantip we are happy to help those earth dwellers for whom the Russian language is alien gain access to the red planet and its territory.
THE HISTORYHISTORYkaZantip republic first came into being as an independent event in 1992, the same year as the street parade. the origins of the kaZantip republic are to be found in an annual surfing contest which always ended with a big party. this party was extremely popular not just with the surfers but also with the growing number of spectators and visitors. as a result, it developed spontaneously from year to year to become an ever bigger and lengthier event. at the outset it went on for just a couple of days. today it goes on for severalweeks. at the beginning it was a small insider event for a couple of hundred insiders.
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