Five Great Nights Out in Manchester

Manchester is a city that is going places, and this is reflected in its vibrant nightlife. The “Madchester” phenomenon that took the world by storm in the late 80s and 90s, with bands such as the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays, has had a lasting impression on the city. In fact, it is fair to say that it has played a major role in making Manchester the hotspot it is today when it comes to attracting live music talent.

It is also an easy city in which to get around, with a safe and reliable public transport system. So leave the car at home and call a taxi in Manchester as the city is waiting to show you the night of a lifetime! From underground dance music clubs to contemporary theatre, there is certain to be something to appeal. Let’s take a look at five areas of Manchester you just have to explore.

Spinningfields

Redeveloped in the early 2000s, Spinningfields is the place to come for a sophisticated cocktail or a fancy restaurant meal. There is a choice of great restaurants and trendy bars, including Artisan, Zizzi, Wagamama’s and Lawn Club.

In 2013, it was voted the most family-friendly location in the city, so is the perfect spot for a “safe” night out.

The Northern Quarter

If Spinningfields seems a little tame for your tastes, you could always move on to the more bohemian Northern Quarter. Here, you will find a huge variety of independent bars, pubs and clubs where you are sure to find something that will appeal.

Whether it is a choice of cask ales in quiet surroundings or Tequila slammers to a backdrop of house music, the phrase “something for everyone” was never so apt. Most of the bars are around the crossroads where High Street meets Thomas Street, but also take a walk along Oldham Street and Tib Street. Popular spots include Kosmonaut, Hula and The Mint Lounge, but there is so much to choose from, and half the fun is to make your own unique discoveries.

Deansgate Locks

This row of bars features some well-known chains, located in converted railway arches. The area is popular with, but not overrun by students and features names such as Pitcher and Piano, Revolution and Baa Bar.

Check it out, and if it’s not your thing, you can always walk the two minutes to Deansgate itself, where there is a wider range of bars and clubs.

Oxford Road

Oxford Road has a similar laid-back vibe to the Northern Quarter and is the place to come for live music. There is a huge choice of bars and live venues, and if you are looking for a big night out, then search no further than Sound Control, Gorilla or Black Dog Ballroom.

Great food, a range of drinks and fantastic live music, you’ll find it all here!

The Gay Village

Manchester is almost as famous for “The Village” as it is for the Trafford Centre. This canalside area is packed full of lively bars and restaurants. Take a wander round in the summer months, and you will experience a carnival atmosphere unlike any other. Really not to be missed for a unique night out among Manchester’s most colourful crowd.

Make Your First Alps Activity Holiday one to Remember for the Right Reasons

alps

Perhaps you are considering taking a holiday for some rest and recreation in the Alps in the near future. What a great choice! There really is something about fresh mountain air, wide open skies and beautiful scenery to refresh the soul and the mind. To make the most of your holiday take some time to prepare your adventure. Being prepared well is more than deciding which clothes to pack, although packing the best clothes for the journey will help of course.

Alpine regions have so much to offer all year round, not only awesome winter snow sports. So give some thought as to what you would like to do in the mountains. Success of your holiday depends on planning the right place to spend your precious time and money. Not all resorts are geared for summer activities though so check out which resorts are best for different activities.

Chill out in an Alpine Spa

Perhaps you would love to relax over a long weekend treating yourself to a spa with relaxing massages and holistic treatments to soothe your jangled nerves. Quite a few alpine regions have access to natural hot springs. Maybe you can see yourself soaking up some minerals from bubbling sulphur pools followed by some vitamin D sunshine.

You shouldn’t overlook just the great opportunities to hike and wander along mountain trails. There are often small restaurants and alpine huts to be found, selling cheese or rugged alcoholic tipples. Good food with good company is always healthy

Get High on a Challenge

If action and adventure are more what you have in mind, look for resorts that offer your style of sports. Mountain biking is a great activity to consider along wide forest trails that would be used as ski runs in winter. Many resorts hire great bikes and all the equipment. Modern gearing systems on bikes mean it need not be as strenuous as it looks. Or you can take advantage of the ski lifts still operating to ride to the top and bike down.

Climbers will be able to scramble and choose routes of varying degrees of difficulty to test their skills. Rock climbing instructors are often on hand to give lessons and improve techniques

Alpine regions can be great for water sports as there are often suitable lakes and rivers just waiting for some action. Check out each resort or region that may offer white water rafting, kayaking, kayaking,  canyoning, wind surfing, and paddle boarding. Even just floating down rivers in rubber tubes can be lots of fun.

Some resorts have more traditional sports like tennis and archery. There is something about doing them in high mountain air that makes them more invigorating.

There are also aerial sports to try like paragliding or hang gliding. If you don’t want to take the time to learn to fly solo you can often take a tandem flight with an experienced pilot to just enjoy the view and take photos for spectacular memories.

There are a few Extras to Consider

Once you have made your choice and booked your super alpine holiday learn as much as you can to ensure you get the most out of the area. Consider a few things when it comes to packing as well as your clothes. Here are a few extra tips for travelling to an alpine region for the first time.

  • Sunscreen – mountain areas have clear air on sunny days so you must pack a high factor sun protection. Make sure you apply it before going out and don’t overlook places like the back of your neck and your ears or hands. Even in winter you can easily get burnt in less than an hour and will spend the following days in agony avoiding any sunshine if you don’t take precautionary measures.
  • Sunglasses – You should have sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays, in a wrap around style to protect the sides of your eyes.
  • Hat- one that has a brim and will stay on.
  • A basic First Aid Kit and your prescription medicines
  • Suitable gear for packing equipment for day hikes like a small back pack or a waist bag.

Make sure you have travel insurance that will cover whatever activities you intend to do. Allow for some activities that may not even have planned.

Plan to be physically fit for your holiday. If that means going to the gym for a few extra sessions or changing your routines to work out different muscles, do it. You will enjoy your holiday a lot more if your body is as prepared as your mind is to enjoy the activities.

After you have considered and researched your alpine holiday perhaps you can encourage a friend to go along to share the adventure. No one ever regrets spending time in invigorating mountain air.

 

Learn All You Can About Your Next Travel Destination

This is the village of Oia, perched on a clifftop at the end of the island of Santorini. Our cave house was near the bottom of the developed part of the hillside.

If you have an upcoming vacation in mind, is it all planned out and ready to go?

For countless travelers, reaching that next travel destination may seem like a major task at first (finances, planning etc.), but it certainly does not have to be the case.

For example, the Internet gives you so much information these days when it comes to where you might want to visit next.

Whether those destinations will be spots you visit for the first time or over and over again, there is always something to learn about them.

Keep in mind that many vacation spots like to upgrade their offerings over time, so things will in fact change. From new offerings to changing prices (typically higher), you need to stay up to speed on what is occurring.

So, how knowledgeable will you be the next time you starting thinking of getting away from it all?

Turning to the Travel Pros

In order to better appreciate and enjoy your next vacation, having travel professionals working with you is certainly a good idea.

For instance, are you interested in learning about and exploring one or more regions of the United States, jet-setting across Europe, or perhaps discovering more about specially curated Brazil vacation packages? No matter where your travels will take you this year or down the road, being as educated as possible about your destination/s is crucial.

Secondly, ask the travel pros if there are any regions of the world where travel is not highly recommend at this time.

While there can be myriad of reasons for such travel advisories, some of the more common ones include factors such as political upheaval, devastation from weather happenings, poor economic conditions, threats of terrorism etc. By having as many details in-hand, you are better suited to decide where you want to go.

Do You Research

For starters, you can do lots of your own research before you ever sit down to talk with a travel company.

Among the areas to cover:

  • Do they have customized packages available? If so, what all do they include?
  • How do their rates compare to other travel companies, some of which you may be interested in dealing with?
  • Do they have any money-back guarantee offers regarding their trips?
  • How far in advance should you typically book a major trip?
  • Do they recommend travel insurance for your vacation?

Whether you have a travel addiction or you’re just the occasional traveler, do your best to be educated on where you’re going and how you are arriving there.

Best Times to Travel?

Certain worldwide destinations are better off going to during particular times of the year.

For example, someone wanting to see all of Alaska’s beauty is not typically inclined to go there in the wintertime. Not only can many of the roads be impassable, but transportation just getting there can prove quite difficult.

Meantime, are you currently in a cold weather region of the U.S., looking to escape that for a week or two? If so, heading south of course is your best option.

If you like crowds, heading to Brazil for the famed Rio Carnival may very well get your attention. Not only are you sure to fine lots of people and entertainment, but the weather should be rather ideal for snowbirds needing a break from cold and snow.

Also look at what the expenses will be in going to a site that is in particularly high demand from travelers.

Although some area may not be your first choice, going there may save you some dollars, money saved while other travelers have flocked elsewhere.

At the end of the day, knowing all you can about your next travel destination is what should be your top priority.

By knowing all you can about it, you can determine if it is truly where you want to go.

If it isn’t, then turn your focus elsewhere, allowing you to get to that place you will remember for years to come.

10 Signs You’re Addicted to Travel

Is traveling is your passion and your whole reason to live? Whenever you’re home for more than a week, do you start feeling like it’s time to pick your bags and hit the road again? There’s always a new, mysterious destination lying beyond the horizon, waiting for you to discover it. But are you a true travel junkie, or are you just looking for the best place to settle down?

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Image used with permission from http://www.thecanvasfactory.com.au/

You’re always telling stories about your travel experiences

Whether you are on your cousin’s birthday or talking with your friends, you somehow find a way to relate your traveling experiences with the topic of the conversation. That’s why your friends can always count on your crazy stories to amuse them in a party.

You can sleep anywhere

Hotels? Please, those are for tourists. A true traveller can sleep over his own luggage if need be. For you traveling is not about staying on a nice hotel and getting tanned next to the pool, but about exploring cultures and places you’ve only seen in your dreams.

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You are jet lag-proof

You have travelled through so many time zones that your body can recover in no time. Those days where you still felt sick a week after landing are in the past and jet lag holds no power over you. Now, you only need a bed and a couple of days of rest before you’re ready for your newest adventure.

You have friends all over the world

Traveling is more than just looking at scenic places. For you the most memorable moments of your trip are those shared in the company of friends and strangers that you meet during your trip.

You never unpack your suitcase, even when you’re at home

A true adventurer never stops traveling, so why bother unpacking when you’ll be on your way soon? For you, home is where the heart is.

You spend your free time at home browsing travel websites

You don’t really care about the news or the latest best seller. All that you care is that there’s so many interesting places out there you haven’t seen yet; so what could possibly be a better use of your time that learning about them while you’re grounded at home?

You can give directions in cities you don’t even live in

Traveling has helped you develop an acute sense of orientation. That’s why you feel at ease whether you’re walking through the streets of Sydney, or catching a ride in Karachi. You’re basically a human GPS that can find its way to any city on the world except home.

You haven’t finished a trip when you have already begun to plan the next

You always keep a mental list of the places where you want to go. It doesn’t matter if you’re visiting the exotic Bali, or marvelling at the pyramids of Chichen Itza; you always know that there is a fascinating place out there you haven’t been to…YET!

You keep trying to convince your friends to travel

Somehow, every time you’re catching up with your friends you always end up trying to convince them to come with you on your next trip. And why wouldn’t you? After all, every adventure hero needs a sidekick, right?

As soon as your trip is over you want to do it all over again

Traveling is expensive, exhausting and sometimes extremely frustrating; but no matter what obstacles you find on your way, you wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.

Save money on your next haircut with Groupon

Girls just love getting their hair done. What better way to spend the day then heading off to the salon and getting a fresh new look? And after that, you can head off to the shops to try out a new outfit.

But before you go, be sure to check out the amazing discounts available on Groupon. Head over to the site’s beauty and wellness section and you’ll no doubt finds dozens of great offers in your location on everything from haircuts to nail treatments, facials and more. Take a look at this hair and styling in Boston listing to see what we’re talking about.

hair and styling boston

Here’s how Groupon plans to take down Yellow Pages

It might have lost its lure with consumers, but most will still remember the great deals and promotions to be had on Groupon back in the day. Well, the good news is that Groupon is still alive and kicking, and it’s just relaunched itself to take on the Yellow Pages.

Check out this Delkwood Grill listing on Groupon to see exactly what we mean. Alongside the comprehensive business listing you’ll find a bunch of great deal-a-day coupons offering steep discounts at the above listing. Which means you not only find what you need, but you can also enjoy big savings when you go there too.

Delkwood Grill

You can save a lot on travel with Groupon Coupons

Today we have an awesome tip for all of you on Internet Travel Tips.com. Make sure you check out Groupon Coupons! They have worked very hard to build up over 70,000+ coupons that they share exclusively on their site for people who visit it.

Over 9,000 retailers and online shops offer coupons with Groupon Coupons and the best part is you don’t even have to sign up for anything to reap the benefits. You can save a ton on travel related costs from companies like Expedia, Travelocity and much more. Check them out today!

Groupon Coupons

Why taking a multi centre holiday is the way to go

You may like mountains, but want if your SO wants to spend time at the beach? A multi centre holiday solves this problem ... photo by CC user Kaustabh on wikimedia

While single destination holidays are still the standard in the travel industry, the multi centre holiday has begun to emerge as a desire to see and do more grows as boomers continue to retire. With all the time in the world and the money to fuel extended trips, its no surprise that this evolution is occurring, but in case you are scratching your head as to why people would want to see multiple centres on holiday, allow us to explain this trend in further detail below…

Variety is the spice of life

As cliché as it is to say, it’s true that sprinkling in different places, things and experiences in your life on occasion does a great deal to jolt you out of the funk that we all find ourselves in from time to time. While there is a certain level of comfort in going to the same old all-inclusive year after year, it can tend to get stale after doing the same holiday over a long period of time.

By spending some of your free time in an exciting city before headed to a world class beach, you get to experience the strengths of each destination, as well as feeling a sense of satisfaction that comes from varying contrasts in different environments.

If you’re stuck on how exactly how to plan a trip of this nature yourself, there are some companies that employ skilled travel agents that are experts at piecing together some great multi centre holiday ideas that will blow your usual seven day resort vacation out of the water. What do you have to lose by giving a well-informed travel wiz permission to craft together an awesome holiday plan anyway?

Satisfy those in your group with different interests

Traveling with friends and family can be an intensely rewarding experience in ways that solo travel can’t match, but it also comes with its own set of hair-pulling challenges. While some people might treasure every minute spent baking in a sun lounger, this activity might prove to be as interesting as watching paint dry for those that find it hard to sit still for longer than five minutes.

By mixing in more stimulating urban destinations onto the itinerary of a trip that also features time spent at a beach resort, you can give everyone a chance to have a portion of their journey where they really felt engaged with the possibilities and activities that lay before them that day.

Revive the memories of the wandering days of your youth

Most package holidays keep you rooted in one spot, and while there are often many things to see, do, and explore in these places, they lack the continuous movement that was part of the excitement of your backpacking days all those years ago.

With a multi-centre holiday, a greater portion of your time overseas is spent on the move to different places, giving you both the thrill of the journey in addition to the satisfaction of a world class destination.

Go all inclusive in the city

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I absolutely love city breaks. Giving you the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture, they are also usually the best choice for nightlife, cuisine and shopping. What’s not to like? For me, the way to get the most from a city stay is by booking into an all inclusive hotel – here’s why.

Why go all inclusive?

At first, recommending you stay in an all inclusive hotel might sound like a slightly odd tip – after all, your accommodation rental can’t make that much difference to your trip, can it? Well, actually it can – and in more ways than one.

The first is in terms of your budget. Most cities will offer a range of cheap all inclusive hotels, which is good news if you’re not feeling too flush. While you will, of course, need to read the fine print to check what your particular package offers, generally all inclusive deals will factor your meals and drinks into the price.

This is a big part of how they can save you money on any kind of holiday, but is particularly important on city breaks, where food and drink in the local restaurants is bound to be pricey.

But it’s not only your wallet that this kind of establishment is good for. You see, since all inclusive hotels take care of everything for you, you generally have more time. This can then be used to see as much of the destination as possible before heading home.

Great destinations for all inclusive city breaks

Now, let’s take a quick look at some of the best places to head to for all inclusive city breaks.

Milan

Milan is a city of art and fashion, so getting a taste of both is pretty much a must. In terms of art, the ultimate work to see is Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.

World-famous, this painting depicts Jesus’s last meal before the crucifixion, and is considered to be one of the very best works of the Renaissance. You should book tickets to see it in advance to avoid disappointment.

In terms of fashion, you should definitely hit the designer stores that fill the city centre. But don’t worry, you don’t necessarily have to pay premium prices, because Milan is actually home to a fair few discount stores too – you just need to know where to look.

These include Il Salvagente on Via Fratelli Bronzetti, and Fox Town in Mendrisio (outside the city centre).

Rome

If you fancy seeing some of Europe’s greatest historical sights without breaking the bank, then booking an all inclusive hotel in Rome is a good way to go. Home to the spectacular Colosseum, this city is also famous for its romantic ambience and coffee culture.

The number one place to visit is, as you might have guessed, the Colosseum, which is around 2,000 years old. It was the largest amphitheatre in the Roman Empire, and in its heyday could hold a huge 50,000 to 80,000 spectators.

Attracting thousands of visitors year after year, this marvel can take a while to queue for, so it’s best to book tickets in advance to shorten your wait.

Trying some good Italian coffee is another must, and there are loads of historic coffee houses to choose from, like Caffe Greco. You’ll find this at 86 Via Condotti, where it has stood since opening back in 1760.

Exploring the Serra de Tramuntana

The Serra de Tramuntana has many gasp-inducing vistas in store for you, such as this one...

Adventurous types who love the great outdoors and venturing into unknown landscapes will feel right at home exploring the Serra de Tramuntana, Majorca’s famous mountain range and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Spanning almost the entirety of the island’s northern region, it is no easy feat taking on the spectacular slopes and forested hills that make up the Serra de Tramuntana. Once your flights are booked (click here if you haven’t done this yet), you’ll need to start planning how you want to explore the area, as there are various ways to choose from, each offering different perspectives of the awe-inspiring mountains.

Hiking

There are so many fantastic routes to take through the mountains that you are spoilt for choice, but only commit to hiking if you are an experienced walker and can handle sharp inclines and traversing across rocky terrain. You may feel the burn, but if you’re a proper hiker, you’ll love every minute of it!

This form of travel allows you to stop and admire the various magnificent ravines and valleys you’ll encounter during your journey, and take photographs for your loved ones back home to marvel at. You’ll also stumble upon the homes of wealthy families and some quaint little towns.

So that there is some structure to your hike, there are a number of dedicated trails you can choose to venture down, or you can explore the landscape as you wish.

If you want to be able to take in all the sights and smells of the mountains and enjoy views of picturesque villages, then travelling around on foot is the best option for you.

Cycling

Thrillseekers who enjoy feeling the wind in their hair as they discover new territory may want to venture through the mountains by bike. The restless traveller is more suited to this method of transport, as it drastically shortens the amount of time it takes to see the range in its entirety.

You must be careful, however, as the roads can be rocky and therefore quite unsafe. Remember to wear protective clothing so that should you take a tumble, you’re less likely to sustain an injury.

There are plenty of places on Majorca to rent bicycles, and for decent prices as well, so if you want to admire stunning views within minutes then you’ll love a cycling adventure.

Driving

If you’ve got a hire car, then you can enjoy the glorious scenery of the Serra de Tramuntana from the driver’s seat as you make your way around the winding mountain roads. Again, some precaution must be taken here, as the landscape is beautiful but unforgiving and particularly during the peak months of July and August, the roads can be dangerous.

But if you must hit the open road, then take the R710 route from Andratx to Pollenca, which is undoubtedly the most scenic. Ensure you make plenty of stops so you can take in the fresh mountain air and marvel at the sight of the island below.

The drive from Palma to Inca is also worth taking and is great for getting a bird’s eye view of Majorca.

Being one of the more visually spectacular Balearic Islands, Majorca has much in store for the adventrous traveler.  Bring plenty of memory cards, pack your trekking boots, and be prepared to be wowed during your excursions on this stunning island!