The Best Travel Destinations for Wildlife Fans

andBeyond_Wildlife Travel Destinations_Air Doctor

If experiencing different types of wildlife is your idea of the perfect vacation, there are a few destinations you should add to your growing list.

Travelling is a rewarding experience in its own but encountering new wildlife in a foreign country is something exceptional.

Knowing where to go and having realistic expectations are two requirements if you want to take a wildlife-themed vacation. Some destinations don’t require as much planning to see an abundance of wildlife, while others require guides and additional knowledge on the area.

If you’re ready to have an adventure, here are some must-see wildlife destinations.

Top Travel Destinations for Encountering Wildlife

  • Seychelles

Situated off the coast of East Africa, the Seychelle islands are home to an array of different species. The islands have one of the largest protected wildlife areas in the world because of the number of species that require special protection. Giant Aldabra tortoises and black parrots are two of the most unique sights you will see during your time here.

Source: DiBird
  • Galapagos Islands

600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, you will discover a magical place that is filled with wildlife you won’t find anywhere else. Because the Galapagos islands are so cut off from the outside world, the entire landscape looks untouched. The iguanas, penguins and sea lions are just some of the wildlife you will encounter. This is one of the more expensive vacation destinations but well worth it.

Source: Mother Nature Network
  • The Amazon Basin

Brazil is home to one of the most expansive wildlife areas in the world. Walking through these jungles and along the river, you’re bound to see more birds, insects and animals than you can imagine. There are a number of lodges in this area that will immerse you in everything the Amazon basin has to offer. From sloths and river dolphins to toucans and giant otters, there’s never a dull day.

Source: Reptiles Magazine
  • Sri Lanka

If you would prefer to head to Asia, Sri Lanka is the place to be if you want to see a variety of big game and marine life. The Mihintale reserve was created in the third century BC and you can still visit it today. Most of the wildlife areas are highly protected, so you will more than likely need to arrange a safari.  The elephant and leopard safaris are firm favourites amongst travellers.

Source: andBeyond
  • Serengeti

These endless plains, forests and swamplands are based in Tanzania and are brimming with wildlife. If you want to experience a safari of a lifetime – this is it! The famous wildebeest migration is a sight to behold and takes place between May and December every year. If you happen to travel outside of those months, there is still an abundance of wildlife to take in, including crocodiles, lions, elephants and cheetahs.

Source: G Adventures
  • Jim Corbett National Park

Based at the foothills of the Himalayas in India, this national park is one of the few places where you still have a good chance of seeing tigers in the wild. Travellers can spend a night or two in the park and with the help of a good guide, you may just get lucky. Not to worry if you don’t though because there are over 600 species of bird, elephants, crocodiles, bears and sloths.

Source: Wikipedia
  • Kruger National Park

There are so many parks that you can explore if you venture to South Africa. However, the Kruger National Park is by far one of the most spectacular. You can either take a guided safari or hop in a rental car and explore the park yourself. This massive national park is home to the big five and offers an experience of a lifetime.  

Source: andBeyond
  • Corcovado National Park

Based in Costa Rica, this national park is filled with swamps and forests that are home to some unique wildlife.                 Whether you feel like camping or you book a guided tour, you will get to experience monkeys, butterflies, birds and beautiful sea turtles.

Source: Scuba Diving Costa Rica

Travelling to some, or all of these wildlife destinations will truly give you a greater appreciation of mother nature and the world we live in. It also highlights the importance of preserving our natural heritage.

9 Festivals That Every Traveller Should Add to Their Bucket List

Carnivale Di Venezia_YouTube

Love events, festivals and travelling? Here are a few festivals you definitely shouldn’t miss during your lifetime.

No matter the country, there is always a celebration or festival to enjoy.

Festivals are one of the best ways to experience the unique culture, food and music that a destination has to offer, and there are so many to choose from.

We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite festivals around the world. Get ready to start wanting to plan your next trip.  

Must-See World Festivals

1.Holi

Where: Mumbai, India

When: March

Color and unity are what the Holi festival celebrations are all about. During this two-day festival, people throw colors and celebrate everything that unifies them.  This is a sight unlike anything you’ve ever seen and the joy is contagious. While the festivities are quite mild in the mornings, by the afternoon, everyone is involved and dancing to music. Once the street festivities are done, most people continue the celebrations at home.

Source: The Digest

2. Carnivale Di Venezia

Where: Venice, Italy

When: February

Spend time wandering around the ancient streets of Venice, which is packed with people in 18th century costumes during this annual festival. Along with feeling like you’ve stepped through a time portal, there are several areas that offer great parties during this time, including Cannaregio and Dorsoduro.

Source: YouTube

3. Swedish Midsummer

Where: Stockholm, Sweden

When: June

Every year, the Swedes host a three-day Midsummer celebration that includes picking flowers, creating wreaths, dancing and eating, all the while enjoying the longest day of the year. Most celebrations start in the afternoon and run through to midnight. While Stockholm is the best place to experience this celebration, most of the other cities in Sweden celebrate it in parks too.

Source: Routes North

4. Snowbombing

Where: Mayrhofen, Austria

When: April

If you’re game for a good party, Snowbombing is one of the biggest celebrations that take place in Austria every year. While the festival is centered around snow sports, the music festival is one of the highlights. Enjoy the snowboarding competitions and tricks by the pros during the day and watch an array of music acts by night. You won’t have a better experience on snow.

Source: Radio X

5. San Vino Wine Fight

Where: Haro, Spain

When: June

This is one of Europe’s most underrated festivals. Every year, thousands of people gather in Haro after sunrise to join a battle that only involves red wine and good times. Use a bucket, water gun or any other weapon that can hold red wine and you’re ready to go. Spend the day spraying others with wine well into the evening, which is when the party continues.

Source: Even Traveler

Recommended Read: Tips for Seeing Europe by Train

6. Notting Hill Carnival

Where: Notting Hill, London

When: August

This vibrant carnival takes place over the bank holiday weekend in August and fills the streets with floats, dancers and drums. Months of preparation go into this event and it’s something that people of all ages can enjoy. Whether you want to enjoy the floats or dance, this is one of the best ways to spend a day in London in August.

Source: Evening Standard

7. Day of the Dead

Where: Mexico City, Mexico

When: November

Dia de los Meurtos has been around for centuries and while the people of Mexico like to celebrate it in different ways, visitors can enjoy an eye-catching parade that honors those who have passed on. Everyone is encouraged to dress up on the day and join the festivities with the locals. There is also plenty of food, drinks and music to enjoy – it is a celebration after all.

Source: Reader’s Digest

8. Oktoberfest

Where: Munich, Germany

When: September

During the month of September, Munich is filled with beer tents, pretzels and lederhosen. In fact, the city sees over 6 million visitors over this two-week period. It might be busy but the atmosphere is unmatched. Enjoy traditional food, dancing, music and, of course, some of the best beer in the world.

Source: Cover More NZ

9. Hogmanay

Where: Edinburgh, Scotland

When: December

If you want to try something different for your next New Year’s celebration, head to Scotland for Hogmanay. This is one of the best ways to ring in the new year, Viking style. From concerts and bonfires to music and a Viking procession, this is a two-day celebration everyone should experience at least once.

Source: BBC

No matter what time of the year you’re planning to travel, chances are you will be able to find an exciting event or festival that you can join and enjoy. If you want to do something a little different on your next trip, head to a local festival.

Giethoorn – The Town that Swopped Roads for Waterways

Giethoorn_World Atlas

Ever wanted to visit a town that looks like it’s out of a fairy-tale? Giethoorn has been dubbed the Dutch Venice and rightly so.

When most people think of cities with canals, Venice is their go-to city. However, not many people know that Venice isn’t the only city surrounded by waterways.

Located in the north-eastern side of the Netherlands, Giethoorn is the Dutch Venice of Europe.

Source: Bored Panda

The beautiful village dates back to the 13th century with historians saying that it was given its name when a group of farmer-settlers stumbled upon a collection of wild goat horns. These goats were said to have perished during floods that occurred in the 1100s. Goat horn, which was once pronounced as Geytenhoren, was shortened to Giethoorn, which is what the town has been called ever since. Since the floods, water has always been a defining feature of the village and today, it’s how most residents get around.

Why Visit Giethoorn?

This quaint little village has less than 3,000 residents, all of whom reside on private patches of land, or islands. There are roughly 180 bridges that make it easy to get around the village but many residents prefer to take boats.

Source: Gotravelyourself

Giethoorn’s sheer beauty is the perfect reason to visit this fairy-tale village, however, there is a lot to keep you busy too. From learning more about the history of the area and hiking to browsing art exhibitions and ice skating during the winter months, this is a truly special place to visit.

If you want to get to Giethoorn, you’re going to need to fly into Amsterdam, which you may want to add to your trip anyway since you will be passing through. From there, you can either travel by bus, boat or train to this tiny village – the trip takes about 2 hours.

Once You’re There

  • Take in the views of the canals and homes. The Binnenpad canal is one of the best places to take in all of the bridges and homes. If photography is your thing, head out early so that you can catch the sunrise – it’s a view you won’t soon forget. You can even head out close to sunset, which is just as beautiful but it might be slightly busier.
  • See the canals by boat. Naturally, you should definitely arrange to take a boat tour, which you can book here.
  • Learn about the history of the village. Museum “Het Olde Maat Uus”, Museum de Oude Aarde and the Histomobil are all worth a visit and will give you great insights into the history of the area.
  • Explore one of the largest national parks. De Weerribben-Wieden National Park is the largest national park in the Netherlands and is home to a diverse range of insects and animals, including green hawker dragonflies, otters and large copper butterflies.
Source: Viator

If you are heading to the Netherlands during your next vacation, take at least one day to visit Gieterhoorn, you’ll be glad you did.

7 of the World’s Most Scenic Road Trips

While some hate being cooped up in a car, others love the open road and all the adventure it brings. From beautiful views and interesting stops to playlists. There are so many road trips that you could potentially take but we’ve put together a few of our favorites.

Road Trips – Doing It Right

If you want to enjoy a road trip to the fullest, you need to plan ahead. Here are a few tips that you can use to make this one of your best trips yet.

  • Have a high-level itinerary in place. Your road trip plan doesn’t have to be overly detailed but it’s best to know where you’re planning to go and what you would ideally like to see.
  • Take detours into account. You never know when you might come across a stop that you hadn’t planned for, so give yourself some extra time in case this happens.
  • Have your music ready before your trip. No road trip is complete without some good music but instead of trying to find the perfect playlist while you’re on the road, plan your music out in advance.
  • Know the rules of the road. If you will be planning a road trip in a foreign country, you’ll definitely want to familiarise yourself with the rules of the road.
  • Keep an eye on the weather. Make sure that you pack everything you need by keeping an eye on the weather. The last thing you want is to be overly hot or cold when you’re trying to enjoy yourself.
  • Sort out navigation. Getting lost can lead to a lot of unpleasantness and lost time, so make sure that your route is added to a GPS before your trip. You may even want to have a road map for good measure.
  • Make your bookings in advance. It might sound glamorous to find places to stay as you get to each destination along your route but the last thing you want is to be without a comfortable bed for the night. Book in advance, especially if you know that an event will be taking place in a specific city.

World-Class Routes Everyone Should Travel

1. Great Ocean Road – Australia

Visit Victoria

This stretch of road is located in Victoria and runs between Melbourne and the south coast. The entire route is about 150 miles and offers everything from unique rock formations and beaches to a rainforest. If you have a few days to spare and want to take in some amazing views, this is definitely a route to add to your list.

Must-See Site: The Twelve Apostles

2. Seven Lakes Circuit – Argentina

Culture Trip

If you only have a day to spare for a road trip in Argentina, this is one route to add to your list. This winding route is brimming with peaks, peaceful lakes and green forests. The Seven Lakes Circuit actually forms part of Ruta 40, which starts in the south of the country – this portion is situated in the west.  

Must-See Site: All Seven Lakes

Recommended Read: Top Destinations for Outdoor Lovers

3. Wild Atlantic Way – Ireland

Flight Network

Spanning over 1500 miles, this is the longest coastal route in the world. From gorgeous beaches, unique culture and huge cliffs, there is a lot to see on this route that runs from the Inishowen Peninsula to the Celtic Sea Coast. You can spend anything from 2 – 4 weeks exploring the coastline if you really wanted to.

Must-See Site: Cliffs of Moher

4. North Coast 500 – Scotland

CountryFile

This particular part of Scotland’s coastline offers some of the best scenery. The route starts in Inverness and takes you around the entire north coast where you can enjoy white beaches, winding roads, Iron Age structures and magnificent mountain ranges. This route is just over 500 miles and you would need about 5 days to complete it.

Must-See Site: Duncansby Head

5. Alpine Route – Germany

Yatra

This is one of the most breathtaking routes in Europe. The route starts in the town of Lindau near Lake Constance and runs 280 miles to Königssee in the east. It’s possible to do this route in a day or two but if you really want to take in all of the sites, you’ll want to plan for at least a week. Along with all the natural beauty, this route is also home to the world’s oldest monastery and brewery.

Must-See Site: Neuschwanstein Castle

6. Blue Ridge Parkway – Carolina

Visit the USA

This beautiful route links the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. If you want to explore fields, farms and small towns, this is one of the best routes to take. You can expect to see some very dramatic scenes as you make your way along this route, which is just under 470 miles.

Must-See Site: Natural Bridge — Milepost 61

7. The Ring Road – Iceland

Expert Vagabond

If you really want to do something different and immerse yourself in nature, you can travel over 800 miles along Iceland’s Ring Road. In 8 days you can see volcanoes, black sand beaches and massive waterfalls, but at least 2 weeks are recommended in order to see and do as much as possible.

Must-See Site: Hekla Volcano

These are just a few of the most memorable road trips that you can plan around the world – where will you go next?

Top 9 Destinations for Those Who Love the Outdoors

Iceland_Lonely Planet

If you simply can’t get enough of nature and are planning your next vacation, these are the destinations you should consider.

If you live for the outdoors, you probably prefer vacation destinations that allow you to explore and take in all the beauty that nature has to offer.

From exotic wildlife and breathtaking scenery to thrilling activities, we have put together some of our top outdoor vacation destinations, so that you can start planning your next trip.

Must-Visit Outdoors Destinations

1. Patagonia

Source: Gear Junkie

Located in Southern Argentina, Patagonia is pure paradise for outdoor adventurers. There are so many things to do and see in this unspoiled landscape but the W Trek is definitely at the top of the list. This is known as one of the most spectacular hikes in the world and includes the peaks of Torres del Paine. If you aren’t in the mood to hike, you can always explore the clear lakes, dense forests and mountain passes on horseback or on a bicycle. Patagonia also has many exciting climbing routes.

2. Yosemite

Source: National Geaographic

This infamous national park is based in California is a place that every adventurer should see at least once. Choose from over 750 hiking trails, take a river rafting trip or simply enjoy the scenery and birdlife from absolutely anywhere in the park. If rock climbing is more your thing, you should definitely head to Glacier Park to see the falls.

3. New Zealand

Source: NZ Herald

From gorgeous stretches of coastline and snow-capped mountains to shimmering lakes, one trip to New Zealand is simply not enough if you love the outdoors. If you want to experience a bit of everything, Queenstown is the best place to go as it offers everything from diving and white water rafting to hiking and climbing. For those who love a bit of adrenaline first thing in the morning, you’ll be pleased to know that Queenstown is where bungee jumping first originated and is still popular.

4. Costa Rica

Source: Brightwater Holidays

If you prefer a more tropical atmosphere for your vacation but still want to experience the outdoors, Costa Rica is the perfect destination. You can snorkel, surf or head inland to hike in the Volcán National Park. Costa Rica is more remote than many other destinations, which is a big part of its charm. Plus, you’ll have an array of relaxing accommodation options to choose from that are also immersed in nature.

5. Iceland

Source: Lonely Planet

Iceland is the perfect base for all kinds of activities and the landscape is nothing like you’ve ever seen before. Adventurers can explore volcanic landscapes, glaciers, waterfalls and hot springs during their stay here. Many people don’t know that you can even dive in Iceland in the Silfra fissure, located between the North American and Eurasian plates.

6. New Mexico

Source: No Man Before

Just outside of Marfa Texas, you will find New Mexico, a space where you can really get away from it all and get lost in nature. The White Sands National Monument is definitely a must-see while here – the white sand dunes are unreal and a sight you will not soon forget. New Mexico is perfect for those who enjoy road trips, pitstops and camping adventures.

7. Ecuador

Source: Sunvil

Ecuador, in general, is known for its green, sprawling landscapes but if you want to see the best of it, head to the Mindo Cloud Forest just outside of Quito. Discover hundreds of bird species, ride a cable car across the valley or take a hike to one of the many waterfalls where you can enjoy a refreshing dip. There is even a thrilling Tarzan swing for you to try. Another must-see is the butterfly and hummingbird farm in the town of Mindo.

8. Switzerland

Source: Lonely Planet

This is an all-year-round adventure destination. The sights of Switzerland will truly take your breath away. Whether you want to hike in the Jungfrau region, ski in the alps or whitewater raft down Lütschine Rive, there is something for everyone in Switzerland. When you’re done for the day, you can head back to a cosy cabin unwind and relax for the rest of the evening.

9. Indonesia

Source: Mount Rinjani National Park

There is so much to explore in Indonesia, mainly because it’s the world’s largest island country. From ancient temples in Java to the enchanting rice paddies in Bali, there really is so much to see and do. One of the top destinations for adventure lovers is the active volcano in Mount Rinjani National Park, which is located on the island of Lombok.

Must-Know Tips If You Want to See Europe By Train

Seeing Europe By Train_Air Doctor

If you want to see as much of Europe as you can, travelling by train is one of the best options – here’s how to do it more efficiently.

Europe has a fantastic railway system and while you may need to do some hopping between stations, it’s still one of the best ways to explore the continent.

Not only are European trains frequent and reliable but they’re comfortable too. Plus, it beats having to hire a car and drive everywhere yourself.

If you’re planning to see your favorite European countries by train this year, we’ve outlined a few tips that will help you make the most of this transport option.

Europe’s Railway Lines

Here are the websites you can visit to purchase your train tickets through Europe. Each of the railways have different routes and operate at different times though, so you might want to do some research and comparisons depending on where you want to go.

Recommended Read: How to Eat Like a Local on Your Next Vacation

European Train Trips for the Travel Lover

  • Consider Getting an Extended Pass

If you’re looking for flexibility and more freedom of choice, you can’t go wrong with a rail pass. The passes can be a little confusing to understand at first though because your country of residence as well as your destinations will need to be taken into account. Prices can also vary depending on your age or if you want to travel on a high-speed or night train. Some sites might lead you to believe that a rail pass will work out cheaper but this isn’t always the case. It’s always best to compare a pass with individual tickets before you book anything.

  • Don’t Try and See It All

When you have the option to zip between cities it can be tempting to try and see as much as you can but this isn’t always the best idea. Travelling 5 hours to get to another city isn’t much but these blocks of time can really eat into your day and take time away from sightseeing. If you’re travelling to a fairly large city, aim to stay at least 3 nights if you really want to explore. Many travellers also make the mistake of thinking that because two cities look close together on a map, the travel time will be minimal. The reality is you could actually end up travelling for most of the day in some instances. If you need to make a lot of changes on an indirect route, your journey can take much longer.

  • Opt for the Scenic Route If You Can

When you first start searching for tickets, you will be met with the fastest routes. However, it’s definitely worthwhile looking into the more scenic routes, even if they do take a little longer. The European countryside is filled with breath-taking scenes that you shouldn’t miss out on if you can help it.

  • Bring Some Food Along

Depending on how long you’ll be in your train compartment, you might want to take a small picnic along. Yes, most trains do have a restaurant car or have snacks for sale onboard but nothing substantial. If you want to eat something proper, stock up on some bread, ham, cheese and other snacks before your trip. Some lines will even allow you to bring some wine onboard.

  • Don’t Forget about the Smaller Cities

When people start planning trips to Europe, bigger cities such as Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam tend to land on their lists first. However, there are so many unique and beautiful towns and villages that you can reach by train that should definitely be included on your list. Something that many travellers tend to do is stay in a smaller city and take day trips out from there, which generally allows them to see much more.

Choosing to travel by train is an excellent way to get around and with a little pre-planning, this could end up being one of the most scenic vacations you’ve ever been on.

9 Places to Visit When You’re Travelling on a Budget

Cambodia_Affordable Travel Destinations_Air Doctor

Want to get the most value from your next vacation, here are a few destinations you might want to consider.

Memorable vacations don’t need to cost a fortune. When you know where to go and how to spend your time, you can end up having one of the best vacations of your life.

The world is brimming with affordable destinations, you just need to look past the usual choices.

If you want to plan your next vacation but you don’t have the biggest budget, here are a few destinations to look into.

Affordable and Beautiful Travel Destinations

  1. Budapest – Hungary
Source: Trip Savvy

Located in Central Europe, Budapest is filled with unique bars, old buildings and art. For just a few dollars a day, you can explore the sites of the city and indulge in some of the local cuisine. Some of the most popular things to do include soaking in a thermal bath and wondering around places like Keleti station.

  • Cambodia – Asia
Source: Britannica

If you head to Southeast Asia, you will find Cambodia, one of the most beautiful and hospitable destinations in the world. Absolutely everything from accommodation to transport and food is affordable. If backpacking is something you enjoy, this is the perfect destination. Along with exploring all of the natural beauty that the country has to offer, mingling with the friendly locals is one of the best experiences.

  • Peubla – Mexico
Source: Visit Mexico

Peubla is a UNESCO heritage site and if you love history and architecture, this is definitely a destination to consider. The city is well known for its beautiful churches and even though this is Mexico’s fourth largest city, you won’t need to worry about hoards of other tourists. This city is very tranquil and if you will be dining out, don’t forget to try their famous Mole sauce.

  • Madhya Pradesh – India
Source: List Absolute

If you’re a sucker for wildlife, Madhya Pradesh will deliver one of the most unique experiences, not to mention the fact that excursions are very affordable. The Pench National Park and Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve are two places you have to visit while here. From tigers and spotted deer to wild boar, there is an abundance of wildlife and natural beauty to enjoy in this unique part of India. Madhya Pradesh is also known for its historical towns and temples, including Mandu.

  • Laguna – Philippines
Source: Philippine Star

The Laguna Province is one of the lesser-known areas in the Philippines but one of the most beautiful. Visitors can enjoy hot springs as well as the City of Seven Lakes. Most of the sites can be easily accessed by car but local transport is very good too. The Philippines is another country that is well known for their warm and friendly locals who will be more than willing to recommend the best dishes and delicacies to try during your stay.

  • Azerbaijan
Source: Culture Trip

This unique destination is affordable and has so much to offer. From architecture and museums to delicious local dishes the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan is a country that everyone should see. Located in Europe, visitors can look forward to getting lost in small villages and exploring mud volcanoes. Every corner of this country has something different to offer.

  • Gobi Desert – Mongolia
Source: Unsplash

If you really want to get away from everything, you may want to consider the Gobi Desert in beautiful Mongolia. Explore the dunes, take in the mountains and keep an eye out for the amazing wildlife during this unique experience.

  • Serbia
Source: Forbes

Located in Europe, Serbia is a country that very few people consider exploring. The laid-back café culture is perfect for the daytime, while the lively parties by the Danube are a great way to spend your evenings. Once you start venturing further out, you can enjoy an array of wineries, ancient memorials and outdoor adventures.

  • Cape Winelands – South Africa
Source: Venturists

Finally, if you not only want to enjoy sprawling views but drink award-winning wine too, the Cape Winelands is a must-see destination. The Cape is one of South Africa’s most popular destinations and for good reason. Areas such as Franschhoek and Stellenbosch are home to some of the world’s best wineries where you can enjoy first-class tastings, gorgeous vineyards and the surrounding mountain range.

DIY Vacation vs. Using a Travel Agent

Planning a Vacation Using a Travel Agent_Air Doctor

If you don’t know whether you should use a travel agent to plan your next vacation or take things into your own hands, we’re here to help you decide.

Whether or not you should use a travel agent to assist you with your vacation planning is a debate that many people have.

Why use a travel agent when there are so many helpful websites and apps available?

Why spend days planning the perfect vacation when you could get someone else to do it for you?

There are a number of aspects that should be taken into account when deciding whether or not to hire a travel agent, your destination and budget being two of them.

We’ve outlined a few pros and cons of using a travel agent so that you can decide for yourself.

Good Reasons to Use a Travel Agent

  • They’re the first to find out about great deals. Finding exclusive deals is a big part of a travel agent’s job, something that customers can benefit from. Many of these deals come in the form of packages that include everything from flights and accommodation to meals and activities. There’s always a chance to save money when you use a travel agent.
  • They can help you out if you run into problems. If your hotel loses your booking or your luggage just never arrives, a travel agent will be there to sort the problem out for you.
  • They care about the details. In most instances, when you use a travel agent, they will go the extra mile to make your trip even more special. Arranging a room upgrade or making sure you arrive to a bottle of champagne in your room are all small touches that travel agents are known for.
  • They always have advice to give. Experienced travel agents are the best people to ask about travel trends and exciting destinations. You may end up seeing places you hadn’t even considered before by using a travel agent.

Good Reasons to Plan Your Own Vacation

  • You can find cheaper flights yourself. Most travel agents won’t focus on getting your discounted flights, mainly because there are already so many websites that customers can use to do this themselves.
  • Travel agents don’t understand your personal preferences. Even though you can give a travel agent a good idea of your likes and dislikes, you might find yourself spending a lot of time going back and forth trying to get the suggested accommodation and activities right. Very often, the amount of time spent conversing with a travel agent could be better spent doing your own research and booking everything yourself.
  • You’re in charge of your trip. If you end up choosing the wrong travel agent, you could end up having to deal with issues yourself because you can’t get hold of them. When you plan your own vacation, you’re in complete control of all your reservations and plans.

If you do want to go the route of a travel agent, ask family and friends for referrals – it’s always best to use someone that has a good reputation. It also helps to chat to more than one travel agent before you decide to go ahead with the planning process. You will quickly be able to tell which agent will provide you with the best experience.

How to Eat Like the Locals Do While You’re on Vacation

Eat Like a Local_Air Doctor

If you love eating out and exploring new cuisines, your upcoming vacation is the perfect opportunity to broaden your horizons. Here’s how to eat like a local.

Food is one of the main reasons why people travel. What’s the point of visiting another country if you’re not going to try a few local specialties? As a traveller, you’re always going to encounter tourist traps but with a few simple tips, you can make sure that you’re dining like a local for most of your upcoming vacation.

Insider Tips for Dining Like a Local

  • Do a little research before you leave

Discovering hidden gems while you travel is all a part of the fun but it never hurts to do a bit of research before you hop on a flight. There is a wealth of insider secrets and local tips available to anyone who performs a quick search on their destination, so make sure that you don’t miss out on a few of the best dining experiences. Doing a quick search will also tell you the best times to visit certain restaurants too.

  • Forgo the English menus

If you really want to eat like a local, try out restaurants that don’t have English menus. This is not to say that there aren’t any good local restaurants with English menus, they’re just tourist traps more often than not.

  • Don’t skip local food markets

Local food and farmer’s markets are often some of the best places to experience local cuisine. Almost every country in the world has these types of markets, so ask around and plan a fun day out. You may even stumble upon a market or two as you go about your day, so give them a try if you do.

  • Watch what the locals do

One of the best ways to find out about the best places to eat is to ask locals themselves. Whether this is the concierge at the hotel or the server at a restaurant, locals are generally more than happy to provide you with some of their personal recommendations.

  • Use your hands and eyes to order

Trying to make sense of a menu or asking your server to explain all of the dishes to you are not the only ways to decide on a meal. Take a walk around the restaurant and see if you can spot any dishes that look particularly appealing to you. You could also ask what the house specialty is and give that a try.

  • Learn the etiquette

If you’re going to be spending a lot of time at local restaurants, it helps to know the etiquette. Websites such as TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet offer a lot of information on the right and wrong ways to dine out in foreign countries.

Over and above these tips, remember to relax and enjoy this experience. In most countries, locals are very used to foreign diners and are more than happy to help – they’re not going to judge you if you don’t know how to pronounce something. Locals want you to have an enjoyable experience so let them make recommendations and enjoy exploring these new dishes.  

How to Feel Less Anxious about Flying

Hate flying? There are ways that you can get to your destination with as little anxiety as possible.

Seeing a new place is always exciting but if the thought of getting there fills you with dread, it can take away from the overall experience.

Anxiety about air travel is not uncommon. In fact, the whole experience can be a bit stressful if you’re not prepared but when you already have anxiety about the flight, everything else feels worse too.

What many people don’t realise is that flying is far safer than getting into a car and driving to your destination. However, people hate flying for many different reasons, including a fear of heights, claustrophobia and terrorism.

Whatever your reasons, there are steps that you can take to improve your flying experience.

Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Flying

  • Do a little reading

Sometimes knowing exactly why flying is so safe can make you feel a lot better about your upcoming trip. For example, knowing how planes are equipped to deal with emergencies and how a plane continues to fly even if an engine fails can all keep your anxiety to a minimum. One thing you should avoid is any media about airplane disasters – don’t skew your impressions unnecessarily.

  • Stick to an aisle seat

If you can choose your seats when you book your flight, stick to an aisle seat if you’re prone to feeling anxious and claustrophobic. This way you can get up and move around with ease and you won’t need to catch a glimpse of sky-high views from the window.

  • Focus on the positive outcome

In the days leading up to your flight, do what you can to focus your mind on the positive outcome of your trip. Think about the things you will do once you get to your destination or the friends and family that you will get to spend quality time with.

  • Give yourself plenty of time

To ensure your stress levels are as low as possible, give yourself enough time to get to the airport, check in and get through the boarding gates. If you have the option to relax in an airport lounge prior to your flight, take full advantage. Airport lounges are geared towards relaxation, making them perfect for anxious flyers.

  • Have something to keep your mind busy

Give your mind something to focus on during the flight. Whether this is an eBook, a relaxing playlist or a few games, make sure that your phone battery is charged and that you’ve downloaded everything you need to keep your mind busy during your flight.

  • You’re in control

If a lack of control is making you feel anxious, turn this around in your mind. For one, you decided that you wanted to fly, which means you get to decide how positive you want this experience to be. You control your thoughts! Your breathing is something else you control, so breathe slowly and deeply to relax your body and mind. Know that any negative feelings and emotions you’re experiencing are temporary and will pass. Just keep riding the wave and flipping your mind back to the positive.

If you are really concerned about an upcoming trip, speak to your doctor about medication options. Sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medication can both be options but you should always speak to a medical professional first.