Guides from our travels

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Do's, don'ts, advice, how-to's

Travel Photo: Dome of Soltaniyeh, Iran

March 30, 2015


Town of Soltaniyeh lies in north-west Iran and the main attraction of this town is the Dome of Soltaniyeh, which is a part of several ruins. This is the Mausoleum of Il-khan Öljeitü also known as Muhammad Khodabandeh.

Having the oldest double-shell dome in Iran, this structure was erected from 1302 to 1312 AD. It is one of the largest brick domes in the world, just at the theoretical engineering limit for a brick dome and the third largest dome in the world after the domes of Florence Cathedral and Hagia Sophia (Istanbul, Turkey).

The Dome of Soltaniyeh paved the way for more daring Iranian-style cupola constructions in the Muslim world, such as the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasavi and the Taj Mahal. Much of its exterior decoration has been lost, but the interior retains superb mosaics, faience, and murals.

Photo credits: Vaibhav Shetty at Globing Around

Stretch your travel dollar with these simple tips

March 23, 2015

Budget_TravelSaving money while vacationing isn’t just about finding deals and discounts. It’s about getting the most value for your money.

Here are some tips on ways to save, from start to finish.

Conceptualize your vacation
Think about what you really want from a vacation. Do you want to see the sites along the way? Or, do you want to get there quickly and then relax? Four people who are sharing the expense of a car and hotel rooms can travel for less money than two, but sometimes getting to your destination quickly is worth the cost of airline tickets.

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Destination iOS app reviews – I Amsterdam and Aruba

March 21, 2015

Two great destinations apps developed by their respective government authority makes your travel planning awesomer by providing useful information on places to see, activity planning, weather, deals and lets you create your own itinerary.

iamsLink: iTunes
Cost: Free

Every traveler who has visited or want to visit Amsterdam would probably know about the ‘I Amsterdam’ card that give discounts on various activities, restaurants and museums around the city. They have an app now that allows you to explore this magnificent city with tons of listings on practically everything it has to offer.

  arubaLink: iTunes
Cost: Free

This is the Official Aruba travel guide from the Aruba Tourism Authority and also loaded with information. The app provides the usual information like places to visit or attractions, details about any particular place, but there are two features that stand-out in this app: Offline maps and personal itineraries.

Read full reviews

No more visa-on-arrival for anyone to Egypt

March 17, 2015


Starting May 15, 2015, every international tourist must obtain a visa prior to visiting Egypt, as announced by Egypt’s ministry of foreign affairs.

Currently, citizens of a lot of countries got their tourist visas on arrival at an airport, but after May 15, everyone must obtain visas before entering Egypt. Although rules for tour groups remain the same – visa on arrival.

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Do not buy wood carvings in Tanzania & avoid extra taxes (UPDATED)

March 13, 2015

Update: March 22, 2015:
Carver cooperatives, safari operators, tourism association executives, and tourists themselves protested the levy of taxes just to take a carving home.

The implementing agency was to be the Tanzania Forest Services but in a much-applauded move, the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Lazaro Nyalandu, has now halted the move.

Tanzania’s wood carvings are well known in local markets and tourists alike. Among the major representatives of Tanzanian figurative art are the Makonde people, who are renowned throughout East Africa for their original and often highly fanciful carvings. Authentic Makonde carvings are made from ebony wood.

Makonde wood carving

But the cash strapped government of Tanzania has plans to fill in their treasury ahead of the upcoming general elections. For tourists purchasing any kind of wood carvings in Tanzania, there will be a tax levy applied to that.

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This interactive chart will give you the fastest airports (U.S. only)

March 12, 2015


FiveThirtyEight analyzed over 6 million domestic flights in U.S. to come up with this interactive chart that defines which airline has delays out of what airport. It’s good to know about these delays as it will help you making decisions better in terms of planning flights and avoiding slow airports for connecting flights.

Enter your airport and look at the different routes to see the average amount of time you’ll lose by flying in or out there, as well as which airlines are the fastest. Enter destination airport to see specific details about that selected route. Of course, this is not going to change your plans or itinerary, but if one airline always seems to be late, on a specific route, it’s good to know ahead of time.

Which Flight Will Get You There Fastest? – FiveThirtyEight

Travel photo: Catalina Island, Dominican Republic

March 12, 2015


Mapstr – iOS app review

March 12, 2015

mapstrLink: iTunes
Cost: Free

Bang for buck: It’s free!
Ease of use:
The looks:

There are many apps that track your places of visit. You can check in to restaurants or bars using Yelp or Foursquare and give reviews too. But Mapstr, a hybrid map and note taking app, lets you easily bookmark your favorite restaurants, bars and more.

Open Mapstr to be presented with a map where you can search for any business bu location, name of business or scan an address. The app lists all the nearby businesses if you have chosen location search. You pick your favorite, add your notes and bookmark it.

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Currecni – iOS app review

March 5, 2015

currenciLink: iTunes
Cost: Free

Bang for buck: It’s free!
Ease of use:
The looks:

There are a tons of currency converter apps for iOS, and Currenci is another one in the list. But this app stands out in its easy-to-use user interface and clean, modern looks.

The default screen shows USD and EUR, but you can add currencies by simply swiping up. Remove any currency from the list by swiping left and swiping down will refresh the data. Swiping right will add that to your favorites list.

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Turks & Caicos Islands will change time zone on March 8, 2015

March 4, 2015

Some countries rely heavily on tourism for their economy, and they make changes to their systems based on neighboring countries that drive their economy. For example, Samoa changed their driving direction in 2011 to align itself with Australia, with whom it conducts most of its business. And then they changed their time zone to align with Australia, jumping 21 hours ahead in the same year, losing a whole day.

Image by Flickr

Image by Flickr

Now the tiny nation of Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean sea is jumping one hour ahead to align itself with other eastern Caribbean islands like Barbados, Guadalupe and Puerto Rico, that has Atlantic Standard Time all-year round and do not observe Daylight Savings.

The British Caribbean territory has historically followed Eastern Standard Time along with eastern U.S. states. Considering the fact that the sun sets at around 5pm in winter which happens to be their prime tourism season, Turks & Caicos will be able to provide more day light to its visitors.

Zipline takes you from one country to another and one hour back in time

February 27, 2015


Sanlucar de Guadiana, in Spain and Alcoutim, in Portugal reside across from the river Rio Guadiana. And the countries are one hour apart in timezone, which means that Spain in one hour ahead of Portugal.

Limite Zero, a new zipline connects Sanlucar de Guadiana to Alcoutim. A privately funded passion project of Englishman David Jarman, the 2,362-foot-long zipline (called “la tirolina” in Spain) crosses the Guadiana River at 50 feet above sea level.

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Australian day trips for sailors

February 25, 2015


If applied maritime exploration rocks your boat, this day and age comes with more possibilities than a single sailor could possibly visit in a lifetime. Still, in order to arrange an itinerary of connected destinations, island-based and mainland coastal, one does not have to travel far from Australia. The entire geographic region is spattered with some of the most breathtaking and unique sites in the entire world, and one should not miss an opportunity to visit them.

Setting sail
What better way to visit these islands than in your own boat. Contacting the right shipwright will set you on the right track and bring you one step closer to your dream. Create and organize your own journey, stay where you want, for as long as you want and, like the explorers of old, pick your own trails and courses. On the other hand, if owning your own Australian boat is simply out of the question, then do not forget that the majority of this country’s population live near the coast, and marine transportation network is a widespread deal. It is easy to find and rent or charter boats for any occasion and budget.

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Guide to Iceland offers organized, cheap tours to the island nation

February 24, 2015


Planning a trip to Iceland? And don’t want to create an itinerary? Then head over to Guide to Iceland where you have licensed tour guides offering various trips from a one-day trip in Reykjavik to a 15-days trip around the island nation.

The website lists accommodation, which is not exhaustive around the country; and car rentals. They help you plan your trip by categorizing the tours offered by companies and locals, such as self-drive tours, nature tours, adventure tours and cheap bus tours. You can even select a city like Reykjavik or Akureyri and look at the tours starting from that city.

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42 of the important travel don’ts around the world

February 10, 2015


There are so many things most of us would do just out of habit while traveling abroad that could easily be misconstrued and perhaps cause problems.

If you’re curious about the unspoken rules and regulations of other countries, then check out this compilation of the important Travel Don’ts around the world created by

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Vamo makes it super-easy to build your entire trip itinerary

February 4, 2015


Planning a trip can be daunting – You need to book flights, hotels, research whether to take public transportation or taxi, costs, etc. How do you know what places to visit? When to visit? All these questions can discourage a lot of people, but Vamo makes it easier.

Just enter the cities or places you’d like to visit and the site picks the best flights (in terms of price, time in transit, and layovers) to get you to each city; the best mid-range hotels (based on price, TripAdvisor rating, star rating, and location) and the number of days to spend in each city and in which order.

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