Discovering A Sense of Self: Exploring Solo

A Changing Industry

Every year, millions of individuals embark on their own adventure of discovery. Sometimes it’s a bucket list quest, a volunteer expedition, or simply relaxation time. But more than ever, solo travel is an extremely popular endeavor, experienced by people from all walks of life. While there are particular challenges which arise such as safety, accommodation, and transport, all these can be met by planning ahead (while leaving some room for that wonderful sense of spontaneity). As social conventions are slowly becoming more liberal and traveling more accessible, travel industries have begun to cater to solo travelers. In some cases, this entails presenting an even greater challenge, such as boot camp style ventures, while others do all the hard work for their clients ahead of time. Cruises which cater to singles are highly profitable and provide an ideal environment for travelers to journey alone in comfort or meet and mingle with other singles, sharing stories and forging life-long friendships.

Now, there are a myriad of trips which anyone can undertake, which vary in difficulty, theme, accessibility, and other factors – the LGBT community, for instance, enjoys an immense variety of trips which are now available from bed and breakfasts and Pride events to several organizations which specialize in this field. Cities like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Montreal, San Francisco and several other diverse and inclusive destinations appeal – but it’s not all about the city. Many have stepped beyond the thresholds of the concrete jungle to capture a more authentic experience when it comes to nature and feeling the earth beneath one’s feet – perhaps on an inspiration whim driven by Thoreau, Whitman, Emerson, or those other transcendental greats who sought a revolution of the mind through the natural world.

Contributing to a Better World

Though many individuals choose the solitary route such as hiking the Appalachian Trail alone or rafting the Amazon without companions in order to create a space of reflection and harmony with the world, others journey on their own but in the company of strangers who become friends, and become involved in projects which will benefit communities as well as their own sense of wellbeing and contribution. Particularly with the advent and increasing popularity of ecotourism, which is specifically geared to benefit local communities and travelers while respecting the environment and the cultures which thrive around and within it, more and more people are thinking conscientiously about what they do when they travel. Now, travel companies are motivated to provide an experience which is immersive, educational, and fulfilling which will resonate with people for the rest of their lives, whether it’s discovering the vast history of Machu Picchu or partaking in one of the many lively festivals that animate so many towns, villages and cities across the globe. Rather than the corporate-driven, white-washed setting which isolates tourists from the true spirit of a destination despite its often detrimental effects to the communities surrounding it, this alternative tourism offers a more off-the-beaten track exposure without being disruptive, often directly benefiting local projects. People have a chance to walk away having met new characters and experienced a part of the world in a different light.

Even more importantly, traveling alone has given people the opportunity to open their minds and even adapt to alternate lifestyles. From learning about a different history and culture to life-building skills such as team work, traveling alone with a group is one of the best ways to discover more parts of the world. Whether it’s learning a new craft, language, or culture and absorbing what the natural and social environment has to offer, it’s an experience that everyone should undergo at least once in their lifetime.

Explorations’ philosophy has always been that with travel, you not only learn about other cultures – you also learn more about yourself. Founded in 1992, Explorations Inc., offers educational adventures of discovery in Latin America, introducing discerning travelers to indigenous cultures and the natural world. Happy to help solo travelers, Explorations’ staff are knowledgeable, sincere, and reliable.

Experience the City of Love: Romantic Places in Paris

Paris is well-renowned as “The City of Love” and, even if you’re on a budget, it’s not hard to plan a romantic getaway. Any of the excellent central hostels in Paris will provide a perfect base from which to discover the huge range of romantic attractions. Here are just a few ideas – several of which are entirely free.

Pont Des Arts

Locking a padlock to the Pont Des Arts and throwing the key into the river below to symbolise enduring love is the classic romantic act – even though the authorities are not too keen on it these days. It may be a cliché, but it’s a must-do activity for couples. Even if you don’t lock a padlock to the bridge, you will still find it a very romantic spot. Within easy reach of the central hostels in Paris, take a wander here to enjoy views of the Notre Dame and the Île de la Cité while being serenaded by a busking street musician.

Montmartre

This hill in the northern part of the city used to be the centre of the bohemian scene when it became home to artists including Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and many others. It may not have the same bohemian vibe as a century ago, but it is still a beautiful and very romantic place to visit. You can literally spend hours simply strolling through the winding streets and enjoying the stunning views over the city.

The Eiffel Tower

Heading to the top of the Eiffel Tower is a classic romantic activity, so if you are planning one big splurge of cash on a break in one of the hostels in Paris, this should be it! Take your trip after dark to enjoy spectacular views over the city, and you can even book a table in the restaurant for the ultimate romantic dinner if you really fancy breaking the bank.

Cruise the Seine

As far as romantic activities go, an evening cruise on the Seine comes very close to perfection. This is the ideal way to see a very different view of so many of the city’s icons and if you choose to simply take a cruise rather than dinner as well, the cost is very reasonable.

Palais Garnier

This famous opera house is the setting of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, and is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful theatres in the world. If you can get hold of ticket for a performance during your time here, it will be the ultimate romantic treat.

Discover Romance on a Budget

This is a wonderful and inspiring city for any type of traveller, but if romance is on your mind and budget is a consideration it is absolutely perfect. The above places are just the start when it comes to romantic sites, and there are so many more options – many of which are free or very reasonable. Some of the best ways to enjoy the city involve simply strolling the streets, talking in the sights, sitting in a café and watching the world go by. If you book a stay in one of the well-facilitated hostels in Paris, your romantic break will be off to the best start possible.

Top 10 “Must See” Destinations When Visiting UK

United Kingdom for some years has been a highly frequented tourist destination. This isn’t surprising as UK possess everything to offer a soul satisfying travel experience. Given below is a short analysis of some of the places to visit that makes the entire trip special and memorable.

  1. Cambridge city – The English city has a charm which is hard to resist. It is situated along River Cam which is placed on the north side of London. Apart from the top notch Cambridge University, there are plenty of options for exploring the culture and entertainment. King’s College Chapel is fine way to visually experience the Gothic architecture.
  2. Chester – The 2000 year old Chester city is lying on the River Dee at Cheshire, England. Tourists prefer the city over others across UK owing to black and white revival architecture and roman medieval walls.
  3. Cornwall - The peninsula is located in the extreme west corner of UK. Rocky cliffs overlook the calm sea on the north. The south has golden sand beaches adored by tourists.
  4. Lake District – The second biggest national park of UK has inspiring scenery in form of mountains, lakes, and hills. These appear to be nicely carved out by the ugly glacial erosions. As per some data, 14 million travelers crowd the park every year. It is great venue to try out hiking and climbing.
  5. London – The captivating city explodes with museums, art galleries, stylish green parks, shopping, and dining venues. Buckingham palace provides changing of the guard experience which isn’t something to miss out. Watching the minutes passing away at the Big Ben should be memorable. A ride on the double-decker bus by the Tower Bridge through Thames River should be fine.
  6. Snowdonia – The national park offers breathtaking 360 degree views of the valleys, mountains and coast. Located on the Wales coast, Snowdonia homes the highest mountain of Wales and England.
  7. Stonehenge – It features earthworks which surround a circular stony structure of big standing stones at south western England. The site at the backdrop of tranquil hills receives the attention owing to its history which stretches nearly 5000 years.
  8. York – The walled city is placed at the meeting point of River Foss and River Ouse. It is an ancient city with rich cultural heritage. York Minster is a landmark featuring the art work of master artists. Exploring the city without transport isn’t difficult at all.
  9. Stratford on Avon – The county town is a peaceful place and rumored to house the Americans of UK. It is situated in the north western part of London. The birthplace of Shakespeare, arguably the best English language writer ever has interesting venues to offer. This includes Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Bancroft gardens, Nash house, and High Street.
  10. Edinburgh – The Cobblestone Street and Edinburgh Castle are the perfect reminiscent of Scotland’s capital. Old town has the Royal Mile street connecting Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. New town, dating back to 18th century is full of neoclassical architecture.

Budapest, an Unforgettable Experience for Many International Travelers

Hungary was a socialist state, run by the Socialist Workers’ Party under influence of the Soviet Union; it regained its independence on October 23, 1989, and is now a member of the European Union. Currently, Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a very modern city, but there are hundreds of buildings that capture the architectural grandeur and majesty of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Tourist Attractions

With population of over 2 million, Budapest is a city having a lot to showcase for visitors, especially the museums, churches, theatres, parks, and the famous mineral hot springs and baths. Gone are the remnants of the Soviet occupation; today, Budapest is the mirror image of any European city with the best shopping, nightclubs, restaurants, hotels and diverse cultural activities. Some of the most important tourist attractions include the famous bridges that traverse the Danube; some of these include the Megyeri Bridge, the Elizabeth Bridge, the Margaret Bridge, Liberty Bridge and the Chain Bridge, which is one of the most photographed bridges in Europe. To make the most of your trip, choose the right accommodation during your stay. For instance, the 3-star rated Tulip Inn Budapest Millennium is a good choice and is centrally located.

Excellent Cuisine Outlets

Hungary has always been famous for its paprika and the paprika-flavored goulash, but there is a whole range of food styles that is available in Budapest including French, Chinese, Magyar, Italian, etc. Restaurants specializing in East European food include the Muzeum and Tigris; international cuisine is available at the Klassz wine restaurant and Italian cuisine – at the Hemingway; healthy vegetarian cuisine is available at Eden, and their menu includes vegetarian platters, stews and ragout which contain no fat, preservatives or sugar.

Monuments and Museums

For visitors keen on gourmet food, they can dine at the Onyx, which is a Michelin starred specialty restaurant catering to modern Hungarian cuisine and bistros and brassieres like Gerloczy serve up light meals and assorted cheeses. Places to see around Budapest include the Jewish Quarter, the Parliament Building, Castle District, Memento Park, Holocaust Memorial Center, the Buda Hills, Margaret Island, the various museums, the Royal Palace, etc.

Shopping Privileges

There are many pawn shops and second-hand shops selling china, antiques, trinkets, textiles, etc., like the Bav, while arts and crafts are on display at Herend Village Pottery with a variety of items of home furnishings and decoration which are for sale. The best period to visit Budapest is usually between May and September when the weather is perfect for traveling and with excellent transport facilities, visiting places would be easy.

Know the Advantages of Availing Public Transportation Services

While people are more accustomed to believe that there can be nothing more comfortable and luxurious than to travel in their privately owned vehicles, using public transportation services can certainly be worth a try. Experienced and reputed transportation services have the efficiency to provide excellent services to their passengers and cater perfectly to all their travel needs. Whether you are going on a vacation or simply on a city tour or heading a destination for some other purposes, these services can prove to be an excellent choice.

While you have the option to choose the transportation vehicle in accordance with your preferences, conveniences, requirements and affordability, one of the most common and affordable ones can be a transit bus. Although the quality of service you can expect from these companies depends largely on the size and type of bus you choose, a certain level of comfort and convenience can always be expected irrespective of your choice. Let us discuss in this article some of the facilities that are most likely provided by public transport bus services:

Comfort: Transit bus services take excellent care of the comfort and luxury of their passengers. While the level of luxury to be expected depends on the size and type of bus you choose, most of these services however work with the aim of allowing their passengers to travel in utmost coziness. While the larger buses are capable of providing greater level of comfort to their passengers and are equipped with luxurious facilities such as restrooms, private sleeping quarters and more, even the smallest ones strive to cater efficiently to most of the travel needs of their passengers including cleanliness.

Selection of Travel Route: Owing to the fact that some of the transit bus services provide their passengers the facility and flexibility of choosing the travel routes and stops, they can prove to be excellent transportation choices for treks across the country, vacations and more. Although these facilities are not provided by all transportation companies, the ones that offer private contracts most often do.

Expert Drivers: Reputed and reliable public transportation services work with experienced, trained and good drivers who are dedicated to cater to every possible travel requirements of the passengers. They are extremely well acquainted with the roads and know how to make your journey comfortable and hassle-free. This can be especially beneficial in the case of cross-country treks and city tours.

Cost-Effective: The cost of availing public transport bus services is certainly less compared to the expense involved in driving your own car and booking hotel rooms during the journey.

Hassle-Free: Traveling in a public bus always makes your journey hassle-free. It relieves you from the botherations of driving your car, saves you the trouble of repairing your car in case something goes wrong on the way and allows you to enjoy the scenic beauty of the road which is difficult when you are driving. Moreover, in the luxury buses, you also have the facility of resting in private sleeping quarters that makes your journey superbly comfortable.

Professional transportation services can be beneficial in a number of ways compared to traveling in your private vehicle. Avail these services to know the various advantages they provide.