(Nearly) Free Activities in San Francisco

Jul 5, 2015 by

(Nearly) Free Activities in San Francisco

San Francisco is a fairly expensive city to visit, even for the United States. But don’t let this worry all you budget travelers, you’ll still be able to visit this beautiful Northern California city. You’ll be able to explore outdoor parks, play at the beach, take walking tours, and more, all without spending much money. Take our advice and put San Francisco on your budget destinations bucket list. You won’t be sorry after you’ve experienced all it has to offer without breaking the bank.

Golden Gate Park

If the outdoors is your thing, check out this 1,000+ acre park. Golden Gate Park is a free access area with a plethora of things to do. From photo-documenting the gardens, to playing on the playgrounds, to appreciating the lakes, to eating in a picnic area, and all the other activities available, you’ll never be bored. The trails are a particularly good place to catch a glimpse of the locals staying healthy and active.

Crissy Field

There are a few different places you can play at the beach, we recommend Crissy Field. Even though the name doesn’t inspire images of beautiful sand and waterfront views, this area is a perfect place to soak up some Vitamin D. The smart visitor will bring some snacks, find a spot on the beach and enjoy the views of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. There’s even some excellent windsurfing for those who partake of that particular sport.

Walking Tours

Known for being a hilly metropolis, you might be tempted to take the bus, or spring for a cab, to explore the city. But if you enjoy walking, try one of the many free, donations accepted, walking tours the city has to offer. From a Japanese Tea Garden, to the Historic Market Street, to Nob Hill and more, there is a tour for every type of traveler.

You’ll be able to walk the city for free, but exploring the bay requires a boat. We suggest a decently priced Golden Gate Bay cruise to see the city from a new angle.

Billionaire Row

While you may not be able to afford the houses on Billionaire Row, you can at least get a glimpse into the home lives of the rich and famous. Many of these houses are worth 20-30 million and the luxurious decorations show it. Even if you can’t purchase one yourself, it is still fun to walk around and see all this area has to offer.

Billionaire Row is an acceptable distance from the cheap hotels in San Francisco. You could walk here if you wanted to exercise a bit.

Ghirardelli Square

If you are craving some sweets, head over to Ghirardelli Square for some free tastings of the scrumptious chocolate they display there. There is a lot to see and do in this square, so be ready to spend an hour or two looking around and window shopping. While the Fairmont Hotel chain may be out of your budget, you can at least see how the other half lives if you walk around this beautiful luxury hotel which is also in Ghirardelli Square.

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Common Travel Illnesses and How to Combat Them

Jun 29, 2015 by

Common Travel Illnesses and How to Combat Them

Illness on holiday, whether it’s during travel or whilst you’re away, can feel even worse than usual when you aren’t in a familiar place. To combat them, read on to find out the most common travel illnesses and what to do if you are struck down on your travels.


Motion sickness is a combination of symptoms, including dizziness, nausea and vomiting that occurs when travelling. It can also include headaches, drowsiness and shallow breathing.

Most of the time, the symptoms of motion sickness will improve over time. For instance, if you have seasickness on a cruise ship holiday, then your symptoms may get better after a couple of days.

Avoid eating a large meal or drinking alcohol before travelling, choose a cabin or seat in the middle of the boat or plane, and try to keep as still as possible. Drink lots of water and keep hydrated. If your symptoms are bad they can be treated with medication, or if they are milder then try ginger sweets or peppermints.


Affecting four in 10 Brits when they go abroad, traveller’s diarrhoea is caused by unfamiliar germs, particularly in drinking water. Food that hasn’t been thoroughly heated or left out at room temperature is likely to cause traveller’s diarrhoea.

You can reduce this risk by following good food and water hygiene practices. Avoid ice, and only drink bottled water.

If you get traveller’s diarrhoea, make sure that you keep dehydrated, and take diarrhoea tablets with you when you travel.


Sunburn occurs because of too much sun exposure, causing red, sore skin. Sunscreen can provide some protection, but it should not be relied on too heavily as it cannot protect you completely. Make sure that you stay out of the sun between noon and 3pm, wear a hat and sunglasses and use a minimum of factor 15 sunscreen for best results. Reapply regularly, and especially after a swim, even if it’s waterproof.

If you do get sunburnt, soak a flannel in cool water and apply to the affected areas. This will relieve pain and take the heat out of the skin. Apply aftersun lotion, and take ibuprofen to reduce pain. If a child has sunburn, or your skin has blistered, or you feel sick or feverish, then go to the doctor.

Insect Bites

Most insect bites and stings are simply puncture wounds, and can be red, swollen and itchy, but are essentially harmless. However, some stings can be very painful and trigger and allergic reaction. If scratched raw, bites or stings can become infected.

To avoid being bitten or stung, keep your skin covered at dawn and at dusk, wear light colours and don’t use strong scents on your skin. Apply a mosquito repellent to your skin every 6 hours or so, and spray clothes too. Don’t panic when you encounter wasps or bees. Remain calm and back away slowly, and don’t wave your arms around or swat at them.

Treat a bite by washing with soap and water, and cover with a cold flannel. Try not to scratch it.

If you, or someone who’s been bitten begins to have difficulties breathing or swallowing, then call an ambulance.

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The Best New York Landmarks

Jun 27, 2015 by

The Best New York Landmarks

The Big Apple—it’s filled with lights, people, adventure, and dreams from around the world. This is the city that never sleeps, which means there is so much to see and do. From Broadway shows, to high-end shopping, to food sampling and more, you’ll never run out of activities. While you are strolling around the city, you should take a look at the architecture around you. The city is filled with beautiful buildings, and we’ve compiled a list of those you shouldn’t miss out on. Design lovers will especially enjoy the variety, while history buffs will appreciate the stories behind the buildings.

Central Park

This nearly 850-acre park in the middle of New York City is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. There are a plethora of places to relax on the grass during sunny weather, a beautiful boathouse restaurant to dine at, and entertainers to keep you smiling the whole day through.

The Empire State Building

This 102-story Art Deco skyscraper originally stood as the tallest building in the world for over 40 years and is now the tallest building in the city. It’s been the set location of many famous movies, such as Sleepless in SeattleElfThe Time Machine, and more. Named by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, this iconic New York landmark can’t be missed.

The Chrysler Building

Another Art Deco New York skyscraper is the world’s tallest brick building. That alone is enough to call for a visit to this architectural wonder. The building is also in a very central part of town if you want to get some shopping or other sightseeing done. This is a good area to begin your search for a hotel in New York City as well.

Liberty Enlightening the World

Also known as the Statue of Liberty, this statue was presented to the United States by France in the late 19th century. You’ll have to take a boat to visit the statue, but it’s well worth the time and cost. If you want a free view of the Statue of Liberty, jump on the Coney Island Ferry and you’ll pass right by it. This stunning example of architecture welcomes all visitors, immigrants, and returning Americans to the city. History lovers should look into the story behind the statue before visiting to get the full experience.

The Brooklyn Bridge

This nearly 6,000-foot bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the country. When it was completed it was the world’s largest suspension bridge as well as the first steel-wire suspension bridge. Connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn, this is an iconic part of the New York skyline and a National Historic Landmark.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

This is the largest Neo-Gothic-style Catholic cathedral in all of North America and cannot be forgotten during your tour of New York City. It’s a functioning church, being the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of the city, which means you have to be smart about scheduling your visit here if you want a look inside.

With so many interesting buildings around the city, it’s wise to book an architecture tour to make sure you get all the important sites in before you leave.

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Where to Take Your Telescope on Holiday

Jun 22, 2015 by

Where to Take Your Telescope on Holiday

If you’re an astronomy geek, no doubt your perfect holiday is one where you can enjoy little light pollution and the comfort of warm, balmy nights. Take a look at the best places around the world to see the stars.

Tenerife, Canary Islands

Tenerife, despite its reputation for being for white sands and azure waters, is also one of the best places to stargaze. Its skies are clear most of the time, and the island boasts a high number of useful observation hours. You can observe both the northern, and some of the southern, from Tenerife, making it one of the best stargazing spots in Europe. Tenerife is also home to the largest telescope in Europe, and the island of La Palma has one of the best-equipped telescope facilities in the world. Being a popular destination for holiday makers, it also has lots of luxury hotels to stay in too.

The Faroe Islands

Known mostly for its puffins and Viking influences, the Faroe Islands hold dark skies and the possibility of seeing the northern lights. Located between Scotland and Iceland, the archipelago was rated one of the best islands in the world by National Geographic. With dramatic yet peaceful mountains, and the wild sea, it has landscapes that you won’t forget in a hurry.

Tuscany, Italy

Home to the original astronomer cool guy – Galileo Galilei – Tuscany is still one of the best places to go stargazing. It is a beautiful part of Italy, with rolling hills and remote locations making it somewhere without much light pollution. Visit Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory, or Florence’s Institute and Museum of the History of Science for Galileo’s telescopes and compasses. Alternatively, just head out with your telescope, a bottle of wine and blanket to make your own astronomical discoveries.


You might be thinking that LA couldn’t possibly be on this list – it’s a city, and we all know that cities are full of light pollution, making it difficult to see anything good in the night sky at all. However, the Griffith Observatory is situated on a hill above the city, and it’s a free attraction, offering excellent views of the night’s sky and lots of interesting events. Perfect if you love stargazing but don’t want to holiday in the middle of nowhere.

Northumberland, UK

Northumberland has an International Dark Sky Park at Kielder, and it is Europe’s largest area of protected night sky. Here, you can see the Milky Way, and even the Northern Lights at certain times of year.

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First Timer’s Guide to Virginia Beach

Jun 20, 2015 by

First Timer’s Guide to Virginia Beach

A trip to Virginia Beach should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. There are fun beaches, great shopping, and history galore. With all these experiences, you’ll never run out of things to do while you’re in town. To help you plan your trip, we have created a guide for those people who have never been. Here are the top experiences you can’t miss, and after you check each one off, don’t be surprised if you never want to leave this oceanfront paradise.

Play at the Beach

The beaches in this area are absolutely spectacular and go on for miles. As you walk along the pristine beaches, you’ll get a great mix of visitors and locals who are all soaking up some Vitamin D. You’ll be able to spend the majority of your day at the beach, in and out of the water. Just don’t forget to bring your sunscreen so you don’t end up in pain for the rest of your trip!

The beach area is a great place to start your search for great hotels in Virginia Beach. It’s close to all the best restaurants and shops in town.

Visit the Historical Sites

Virginia Beach has a rich history which dates back to the time of the first pilgrims. There are aviation museums, First Landing sites, old coast guard museums, and more. If you want a unique experience, you should head to the Cape Henry Lighthouse and Park. It is the oldest government built lighthouse in the United States and the view from the top is worth the trek. The vista of the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay is stunning and a backdrop for pictures which will make photographers drool.

Summer Time Beach Street USA

If you are planning your Virginia Beach trip during the summer, you’ll be treated to the Beach Street USA experience. Puppet masters will entertain you, musicians will serenade you and the bands giving concerts are found every night of the week. The oceanfront walk is especially spectacular during sunrise and sunset, if you can plan those into your schedule. No matter what type of traveler you are, you’ll enjoy your time in Virginia Beach during this festival.

Even when it isn’t the nicest of weather, you can still catch some live entertainment and sporting events if you venture to Richmond to catch a show or game.

Souvenir Hunting

There are 40 blocks of souvenir shops, surf shops, boutique shops, art galleries, and craft stores along the waterfront, a great place to start your search for the perfect gift to bring home to loved ones. You’ll almost get lost with all the options and shops to choose from. One of the largest malls on the East Coast is also in this area and a great choice if you want to get some more mainstream shopping done.

Budget shoppers, there are some outlet malls and stores to keep you busy for days. If you forgot to bring your comfortable shopping shoes, don’t worry, you’ll be able to pick some up here too!

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