Everything

When you travel, one of the best parts is getting to experience life as a local, whether it's eating at a family-run restaurant or making new friends while buying at a market off the beaten path. Book one of these six European homes-away-from-home for a long stay, and you'll get a flavour of local life while also enjoying some extra luxuries.

Madrid, Spain


Amor de Dios 17 Boutique Hotel, Madrid, Spain

Amor de Dios 17 Boutique Hotel, Madrid, Spain

For a sunny, cultural and delicious food-filled long stay in Europe, look no further than Madrid. More specifically – Amor de Dios 17 Boutique Hotel, is set within a Madrid townhouse in a quiet street in the centre of the city. It’s located between must-visits Plaza Mayor (Madrid’s expansive and atmospheric main square) and The Prado Museum (housing Spain’s largest national collection of art, and one of the largest collections in the world). First, go sightseeing and then settle in with late-night dinners at bars and beer gardens such as Cervecera Restaurante Plaza Mayor, which has outdoor seating right on the plaza and is a great place to people-watch. The Santa Eulalia Boulangerie Patisserie, a 15-minute walk from the hotel, is a nice place to grab a cup of coffee and some freshly baked bread and pastries for breakfast.



Munich, Germany

Schwan Locke, Munich, Germany

Schwan Locke, Munich, Germany

Munich has many strings to its bow; surrounded by easily accessible, resplendent nature, and known for its great beer, bakeries and pleasant pace of life, the Bavarian capital is a great place to try to settle into the local scene. To treat yourself to a little luxury while doing so, spend your long stay at Schwan Locke, where studio apartments boast modern, playful interiors in a soothing pastel and earthy colour palette.

Turkey is home to some of the world's most divine islands, from a car-free archipelago just a short ferry ride from Istanbul, to the likes of Gökçeada, where olive groves are lapped by the clear waters of the Aegean Sea. Here are a few of the best Turkish islands.

The Princes’ Islands

The Princes' Islands, Turkey

The Princes' Islands, Turkey

Despite being just a short ferry ride from Istanbul, the Princes' Islands feel a world away from the Turkish capital. It’s an archipelago of nine that floats in the Sea of Marmara and quietly enthrals visitors with its slow pace of life. The islands are all car-free and known for their romantic horse-drawn carriages (phaetons), which enhance the feeling that you’ve been transported back in time. Explore streets scented with magnolias, mimosas, tangerines, and lemon trees, and lined with wooden country mansions dripping with wisteria. Büyükada, meaning “big island,” is the largest and farthest from Istanbul, making it great for a day trip. Here you can visit one of the superb local fish restaurants, stock up on supplies from the main bazaar, or rent bikes and head off to a shady picnic spot beneath the pines lining the coast. The islands of Heybeliada, Burgazada, and Kınalıada or the smaller Sedef Adası, Yassıada, Sivriada, Kaşık Adası, and Tavşan Adası are all equally enchanting. Regular ferries depart from Istanbul – more specifically from Eminonu, Kabatas, Kadıköy, or Bostanci. After a day trip to the islands, head back to Loka Suites in Kadıköy for the night.

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The best of the earth's natural beauty

Nature

For many of us, the earth’s awe-inspiring natural beauty is what makes us want to travel far and catch a glimpse of mother nature’s wonders. From colossal glaciers meandering down mountainsides to caves sculpted by lava, here are five places to see nature’s most captivating sights, plus convenient, sustainability-minded places to stay.

The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

The Giant’s Causeway is the stuff of myth and legend

The Giant’s Causeway is the stuff of myth and legend

The legend goes that Northern Ireland was once home to a giant named Finn McCool. Across the Irish Sea in Scotland lived another giant named Benandonner, who threatened Finn and Northern Ireland. Finn tore up chunks of the Antrim coastline and hurled them into the sea, creating the path known as the Giant’s Causeway.

While the folklore is interesting, the science behind the Causeway’s creation is even more so. Formed 60 million years ago during a period of high volcanic activity, these 40,000 interlocking basalt columns are the result of lava cooling into near-perfect hexagons. It is a lasting reminder of the earth’s power. To complement your folklore-rich trip, stay at Dromore House Historic Country House, a Georgian family home just a 20-minute drive from the Giant’s Causeway.

What You Should Know Before Booking A Hawaii Cruise

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The Hawaiian archipelago, perched in the North Pacific and surrounded by sparkling blue waters, appears to be designed for cruising. However, organizing a Hawaii cruise is more difficult than it appears. Due to its remote location and strict regulations, only a few cruises to this Polynesian paradise are available.

One of the numerous advantages of a Hawaii cruise is the possibility to see four islands in a week—a logistical achievement that would require several flights for land travellers. Cruising is also a cost-effective method to experience Hawaii, which is known for being an expensive tourist destination.

Last but not least, the natural beauty of the islands themselves is what attracts almost nine million people each year. Each of Hawaii's islands offers travellers unique and memorable experiences, such as cascading waterfalls, famed volcanoes, teeming marine life, and postcard-perfect beaches.

The following are the five most often asked questions about organizing a Hawaii cruise.

1. How long is a cruise to Hawaii?


Source: Shutterstock; Aerial view of Honolulu Island

Depending on the itinerary, Hawaii cruises might last anywhere from seven to 18 nights. Due to the islands' distant position, a cruise exclusively within the Hawaiian Islands sailing round trip to Honolulu is the quickest (and only) seven-night option, but any voyage from California to Hawaii will take at least 15 nights. There are round-trip sailings from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, but expect to spend at least eight days at sea travelling to and from Hawaii. You'll be spending a lot of time on your ship, so choose wisely!

Because many ships alternate between Hawaii or Polynesia in the winter and Alaska in the summer, repositioning cruises to and from Hawaii is common in May and September when ships cross the Pacific. A frequent repositioning itinerary is a 10-night cruise from Vancouver, BC to Hawaii.

When we think of romantic destinations, we often think of the streets of Paris, or perhaps the canals of Venice, or maybe the beaches of Maui. Whether you’re looking for a more traditional Valentine’s Day destination or would love to surprise your partner with something a bit more off the beaten path, Expedia has handpicked a list of the most romantic Valentine’s Day hotels around the world (all of which are VIP Access hotels to boot). Are you ready for romance? Read on!

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

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There’s a reason The Maldives is such a dream spot to a honeymoon or have a romantic getaway: think turquoise water, soft white sand, your choice of luxury accommodation, and all the relaxing beach time in the world. If you’re looking for somewhere to really unwind and spend quality time with your significant other, the Maldives may be just the ticket. Our pick for the most romantic hotel in the Maldives is Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas; with choices such as beach villas, sunset villas, and overwater villas, you’re sure to have unbelievable views no matter where you stay. There’s also a full-service spa for the ultimate in pampering. Imagine cuddling up with your loved one after a blissful spa day and watching the sun dip below the horizon… is there anything more romantic?

VOI Donna Camilla Savelli Hotel

We don’t know about you, but when we hear “Italy”, we think of romance. Head to Rome, the Eternal City, for a magical vacation with your significant other. Dine at cosy restaurants, gawk at the ancient historical sites, and enjoy exploring the Italian capital arm in arm as you create yet another amazing memory together. Our pick for the most romantic hotel in Rome has to be VOI Donna Camilla Savelli Hotel. With elegant details, a beautiful rooftop terrace, and a fantastic location – some of Rome’s most famous sightseeing spots are within short walking distance – you’ll fall deeply in love with Rome… and even deeper in love with each other.

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Music and travel go together like Hall and Oates, Sonny and Cher, or Simon and Garfunkel. 

There’s real power when it comes to music and travel that helps people further escape mentally, emotionally, or physically to a new destination. In fact, according to Expedia customer research conducted in 2021, 62% of people who book travel online list “music” and specifically “festivals” as a key passion point. This musical connection could get even stronger as travellers start to seek out transformational, meaningful experiences from their post-pandemic trips. 

When we think of musical destinations, New York City comes top of mind. Here are five hotels to book a stay in for anyone looking to get out and explore this magical city’s musical past.



New York Hilton Midtown: 1335 Sixth Avenue 

The New York Hilton Midtown has a bit of a home-field advantage when it comes to musical histories, thanks to its location just two blocks from Radio City Music Hall. However, the hotel itself has plenty of noteworthy musical moments as well. Elvis Presley was a favored longtime guest of the hotel and often held press conferences from the lobby. The Beatles also booked a few rooms in the hotel when they made their famed appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. In later years, John Lennon returned to the hotel and wrote “Imagine” on the Hilton’s stationery.

Magical illuminating caves, beautiful tiny towns, and enchanting hilltop castles may sound like images from a children's book, yet the globe is full of real-life fairy-tale locations. Start making plans for your perfect fairy-tale holiday to one of these 10 lovely destinations around the world.



1. The Isle of Skye, Scotland

Scotland



The wing-shaped island in Scotland is very much real, and its fairy-tale landscapes are brimming with folklore. You'd think somewhere called the "Isle of Skye" would be an enchanted fictional place, but the wing-shaped island in Scotland is very much real, and its fairy-tale landscapes are brimming with folklore. Spend some time in the Fairy Glen, which is a small version of Scotland's mountainous highlands and the kind of environment where you might come across some fae beings. Then, at the foot of the Black Cuillins Mountains, stroll to the lovely Fairy Pools. You'll reach a succession of cascading waterfalls and stunningly clean pools where you may reward yourself with a swim by hopping between stepping stones along the route. However, be aware that the water is rather cold.

Visit The Old Man of Storr, a protruding rock feature purported to be the thumb of a long-dead giant buried there, to round out your journey. Make the most of your trip by joining a guided tour around the Isle of Skye to see all the hidden gems and hear all the local legends.

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From the rainforest to the reef, you can find bliss through these yoga retreats in Costa Rica that will change your body and your mind for the better.

Costa Rica is one of the most popular places to visit in Central America because it has a lot of amazing wildlife and beautiful scenery. More than 25% of the country's land is protected, so visitors can explore the beautiful rainforests, visit pristine beaches for surfing and diving, trek volcanoes, or just relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.

  

Over the last decade, more and more people have been coming to Costa Rica to go on yoga retreats that will make them feel better. What's better than finding Zen in the depths of a rainforest or at the base of a volcano, after all?

Find out about 10 of the best yoga retreats in Costa Rica, which are great for everyone from beginners to full-fledged yoga practitioners.


Samasati Yoga & Wellness Retreat









Why Do Some Airlines Take So Long to Issue Refunds?
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Having to cancel a vacation is always a tough decision to make. Delaying a vacation because of unexpected occurrences (such as a global pandemic) is never a pleasant experience. To add to the difficulty, airline refunds sometimes take weeks or even months to appear in your bank account. Even if you purchased your trip through an OTA like Expedia, if you have yet to get a refund or credit from your airline, here is all you need to know about airline refunds and credit delays.

How do online travel agencies like Expedia and Orbitz make money?


Third-party websites like Expedia are used by travel suppliers (hotels, airlines, and car rental firms) to distribute and sell their products to millions of travelers throughout the world. For this purpose, they enter their inventory and pricing into the OTA's system. OTAs like Expedia can provide passengers a straightforward way to book their entire vacation by making their platforms available to a wide range of travel suppliers, delivering the largest selection of travel offers across flights, lodging, rental vehicles, and activities.

On Expedia, where does my money end up when I buy airline tickets?


Most online travel agents (OTAs) allow you to either purchase a single flight, hotel, or car; or a package that includes all three. A merchant or an agency model is typically used for this purpose.

If you're using a merchant model, your online travel agency will operate as your official point of contact for all of your travel-related purchases such as hotels, vacation rentals, airline tickets, vehicle rentals, and other extras. In this case, the OTA is responsible for collecting the money from customers. OTAs like Expedia's merchant model transactions are primarily tied to hotel reservations.

As an OTA, the OTA facilitates travel bookings and operates as an intermediary, transmitting reservations made by the traveler directly to the travel provider. Commissions or tickets fees are paid by travel suppliers and/or travelers to the OTA, which in turn gets them. Because the travel provider is charging the consumer, the supplier (like the airline, for example) will appear on your bank statement rather than Expedia.

In the event of an issue, would I receive a refund or credit from the OTA or the travel provider?

When it comes to booking terms and conditions, the supplier sets them, not an online travel agency (OTA). When it comes to things like return policies and fees, it's all up to the individual supplier. When there is a dispute or issue between the customer and the supplier, the OTA often employs huge customer support teams who advocate for the customer's best interests. These teams then go to work directly with the supplier to resolve the issue.

There were more than 3,000 different airline cancellation policies to deal with in the first months of the global epidemic; many of these rules required travellers to be awarded credits. By implementing a "one-click" cancellation function, Expedia was able to alleviate the stress and long hold times associated with bulk cancellations by making it easier for customers to cancel their reservations.

Refunds, credits, and other forms of payment normally appear in your account within a few days.

There are no delays in processing a customer's refund, voucher, credit etc. as soon as an OTA has approval from the airline or hotel to handle that request. Most airline partners are set up under the agency business model, which means that the supplier (the airline) is in charge of the refund procedure and the refund timeframe under this model. For a variety of reasons (including the sheer volume of requests), COVID caused significant delays in this regard, although in general, airlines handle refunds within a credit card billing cycle, although certain smaller or primarily overseas carriers may take longer. If there are no syncing issues between the airline and the OTA, the credit process normally takes roughly 12 hours.

How do online travel agents (OTAs) handle the unused flight vouchers that consumers receive?


Self-service solutions have been developed by Expedia so that customers can simply redeem their current flight credits without the need to call the customer service department. It is possible to examine and use any vouchers or credits in your account, as well as start a virtual agent chat, redeem credits, and access a customer support line all from the same page in your Expedia account.

As you wait on the ledge of a boat for the sharks to approach, play the Jaws theme song. Your pulse quickens as you catch a glimpse of the ominous silhouettes closing in. The water is just a few feet away from hundreds of sharp fangs. Do you think you're insane enough to jump in? Is there a better way of finding out?

In Cape Town, you can go cage diving with great white sharks just like the scientists on TV. Isla Mujeres, Mexico's Isla Mujeres Island, is a great place to swim with whale sharks. To swim with sharks in Belize or Fiji, you don't have to be a licensed diver or even have snorkelling experience. Sharks can be found and safely swum with by experienced tour leaders all around the world.

You can even help save sharks by swimming with them ethically. Many shark species are in danger of extinction as a result of overfishing and the practice of shark finning. Sharks are more valuable to tourists when they are alive than when they are cooked, and this can encourage the local community to take action to safeguard sharks. So, whether you're a thrill-seeker or a shark fanatic, here are the top sites in the world to go shark swimming.


1) Oahu, Hawaii

Cage Diving with Sharks in Oahu

Feeling daring? Jump in the waters off the coast of Oahu and cage dive with some of Hawaii’s most dangerous sharks. Galapagos sharks, sandbar sharks, tiger sharks, and scalloped hammerhead sharks commonly inhabit the warm waters of Hawaii along with 36 other species (including great whites). From the safety of a metal cage, see some of these predators up close as they circle—sometimes just inches from the bars. Because the cage floats at the surface, there’s no need for scuba gear. With a snorkel and mask, you can pop down for a look whenever you like. As a bonus to swimming with sharks in Oahu, you may also see spinner dolphins, barracuda, flying fish, or humpback whales during your adventure. If you also want to see sea turtles or snorkel with manta rays, check out the best snorkeling in Hawaii.

Best Virtual meeting backgrounds for zoom
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While video conversations allow us to stay in touch with friends and family across the country and across the world, they may also make us long for a change of environment.

Virtual vacations are available even if you aren't currently on the road. For your viewing pleasure, we've developed a selection of 15 Zoom backdrops. Make your next video conference or virtual happy hour special by selecting one of the images below.

Do you enjoy what you've seen so far? Use the right-click menu on any image to download it.


The airplane jackpot

No need to choose the aisle or window—or to fight over the armrest with your neighbours—when you get the whole row to yourself.

Aquatic adventure

Indulge your inner child. Even if your favorite aquarium is still out of reach, you can still feel like you’re swimming with sharks.

The best of Bali

Lush scenery. Beautiful temples. Friendly people. For a calming, inspiring vibe, look no further than this Bali background.



COVID travel cheat sheet

According to WHO, Europe is getting ahead of itself in terms of limitation loosening, particularly in view of the concerning new COVID strain, BA.2. The warning, however, does not appear to have deterred many countries from proceeding with their reopening.

Airlines worldwide are returning to normal.


As more airlines reinstate operational methods not seen since early 2020, the travel sector is slowly but steadily returning to pre-pandemic life.

Relaxed mask usage is coming. KLM, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic are among the biggest names to do away with masks. So has Heathrow Airport. However, all airlines have indicated that they have dropped the requirement.
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The Island of Enchantment is the most recent holiday destination to remove nearly all of its Covid restrictions.

Beginning Thursday, March 10, American visitors visiting Puerto Rico will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test. International visitors are still subject to US immigration regulations.

Additionally, proof of vaccination or a negative covid test will no longer be required to access businesses in Puerto Rico. Both interior and outdoor enterprises will no longer be required to wear masks.

I am all about the happy moments in my life. Today happens to be women's day. I've been mentally low since I left #UKRAINE 🇺🇦 for #Hungary. But I must say, the support you've all shown us has been incredible. I haven't been able to do anything fun; my days have mostly consisted of eating and sleeping. I've experienced a range of feelings, but in the end, I'm grateful to be alive to celebrate yet another women's day. So, God bless all the good-hearted women in the world, and a special women's day to the Ukrainian women during this difficult time.

Happy International women's day.
#happywomensday #happyinternationalwomensday
#breakthebias
#equalrights



So I received this women's day message that I love so much. Read with me.

It’s women’s day again. As cliché as this may sound, it’s one of the best holidays of the year, as it is a day set aside to celebrate the spice of my life. Without you, my life tastes bland, baby girl.
I appreciate your strength, your tenacity, your vulnerability, your beauty, as well as your beautiful heart. Without you by my side, I can’t truly call myself a man. I love you, baby girl, and I love the way you love me. Happy Women’s Day, my sunshine.

On March 14, France will partially abolish the requirement for COVID vaccination in passports.

If you're ready to cross the Atlantic again, France is going to make your journey much easier.

Starting next week (March 14), France will no longer require vaccinations to access indoor facilities, removing the necessity for visitors to get a Health Pass prior to arrival.

Face masks will likewise be unnecessary indoors, with the exception of public transportation.

Americans who have had their Covid vaccine up to date—including a booster if it's been more than 9 months—can now travel to France without a test or health pass. Unvaccinated Americans will need to present a "compelling reason" for entering France, as well as a negative Covid test because the US is still on France's orange list.

UAE Travel Insurance: All You Need To Know Before Your Trip

UAE, a country of sheikhs, has beautiful beaches and the tallest tower in the world - Burj Khalifa is one of the favourite destinations for Indians. It is budget-friendly, welcoming, and has famous tourist attractions such as Dubai Marina, Burj Khalifa, underwater aquarium, and whatnot! Not only this, but the country also serves lip-smacking cuisines with just the right vibe.


But no matter how welcoming a foreign country is, there always is a fear of probable mishappenings on the trip—misplacing passports, important documents, flight delays or cancellations, medical conditions during vacations, etc. However, there is one decision you can make today that can comfort all your upcoming trips - buying UAE travel insurance.

All You Need to Know About UAE Travel Insurance Before Your trip
Image Source: Shutterstock

What is UAE travel insurance?

UAE travel insurance is insurance that would protect you from any mishappenings during your UAE trip. Be it loss of passport, medical injuries, or whatever, UAE travel insurance provides you coverage for all. In addition, the UAE government has strict norms that state the requirement of valid travel insurance for your trip.

Here is everything you need to know about UAE travel insurance.

Why do you need UAE travel insurance?

If you are planning a trip to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or anywhere in the UAE and are perplexed about the need for UAE travel insurance; we have you covered. Here is a list of benefits a UAE travel insurance would provide -

Comfort

A UAE travel insurance can increase your comfort during the trip. For a safe and relaxed trip, it is recommended that you always buy travel insurance before heading on your trip. Even IRDA believes that travel insurance can secure one from medical injuries or any sort of accident on a trip, which ultimately elevates comfort.
Avoid getting sick in the plane

While you may look forward to flying to an exciting destination for a vacation or business trip, you do

not want to be concerned about becoming ill following your airplane flight! After all, studies indicate

that colds are 113 times more likely to spread on a plane than they are on the ground! The excellent

news is that there are many things you can do to remain healthy before or after your flight. 

The following are four ways to avoid becoming ill on a plane:




1. Maintain Clean Hands


Hand sanitizer is one of the most critical items you can bring on a plane, but it must be 3 ounces or

less to comply with security regulations. This is because, on planes and elsewhere, your hands are

frequently the first point of contact with cold and flu germs. Tray tables, seat belt buckles, overhead

air vents and lavatory latches are just a few of the plane or anywhere else. Some of the dirtiest surfaces.

If you touch any of these items during your flight, be sure to immediately use your hand sanitizer to kill any germs!

The Italian Alps form an arc stretching from Monaco in the west to Trieste in the east, encompassing the entirety of Italy's northernmost region.

They are divided into three major categories. With its dramatic playground of snowcapped mountains, which borders France and Switzerland, the western side of the high Alps is the southern end of the high Alps. The Italian Lakes are located in the center of the country, where large lakes are surrounded by smaller hills and picturesque villages. The Dolomites, on the other hand, are jagged rocky peaks surrounded by lush alpine meadows in the eastern section.


From Milan, the entire Italian Alps region is easily accessible. When visiting the Dolomites in the eastern section, the best activities are only a short drive away from Venice or Verona in the south, or Innsbruck in the north, depending on where you are coming from in Italy or Austria. 

1. Lake Braies by @elcampa1969⁣
2. Molveno by @funk_design⁣
3. Val Badia by @ilhan1077⁣
4. Lake Braies by @rita_manzella_⁣
5. Rifugio delle Odle by @elcampa1969⁣
6. Val Badia by @ilhan1077



The most breathtaking vistas can be seen on the road from Üsküdar to Anadolu Kava. Which one is your personal favourite?




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No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.
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