It’s time to hit the open seas, it’s time to buy a yacht

If you have never owned a boat then you are probably not aware of how amazing it is. You may have been on a friends boat and realised how much fun you can have, why not get a boat of your own. Owning a boat has never been easier, it is easy to find yachts for sale. Not only will you have a great time with your friends and family on your yacht, you will also get to meet lots of other boating enthusiasts. People at boat clubs are usually very nice people, it’s a great environment to be in. There is no reason why people can’t own a boat, when you break it down it is very affordable and so much fun for all the family. Here are some great reasons that will make you want to purchase the boat that you’ve always wanted.

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It is affordable! 

People are usually under the false pretence that boating is expensive. You can definitely afford to purchase a boat on your current budget. There is always the option to finance a boat purchase, just like you would do with a car. Due to the fact that boats have a long life span, banks will usually offer finance over a longer period of time, this will therefore reduce the amount of your monthly payments.

Spend time with your friends and family

Nearly every boating person will agree that the number one reason for heading out on the boat is because they get to spend quality time with their friends and family. There are no distractions, no tv, no playstation, no computer, it is just all of you on a boat having fun together.

Relax and get rid of stress

As soon as you set sail and are on the open sea you will be able to forget about everything that has been bothering you or the busy week you just had at work. Being out on your boat is such a relaxing experience, if you have your friends or family with you, you will be having such a great time that nothing else will matter. This is the main reason why boaters seem to be such friendly and laid back people. How can anyone get stressed when they are sat on deck with their loved ones, when the only thing to distract you is the sunsetting in the distance.

There’s no time like the present, start you search for a boat today. It will improve your life and the time you get to spend with your loved ones.

London on Two Wheels

Probably one of the first things that will come up while planning your visit to London is the plain and simple fact that transport is not the cheapest available. If you’re traveling on a budget – do not fear, the city provides as many means of transport as you can imagine and cycling is definitely not only efficient but also pro-active – and provides the best views! There are even cycle-friendly London hotels for you to choose from, and the range is incredible: from 2- or 3- star affordable stays to luxury The Cavendish, priding itself on being environmentally friendly and offering cycle hire and route information as well as secure bicycle parking.

 Once your accommodation is sorted, it’s time to find a pair of wheels. If you’re planning a short stay, Barclays Cycle Hire, the latest London transport hit, is the best option. The access fee is minimal (£1 for a day, £5 for a week) and if your journey is less than 30 minutes long – it’s completely free! There are docking stations dotted around the whole Central London and cover all major sightseeing spots, as well as many hidden gems. The Cycle Hire’s website offers a very detailed maps of the scheme and they feature both leisure routes and cycle superhighways, very handy when you want to really explore the city to its maximum.

For all of you who intend to stay in London a bit longer and prefer to have their own bike but without splashing out a huge amount, I highly recommend ReCycling – a shop that offers serviced, second hand bikes. They have a really handy ‘no lemons’ policy: within 21 days you can change your bike without the change of value and if by the end of it you’re not entirely happy – they’ll give you your money back.

The cycle routes are all you need now, and I can assure there are plenty of them. Cycle-route.com is a great place to start – you can watch a chosen area for new routes or chose from a huge selection already submitted, each described with the amount of miles it covers and the time it’ll approximately take. My favourite is definitely the one along Regent’s Canal, my own beloved bit of industrial London that provides much needed peace and quietness in the always buzzing city. Another source of routes is the good old Transport for London website, and if you’re planning your visit in advance, you can even order free printed local cycle guides.

With all the preparations done, all you have left to do is to enjoy London’s sites. There’s been a lot of cycling promotion recently so you might as well bump into (hopefully not literally) quite a few London celebrities on their sets of wheels, including London’s own Mayor! Now wouldn’t that be a treat?

Magic Bus New Zealand

There are all kinds of ways to travel around New Zealand. You can explore the different car rental options and drive yourself around (it’s a relatively small country, like the UK). There are companies that drive small numbers of travellers around. There are notice boards on and offline where travellers sell second, third, or even seventh hand vans they have bought specifically to drive around the island. Or you can take a tour. There are a number of tours available but there are two major companies that run bus tours. These are the Kiwi Experience and the Magic Bus. The Kiwi Experience is aimed at young gap-year travellers. On board, you will find many eighteen year olds who have just finished school and students on holiday. The Magic Bus, on the other hand caters for those who are taking a break from the world of work or had some time off. They tend to be around thirty but it really is a mix of ages. The Magic Bus is perhaps the best option if you’re travelling alone, as it gives you the opportunity to meet a range of different people.

There are several routes Magic Bus tours take. You can do the North Island on its own or the South Island on its own or combine the two.

If you are only doing one island, a lot of people chose the south. That isn’t to say the North doesn’t have a lot to offer. The North Island has the thermal parks: large areas of volcanic activity which manifest as pools of bubbling mud and lakes which are green, yellow or blue with striking red-orange colours beneath the surface and steam rising above them. There are geysers – mounds of earth from which large jets of water shoot out sporadically. Much of it feels like the Land Before Time or Jurassic Park.  There is also a rather pervasive odour all over the areas main town, Rotorua. This is due to the sulphur beneath the ground’s surface that creates an egg-like smell.

The North Island also has Lake Taupo, which is important to the Maori people as well as being New Zealand’s largest lake. There are all kinds of adventure sports activities you can take part in here.

But the South Island is where most of the adventure sports fans find their fun. Taking the Magic Bus here is great because you pass through New Zealand’s adventure and party capital, Queenstown. Queenstown, as well as being part of the set of Lord of the Rings (along with a lot of other places in New Zealand) is famous for its sky diving, bungee jumping, rock climbing and rapid riding fun. And for the less daring, has some fun dry slope tobogganing opportunities too. At night the bars fill with locals and travellers and it’s a great opportunity to add to the friends you’ve already made on the bus. The South Island is also famous for its impressive Franz Joseph and Fox glaciers, which even the novice can climb. It is also the gateway to the beautiful Milford Sound.

 

BIO

Sophie Collard (@QunoSpotter) writes about fascinating places to visit and people she’s met while on her travels. She’s travelled in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia and loves the sense of distance and changing landscapes.

Getting Away to the Cape Verde Islands

By Travel Writer Bradley Fink

When planning getaways, many tend to overlook the islands of Cape Verde. Butthis archipelago is one of the world’s most spectacular island chains.Magnificently scenic, exotic and diverse, Cape Verde is a great escapefrom the hordes of Paris and London.And what’s more, withbudgetbungalows,mid-rangehotels, and a growing number of resorts, there are great Cape Verde places to stay throughout these peaceful islands.

Located 570 kilometresoff the coast of Senegal, Cape Verde is an easy flight from Lisbon or the UK. Several flights arrive each week from London, Birmingham and Manchester. Most of these will take you to the Island of Santiago, which is the largest and most populated island of this little chain.If you like romantic landscapes, then you’ll love the vistas here, with sandy beaches, beautiful blue seas, and high volcanic cliffs.While the capital city of Praia has some restaurants and hotels, the interior of the island is a realm of natural wonder. National parks abound with mountain peaks and fertile valleys, where hiking is the best way to enjoy the high terrain. On the shores of Santiago, you’ll find fishing, diving, wind-surfing, sailing, and a number of other sports.

The other islands offer differentthings to see and do. For instance, Santa Antao is known for hiking, while Sal is known for its water sports and holiday resorts.  On any island you can find some top-notch ocean fishing, either from the shore, or by hiring a local fishing boat. But if you really want to escape, then make your way toSao Vicente, which is often thought to be the most enchanting of these islands.In Mindelo, which is home to most of Sao Vicente’s population, you’ll find a rich tradition of music, culture,restaurants and nightlife. The city has a vibrant buzz of pubs and entertainment, as well as several festivals that many come to see. In August there is a beach music festival during the full moon, and in February the city comes alivefor the annualcarnival.

Toeat in Mindelo, make your way to the food stalls of the QuiosquePraca Nova, where for 2 euros you can have a traditional local snack. Cachupa, a slow cooked stew, is famous in Cape Verde, and many people consider it to be the country’s national fare. This is made with corn, beans, and fish ormeat, which may be chicken, goat,or beef. Another delicious treat is the Portuguese dish calledFeijoada, which is also a stew of beans and meat, which is usually pork or beef.

Travelling in Cape Verde is a fairly simple task. There are ferries with connections to all nine of the inhabited islands.You may expect delays, however, as seas can become rough, but it’s a fast and easyway ofhopping in between the isles. There are also international airports on Sal, Boa Vista, and Sao Vincente, which are cheap and easy ways to make the trip from shore to shore.

For more info, please take a look at Cape Verde My Destination

How to leave a rocky, wave-filled, bay on the southern beaches of Bioko Island.

Step number 1: Set up a signal fire.

Step 2: Sleep on the beach until the boat gets here.

Step 3: Frantically flag down the boat with any available materials…ie: neon yellow rain jacket.

Step 4: Desperately try to get an overloaded boat out over the breaking waves and safely into the open ocean.

Step 5: Leaving the bay. Note the fact that the boat was filled with water, the huge waves, and the fact that I sound reasonably scared.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bw8xVi09rHE&hl=en&fs=1]

STA.com: Why hast thou forsaken me?

Although it took them two months to get me my student discount card, I really wanted to buy my flight through the STA site. Their customer service is impeccable, they have great reviews, with an easy to use layout, and customizable flights/trips. PLUS (my favorite): their website has a lot of information geared specifically towards people wanting to do an around-the-world trip.

That was all fine and dandy…until I got my airfare quote yesterday evening: $2821.00

What’s more, this didn’t even include my final flight home (which my agent guessed would be in the $800 range), thereby bringing my STA quote to: $3621.00

Honestly, it’s not the price that is shocking; I’ve done plenty of research and expected a cost somewhere in this vicinity. What’s really bugging me is that in twenty minutes (using AirBerlin and Expedia), I was able to find a price quote (for the exact same flight days and airports) that was $468.4 cheaper than the STA.com quote.

$468.4 is a lot of money to people like me (backpackers). That’s 1.5 netbooks, or a snazzy website design, or heck…several awesome massages (and I sure need one of those!).

Some of you might be thinking: Not so fast! What about the STA.com “price beat guarantee“?

Unfortunately, two of the three legs in my trip do not qualify because my cheaper price was found using different airlines carriers (the terms and conditions on the “price beat guarantee” stipulate that the flight carriers must be identical). I am unable to determine whether the third part of my flight itinerary is eligible for a discount, because I was not sent a price itemization for the individual parts of my RTW flight.

Anyway, in the spirit of trying to support a good travel company, I am going to call my STA agent on Monday and try to get a cheaper deal on my tickets. I felt I had to post this because I want to be able to write about my good and my bad experiences with travel companies. I want other travelers in my boat to make sure that they aren’t getting the raw end of a deal.

It makes me wonder whether using a travel agent is really saving me money, or even that much time.

OK, enough of this! My backpack arrived in the mail today and I can’t wait to play with it! :-)

 

How to drive on the autobahn in Germany…and survive!

Driving on the autobahn is a little scary, let’s be honest. I would know because I drove on it!
In the summer of 2006 a few friends and I decided to do a two-week tour of Germany. After doing the math, it was cheaper for us to rent a car (even with gas costs) than it would have been for us all to buy train passes. Renting a car is not hard. All you need is the ability to be able to drive manual (after trying numerous big-name companies like Hertz and Budget, it became obvious to us that no one was going to be able to guarantee us an automatic vehicle) and a valid, American driver’s license.


Our cute little rental car – stopped somewhere on our way down to Munich, Germany

Anyway, being under 25, we were only allowed to rent the smallest class of cars and we were entrusted with a cute little VW. Being German-built, we assumed it would hold it’s own. Wrong! Careening down the typically narrow lanes, we urged the car onwards (the max speed being only 180km/hr), only to be passed by BMW’s and various other luxury (and non-luxury) vehicles. After our initial shock at the country’s penchant for speeding, we soon acclimatized and were more than happy to join in on the fun.


Our VW tryin‘ to keep up!

Don’t let me dissuade you from driving your Europe trip – the Autobahn is really not as bad or as unsafe as its reputation might suggest. I have read that the Autobahn actually has a lower fatality record than that of the United States (although, I have yet to find reliable stats on this). The idea of a zero speed limitations on the Autobahn is actually more of a myth. Granted, many areas do allow you to speed your dear heart out, but just as many areas (around cities, in high traffic areas, around construction, and in mountainous terrains), speed limits are in effect and strictly enforced using speed cameras. Likewise, the rumors of unsafe and reckless German drivers are also false. German drivers, from my experience, were safe and courteous. Just make sure to move over and allow people to pass you!


Myself, as the navigator!