Why Hawaii Should be Your Next Family Vacation

 

Planning a family vacation that will tick all the boxes for kids and adults alike can be sometime be a little tricky. With kids of different ages and adults with mixed interests it’s not easy to find a place that is going to keep each family member happy. Well, we believe we have found the perfect family vacation destination: Hawaii.

 

This amazing place truly has something for everyone and is guaranteed to offer both kids and family the vacation of a lifetime. Here are all the top activities that will have your family wanting to come back year after year.

 

Sea, Sun and Surf

 

Of course, one of the main attractions of Hawaii is the sunny weather, beautiful beaches and the turquoise sea. But just lounging around on the beach is not everyone’s cup of tea and kids tend to get bored easily. So why not sign them up to a surf school?  Resorts like, Maalaea Surf Resort in Maui, situated directly on the beach, means parents can spend the day relaxing by the pool, whilst the kids try their hand at a bit of surfing.

 

Whale Watching

 

Hawaii is famous for many things and whale watching is certainly at the top of the list. Being able to watch these majestic mammals is one of the most magical sights anyone can experience, at any age. Going on a boat trip is a great way to try and catch a glimpse or even just keeping your eyes peeled from the beach or your hotel balcony.

 

Feeling Sporty

 

There are some great family sport centers in Maui that promise to keep the kids happy. Places like Maui Golf & Sports Centre are a great way to let your kids blow off some steam. They offer a wide variety of sports and activities such as rock climbing, bungee trampolining, bumper boats and mini-golf.

 

Trekking

 

 

Hawaii offers some of the World’s best trekking routes and most breath-taking views. The national park, Haleakala, offers stunning walks that you can enjoy as a family, where you can take in the sights of the island, whilst also visiting the Haleakala volcano and the endangered Hawaiian geese.

 

Family Canoeing

 

Why not try your hand at a little canoeing? This activity is a great way to spend time as a family and see the island from a totally different perspective. Take your snorkels and dive in to see the beautiful sea turtles and tropical fish.

 

Maui Ocean Centre

 

Spend an afternoon with your family at the Maui Ocean Centre. Not only can you see everything from hammerhead and tiger sharks, octopus and a wide variety of weird and wonderful deep water fish, but the staff are also fantastic with children and spend time with families talking them through the sea life and also educating them about the Hawaiian culture.

 

Atlantis Submarine

 

This is an all round family favourite and an experience you and your kids will never forget. Recently features on National Geographic, the Atlantis submarine tour takes you on a journey 100 foot deep into the ocean. Travel deep into the pacific ocean and take in the wonder that is Hawaii’s underwater world.

 

Why India Should Be Your Next Travel Destination

 

India is the seventh largest country in the world (it is 3,287,590 km2 or 1,269,009 mi2), and with 1,342,512,706 (roughly 1.3 billion) people, there is a lot to see and a lot of people to meet. The problem with wanting to visit India is knowing where to start. Well, just like any other trip, the answer is doing some research. First, a little history. India has changed a lot in the last hundred years. It was colonised by the British in 1858. However, in 1947, India was granted (or, through the persistence and persuasiveness of figures like Mahatma Gandhi, it earned) its independence. However, its tumultuous journey was not yet over. Pakistan, once a part of the British Indian state, ceded and became a nation of its own. Bangladesh gained its independence from Pakistan in 1971. The island nation of Sri Lanka has a similar story in so far as in 1948, it became a dominion of the British Commonwealth and was named Ceylon. In 1972, it became a republic and took on its modern name of Sri Lanka.

 

From this brief overview, it may seem that, over the course of the last seventy years, India has simply been becoming smaller piece by piece. However, this is a rather reductionist view since India has been growing more and more and now commands an enviable place as the world’s seventh largest economy and its fastest growing large economy. Since 2000, its population has also grown by a massive 33.4%. It is an exciting, hectic, beautiful place that you need to see at least once in your life.

There are lots of reasons why you may be hesitant to visit India, and one might be just how hot it gets. Summer lasts from April to October and during its peak in June, temperatures can reach a sweltering 45° C. If you think that would be too much for you, you should consider going during the cooler months of December and January. However, if you like the heat, then you should check out all the hot water springs in India. There are over 350, and they are said to be good for your health. There are lots of other natural wonders in India though including the Kashmir region which is known all over the world for its beauty. If city life is more your pace, New Delhi, the capital, has a lot to offer, as does the recently renamed Chennai (formerly Madras) and Goa which has some of the most prized beaches in the world.

 

Cricket

 

India is not all about just being beautiful though. If you are into sports, you will find yourself at home in India. Their love for cricket is well known but the statistics are astounding. It is estimated that when the national team plays an important game, 400 million people will watch it (that is more than the populations of the USA and UK combined). India has also developed the most popular cricket league in the world. It is called the IPL and it is worth watching even if you don’t know the rules of the game.

 

Give Your Holiday A Sporting Chance

Some of us love to escape to a sun drenched paradise and drink cocktails on the beach all week, but it’s not for everybody. If you find yourself getting restless sitting by the pool, then you’re probably more suited to an action packed sports holiday. There are plenty of alternatives to a week of sunbathing. Why not try a week of surfing or skiing instead? If you are thinking of going on an exciting sports holiday, these are some of the best destinations out there.

 

Carlisle Bay, Antigua

 

 

A week in Carlisle Bay is probably not enough time to enjoy all of the different activities on offer, so there’s no chance of you getting bored while you’re there. This beautiful Caribbean beach resort boasts great modern accommodation with four restaurants in the complex itself. The incredible views from the private balconies make it the perfect resort for couples to have a romantic getaway. There are plenty of beach activities, including a gym, tennis courts, snorkelling, windsurfing and kayaking, are all complimentary. There is enough to be getting on with so there’s something new every day.

 

Serre Chevalier

 

 

Ski resorts are brilliant places to have an exciting sports holiday, and some of the best ones in the world are in France. Serre Chevalier is a string of villages, linked by an extensive network of ski slopes. If you are interested in skiing, get a Ski Chalet in France for the week and explore all of the wonderful locations that are on offer. The nearby town of Briancon is also worth visiting, for its quaint cafes and spa complex.

 

The Legian, Bali

 

 

If skiing is a bit cold for you, then surfing might be more your speed. There are private villas on offer, that are kitted out with all of the luxuries that you could ask for. You won’t be right on the beach but there is a shuttle bus that will take you there. You can spend your days surfing, bodyboarding and diving. If you fancy something a bit more relaxing, there are golf courses and yoga retreats available, and you are free to do a bit of sunbathing if you need a rest for a day or two.

 

România, Cycling

 

 

If you’re a cycling enthusiast, you’ve probably ridden all of the good routes nearby, so you might have to go further afield to find something new. One of the best countries in the world to go cycling in, is Romania. The whole country is littered with ancient forests and staggering mountains. A lot of the villages around are Unesco-protected, meaning that they haven’t changed in centuries. It is one of the only places in the world that you can see a truly traditional village, as it was hundreds of years ago.

 

Porto Elounda, Greece

 

Any keen golfers out there should definitely visit Porto Elounda, on the Greek island of Crete. There is a golf academy on the island, so whether you’re a complete beginner, or you just want to improve your game, there are plenty of learning opportunities. There is also a brilliant spa that you can relax in after a long game.

 

    

Quench Your Thirst For Foreign Cuisine

One of the best things about travelling the world is trying the different cuisines in all of the countries that you visit. If you can’t afford to go travelling abroad, you can still get a taste of authentic foreign cuisine right here in the US. If you want to experience a culinary tour of the world on a budget, here are some of the best places in America to visit.

 

Thai Town, Los Angeles

 

 

No prizes for guessing what type of cuisine you can get here. Thai Town, sometimes called the 78th province of Thailand, is home to the largest population of Thai people outside the country itself. This community has brought with them all of the great culinary traditions of their home country. One of the best restaurants in the area is Jitlada, serving the best authentic Thai food you can get anywhere outside of Thailand. There are also lots of Thai markets and food stores so you can buy the ingredients and recreate your own dishes at home.

 

Versailles, New Orleans

 

Versailles in New Orleans is famous for its Vietnamese food traditions. Although there is a large Vietnamese community in California and Orlando, most experts would point to Versailles if you’re looking for the best Vietnamese food in the country. All of the local restaurants source their ingredients from the local Vietnamese farmers markets. You can expect to find delicious spicy beef soup and some incredible grilled-pork spring rolls at local favorite Pho Tau.

 

Chinatown, Las Vegas

 

Vegas is a great place to go for all types of world food, because it has lots of different areas, dedicated to different countries, but the one that stands out the most is Chinatown. This is the best place to experience great chinese food in the whole country. As well as the food, there are also lots of other chinese inspired shops that you can check out.

 

Rego Park, New York

 

Since the early nineties, a large number of Jewish immigrants from the middle east have settled in Rego Park, New York. With them they brought an incredible array of dishes. The most popular ones are samsa, an alternative version of a samosa, using middle eastern flavors. It is also worth trying a cheburek, a type of savory pie that is deep fried.

 

Little Ethiopia, Washington D.C.

 

Little Ethiopia is another district with a very uninventive name, but it has some great food on offer. Ethiopian cuisine is one that you don’t often find in the western world, so it is definitely worth trying if you are headed out to Washington. D.C. has the largest population of Ethiopians in the country, and so there are naturally a lot of restaurants that cater to them. However, the cuisine has since been adopted by locals and is a favorite of everybody in the area. One thing that you definitely shouldn’t miss is their coffee. There is a whole ritual built around it, that involves watching them roast and grind the coffee before brewing it, and enjoying it alongside specifically chosen incense.

 

It might not be quite the same as the real thing, but going to these places can quench your thirst for foreign cuisine at least for a while.

 

Solo In Shanghai: How To Have Fun & Stay Safe

Of all of China’s many amazing travel destinations, Shanghai is most definitely one of the best places to visit, especially when traveling solo.

 

It’s the largest city in China, it’s home to over 23 million people, and is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. It’s a technological, financial, and commercial powerhouse, and it’s sinking because it’s so popular. Yes, Shanghai is sinking by 1.5cm a year, which means that one day, it will disappear into the sea, but not for a while though – a few thousand years, at least.

 

 

How safe is Shanghai for solo travelers?

 

Let’s start off with safety, after all; safety should always come first. The good news is that the rates of violent crimes are low here, so for solo travelers (both male and female), it’s a relatively safe place to visit. However, petty theft is common, so it’s important to be aware when in crowded places, as pickpocketing is a common occurrence. The other risk in Shanghai is being hit by a car or cyclist, as the roads get extremely busy, so it’s important to take care when out and about.

 

Where’s best to stay?

 

If you are traveling solo, you may not feel comfortable taking taxis around, which is perfectly fine. So it’s best to opt to stay somewhere that is within walking distance of all of the sights and attractions that you plan on visiting. So, for example, if you were to book a Shanghai Pudong hotel, then you should be able to walk everywhere, instead of having to rely on taxis. Of course, as well as picking a hotel that’s in the right location for you, you also want to choose somewhere that offers the facilities that you want and need, such as an on-site restaurant, and is within your budget.

 

Get a Jiaotong Card

 

To make getting around easier without having to rely on taxis, consider getting a Jiaotong Card that can be used on public transport, such as buses and on the metro network. Most public transport has signs in English as well as in Chinese, so you should find the buses and trains fairly easy to use.

 

Drinking and dining out

 

In Shanghai, the drinking age limit is 18, and the bars and nightclubs stay open into the early hours or something all night. There are various areas that come alive at night, but one of the best is The Bund, that is home to lots of clubs and bars, including a rooftop cocktail bar. Obviously, if you are walking back to your hotel at night, it’s important to keep your wits about you. However, there always tends to be a lot of people around anyway, as Shanghai is a city that doesn’t sleep. To make your time in Shanghai more enjoyable, you could always find some other travelers to join up with.

 

Visiting Shanghai solo can be a lot of fun, as there’s plenty to keep you occupied. It’s a fairly safe place, so there’s no need to panic about your safety, it’s just a case of being aware that there is potential for pickpocketing, that’s all.

 

Exploring Asia’s Street Food

The continent of Asia has a rich, diverse culture. One of the greatest things about it, is the amazing food on offer. The incredible dishes on offer are a world away from our own cuisine, and their street food in particular is definitely something to write home about. If you are planning a trip to Asia, these are the cities that are famous for their wonderful street food.

 

Penang, Malaysia

 

Penang is a very multicultural city, with citizens of Chinese, Malay, and Indian descent. The street food on offer here reflects this, giving birth to a whole host of interesting fusion dishes that combine the cuisines of these different countries. The whole city is covered with roadside stalls and marketplaces, offering a wide range of street food from all over Asia.

 

 

Penang

The signature dish of the city is called Penang Assam Iaksa. It is a spicy fish soup, served with thick noodles and some sweet pineapple to cut through the heavier flavors. It is available outside of Penang, but if you want a real, authentic experience, you have to go to the source to get it.

 

Taipei, Taiwan

 

Due to Taipei’s historical links with China, its food takes a lot of inspiration from Chinese cuisine. However, they have put their own personal twist on many of the dishes. There is a big focus on dumplings and pickled vegetables in the food in Taipei.

 

 

One of the dishes that it is most famous for is Chou Doufu, but it is not for everybody. It is a form of Tofu, that has been fermented, giving it an incredibly strong taste and smell. It is available in supermarkets out there, but most of the street vendors still make it in the traditional way, by hand, and so it is best to get it from them. If you are a bit unsure about the overpowering taste, try deep fried Chou Doufu, as this takes away some of the strength.

 

Xi’an, China

 

Xi’an is most famous for the collection of Terracotta Warriors that are on display there, but the street food is equally as attractive. There is a lot of Muslim influence in the area so you can experience great Chinese food, with a Middle Eastern twist. The best place to get good street food is at the night markets.

 

 

One of the most popular fusions of Middle Eastern and Chinese cuisine is Yang Rou Chan. These delicious lamb kebabs are marinated in red pepper and cumin, before being roasted over open coals at the side of the road, giving a delicious smoky taste.

 

Seoul, South Korea

 

The capital city of South Korea is host to a wide variety of great street food. Unfortunately, they are fighting against the city to be able to serve it. Street vendors are actually illegal in the city, and police forces are trying to shut them down.

 

If you do manage to get hold of a street vendor, then it is worth trying Haemul Pajeon. This delicious pancake is packed full of oysters, shrimps and squid. It is often served as an appetizer in restaurants but street vendors will make you a big one to have as a main meal.  

 

If you can’t make it out to Asia, click here for a few recipes that you can try at home.

 

Seaside Sports To Splash Out On This Summer

 

Learning a new water sport can turn a lazy beach holiday into an action-packed experience. If you’ve got a vacation by the coast planned this summer and don’t want to be spending it sat on a sunbed, why not try one of these exciting ocean activities?

 

Paddle boarding

 

This exciting new water sport blends surfing and paddling and has taken off across the globe. Whilst you can take lessons, paddle boarding can be self learnt. You’re best off starting gently with a beginner board such as this California Board Company SUP. Alternatively, there may be a place you can rent a board and paddle from by the sea. Paddle boarding is a great family activity and is great at exercising the core and improving balance.

 

Scuba Diving

 

Getting beneath the waves opens you up to a whole new world. Sadly, scuba diving isn’t something you can self-teach and requires lessons and a license. Once you have this license though, you can go anywhere in the world and dive. It may be worth trying some lessons before you jet off so that when you go on holiday you don’t spend the whole time in training. Many indoor swimming pools offer scuba diving courses for beginners.

 

 

Beach Yoga

 

Yoga is an activity you can practice anywhere. However, a setting such as the beach can truly help you to relax and get in the zone. Many beach resorts now hold yoga classes with professional instructors. These are very popular on party islands such as Ibiza, allowing a nice tranquil contrast to the night life.

 

Water Zorbing

 

Water zorbing involves being placed in a large inflatable ball and effectively walking on water. It derives from its land-based zorbing alternative, which often involves being pushed down a hill in a ball. Water zorbing can be stepped up a notch – there are some places that have adapted it into a water-skiing-like activity in which the ball gets trailed from the back of the boat. For those seeking an adrenaline charge, this variant is certain to satisfy it.

Beach Hiking

More than a walk on the beach, this type of hiking involves trekking large stretches of the coastline. You can beach hike from anywhere, although some coastline are certain to be more appropriate for it. Some places may even offer guided beach hikes allowing you to exercise your legs and get a tour of your location allowing you to learn about the local history and culture, as well as spot wildlife. Jogging along the coast is also an option. Jogging on the sand is generally not advised, as it can be damaging to one’s joints, however many beaches will have paths alongside them. There’s also the option of cycling the coast, allowing you to cover longer distances, whilst still getting a good workout.