While travelling is indeed a fun filled, exhilarating and exciting experience, it is also fraught with risks and challenges, especially if one were to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with perhaps nothing of use besides a Smartphone. But this is no cause for worry since technology is always on our side and we can make best use of a worst situation through the use of gadgets, apps and technology to wriggle out of tight travel situations These are some of the apps that could be safely, conveniently and hopefully used for travel apps, either singly or in combination.
Google Maps: By far one of our most trusted maps and trackers, this is free for Android users and in mobile phones has built in GPS capability to provide street views and detailed guidance that could well plan and organize travel routes and unfamiliar terrain. This provides worldwide navigation except in some destinations where its use is blocked. Through the use of built-in devices, it is possible for Smartphone to double as compasses, gaining travelling and public transit data; gain traffic views in urban settings too and also determine longitudinal and latitudinal locations. Google Maps for Android also has built in facility for indoor tracking, especially in shopping malls, airports and other places. This could be easily accessed on Blackberry and iPhone by navigating the phone’s web browser or by use of map widget on phone. Voice facility is also available instead of having to type instructions.
Hopstop: This is a travel mobile app which serves as navigational tool for pedestrians, bikers or those who commute by public transports like buses, ferries and trains. Through this it is possible to track subway stations and gain transit schedule. This is indeed excellent for public transportation trips and also offers taxi guides from departure to destination. This app could also be used for gaining data on hotels, restaurants, food joints or bars, and also provides city guides, perhaps unheard of in mobile navigation applications.
CoPilot GPS: Just a 2 year old app, CoPilot GPS features offline storage of navigation data and statistics, quite different from other apps that need internet connectivity or cell tower accessibility to watch maps during travels. This free app is available in most iPhones and Android systems and offers options upto three walking or driving routes, along with standardized maps. Premium versions also offer voice navigation with vocal turn-by-turn including the names of streets and so on.
Trapster: This app provides alerts for speed traps, street camera and also warns against constructional hazards that could delay travel. It also senses traffic problems and digs out inputs from the database of nearly 15 million users to provide real time data to enhance and secure travel needs and expectations. It offers data on traffic bottlenecks, snarls, school zones, toll plazas and narrow pathways that could stall travel plans. The premium versions offers more facilities for detecting traffic hazards and other issues that could impede travel and trips and also offers ready solutions on how to overcome them.
It is always safer to have some travel apps preloaded while on travel since we do not know when this could be needed and come in handy. Please do not leave home without some kind of travel insurance apps.
Sarah Ward is a good traveler. She really loves travel, any chance she get, even if it’s just a local vacation or wherever. She just likes to get out and do stuff and see the world. Sarah has visited 29 states and 14 countries. As a job, she is a professor and she publishes thesis writing tips online.
The glorious summer season is making headway again, and with that comes the planning of this year’s summer holiday. With seemingly endless choice of where to go and what accommodation to choose from, you feel like you need a holiday to recover from the monumental planning that takes place. Why not take a break from the usual this year and try something new. There are so many fantastic places in the UK to visit, with a multitude of excursions to choose from. Accommodation does not have to be humdrum either. With a plethora of alternative and quirky ways to spend your summer holiday, you are destined to making some great and ever-lasting memories.
For some unbeknown reason, the caravan holiday lost its appeal for a long time, however, camping is back and this time it’s sensational. Who would have thought that caravans for sale in Skegness would be so glamorous. Glamping has taken the nation by storm, so leave your misconceptions of ‘Carry On…’ films at the door, and book yourself a caravan holiday with a difference. Caravanning is a wonderful way of exploring the country with the freedom and the serenity of the great outdoors directly adjacent from your front door. What is more, a caravan holiday is accessible for all budgets, meaning that no one misses out on a summer holiday. Caravanning holidays are a must, passing on holidays from the nostalgic to a new generation.
There is something quintessentially British about holidaying in a thatch cottage in the middle of summer. The rolling hills, the picturesque scenery and the chance to explore the great outdoors. If you are lucky, you may even get a babbling brook at the bottom of the garden, thrown in as a bonus. While this sort of accommodation does not come cheap, it is a unique holiday experience and one that everyone should try at least once in their lives.
In short, a holiday in a yurt is camping with a twist. Should you like your tent a little more on the quirky side, then a kitsch yurt holiday is right up your street. Once the traditional dwelling of Mongolian tribes, it is now the trendy way for people to holiday. With sites across the UK and Wales, is certainly not to be missed.
For the more adventurous traveller, or those wishing to recapture their youth, a tree house holiday is surely the most quirky and alternative of them all. It truly makes for a unique experience and is great for those who really want to get back to basics. Tree house holidays do not come cheap but are a real difference for those that want to get away from the usual holidays of hotels and Bed and Breakfasts. With tree house holidays there is often a strong focus of sustainability and managing waste and energy emissions. If protecting the environment is at the forefront of your mind, as well as going on a supremely different sort of holiday this year, then a tree house holiday is definitely for you.
One of Europe’s most-visited cities is the city of Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands (or Holland, depending on what you’d prefer to call it). The city is rich with history and has certainly not been throughout its share of various battles and conflicts throughout the ages, but these days it is a city that millions of people travel to each year from within Europe and beyond.
If you are considering going on holiday this year, or you just want a short European break and want to travel to a destination by yourself, or with your family or friends, then I would seriously urge you to consider Amsterdam as your next European destination! Here are some of the top reasons why people visit this popular city each year.
It’s a cheap destination to travel to
Anyone that has ever looked at a travel website or visited their local travel agent will tell you that some destinations are inherently pricier than others to visit. For example, a trip to a country near to yours will be significantly cheaper than flying to somewhere on the other side of the world.
For many Europeans including those living in the United Kingdom, Amsterdam is one of the cheapest destinations to travel to! Many flights from other European countries are inexpensive, and there is also the option to travel to the Netherlands by train or ferry.
And when it comes to finding somewhere to stay, Venere hotels in Amsterdam are a perfect example of just how affordable accommodation can be in the city, regardless of whether you are looking to stay in a hostel or you seek five star accommodation for you and your travel companions!
English is widely spoken
Although the main and official language of the Netherlands is Dutch, research from the European Commission states that over 87% of the inhabitants of the Netherlands speak English; having visited the city myself on several occasions in the past, I can confirm that you certainly won’t have a problem speaking to the locals in English.
Some people suggest that one of the main reasons for the large number of English speakers in the country is due to its relatively small size, and because of the need to speak a widely-understood language for business and trade reasons.
It is probably also due to the fact that English is a distant language relative of the Dutch language (they are both part of the West Germanic group of languages).
There is lots to see and do
There is so much to see and do in Amsterdam, that many people tend to make repeat visits to the city throughout their lifetime as there simply isn’t enough time to soak up the atmosphere and tourist attractions that such a vibrant city has to offer!
For example, those of you with an interest in history can check out places such as the Anne Frank house, the Van Gogh museum, or even the Plantage district.
Featured image : Photo via Flickr (credit: Neil Thompson)
Lights, gunpowder, music, traditional costumes and giant colourful papier-mâché figures, just a few of the things you can expect to see, should you venture to Valencia in Spain during the festival known as The Fallas.
A festival like no other
Roughly translating into English as ‘the fires’, The Fallas is a festival like no other. Held each year from March 15th to 19th, the festival celebrates the final days of winter and the arrival of spring with endless activities over four days filled with flames, fireworks and fallas (torches).
Falling during the feast of Saint Joseph (the day of the father in Spain), The Fallas is one of the most traditional festivals in Spain and one of Europe’s wildest street parties. During these four days in March, this festival transforms the city of Valencia into one big carnival.
Giant figures that take over the city’s streets
Taking centre stage at this carnival are the giant papier-mâché figures that are created for the celebrations. Every year, each neighbourhood in the city has an organised group of people called the Casal faller who work all year long holding fundraising parties and produce these constructions known as the ‘ninots’ (Valencian for puppets or dolls). During the four days leading up to 19th March, each group will parade their ninot on the city’s streets before mounting it on an elaborate firecracker-filled cardboard and papier-mâché monument where it becomes known as a falles.
Each year, the falles are constructed according to an agreed theme. This is traditionally a satirical swipe at anyone who has drawn particular attention. Although The Fallas is largely a traditional festival, in previous years falles have included modern characters such as Shrek, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Lady Gaga.
The history of The Fallas
Said to stem back to the Middle Ages, The Fallas is believed to have started when local artisans would dispose of the broken artefacts and pieces of wood that they had collected up all winter by burning them to celebrate the Spring Equinox. In particular planks of wood called parots, used by carpenters to hand their candles on to provide light in the winter, would be burnt as they would no longer be needed. With the intervention of the Church, the date this took place was moved to coincide with the celebration of the festival of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters.
Over time, the traditions of The Fallas began to evolve and the parots were dressed with clothing so that they looked like people. Over the years the parots became ninots and were modelled after well-known characters.
A celebration that has spawned a huge local industry
In recent years, the production of falles has spawned a huge local industry with an entire suburban area of the city being designated the Ciutat fallera (City of Falles). In this area, crews of artists, sculptors and painters spend months utilising paper, wax, wood and Styrofoam to produce these figures.
When the town wakes after the plantà (overnight placement of the falles) on the morning of 16th March, more than 350 have been erected. Reaching up to 15m in height, with the most expensive costing more than €350,000 to build, these colourful and grotesque effigies often satirise celebrities, current affairs and local customs.
Five days of festivities
Filled with festivities, the five days and nights of The Fallas are one continuous party with historical, religious and comedy events all taking place as people spill from restaurants out on to the city streets.
During these festivities, explosions can be heard all day long and all through the night as everyone from small children to the elderly throw fireworks and firecrackers in the streets.
Every day at 2pm, the sound of firecrackers can be heard ripping through the Plaza del Ayuntamiento in the noisy event called la Macleta. A concert of gunpowder, this event sees each neighbourhood competing with one another and ends with the terremoto – or earthquake in English.
A finale filled with fireworks and flames
On the final night, The Falles features a finale that is filled with fireworks and flames. As the clock strikes midnight, the brightly coloured effigies of the falles are laden with fireworks, burnt and transformed into gigantic torches.
Away from the falles, the city resembles an open-air dance party as people fill the streets, though in the place of music there is the sound of fireworks being thrown around randomly.
Should you wish to experience The Fallas for yourself, visit Valencia between March 15th to 19th. Alternatively if you cannot make it to Spain, why not bring spring in with a festival and fireworks of your own? Visit Jordans Fireworks who will have all of the fireworks to suit your needs.