The Change in the Hotel Industry

There’s been a change in the world, and the shift is quite radical. International travelers are currently spending more and expecting more at the same time. They are prepared to spend big money when deciding where to go on their next vacation.

In this article, we will take a look at the latest trends happening in the luxury travel area and why catering to the traveler is essential for hoteliers. Modern travelers are eager to invest that bit extra to create their escape that much more unique and luxurious. Accommodations in Australia are growing to adapt to this new trends.

British households spend an average of 2 weeks’ salary in their summer vacation while Australians hand over a mean of $3,962 on each overseas excursion, using a suggested prospective increase of 9 percent. If people are ready to commit so much on their holiday, it is safe to say that they wish to experience something extraordinary.

Expectations are on the upswing.

Online booking websites which cater especially to the more complex traveler are visiting great successes. In the Asia Pacific, the planet’s fastest growing travel area, a new type of celebrities dubbed ‘Travel Celebrities’ has emerged. These celebrities’ social media accounts create massive influence on people’s perception of how their next traveling experience should be.

Take Tasmania as an example. Amongst the many places of interest is Tasmania, where its cultural heritage and exquisite natural environment blends in together to create one of the most wonderful places to visit in the world. Hotels in Hobart, the capital city of this smallest state in Australia, make full use of the resources that this coastal town has to offer. The Henry Jones Art Hotel, for example, is located within a stretch of historical buildings. Guided tours of how the place comes to be are offered for today’s tourists who thirst for meaning. With Tasmania’s growth rate in tourism being higher than Australia’s national average, a large number of satisfactory rate was reported by people visiting Hobart in regards to their accommodations. Hotels like The Henry Jones had done something right.

Today’s guests are not happy with just a complimentary chocolate in their own pillow. Four or five stars aren’t as important as they once were unless it is possible to back them up with excellent reviews, exceptional conveniences, and high tech facilities. In an era of the millennials, where internet booking and meta-search engines are an essential component of traveling preparation, travelers are somewhat more complicated and educated than ever. 2014 research shows that 148.3 million journey reservations are made online every year, with net travel booking earnings growing by over 73% over the previous five decades.

Travelers will always try to find the best bargains

Travelers now compare prices, services, facilities and testimonials in order to find just what they want and desire. Based on TripAdvisor, 89 percent of travelers say that testimonials are powerful, and Internet in Traveling has found that 53 percent of users will discount a property if testimonials are inaccessible. Not only are travelers more educated, they’ve assumed a level of standard when it concerns the operation of an accommodation. As a hotelier, so as to maintain your premises before the game it’s essential you know about the latest industry trends.

Luxurious is described as ‘a condition of fantastic relaxation mixed with sophistication, particularly if it involves great expense’, therefore it’s your job to make this experience to your visitors. To be able to reach this, it is important to keep in mind that personalized and tailored encounters are crucial. Guests want to feel as though they are stepping in their second home, with their personal preferences and unique requirements catered to them constantly. As a good hotelier, you must be able to provide this as a base, before adding few more touches like what accommodations in Tasmania has done.

Meanwhile, take a look at how Millenials are changing the hotel industry:

8 Tips to Enjoy Your Next Business Trip

Travelling for business or pleasure can be quite enjoyable if you know how to handle the stress that comes with it. Getting from one point to another could involve standing longer in lines, finding your personal space in the crowd and feeling overwhelmed by all the travel guidelines as well as being in a foreign unfamiliar country on your own. A long-haul flight might sound glamorous but its effects could take a toll on your body. These challenges may be easy to overcome and the savvy traveller can ensure that every step of his or her journey can be fun. The following 8 steps could make a big difference.

1. Enjoy the airport

Even though airports are known to be busy and overcrowded, you can still find a way to take pleasure during your wait time. Many airports provide various amenities including world-class shopping, restaurants, bars and spas, business facilities. It’s easy for you to find a space for you to relax and get some peace and quiet. It is advisable to arrive early in order to maximise your enjoyment. Take a stroll in the vicinity at your leisure and visit your airline’s lounge to chill out before your flight. Once inside, you may never want to leave.

2. Cut the lines

Standing in line and waiting for your turn while handling your luggage can be taxing. It’s a good thing there are programs designed to get you through long lines without waits. TSA caters domestic flights and Global Entry is for international flights. Both have a fee and include a small vetting process but are worth the effort. And of course, having minimal baggage is also a plus. Avoid checking baggage and you’ll exit the airport more quickly upon arrival and will not risk lost baggage and overweight baggage charges.

3. Make time

Ever heard of the saying: less-is-more? Always remember that business trips that push you to the brink of exhaustion leave you in a lose-lose situation.  Do not overload yourself. Thin out your schedule and allow yourself some time to rest and recharge between meetings. If your boss is agreeable, you can arrive on an earlier day to relax and recover from jet lag. Professional business travellers and business coaches know that having some time to get over jet lag results in higher concentration and worker productivity outcomes.

4. Relax

Take time to unwind as much as possible on your journey or at least on the flight itself. Your crazy deadlines, schedules or workloads can wait. Clear up your mobile devices and laptop and disconnect from your work for the duration of your journey. Recline the seat, watch an in-flight movie, read a book and take the time to recharge so that you arrive refreshed and ready to hit the ground running.

5. Make more time

Make time to explore the new sights around you. Mix business with pleasure by enjoying the local cuisine, taking side trips to visit local tourist spots and experience the culture. Once your day is over, avoid ordering room service. Head out to eat in the city and spend some time savouring the local scenes. If you let the opportunity to check out the place pass by, your risk turning your memory of that place into a blur. Try to make the best out of your business trip an experience you’ll remember years down the line. See the exhibition walls at the local gallery or go to the opening night of an exhibition showcase you love. Take a boat cruise down the canals and enjoy the scenery, take a train to the countryside for lunch, you are probably bored of being stuck inside an office and meeting all day, so take an opportunity to explore outdoors.

6. Live like a local

If you have extra time to travel around the city, it is advisable to engage a local guide to make sure you don’t just stroll without direction and miss all the important sites and experiences. Be sure to contact a legit and recommended guidelines to ensure your safety. As before, it is essential to scheduling some break to see the outside world. This will help you experience more, recharge your batteries between meetings and avoid burning out. Bear in mind that if you are likely to be wandering the city, wear comfortable clothes and shoes to maximise your enjoyment. There is nothing worse than blisters on your feet or bringing the wrong clothes for the local climate.

7. Stay fit and healthy

It’s easy to let go of your healthy habits when travelling. Studies show that business travellers are more likely to get sick than ‘regular’ travellers. So bring your exercise gear along and make use the hotel gym facilities or explore go strolling to work out your excess calories. Studies link regular exercise to a variety of cognitive benefits, including improved concentration, sharper memory, prolonged mental stamina, enhanced creativity and lower stress. Relieve stress by treating yourself to skin peels and masks to revitalise tired skin along with a replenishing hydrafacial that will make you feel fresh. The food you eat also affects your daily performance. Eating fast food regularly and living a sedentary lifestyle can make you feel sluggish over time. To avoid this, try to plan your meals ahead and stick to what you generally eat. Grabbing something – anything – to appease your hunger strikes usually leads to bad quick-fix food decisions and carbo-loading, and risking a new exotic diet in a foreign land right before an important presentation could have terrible repercussions.

8. Call home regularly

The lifestyle of a regular business traveller may be glamorous in parts, but it can get lonely if you’re away from your family. Luckily, apps like FaceTime and Skype were invented.  Though communicating with your loved ones via a screen isn’t quite the same as a hug, it’s the next best thing. So use the tech we have to stay in regular touch so the home doesn’t feel too far away. As they say, a happy traveller performs more effectively, which is quite true.

Trees from Around the World

Together with their imposing size and international symbolism, trees are the actors of the plant kingdom. From trees you can create timber products such as tree furniture, feature walls and bedframes only to name a few. However, some trees can exude particular A-list status, if due to their enormous dimensions, the amount of years they have obtained under their belt (and in their trunks) their location in history. Below, there a few trees that are worth rolling out the red carpet for.

  1. THE ASHBRITTLE YEW

A sprawling, seven-trunked yew from the distant village of Ashbrittle is considered to be Britain’s oldest living thing. Experts say the shrub, which grows from the St. John the Baptist churchyard, is 3500 to 4000 years old – it was mature when Stonehenge was constructed. The yew has been treasured by locals, and some think a pre-Christian leader might be buried under the mound where it stands. Recent news reports have raised issues that the tree may be ill or dying, however according to one specialist, the yew is merely going through a rough spot, and will probably outlive us all.

  1. GENERAL SHERMAN

The General Sherman Tree in California’s Sequoia National Park is your largest shrub, by quantity, anywhere in the world. Measurements taken in 1975 indicated its quantity at marginally over 52,500 cubic feet, or over half of the quantity of an Olympic-sized pool. At about 275 feet high and 100 feet wide, Sherman’s no slouch at the height or width department, but in an estimated 2000 years old, it is not especially ancient to get a sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum may live to 3000 decades and past). Known for Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, it is among many trees at the playground with monikers in honour of Western political and military luminaries – neighbours comprise trees termed General Grant, Washington, Lincoln, and Robert E. Lee.

  1. TREE OF TÉNÉRÉ

Located 250 kilometers from any other shrub, the shrub of Ténéré (called for its region of Niger where it climbed) is considered to have become the planet’s most isolated shrub for much of the 20th century. A milestone on caravan routes throughout the area, it had been sacred for sailors, who admired the graceful acacia’s capability to live in the center of the desert. In other words, before an allegedly drunk Libyan low loaders truck driver slammed into it in 1973. Parts of the tree are now placed in a mausoleum in the Niger National Museum at Niamey, and also a lonely metallic sculpture stands in its own place.

  1. JAYA SRI MAHA BODHI

Known to have come from a branch of the sacred fig tree where the Buddha obtained enlightenment, the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi has been introduced to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BCE from the creator of the order of Buddhist nuns. The holy city of Anuradhapura, with its exquisite complex of palaces and monasteries, subsequently sprung up round the tree. The Ficus religiosa is regarded as the earliest tree with a known planting date, and is among the most sacred sites for Sri Lankan Buddhists, along with Buddhists across the world. The Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, India, houses a sacred fig which is reportedly a direct descendant of the Buddha’s unique tree.

  1. MAJOR OAK

No less a figure than Robin Hood is said to have taken refuge within the hollow trunk of this huge Major Oak, that stands at the center of Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, England. Estimated at 800 to 1000 years old, the walnut (Quercus robur) is approximately 33 feet round, with branches which spread around 92 feet. In 2014, it had been crowned “England’s Tree of the Year” at a public vote handled by the Woodland Trust. The shrub’s name stems in Major Hayman Rooke, an antiquarian who comprised the shrub at a favorite book about the oaks of Sherwood Forest printed in 1790. The walnut became famous as “The Major’s Oak,” and then as “The Major Oak.” Additionally, it has been known as The Cockpen Tree, even by a crane hire in sa company, a title which dates to its days in the mid-18th century when its hollow trunk was utilized to pencil cockerels for cock fighting.

  1. ANNE FRANK’S TREE

During her 2 years of hiding throughout World War II, Anne Frank used the white horse chestnut tree outside of her window–among the earliest in Amsterdam–as a focal point of her longing for liberty. Through time the shrub developed health issues, and has been advised to be cut in 2007, but acquaintances and fans rallied around it made a base to provide for its maintenance (like the production of iron support constructions intended to keep it from falling down). Nonetheless, in August 2010, the tree blew down in a storm, breaking and knocking on its own iron supports. Due to this, all that remains is a broken stump on the site, but saplings from the shrubs chestnuts have been implanted in sites all around the globe.

  1. THE SUNLAND BAOBAB

The Sunland Baobab at Modjadjiskloof, South Africa, is historical, enormous, and the only tree on this listing in which you are able to have a beverage due to its architectural timbers and strong structural foundations. At roughly 72 ft high and 155 broad, it is allegedly the broadest in South Africa, and also possibly the broadest of its species on the planet. Its age is contested: Spartan researchers estimated that the baobab is roughly 6000 years old, whilst another research discovered the earliest aspect of this tree is “just” about 1060 years old. The species obviously hollow out following a millennium and its present owners have produced a little pub inside; you might also remain in chalets on site.

  1. HYPERION

Hyperion is your planet’s tallest known living tree, towering nearly 380 feet over Redwood National and State Parks in California. The coast redwood was found in 2006 with a set of amateur naturalists, who gave it its own title. Its exact location is kept a secret to protect the tree from potential tree removal or damage. The area was home to tens of thousands of redwoods of Hyperion’s dimensions, prior to logging felled all of these; it is stated the tree might be taller, were it not for woodpecker harm on very top.

Recreation Activities for Children and Adults

Children or adults and the elderly, everyone needs recreation activities for the weekend and spare time. After all, everybody gets bored with what they do each moment, these things may be the work regular for a grownup, empty vacant time for an older and games for toddlers! We all want to do something different; that may rejuvenate and supply us with new strength to manage the regular everyday turmoil. There are various recreation activitie s for children. They’re intended just for fun, therefore the majority of the time they don’t make much sense to an adult! But when an adult participates in it, then he’d know how much pleasure it’s do to something solely for the interest of pleasure! And the very best aspect of pleasure sports games for kids is they’re quite affordable, you don’t need to purchase an expensive sports apparel or traditional book for creating your kid happy. I am certain that you ought to be happy to understand these recreational activities for children are, so scroll down. Below we have an assortment of recreational activities from simple fun games to full days out with the whole family.

Balloon War: This is among the best recreations. To play this game, split the children into four different classes, a bunch of 2 may also do. Give each group distinct colored balloons and allow them to stand at the four corners of this space. Request them to tie the inflated balloon over their knee. In the entrance of three, any two contrary teams need to come at the middle of this area and attempt to pop the balloons of the rival group, but just with legs! The group that pops the highest balloons in the particular time will contend with the winning group from the rest of the teams. Children will certainly love this balloon warfare!

Bean Action: This is one of the ones who they won’t just appreciate but may also learn something from. This game could be played between a couple of children. Pick 1 number, inform the children that amount, your game will likely be based on it. Now, hold that lots of legumes in your hand. After the match begins, put your hands behind the back and move some legumes into the flip side. Show the player both the hands and inquire just how many beans you have in each hand. The player who chooses a good deal of time loses. This will enable the children to learn various combinations. Whenever you’ve played this game a few times, you are able to raise the number of beans.

Try self-defence: taking self-defence classes is both useful and entertaining as a recreational activity. There is various martial arts style to try including taekwondo and freestyle wrestling which could be really cool. These sports often have great strength and conditioning programs to increase your abilities.

Select Pocketing: Though this may sound prohibited, trust me, this is the most popular sport. Playing this game is extremely straightforward. Put bits of fabric in every player’s pocket. Now, ask them to stand in a circle. In the entrance of three, the participants ought to begin walking or walking at the ring, and while they’re running, they must attempt and catch the fabric strip out of the player who’s in front of them. When he succeeds, then he could break the ring and attempt to catch the strip out of any player’s pocket. Everyone must clearly attempt to rescue their strip. The person who accumulates the most fabric finishes wins.

Go on a boating trip with the family: Kids will sure to love this one, going onto the river or canal on a real boat! Bring a picnic and fishing rods for a whole day adventure. This recreational activity will sure please adults as well, having a relaxing day away from the chaos of everyday life

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Ghost in the Graveyard: This is really a variant of hide and seek. Although you may play this sport through the daytime too, it’s more fun if it’s played at night time. Unlike seek and hide, the phantom will conceal and the other children have to rely on and then hunt for him! The ghost has complete authority to frighten the seekers by each possible manner. Rather than regular counting, you can chant something like “starlight, star bright, I expect to visit a ghost tonight!” The seeker that fails to make it to the foundation, becomes another phantom.

Join a basketball team: if you want something ongoing for kids or adults, joining a sports team is a great idea. Increase fitness abilities and encourage team spirit, when everyone is wearing matching sublimated basketball uniforms, it is easy to feel like a team and have fun. The kids will never want to take off they’re basketball singlets after the game and will look forward to the match every week.

These were a few of the greatest recreational activities for children. I’m sure these diversion suggestions for kids will be appreciated by them. You may create variations in any of the aforementioned actions to fit your child’s age. Even though they are intended for kids, adults also can take part in them, since doing this can double the pleasure, both for children and their parents!

How to Keep Safe Online When Traveling

Are you a regular traveler who needs to constantly stay online for your house extension business or another purpose? Travelers who are too careless with their digital information usually get freaked out about their computer use on the road and end up getting themselves into significant hassle and expenses.

Here we provide some security tips to help you aim for a middle ground cautiousness and protect your personal information

Safety Tips for Traveling with Your Own Device

In Europe, gadget theft has continued to be a daily issue especially if you’re taking your devices on the road. It is very important to keep your personal data private by configuring your gadgets for maximum security if they are stolen while taking absolute precautions to protect your devices from thieves.

  1. Ensure you are running the latest version of your device security software and operating system.
  2. You do not need an it cloud computing company to show you how to tighten your security settings, ensuring your device is password or passcode protected. Simply go into ‘change password’ and utilise one that has both lower and upper case letters, as well as numbers. Doing this will avoid thieves getting access to your information if it was stolen.
  3. If your device is already passcode protected, consider decreasing the time taken for the screen to lock especially when they are not in use. It might be annoying to keep entering the code whenever you want to use them. However, it is not going to be annoying too when it is stolen by thieves. When you are at home, you can relax the security setting but be cautious.
  4. To increase your device security, consider setting a password to some sensitive apps such as your Mail, Facebook, etc.
  5. Check your computer to ensure that the file sharing option is not activated. Though this setting is usually turned off by default, however, regularly check will help to prevent your file from getting accessed from people sharing Wi-Fi network with you.
  6. Utilize a “public network settings” when you update a new window version. This will automatically configure your computer so that it is less susceptible to invasion.
  7. When you are on the road make sure you use legitimate Wi-Fi and when you arrive at your hotel or café, ask the staff for the specific name of their network and make sure to log on to the exact one. Bogus hotspots are sometimes created by hackers with a similar or vague name like “Hotel Secured Free Wi-Fi” which usually shows up alongside a bunch of authentic networks. It is better if a network uses a hard-to-guess one password rather creating a network that will be free to the world.
  8. If you are not using your gadget hotspot, turn them off to avoid your device getting visible to others.

Safety Tips for Using Public Computers

  1. For tasks that don’t require you to log in to an account, it’s perfectly safe to use a public computer. For example, checking maps, train schedules, museum hours places specialising in home extensions in melbourne, etc. Doing something similar to the listed scenarios won’t pose a security risk. However, the danger lies in accessing accounts that require you to log in your passwords such as those cloud computing cloud style.
  2. Try to make your personal device your sole means of accessing your accounts especially if you’re traveling. However, if you will be depending on hotel-lobby computer or internet cafes, remember that you have no clue of who made use of it last and you might use it next. Public computers can be loaded with software which can track what you are trying including your passwords.
  3. Make sure the web browser you intend to use doesn’t store your login information if you need to access personal accounts on a public computer.
  4. Open an incognito or private browser window if the option is available on the public computer.
  5. Find a way to ensure that when you log in to any site, the browser forgets your username and passwords after you log out. For instance, unclick any box that says “stay signed in” or “remember me or click the box for “public or shared computer”.
  6. Clear the internet browser history, cache and cookies especially if you’ve accessed sensitive information. This will ensure that fewer artifacts of your surfing session remain. It is a good idea to carry out this process again when you are done with the computer.
  7. Set up two-step verification for some vital account. This will ensure that you enter the second code after you might have entered your password when you log in using an unfamiliar

Cranes From Around the World

Fun fact: You will find more than 100,000 active tower cranes in the world today. These huge building machines are scattered in urban landscapes around the world, acting as temporary landmarks in which urban cities are growing and changing. While travelling you will undoubtedly encounter a crane or two, if not more.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates is known to be home to a lot of those building cranes, where they push and help in the building of international city’s skyscrapers and high tech buildings. In reality, Dubai has significantly more active tower cranes than every other city on the planet. The true count in Dubai, however, is up for dispute. Some have even claimed that the town comprises near 25% of the world’s active tower cranes, housing some of the largest cranes in operation, although some have put this amount at a significantly reduced 5%.

Regrettably, these estimates are based off an assumption, plus they don’t reflect any comprehensive count of the tower cranes in Dubai. In reality, many experts note that the alleged large proportion of tower cranes in Dubai is a part of a myth which continues to be disputed and has been debunked. A while ago, an article printed in the Wall Street Journal more correctly reported that there to be near 1000 active tower cranes at Dubai, giving the city about one percent of their whole world’s crane share count.

A town which has a specific count of its many tower cranes is Sydney, Australia. Sydney, as of late 2015, had 220 active tower cranes, which makes it next after Dubai. This amount is credited to current growth and curiosity about high-rise residences, and 170 from those 220 tower cranes are for work on high-rise home jobs.

In terms of the USA, the city with the highest number of tower cranes is of surprise. It is not New York, not Los Angeles, but Seattle. Seattle is your tower crane capital of America, and as of October 2016, it has 58 active ones in use. Many factors are prompting the use of numerous cranes in Seattle, such as numerous high-rise, mixed-use buildings adjoining to Amazon’s headquarters, the town’s flourishing Denny Triangle area, along with many other downtown urban improvements. In reality, Seattle’s crane count has increased so much from the past year (by 38 percentage) that there’s a lack of available operators. Cranes can vary in nature from skyscraper building cranes to bubble crane and frannas.

The number of tower cranes in almost any city skyline isn’t directly attributed to that city, but marks an expansion in local businesses and population. The shift caused cities to adapt space for both of these items is nearly always good, as it enables these booming businesses to continue to prosper and for towns to re-establish themselves.

What often gets overlooked, and one thing I found fascinating on my travels is how cranes manage to get on top of buildings. After observation and then further research I found that this is done through using their own hoisting capability to make themselves taller. While that is the most frequent strategy, there are actually three ways:

1) The outside climbing method, where the crane, the arm and its tower, extends upward along the exterior of this construction.

2) The inner scaling method, where the crane assembles a couple of flooring at one time from the interior and then “jumps” into a higher place.

3) The “skycrane” process of airlifting at a crane onto a helicopter.

In the outside climbing method, the bottom of the crane is fixed to a concrete slab on the floor, and the crane tower is built beside the building with smaller, portable cranes. When the construction is all about 180 ft tall (15 stories), the crane has been secured into the construction with metal collars, and new sections are put into the crane’s back. To add sections to itself, the crane has a particular climbing segment, a major metallic sheath that extends the exterior of the crane tower. This sheath increases the arm over the previous vertebra and briefly supports it, then takes in a brand new tower section from the arm. The sheath holds that section set up while employees bolt it in. They repeat this procedure every 180 ft or so: the crane constructs the building, then it is fastened to the construction, then it receives fresh vertebras to grow taller. Although this is general crane practice when building skyscrapers it is a dangerous practice and unlike technology that has cloud backup services, this process has a limited backup if an error occurs.

The next way is the inner climbing method. The crane stands within the middle of the construction, in a sort of makeshift courtyard, in which it constructs the skyscraper around itself around a hundred feet at a time. A hydraulic cylinder in the crane’s bottom elevates it via the hollow centre of this building to a higher ground. Subsequently, employees slip steel beams beneath the crane to provide it a hardy new floor, then the crane starts building again.

The next technique is to get a heavy-lift helicopter (or even “sky crane”) fly into the peak of the building site. This has to be done piece by piece one section of a crane’s tower may weigh between 3,000 and 20,000 lbs. But due to the price, and since flying a load-bearing helicopter on a populated region is logistically very difficult, this way is the rarest, used just a few times per year nationally. It support solutions and the growth in technology has seen cranes expand in what they can achieve.

 

 

How to Choose The Right GPS for Travel

Choosing the ideal GPS device is vital to make certain you’re not carrying around a useless gadget when on holidays. Below are some options to consider when buying your device.

Use
What will you mainly use your unit for: driving, hiking, finding your way around the city or simply for peace of mind if you get lost? Not all devices are the same so ensure you decide on a device with your needs in mind. A car navigation system, for instance, is as good as useless when you take it off the main paved road.

Dedicated devices
A growing number of devices are currently integrating real time GPS tracking technology, particularly in smart phones. You may want to consider having one device that can do all you need, instead of having another mobile phone, GPS, and computer.

Portability
The huge majority of GPS devices are intended to be used in automobiles and while for the most part there is very little difference in the basic applications, be certain you chose a device that is suitable for your personal use and freedom.

Runs out of the box?
Some units will do the job straight away, others might want you to download a program onto memory card or other storage device. Should you ever need to reset your device you will likely have to repeat the process- not easy if you are stuck halfway up a mountain.

Dimensions and weight
The smaller (and lighter) the easier it is to travel with, but do not give up too much on the display dimensions. Typically the smaller units are far more fragile and aren’t always perfect for throwing into a backpack.

Display size
Typically if you’re picking a hand held device it is not vital to have a big display, but when your device is going to be looked at from a distance, you need to be certain that you can make out details.

Screen pixels
The more pixels the better, giving you greater resolution, however make sure you combine this with the dimensions of the display you are choosing also.

Colours
Particularly important for components with terrific information and applications aimed at hikers, the more colours will make the map easier to read and comprehend.

Receiving capability
The higher the amount of channels your device has, the better the reception you will receive. Especially important when you are in thick woods or elsewhere you may not get a clear signal. A 12-channel parallel receiver process is among the best for hiking, as the GPS safety management system is there to guide you.

Graphics processor speed
This is the rate at which the device will refresh the image, important if you are moving quickly (in a car for example) but not the most important aspect if you will only be using your device at walking speed.

Waterproof/shockproof
Always useful but this typically adds a lot to overall price. Think about whether you will really need it until you hand over those additional dollars.

Battery type
Most units operate with a fixed battery and must be directly billed. If you are heading to an area in which a reliable electricity supply isn’t available, you may want to think about a unit that can accept normal batteries.

Map provider
Ensure you opt for a supplier than covers the areas you are traveling to, and ideally do some research to find the best maps you can.

Altitude
While hardly any units have this function (and for the most part, it’s far from essential), if you’re heading outside, it can be interesting to know your elevation.

Trip recording capacities
Using a device that not only shows you where to go, but can show you where you have been can be quite beneficial. It not only provides you the ability to retrace your steps, but you can record your whole trip, from a bicycle ride across France to trekking in the Himalayas.

As soon as you’ve downloaded your path, you can share your journey with the whole world (or only a few close friends).

Price
Normally, you get what you pay for, but not necessarily, and you likely won’t need all of the functions a system includes. Be sure to understand what you are getting (using the standards above) for your cash and keep in mind that even the simplest units will meet most everyday needs.

More Than a Rock: The Best Experience Around Uluru

Journeying to Australia’s most iconic rock is an essential travel experience. While there are a variety of way to experience Uluru, there are also plenty of other attractions in the Northern Territory desert worth visiting to make sure you get the most out of your travels.

There are other rocks to explore

Uluru (Ayers Rock) may be the main attraction in Australia’s Red Centre, but it’s not the only rock worth visiting. Roughly 30km from the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, where Ayers Rock is located, are 36 striking red domes of Kata Tjuta (The Oglas) that are definitely worth the journey. Like Uluru, Kata Kjuta looks particularly stunning at sunset, and the dune viewing platform is a fantastic place to enjoy sunrise. The domes can be visited on many of the tours available, or independently with a $25 park entry ticket.

There is also ‘Fools-uru’ which is known as Uluru’s forgotten rock. The stunning mound sits on Curtin Springs cattle station which is located 80km north of Uluru. Tourists were once able to drive freely through the area, but following a significant number of rescues, station owners now use SEIT Outback Australia to run the tours from Uluru.

On a half-day 4WD tour of the area, you’ll visit the remarkable salt flats of Lake Swanson, featuring free-roaming cattle and camels – it is thought that almost half a million camels run wild through the Australian outback.

Hiking Kings Canyon

Located 300km from Uluru, it is possible to make a day trip to hike the magnificent Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park. There you can do the famous 6km Rim Walk which can take between three and four hours. On days where the temperature is set to reach 36°C it is recommended that you aim to arrive before 9am, as rangers will close the gates in extreme heat for safety reasons.

If you don’t have access to a vehicle, you can book a return guided tour with AAT Kings. They also offer onward passage to Alice Springs at the end of the day, if you’re wanting to continue travelling north. The tour stops at Kings Creek Station for breakfast (where you can stock up on water for the hike), and then the lush Kings Canyon resort for lunch post-hike.

The Rim Walks starts with a step climb (worryingly nicknamed ‘Heart Attack Hill’), but once you reach the peak it’s a relatively easy stroll through the stunning landscapes including beehive-like domes of the ‘Lost City’, followed by the rich oasis at the heart of the canyon known as the ‘Garden of Eden’. Those who are looking for a less strenuous walk might prefer the 2km Creek Bed Walk, which highlights the impressive views of the canyon’s edge. Keen hikers can head to the Giles Track, a 22km route which is typically done at night. Like Kata Tjuta, part of the gorge is sacred and tourists are discouraged from wondering from the designated tracks.

Best Luxury Resorts Worldwide-My Opinion

The question I am asked the most is the most basic; what’s your favourite hotel in the world. It’s somewhat tough to answer that question, because I prefer to rank hotels in various categories based on the experience they provide, whether it’s a city break, a romantic escape, a wilderness adventure or a beach vacation. Nonetheless, there are a couple of luxury resorts that left such an overwhelming impression on me, which I rank them amongst my most memorable travel experiences ever. So, here you go: this is my top 10 list of the world’s most beautiful and awesome luxury resorts (and I highly suggest putting them in your bucket list).

10. ROSEWOOD LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM

Rosewood London, is now know as the greatest five-star hotel in London, is situated in one of the London’s most historic thoroughfares, High Holborn. Blending English tradition with contemporary elegance, the palatial building that houses the hotel has been sensitively renovated to make an ultra-luxurious hotel with the ambience of a trendy London residence. The hotel guests enter through an archway that opens onto a grand courtyard of Edwardian style, an oasis of tranquillity unique among London luxury hotels. It’s the best beginning to a memorable stay in a classic heritage hotel, set just steps from Covent Garden. Rosewood London provides its guests with authentic urban gardens and sanctuaries, with 262 rooms and 44 suites which are among the largest in London.

9. SIX SENSES ZIGHY BAY, OMAN

Six Senses Zighy Bay is an ultra-luxurious “hidden jewel”, situated on Oman’s northern Musandam Peninsula, just a scenic two-hour car journey (but a world apart) from Dubai. The setting of this gorgeous native village-style hotel with its private marina is spectacular, with dramatic mountains on one side, and a 1.6 kilometre (1 mile) sandy beach on the other. The resort gives the sensation of exotic remoteness, yet provides every comfort, easy accessibility and barefoot luxury beyond imagination. The accommodations are motivated by traditional Omani homes and feature high indigenous-style ceilings, colourfully cushioned living room and cloudlike bed made with unbleached cotton sheets topped with your choice of ergonomic cushions. All villas have a private pool, where guests can refresh over the solitude of high cobblestone walls.

8. MANDARIN ORIENTAL BODRUM, TURKEY

With an idyllic place in Bodrum’s secluded Paradise Bay, two private beaches, a array of fabulous gourmet restaurants, a world-class spa and a selection of stylish rooms, suites and villas, this distinctive 6-star hotel will seduce even the most discerning traveller and encourage you to lie back, relax and savour the moment. The first beach resort of the Mandarin Oriental hotel group is so phenomenal that it makes the best 5 star hotels seem like a cheap motel. It is my favourite luxury hotel in the region because of its beautiful minimalist aesthetics and stunning beach. If you’re in need of a luxurious beach break around the Mediterranean basin, then stop looking as this is as exclusive an escape as you can imagine!

7. PARK HYATT SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Situated among one of the world’s most stunning harbours, Park Hyatt Sydney perfectly personifies contemporary harbour side luxury with its coveted place between the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Reminiscent of an exclusive harbour side residence, Park Hyatt Sydney offers romantic surrounds with architecture, design and art that reflect the Australian landscape. Some of the best parts of the hotel include 155 spacious rooms and suites with modern interior design and huge full length glass doors that open to private balconies, some with magnificent views of the Opera House. There is a lot to love about Sydney’s most luxurious hotel, but the gem in this hotel’s crown is the outdoor rooftop heated swimming pool, with spa, private sun-deck, cabanas, and magnificent views of the Sydney skyline.

6. FOUR SEASONS RESORT THE NAM HAI, VIETNAM

best luxury hotelsEmbellishing heritage With Four Seasons flair, Four Seasons Resort the Nam Hai is a compatible ode to shore, community and culture in Vietnam’s UNESCO-strewn centre. Along a seemingly endless stretch of sand — hailed by Forbes as one of the greatest beaches in the world — a strand of sophisticated, visually striking villas lines the dramatic beachfront. Inspired by 2,500 years of history, The Nam Hai’s architecture and coastal style interior design present a stunning play on water and wind inspired by ancient feng shui philosophy and the grandeur of the Tu Duc imperial tombs of Hue. All of the 100 private retreats are elegantly finished with Vietnamese lacquer and diaphanous silk, representing the spirit of Vietnam’s cultural heartland and illuminating the soul of all who see. Once a fishing village — with a historical temple maintained on site — the Resort presents an authentic link to the area through inspirational on-site actions, from a cooking academy and earth-attuned spa to exhilarating water sports and cultural trips.

5. ROYAL MALEWANE, SOUTH AFRICA

Royal Malewane safari lodge with seven luxury villas ranging from 1 bedroom to 6 bedrooms and is located in the Thornybush private game reserve on the western boundary of the Kruger National Park. The lodge, which has Bill Gates, Bono and Elton John among its repeat guests, exudes the romance and beauty of a bygone era when offering every modern comfort and convenience. Here, the traditional safari experience is unsurpassed with unrivaled Big Five game viewing along with the nation’s most qualified guiding team that provides detailed insights into the fascinating and complex ecosystems of the Southern African bushveld. Guests may also indulge in sensual remedies at the calm waters of Royal Malewane’s Bush Spa and enjoy nightly feasts under the African stars.

 4. AMAN TOKYO, JAPAN

Located inside the Otemachi Tower on the top six floors, Aman Tokyo is an urban refuge high over the atmospheric whirl of tradition and modernity which epitomises Tokyo. The resort draws its interior design style from traditional Japanese home constructions, with classic Japanese materials like wood, Washi paper and rock mixed to great effect with modern technology and luxury fabrics. The hotel has been managed by Aman, the world’s most exclusive resort brand, and has 84 rooms and suites, all with unique designs, magnificent city views and every modern convenience. Each room has a huge furo, a deep soaking bathtub intrinsic to the Japanese ritual of bathing. There’s also a constant reference to character, from the hotel’s interior garden in the incredible lobby, to the fabrics and artwork incorporated into the plan.

3. SONEVA KIRI, THAILAND

Remote yet accessible By a 90 minute flight from Bangkok on the hotel’s private airplane, phenomenal Soneva Kiri sits on Thailand’s 4th largest but least populated island, Koh Kood, in the Gulf of Siam. Among the most exclusive hotels in the world, Soneva Kiri provides an unrivalled blend of luxury, environmentally friendly coastal interior design and unforgettable, authentic Thai experiences. The 36 hotel villas (including 11 private homes) are amongst the biggest in the world. Situated on the idyllic beach or sunny slopes in the rainforest, all have magnificent infinity pools, impossibly chic furnishings, private electric buggies, and impeccable service courtesy of personal butlers. Some of the best parts of the resort include the open air cinema, a mangrove restaurant, the chocolate and ice cream parlour, the children’s den and the magnificent Treetop dining pod.

2. NORTH ISLAND, SEYCHELLES

North Island has a reputation as world’s most exclusive hideaway. The private island has eleven handmade baths overlooking the pristine, powder-white sands and turquoise waters of this Ile Du Nord eco-reserve. Rose off the floor to capture the cooling Indian Ocean breezes, all villas open up on your personal garden and the beach. Plunge pools and outside showers offer the finishing touches to your personal sanctuary. The island’s dining and lounge areas, scenically located wellness spa and fitness center, library and dive centre, and a rim-flow swimming pool are all built to a granitic outcrop. Keep a look out for Brutus, the island’s 160-year-old tortoise. The hotel was the decoration for honeymoon of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.

1. SONEVA JANI, MALDIVES

Inspired by a word that means wisdom in Sanskrit, Soneva Jani is situated on Medhufaru Island, which is part of an uninhabited Five-island bunch in the Noonu Atoll. The resort is surrounded by a pristine coastline, blanketed with lush tropical greenery, and surrounded by a 5.6 km (3,4 mi) lagoon of crystal clear waters with uninterrupted 360° views of the Indian Ocean. Presently, Soneva Jani features 24 water villas and one shore Grove, though additional beach villas are planned at a later stage. Each one Of the 24 water villas is beautifully constructed and includes a private pool and Opens into its own stretch of lagoon, with a few villas featuring slides moving Straight from the top deck to the lagoon below. The highlight of these villas is the retractable roof in the master bedroom, which slides back at the touch of a button so that guests can lie in bed and stargaze.

My Experiences of the Yarra Valley

On my travels to Australia and around Melbourne I was lucky enough to meet Dutch-born landscaper John van de Linde.

Despite his Dutch heritage he told me he has always adored French gardens. So amazingly, when he transferred to Holbrook in regional NSW he became overwhelmed by the arid heat (who would have thought?).

Upon visiting his garden I could see the experience shaped him and in his own words he’s “been seeking shade ever since”.

Mr van de Linde and his wife Prue discovered a vacant paddock available to buy in the Yarra Valley approximately 2 decades back and have been producing Alowyn, a botanical wonderland complete with French gardens, ever since.

During the build, they actually built it with shade as a priority in their heads – so much so that in summer, you can walk from one end to another in the shade if you desire to.

Beyond the garden, the region is also well known because of its magnificent yarra valley wines and vineyards, but a culinary escape in the area should surely include a dash by Alowyn.

When locating a foundation, look no farther than the lavish Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort and Spa. From the well-appointed suite, you can overlook the valley and tuck into breakfast in Rae’s Restaurant, watching the hot air balloons float through the clouds.

The hotel is just 1 kilometre from the two and gardens; and close to the area’s sweetest appeal – the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery.

There you can catch a hot chocolate, a spoonful of samples and see the staff make their magic throughout the mill window. Open in 2012, this mecca for chocolate fans has recruited six qualified chocolatiers out of Belgium and France to direct the group hand crafting some 250 distinct products, such as fresh, tasty truffles; something you’ll struggle to find in even the best specialty grocery in Melbourne

After satiating your sweet-tooth, it is time to locate wine and there’s a yarra valley winery for every taste and price point.

For a casual dinner and cheeky tasting, you cannot go beyond Innocent Bystander at Healesville. It is shareable plates paired with its unique way of wine tastings – kegs and automatic pourings.

But if you’re more accustomed to the taste of luxury, Levantine Hill will leave you wowed and desiring more.

A winery that won’t compromise on quality, owners Elias And Colleen Jreissati have spared no expense in producing French-inspired wines, an architecturally-designed basement door complete with helipad for aircraft, and a menu which emphasises regional freshness.

When you have not had your fill, then Yarra Yering’s basement door is not far away and ought not to be missed.

James Halliday winemaker of this year (2017), Sarah Crowe is creating stunning drops at what’s often named among the area’s top wineries.

On day two, in case you are in a more lively mood, the Award-winning Four Pillars Gin distillery in Healesville will have your tastebuds and Instagram account popping.

Four Pillars create eight, exceptionally popular gins. So go in, grab a tasting plus a share platter and I dare you to not take a photograph in the fashionable space decorated with contemporary, native floral structures.

And when a traditional country pub is exactly what you’re craving, then Look no farther than the “center of the Yarra Valley” – the Healesville Hotel.

The resort prides itself on providing a seasonal menu; sourcing ingredients from local and Melbourne-based fresh food store suppliers, along with an outstanding wine list, showcasing the very best the area has to offer with welcoming staff also.

IF YOU GO

Travelling there: The Yarra Valley is roughly a one-hour drive from both the Melbourne CBD and Melbourne Airport.

Accommodation: There are several amazing spots that also provide luxury catering and wedding facilities. Prices for most accommodation is roughly $150 per night for a standard queen room.

Activities: For more advice about exactly what the Yarra Valley has to offer visit visityarravalley.com.au

The Top 10 Best Museums in the World

The top 10 Best museums to visit around the world, as ranked by TripAdvisor, were recently released. The annual rankings are based on the “quality and quantity” of reviews the museums inspired on the travel website. Each museum varies in its exhibitions from history to art making them unique in their own right with some of the most impressive acrylic showcases.  

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the world’s most favorite museum according to the latest TripAdvisor ranking, which only recently released its yearly ranking for attractions. First place ranking, Met, has once again taken out the honour which it has done twice before. Making it “the only museum to receive the valued ranking for three years in a row”, as stated in a press release by the museum.   

A Slightly more surprising ranking (to art lovers at least) is the National WWII Museum in New Orleans (formerly the D-Day Museum) which ranks as the second favourite museum. Immersive exhibits such as “The Arsenal of Democracy,” about US war manufacturing, generated more excitement compared to the Impressionist treasures of Musee d’Orsay in Paris, which comes in at number three. 

 

  1. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: The world famous art gallery clearly doesn’t disappoint, with endless traffic leaving visitors more than satisfied.
  2. National WWII Museum, New Orleans: Its collection of war relics and displays touch on all aspects America’s involvement in WWII. Bringing history to life is a tall order, yet this type of collection helps outline its significance.
  3. Musee d’Orsay, Paris: One might not think of the Musee d’Orsay as the most famous art museum in France, or even in Paris alone, but it looks like plenty of visitors are keen to still keen to give this already-famous gallery a visit.
  4. Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago: About 1.5 million visitors a year come through to walk through art history. It’s the second largest art museum in the USA (after New York’s Metropolitan Museum) and is notorious for concentrating on the history and production of art as much as the art itself.
  5. State Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace, St. Petersburg: The huge center of Russia’s art collection houses millions of pieces, from historical antiquities to artworks of the Romantic period. And the structure itself, the old Winter Palace, is at least as much of an exhibit in its own right as the contents it houses.
  6. National 9/11 Memorial and Museum, New York: The well-known museum and memorial to those deceased in ground zero of the World Trade Centre. Understandably, it would not get a whole lot of poor reviews.
  7. Museo Nacional de Antropologia, Mexico City: The anthropological museum would be the most visited in Mexico, and home to one of the world’s most expansive collections of Meso-America history, including the original 24 tonne stone-carved Aztec Sunstone.
  8. Acropolis Museum, Athens: The museum was originally built to house the relics uncovered during excavations on the Acropolis itself, however, the scale of findings immediately exceeded its capacity. Today it shows some of the best ancient Greek relics ever discovered and has even been constructed around attractions that could not be moved.
  9. Prado National Museum, Madrid: Spain’s national art museum, reckoned by specialists to get the best collection of European art from the world. A whole lot of work from Spain’s most famous painters, such as Francisco Goya and Hieronymus Bosch, are the highlight of the collection.
  10. Victoria and Albert Museum, London: Housing some of the world’s largest display showcase collection of art, antiques, relics, oddities, clothing and whatever else which may be called a culturally or historically significant knick-knack, with a group spanning almost the entirety of human history that is known.

Top Three Places to Watch NBA

While placing great players on the court is a significant aspect of seeing live basketball, there is a whole lot more to this experience than just the game itself. Particular NBA buildings stand out and are more enjoyable as a result of the atmosphere they help to make around the sport

Here are in my experience and travels the top three arenas in the NBA Now:

No.1 — Madison Square Garden, New York Knicks

Immeasurably amazing; and not only from a basketball standpoint. Constructed in 1968, it is now the oldest active major sporting center in New York, and it has played host to five NBA Finals (two of that the Knicks won), an NBA All-Star match, three WNBA All-Star matches, two NHL All-Star Games, along with three Stanley Cup Finals. Outside of the big sports, in addition, it hosted the first ever Wrestlemania, the very first Joe Frazier-Muhammad Ali battle, and unforgettable concerts from The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Elvis Presley among countless others.

MSG is controversially constructed over a railway station in the late ’60s, it is among the earliest and most iconic landscapes in the NBA. The suspended ceiling is most likely the most memorable architectural quality of the building, however it is a massive part of what makes it so memorable visually.

Ironically, MSG is a little obsolete concerning its seating and concourse areas. The lower bowl has been recently redone to match more people, however, the top decks particularly are not that pretty. Additionally, it’s nowhere near as technologically complex as a number of the other arenas, but that’s a part of the Garden’s ambiance.

Knicks fans are callous, which is why this is one of those toughest places to play in the whole league. When things are going nicely, Knicks fans will cheer off their heads, but they like to boo just as much. More frequently than not, that booing is led in the competitions, but the occasional Knickerbocker has sensed that anger also. No wonder, this group of fanatics understand how to enter the game.

No.2 — Staples Center, L.A. Lakers/Clippers

Regardless of the fact that the stadium just opened in 1999, it’s already hosted seven NBA Finals and 2 NBA All-Star games. Five Lakers teams have won championships in the Staples Center already, which has meant a great deal of background in a really brief time period. (The Clippers are still focusing on chipping in just a little bit more there).

The construction looks like something which dropped in from outer space (but in a fantastic way), which futuristic appearance together with the spotlights that scale in the L.A. skies at night provides the Staples Center an undeniably Hollywood vibe. Outside, the Star Plaza and all of its bronze figurines is definitely something people love, too.

The scoreboard is exceptional, as it comprises screens that individuals sitting courtside could see. Additionally, the Staples Center is right in the thick of things in L.A., which means easy access to resorts and fantastic restaurants. The light-rail takes enthusiasts directly to the stadium’s front entrance, which is just another plus.

Let us put it this way—that for the real basketball lovers; it’s better the higher up the Stadium you become. The lower degree, especially in Lakers games, is for individuals hoping to be seen at a Lakers game. The higher degrees are more for serious lovers–and L.A. has more games than every other group in the NBA so wear a reversible singlet to make sure you’ve got Lakers and Clippers covered

Also, nobody can boast much better basketball compared to Staples Center, which can be full of professional basketball teams and fans twice as frequently as any other place in the league. Kobe Bryant is among the NBA’s most well-known celebrities (even when the Lakers are poor today), and the Clippers are one of most exciting collections to see in basketball. Whichever team you decide to see here, the item will at least be respectable.

No.3 — United Center, Chicago Bulls

The United Center is not a pretty construction; assembled in The mid-’90s, it had been assembled in a period when teams needed to create larger arenas, but were not yet certain the way to do this in a means that still felt romantic and attached to the fans. It is a vibrant place, however cavernous and not especially appealing.

Food offerings here are not good, and the construction itself is Located on the West side of the town, quite a long way away from downtown Chicago, also without an automatic train stop near enough to the building to be considered suitable.

However, it’s the home that Michael Jordan constructed, and even visiting players may get caught up in that reality when seeing the UC. It is not an incredibly old construction, yet the construction still feels fairly hallowed. The Bulls won three championships in this construction, and fans still crowd around during the entry hours prior to the match to shoot pictures in their basketball singlets with the bronze Jordan statue.

The Bulls have led the league in attendance for six seasons in a row, and have not dropped from the top two because the 2003-04 year (they had been No. 3 which year). The newest Madhouse on Madison packs in more lovers than any other stadium in the league, so maybe not surprisingly that monster of a construction can become really loud, even if the games do not matter. If they really do matter, it is deafening inside there.

Furthermore, regardless of Who’s on the court, the Bulls play tough, and Chicago fans love that. With Derrick Rose back to full health and Jimmy Butler now formally an All-Star, the Bulls are lots fun to see and certainly capable of going deep into the post-season.

Seeing Chicago’s starting lineup laser-light series is just one of the highlights of this live experience in the United Center. If you are not there in time to listen to this famous Alan Parsons Project song ring outside, you are missing half of the pleasure of seeing the Bulls play in person.

The World’s Best Cities For Shoe Shopping

Travel guides have many different indexes categorising the highlights of various travel destinations, such as beaches, restaurants and nightlife. But for reasons we cannot understand, they always fail to highlight what — to us at least — is of primary concern: the shoe-shopping situation. 

So, for those of you have been longing for the answer as much as we have, here is our definitive roundup of the best cities for fruitful footwear pursuits, in no particular order.   

  1. Milan

With the cluster of both local and international luxury brands that line the Golden Triangle area of Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga and adjacent streets (Via San’t Andrea, Via Gesù, Via Borgospesso), Italy’s fashion capital is still the world’s best place to go shopping for women’s shoes. It helps that the service is particularly fond at stores such as Gucci, Gianvito Rossi, Casadei, Rene Caovilla and Santoni. 

  1. London

Although Harrods made quite the splash in 2015, opening its Shoe Heaven —which is widely considered the biggest shoe floor of any department store — it is the smaller boutiques that make shopping in the British capital such a delight. Matches has a number of locations known for their unique edit, while Browns London is known to peg the next big name before anyone else. Also check out English labels and personal favourites of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, such as Penelope Chilvers (who makes her country riding boots) and L.K. Bennett (her favourite pumps). For the gents, it’s a dapper shoe-fest with labels such as John Lobb, Grenson and Olivier Sweeney, Gieves & Hawkes, all producing smart and timeless brogues, wingtips and ankle boots. 

  1. Barcelona

No visit to Spain is complete without stocking up on espadrilles, and this is where they were conceived. Many local purveyors fill the city’s marketplaces, but the giant above the rest is Castañer. While they manufacture the jute-soled summer shoes for the likes of Paul Andrew, Hermes, Valentino and others, they also have their own line of incredible styles. The store is located on Rambla Cataluña and Paseo de Gracia. 

  1. Lisbon

suede flatform women’s sneakers for less than $60 – win. If vintage is more your thing there is Sapataria do Carmo, a delightful handmade shoe shop that makes you feel like you’re stepping back in time. 

  1. Sao Paulo

While Havaianas is still the country’s biggest shoe brand, which you no doubt already have multiple pairs of, footwear enthusiasts flock to Shopping Iguatemi, a luxury mall selling Arezzo’s classic women’s pumps, Rio surfer bran Osklen’s raffia slingback and lots more. And make sure you don’t leave town without a pair of Alexandre Birman’s signature Clarita stilettos. 

  1. Dubai

Yes, to many it is considered the shopping capital of the world, but more importantly, it’s home to Level Shoes, basically a footwear fantasyland – reason enough to pay the city a visit. The department-store concept is entirely devoted to shoes at every price, from thongs, custom loafers and everything in between. The brand assortment is what gives it the wonderland effect — from staple brands such as Chanel and Celine to a daring mix of new designers and limited-edition pieces. 

  1. Tokyo

The retail experience here is like a theme park for your credit card. For the most excitement, visit the topsy-turvy Comme des Garcon-run Dover Street Market, Opening Ceremony and Japanese department store Isetan. The display and merchandising alone will blow your mind. 

  1. Hong Kong

Lane Crawford and its sister store Joyce have built a sterling reputation as the hot spot for delightfully exquisite luxury shoes in the city. Added bonus: Unlike many other department stores, there is a useful emphasis on both Asian and international brands, so you’re able to get a true sense of cultural tastes.  

  1. Dallas/Fort Worth

It’s hard to not be smitten by all the western regalia in Texas and to leave town without your own boot-scooting cowboy boots would be a crime. For the most immersive experience, swing by Cavender’s, which has a number of family-run stores in the region. In Fort Worth, Finchers is another worth visiting with both snip-toes and saddle-ready styles. 

  1. New York City

If Carrie Bradshaw has taught us anything over the years it’s that New York has the only the very best on offer when it comes to luxury for your feet. The city of labels and love has you covered from high-end designer pieces, high-street fashion and of course meticulously curated vintage. For a shoe brand, making it in New York is major. Madison Avenue is a top designer mecca and just close by is Louis Leeman, Jimmy Choo and Roger Vivier. And of course, the three B’s (Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York and Bloomingdale’s) continue to dole out an endless supply of dream shoes. Want to see the stilettos fly? Go right now, seriously don’t wait. 

Why My Trip to Egypt Started Out Disastrously!

As a kid, Egypt is somewhere I had always wanted to go. Ancient Egypt was one of my biggest fascinations at school along with the Titanic off course. I always said to myself that when I grow up, I’m going to see the giant pyramids. I was over the moon when I was able to finally go there early last year.  However, all those years of waiting to see those magnificent pyramids, in no way prepared me for the disappointing visit which was hurling towards me at a thousand miles an hour. Never in my wildest childhood fantasies would I ever have imagined that I would be at a point in my visit where I could not wait to get on a damn plane and get the hell out of Egypt.

What happened I hear you thinking? Well, here is the whole sorry saga from start to finish in a Readers Digest version.

I only spent four nights there but the harassment from the moment I stepped off the plane was something I never imagined could happen. The harassment took form for most part of people trying to sell us cheap accommodation and transfer flights. It took forever to get through immigration and just when I did, I saw someone trying to take off with my one bag I brought along from the baggage carousel. I stopped him and he said something to me (I had no idea what it was) started to argue and when I caught a glimpse of a security guy and motioned him over, the guy just took off. Welcome to Egypt Billie!

I’m not sure what it was but I think I had a sticker on my back saying ‘this guy is a chump”. It was very early morning when I arrived, was very tired and after a lot of harassment, I agreed to let a guy drive me to a nearby hotel. I thought he was an Uber driver or something. I got in his car and it seemed we were traveling for an hour. All the way he was trying to sell me on one of his cousins tours of Cairo. We finally got to a hotel but he wouldn’t let me out unless I gave him a huge tip. I then realised that the airport was only about a kilometre away because I could see the planes taking off and landing. It was late, I was bloody tired and son I threatened him and said unless he opened the damn door, I was going to smash his windows and give him a black eye. I’m not a violent person but enough was enough. He popped the locks, I paid him, I got out and he sped off.

Finally I thought, a piece of sanity. A hotel chain that I recognized. I walked in the main door, and it was on! There must be people in the lobby of these hotels waiting for weary travelers to come in and fleece them of their money. A couple of women were trying to sell me again, guided tours of Cairo. After fending them off as politely as I could, another man approached me and apologized for the women and said he worked for the hotel. I went to the front desk, checked in and there it was again. Pressure tactics to make me use their car services and bus tours while I stayed in their hotel. All I wanted to do was to go to my room and sleep for a day. I grabbed my key off the counter, apologized at my rudeness of wanting to get to my room and a porter led the way. The way I was feeling, the quicker I get to my room the better without having to think of where I was going. I got to the room, I opened the door, walked in and the porter put his foot in the door putting his hand out. I sighed heavily, found some cash, put it in his hand and went to close the door. I looked at him and the smile disappeared form his face and he gestured for more. At that point I lost it. I told him to f#&@ off, pushed him away from the door and slammed it so hard I think I woke most of the guests up on that floor.

That was just on day 1. However, I’m a very positive person and don’t like to dwell on this stuff. The reason I wrote this is so that you are aware of the types of hustles that go on in a lot of places and not just Cairo. You need to be aware of the local customs. While some are just part and parcel of the tourist industry no matter where you go, others are just outright cons. But the good news is that once you know one con, it doesn’t matter where you go in the world, they are all generally the same. Con artists on the whole are not that imaginative and take their cues from fellow con artists. So, the bottom line is: be a smart and informed traveller, let your yes mean yes and your no mean a definite NO!