Travel Traits of an Aquarian.

Picking a destination for your next vacation should be simple. Ideally you should be able to tick off as many places as you can on the globe.  But if you’re looking for something a little more, let’s say, unconventional, how about choosing something based on your zodiac sign. For example an Aries probably thrives off of some sort of activity with an adrenaline junkie kind of element, or a Virgo who loves to go on well planned and executed travel itineraries, and an Aquarian who is always known to be unconventional, loves to immerse themselves in a completely different culture.

I understand that this may seem a little hocus pocus and weird, but why not indulge in it just for the fun of it.

Aquarius-woman

Let me just give you an insight into the world of an Aquarian (AKA ME) with this post today.

While children make wishes on rainbows, artists paint them and dreamers chase them, an Aquarian is way ahead; not only do they live on a rainbow they even believe in it!

Being an air sign, Aquarius beings crave the numerous rich and varied experiences that travelling has been known to offer.

It’s often been heard that the Aquarius prides itself on being unique and different— whether it be in dress, thought, behaviour, or even choosing a travel destination.

Knowing how determined, intelligent, and charming Aquarians can be, it’s not surprising that Aquarius travellers seek qualities in their trips that mirror their personalities.

Anchorage-Skyline

So, unexplored landscapes such as the one-of-a-kind and full of adventure over the permanently snow-capped mountains and volcanoes of the Alaskan hotspots are a perfect destination for that “inner-maverick” wanting to do things differently. With tons of culture, sophistication, and stunning natural beauty in the large port city of Anchorage, makes it the ideal location for sight-seeing or taking on traditional Alaskan rendezvous.

Machu_Picchu

Shrouded with age-old mystery, Machu Picchu, Peru offers a good dose of rich history, as well as the chance to breath in some mysterious Incan ruins. Travelling to this Peruvian citadel where mountaintops and archaeological wonders are all around, this awe-inspiring ancient city perched atop a high plateau deep in the Amazonian jungle would be the perfect getaway for the dreamy Aquarian.

tech museum

Having being blessed with loads of energy, a hunger for steady mental stimulation, and a love for innovation with a constant need to change the world, it really is not surprise that Silicon Valley, the Northern Californian technology and research hub is a fitting motivation for any innovative and visionary Aquarius being-the revolutionary, the genius, the scientist, the eccentric artist, the truth-sayer, and the ultimate inventor.

computer museum

Engaging in tours of the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose and the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, as well as long walks through the spectacular campus of Stanford University near Palo Alto fuels their inspiration.

northern-lights-finland

Always on the lookout for a world away from the daily grind of working nine to five, the enchanting Northern Lights, in the Land of the Midnight Sun— a.k.a. Finland comes closest to an utopian paradise for all Aquarius individuals.

A modern state with well-planned out cities and towns, along with pristine landscapes, awesome latitudes and vast spaces of ripe wilderness to explore and breathe in, offers a wintry, European experience that’ll fulfill any Aquarian’s childhood fantasy, and cast a magically powerful spell that’ll haunt the imagination and memory for years to come.

disney

Doing anything too ordinary or going anywhere too touristy will bore dear Aquarius individuals to the bone– so it’s important to keep these water carriers excited with a highly adventurous vacation. What better place than Orlando to bring out their inner child, and let loose the excitement in places such as the Florida Kennedy Space Center, the Great Barrier Reef, or, for little Aquarians, the Magic Kingdom and Disney World’s Epcot Center. There’s nothing ordinary about this place. It’s truly magical!!

Water bearers love to find solace in places filled with rich doses of spirituality, serenity, and harmony. Getting close to nature and indulging in unique pampering indulgences which take a load off their shoulders, leaves them feeling invigorated and beautiful.

Spa-Four-seasons

To calm their over active mind and always craving for more ‘alone’ time, enjoying a soothing luxury spa treatment at the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius, would perhaps top the charts. The “Let it go” is just an indulgence found few other places in the world. This signature Let It Go 8 Handed Massage treatment” originating in Ayurvedic treatment takes place in an overwater villa and is the perfect opportunity for the water bearer to indulge in an exclusive treatment, where four highly trained therapists work in synchronicity, like a “dancer’s choreography,” on the body to release stress, emotional weight, and offer a sense of total rejuvenation. WOW!! Can there be anything better than this?

Aquarians love things that are unique and uncommon more than anything else. Something that’s off the wall and unconventional, something peculiar that’ll blow their minds.

Hawaii rainbow

Natural wonders offer the ultimate experience these free spirited beings are looking for. It goes without saying that the hills or the oceans have an inspiring affect on their creativity, and the Aquarian positively respond to the calming effect nature provides.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Where you would like to travel to based on your Zodiac sign? Do share in the comments.

-M

 

 

PC;AlaskaTourSaver; LonelyPlanet;VisitSanJose;HouseofLapland;Tripadvisor;LuxuryMauritius;TravelAndLeisure

 

 

 

‘Surprise Me’ trips

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The days of walking into your local travel agent’s office or meticulously planning an epic vacation days in advance may be over.

Most of the travel agencies today want to specialize in planning specific types of vacations, including one of the industry’s biggest current trends: Surprise trips or Blind trips.

If you’re unfamiliar, a surprise trip is one where travelers provide some information to an agency, and the agency then books travel and accommodations without the travelers having any idea what destination they will soon be visiting.

It’s a perfect opportunity for spontaneous or indecisive people, or people who don’t want to do any of the work that goes into planning a grand adventure.

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This wild new travel trend has gained serious attention in the last several months especially with Insta followers who are up for all and any kind of adrenaline adventure, with searches for such agents having gone up by almost 200%.

Since then, buzz around surprise travel has continued to circulate, but those interested in this one-of-a-kind vacation experience may not know where to start.

There are quite a few such agents in India who can personalize your trip, with the destination remaining a secret until the journey begins. All you have to do is provide a brief or complete a short survey, where you can key in all your travel preferences, along with the budget, the accommodation you prefer, and the dates.

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Usually the itinerary, is kept flexible, in accordance with what the person wishes to do.

While most cross-India trips are relatively easier to plan, the challenge is in planning trips abroad. Visa requirements mean that the destination doesn’t remain a surprise. Which is why, most travel companies plan trips to countries such as Thailand, Bali, and Maldives that allow visa on arrival.

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To keep building on the surprise, these companies send emails and envelopes a week before the trip commences, with little hints as to what lies ahead: the weather at the destination, packing essentials and some go so far as to send people curated playlists, or books or movie recommendations based on the destination.

Half the fun of reaching a destination is playing the guessing game weeks before the vacation actually materializes. It’s all about stepping out of your comfort zone

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Imagine this – a tempo traveller stops in front of you and asks you to get in. You have no idea where you’re headed to, but you have given your consent to being ‘taken’ beforehand.

Ultimately, there is an element of excitement in giving away control and being open to whatever surprises life — or the travel company, to be more accurate — throws at you. Would you like to be led on this way?

Do reply in the comments section.

-M

 

 

 

PC:- TNW;USAToday:Myturntotravel:WallstreetJournal

Satisfying my wanderlust -one step at a time

Whenever I travel to any new city, first thing I do after checking in is to frantically figure out my way around town, the use of public transport if any, and  how do I buy and use the oyster/subway cards or on what side of the street do I catch the bus on. But I am always utterly delighted when I discover that I just need my own two feet.

Google-Maps-Subway-App

So, I just want to say a big thank you to some of the world’s walkable cities -I am pleased to meet you, and appreciate you for the fact that you allow me to explore your beauty all on my own.  I love getting lost on your cobblestone streets and quaint bazaars. I love watching the street performers and stop by to listen to them singing or playing funky music on the guitar. I appreciate the quiet privacy I get even when sitting on a busy street bench, enjoying my Gelato and people watching (Something I can never do in Delhi).

Walkable towns and cities offer so much more in terms of sightseeing, something a bus or train ride can never lay claim to. But I have to warn you that not all cities are well suited to pedestrians (I’m looking at you, Los Angeles), and offering my utmost respect for those people that prefer to get around on foot (I’m looking at you New Yorkers).

I’m amazed at just how many miles I walk by the end of my trip (always forget to turn on the app on my phone) and the excitement of exploring a new city always trumps the exhaustion of a long day on my feet.

 While I may not do enough justice by listing out all those cities here, there are some of the few here I have had the opportunity to explore on foot and are just fantastic to walk around.

brooklyn

New York

This one literally takes the cake. I am amazed at how much walking I can do in NYC even if I do not want to do all of the touristy things. I always look at Google maps and the subway app before I venture out and work out exactly where my must-sees are, in relation to each other. I feel grouping things geographically is by far the best way to maximize my time and minimise unnecessary walking. Using the subway does get you pretty close to most of the sights, such as Highline and Brooklyn Bridge, but exploring all of New York City takes more than a subway ride. Around Central Park, Times Square, the Empire State Building, and Rockefeller Center it is much easier to walk the blocks exploring this frantic city as you go by.

philly

Philadelphia

Consistently ranked as one of the country’s most walkable cities, Philadelphia is ripe with colorful neighborhoods, great buildings, and cultural sites to explore. Seemingly a world away from Philadelphia’s colonial sites, the South Philly section has a rich history of its own. Cheese, chocolate, spice, and olive oil stands are plentiful at the famous outdoor market, which is open daily and is America’s largest.

duck

Boston

Smaller when compared to New York City, Boston has its own charm coupled with  elegant neighbourhoods, historic streets, and American landmarks from the Back Bay to Beacon Hill and  the Freedom Trail. Newbury Street known for its trendy shopping, Copley Square for its beautiful open square and the Boston Public Library and Trinity Church give a cool vibe to this city. The Boston Public Garden one of the loveliest green spaces in the city also has one of the most photographed statues — the Make Way for Ducklings sculpture. The North End is a captivating, lively quarter, with its many Italian restaurants and picturesque streets that transport you back in time.

dc me

Washington, DC

One of the best features of Washington, D.C., is its walkability. Not only are many of its major sites and attractions grouped together on the National Mall, but the city is a series of true neighborhoods knitted together, easily traversed by foot. Whether it’s historic or cultural, food- or monument-centric, watching the cherry blossoms in full bloom or taking a tour of the memorials by moonlight, DC has many things to offer its tourists.

vancouver

Vancouver

Vancouver is popularly known as the ‘walker’s paradise’, all thanks to the pedestrian way finding maps that encourage a person to walk through the city. Among the most famous walks, False Creek to Granville Island takes the front position where we would stop by and shop at the Public Market for locally grown fresh produce. Downtown Vancouver, Gastown, Stanley Park and the Buchart Gardens which is an easily reachable place from the downtown Vancouver adds to the list.

venice

Venice, Italy

Probably the originator of the “getting lost” in Europe mentality, (which I have yet to feel) Venice is the ideal place to explore on foot.   Of course, a gondola ride along the canals is a wonderful treat; however, the true magic can be found in the streets along the canals.  Walking on the Rialto square and around St Mark’s square, you will experience the locals going about their daily business shadowed by the city’s historic structures.

lon 

London, UK

London is one of the most foot-friendly cities in the world and one of my favourite too. Its bridges and the London Eye (on a clear sunny day) provide some of the best views in London. Central London has most of the landmark locations which are closer to each other. The City Visitor Trail also known as “the Square Mile” a guided walk maps a route through the heart of the City, taking you past a range of famous attractions on a stroll through the historic heart of the capital to see St Paul’s Cathedral, Guildhall, the Bank of England, Mansion House, the Monument, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge – along with a host of City churches, like the famous St Mary-le-Bow.

canals_of_amsterdam

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Amsterdam’s flat, compact, and lively streets make the city an ideal place to explore on foot. In fact, walking may be the best way to appreciate gorgeous 17th-century canals, leafy parks, and former industrial docklands.

yu-gardens

Shanghai, China

With clean, wide sidewalks, and interesting sights along the way, Shanghai has lots to offer for a fun walk. The Yu Garden is the number one tourist attraction in Shanghai, and the only example of a Classic Chinese garden left in the city from the dynastic period of Chinese history. The added advantage is that it borders the Yuyuan Tourist Mart, where one can browse through a wide selection of touristy trinkets and test out bargaining skills. There are two parts of Shanghai, worth visiting –one a scenic/cultural part of Shanghai in the French Concession, and the second covers a famous temple and Shanghai’s art district through a more local route.

BondiCoogeewalk

Sydney, Australia

The 6km trail from Bondi to Coogee is perhaps the most famous coastal hiking trail in Sydney, New South Wales and perhaps even Australia.  Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach walk treats visitors to some of Australia’s best beaches and most impressive ocean views. Not only tourists but even the local Sydney-siders come to Sydney’s east coast every day to enjoy Australia’s best beaches, stunning ocean views and lots of parks, cafes and restaurants on the way.

delhi

New Delhi, India

If you have ever been to Delhi, you will notice that it is a huge maze, and to manoeuvre it can be a task—especially if you are new to the city. The best way to soak in the rich culture of Old Delhi is to take some guided tours that are a combination of walks and cycle rickshaws rides, as you absorb the street vibe , the historical sites, and bazaars, and experience the various culinary treats and street foods. Although there are many heritage monuments dotted around the city, the Heritage Walk is an excellent way to connect the historical dots, since the guided walks are themed. That way, you learn what one monument has to do with another, as it was intended all those years ago.

Another interesting tour is the Cycle Tour where a group of 8-10 participants is accompanied by a friendly tour guide in bright orange, who will maintain a nice pace as you pedal through Old or New Delhi.

While you will definitely enjoy most of the ‘walking tours’ in some of these places, do note that you need to take heed of the following steps before you do so.

  • Walking tours usually involve long distances with each excursion lasting around two to three hours. While you’re possibly used to walking around your hometown, it is advisable to check out the general terrain of the city where you’re going. I have seen many a person who is part of a group tour getting excruciatingly tired after a few miles of walking that the entire group feels the strain.
  • Condition your body and build adequate stamina so you can enjoy exploring your vacation destination. Wear proper footwear and break in your trekking shoes by wearing them regularly for a few weeks in advance.
  • One of the prerequisites of enjoying a walking tour is keeping up energy levels and hydration. Eat a filling breakfast to fuel your body for the trek and bring bottles of fluids.

meboston

Exploring a city or town on foot is one of the most exciting ways to get a closer view of its inherent charm. Not only do you get an immersive experience of its attractions and people, but you’ll understand it better than any conventional excursions.  Guided walks and city tours are available just about everywhere; to find them, do an Internet search, consult a good guidebook or contact the local tourist office.

Enjoy!

Madhavi

 

 

PC: Visitphiladelphia;Planetware; Touropia;Sydneywalks;Spinmonkey

 

Top of Form

Micro Travel-When less is more.

trip

With time travel trends keep changing almost every year or so. The ever evolving travel market is always on the lookout for extraordinary experiences which can satiate the ever demanding need of the current generation.

Increasingly, most millennials are foregoing see-everything, do-everything vacation junkets for Micro Travel.

Micro travel is focused, have less-frantic itineraries that concentrate on limited locales and activities and offer a deeper, more rewarding appreciation of each destination. You see less but you see more. Seemingly contradictory but true.

bleisure

A trend to be noted is that travellers who are short on time for ex. the “bleisure” trip, where business travellers tack on an extra night or two to have a fun, leisure trip.

For some travellers, that kind of schedule checks all the boxes and allows them to say, “Yep, I’ve seen Croatia” or wherever they find themselves in.

I’m not judging, but just thinking about an itinerary like that makes me stressed. In the end, for me, it would all be a blur.

I’m a devotee of small, personal and concentrated travel. For me – and I am sure increasingly for more and more people – travel shouldn’t be a chore.

Too often, with the fast pace and ever-present “chatter” of modern life, it isn’t surprising that we want our leisure time to be calmer, more meaningful and more digestible.

But if you are enthusiastic and are loaded with short bursts of energy, micro trips are definitely for you. Micro trips have to be well planned, which means you can maximize destination time, minimize wasted time and cut down on expenses with clever flight times and usage of optimal time zones.

Most micro trips generally center on great flight options which allow you to leave after work or land near the same time you take off. Yes, it may sound slightly crazy, but you need to be looking for destinations which involve overnight flights where you Leave after work and land in your destination in the morning.  Or taking flights going west or short destinations you can fly to in the morning and return in the evening.

By taking advantage of any of these options you’re able to maximize time and spend the hours you’d be sleeping let’s say in the air instead of hotel rooms. This way you can also save huge money. By flying overnight you easily avoid one night of hotel and if you can find an evening flight back, you get two full days while booking just one night.

For Example USA to Europe, Or Vice Versa- Thanks to overnight flights from the USA and late departing flights from Europe back to the USA, you can put in a full day’s work whichever direction you go. You could take a 10PM flight from New York to London on a Friday evening, land Saturday morning, buy one night of hotel for Saturday night and spend all day in London Sunday, before heading back to New York on the 8PM flight, which gets into New York around 11PM.  No days of work missed, and you have two full days of exploration ticked off the bucket list. If you’re starting in Europe, you could take an 8PM back from the USA and land in Europe in time to make it to the office on time.

Shot Code C

Depending where you are from your micro travel could be anything such as some indigenous culinary experiences with locals in France teaching you the secrets of baking the perfect baguettes, or learning the art of making the famous blue pottery in Jaipur.

pottery

Maybe it’s a journey to visit the dozen most historic pubs in London. Or even a small-group kayak trip on the Dordogne instead of the usual wine tour of Bordeaux.

pub

canoe3

Or experiencing the wonder of living in a real palace turned hotel in Udaipur.

udaipur

Micro trips are for the people who are ready to throw themselves into a destination, make the most of every hour and turn up to work on Monday with a better “how was your weekend?” story than the rest of the office combined.

 

Madhavi

 

 

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