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Remember when we were little, mid-June meant no school for about a month and at least one trip to someplace nice… like a beach or amusement park. We only had to worry about how short the vacation would seem, or that it might rain the whole time, or that your mom forgot to pack your favorite t-shirt. Well, now, we are the moms or big sisters that will do most of the packing. So, a checklist of items to pack might come in handy, no?

17 Jun 2013

Packing Like A Pro…

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Packing your bag(s) before a long vacation can easily turn into a maddening game of Tetris: so many items, so little space. But, as any seasoned traveller can tell you, there are plenty of crafty tricks to cram more stuff into your bag while keeping it slim. And here are some of the best and easiest of them:

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Imagine yourself on a plane heading towards some exotic destination like, say, Portofino in Italy. As you make sure, for the umpteenth time, that your reservation for the plush and comfy Hotel Splendido is indeed in your purse, your mind wanders to thoughts of long walks along the pier, exquisite dining right at the beach, and the shopping adventure of a lifetime. The perfect vacation. But … a bit short on adventure, don’t you think?

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Maybe you’re a backpacker, looking for modest lodgings in some remote location in the far reaches of Cambodia; maybe you’re on a last-minute flight to Bali without a hotel reservation, in the middle of the holiday season; or maybe you’re simply looking for a unique place to stay during your trip away from home. Whichever scenario you’re facing, you might be looking at hours of Googling, looking up info on traveller forums, or wishing you had relatives or friends living at your destination. If that sounds more trouble than it’s worth, you might want to take a look at this website I stumbled upon:  Airbnb (www.airbnb.co.uk)

19 Jun 2013

Flight of fancy…

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They say that the journey is more important than the destination. I agree. So, I guess that once in a while, the journey should be more comfortable than the destination, right? And that’s why I have “fly business class to a holiday destination” on my wish list. No, not first-class, what with more and more airlines focusing on business class and quite often ditching first class seating altogether. Also, it needs to be a long flight; otherwise it’d be a bit of a waste…

19 Jun 2013

5-star Camping…

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I used to go camping with my relatives at least once a year when I was little. Oh, okay, to be honest, sometimes me and my cousins would simply pitch a tent on my grandmother’s lawn during the school holiday and ‘camp out’ for a night. Other times, though, I really roughed it out on actual mountains or real forests. Did it ‘build my character’ and ‘toughen’ me? I have no idea; but I sure enjoyed every trip and I know they did me some good. Still, after several hectic months filled with meetings and deadlines, the ‘sleeping in a tent under the stars and amongst the trees’ part sounds inviting, but the ‘getting mud on your boots and insects in your shirt’ is perhaps better left for less stressful times. And that’s why nowadays I go 5-star camping…

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Remember yesterday’s post about 5-star camping? Well, I did some more digging around, and I’ve found that the Tanakita campsite is owned and operated by the good folks at Rakata Adventure. And, it turns out that they are also part of the team running another five-star-comfort-meets-tents-and-outdoor-bathrooms (very nice outdoor bathrooms, though) establishment in Bali: Baliwoso (www.baliwoso.com).

Most people—except for those in business- and first-class seats—usually deal with long flights by simply dozing off.  But did you know that your sleeping position while on an airplane can supposedly reveal quite a bit about your personality?

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I’m pretty sure that I’m not alone in claiming that one of the most satisfying mementos of a trip abroad would be, say, an embroidered scarf bought at a street market in Madrid after a 15-minute haggling session. Spending a whole day (or two) hunting for sales and bargains in a foreign city is always exciting… and of course, I’ve picked up quite a few tricks when it comes to shopping on foreign shores.

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I love Japanese food. I was introduced to Japanese cuisine a bit late in life, but now, well, ramen has become one of my favorite comfort foods, I can keep up with the guys when eating all-you-can-eat yakiniku, I love lingering around my favorite supermarket near closing time to buy discounted sushi, and I even like to watch Japanese cooking shows like Dotchi even though it’s pure torture. Still, authentic Japanese cuisine served in their native regions would be, like, the ultimate way to experience it, right? That’s why one of my biggest dreams is to trek through Japan, visiting as many prefectures as I can, and sampling as many local delicacies as I can…

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You know, today’s tablet PCs and smartphones can easily be considered a traveller’s best friend. Besides providing hours of entertainment (games and movies for when your flight is delayed or if you’re stuck in your hotel room on a rainy day) and helping you keep in touch with friends and family (Facebook, Twitter, et.al.), an iOS or Android gadget can easily help you make your vacation as stress-free as possible using a number of really nifty apps. Below are a few that I’ve tried and can now heartily recommend…

Going on vacation means that you can kick back, relax, and let go of all of your daily worries… well, except for looking good, of course. On the one hand, having to think about what to wear each day while on vacation is no fun, but there are a lot of easy ways to stay stylish without having to drag your entire wardrobe. Oh, and a lot of this go hand-in-hand with what we discussed on packing…

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Stuck at the airport waiting for a delayed flight with nothing to do? Not keen on using your mobile data or paying for Wi-Fi access to check your mail or go on Facebook? Well, there are quite a few tricks that you could use to tap into a nearby wireless network. While some might require a bit of tinkering or dialing up your charm, some are quite easy; for example:

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Imagine you’re on vacation in Bologna, the seventh largest city in Italy, an important artistic and cultural center, home of a host of ancient churches, the famous Fountain of Neptune, splendid medieval towers, and… the Gelato Museum. Yes, that’s right: an entire museum dedicated to one of the best treats in the world.

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Most of us have just been through a relatively long holiday, right? But it’s not exactly the kind of holiday that allows us to totally relax for several days… So, I’m basically heading back to work while thinking about planning a real vacation—hopefully sometime soon—as well as about how much I have in my savings and how much of that I can set aside. Because the more I think about it, the more I feel I need it…

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If you’re a fulltime career woman—regardless if your career is managing your house or managing a business—chances are you could really, really use an annual holiday. If anything, spending several days to recuperate from the daily grind of work and worry will do wonders to your mood and perhaps your productivity levels as well. And come on, we all need a bit of fun once in a while, no? ^^

Anyway, taking a vacation means funds… and while there are plenty of ways to save money while on vacation, it’s even more important to save up for a vacation…

13 Aug 2013

Tales of Travel…

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As a blogger myself, I naturally like to read other people’s blogs. There are several fashion blogs that I follow closely, but I’ve also found a number of great travel blogs written by what can only be described as strong, independent, and adventurous women from all over the globe. So, if you ever need new ideas for where to go and what to do on your next vacation, you can always grab a couple of fresh tips from these lovely ladies…

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Vacation is a period of time that should be free of bills (as in regular bills for electricity, water and so on… hotel and restaurant bills are a different matter) and other financial headaches. And of course we also don’t want to worry about bills and so on during our vacation as well as for the first one or two days after we get home. So, before you embark on your next great adventure, remember to:

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Long vacations away from home aren’t exactly cheap to begin with, so becoming the victim of a pickpocket or a phony ATM can be doubly painful. So, being extra careful with your money, valuables, and financial information can go a long way to ensure a disaster-free holiday…

14 Aug 2013

Carefree Holidays…

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Some people save up for long annual holidays; some people put their holiday expenses on their credit cards and pay for the whole thing after they come home; and then there are some people—really, really adventurous people—who would happily use up their entire savings for a single, spectacular vacation, and then worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes. It’s reckless, totally irresponsible, and awesome… ^^

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In this blog, I’ve often mentioned about backpacking and other ‘adventurous’ styles of vacationing. Of course, taking out your life savings to trek through Eastern Europe is not for everybody. But let’s be honest here: while we prefer comfy hotel rooms and warm beaches, the thought of doing something really daring, something really audacious… that really gets your heart racing, right? So, why don’t we try and feed that hunger with a ‘mini adventure’ or two when we have the time… ^^

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My last long vacation (gosh, that was a LONG time ago) was also the best vacation I ever had. Not that it was particularly exciting, mind you… on the contrary, it was the exact opposite: totally relaxing and hassle-free. The flight to Bali (yes, my last vacation was also a very typical vacation) was uneventful, the ride to the hotel (in the Tanjung Benoa area) was quick, checking in the hotel went without a hitch, and the rest of the trip was perfectly smooth. The reason? It was the low season…

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One thing I like the most about vacationing somewhere far away from home is the chance to sample dozens of new and exciting dishes. (Besides, calories don’t count when you’re on vacation, right? ^^) So, while I don’t exactly like crowds, one of my future vacation goals is to attend an actual food festival…

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Credit cards have this magical ability to make some people believe that they can spend money that they don’t have… so it’s not surprising that there are quite a lot of people who get in trouble with their banks or credit card companies by going on extravagant holidays that they can’t possibly pay back…

Still, credit cards can also be the most useful tool for the financially secure traveller…

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Last month, a friend of mine went to Singapore for a couple of days to watch The Phantom of the Opera at the Marina Bay Sands. The trip was short and actually unplanned, she had to take out most of her savings to fund the trip, and naturally most of her friends (not including me, of course) thought that it was a big waste of money…

My friend, on the other hand, thought it was money well spent…

18 Aug 2013

Under a starry sky…

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Imagine you’re on vacation… You’re surrounded by lush vegetation; the sun is shining but a cool breeze is always blowing; at night you can enjoy a warm meal while listening to the soothing sounds of a crackling fire; and you close the day while looking up at a clear night sky full of glittering stars. Sounds perfect, right?

Well, ladies (and gentlemen; if any are reading), that is the beauty of camping… ^^

18 Aug 2013

Home, Sweet Home…

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As I’ve mentioned in one of my earlier posts, it’s been a long, long time since I went on a ‘serious’ vacation to somewhere far away from home. So, how do I stay sane amidst deadlines, assignments, projects, and so on without a holiday? Well, actually I do take holidays… Quite often, in fact… At home… ^^

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So, I’m finally going on vacation after several busy years… Am I excited? Of course. Will I be going somewhere nice and post stories and pictures? Definitely. Will I be playing all day, every day, till I drop? Hmmm…. Good question…

25 Nov 2013

Booking on the Web…

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While I was planning for this holiday of mine, I seriously considered asking for help from two of my college friends who now work for travel agencies. (Actually, one of them owns her own bureau.) That way, I thought, I could simply sit back, relax, and have somebody else worry about looking for plane tickets, hotel bookings, transport, etc…

However, I ended up using what a lot of modern travellers now rely on: the Internet. And I’m glad I did…

26 Nov 2013

Step 1: Packing…

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Packing a bag for a multi-day trip is not fun, but when it’s for a holiday, it sure feels exciting! Still, getting everything you need packed without taking too much space while still leaving room for all the stuff you’re going to bring home can be quite a challenge. Thankfully, all you need to do is follow these easy steps:

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So, I’m finally here! After a short flight that (miraculously) landed 20 minutes early and a short drive on a private taxi, I was sitting at my hotel’s lobby, sipping a cool welcome drink, while waiting for my room to be prepared. Then, it was off to my home away from home for the next several days… ^^

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To be perfectly honest, my vacation this time was more or less a spur of the moment kind of decision. What started off as idle browsing quickly turned into actual planning after I saw the great discounts that were available. In hindsight, though, those discounts shouldn’t have come as a surprise: It’s the low season for tourism in Bali right now. But discounts aren’t the only advantage…

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Whenever a friend of mine goes on vacation to Bali, photos will probably start popping up on Facebook. More often than not, a significant portion of those photos will be predictable: Popular dining spots like the seaside-restaurants at Jimbaran as well as “must-try” watersports like parasailing, riding jet skis, and other beach activities that aren’t really “sports” by the way…

As for me, I prefer the veering off the beaten path and uncover the little hidden gems that still dot the island…

28 Nov 2013

The beach!

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Exploring is fun, relaxing at the hotel is also fun, but why else would you go to Bali if not to see the stunning beaches? Especially if you’re staying at a hotel that’s a stone’s throw away from the surf…

Unfortunately, I couldn’t spend as much time on the beach as I would have liked to. It’s been raining quite a bit. Still, I managed to get some nice quality time on the water’s edge…

28 Nov 2013

Shopping Time!

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Say what you will about relaxing during the holidays, but shopping can serve as a very effective form of stress therapy. Thankfully, the area around my hotel is littered with small boutiques, art shops, and minimarkets offering various trinkets as well as the usual snacks and drinks. So, I had quite an enjoyable time exploring…

Still, nothing really beats spending a day wandering around Kuta…

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There’s always a lesson to be learned from even the most mundane life experiences… such as taking a vacation. And this time, I’ve learned that there are a number of questions that you might want to ask the concierge/receptionist when you’re checking in or at least on day one of your vacation. Believe me, knowing these things can make or break a vacation:

29 Nov 2013

Re-packing…

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Packing for a vacation can be challenging. But what’s even more difficult is repacking on the last day, what with the mountain of souvenirs and gifts that you will be bringing back home. So, these simple tips and tricks might be quite handy:

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So, I finally made it home safe and sound after a flight that was delayed for ‘only’ half an hour. Problem is, if it wasn’t delayed, I would’ve arrived at the airport with only minutes to spare. See, I made a very common last-day-of-the-vacation mistake: trying to make a couple of quick stops along the way to the airport for some last minute shopping…

30 Nov 2013

Post-holiday blues…

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So, the vacation’s now formally over. I’m back home, my bags are unpacked, and the souvenirs I’ve brought back distributed to friends and family. I still have at least a full day to rest and prepare before getting back to work, but my mind feels sluggish and my body limp. Guess I’m suffering from the typical post-holiday blues…

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I don’t mean to sound negative or anything, but there’s more to the post-holiday blues than just a bit of lethargy. After swapping beaches and blue skies for city traffic and the incessant beeps of cellphones, I finally realize what I miss most from my recent holiday…

01 Dec 2013

My holiday album…

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Before I finally close this holiday chapter, I’d like to share one final tip about dealing with the post-holiday blues that I’ve found to be quite effective: Make a holiday album.

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Giving flowers can be a simple act of kindness (for example, a handful of dandelions from your two year old nephew), a complex expression of emotions (for example, a dozen long-stemmed red roses from a male colleague… ^^;), and everything in between.

Still, a nice floral arrangement can become a thoughtful present to anyone—especially if you know how to match people with flowers. For example:

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The next holiday season is still a couple of months away, but it’s never too early to plan, right? And besides, some of us might want to take an off-season trip to warm, sandy beaches…

Anyway, here are some really handy tips for one of the most frustrating aspects of going on holiday: packing…

Shopping and travel have always been the best of friends. But of course, some places offer better shopping experiences than others. So, I thought we’d take a quick look at some of the best travel destinations the world has to offer to genuine shopaholics…

Planning a trip to somewhere nice this holiday season? Well, I guess we all could use a vacation near the end of the year to really kick back and relax. In that case, why don’t we take a look at some tips to help you get through one of the most annoying and frustrating part of taking a holiday? Yes, it’s about packing—as in packing that ensures you won’t go over the baggage weight limit but without sacrificing your fashion style. So, read on, ladies...

Planning a July holiday? Already starting to pack your bags? Well, don’t forget that while the art of packing centers on not overloading your bag, it’s also important that you don’t miss any essentials. Especially in the skincare department. So, before you take off to your dream vacation, make sure that you have...

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The next couple of months is a great time to take advantage of the low season and take a nice, relaxing vacation somewhere far away. Now, vacationing might provide you with some additional challenge when it comes to your jewelry... both in terms of what you might want to bring as well as what special care needs to be taken. And that, ladies, is what we’re going to discuss this time around...

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  • Buying a new diamond ring (or any kind of diamond jewelry ...
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