3 Of The Best Luxury European Cruise Destinations

Taking a cruise is such an amazing way to travel. You don’t have to worry about waiting in line at the airport for ages or organizing transport to your hotel on the other side. You can just sit back and enjoy the beautiful views of the water while you make your way to your destination. Most cruises are quite cheap and you get to see a few different places along the way as well. Places like the Caribbean are very popular cruise destinations, but there are plenty of other countries around the world where you can have a great cruise experience, especially in Europe. If you want a unique travel experience, you should consider one of these great European cruise destinations.


Barcelona Port (Courtesy: Bastien Deceuninck)

Spain is a hugely popular destination for travellers who are looking for sun, sea, and sand. Regions like Costa Del Sol attract many visitors who want to enjoy the beautiful weather and the laid back atmosphere. But if you’re looking for a more cultural Spanish travel experience, you might prefer to head to Barcelona instead. This amazing city, known for its impressive architecture, luxury shopping options, and incredible food, has something for everybody. Taking a cruise is one of the best ways to see the gorgeous beaches and impressive skyline of Barcelona, and it’s usually cheaper than flying as well. You can stop off in Barcelona for a day or two and do some sightseeing before you continue your trip around the coast to see some of the other great Spanish coastal resorts.


Dubrovnik from the Adriatic Sea in Croatia

Croatia has become an incredibly popular travel destination in the last decade. The coastal city of Dubrovnik, in particular, attracts a lot of sightseers every year. This unbelievable medieval town is filled with quaint cobbled streets and a rich cultural and historical heritage. There are also some beautiful beaches nearby. Even though Croatia is becoming more popular, you can still find some great discount cruises in the area, so it’s ideal if you’re looking to travel on a budget. There are some great guided tours of the old town where you can learn about the history of the place or if you’re looking for something a bit more exciting, there are plenty of adventure activities like sea kayaking that you can do on the beach.


The Acropolis as viewed from the Mouseion Hill in Greece (Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

Athens is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Europe because it has a great mixture of luxury beaches and cultural sights to see. You can delve into the history of Greece when you visit the Acropolis or Delphi or you can just sit back and relax on the beaches. Athens has one of the most amazing coastlines in the entire world, so there’s no better way to see it than from the water. There are some great cruises that will take you on a tour around lots of different Greek islands, so you can pack plenty into your trip.

If you thought that cruises were just for the Caribbean, think again. These European countries are some of the best places in the world to take a cruise.

Have you ever been on a cruise?

Know more European cruise destinations?

Let me know through your comments below. 🙂

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Need Some Ideas To Fund Your Globetrotting?

After almost 20 months of my new life as a full-time travel writer, I’ve realized how fortunate I am to be able to live my dreams. When I speak to my friends, I sense that I often take for granted this privilege of having the freedom to travel whenever I like. If you don’t get paid to travel, seeing the world is an expensive affair. For many people, that’s fine. If you’re only going to take a two-week trip every summer, then the expense is worth it. But if you love going to new places and want to travel more often, then the cost can quickly become a financial burden. If you need some ideas to fund your globetrotting, then the suggestions in this article could help you earn a little more money.

Make Some Investments

Photo by Artem Bali from Pexels

One smart way to fund your globetrotting is to start making some investments. Your full-time job might help to cover your bills but not always the excess expenses such as flights and accommodation in foreign destinations. That’s why you should aim to increase your wealth outside of your job. Increase your earning potential by putting your disposable income to use. Don’t just let your income gather dust in a checking or savings account. It’s time to start investing. You might want to look into the stock market if you’re keen to make money through trading. Just make sure you do your research to understand how the industry works. You could also invest in real estate. Buying properties to sell or lease can provide a huge ROI, so it’s a great way to raise the funds necessary to go globetrotting. In fact, even if you’re not keen on the idea of becoming an investor, that idea leads on to the next one.

Rent Out Your Property

Many people fund their travels by house-swapping. You find a likeminded individual in another country and agree to swap houses for a fixed amount of time so that you can save money on accommodation. That’s one way to make it a little cheaper to explore the world. But you could raise even more money for your next trip by taking more of a business-minded approach. If you want to start globetrotting for weeks or months at a time, then you could fund those extended trips by renting out your property whilst you’re away from home. Using services such as Airbnb could really help you to bring in a big profit. You might want to look into Airbnb management services to help you arrange the entire thing. It’s important to approach property management like a small business. If you do, then you could really grow your wealth.

Earn Money Online

So many digital nomads fund their travels by earning money online. The internet has opened up new possibilities for people who love to explore the world. The ability to work remotely gives you the opportunity to earn a living in any destination with a WiFi connection. You could find freelance work online, for instance. Whatever your skill set, there’s usually a way to sell your services to clients online. If you’re a wordsmith then you could write marketing copy, if you’re artistic then you could design graphics for businesses, and so on. You don’t have to quit your current job. You could use sites such as Fiverr in your spare time or whilst you’re on the move. Sellers on that site earn their dough from things as simple as playing video games with people. There are plenty of ways to earn online and fund your globetrotting.

Do you desire to travel more often?

Are you a digital nomad with more tips for my readers?

Let me know through your comments below. 🙂

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Tuscany Time: Choosing The Cities You’d Like To See

Visiting a country as old as Italy can often present some challenges when you are hard pressed for time and need to pick a few places at the cost of missing out on the rest. While most of these destinations have a rich history filled with interesting stories, the time which they have had to grow has made them explode into sprawling masses of human activity. In the Italian region of Tuscany, for example, there are more than ten cities and large towns that call it their home, making it hard for travellers to decide what they’d like to see. To give you a bit of a helping hand, this post will be exploring Tuscany, giving you an idea of what you should see when you arrive.


Florence (Courtesy: Jonathan Körner)
Florence (Courtesy: Jonathan Körner)

Start your exploration with the capital city of the Tuscany region – Florence. First finding its foothold during the Medieval times, this area has always been an important one, with people travelling from all over the world to trade, enjoy the sights, and even show off their passion for fashion. In more recent times, a huge amount of work has gone into preserving and restoring the ancient monuments which make this city much sought after. Florence is a great place to go if you’d like to get a good mix of the old and the new.


Basilica of San Domenico in Siena (Courtesy: Pexels)
Basilica of San Domenico in Siena (Courtesy: Pexels)

Boasting one of the highest traveller footfalls throughout the whole of Italy, Siena is another great place to vacation when you’re trying to soak up Tuscany. Like Florence, Siena is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and has this status as a result of the ancient buildings which have been standing here for hundreds of years. A horse race known as Palio is held in this city twice a year, giving you the chance to watch some real local rivalries unfurl.


A vineyard estate in Chianti (Courtesy: Rowan Heuvel)
A vineyard estate in Chianti (Courtesy: Rowan Heuvel)

If you like wine, you’ve probably heard of Chianti before. Home to some of the oldest vineyards in the world, this region has a very strong legacy in making wines. There are few places in Italy which can better the quality of Chianti wines. You can visit this area with most Tuscany tour companies, making it nice and easy to get the chance to try some wine tasting. However, you will have to be careful if you plan to drive after your visit.


White Cathedral with the Leaning Tower of Pisa at a distance (Courtesy: Pexels)
White Cathedral with the Leaning Tower of Pisa at a distance (Courtesy: Pexels)

Last but not the least, consider Pisa. Famous for the leaning tower which is a crowd magnet, this city has spent much of its history as a maritime capital. Like many cities with this sort of past, you will find loads of ancient affluence on display, with many of the oldest buildings remaining largely intact. It’s almost a shame that the tower gets so much attention as there are plenty of other unique and interesting buildings in Pisa for you to explore. With all of this in mind, you should be ready to start exploring Tuscany!

Have you been to Tuscany?

Got any recommendations for my readers?

Let me know through your comments below. 🙂

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Thanksgiving Is Better When You Travel With Your Family

Many of my friends will soon be preparing for their Thanksgiving holidays, making plans to party or take advantage of the sales to do a lot of shopping. A few of them will think of heading home to be together with their family. In all of this rush to meet the expectations of the world and popular culture, we have forgotten what Thanksgiving is all about.

Is Thanksgiving Only a Holiday?

Sunset at the Big Bear Dam

Sunset at the Big Bear Dam

If the offers presented by the travel, tourism and hospitality industry are anything to go by, one would assume Thanksgiving is only about going on a vacation so you can make everyone on social media envy you. But do we remember that the true essence of this day is in giving thanks to God for His tender mercies and abundant provisions in the form of harvest? This is one day to be grateful for all that you have. And even if you have nothing to boast about, you still have beautiful sunrises and sunsets which are free for all. A gorgeous sunset that comes to mind is the one at the Big Bear Dam in Southern California. The sight of the sun dipping into the Big Bear Lake is one to behold!

What Keeps You Warm in the Winters?

The wood stove fireplace at Four Seasons Retreat

The wood stove fireplace at Four Seasons Retreat

In our world of thermostats, room heaters, bed warmers and fireplaces, we only think of warmth that can be felt with the skin. But what about the warmth that the heart thirsts for? Is there an electric fireplace for that? There are still some things technology cannot replace, and never will. Love is one such thing. Thanksgiving is a time for the family to be together – not only in bodies but also the hearts. If you don’t have enough room in your house, rent a cosy property at the foot of Moonridge in California’s quiet hideout.

Beyond Turkeys & Big Meals

The modular kitchen at Bear's Lair

The modular kitchen at Bear’s Lair

The few families that still gather together on Thanksgiving Eve, worry about what to stuff into their turkey or if the food will be good enough for the guests. If we put our focus on cooking with love and receiving our kindred with arms wide open, the material things would cease to matter. If you enjoy playing chef to a home full of hungry relatives, you will delight in the modular kitchen at Bear’s Lair which boasts of an island that sits between the cooktop and the dining table.

A Home Away from Home

Pinewood Escape in Fox Farm

Pinewood Escape in Fox Farm

If you were planning on repeating last year’s Thanksgiving rituals this year too, then you need to look for a change. A quiet time away from the routine life at home, and a relaxing getaway to Big Bear Lake. Look for a house you can book on Big Bear Cool Cabins and take advantage of their Thanksgiving offer. You will get your 4th night free when you pay for 3 nights at any of their 350 cabins and private homes. All you have to do is enter “4thFREE” as the promo code when you make your booking. Note that this offer is valid only from 21st to 26th November of 2018.

Big Bear has plenty to offer those who seek. Set on the mountains of Southern California, this vacation favourite has homes that let you escape into another world altogether. Hidden amidst wooded pine trees, its approach roads covered in snow, some of the houses are bound to make you fall in love with them. A couple of miles away from Bear Mountian, Pinewood Escape has an unusual architecture that makes it stand out in Fox Farm.

Big Bear Lake – Highlight between the Hills

Big Bear Lake in California

Big Bear Lake in California

The biggest attraction in Big Bear Lake (the city) is, of course, the Big Bear Lake (the lake). Winters at this lake are quite different from the summers. Most of the watersport opportunities are closed due to the harsh weather, but there is still a lot you can do here – hiking, for instance. Do something different this Thanksgiving!

What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

Would you prefer to travel with your family?

Let me know through your comments below. 🙂

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If I Planned My Trips The Way I Plan My Dates…

Somebody recently pointed out to me that travelling is a lot like courtship. It is best if you try not to burden the destination (or person, in the case of courting) with a lot of unrealistic expectations. To a great degree, I agree that going on a long journey is a lot like dating. The only difference here is that you travel not to decide whether you will stay at your destination forever, whereas the ideal motive of a well-intentioned date is to see if you indeed will marry that person. The best trips (and likewise, the best dates) are those where you don’t have a rigid bucket list or boxes that need to be ticked. You begin with an open mind and discover the beauty of the unknown, slowly unfolding before you.

Should You Complain When The Going Gets Tough?

I hope I will not complain about muscle pain when I finally get to hike on the Bernese Alps.

I hope I will not complain about muscle pain when I finally get to hike on the Bernese Alps.

Before I went on my first multi-day snow trek in the Himalayas, I had an almost romantic view of trekking. I would think it was all about sleeping in pretty little tents, trudging up soft mounds of snow and looking pretty in 3 layers of winter-hiking gear. Then reality hit me like a hard slap on my face. The 70+ kilometres of walking in heavy shoes made my feet swell. When the terrain and view refused to change even after several hours of hiking, I forgot the very reason I had signed up for the trek. My peeling skin, rough hair and tanned face did not make me feel pretty anymore. But I rediscovered my joy when I realized I had pulled off the feat. Travelling, much like courtship, throws a lot of curveballs at us. While it is not a bad thing to complain, it certainly isn’t advisable to give up halfway.

The Worth of Simplicity

Will I be able to appreciate the simplicity of laidback European countryside?

Will I be able to appreciate the simplicity of laidback European countryside?

Sophistication seems to be the “in thing”, especially when it comes to luxury travel experiences. One cannot fall asleep until one knows the thread count of one’s sheets, one finds it hard to digest one’s meal if one isn’t sure the ingredients are organic, the pictures aren’t perfect till they have been varnished with filters. In my honest opinion, sophistication kills real beauty. When you let the real things just be, they are most beautiful. In the context of a soulmate, truth dwells in simplicity. External adornment may be attractive, but it is, after all, a lie.

Beyond What Meets The Eye

Journeys are more beautiful when you can see beyond your immediate surroundings.

Journeys are more beautiful when you can see beyond your immediate surroundings.

When I had first begun travelling solo, I would weigh everything at face value. If I was happy with the number of things I could see, activities I could participate in and the types of food I could eat, I would consider it a good trip. It is after years of being conditioned by long journeys that I have now become a different kind of traveller. I look to make memories, I travel slow, I talk to the locals more often and for much longer. I had contacts then. I have friends now. You may not find your date to be your potential mate at the very first meeting. But you will discover things you did not expect to find when you hang in there a little longer.

Appreciating The Little Joys Along The Way

Can you find your joy in small things? (Miniature Europe at Madurodam, Holland)

Can you find your joy in small things? (Miniature Europe at Madurodam, Holland)

If travelling is your way of getting a dose of that elusive medicine called “happiness”, then you would do well to enjoy the small things that most people think nothing of – a smiling stranger who helps you with your luggage, an extra dollop of butter on your aloo paratha, a softer bedspread than you had paid for. It is hard to be happy when your eyes are only trained on the flashy things that the billboards suggest you should lust after. So it is in matters of finding a partner. The lower your expectations are the happier you’ll be when you find absolutely anything of value in your companion.

Is It Tunnel-Vision Or Narrow-Mindedness?

There is no room for narrow mindedness, either in courtship or travel experiences, even when you cross the narrow canals of Venice.

There is no room for narrow-mindedness, either in courtship or travel experiences, even when you cross the narrow canals of Venice.

I have often come across travellers who will plan everything down to the very last detail (and that includes listing down which snack they will eat where). Then there are those who cannot stand alternate points of view or ways of doing things. Some may say that they have a tunnel-vision. But most hover dangerously close to being narrow-minded. Over planning and bucket listing have murdered the romance of travelling to a new place. We really need a culture of blind-travelling, like blind dating, where you have no idea of where you will go or what you will do even if you know where you’re going. My long trip to the USA taught me how interesting life can be when nothing is planned beforehand. #TheBlindList is a good idea to have a blind (travel) date with the world – a list without expectations.

The Best Ones Help You Rediscover Yourself

Trips are meaningful when they help you indulge in some self reflection.

Trips are meaningful when they help you indulge in some self-reflection.

Both places and life-partners play a part in helping you know yourself better. A trip worth making is one that will make you sit quietly and reflect on your life, your dreams, and where you’re headed. Likewise, a relationship is most fragrant when it makes you rethink who you are and how you serve your better half in the capacity of the other half. If our vacations are only making us busier than our workdays, we should be redesigning how we do them. There is a definite need for downtime, soul-searching and introspection.

When Things Don’t Work Out

Don't let a bad travel-date get you down. (I sulk after a particularly bad time in California.)

Don’t let a bad travel-date get you down. (I sulk after a particularly bad day in California.)

I’ve saved a vital piece of advice for the last. What happens when a long trip (or many months of dating) doesn’t end well? We must remember that travelling helps us discover a new place (and ourselves at the same time), just as dating helps us know whether a person is “the one”. The ending will only make things clear. And clarity is precious. We emerge wiser and better equipped for the next date, and to #SayYesToTheWorld on our next trip.

Do you still make bucket lists?

Wish to go on a blind-trip, knowing nothing about the destination?

Let me know through your comments below. 🙂

Follow me on InstagramFacebook, Youtube and Twitter for more tips and insights on travelling around the world. This piece celebrates Lufthansa’s efforts to get more people to travel.