Tropical Vacation

Randomly trying to select the best tropical vacation spot can be a mistake, considering the large number of options in every part of the globe. Here is a bit of help for you to find a truly magical destination for your next vacation.

Nothing can beat the calmness and peace of mind that you feel, when you are lying down on a secluded beach. From the sun, sand, and the palm trees, to the music, fun, and exotic food, these places have it all.

Needless to say, tropical destinations are considered the best of all leisure vacations. Well, there are numerous places, and we have provided some of the more offbeat locations where you can escape the maddening crowds and the hustle and bustle of the city.

Koh Lipe Island

This is a tiny and secluded island situated in the Andaman sea, 70 km away from the southwest coast of Thailand. This island is on the border of the Tarutao National Marine Park and was originally settled by a group of sea gypsies from Malaysia, known as the Urak Lawoi. Its three marvelous beaches are the main attractions. These are the Pattaya Beach, Sunrise Beach, and Sunset Beach. You get a variety of accommodation, from the air-conditioned sea facing bungalows to the typical grass huts. The natives are extremely friendly and they provide you a daily catch of amazing seafood. You can enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving around Koh Lipe and the neighboring islands. November to March is the best time to visit this amazing destination.

Perhentian Islands

This island is about 10 nautical miles away from the northwestern part of Malaysia, and 64 kms away from Thailand. The twin islands are known as ‘Perhentian Besar’ and ‘Perhentian Kecil’. However, there are a series of uninhabited and less-visited islands like Susu Dara, Rawa, and Serenggeh. The major pastime of the tourists here is to lie on the beach, and soak in the sun and the amazing views. For the adventurous, there are activities like camping, canoeing, fishing, jungle trekking, and banana boat riding available. Best time to visit here is from November to March and make sure you pack your hammock with you! You can also enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming, along with observing turtles and reef sharks.

Big Island, Hawaii

This is one of the best tourism destinations in Hawaii. This place is full of natural treasures like live volcanoes, huge waterfalls, rainforests, and some of the best beaches. Once you are at the Big Island, you can get to see everything that your mind has ever imagined, and that is the best thing about this place. You can visit sites like the Akaka Falls State Park, Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park that consists of the active volcanoes-Kilauea and Mauna Loa, Pacific Tsunami Museum, Onizuka Space Center, etc.

The Cook Islands

This is a group of 15 small islands that are located in the South Pacific Ocean, near New Zealand. Tourism is the biggest industry in the country, and that reflects on the nature of the natives as well. They are pretty friendly and welcoming. If you are on the lookout for the best vacation spot for couples or friends, then this place is for you. You get hot and humid weather round the year, plus a lot of activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling. You can visit the Anatakitaki bird caves, Avarua harbor, and enjoy horseback riding in Rarotonga. If you are looking for an affordable stay, there are numerous budget accommodation facilities available around the islands.

Curacao Island

This is a beautiful island, which is located in the southern Caribbean sea, off the Venezuelan coast. Along with the main island, there are a few other uninhabited islands as well. This country is a part of the ABC islands, namely Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, and is also known as ‘tropical Holland.’ The temperatures are hot and humid, and the best time to visit is between November to January. Along with enjoying water sports like scuba diving and snorkeling, you can visit the Floating Market, the sea sculptures, Queen Juliana Bridge, etc.

Tropical Island Destinations

Here are some of the most sought after tropical island destinations. Find out the things these destinations have to offer you and the things you can enjoy doing here.

Spectacular sunsets, golden beaches, palm fronds swaying in the breeze, aquamarine waters, glorious sunshine; a tropical island vacation can be all that and more. So, if you are looking for tips on choosing a destination, here are a few options for you to check out.

The Maldives

If taking long walks on a serene beach, snorkeling in the blue crystal clear waters, swimming and relaxing in the comfort of a luxury hut in an island resort are your ideas of bliss, then Maldives is just the right place for you. Situated in the Indian Ocean, southwest of India and Sri Lanka, the Maldives comprises a group of islands. Regarded as the flattest islands on the planet with less than 10 percent of the whole area being land, only 200 of its 1100 islands are inhabited. Out of these, 87 are owned by private resorts. Apart from exploring the beach and relaxing luxuriously, you can make a trip to Male, the capital of the Maldives and check out the city mosque and local market for a flavor of their lifestyle. You can also rent a ‘Dhoni’, a traditional type of fishing boat, and take a trip around the island, or get an aerial view via a helicopter tour. Night fishing and diving are some of the other things you can do here.

Grenada And Carriacou Islands, West Indies

Situated in the West Indies, Grenada and Carriacou provide an experience of Caribbean life, without being as touristy as the other islands here. Grenada, which is also referred to as the spice island because of the abundance of cloves, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg and ginger available here, the aroma of which permeates the air, is relaxed and laid back island. With Carriacou, the smaller of the two being even more so. Here you will experience incredibly beautiful beaches, marvelous waterfalls, and fabulous natural beauty, along with activities like diving and snorkeling. It has great places to peel off all the hassles of everyday life and soak up the divine sunshine.

Maui

Also known as the Valley Isle, Maui, an island of Hawaii, is a speck in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, and yet has the potential of offering the visitors looking for a tropical island vacation an experience. It can offer a plethora of memorable moments such as floating weightlessly in the waters as rainbow hued tropical fish swim all around you, visiting the Haleakala, which is a dormant volcano looming on the horizon, and exploring the tropical jungle on the road to Hana. In addition, you can also enjoy watching the endangered sea turtles making their way to their nesting sites located in a wildlife sanctuary, watching a waterfall thundering down into a tranquil mountain pool, and exploring a whaling boat belonging to the 19-century.

Mauritius

Located a little north of the Tropic of Capricorn, Mauritius is like a green emerald dropped in the middle of a turquoise blue ocean, the waters of which wash the coastline, turning them into spectacular white coral beaches, surrounded by a barrier reef. Streams and rivers flow down the mountain ranges, some of them part of a nature reserve comprising ancient forests where wild boar, monkeys, and deer dwell, along with a number of rare species of birds, like the Mauritian Kestrel. The reefs that surround Mauritius have created lagoons, where you can snorkel and swim safely to your heart’s content, along with coming across gamboling dolphins. Anybody venturing offshore, into the iridescent lagoons, is touched by enchantment!

Best Tropical Honeymoon Destinations

When it comes to life as newlyweds or just before marriage, one of the pleasant hardships you are bound to face is deciding where to go for the honeymoon. With so many amazing places to go to, you are bound to end up being spoiled for choice. The long list of honeymoon hotspots has seen a few additions over the last few years. With the inclusion of places like Hawaii, Maldives, Seychelles and Bahamas, the choice has become even more difficult.

Best Tropical Honeymoon Destinations

The climate, the ambiance and the number of activities you can do here, make the countries in the tropical region an ideal getaway for newlyweds. We have compiled a list of some places in the tropics which have become quite popular of late.

Hawaii: One of the most amazing places on Earth, Hawaii tops virtually every single list of honeymoon hotspots. From sandy beaches with a dramatic coastline to lush green forests with a variety of fruits, you find it all in Hawaii. The rich culture of this place adds to its unique beauty and charm. You can experience a range of activities in Hawaii, including scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, sailing, kayaking or just swimming.

US Virgin Islands: The US Virgin Islands are considered to be the among the best travel destinations in the Caribbean, especially for couples. Things to do in Virgin Islands range from basking under the tropical Sun on white sandy beaches here to shopping in markets with a range of exotic items. Some of the most popular activities for this place include hiking and camping in the national forest, diving and swimming in pristine waters and enjoying shopping and nightlife.

Bali: It may take a long time to reach Bali, a far flung island in the Indian Ocean, but the efforts you put in turn out to be worth when you reach there. The exotic island offers a lot of things to do for couples on honeymoon. Even a simple walk in the lush green rice fields on this island give you the pleasure which you always long for. Another thing you can’t afford to miss when you are in Bali are the luxurious spas out here. Other things you can look forward to here are museum visits, shopping, musical evenings, rich cuisine etc.

Bora Bora: The romance and tranquility associated with Bora Bora island in French Polynesia makes it one of the most sought after honeymoon destinations in the world. Here you can stay in exotic bungalows built over wooden pillars right in the water. Some of the must visit places here include the Matira Beach, Mount Otemanu etc. In Bora Bora, you can experience a range of activities, including scuba diving and snorkeling.

Bahamas: One of the most exquisite place in the world, the Bahamas can instigate romance even in the most unromantic person out there. It is made up of around 700 islands, which makes the nation immensely diverse and attractive. The color of water off the Bahamas coast ranges from emerald and turquoise to crystal blue. Bahamas is known for its rich natural surroundings as well as its richer nightlife. Some of the places to visit in Bahamas include the Treasure Cay Beach, North Shore Beach, Gold Rock Beach etc.

The good thing about all these tropical places is that they have everything, right from the thrill of water sports to solitude for some quality intimate moments. So you can go ahead and choose one of these tropical destinations for your honeymoon. After all, you rightly deserve a soothing experience after the hectic marriage schedule you have just gone through.

Cheapest Places to Travel

Christmas is around the corner, heralding celebrations, festivities and, most precious of all, vacations! Most people look forward to this time of the year and plan well ahead as to how to spend this festive month. In today’s age of hectic work schedule and whirlwind lifestyles, festive vacations mean a lot as these occasions enable many of us to celebrate and spend quality time with our far-flung families and relations. For others, Christmas is the perfect time to undertake leisurely escapades, whether alone or with family and friends. So, where is it that you wish to spend your Christmas family vacation at this year? Check out some of the cheapest places to travel to in the world and decide upon an unexplored budget travel destinations that beckon the traveler within you, besides being easy on your pocket!

Cheapest Countries to Travel to

Given below is a list of some of the cheapest places to travel to across the globe, spread across three different continents, which will ensure that you’re spoiled for choice. Read along to find out why, besides being cheap travel destinations, these places are ideal choices for spending your Christmas vacation at with family and friends!

Cheapest Places to Travel to in America

Check out these amazing destination ideas for cheap vacations in America! Besides being pocket friendly, these American countries have very rich and interesting cultural heritage rife with exotic charms that would definitely sweep you off your feet!

Costa Rica: Golden beaches, tropical climate and an amazingly hospitable populace makes Costa Rica a wonderful beach vacation destination in Central America! The Hispanic culture is absolutely endearing, as are the genial and beautiful people there! Pick up any Costa Rica travel guide and it’ll tell you what you should expect on your Costa Rica vacation! Coming to the best part, although Costa Rica is among the moderately expensive Central American nations, its currency, the Colón, is cheaper than the US Dollar, the current exchange rate being USD 1 = CRC 500 (approx). This makes Costa Rica an economically attractive foreign destination for spending the festive season at!

Argentina: Think Argentina and the twin images of football and Diego Maradona float in front of your eyes! Besides its phenomenal association with football and football legends, the rich history, picturesque natural endowments and excellent steak and famous wine of this country make Argentina a great travel destination for this festive season! Oh yes, vacationing in Argentina is cheap too as the Argentina Pesos are cheaper than the US Dollar, with the USD and ARS exchange rate being approximately USD 1= ARS 4!

Other Cheap American Destinations: Besides the above two, other American countries like Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Antigua, etc., are gradually opening up to tourism and these countries are cheap but interesting travel destinations for the leisurely explorer!

Cheapest Places to Travel to in Europe

The falling Euro has made touring Europe an attractive holidaying option and you can economically vacation in many European countries without having to worry about going broke! Rich with scenic beauty and romantic allusions, Europe offers several schemes for cheap vacations for couples. Check out some cheap Europe vacation destinations below.

Greece: Need I say anything at all about the historical and mythological grandeur that surrounds Greece and its culture? Anyone who has read about Greek war heroes like Achilles, Theseus, Perseus and Hector and have looked at pictures of the glorious Parthenon must have had that persistent longing, almost like an unscratchable itch, to set foot upon this great country and witness the remnants of its magnificent past with one’s own eyes! Now comes the good news – you can take advantage of cheap lodging options during your Greece travel with EUR 10 hostels and EUR 20 hotels available all across the island, besides delicious food and entertainment options at a fraction of the price charged anywhere else in Europe!

Hungary: Beautiful landscapes coupled with rich history and traditional connotations, Hungary is one European country you should not miss this season! Besides, at an exchange rate of USD 1 = HUF 198 (approx), the cheap Hungarian Forint offers you an attractively economic Europe vacation!

Eastern European Countries: Eastern European countries like Poland, Croatia, Czech Republic, Albania and Bulgaria are great options if you wish to spend your Christmas touring Europe but wish to keep your pocket happy too! All these countries are rife with interesting traditions, mesmerizing folklore, fairytale landscapes, and exotic cultural heritage! Plus, they’re inexpensive compared to other European countries like France and United Kingdom!

Cheapest Places to Travel to in Asia

If you want a truly exotic yet inexpensive vacation, then you got to check out these Asian tourism treasure troves!
India: The land of soothsayers and snake charmers has much more to offer than just these! India is a country with a complex yet rich history and cultural heritage. It is the lap of alternative healing and wellness techniques such as Ayurveda and Yoga. An inexpensive vacation destination, India travel is sure to hold you spellbound with India’s cultural and traditional variety and a hybrid Oriental flavor on one hand and rapid socio-economic development and modernization on the other! In short, an Asian country worth visiting!

Cambodia: An incredibly cheap country, you would find it extremely easy to get around in Cambodia as you have very easy access for converting currency. Also, most articles are priced under a dollar there! Lodging can be got for as cheap a price as $2 for one night!

Vietnam: A breathtaking coastline and beautiful inland scenic charms coupled with inexpensive prices makes Vietnam one of the most inexpensive places to travel to in Asia!

Other Cheap Asian Destinations: Besides India, Cambodia and Vietnam, countries like Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia are great Asian travel destinations of all time, Malaysia being slightly expensive among the other options cited here.

Those were some of the most prominent yet inexpensive places to travel to all over the globe. Other destination options that can be considered as good ideas for family vacation on a budget may include Egypt, China, Romania, Serbia and Bosnia. Besides being cheap, these countries offer a lot of tourist attractions in the form of festivities, heritage, fabulous food and an insight into diverse cultural traditions and beliefs. So, where are you heading this Christmas vacation for the time of your life?

Tips Before Traveling to Europe

There is this excruciating need to take a Europe trip which hits every twenty-something person. What is it about this (relatively) small continent that it always features on everyone’s must-see lists? You see, Europe, for most of us who’ve never been there, holds a dream-like quality. We all aspire to get high in Amsterdam, lose our way on the Amalfi coast, blitzkrieg on the autobahns, and be dazzled by the northern lights.

Europe, therefore, is a backpacker’s idea of heaven. It has on offer, something exciting for every aspect of our personality – be it the historian, the thrill-seeker, the shopaholic, the hermit, and even the skeptic. Your trip could be posh or even shoestring, but rest assured that Europe will give you your share of budget-appropriate thrills.

Tips About All Things Practical

Begin at the Beginning
The very first thing to deal with is your paperwork, naturally. You need a valid passport, and by valid I mean valid for at least six months beyond your departure. You also have to hunt for information regarding visa application, and the process leading up to it. Remember that you need separate visas to enter the UK and Ireland, and the Schengen visa for 25 other countries in Europe. You also need to set aside a certain sum to pay for travel insurance, which is mandatory. A pre-travel health checkup is also recommended, since you’re going to be away from home for a considerable period, and you wouldn’t want a health scare in the middle of the most awesome holiday of your life.

Make a Plan
Yes, planning does kill all the fun out of impromptu travel, but you need to have a skeletal plan on paper so as to make appropriate financial arrangements. Europe may not be mammoth-sized like Asia or Africa, but the number of ‘must-sees’ are overwhelming, and not to mention, exhausting as well. You may want to consider visiting a certain part of Europe (Scandinavia, Western, Central, or Eastern) as per your budget. Keep sourcing information from everywhere – the library, Lonely Planet, and of course, the Internet. Europe has innumerable options when it comes to staying and traveling, so you have to take your pick from an array of B&Bs, hostels, apartments, or even hotels. Nail huge discounts for early bookings, and find better ways to use the dough. The same rule applies for booking plane tickets as well.

Learn Some ‘European’
English won’t get you too far on mainland Europe, so learning a few phrases of local languages will help you soak in the whole European experience. Even a simple grazie or a merci or a danke will elicit smiles and open doors for you. Engaging in conversations with the locals is the best way to understand the region’s culture and spirit. Staying ensconced with your translation apps and GPS navigators may seem like a good idea if you’re vary of befriending strangers, but you’re going to Europe to experiment, to enjoy, and to blend in. Makes sense to make friends with the language, doesn’t it? And really, don’t be too concerned about how you sound, Europeans will appreciate the fact that you are trying to make an effort.

Don’t Pack a Punch
As your trip nears, you’ll begin listing out your ‘must-haves’ and your ‘can-do-withouts’. And the must-haves are bound to be at least a million more than your can-do-withouts. A real dilemma on your hands, isn’t it? Believe it or not, your 3 pairs of denims or 5 stilettos will seem like a load if you’re going cycling in the Swiss Alps. Remember that you’re going to be the one hauling your luggage from one place to another, so it would be nice to show some mercy for your poor back and shoulders. Consider the weather and the places you’ll be visiting and pack your clothing accordingly. Inner wear, on the other hand, should be carried aplenty, because you may or may not get a chance to have it laundered regularly. Carrying a few snacks would also help if you plan to travel long distances, as many trains in Eastern Europe do not offer food on board. Always wear comfortable footwear – you’d be surprised how many distances you’ll be covering on foot.

Some Forget-me-nots
There are a few things to be kept in mind the moment you step outside your country. The most important item you need to safeguard is your passport. Keep copies of all your travel and insurance documents in every piece of luggage you’re carrying. Your passport, cash, and valuables should be carried on your person as far as possible. Ensure that you have your Embassy’s contact information with respect to every country you will be visiting. Keep informing friends or family members about your whereabouts, so they’ll know where to find you in case of any untoward incident. Your electronic devices will need converters for European sockets, and your cell phone plan needs to be changed to suit your needs as well.

Trip to Paris on a Budget

Thousands of articles written over Paris, and yet, we just can’t seem to get over this city. Everyone wants to have their own version of Paris―one that’s either artsy, ditzy, or kitschy. Not surprisingly, Paris has managed to muster up quite a fan following, since its pretty much been the hotbed of rebellion, teeming with avant-garde concepts in literature, music, fine arts, fashion, architecture, cuisine, and what-have-you.

Honestly, a visit to Paris is probably on everyone’s agenda; since this is probably the only city in the world to literally have it all―from Disneyland to Moulin Rouge, and everything in between. So, without letting your budget woes weigh you down, here’s a look some pocket-friendly tips to experience Paris.

Deal with the formalities upfront.
General budgeting guidelines tend to remain the same for almost all destinations, so we’re going to do a quick recap of those before we get on to Paris exclusively.

Book your tickets early. The cost of a return flight to Paris does not fluctuate much throughout the year, since there is a steady stream of travelers flying there every month. Therefore, the earlier, the better.

Paris, being Paris, anytime is a good time to be here, so there isn’t an off-season to speak of. The city does swell with tourists in the summer, but as every budget traveler knows that come rain or sun or snow, Paris is the city for all seasons.

Low-cost staying options are a reality in Paris, as for every George V, there is a Hotel Georgette as well. Opt to bunk in a hostel for a short trip; for anything over 10 days, you may want to try housesitting (with Couchsurfing) or renting an apartment.

Paris offers an endless array of cheap eats. Stock up on delicious baguettes and French yogurt, and you’ll never really go hungry. More on how to find those cheap eats is discussed further in the article.

Parisians an environmentally-conscious lot, so they do walk a lot, and if not, they make use of their precious Vélib’ bicycle rental service, to get around the city. Take your cue from them, and pedal your way to exploring the city.

Shopping in Paris is a delight, as long as you know the best places to shop, without breaking the bank.

Saving on Stays
As mentioned above, Paris has no dearth of options that caters to budget travelers, considering the number of young backpackers who visit the city each year. As expected, hotels and hostels in or close to the city center cost more, but you’d rather stay here than spend money on traveling back and forth when you stay in the suburbs. If this happens to be your maiden trip, it is advisable that you stay close to the city center in order to keep your trip hassle-free.

You may want to give these hostels a try:

Oops! Hostel | 50 Avenue des Gobelins, 75013 Paris or Plug-Inn Hostel | 7 rue Aristide Bruant, 75018 Paris

Good Morning Paris is an organization that helps you book B&B accommodation all around the city. The rooms may be slightly pricier than hostels, but offer upgraded amenities, and are certainly more affordable than staying at a hotel. Plus, there is always the opportunity to interact with local homeowners, and gain their perspective on the sights and sounds of Paris.

Saving on Meals
Paris is probably the home of sidewalk cafés. It is easy to find these tiny eateries at several nooks and corners around the city. Eating at Parisian cafés counts as a must-do. Most of them serve light and affordable one-course meals, so eating here is not only easy on the pocket, but also the authentic Parisian thing to do.

Maxim’s may not fit into the league of budget travelers, but rest assured, you can sample the amazing French cuisine for less. To do this, try to find out where the locals eat, and head there, pronto. Cinq Mars | 51 Rue de Verneuil, 75007 Paris is a great choice for a cozy and delicious meal whose cost won’t make you cry.

Another plus (and it stands true for most European cities) is that the restaurants have their menus placed outside their establishment. The prices are also mentioned alongside, so it is easy for customers to gauge if they can afford it.

Saving on Sightseeing
As mentioned before, Paris’ tree-lined streets are a dream to explore on foot. Yes, the city does have a fabulous public transport system in place, and we do recommend you try it. Renting a car here is not only expensive, but the high parking rates will only add to your woes.

most Parisian attractions do charge an entrance fee that may act as a dampener. But if you are a bit tenacious, there are a few ways to see these beauties for less. Here’s how.

The Museums

Musée du Louvre

Getting into Paris’ great museums is a top priority for most tourists who come here. The Musée du Louvre, along with Musée d’Orsay welcome patrons for free on the first Sunday of every month, particularly from October to March, if not throughout the year. Needless to say, there are serpentine lines to contend with, if you wish to bag a free visit to these great museums.

Entrance to Musée du Louvre’s Permanent Collection costs Euro 12, and is free for those below the age of 18. A ticket to view the permanent collections in the Musée d’Orsay costs Euro 11.

The Gardens

Jardin des Tuileries

Paris is abundantly green, and its gardens are certainly a delight to be in. The Jardin des Tuileries, for instance, is located on the right bank of the Seine, from the Place de la Concorde to the entrance of the Louvre. Locals throng the park to beat the heat in the summer, and also enjoy spectacular views of the city. You may also want to pay a visit to Claude Monet’s favorite painting spot in Parc Monceau. Public parks are amazing places to pass time, soaking in the weather and the local atmosphere, and they don’t cost a dime.

The Places of Worship

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris

The Notre Dame is Paris’ most loved cathedral, equally for its history, its iconic architecture, and in part, due to Victor Hugo’s well-known saga, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The cathedral does not charge an entrance fee, but you need to pay a sum to climb the North Tower.

Sacré-Cœur Basilica

The Sacré-Cœur Basilica is one of Paris’ highlights, and the crowning glory of the Montmartre district. Around 230 spiraling steps take you to the basilica’s dome, giving you one of the city’s most arresting panoramas, spanning up to 30km on a clear day. Entrance to the basilica is free, but a charge is levied if you wish to climb the dome.

The Cemeteries

Cimetière du Père Lachaise

Père Lachaise is perhaps the world’s most visited cemetery. The graveyard is the final resting place of many famous names including artist Pablo Picasso, writer Oscar Wilde, and musician Jim Morrison. Undoubtedly, several fans visit the cemetery to pay homage to their idols, while others turn up to visit the most visited graveyard in the world. And yes, it’s free.

The City of Lights

La Ville Lumière

Paris is a city that comes alive after sundown. Not for nothing does it get the title of the City of Lights. So, do not forget to take a late evening stroll along the banks of the Seine to view this wonderful city light up. Look out for the dazzling Eiffel Tower at night―it seems a thousand times more brilliant than during the day. Also, it doesn’t cost a cent.

How to Plan Vacation to Tokyo

Placing the words ‘Tokyo’ and ‘cheap’ together seem to be a perfect example of an antithesis. Let us, however, tell you that doing Tokyo on the cheap is possible. Here are some tips to plan an affordable vacation to the Japanese capital.

One of the most dynamic cities in the world, with over 12 million inhabitants, Tokyo is a sheer delight to see. Not that it is among the world’s most beautiful cities, but it definitely strikes a chord with its subtle balance between the past and the present. Take a stroll in any direction, and you are sure to stumble upon something most unusual and weird―something that you never knew existed. And yet, you will find the Japanese people being passionate about it, speaking of it with an intense sense of belonging.

In fact, the Japanese are passionate about everything, from their traditions and culture to all things new. And this is precisely the reason why the Japanese capital comes across as a complete package―a classic example of ‘old meets new’. Plus, the warm and ever-helping nature of the Japanese people will urge you to extend your stay, and make you regret if you don’t.

Tokyo on a Budget
It is a well-known fact that Tokyo is expensive. In fact, according to the recent Business Insider survey (2014), Tokyo has been ranked as the 19th most expensive city in the world after Melbourne, Australia. Owing to this, it is but obvious that a vacation to the Japanese capital will make you shed a lot of bucks; however, those traveling on a tight budget, need not be disappointed. Buzzle brings to you some useful tips to help you plan a vacation to the capital of the shōgun without having to burn a hole in your wallet. Here’s how.

When to Go

Tokyo’s high season and low season depend largely on its weather.

However, this is also the season when most accommodations around the city are full, and very expensive as well.

Winter (December to February) and summer (June to August) comprise the city’s off-seasons.

In winter, temperatures often drop below the freezing point, and summer is very hot and humid. Moreover, the city experiences torrential rains around late-June, and August is still worse.

Most tourists opt to travel to the city either during spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November). During these two seasons, the weather is very favorable―pleasant, warm days and of course, beautiful cherry blossoms and dramatic foliage all around.

While these seasons witness a much less tourist influx, these are great times to be in the city for budget travelers (if you are ready to face the adversities of the weather, that is).

You will not only be able to escape the crowds, but also get the best possible bargains on accommodations, and maybe even crack an affordable last-minute deal.

Where to Stay

As a form of budget accommodation, the concept of capsule hotels is very famous in Tokyo (and in the other Japanese cities). These are low-budget lodgings, made of modular plastic and/or fiberglass blocks in the form of small capsules, placed one above the other. Each of these capsules can accommodate only one person at a time, and are equipped with basic amenities like a sleeping mattress and a small television set.

It, however, needs to be noted that capsule hotels lack basic safety standards, and are mostly men-only, but few also accommodate females. On the contrary, hostels often prove to be cheaper and more comfortable places to stay, even if they mean compromising a bit on one’s privacy.

While hostels located in and near the city center and popular spots can be a bit pricey, look for those located on the outskirts instead. These will offer you the same kind of facilities at lower prices.

For those planning to spend a majority of their time within the city center, opt to stay near it, in order to save money and time on transportation, which is also on the expensive side in Tokyo.

Budget travelers, looking for a homely atmosphere may also opt for a hospitality exchange. You get to stay with a local family for free, and there are also ample opportunities to meet and interact with the other locals. Hospitality exchange is particularly popular with youngsters, traveling on frugal means.

Where to Eat/Drink

Eateries and restaurants located in downtown Tokyo and in the city’s popular parts tilt towards the expensive side. For a wholesome budget meal, head to one of the blue-collar areas of the city such as Ueno or Ikebukuro.

Areas with large populations of youngsters and students, like Yoyogi and Harajuku, are also good places to find food on the cheap. You will find numerous fast-food joints in these areas, alongside several cheap restaurants, offering full, good quality meals.

The conveyor belt sushi restaurants are located in several parts of the city, wherein you can choose your own sushi from the conveyor belt. These are often busy, owing to their inexpensiveness and fast service, but you will get some really tasty meals in there.

While in Tokyo, you cannot ignore the numerous vending machines, found in large numbers, everywhere around the city. These coin-operated machines sell hot beverages, juices, sodas, cans of beer, apart from typical Japanese meals (curry and rice) and ready-to-eat soups.

A good number of Japanese curry houses, fast-food, and ramen shops are spread across the city, even in the city center, from where you can buy small, but filling budget meals.

Tokyo is famous for its street food, which offers delicious local flavors at affordable prices. Budget travelers can also buy packaged meals from grocery stores, which cost much less than restaurants.
What to See/Do

In the clockwise direction, starting from top-left―Rainbow Bridge, Minato, Tokyo; Tokyo Imperial Palace, Chiyoda, Tokyo; Tokyo cityscape with illuminated Tokyo Tower; Yoyogi Park, Shibuya, Tokyo.

While most attractions in Tokyo charge an admission fee, the good news is that there are several cheap and free things to see and do in and around the city. As mentioned before, a free stroll can give you an insight into some of the most fascinating aspects of the city and its culture. But, there is more!

Most shrines, temples, and palaces of Tokyo do not have an entry fee. This also includes, apart from the other attractions, the Tokyo Imperial Palace, which may be accessed free if you plan to take a self-guided stroll, rather than a guided tour.

Moreover, the Sensō-ji temple, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan, can also be accessed without any charge by all the visitors. There is a 200-meter-long shopping street in front of the temple gate, which has several O-mikuji (fortunes written on strips of paper) stalls, visited by a good number of tourists. You can also try out your luck here!

Furthermore, the fourth-largest urban park in Tokyo, the Yoyogi Park, is also a free attraction. It is a great place for a quick morning jog and to listen to live performances by street musicians.

Another great place to be, especially if you are a fish lover, is the Tsukiji fish market. It is located very close to the Tsukiji train station, and so is an easy walk up there. Every morning, at about 5 a.m., there is a tuna auction held here, which is quite an interesting experience. Though you can visit the auction for free, remember that they let a limited number of tourists in each day, and so, you have to reach the spot really early. However, if you miss out on the auction, you can still roam around the market, and gorge on some delicious sushi and sashimi for breakfast.

Harajuku boasts of a very lively shopping and entertainment scene. There are a lot of specialty stores around the area from where you can buy items such as books, electronics, and souvenirs for cheap. Apart from these, Tokyo also has a good number of open-air antique and flea markets operating on the weekends near major shrines.

Styles of Slacklining

Evolved from the rich climbing culture in the Yosemite Valley of California, slacklining refers to the act of walking and playing tricks on webbed lines tensioned between two anchor points. The tension of the line can be adjusted according to the activities or tricks to be performed on the line, as well as the length and altitude of the line.

Slacklining may be performed as a hobby, as a means to stay fit by slackline yoga, or as a competitive sport through tricklining, longlining, and highlining. The different styles of slacklining have been described below, followed by a list of few records set by adventurous young slackers.

Urbanlining

This refers to any of the slacklining activities that are practiced in urban areas, like city parks, schools, community centers, streets, etc.

The slackers use urban anchors, like lamp poles, telephone poles, or even bridges to rig the slackline. Trees with a diameter of more than 12 inches serve as ideal anchor points.

However, certain cities disallow slacklining on streets and other urban areas, to avoid mishaps, whereas some have limitations with respect to the timings, length of the lines, the type and size of trees that can be used to rig the lines while slacklining in parks, etc.

Tricklining

Being the most common and trending style, tricklining refers to setting up low, short, and tight lines for performing several tricks, spins, jumps, and gymnastics. A two-inch webbing and tight line are preferred for tricklining in order to provide the strength required for tricks and ensure a smooth landing.

The tricks performed are categorized into static and dynamic tricks.

Static Tricklining

Static tricks involve slow-moving tricks and still poses, wherein the slackliner is constantly in contact with the line. These include walking, walking backwards, moonwalk, sitting, handstands, splits, etc.

Dynamic Tricklining

Dynamic tricks involve bounces as well as movements such that the slackliner loses contact with the line and lands on it again without losing the balance. It includes chest bounces, butt bounces, as well as several types of jumps, flips, jump rotations, and surfing. Adept trickliners can even jump from one line and land on another without falling off.

Slackline Yoga

Also called Slackasana, this calm style of slacklining refers to practicing yoga poses on the slackline. Generally, a one-inch webbing is used for slackline yoga, and the line is looser than that for tricklining and walking.

It was the duo of Sam Salwei and Jason Magness, who first attempted to perform yoga poses on rigged lines. Yoga poses, like the Warrior pose, Buddha pose, Tree pose, and other standing, kneeling, and sitting postures can be practiced. Considered to be the most enduring style, it focuses on breathing while maintaining the balance, and requires a deep level of concentration. Ten minutes of slackline yoga is considered to be equivalent to one and a half hours of regular yoga.

Waterlining

This style simply refers to slacklining that is performed over water, i.e., pools, lakes, or even rivers.

It increases the fun and adventure quotient as well as safety while performing the various jumps and tricks. However, one has to ensure that the water region chosen for waterlining must be free from rocks and boulders. Waterlining on a pool provides the perfect setting for learning new tricks. The line may even be set slightly below the water surface, increasing the challenge to maintain balance on the line.

Longlining

Longlining refers to setting up of lines that are generally longer than 100 feet, and require much more tension than the regular tree-to-tree urbanlines and tricklines.

It helps increase the consistency in maintaining balance, and prepares the individual to focus for long periods of time. Long waterlines serve as the best way to prepare for highlining. Many longlines have been set up by individuals in a spree to make new longline records. The first longline record was set at 328 feet by a photographer and extreme climber named Heinz Zak, in 2005.

Highlining

This is the most advanced style of slacklining, and it refers to setting up lines high above the ground or water.

It involves slacklining at high altitudes in the mountains, or across valleys, canyons, etc. An additional backup line may be attached below the main line. The use of a climbing harness and safety leash is recommended along with a safety ring that links the leash to the line and slides along the line. Some adventurous daredevils prefer to go highlining without the use of safety leashes, in which case, it is termed as free solo highlining.

Places for Paragliding and Hang Gliding

Thrilling? Check. Exhilarating? You bet. Paragliding is one badass adventure sport which lets you soar in the sky, without breaking a sweat. Buzzle, therefore, brings you a list of 10 spectacular places where you’ll best enjoy doing it.

And I thought, paragliding was an experience which no one can sum up in words. But yes, these lines have managed to paint a fine picture.

Humans have tried out insane things in order to be able to fly; some of them worked, but many others literally sunk into oblivion. Until we devised paragliding. After that, it’s been a have-mountain-will-glide attitude with anyone pursuing this recreational sport.

What we’ve done, here, is lined up a fabulous list of 5 of the best paragliding destinations in the world, along with 5 from the U.S. Take a look.
Chamonix, France

The Alps are a hotshot destination among skiers, but it holds true for paragliding and hang gliding enthusiasts as well. France, particularly, has paragliding fans in large numbers, which explains the high number of gliding sites in the country. The reason we picked Chamonix from among them is simple―the proximity to Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe. Gliders, often the experienced ones, come to the summit to launch their flight, and take a leisurely glide over the gorgeous Chamonix valley. The region has a lift system which lets you access the several take-off points. As gliding here requires prior experience, there are options to fly tandem (along with a guide) as well.
Cape Town, South Africa

Viewing the spectacular Table Mountain from Bloubergstrand Beach is one thing; but believe me, you haven’t seen the real deal until you’ve glided over it. Cape Town is one city that offers some amazing views from up above, and paragliding is the best way to experience it. Experienced gliders can visit the Table Mountain National Park to launch from the Table Mountain itself. Tandem flights usually take off from Lion’s Head and Signal Hill, and wind directions permitting, may even fly up to the Table mountain.
Oludeniz, Turkey

You may have known Ölüdeniz as one of the most photographed beaches on the Mediterranean shore, but it also happens to be one of the top destinations for paragliding. A terrifying drive up the 2000-meters Mount Babadag, and you reach the launch spot. After that, it is all about the breathtaking scenery below you―the bay of Ölüdeniz, the mountains, and the national park. There are several operators which offer tandem gliding on the Ölüdeniz beach, and tend to charge you in the range of USD 80-100 for a ride that lasts almost 30 to 40 minutes.
Pokhara Valley, Nepal

All the fancy adjectives in the dictionary simply aren’t a patch on what awaits you in Nepal, the land of the Himalayas, home to some of the tallest mountains in the world. The main area for paragliding is the Pokhara valley, offering staggering views of the Annapurna, the Himalayas, and the Phewa Lake. The launch spot is Sarangkot, a hilly village in the vicinity, and your flight provides a bird’s-eye view of Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), Machapuchare (6,993 m), and the Annapurna II (7,937 m).
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

There are hills, and there is a constant breeze―which does not leave you with any excuse not to paraglide in Rio. The views of this amazing city are unparalleled from the top. The favored launch spot in Rio is Pedra Bonita, a mountain located in the São Conrado area, about 30 minutes from Copacabana. Tandem flights usually fly over the Tijuca Forest around Pedra Bonita, Pedra da Gávea, as well as the São Conrado neighborhood, and Pepino beach.
Hawaii, USA

There is no questioning Hawaii’s dreamlike landscape―the azure waters of the Pacific, the lush green mountaintops, with some spewing red hot lava. And what better way to view it than taking the aerial route? Hawaii’s mountains provide the perfect launch spot for hang gliding, but if you are planning to fly tandem, there are several operators in Maui, Honolulu, and Oahu with a good fleet of gliders and experienced personnel. Waipoli Flight Park on the slopes of Mt. Haleakala is a great launch spot that gets you some awesome views over Maui.
California, USA

With California’s topography, paragliding spots are not hard to find; in fact, there are more than 160 launch sites all throughout the state. We’ve picked San Diego among the lot for the fact that it offers easy access to tandem flights, and is a seriously gorgeous city to view from up above. San Diego’s scenic La Jolla neighborhood is a perfect launch site.
Idaho, USA

The resort town of Sun Valley in Blaine County, central Idaho has always enjoyed its reputation of being a world-class skiing destination. It is only recently that it has been gaining standing as a paragliding venue. Sun Valley played host to the Paragliding World Cup in 2012, and has only been building its name ever since. Experienced pilots from all over the world come to Sun Valley to take in the wonderful scenery of the region, including the Bald Mountain. But it doesn’t matter if you’ve never indulged in paragliding before; tandem flights are offered here as well.
Colorado, USA

Colorado’s diverse topography comprises alpine mountains, arid plains and deserts with huge sand dunes, and deep canyons. So, it isn’t a wonder to see paragliding enthusiasts flocking to launch their flights from several vantage points across the state. The Rockies, for instance, have some fabulous launch spots, and provide the perfect backdrop as well. Many experienced pilots also visit the Colorado National Monument and Dinosaur National Park for some excellent vantage spots.
Washington, USA

Washington state’s expansive hilly regions are made for paragliding. Tiger Mountain, Issaquah is a beautiful place to fly. It’s a 30-minute drive from Seattle, and with the extended daylight hours in the summer, a lot of people come here to enjoy paragliding during the sunset hours. A soaring flight here provides spectacular views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Si, Mt Baker, Lake Sammamish, with Seattle’s skyline to the west. Certainly a gorgeous sight that’s not to be missed.
Paragliding is one recreational sport that is thrilling beyond words. And unlike the others, there isn’t a lot of effort involved if one has to experience it. Head to any of the destinations mentioned above and launch your flight of fancy, ASAP.

Importance of Sports

Sports is undoubtedly an activity that is fun to do, but it has many other positive effects on a person’s life as well. Here we talk about some of the benefits of being involved in sports.

The importance of sports in education can be gaged by the way it helps in inculcating values such as dedication, discipline and responsibility in children and adults alike, at the same time teaching them many relevant lessons. The following are some of sports’ life changing attributes.
Benefits of Sports in Daily Life

Fitness
Unless one is only an avid fan of a game like curling (no disrespect of course!!), sports and exercise go hand-in-hand. Many sports require the person playing them to have a good amount of athleticism. Hence, people indulging in sports gradually become fitter. While this can be achieved by dieting and hitting the gym too, sports makes this process fun, as the person involved in a sport is so busy enjoying himself or herself that he or she loses track of time.

Stress Buster
A healthy mind in a healthy body might be a clichéd adage, but it is so because it is true. It is no surprise that since most sports usually involve exercise, it facilitates soothing of the mind as the feel-good-hormones of the body, called endorphins, are released. They are nature’s stress busters and induce a relaxing feeling.

Learning a Skill
Getting better at a sport is a skill that may not have a monetary relation to your life, but it can definitely have an impact on the quality of your life. People respect those who show excellence in any field, and sports is no exception. If this is turned into an expertise, then it can even lead to avenues for developing a career.

Teamwork
Many popular sports like American football, soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc., are played in teams. This inculcates values and skills like leadership, communication, and sacrifice. Not only does this benefit the person in developing a better game, but it actually helps in all walks of life, as these values and traits are indispensable if one is to lead a good life.

Socializing
Unless you’re talking about playing chess against a computer, almost every sport out there involves interaction with other people, whether they be on our side or our opponents. Hence, sports serve as an avenue for meeting new people and making friends, as people of similar likes and dislikes come together to achieve a common goal. This can enhance the social life of a person.

Character Building
All sports have an outcome. One entity wins, and the other loses. Winning and losing is a part of life. Sports inculcates this lesson in people. Some people glide along as long as there are no hardships in life, but the moment the odds are against them, they find their emotional strength dwindling. This is not to say sports is a one-stop solution for this, but it definitely teaches a person how to take losses with grace and move on to achieve greater things in the face of difficulties.

Constructive Use of Time
Children and adolescents ooze with physical energy. When they are involved in sports, their physical energies are used up in a constructive way. Teenage is such an impressionable age, if adolescents are given free time they might get involved in wrong activities, may fall in bad company, or may also display anti-social behavior. Thus, the importance of sports in society is that it keeps adolescents from becoming anti-social, and not disturbing the delicate fabric of society.

Health
Regularly indulging in sports helps in keeping the immune system strong, and hence, helps in preventing any kind of disease from occurring. It also increases the appetite of the person. Thus, sports promote good health.

Decision-making
In sports, a person has to make quick decisions depending upon the situation that he is in. Thus, a person who is involved in sports is able to make wise and quick decisions in other areas of life as well.

Self-confidence
When something is improving your health, making you physically fitter, earning you respect among people and generally making you feel better about yourself, it is safe to say that such a thing does a whole world of good to your self-confidence. And sports definitely fulfills this criterion.
So if you haven’t ventured into the world of sports, do not while away your time in doubt. Sports is one of the few things out there that does not have any drawbacks. With sports, it is never too late.