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April 2020

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With the Coronavirus lockdown finally looking like it is on it’s way out, with restrictions being lifted across Europe, the time has come for families to start thinking about holidays again.

It has been a bleak few months for the travel industry, with airlines being forced to close (on account of the various governments closing their borders and airports), hotels being forced to stay shut, and even campsites and other resorts being banned from taking any new customers on throughout.

The lockdown has hit the big resorts in Spain and Gran Canaria in particular, with the hordes of tourists that usually head there for winter sun being fully refunded, and the whole place being left empty and desolate.

Ski resorts have also been hit hard, with many only just about reaching the magic ‘break even’ point that comes after having 12 weeks of the ski season, and some others having terrible seasons that they will have to write-off.  In Italy, the resorts closed in February and will only re-open in November – for hotels, restaurants and whole industries build upon the trade, the next 8 months are going to feel very long indeed.

Post-Virus Travelling
Post-Virus Travelling

And with the lockdown being lifted, there is speculation that the type of holidays we take are going to change.  Along with wearing a face-mask whenever you go out in public, not shaking hands or touching anyone else if it is al all avoidable, and trying to remain ‘socially distant’ from anyone who might cross your path, the expert modellers are predicting that it might well be the end for both cheap flights and mass market resorts.

For all cheap flight operators, the model is to try and fill the plane to it’s maximum capacity, and the plane only starts to make a profit when it is over 70% full.  If the operators are forced to stop using the middle seats in rows (to allow people to stay far enough away from each other so as not to touch) then it would strip out 33% of the seats, and leave most routes unviable.

For mass market resorts, we’re thinking about the All Inclusive purpose-built hotels that have been loved by the English and the Germans for many years, typically on the Spanish or Italian coast.  These are again built on a business model that needs big numbers to function, and with social distancing then it might well become unviable to run them.  When you throw into the mix that firstly, less people will be travelling anyway, and secondly, those that do don’t want to be stuck in a resort with thousands of others where the risk of catching something is much greater, you can see that they have a tricky future ahead of them.

So where can you go on holiday, and be as far away as you like from the crowds?  Which holidays allow you to explore new places, push yourselves out of your comfort zone, but still allow you to have quality time with your friends and family?  Which holidays allow your kids to learn new things, take an active role in the driving, and are a whole load of fun?  The answer, of course, is a sailing holiday.

Sailing Holidays
Sailing Holidays

The guys at plainsailing.com believe that this might well be the making of the inudtsry, with more and more families and groups of friends taking the opportunity to get out onto the water, where they can avoid people as much as they feel they need to.  When you charter your own yacht then you get to choose where you stay – if you want to stay in a private, secluded bay in literaly the middle of nowhere, you can do that.  Or you can head to smaller marinas away from the beaten track, or in Greece and Turkey you can rest the night on a mooring buoy owned by a restaurant, who will bring your dinner out to you on your boat – you can really keep yourselves to yourselves.

Sailing holidays are great for kids too – they can learn how the boat works, what it is about the sails that propel the boat through the water, how they tie off the fenders, etc, as well as careering about on their own with the motorised dinghy, or paddling around the coves and coast in an SUP.  Maybe you can show them the joys of snorkelling, or at the worst you could always buy them their own unicorn water-float, and just tow them behind you on the yacht!

You don’t need to be a sailing expert to take the family on a sailing holiday – if you don’t have the sailing licence yourself then you can take the boat with a Skipper.  This will be someone who has been out at sea for the last few weeks, usually interacting with only 6 or 7 people per week, and in Greece and Croatia it looks like they will be getting tested every week to make sure they don’t have Coronavirus, and are safe for your family to sail with.

If you want them to, they can discuss the route with you, and help you find what you are looking for – whether it’s a private beach for a late-night private barbecue under the stars, or a cute marina right next to a small restaurant that specialises in sea food.

Small, private holidays look set to be the answer for many families this year, and in the years that follow as people try to minimize the risk whilst also having a great time out in the sunshine.  Once you’re out of the airport, you’re not mixing with thousands of people – just the ones you know and trust.  And you don’t have to worry about getting face-mask tanlines, or indeed anything, as the boat bobs away, taking you to your next charming little non-tourist Greek village.

In a world that is forever changing and filled with stress, one can’t help but look for ways to escape the clutches of unhappiness. From food, pets, activities and other forms of entertainment, one can freely choose which vessel to use as a conduit for achieving their own sense of peace of mind. Many as it may seem, not all will quench the thirst for a peaceful relationship with the universe, and until that person finds his or her inner peace, he or she will never be truly fulfilled. Good thing I already found mine.

Travelling has provided me with countless escapes that only happens in movies. It gives me the rush, motivation and push that I need to go on with my life and not worry about the setbacks that I have experienced. Furthermore, it calms my mind fully. Seeing and meeting new places and people, tasting food that are both peculiar, delicious and new to my palette, and experiencing activities that I have deemed impossible for me to try has given me a new purpose, and that is to enjoy life. And one of my recent escapades is in a place where many have called paradise, and that’s a little Indonesian island called Bali.

Bali is known for its volcanic, forested mountain sceneries, stunning Hindu architecture, amazing coral reefs and iconic beaches that would make most people yearn for more than a week’s stay. Although Indonesia is a pre dominantly Muslim country, almost 80% of Bali residents or Balinese, practice Hinduism, thus explaining the beautiful temples and structures. And in my experience, though it was only a 5 day adventure, was surreal and memorable. Bali opened my eyes to the world’s beauty, catching me off guard and swept me off my feet. To be honest, it was the best vacation ever.

The key to my unforgettable Bali experience was planning. Itineraries will play a key role in your vacation and will define whether or not you will be able to maximize every opportunity to explore and enjoy the place that you will go to. Researching destinations and activities are essential to your overall experience as well as the place where you will be staying (shoutout to Ubud Airbnb Homes) So if you intend to visit Bali soon, take a moment to read my 5 day experience and itinerary for this little paradise.

Day 1: The Edge Bali Resort

The first place I wanted to sink my feet into was the Edge Bali Resort. It is a top luxury resort in Bali and by the looks of what its pictures had to offer, I had no trouble putting it in my first day. After arriving at Ngurah Rai Airport, I chartered a private car to take me to the famed resort. Choosing a morning arrival was the best thing I did because even though the Edge was just 30 minutes away, Bali traffic caused a bit of a delay. Upon arriving, I paid 50,000 IDR ($4 USD) for the admission and another 550,000 IDR (55 USD) to gain access to their VIP Lounge. Honestly, it was an expensive hotel resort to stay at but luckily they open it to the public at day time, so you don’t have to worry about staying at other accommodations. For me it was great deal because the VIP admission was consumable and gave you access to the best spot in the resort.

The scenery was already breath taking because you could already see a full view of the Indian Ocean, but what’s more amazing was when you dive into their Infinity Pool with a clear glass bottom and see the bottom of the cliff where it is hanging. Talk about luxury at an affordable price! Mesmerizing and captivating indeed. There are also nearby beaches and shopping centers that are really worth it to check out. But I do recommend avoiding Kuta Beach because its polluted and waterfall areas during the rainy seasons as per advisory of my travel guide because only mud can be seen falling down the waterfalls.

Things to bring:

  • Swimming attire and a whole lot of conviction to relax

Activities:

  • Swimming (pool)
  • Casual Drinking
  • Food Munching! (my favorite)
  • Spa Relaxing
  • Sight Seeing

Day 2: Uluwatu Temple

For my second day, I visited the Uluwatu Temple, a well – known historical and religious site in Bali. Just 11 minutes away from The Edge, this temple is built on a captivating cliff side that gives one of the best sceneries and picture perfect moments in the world.

As a place for worship, visitors must wear Sarongs or shoulder covers in order to give respect to the temple’s holiness and rules. Monkeys are present in the temple and are believed to be its guardians. Be aware though, because these swift and agile animals can take your belongings in an instant if you are not alert and careful enough, resulting to a high speed chase which I personally experienced, losing my sunglasses to these cute, furry creatures. A solemn and peaceful place, Uluwatu Temple calmed my soul and restarted my energy, preparing me for 3 more days of fun and excitement.

Things to bring:

Some extra breath (to avoid getting it taken away by the scenery), Sun Tan lotion, a good phone camera or DSLR, Bananas and Peanuts (bribe for the monkeys)

Activities:

  • Monkey Trailing/Chasing
  • Meditation and Reflection
  • Lots of picture taking

Day 3: Padang Padang Beach

For my third day, I chose to relax at a beach just near my last destination. This beach is famous for being one of the best sunset viewing spots in all of Bali and has attracted many tourists because of its beauty. Locals call it Padang Padang.

Padang Padang beach is an amazing spot to be in especially when you are a beach lover like me. Getting that natural tan while enjoying the sounds of the waves and sight of the ocean getting bluer by the mile is really an irreplaceable sight. Although it has already catered many tourists, Padang Padang beach still gives you a sense of privacy since only a few people visit it at a time. Also, surfing is also a popular activity here and what’s awesome is that you can rent a surfboard for 100,000 IDR (6.67 USD) and try riding the waves. Never in my life have I thought about surfing, but being the adventurer that I am, I stepped up, went out the ocean, faced the beach front, waited for a good wave, and rode like a pro… for 2 seconds! That was a lot shorter than expected but hey, wasn’t bad for a first timer. And lastly, they have these parties that they throw at night, which will make you appreciate the beach night life but sadly it was only thrown during weekends, (sigh) sad. Oh well, at least I taught that wave a lesson for 2 seconds, next time I’ll make it 3!

Things to bring:

Sun Tan Lotion, Guts to ride a surfboard, bikini/trunks, lots of will to wash away all your problems.

Activities:

  • Surfing
  • Beach Tanning
  • Swimming
  • Snorkling
  • Partying
  • Sun Set Seeing

Day 4: Lempuyang Temple

For my fourth day, I went to Lempuyang Temple, another well-known religious tourist place in Bali. It’s about two and a half hours from my accommodation, that is why it is best to leave early morning or late dawn (around 5 am).

The Lempuyang Temple is considered to be one of the 6 holiest places in Bali and is perfect for sight seeing, pictures and meditation. Upon arriving, I was informed that this complex actually consisted of 7 temples, meaning there will be a lot of walking, and so, I did! Sites where amazing especially the famous Bali gateway to heaven where you can catch a perfect scene of a mountain between the archways. Though it is considered a tourist spot, the temple has rules like no kissing, no showing of shoulders and no drone photography. For 30,000 IDR (2 USD) you can dive into a pool of rich cultural and religious heritage and get lost in the arms of father time. This was the time that I as beginning to realize that this Indonesian adventure was one to really remember.

Things to bring:

  • Sun Tan Lotion, a nice phone camera or DSLR (if you’re a photo enthusiast), water (if you get thirsty easily from walking) and shoulder covers

Activities:

  • Meditation and Reflection
  • Lots and lots of walking while appreciating various unique, beautiful and historical structures

Day 5: Tegallalang Rice Terrace in Ubud

And for my final day, I went to perhaps one of the most beautifully crafted man made sceneries in the world, the Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud. Again, it is best to leave early morning as it is a 2 hour ride from the Lempuyang Temple. This place is part of the Bali UNESCO World Heritage site and is renowned for its exemplary beauty and breath taking views of a stairway to heaven. When I got there, I quickly took my phone out of pocket went crazy with the capture button. It is truly a one of kind sight and gives you that vibe that heaven just became a little closer, just within your reach. I personally think that in order to get this kind of structural outcome, people responsible really put their blood and sweat in sculpting the mountain, making it possible to plant rice and feed their families. Imagine the hours, days, and months they put into this. I’ll my bottom dollar that nothing can replace the moment that they finished it.

Climbing the stairways was no easy feat for me. Although they do have a path for reaching the top, it was still a big challenge since I wasn’t fond of conquering heights. But all of it was replaced with awe and appreciation once I reached the top. But the best part is that they had a zipline! Now how cool is that! Without having second thoughts, I conquered my fears of trying the unusual and just sped through the air (in the zipline of course!). and the best thing about the zipline was I saw the rice terraces from a bird’s eye view. Nothing can get better than that. It was like being a drone! Talk about first hand footage!

Things to bring:

Water (obviously for climbing), an extra shirt, your indispensable phone camera or DSLR (which is much better by the way) and a bucket full of screams (for the zipline)

Activities:

  • Sight Seeing
  • Zipline

Visiting Bali was one of the best decisions in my life. There was no ill feelings or any regret with the money spent, and quite frankly, even if it did cost me a little more than what I had expected to spending, it doesn’t matter! I will be happy to come back next year and explore it even further.

Sarah Grace Del Rosario is a blogger from MoonFish, when not working, she loves to travel, paint, and do crafting.

Business travel is going to increase tenfold once the lockdown lifts as businesses all over scurry to smooth over their company, their relationships, and their supply chain. If you don’t plan now, however, you could run the risk of high costs, terribly planned trips, and overall just a mess of an experience.

You need to get work done, which means you need your business trips to go smoothly and without issue. Researching, planning, and booking now is an absolute must. It will mean you are ready to go at a moment’s notice and, more importantly, have everything worked out ahead of time.

Top Business Travel Tips
Top Business Travel Tips

Making your business trip smooth sailing can be hard when you don’t know where to start, so follow these top six business travel tips today.

1.    Find and Hire the Ultimate Parking Spot

Small trips are exhausting, and the last thing you want after getting home from work is to hunt down your vehicle in the main parking lot. Instead, you should use cheapairportparking.org to find and reserve the best parking spots near the exit you will be getting off at. That way, you can easily get home after a week away and relax.

2.    Invest in the VIP Lounges

One of the best investments that you can make when you are frequently traveling for business is the VIP business lounges available at most international airports. They are comfortable, spacious, and, most of all, allow you to work in peace while you are waiting for your flight.

If you travel often, you might even be eligible for a free upgrade to VIP depending on your credit level and the credit agency you use.

3.    Let Hotels Know of Your Needs

If you have specific needs for your hotel, don’t forget to call them up in advance and then remind them before you take off about these needs. If you are allergic to a specific ingredient in a cleaning product, for example, or if you like to bring your own sheets to put on the bed. Let the hotel know so they can accommodate you.

4.    Get Travel Insurance

Always have travel insurance, even if you aren’t traveling out of the country. You never want to risk being injured when you are traveling or being stuck in the event of a cancelation with no option but to deal with the cost.

5.    Hire a Driver or Vehicle in Advance

If you need to drive at your destination, then book that vehicle in advance. This is especially true if you are heading to a country where automatic transmission isn’t common. If you don’t book in advance, all the automatic vehicles might be taken, and you’ll be stuck without an option.

6.    Create Task Lists to Stay on Track

You need to get work done and fast, so to help yourself and keep your employer in the loop, create a set of tasks to complete each day and give yourself an extra day just in case. In the worst-case scenario, you have an extra day to finish tasks. In the best, you have a day to explore!

Traveling is one of the most preferred past times for individuals, families, and couples, regardless of where you are from or where you are traveling. When making plans to travel, one of the fundamental prerequisites for lodging or overnight expectations is comfort.

Camping Trip

Camping is a vacation idea for a specific sort of traveler, such as those who are outdoor lovers or outdoor enthusiasts. It ranks high for many people. Many like to head outside beyond their home region just for the camping reputation of the location. Even when said campers stay in their home area, sleeping comfort is a requirement for most. A bed in a box may not be needed when camping, but the Purple Bed website at Purple.com has accessories available to increase and ensure the level of resting and sleeping comfort such as pillows, seat cushions, and bedding to take with you, as well as pet beds for traveling furry friends.

Hotels or Property Rentals

Even expert travelers have weighed in on the idea of not compromising sleeping comfort when traveling away from home. On his website, veteran traveler Rick Steves penned an article on sustaining the sleeping comforts of home, when away from home at Ricksteves.com. In said article, Steves weighs the pros and cons of whether a traveling family would gain more benefit from renting a house, villa, or apartment as opposed to reserving a hotel room, or multiple hotel rooms. Regarding the comfort of staying at a privately owned property as opposed to a hotel, he states, “If you’re willing to accept a very small space, a shared bathroom, or other inconveniences, you’ll be able to find remarkably affordable deals.” However, though it may be more affordable, many people can not sleep comfortably in a small space or a shared bedroom with a complete stranger.

Cleanliness

Lastly, cleanliness is a factor that can greatly determine how comfortable a night’s sleep is more or likely to be for someone who is traveling away from home. Based on the CDC website, in an article entitled, “Safety and Health Among Hotel Cleaners,” at the CDC website, it is written that close to, “…1.8 million people worked in the traveler/accommodations industry in 2008, including more than 400,000 hotel room cleaners. Tasks performed by hotel room cleaners include dusting, vacuuming, changing linens and making beds.”

When considering the margin of human error or carelessness, it is statistically probable that the actual cleanliness of each bed may not meet the personal requirements of many travelers. Because of this harsh reality, bringing your own bedding when a hotel is a part of a vacation is a viable and affordable option to increase the overall level of sleeping comfort. The thought of sleeping on dirty sheets can most definitely decrease the level of sleeping comfort when in an unfamiliar bed. These nightmarish thoughts can be eliminated by simply packing a new or fresh sheet set from home, complete with top and fitted sheets, as well as pillowcases.

Comfortable Sleeping Away From Home
Comfortable Sleeping Away From Home

When children are a part of a traveling family, selecting a location close to home, “…can be used as a test run to ensure your child is comfortable with the outdoor lifestyle and has the ability to adapt if needed,” per the Vagabond Family blog at Vagabondfamily.org. Though this is just one possible concept to consider when planning a getaway, no matter how many people are participating in the trip, comfort is most definitely a key concept that nearly all travelers keep in mind, despite the relative circumstances revolving around the adventure of planning a trip.

In addition to bringing your bedding items, adding accessories to the list of essential camping items, and choosing the best lodging accommodations for the travel group, there are other things that can be done to make sleeping more comfortable when traveling. Making the smell of the space as familiar or just simply better, you can make your sleep more comfortable when away from home. This can be easily done by lighting your favorite scented candles or spraying air freshener. No matter what the comfort checklist for sleeping away from home entails, there is a multitude of options available to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep while on vacation.