5 of the Most Breathtaking Beaches in Paros

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Paros is a gorgeous island set in the Aegean Sea. Paros is just one of the islands of the Cyclades region. It serves as the transportation center for the region and thus it sees quite a bit of boat traffic throughout the year.

Paros is also home to the gorgeous 4th-century Byzantine church, Panagia Ekagtontapiliani. However, Paros is best known for its beaches and quaint villages. The island is about 75 square miles and is approximately 13 miles long, giving visitors plenty of coastline and beach access.

When it comes to Paros, the beaches are numerous and it is difficult to choose exactly what beaches to hit on your visit to this incredible island. We’ve narrowed down the list to 5 beaches you simply must visit in Paros.

The best way to visit Paros is to book your very own villa. When booking a luxury Paros villa, you will find an option to fit every budget and accommodations for both small and large parties. Private villas offer you the option of staying onsite at the villa for peace and seclusion or venture out to the local beaches if desired.

Here are our best picks for top beaches in Paros:

Chryssi Akti

The beach at Chryssi Akti has incredible golden sand which speaks to the beach’s name, which translates to Golden Coast or Golden Beach. This beach is close to Chania city and can easily be accessed via a short walk from the city limits. Chryssi Akti is a great choice for travellers with children. Not only is there a playground close to the beach, but there are several parks in the area. Windsurfing activities are available and, in fact, Chryssi Akti was home to the windsurfing championships in the past.

Santa Maria

Santa Maria draws the young and adventurous. Plenty of water sport activities are available and a number of beach bars and restaurants can be found nearby. It also has a picturesque view of the nearby Naxos Island.

July and August can be quite crowded with tourists. Located close to Naoussa, the beach can be accessed via local roads by bus or by boat.

Monastiri (Agios Ioannis)

Monastiri can be found in western Naoussa. It is located near the Monastery of Agios Ioannis and the beach is referred to by either name. You can actually see the monastery from the beach.

If you visit between June and September, you will be treated to the events of the local festival that takes place during the summer. The festival offers outdoor concerts and cinema showings as well as a number of beach parties and other fun social events. The area is also known as a popular yacht mooring spot for a little taste of the rich and famous life.

Kolimbithres

Kolimbithres is hands down the most popular beach on Paros. Even if you wish to avoid the crowds, you cannot visit Paros without a trip to Kolimbithres. The beach is revered for its geological granite rock formations that cover the beach area. If you are fortunate enough, you can even score a private bay for as part of your own personal paradise. Kolimbithres offers a wide array of water activities including windsurfing which is a popular feature at most of the beaches in Paros (as mentioned earlier).

Ambelas

Ambelas is the opposite of Kolimbithres. It is primarily a fishing village located off the beaten path and is not considered an organized beach. The beach is small and you can watch the fishing boats traveling in and out of port. This is a favorite of the locals and offers the best fish cuisine on the entire island.

There you have it! Your must-see beaches of Paros. After you’ve taken a vist, be sure to let us know which was your favorite!

Inexpensive Communication Tips for Travel Abroad

When you’re traveling abroad, particularly if you’re gone for an extended period of time, one of your top concerns is probably how you can stay in contact with people back home. Unfortunately one of the downsides of traveling internationally is the fact that it can be expensive, or potentially even unsafe from a cybersecurity perspective to communicate in certain ways.

Some ways are cheap, easy and secure methods for communicating no matter where you might be in the world.

The following are some tips.

Consider an International Phone Plan

If you don’t travel that often and you’re only going to be gone for say a week or two, you might bring your own smartphone but talk to your phone company beforehand about getting an international plan with basic data and calling capabilities.

This is going to be less expensive than many other options, and you still get the benefit of having your contact information and your phone number so that you can get in touch with people at home, and they can do the same with you.

Email

Email is, of course, a great way to stay in touch while you travel, but you need to be aware of mail security issues that can arise. When you travel internationally and you email, particularly if you’re using public wi-fi, you’re putting yourself at risk for being the victim of a cyber-attack.

There are email security tools you can use to protect yourself while you’re away, and you can make sure you’re still connected to what’s happening back home, whether it’s personal or work-related.

Google Voice

Google Voice can be a great option for communicating while you’re overseas. With Google Voice, you can forward your calls so that while you’re away and people call you, you’ll be able to answer from your computer or device. It’s like having your phone with you wherever you go, but without the costs of a phone plan and the inconvenience of having to sign up for an international plan.

Portable Wi-Fi

Most of the best free and inexpensive ways to communicate while you abroad require internet access, but as mentioned above, using public wi-fi can leave you vulnerable to attacks.

One solution is to use something like a portable wi-fi device. This would let you use your smartphone and access the internet from anywhere, and you’ll have the benefits of security, portability, and you don’t have to worry about unreliable internet access.

This isn’t necessarily the cheapest option on this list, but it can be one of the best, particularly if you’re traveling with a group and you can all split the cost.

WhatsApp

Finally, a good way to send quick messages and stay in contact not only with people back home but maybe with people you’re traveling with is to use WhatsApp. WhatsApp will let you send messages fast and easily, regardless of the type of phone you’re using. If you needed to get in touch with your traveling companion and let them know, for example of a change of plans that evening, WhatsApp could be helpful.

Regardless of the international communication options you select, always keep security as a top consideration.

Sunshine Predicts Worst Year for Tourism Industry in a Quarter of a Century

Sunshine, a UK-based online travel agency, has predicted that, in the wake of political coup, terrorist attacks, and local referendum on transfers of power, Turkey will see its worse year for tourism in a quarter of a century this summer. This follows an already lower number of people interested in the country, before the attempted coup.

Normally, the end of July in any Turkish resort means overflowing bars, and beaches where you will struggle to find a seat. Crowds of foreign visitors visit to enjoy the food, beaches, and warmth. Unfortunately, due to the political turmoil that the country has been experiencing, the summer of 2016 was the worst in nearly a quarter of a century, and this year is set to be even worse.

According to UK-based online travel agency Sunshine, the political instability and terrorism attacks in Turkey have caused a switched towards destinations other than Turkey in an almost unprecedented way. Figures were released for 2016 before there was an attempted coup, and those showed that, compared to 2015, there was a 41% drop in the number of international arrivals. If this is indicative of an ongoing trend, which it is likely to be since the political situation in Turkey has only gotten worse, then this year is set to be the worst in 25 years.

In fact, it is expected that the height of the 2017 season will show just how bad it actually is. Preliminary figures state that there has been a 6% drop in tourism per month since July 2016. A representative from Sunshine says: “In July 2017, there was an expected 47% drop in the number of visitors, and a 53% drop in August. While this is already incredibly bad – a 50% on average drop in tourism translates into millions of dollars after all – the reality is that the figures, when (and if) they are released, will be even worse. After all, these were the figures we expected before there was an attempted coup on the 14th and 15th of July 2016, and the subsequent political crackdown.”

On July 21, 2016, Turkey declared a state of emergency, which lasted for three months. This means it coincided exactly with the end of the tourist season as well. Sunshine has joined forces with a number of other UK-based travel agencies to determine what the impact actually is. This revealed:

  • A 40% drop on average in capacity to the country from travel agencies.
  • A drop in revenue of £100 million between April and June 2016 alone.

The reason why Turkey’s tourism industry was suffering even before the attempted coup, was due to the terrorist attacks experienced during the early parts of 2016. What accepted figures for this period of time showed was that:

  • There was a drop of just over a third during June 2015 for British visitors to Turkey.
  • 12,000 UK tourists arrived in Turkey per day in 2015.
  • 8,000 UK tourists arrived in Turkey per day in the first half of 2016.

Indeed, even now the UK Foreign Office has warned that there continues to be a “potentially volatile” situation in Turkey. All visitors are asked to carry a copy of their e-visa and their passport with them at all times.

The Sunshine representative adds: “We continue to hope that there will be a greater demand for Turkey by British visitors as a result of the slump in Sterling. What this means is that the cost of Turkey is well below the cost of Spain. This could be the country’s saving grace, but it doesn’t look hopeful just yet.”

World’s Best Festivals One Shouldn’t Miss

Part of the fun of travel is the chance to participate in another way of life. There’s no better means of doing this than to get involved with one of the many colorful festivals taking place each year around the globe. Whichever continent you’re heading to, there’s sure to be something fantastic. Here, we look at five of the best.

Rio de Janeiro Carnival, Brazil
This needs no introduction. Attracting more than two million party-goers daily onto the streets of Rio de Janeiro, it runs for six days at the beginning of Lent. Rio’s samba schools are the driving force, and their colorful floats and dancers pack the streets for the main parade. However, the carnival also includes plenty of other festivities, in which anyone can join in and show off their samba moves.

Maralal Camel Derby, Kenya
If you find yourself in Kenya in August, you might want to head north to the small desert town of Maralal for its camel derby. Attracting participants and spectators from all over the world, competition is intense, although some riders show better control over their camels than others.

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MassKara Festival, Philippines
The Philippines is not yet a regular stop on the backpacker trail but you’ll be missing out if you don’t go. So much the better if you can time your visit around the MassKara festival. Held in Bacolod City and named for the smiling masks worn by participants, it includes a street dance competition, a beauty pageant and music. Characterized by the friendliness of its participants, it’s a popular festival so accommodation requires planning ahead. Luckily, real estate in the Philippines is booming, and you can easily find the best condos on Zipmatch, whether you want to rent or to buy.

The Venice Carnival, Italy
Dating back to the fourteenth century, Venice’s annual carnival is Europe’s oldest. Beginning after Christmas and running until the day before Lent, it attracts more than three million visitors annually. Many are tempted by the bright masks worn by carnival-goers, some of whom may be hoping to carry away the prize awarded to the most beautiful mask. Originally introduced to blur the distinction between the nobility in their fine clothes and ordinary people who could never hope to afford garments of the same quality, the masks remain popular today among Venetians and tourists alike.

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Holi, India
Marking the victory of good over evil, this Hindu festival of colors is celebrated in the north of India during the full moon in March. Unwary travelers venturing onto the streets can expect to return to their hostel or hotel with their clothes covered in brightly colored powder, or soaking wet from water balloons. However, this is still one of the best and most exuberant festivals in the world. People of all ages flock into the streets to perform religious rituals in front of huge bonfires, exchange greetings, dance and, yes, throw handfuls of colored powder around.

How to kill time at the airport

Flying is one of the most exciting experiences you cannot afford to miss out on. All the same, there are several factors that you need to have clear in the back of your mind before catching the next plane. First and foremost, it’s important to find proper airport parking space for your vehicle. You need to ensure that you find the most suitable parking place in the airport. You do not want to ruin your after-vacation after landing on the airport and find your vehicle has been vandalized.

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So you’ve sorted out your airport parking and now have a couple of hours to kill before your flight, what’s next? Here are some fun and productive things you can before your trip begins:

1. Write your very own bucket list. You can jot down a list of the most exciting things you will want to do in your life span. Include your new hobbies and all the new cultures you will want to try out in your trip.

2. Share your experience and excitement on the social sites you are in. You may access free internet in the airport. Many airports have WI-FI connections. You can update your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter and try to catch up with your friends and family.

3. Listen to a podcast. You can download a podcast and listen to your favorite radio or television news, entertainment shows and music.

4. Watch a movie. If you have a laptop or tablet, you can download the latest movies as you wait for your flight. Remember to charge your laptop battery at home or stay near one of the many plugs in the airport so that your laptop is fully charged during the entire flight.

5. Make friends. Try to talk to the people around you and try to know them. Making friends with other passengers will make your flight less boring as you will have someone to be communicating to. You may also make a life long friend in the airport. One thing to note is that not all people are social thus they may probably snob you.

6. Read a book. Reading has always been the best way to pass time. There’s nothing better than stimulating your mind for few hours when sitting back with your Oakley glasses and getting into your favourite book If you love reading newspapers, magazines, story books or e- books – ensure you get one. Alternatively, most airports have bookstores that carry the latest titles and reading materials.

7. Grab a bite to eat. Many aeroplanes only offer snacks during the entire flight. If you board the plane on a hungry belly, you will probably not get satisfied with the snacks you will be offered on the plane. Walk around and check out the many restaurants in the airport.

8. Exercise. Most air travels take a long time before reaching their destinations. You won’t be walking and stretching much on the plane, so take advantage of this time to have a nice long walk while discovering some cool places around the airport. Otherwise, there are also exercises that you can do like squats, chair dips or even push-ups.

9. Plane spotting. You may also look for an area where you can view planes taking off and landing.

10. Go through your travel plan. This does not only pass the time, but is an important thing to do before any travel. Skim through all your notes and documents and make sure that everything is complete. The internet at the airport may also help with your last minute hotel booking or stumbling on other places to see during your trip.

Following these tips ensures that you will not worry about your vehicle’s safety anymore, and also have the best experience and attitude even before reaching your destination. Your flight and your whole trip will surely be worthwhile.

The Most Comfortable Night’s Sleep Money Can Buy In Singapore

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a president or a princess, a sultan or a king? While it’s unlikely most of us will reach these stations in life, that doesn’t mean we can’t live like a king or a queen – at least for a few nights.

Luxury hotels are designed to cater to their guests’ every whim, creating a space that is both lavishly opulent and endlessly comfortable. Whether offering butler service or massages on your private balcony, these testaments to exclusivity provide everything you could possibly want, day and night.

If you happen to be travelling to Singapore, and are searching for an exquisitely comfortable night’s rest, look no further. For anyone in need of some inspiration, this is what it’s like to stay in one of the finest luxury hotels in Singapore.

A Sense of Refinement

Looking out onto the dazzling Marina Bay waterfront, The Fullerton Bay Hotel enjoys prime positioning within Singapore’s vibrant heritage precinct. Paying heed to the elegance and culture of yesteryear, this is a hotel that embodies sophisticated refinement.

Honoured with a position within the top one per cent of hotels in Singapore by TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2017, The Fullerton Bay Hotel combines personalised service and exquisite facilities within a magnificent setting.

And what about that view? With its enviable waterfront location, this charming hotel provides perfectly picturesque views over Marina Bay from many of its rooms and suites, but perhaps none more so than the Presidential Suite.

Luxuriate the Senses

Guests staying in the luxurious Presidential Suite can enjoy a panoramic view of the Marina Bay waterfront and city skyline from both the expansive floor-to-ceiling windows in every room, and from the privacy of the suite’s exclusive balcony.

Imagine looking out onto the shimmering water at sunset, watching as reds, pinks and oranges soar across the sky. Observe as one-by-one, lights within Singapore’s towering buildings illuminate the cityscape – all from the tranquil retreat that is the Presidential Suite.

Sprawling across 152 square metres, the suite is spacious and perfectly laid out. Lavishly appointed, it is decked out in opulent golden acer, with rosewood wall panels, creamy marble and perfectly positioned embellishments of tasteful artworks.

Guests can relax in the generous living and dining area, unwind in the lounge and game room, or get some work done in the study. Come night time, they can shut out the world within the tranquil bedroom, sink into bed to luxuriate in Egyptian cotton quality linen, enfolded in a glorious goose down duvet and pillows.

There is just so much to love about living as a king or queen – or indeed, as a president. From helpful services such as express checkout and a shoe shine service, to customised Bottega Veneta collection room amenities and complimentary IDD calls to 15 selected countries, these are the little things that make a stay in the Presidential Suite an exceptional experience.

But really, whether staying in the opulent Presidential Suite, or any of the other beautifully appointed hotel suites and rooms, each stay at The Fullerton Bay Hotel is bound to be more than a little special.

5 creative ways to take advantage of your vacation photos

The digital era brought, among other things, a huge increase in the sheer amount of pictures everyone takes during the holidays. Years ago, you were limited to a couple of rolls of film, or had to buy your own postcards from wherever you went. Now, a standard DSLR can help you take a few thousands of photos relying on one memory card. Ever more, most smartphones take great pictures, and it’s not rare to come back with 500 snapshots after a few days on holiday. The real question is not how many pictures you take. It’s what you do with them afterwards.

Image source: besttravelphotos.tumblr.com

We’ve all found ourselves in the situation that we have thousands and thousands of pictures on our computers or phones, but never really take advantage of them. We don’t use them to decorate our home, to improve our level of comfort or to remind us of great trips. For those of you who have this problem, we’ve come up with a list of 5 great ideas you can try to take advantage of the pictures you have from your travels.

Here is the list:

  1. Print them in large scale

Don’t limit yourself to printing small versions, 10x15cm, of your favourite photos. If the resolution of this picture is good, try getting large versions of them printed, either on photographic paper or on canvas. These can then be used to decorate your home with unique pictures, rather than store-bought standard art. An example of this canvas printing from the Canvas Factory is below:

Image Source: Thecanvasfactory.com.au

  1. Use them to create and decorate objects around the house

Print a large amount of photos and stick them on your closet door. You’ll remember the great times you had on your holidays every time you get dressed. You can also decorate other objects from your home, like book cases, wall clocks or doors to make the entire place look more unique and show more of your personality.

  1. Create your own postcards

If you enjoy sending out postcards to your family and friends, why not send them pictures you took yourself, rather than generic ones you’ve bought for 1$? Making a postcard out of a photo is an easy task for any photo store, and doesn’t cost much at all. This gesture will surely impress the recipients.

  1. Create fridge magnets

This is one of the easiest, yet overlooked ideas. Instead of buying fridge magnets, use your photos to make your own, inscribe them, and then put them up on your fridge. You’ll fill the entire space after a few trips and can always see all the cool places you’ve visited every time you enter the kitchen.

  1. Organize them in hard-copy albums

This really isn’t a very creative idea, but people often overlook it and you have to remember the old faithful ideas are exactly that for a reason. The feeling of photographic paper in your hands is just as great as it was 20 or 30 years ago, and printed pictures tend to have a longer lifespan that digital ones. Do you really want to lose all your pictures due to a hard drive malfunction or if your social media accounts get hacked? A photo album is an inexpensive way of keeping these memories alive for as long as you live.

Image credit: Pinterest Travel

We hope we helped you with some ideas regarding what you can do with your vacation photos. There are much more things that can be tried, things different from the standard uploads on your Facebook, Instagram or Picasa accounts. Set your creativity free, and if you implement any of the ideas above (or others), please don’t hesitate to share the result with us!