UNIGLOBE Donaldson Travel Cambridge's Blog

Southeast Asia Travel: The Philippine Mayon Volcano

 

 

Perhaps your idea of a cheap vacation entails economical road trips and staying at home during holidays, but it’s not entirely impossible to get more of what you worked hard for on a great yet inexpensive summer vacation. 
 
Read on learn more on how to spend less on your trip this summer season.
 
1. Filling up Your Car
 
You could definitely make the most of your gas mileage by driving on a fixed velocity, receiving gas reward points via a grocery loyalty card as well as taking advantage of cooler and denser petroleum by gassing up in the morning. 
 
2. Invite Friends
 
Moreover, you could shell out less cash if you split expenses with your friends. A boat trip, a beach house, a rented van or an entire meal will be less expensive if you could rely on others to share the trip’s expenditures with you. 
 
3. Prepare as Much as Possible
 
If you’re planning a road trip this summer, it would definitely help if you prepare as much as possible to lessen the chances of buying necessities on the road. Prepare your water, food, toiletries and the like if possible. If you’re traveling via plane, then this is otherwise not recommended as you’d absolutely spend more on checked in baggage.
 
4. Advance Payment
 
Hotels and packaged tours that are paid in advance reduce one’s need for more pocket money when the time comes for your summer vacation. If this is not possible, then saving cash every month and allotting this for your summer trip next year is a great idea.
 
5. Special Offers
 
Wait for special deals and discounts that are usually provided every now and then by many resorts, hotels and even airlines. If you’re planning on spending a summer vacation in Southeast Asia, then you should check out numerous airline websites everyday to get hold of their regular airfare promos. Most of the time, you could travel from one country to another for merely less than $50!
 
On the whole, with these tips, you could definitely still enjoy a summer vacation without breaking your bank.
 

So start planning a cheap summer escapade today!

 

 

British Columbia is one of Canada’s many provinces, and while it also features skylines fit for a Canadian province, what truly makes it wonderful is its natural beauty.
 
The mountainous areas of BC generally convince outdoorsy travelers to not only settle within the confines of its cities but to further explore and enjoy an adventurous and dynamic holiday trip into the mountains. 
 
This was what BombFlowTV did during their four-week visit to British Columbia. They share,
 
Starting out near Fernie BC at the Elk River, the crew travels up to Revelstoke for some big drop huckin, then back down to the Southwest of BC for the Squamish area classics, then to the classic skookumchuck narrows for some playboating. The crew had an incredible 4 weeks, and even brushed up on their hockey skills.
 

Contact us to get started today!

 

The main travel attractions in Serbia are its mountains and villages, but its cuisine is also one of the many things that travelers have become fond of. read more

Mt. Everest

 

 

Situated in the Himalayas, Mt. Everest never fails to draw in bold and experienced mountain climbers and even able mountaineers who are prepared to get the help of professional guides just so they could reach the peak of this world-renowned mountain. 
 
However, travelers who are not fit to climb this 29,029 ft-summit still has the chance to see it without necessarily breaking out a sweat or experiencing harmful illnesses like altitude sickness. Read on to learn the four simple steps to experience Mt. Everest without exactly climbing it.
 
1. Shigatse Valley
 
 
Right at the foot of Mt. Everest is Shigatse Valley, wherein a group of towns await for you. Aside from seeing the summit up close, this also gives you the opportunity to see vibrant markets, archeological ruins and natural hot springs.
 
2. Rongbuk Monastery
 
If you consider yourself physically fit, then embark on a 48-mile trek to the Rongbuk Monastery. While this may be quite far, it is absolutely less tiring than ascending the Mt. Everest. 
 
Hire a local guide while still in the Shigatse Valley and the measly fee that you pay won’t amount to the priceless view of the mountain that you’ll ultimately see once you get to the monastery.
 
3. Base Camp
 
Six miles from the Rongbuk Monastery, you may opt to continue hiking to the 17,000-feet base camp. You just have to know that this hike is only for people who are physically-fit and do not experience altitude sickness. 
 
4. Everest Experience
 
For a more comfortable and yet costlier look of the Mt. Everest, you could purchase an ‘Everest Experience’ plane ticket from Buddha Air, in which you’d be flown across the prominent mountain and effortlessly see its splendor.
 
So who says you need to completely climb Mt. Everest just to have a taste of it? Follow these four steps, and you’d encounter almost the same experience as taking the earth’s highest summit on foot.
 

So start planning your trip to the Mt. Everest today!

Photo Credit

A View of Saint John City in New Brunswick

 

 

Even though the province of New Brunswick was once popular only to sensational celebrities and affluent sportsmen, just about anyone could now visit this place even when they are following a thrifty travel budget plan. 
 
Read on so that you could learn more about realistic money-saving tips when traveling to Saint John, New Brunswick.
 
1. Accommodation
 
Only ten minutes away from downtown Saint John is a line of budget hotels that amazingly features not only cheap rates but also an admirable panorama of the Bay of Fundy.
 
2. Off-Peak Season
 
As expected, off-peak season starts in the winter, from November to February, when visitors are not in any way interested to travel to Saint John. This allows you to enjoy affordable hotel rates while not bothering to go outside and suffer from the unpleasantly cold weather. How you may ask? This is, of course, possible via the indoor walkway system that the city endows you with. 
 
3. Parking
 
If you are traveling by car, then you could deliberately keep away from metered parking spaces and scourge the city for small side streets that provide free parking. 
 
Overall, traveling to Saint John need not be expensive just as long as you follow these money-saving tips!
 

So start planning an economical trip to Saint John, New Brunswick today!

Photo Credit

No one can deny the fact that Hawaii is considered to be one of the most-visited states in America, and while almost all of its islands has something unique to offer to its visitors, the Maui Island, in particular, is one of the places that could be considered as plain paradise. read more

 

 

Belgium’s beautiful and rich heritage is evident in its cities where Art Nouveau and medieval architecture abound. 
 
Fine dining, arts and fashion are not the only tourism magnets in the country, but also the natural wonders and numerous activities that could be done in Belgium’s countryside area. 
 
Whether you love basking under the heat of the sun on the sandy beaches in this little nation or trek the dense forests, ridges and hills in Ardennes, you’ll surely find something to fit your mood for adventure and relaxation. 
 
Watch Shahzad Thomas’ video blog, and see what other activities you can do in Belgium.

 

 

While other islands also attract millions of visitors, examples of which are Lana, Oahu, Kauai and Maui, the Big Island stands out among them all with almost eight million travelers visiting this in the recent years. 
 
Without a single doubt, the gorgeous beaches as well as the unlimited outdoor activities that could be enjoyed in the Big Island lures in more travelers. 
 
Check out Steven Alan’s video, and witness the Big Island and its compelling exquisiteness. The user shares,
 
 
We had a lot of fun walking around on top of volcanoes, climbing to the top of Mauna Kea, and cliff diving at the southern most tip of the United States, South Point.

 

As Amman is identified to be one of the several westernized cities in the realm of Arab nations, it is one of the cosmopolitan cities that greatly attract a good deal of travelers worldwide.

Aside from students desiring to work, live or study in this politically and historically-rich city, it has also become a home to hundreds of Western expats who have come to fall in love with this commercial and cultural center.

Take a glimpse at a typical day in this Middle Eastern capital city, and watch a young German graphic and type designer, named Yanone, explore its attractions and sample its cuisines.


Just like what is depicted in the video uploaded by KenyaTravel, this East African country could definitely quench your thirst for wildlife migration, game drive and real, live monkeys, big cats, baboons, buffalos and antelopes.

The user encourages travelers to check out his country, and “discover how many ways you'll say "Jambo" when you discover Magical Kenya. From the coast of Kenya to the inland, Kenya has many delights in store.”

Start your trip today!

Visiting the Wooden Churches in Ukraine The wooden churches in Ukraine date as far back as the 15th century, when Christianity was first introduced to its people. read more


Endorsing the slogan, ‘Active Yangsan’, one simply could not help being ‘active’ as this little city does not only provide walking pathways made of track rubber, but this also offers hills, mountains and other hiking trails to further encourage everyone to keenly join its campaign.

Check out Mica Prazak’s video, and watch him experience an active lifestyle during a visit in Yangsan. He describes the video as his:

“—weekend trip to Yangsan. It is a small, but growing town a little north of Busan. My friends Jin-Ho and Young-Gu work in a hospital there.
I managed to climb some hills and see the sights. It was really rewarding, and exactly the kind of traveling I want to do during this year.”

Start your trip today with our expert consultants!

Top 10 Things to do in Cape Town, South Africa

 

 

  1. Take a trip along the Stellenbosch wine route. Stellenbosch is the first wine route in all of South Africa dating back to 1971. With over 150 plus wineries, there is sure to be a vintage you adore.

 

  1. Table Mountain. Take a cable car to the top of Table Mountain for scenic views and to experience the grandeur of one of nature’s finest achievements.

     

  1. Visit Victoria and Alfred waterfront. Experience the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s most beautiful waterfronts. The area is full of shopping and dining options and is a people watchers' dream.

 

  1. Kirstenbosch National Botanic Gardens. Voted the most beautiful garden in Africa, Kirstenbosch is home to over 7000 species and covers over 36 hectares - it's spectacular and worth a visit.

 

  1. Iziko South African museum. Founded in 1825 and visited by millions you will leave this museum with a firm foundation of the culture and history of South Africa.

 

  1. The Cape of Good Hope. Where the land air and ocean unite like old friends and your senses come alive. The most southern point in all of South Africa, the cape point features spectacular views, fine food and nature encounters. Make memories to last a life time.

 

  1. Cage diving with sharks. The best time to see sharks in South Africa is between April and September, and there's no better place to see them than False Bay, located 25 minutes outside of Cape Town. 

 

  1. Robben Island. Visit the legendary island by catamaran and witness the cell in which Nelson Mandela spent over twenty years of his life. The exhibitions and tours of the island are spectacular.

 

  1. Go whale watching. The best place to see whales is between Simons town and Fish Hoek. Simply set up camp and wait if you're there during the right season.

 

  1. Two Oceans Museum. Witness the Indian and Atlantic Ocean meet while making new friends with some of the most beautiful fish in the world.

 

This charming fairy tale city in West Flanders has so much to offer. Travelers can enjoy everything from the historical architecture and Flemish museums, to the local markets and green parks, to the innovative food and excellent nightlife. There's much to see and do, and if you're traveling through Europe, taking out 36 hours to spend in Bruges might be the best part of your trip. 

Ingrid K. Williams outlined her long weekend in Bruges for the NYTimes, 36 Hours: Bruges, Belgium. What an incredible trip! Here's an excerpt:

"With the absurdly high concentration of chocolate shops in town, it may seem as if every other storefront is peddling piles of pralines and trays of truffles. When succumbing to this temptation, seek out Bruges’s most innovative spots like Dominique Persoone’s shop, the Chocolate Line (Simon Stevinplein 19; 32-50-34-10-90; thechocolateline.be), packed with creative confections and fanciful flavor combinations like bitter ganache with vodka, passion fruit and lime. At the newcomer BbyB (Sint-Amandsstraat 39; 32-50-70-57-60; bbyb.be), however, the emphasis is on taste without tricks. Opened in October 2010, the sleek, all-white store is stocked with simple bars of fine Belgian chocolate wrapped in Pantone-style numbered boxes; try No. 15 with milk chocolate, hazelnut and babelutte (a regional caramel-like candy) or No. 50 with dark chocolate, tonka beans and lemon."

When you're ready to book, contact us at Donaldson Travel

Greetings, Travellers! We wanted to share this online resource we came across - an interactive graphic map that lets you know where it's hot and when in major European cities by their climate. Perfect for planning your next trip!

According to an article by TravelingGreener.com,

"BBC Weather and the MET office, the UK's national weather service, are the sources of the climate data on 70+ cities and 36 countries in Europe. Map users hold their mouse over a city destination and find out monthly temperatures, hours of sunlight, rainfall and humidity levels."

Click here for the map

For more ideas on where to travel and how you can get there, contact us at UNIGLOBE Donaldson Travel!

 

Here at Donaldson Travel, we always have our ear to the ground to get the scoop on the latest and greatest in travel tips and news. We know that this Spring a lot of you are dreaming about sandy beaches, roaring oceans and sunny weather. Florida is a top destination and we can help you plan a trip from the white beaches of the Panhandle to the tropical fun of Miami. 

One idea is Boca Raton, which in addition to its famous beaches has a few other neat attactions you'll want to check out. For example, Boca is home to the Caldwell Theatre Company, the longest-running professional theater in South Florida, as well as the Red Reef Park, where snorkeling right from the shore can bring a visitor to a living reef without the expense of renting a boat. 

As far as where to stay, we recently read an article by the NYTimes - "Hotel Review: Boca Beach Club in Boca Raton, Fla" (Donna Paul). The Club "offers a full beach vacation and access to a high-end resort" - an all inclusive spot only five miles east of downtown Boca, "in a chic area where palm-tree-lined streets that end at the ocean, mansions and upscale boutiques are the norm."

Here's an excerpt:

"Boca Beach Club is for beach lovers, fitness and sports enthusiasts and those who appreciate good design in the mix. A room overlooking the ocean, which is the way to go here, is worth the price bump."

Check out the full article, and here's the hotel website for more information.

Start your next trip today with Uniglobe Donaldson Travel!

 

Argentina is famous for its world-class beef, and whenever most people think of the country they picture gauchos tending to cattle in the expansive green pampas, and the perfectly prepared steak available in the fine dining culture of Buenos Aires. For the committed vegetarian though, this poses a challenge in how to enjoy the capital's cuisine and still stick to your preffered diet.

Luckily, it's not only possible but many have found the vegetarian food in the city to be be satisfying and savory. Check out some of these restaurants:

Granix

1st Floor, Avenida Florida 165 
Mon-Fri, Lunch Only 11am - 3pm 

Granix offers vegetarian options served as both hot and cold entrees, and has on its menu fresh salads and juices, and tasty desserts. Go for the all you can eat buffet (30 pesos) or take-out, a cheaper option where food is measured by weight. Bring your lunch to the nearby Plaza de Mayo. 

Pizzeria Guerin

Avenida Corrientes 1368 
Open Everyday 

Distinctly Argentinian, porteño style pizza. Simple, one topping, thin and crusty. Try the “muzzeralla,” and enjoy a slice at the bar.

Olsen

Gorriti 5870 
Tues-Thurs 12pm-1am; Fri-Sat 12:30pm-2:30am, sometimes later if busy; Sun 10am-1am 

Olsen is one of the top food destinations in the city, and while it is not purely vegetarian, options like the goat cheese ravioli make this a must. Dinner starts with a small assortment of bagels, and the food is well-thought out and delicious. Otherwise, go for the Sunday Brunch, the 60 varieties of vodka, or the English speaking staff. 

Bio

Humboldt 2199 
Mon 10am-3pm; Tues-Sun 10am-1am 

Bio is a well-known vegetarian restaurant that replaces beef and chicken components with home-made seitan and tofu. All ingredients are organic and grown or produced in Argentina. Try the couscous or the Thai Rice.

La Puerto Rico

Adolfo Alsina 416 
Mon-Fri 7am-8pm; Sat 8am-12am; Sun 12pm-7pm 

La Puerto Rico is a genuine, unpretentious dinner and show. The space has been the setting of many Spanish movies. Enjoy the tango while supping on some vegetarian dishes. 

Meraviglia

Gorriti 5796 
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm; Sat 9am-7pm 

A small bakery slash cafe, you can linger a while at the Meraviglia. On the menu are fresh fruit juices, vegetarian dishes and sandwiches, falafel, fresh salads, and more. 

La Fabrica del Taco

Gorriti 5062 
Tues-Sun 1pm-Close 

Stop by this Mexican restaurant for some quick and cheap veggie tacos.

Photo Credit

 

The old joke about vacations is that they often wear us out as much as working. In our quest to get away from it all we tend to go a little nuts trying to relax. Of course, booking with an experienced consultant can eliminate much of that stress, but whether we're traveling with kids or looking for adventure it's easy to get caught up in the trip and forget what it's all about. 

I travel for many reasons, one being it gives me perspective. It reminds me how big this world of ours is, and I try to use that context to reflect on my own life. I like to try new things, meet new people, sample new foods. I like learning new things about myself. 

Every so often, I check out the SoloTravelerBlog.com website, written by Janice Waugh. It's a great site about being able to travel well in your golden years, and to even do it alone. Her latest post - "Zen Travel - Solo Travel" really highlights what it means to find that sense of inner peace when you're on a trip. 

"Zen is about being totally aware of now – who you are, what you feel in the present. The past and the future don’t matter. Neither do others outside yourself. Whether you are traveling with people or not, Zen travel is solo travel."

What is your idea of zen travel? Is it being challenged? Relaxed? Alone? With your loved ones? Let us know!

 

Located in  in Portland, Oregan, the Lan Su Chinese Garden is one of the city's greatest treasures. Since 2000, this 501(c)(3) organization has "provided a window into Chinese culture, history and way of thinking for the 1.4 million visitors who have entered its gates since its opening." 

The garden cultivates a multitude of authetic Chinese botanicals, and located inisde the Garden's Tower of Cosmic Reflections is the Tao of Tea, a local tea company promoting the art and culture of tea. 

The center is a place of tranquility and relaxation, a perfect spot to stop one afternoon during your trip to Portland. All ages are welcome. Plan your visit now! The gardens have all kinds ofevents going on. 

Winter Hours

November 1 - March 31; 10am - 5pm

Admission

$8.50 (USD) Adults

$7.50 Seniors

$6.50 Students (under 18 or college students with ID)

Address: NW 3rd and Everett

Phone: 503.228.8131

Let us help you plan that trip to Portland! We can take out all of the leg work, so you just need to enjoy yourself.

Sometimes, it's the small things that really matter. 

This is especially true when you travel and are without the conveniences of home. 

Sean O'Neill of BudgetTravel.com posted a list of "8 Items You Will Never Pack ... But Should." A lot of these things you probably have around the house and tossing them in your travel bag could come in handy on your next trip. 

Among the list are bandannas - something that I know from personal experience is incredibly useful for a variety of reasons, especially given how easy it is to pack. I've used it for all of the reasons listed in the article: "hand towel, lens cleaner, eye mask, hair tie, headband, scarf, cooling device ... pillow ... sling for a sprained arm ... " and particularly, a "hobo handbag." That last one I've definitely used, whether it was for collecting shells on the beach or keeping jewelry together.

One item I never thought of before is a travel mug:

"To prevent damage, transport sunglasses or delicate souvenirs in an empty travel mug with a wide mouth—just make sure it's got a secure screw top. During your trip, the mug can be an ecofriendly to-go cup or a great decoy for stashing valuables in your hotel room (a coffee-stained thermos is an unlikely target for thieves)."

Check out the full article here.

Start your next trip today with Uniglobe Donaldson! 

Holland is the region in the western part of the Netherlands. Today, Holland techincally consists of the two Dutch provinces of North Holland and South Holland, which together include the Netherlands' three largest cities: country capital Amsterdam; seat of government The Hague; and Rotterdam, home of Europe's largest post. 

Holland is a beautiful region with plenty to offer the traveler. It's absolutely lovely in the spring when the tulips come into bloom. Check out this video by Carlos Esteves - it "includes Amsterdam, Keukenhof and North and South Holland regions in the Netherlands."

Contact us to plan your next trip!

Everyone once in a while I come across some place new that I could never have imagined existed. One such place are the Solentiname Islands in Nicaragua. 

I wanted to share this article by Steve Bailey for the NYTimes ("In Lush Nicaragua, Legacy of a Priest.")

Familiar to those interested in primitivist art, scattered across the island are paintings and carvings by local artists, depicting the rich and lush colors of the wildlife. 

Much of this island grew from the passion and vision of Father Cardenal, a native of Grenada, Nicaragua, who "ended up nurturing not just a political consciousness but also a community of artists that is still thriving decades later."

"The first painters were me, my brother Alejandro and José Arana,” Ms. Guevara Silva said of Father Cardenal’s art project, which began in 1967. “He financed the materials and told us to paint what we wanted.” Thus was born Solentiname’s distinctive art style: highly detailed oil and acrylic paintings of idealized rain forests and watery scenes populated by white egrets, blue herons and oropendolas, the black birds whose unusual hanging nests are often seen in the paintings, too. “People discovered we could sell our paintings,” she said, both to visitors as souvenirs of the islands and to collectors interested in primitivist or naïve art."

You can stay at the Albergue Celentiname, the first inn built on the island, originally at the suggestion of Father Cardenal, and visit the distinctly beautiful Church where he held mass. Check out his article for additional photos of this incredible destination. 

 

And like much of Nicaragua, the island itself is gorgeous. I haven't met anyone to have visited this country and not have returned entirely satisfied with their travel experience.

Start your today with UNIGLOBE Donaldson!

In conjunction with our incredible 12-Day Mission to China, 2012 exclusive travel package, I wanted to share this video about language in Beijing. I LOVE this series by the EF International Language Centers; they've also done London, Madrid and a few others but this was is especially great. 

The video is very cute and inspiring! Check it out. 

Come join us on our next travel adventure! 

Finland was recently ranked one of the most peaceful, competitive and livable countries. The incredible Finnish landscape is covered by thick pine forests, rolling hills and a labyrinth of lakes and inlets. Much the land is pristine as it contains 35 national parks from the Southern shores of the Gulf of Finland to the high fells of Lapland. The region however is also highly urbanized with many cultural events and activities. 

Suomenlinna is an inhabited sea fortress built on six islands, today within Helsinki. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Finland’s most popular tourist attractions.

 

I could go on, but I want to mention an article I recently came across by Jim O'Donnell for BootsnAll.com - Five Island Treasures of Finland's Baltic Coast. It goes into the history of the formation of Finland's nearly 180,000 (!) islands, many of which are now National Parks, Biosphere Reserves or World Heritage Sites. As he writes,

"Finland's islands are a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.  This is the place where the sky meets the sea and where the feeling is that of being at the edges of the Earth. The air is quiet and the sea relatively calm.  On the aquamarine waters of the inlets, sailboats glide under candy blue skies filled with playful terns and cotton-ball clouds. Sea geese pass overhead, eagles turn far above, swans crowd on an outer edge next to pink masses of granite.  Steer a small rented boat – or better yet, a kayak – through groups of eiders to fish for large pike and trout.  Then there is the silence and the peace, the sound of the waves, the breeze off the sea."

Check out the full article for a complete list on where to start your adventure through this amazing place - Jurmo, Utö, Nötö, Aspö & Houtskär - you don't want to miss out. 

When you're ready to go, contact us at Uniglobe Donaldson - we have the experience and expertise to plan and book your perfect trip!

It's hard to pinpoint a top destination in Italy. Rome, for the history? Venice, for the romance? The Amalfi Coast for sheer beauty?

One of our favorite places to visit is Tuscany. This incredible region is known for its gorgeous landscapes, its rich artistic legacy and its influence on high culuture. Regarded as the true birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Tuscany has been home to many influential people in the history of arts and science, now evidenced by the many museums you can visit. Six Tuscan localities are designated World Heritage Sites, and there are 120 protected nature reserves. 

Most especially, Tuscany is known for its unique culinary tradition and famous wines. Earthy flavors and sophisticated dishes make this a foodie heaven.

Now, we're all about eating while on vacation. But why not take it a step further?

There are many, many cooking classes available in the region. One of our favorites is Organic Tuscany. Much more than a cooking school, a week of these hands-on cooking classes in the middle of the Tuscan countryside is not an experience easily forgotten. 

From the website:

"The accommodation will be on a gorgeous, lovingly restored farm which has 6 hectares of olive groves and vineyards. Some of the rooms we will occupy will be frescoed rooms in the elegant manor house, others in a charming cottage next to the ancient oil press. The cooking classes will take place on site, in a spacious, sunny ground floor kitchen in what used to be the wine-making cellar.

The farm has been recently and lovingly restored. Five full years of sustainable conservation work recovered unique architectural features and discovered and restored frescoes. Electricity and heat are generated using renewable sources."

Sourced from fresh, local ingredients, you get to cook with an intimate group of passionate chefs some of the region's favorite dishes. The week-long experience also includes wine-paired lunches, dinners, walking tours, picnics, basket of souvenirs, recipes and more.  

With raving reviews on Trip Advisor, Organic Tuscany sounds like the perfect getaway.

To make this trip happen, contact us at Uniglobe Donaldson. We can make your travel dreams come true!