As of January 1, 2020, “Holland” — the storied land of wooden shoes, windmills, bicycles, and tulips — is no more.
Did it finally succumb to flooding, with little Dutch children no longer able to stick their fingers in the dykes to hold back the rushing waters?
No, the country isn’t disappearing, just its commonly used monniker.
It seems that the name “Holland” has fallen victim to a government rebranding effort designed to ease overtourism in Amsterdam and its nearby tourist magnets such as The Hague, Delft, and Haarlem, all part of historical Holland.
The official name of the country — the Netherlands — encompasses more than historical Holland, and the Dutch government is spending €200,000 on the rebranding so that tourists will expand their horizons and visit its… Continue reading
You may have experienced it yourself when battling humongous lines to enter San Marco in Venice, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, or the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, or when you found yourself in a wave of fellow travelers struggling to get a peek at the changing of the guard at palaces in London, Athens, or Prague.
You may have been put off by hordes of drunken revelers in Amsterdam, Mallorca, or Berlin (of which, we trust, you were not one yourself).
You may have found small Alaskan ports or Croatian islands too overrun by your fellow cruise ship passengers to appreciate the beauty that attracted you to such cruise itineraries in the first place.
You may have sought out privacy in Iceland’s hot springs, only to find them packed with Game of Thrones fans drawn… Continue reading
How many days in advance should you book a cruise to get the best price?
In part that depends on your destination, according to the website Cruisewatch.com, which uses artificial intelligence to study trends in worldwide cruising. In this case, says a Cruisewatch press release, they undertook a “massive study [that] examined 18,983 sailings by region with departures in 2017.”
They also conducted an “intensive analysis of over 18 million data points” (which are, of course, too numerous to detail in a press release or just about anywhere for that matter, but we are nonetheless grateful for modern technology).
Cruisewatch says the massive study found a “surprising trend: as the date of departure approaches, cruise prices fluctuate to a greater extent.” Some regions, they note, show as much as a 71… Continue reading
Every once in a while some travel information crosses my desk (well, appears in my email) that I feel an immediate need to pass along. Such is the case with the floating Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa, which is due to open in the fall of 2018.
The six-room hotel and spa is said to sit in the ice during winter and float on the river during summer.
The location is in far northern Sweden in the area that’s renowned for having the best Northern Lights viewing in the world. The river is the Lule, which freezes in winter and thaws in summer, allowing for the above-mentioned sitting and floating.
Just about every travel publication, digital or print, now seems to start the New Year with a top ten list of “where to go this year,” counting down to the most irresistible spot on the planet.
One year, the hot ticket may be to Croatia, the next year to Colombia, the next year to Canada. (For my own facetious take on where Americans would be going in 2017 — with nearly half the country fleeing to Canada for extended vacations, the other near-half checking out the newly discovered charms of Russia, and the remaining in-betweeners headed to Cuba — check out my post from December 29, 2016. Seems so long ago…)
My own (rather cynical) theory about top ten lists of this nature is that they mostly reflect where editors of said publications want to… Continue reading
Today’s guest post, by Aussie-expat writer Brittnay, is about some ways to save money while traveling in Europe — which can be a very expensive destination these days. I’ve added my own comments after each tip, usually to expand on them a bit.
While these tips only scratch the surface of the topic, they’re all valuable ones to keep in mind while planning your next European vacation.
Although travelling through Europe can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be.
We’ve put together five tips that have allowed us to visit 21 European countries in the past two years! Using these tips enable you to experience the cities and towns you visit more like the locals do — and that’s usually a good way to save money.
- Get a City Welcome Card
City… Continue reading
My favorite method of traveling through Europe is by train, and Americans are fortunate to be able to buy Eurail Passes, which offer a variety of ways to tour the continent by rail.
You can choose among the One Country Pass — allowing you to thoroughly explore, say, France, Italy, or Spain; the Select Pass, which lets you choose among two, three, or four bordering countries; or the global pass, good for exploring the whole of Europe, up to 28 countries.
And from now until December 31, you can purchase Eurail Passes at 20 percent off their usual price.
On top of that, you’ll get an extra 15 percent off if two of you travel together on all segments. (Make sure you choose you travel partner carefully, since you will just have one pass with two names on it,… Continue reading
For baby boomers, saving money on accommodations can be tougher than for young travelers.
Dormitory-style hostels and CouchSurfing may have much less appeal than for those in their 20s or 30s.
Camping — at least the type (unlike “glamping” or glamorous camping) that leaves you trying to get a decent night’s sleep in a bag on the ground — can be tough on the back (with legitimate concerns that you might not be able to straighten up at all in the morning).
But, as guest poster Jesse Miller contends, “It’s still possible to enjoy a five-star housing experience without paying a five-star price.” The key, Miller says, “is to live like the locals do. This means avoiding more traditional options (such as pricey hotels and resorts) and immersing yourself in opportunities to interact with the… Continue reading
Sometimes you can only get away for a weekend, and the folks at weekenGO.com (I like the name) commissioned a thorough study to find the best cities around the world in which to spend 48 hours.
They looked at criteria such as walkability, accommodations, dining, bars, cultural events, museums and galleries, green spaces, safety and security, tolerance, and more, surveying 1,000 cities in all.
And along with overall winners, they picked the best cities for three different groups: millennials, families, and yes, I’m glad to say, baby boomers.
The list is heavy on European cities, for good reason — they’re usually easy to get around, have lots of activities going on, are rich in historic and artistic treasures, etc.
Now, most Americans aren’t likely to jet off to London — the overall… Continue reading
Today’s guest post is from travel blogger Shawn Michaels, who loves to write about his outdoor travel experiences ans shop for hiking gear. You can read his blog, which focuses on hiking boots, thesmartlad.com, here.
In this post, Shawn reveals his seven top hiking spots in Europe. Note that most of these are not exactly walks in the park — although one is just that, and another is relatively easy — but active backpacking boomers can set their sights on some or all of them.
I was only familiar with a few of these, but the photos alone make me want to grab my hiking sticks and see how far I can go through some of Europe’s most enticing scenery.
Story and photos by Shawn Michaels
Croatia’s Plitvička Jezera (also… Continue reading