10 Ways to Save on Hotels

Pink Piggy Bank On Top Of A Pile Of One Dollar BillsWhenever you are planning for the perfect vacation getaway, your budget can turn out to be a big hurdle between you and your dream destination. Hotel bills can potentially exhaust all your vacation funds and ruin all the desired fun. To manage expenses effectively and maximize the fun out of your vacations, consider the following 10 ways for saving up!

1. Stick to Your Budget Limit

First and foremost, sort your finances, draft up a proper budget limit, and clarify your priorities. When you have a specific amount set aside, it is easier to plan up your vacation spending within the limit. Most importantly, stick to the decided limit and you will not have to worry about building up on debt or compromising on other planned entertainment. If you are up for maximum entertainment, fine dining, and shopping, you could opt for a cheaper accommodation since you will not be spending much time in the hotel room anyways.

2. Stay in the Hotel during Off-Season

During the off-season, travelling can cost you a lot less. The hotels offer discounts, there are fewer crowds, and you can easily go sightseeing. If you have a flexible schedule and travel during the off-season, it could work to your advantage. Another handy tip, stay during the midweek to save up on costs.

3. Do the Hotel and Flight Reservation Together

A number of websites like Expedia give you the option to save money by booking the hotel along with the flight reservation. Look up such sites and do one reservation to save up on the combined costs.

4. Research Hotel Prices Online in Advance

Hotel prices tend to vary from day to day and room to room. You would definitely want to look up the prices online and know exactly what you are up for. Doing research beforehand can help you keep off trouble in the long-run and plan easily. If the stay may get extended, shortened, or there is a peak night in between, cost considerations can be made accordingly. So book wisely, and make sure that the hotel bill is adjusted accordingly.

5. Put Social Media to Good Use

social_mediaSocial media has completely altered the ways hotels compete and market their services. Quite often special sales and discount offers are given on social media pages to attract more people, improve brand image, and win more customers. You can join these pages on popular social media and networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and promote the hotel or participate in their activities to win packages and discounts.

6. Choose Places where Kids Can Eat and Stay for Free

Look for hotels that allow kids to stay with their parents in a room. In fact, it would be better if you can find hotels that give kids-free-stay incentives. If the hotel offers free meals for the kids or complimentary breakfast, it could bring down the costs for you!

7. Opt for Eating in

Food can cost you a major chunk of money when you are on a family vacation. The best way to save up is eating in your hotel room. Most rooms would have an in-room refrigerator or a mini-bar. You can get this clear and stock it up with the basic snacks items and drinks such as milk, yogurt, soft drinks and fruit. Soda and soft drinks from the store would cost you less and cereal breakfast could go a long way.

8. Join a Loyalty Program

kreditkartenTo encourage customers to visit and stay in same hotel several hotels offer free loyalty programs. You can search these up and join up a few shortlisted ones of your choice. Participating in these programs could get you free rooms for future vacations.

9.  Consider Booking a Club Level

Some hotels have the options of a club level. When you book a room at the club level, you can take advantage of several amenities available at this level. The added cost of the room of the level would be justified by the offered amenities.

10. Look out For Deals and Coupons

Get creative with your booking and sign up for sites that offer deals and coupons on hotels. Getting a few of these coupons could help you keep your cash in your pockets for longer.

Sources:
http://www.familyvacationcritic.com/10-money-saving-hotel-tips/art/

Malaga Sightseeing

Malaga, one of the most inspiring cities in Spain, lies on the Costa del Sol along the Mediterranean. The city is located 270 km south of Alicante. With many impressive sights, the city draws the attention of a number of tourists each year. Some popular museums, cathedrals, museums, and churches have made it an amazing travelling spot of tourists as well as locals.

Malaga Alcazaba

Alcazaba, one of the best reserves, is located at the centre of the city. The name of the fortress, Alcazaba, translated as citadel in English, honors the roman structure. It was built by King Badis of the Zirid Dynasty in 1040 so that the royal family could seek protection from invaders. The fortress is situated at the highest point and is known for its extra-ordinary gardens and wide views of the city and sea. Tourists enjoy two architectural pieces while visiting the fortress; one is Alcabaza and the other is Gibralfaro castle.

Malaga Cathedral

Malaga Cathedral, also known as Cathedral de la Encarnación, was planned by Diego de Siloe in 16th – 18th century and is unfinished. Since the right tower and façade is incomplete, the cathedral is called ‘La Manguita’ – the one-armed woman. It stretches up to 115 meters. Since the construction remained unfinished, the cathedral has three different structural architectures. The central and top is Renaissance, interior is Gothic, and the tower and openings are Baroque. The church’s ceiling has 23 domes, a unique feature that no other church in Spain possesses. Visitors would surely not want to miss such a historic church on their trip to Malaga.

Picasso Museum

picasso-museum-malagaPicasso Casa Natal Museum was built to honor Pablo Picasso, who was born in 1881 in Malaga at Plaza de la Merced. Being the most influential artist of the 20th century, he always wanted to exhibit his paintings in Malaya, his native city. After he died, his family decided to build a museum in Malaga in memory of Pablo where they could display his paintings. The museum is located in the Palace of Condes de Buenavista and contains more than 200 of Pablo’s paintings.

Plaza de Toros de La Malagueta

In 1874, Joaquín Rucoba, a Spanish architect built this beautiful bullring which is presently owned by Fernando Puche Doña, an ex-president of Malaga Football Club. The stadium is one of the prominent cultural assets of the country with Neomudejar style building forming a 16-sided hex decagon. It offers capacity for 14,000 spectators, enclosures for bulls, and training grounds and enclosures for horses.

Sources
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g187438-Activities-Malaga_Costa_del_Sol_Province_of_Malaga_Andalucia.html

Food You Should Not Eat Before Travelling

essen_und_trinkenMost of us have travel plans for the summers. One could be paying a visit to family and friends or simply going for a vacation. While air travel is preferred as the most convenient medium for travelling, preventing jet bloat is essential to keep off increased gas volumes in the body resulting from travelling at higher altitudes. A little attention to what you eat before travelling can ease off your worries! Check out the list of foods you should not eat before travelling, and make things easier for yourself during your journeys.

Fried Foods

Fried foods such as French fries and cheeseburgers are a tempting attraction for most travelers. Quick and easy to grab, these fast foods have fat and oil that can cause heartburn and an uncomfortable flight. As these are hard to digest items, and at a high altitude our body’s ability to process foods that are high in sodium and fat decreases, consumptions of fried foods can result in bloating. It may even cause swelled feet due to retained fluids.

Alcohol

Kein AlkoholDo you think alcohol would calm your nerves? Well having alcohol before travel could only result in bloating and perhaps, bad breath. The better alternate to keep off dehydration is having herbal tea or a smoothie.

Carbonated Drinks

Carbonated drinks, also known as soft drinks or fizzy drinks contain carbonated gas and hence, are known for causing a lot of gas and heart burn. This is one feeling you would definitely want to avoid during the flight. To avoid encountering such discomfort while travelling, go for herbal tea or cold water.

Spicy Food

pfeffer_gewuerzeWhen traveling, one should opt for light and simple food. Spicy food would cause bladder irritation, an upset stomach, bad breath, and a burning mouth. If you crave those spicy treats, wait till you land at your desired destination to have them. Be kind to your neighbors and don’t have hot peppers no matter what.

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners like chewing gums and candies may aid your ears to pop. But firstly, they are not good for your teeth and then, constant chewing can build up on the air in your body and cause gas and bloating.

Making quality decisions in time would help your enjoy your journey and cherish each travelling experience. Just remember the above mentioned foods and avoid them prior to travelling. Eat right and have happy journeys!

Sources:
http://travel.aarp.org/articles-tips/articles/info-11-2013/10-foods-to-avoid-before-flying-photo.html#slide8
http://www.boldsky.com/health/wellness/2012/avoid-foods-before-traveling-031752.html#slide1697

Málaga Airport

Overview

malaga_airportMálaga Airport, officially known as the Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport (IATA Code: AGP) is considered the fourth busiest airport in the country of Spain. Three terminals are located on the property to accommodate the 12 million passengers that pass through each year. In addition to providing a connection to many European destinations, the Málaga Airport provides access to Costa del Sol.

Brief History

Málaga Airport has the unique distinction of being one of the oldest airports in Spain still situated in the original location. Opened in 1919, Málaga Airport also served as a military base during the late 1930s and officially opened up as an international airport in 1946. Passenger services are located throughout the three terminals and include gift shops, duty free stores, coffee shops and ice cream stands. In addition, passengers will find chapels, currency exchanges and banking services, medical care and baby rooms aptly marked throughout the terminal.

Car Hire Services

car-hire-auto-rentCar hires are available through Málaga Airport and may be easily accessed within Terminal 2 and 3. Passengers have various car hire companies to consider when arriving into the Málaga Airport, including Sixt, Record Go, Hertz and Avis. Car hires are located on the first floor of both Terminal 2 and 3 within the same desk prior to exiting the airport into the outdoor walkway. The rental car desks are clearly marked and visible. Be sure to compare options and services between the car hires by visiting:

The major car hire companies provide pre-booking services by phone or through online reservation. It’s recommended to arrange for transportation prior to arriving to ensure an ample selection of vehicles to match needs, necessary reservation time and budget.

Review additional information about Málaga Airport by visiting http://www.aena-aeropuertos.es/csee/Satellite/Aeropuerto-Malaga/en/Malaga-Costa-del-Sol.html, or connect with customer service at +34 952 04 84 84. The airport is located at Av Comandante García Morato, s/n, 29004 Málaga, Spain.

References
Málaga Airport – http://www.aena-aeropuertos.es/csee/Satellite/Aeropuerto-Malaga/en/Malaga-Costa-del-Sol.html
Goldcar – http://www.goldcar.es/
Málaga Airport Travel Guide – http://www.malagaairport.eu/

Sweden

Overview

SchwedenSweden, although classified as one of the largest countries in the European Union, also happens to have the lowest population. Sweden is perhaps most well-known for its history of Vikings but today is one of the most popular tourism destinations for Northern Europeans seeking the best in vacation options, locations, and opportunities.

Brief History

Since before the Middle Ages, Sweden was occupied by a variety of Germanic tribes, who over the years became known as the Vikings.  During the Middle Ages and into the 17th century, Sweden became a more unified and independent country, expanding territories until she formed the Swedish Empire. Sweden has a reputation of being a neutral country, last involved in a war in the early 1800s. She continues to be a global leader in humanitarian efforts.

Languages and Religion

The official language of Sweden is Swedish although in the southern portions of the country, the language is influenced by the Danish language. Finnish is also spoken, classified as a minority language. Additional minority languages spoken in Sweden include Romani and Yiddish. Most Swedes today belonged to Lutheran denominations, classified as the Church of Sweden, although Swedes are not what one would call regular churchgoers. Other religions practiced in Sweden include Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox Christian. Small numbers of immigrants practicing Islam are also scattered throughout the country.

Climate

The climate in Sweden is surprisingly temperate despite its location in the northern latitudes. Sweden enjoys four distinct seasons although temperatures throughout the year remained relatively mild. The southern portions of the country enjoy an oceanic climate, while the central portion of the country is more humid. The northern part of the country enjoys a sub-Arctic climate, although even the winters are relatively mild due to the Gulf Stream. The average high summertime temperature in Stockholm is 23°C, with winter time lows averaging -10ºC.

Places and Cities to Visit


Sweden is a beautiful country with plenty of things to do and see. The Swedish people are big on the preservation of nature and recycling. Because of her climate and things to do, the country receives just as many travelers in winter as in summertime. From watching the Northern Lights to skiing in winter, Sweden offers it all. The Northern Lights are most visible from October to March and are easily viewed from any location in northern Sweden. One of the favorite spots for viewing the Northern Lights is the Abisko National Park.

Other popular tourist destinations in Sweden include:

  • Visiting and swimming in any one of Sweden’s 96,000 lakes. Lake activities also include windsurfing and waterskiing.
  • Canal cruises along the historic and beautiful Göta Canal.
  • There’s nothing like experiencing Christmas in Sweden. Visit the city of Mora to meet Father Christmas at the Center World Theme Park.
  • Visit Djurgården Island, where you can see the Nordic Museum, the former home of royal artist Prince Eugen at Waldemarsudde House, or the Liljevalchs Art Gallery.
  • Fish in any number of mountain streams or surrounding seas in Norbotten, located along Sweden’s “Midnight Sun Coast” along the Baltic coastline – easily classified as an angler’s paradise.
  • Drive through Bohuslän province, site of some of the earliest landmarks and discoveries of Swedish civilization dating back to the Viking era and the Bronze Age.

Car Hire Services

In Sweden, well-known domestic as well as international car rental companies are located in most cities as well as airports. For example, Europcar has dozens of car rental stations located throughout Sweden, from Almhult to Visby. Some of the most popular car companies in Sweden include:

Compare rates and prices depending on your travel dates.

Driving Regulations

regelnSweden is one of the most beautiful Scandinavian countries, and visitors driving rental cars have a unique opportunity to visit every part of it. However, be aware of the driving rules and guidelines in Sweden to ensure a peaceful and safe journey. In Sweden, drive on the right hand side of the road. It is compulsory for front and back seat passengers to wear seatbelts, and headlights must be turned on during daylight as well as nighttime hours.

You must be 18 years of age or older and own a valid driving license in order to drive in Sweden. International drivers should always carry on their person their domestic driving license as well as an international driving permit, passport, insurance documents, and the vehicle rental or registration documents. Ensure that a warning or hazard triangle is in the vehicle before you leave the car rental parking lot.

When in Sweden, avoid drinking and driving. If you are caught with more than 0.02% blood-alcohol levels, you will be considered a drunk driver and at the least will be heavily fined.

Drivers in Sweden should also be aware that a majority of the country is heavily forested and where there are forests, there are animals. Obey the speed limit signs to avoid a collision with deer or other wildlife routinely crossing the roads. Also be aware that trams are commonly used in Sweden, and trams and their passengers have priority over vehicle traffic and right-of-way.

Unlike other European countries, police officers do not collect on the spot fines in Sweden, but do be aware that parking laws are strictly enforced.

Obey posted speed limit signs in urban as well as rural areas. In general, speed limit ranges include:

  • Main highways – 110 kph (65 mph)
  • Smaller, rural roads – 70 kph (43 mph)
  • Town and city limits – 50 km an hour (31 mph)

Resources:
Visit Sweden – www.visitsweden.com
Sweden – the Lonely Planet – www.lonelyplanet.com/sweden

Attractions in Murcia

murciaspainHome to some of the most sought after tourist havens in Europe and the world around, your trip to Murcia must not begin without plans for the following places.

Real Casino de Murcia

Dating back to the 19th century, located in the cultural hub near the Cathedral, and based on the architectural genius of the Francisco Bolarin and Pedro Cerdan Martinez is one of the most awe-inspiring buildings in Murcia — the Real Casino.

Declared as a National Historic-Artistic Monument in 1983, the Casino is a tourist spot cum private club. The design is eclectic, mixing elements from modern functionalist design with classical decorative elements, and offers eye-candy for enthusiasts and new comers alike. Important parts of the casino include the Moorish patio, Billiards Room, Library, ladies Powder Room, El Congresillo Hall, Dance Hall, and Patio Pompeyano — each taking inspiration from different regions as far as Seville’s Alcazar and Alhambra in Granada.

Terra Natura

Discover and experience zoo-immersion with a lack of visible boundaries between you, 200 species of animals, and more than 160 species of fauna and flora. Totaling 1,500 different animals and 2,500 trees, shrubs, and 320,000 square meters of ground, the Bnidorm Park is divided into four themed areas: Asia, Europe, America, and Pangea.

The Terra Natura is a new generation wildlife park that offers a varied collection of wildlife. Detailed educational information through placards and information points when coupled with the architectural themes, and a range of adventure and entertainment activities makes Terra Natura a splendid place for a family outing in natural setting.

Catedral de Santa Maria

catedral_murciaDating back to the times of the Castilian King Alfonso the VIII in the 12th century AD, and constructed over 7 centuries, the Gothic structure narrates the historic development within its walls and outside of them. The ground plan is a Latin cross three naves, the center most jutting out towards the vaulted ceiling; the central doorway lined with sculpted works depicting the life of Virgin Mary, followed by a transept, an apse, and chapels on the sides.

The monument has borne through several major renovations, and earned the Premio Europa Nostra at a fitting moment in 2000.

Museo Salzillo

Standing tall at a maximum of 30cm, the 600 pieces of the Nativity Scene depict the Birth of Christ through the sculpted and polychromed wood work of Francisco Salzillo, the renowned sculptor from the 18th century Murcia and to whom the Museo Salzillo is dedicated.

Each Piece is amazingly lifelike and offers an opportunity to revisit Spain’s Baroque Age through the works of Salzillo. The museum offers enthusiasts and tourists a voyage works that journeyed throughout the Age in different Churches and during Holy Week processions, and managed to pass unharmed through the Spanish Civil War.

Mar Menor

At 170 sq.km, flanked by small towns, neighbor to the 5-star La Manga Club and the Ilas Hormigas marine reserve, the Mar Menor is Europe’s largest salt-water lake. Famous for mud baths, as a water sporting playground, and as haven for tourists, the Mar Menor offers a diverse range of  amenities and activities between the two seas.

Apart from water sports, the area offers several municipal parks, golf courses, calm and wavy beaches, and the option of selecting between two seas each with its unique temperament and attitude throughout the year.

San Pedro Del Pinatar

Waiting along northern end of the shores of Mar Menor, San Pedro Del Pinatar is the rural town surrounded by salt marshes, sand dunes, and routes to thrilling and relaxing adventures.

The town offers several marked trails leading through its nature reserves of sand dunes and salt marshes, a relaxing Marina overlooking the boasts, a long beach and a town center to unwind at day’s end.

Sources
http://www.terranatura.com/Eng/TerranaturaBenidorm/Ficha3.aspx?FrmCodA=3&FrmCodB=18&FrmCodC=48&FrmRegistro=1
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g187518-d2508777/Murcia:Spain:Museo.Salzillo.html
http://www.idealspain.com/pages/Places/marmenor.htm