Friday, August 31, 2012

Infographic: Homes vs Hotels: Travel Blog plus 3 more

Infographic: Homes vs Hotels: Travel Blog plus 3 more

Link to Travel Blog

Infographic: Homes vs Hotels

Posted: 30 Aug 2012 08:06 PM PDT

Vacations are always something to look forward to. The obvious choice for lodging is a hotel. They’re fairly easy to find and are usually in the heart of most travel destinations. Choice in hotels can eat away at a budget. One might encounter hidden fees, costs for in-room movies, and of course the mini-bar.

A vacation rental is a great option to save money. With amenities like full kitchens, one can save on eating out too. Not to mention there is more room, which means more people can come along and split the cost. If planning a trip, consider pros and cons of rental homes and then a hotel, and see which one will be better for your budget.

Infographic: Homes vs Hotels

This infographic was brought to you by Cape Portfolios, a leading villa rental specialist in Cape Town with over 200 luxury holiday properties in South Africa and Mauritius.

Infographic: Homes vs Hotels from - Travel Directory

Backpacking in Europe – Ten Must Visit Destinations

Posted: 30 Aug 2012 06:59 PM PDT

Europe remains incredibly popular as a backpacking destination as there is so much on offer and so much to see. There are some of the world's most exciting cities, most beautiful scenery and incredible cultures and histories at every turn. You probably won't be able to visit them all but they'll definitely give you some food for thought when you're planning your backpacking holiday. It's incredibly hard to pick a definitive top ten destinations for a backpacking break in Europe so we've instead picked ten of our favourites.

10. The Baths in Budapest
Budapest is one of the most exciting cities in Europe but the thermal baths have to be one of the highlights. Built over 500 years ago the baths offer you beautiful warm waters in an incredible location; perfect for recovering from a night spent on the islands partying.

9. The Alps
The Alps are absolutely stunning whatever time of year it happens to be and you simply can't get a more impressive landscape in Europe. Taking the Mont Blanc express from Chamonix to Zermatt in Switzerland is an absolute must and gives you views of beautiful mountains, forest, snowy landscapes and waterfalls.

8. The Reichstag
Germany's most important building the Reichstag is an architectural splendour like few others anywhere in the world. The exterior may be incredible but it is the interior that will really blow you away with its incredible décor and amazing domed ceiling. Berlin is incredible as a city but this remains the highlight.

7. Tallinn
Tallinn is the capital of Estonia and boats some of the world's most incredible architecture. The fairy tale castles are undoubtedly the highlight and this is an incredible destination just to wander the city streets and lose yourself in a very strange atmosphere and ambience. It's also fast becoming a hedonistic capital of Europe with incredible parties and clubs on offer.

6. The Acropolis
Standing over Athens the Acropolis is one of the most important sights in Greek history and remains one of the best things to see on a trip to Europe. The Parthenon is the highlight but the whole area is alive with incredible remains of one of the world's most important historical civilisations.

5. The Grand Canal
The Grand Canal in Venice is one of the most impressive sights in Europe as it really is the centre of everything that makes Venice what it is; an island city with incredible architecture and an atmosphere like no other. The Grand Canal really is one of the most romantic and exciting sights in Venice and well worth your time to explore – though you might want to skip the somewhat expensive Gondolas.

4. The Sagrada Familia
Barcelona and one of the world's most famous churches the Sagrada Familia is perhaps the world's longest work in progress. It was started in 1882 and still hasn't been completed. Yet it remains one of the most beautiful and interesting Roman Catholic churches in the world.

3. Prague Castle
Prague is one of Europe's most beautiful cities and Prague castle is the highlight. This complex includes a beautiful church, impressive fortifications and some truly beautiful views. Prague castle is the highlight of any visit and really is one of the most interesting historical castles in Europe.

2. The Sistine Chapel
While the Coliseum in Rome is fantastic it palls into insignificance compared to the beauty of the Sistine Chapel. While Michelangelo's work dominates the ceiling the whole chapel is incredibly beautiful with works by Botticelli, Perugino and Pinturicchio sprawled along the most incredible walls and ceiling the world has ever seen.

1. The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is probably the most famous monument in Europe and it remains one of the best experiences for any visit to Europe. Set in beautiful gardens this towering iron monument stands as an incredible monument to French culture and history. It also provides access to some of the best views of Paris possible so you should definitely head to the very top!

Backpacking in Europe – Ten Must Visit Destinations from - Travel Directory

Exeque Car Rental

Posted: 30 Aug 2012 06:23 PM PDT

Exeque Car

We are a cash car rental company in Johannesburg that assists the customer in renting a car for cash at a affordable price.
Cash Car Rental

Travel Directory: Johannesburg Car Rental

Exeque Car Rental from - Travel Directory

4* hotels in London from £50.00

Posted: 30 Aug 2012 04:15 AM PDT

4* hotels in London from £50.00 are offering 4* hotels in London from £50.00, available for the rest of this week.

4* hotels in London from £50.00

Travel Deals:

4* hotels in London from £50.00 from - Travel Directory

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: Sailing Around Croatia with Busabout

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: Sailing Around Croatia with Busabout

Sailing Around Croatia with Busabout

Posted: 30 Aug 2012 07:13 AM PDT

jumping off the busabout boat in croatiaFor years, I've been hearing about the tour company Busabout. They offer hop-on, hop–off-again bus tours throughout Europe, similar to the Kiwi and Oz Experience. Basically, they have set routes through Europe and along that route, you can leave the bus and rejoin when you want. I've never used them before as I've always just taken trains around Europe. (Though I have nothing against that way of travel – I loved my time on the Kiwi Experience!)

In addition to their bus trips, Busabout offers sailing tours around Croatia. I continuously met travelers in Europe who rave about this trip so this year I decided to experience it for myself.

I took the Split to Split sailing tour, which was a seven day cruise around the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. My boat, the Plomin, had 33 passengers (of which I was the only one not from Australia or New Zealand), our guide (also Australian), and 5 crew members.

From a business point of view, I was impressed with their product. The trip was well organized, the boat was nice, the itinerary was well put together, and there were a few on-shore activities included. Additionally, the guide knew what he was talking about and gave excellent advice, and everything ran like clockwork. Organizationally, I was impressed.

How Did I Spend My Week?

Day 1 – Hvar
We left Split around 2pm and after taking a brief swim, arrived at the island of Hvar around 6. After dinner, we had some drinks and went out to the bars, where the crowded atmosphere was a little much to handle. I don’t like being constantly bumped into while I’m trying to have a beer. If you are into drinking, Hvar is the spot to enjoy crazy night life.

Day 2 – Mljet
Mljet is home to a big national park with an island in the middle of the lake. There's hiking, camping, and other fun activities that would have been nice if we had more than a few hours to enjoy them. There's not much on this island and we just spent the night hanging out on the boat, getting to know the other people on the tour.

the beautiful cobblestone streets in DubrovnikDay 3 – Dubrovnik
We arrived here mid-day, which was disappointing because I had hoped to spend more time here in one of the biggest destinations in Croatia. Dubrovnik was beautiful and I’ll be coming back here for a longer stay. After wandering the city streets for a while, our group went out for dinner — where I had the best calamari I've had in recent memory — before heading to the club in a fortress called "Revelin."

Day 4 – Korcula
Korcula is famous for being the alleged birthplace of Marco Polo. The town is a beautiful medieval walled city that I enjoyed walking around. There wasn't much going on in the city and since my group was still tired from Dubrovnik, I spent the evening on the ship, watching a movie and getting some rest.

Day 5 – Markaska
Makarska is a huge spot for beachgoers and there are a lot of water sports here. I wasn't a big fan of this place; the beaches were overflowing with people and I felt more like I was in Bangkok during rush hour than on a beach. I walked the boardwalk, had an ice cream, and went to dinner. The highlight of my time here? Partying in a cave. Yes, that was as cool as it sounds. Outside of that though, I’ll skip Markaska in the future. There are too many people on too small of a beach.

Day 6 – Omis
Our last night before returning to Split was spent in the tiny town of Omis. There is a place to swim, a place to eat, and one main bar. After frying in the sun the whole morning, I dipped into a café and relaxed. That night was the Captain's dinner and the famous pirate party. On all the cruises, Busabout groups have a dress up party on their last night. All boats are in Omis that night so you end up in town with people from multiple boats. Everyone heads to the one bar and it looks like a scene out of Pirates of the Caribbean. It was quite fun and many (many) pirate jokes were had.

Day 7 – Split
Back in Split, we were left to our own devices for the day before returning to the boat for one last night out.

A few notes on the tour:
In between all of our destinations there was a mid-day swim stop. Lunch was served on boat every day; beer and alcohol were also served but cost extra. Water also cost extra, which was an unfortunate surprise. I also found the added costs of the BBQ and Captain’s dinner huge wastes of money and would recommend simply heading into the villages for better and cheaper food.

How much does it cost?

jumping off the busabout boat in croatia
These tours cost upwards of $1,400 USD in peak season, and when coupled with the other incidental expenses of the trip, people usually end up averaging about $250 per day. That's a lot of money! I could enjoy a five star holiday in Paris for that amount! However, when compared with the other operators such as Fanatics, Contiki, or Sail Croatia, Busabout the cheapest option for an organized sail Croatia boat trip.

However, I would consider taking these tours during the shoulder season of early May and September when prices are about 50-60% cheaper, it's easier to find deals, and the crowds in each port are smaller. At that lower price level, these tours become a much better value.

Would I recommend this tour?

jumping off the busabout boat in croatia
Going into this tour, I knew only two things: it would be mostly Aussies (Busabout is very popular with Australian backpackers) and there would be a lot of drinking.

In the end, I had a really good time and walked away having met a few people I'll stay in touch with in the future. However, I don't think I would take one of these tours again. There's not enough time spent in each destination and I'm well over the "travel to party" mode that most of the other people on the boat were in. The boat was fun, the people nice, and the weather perfect — but I’d rather watch a movie and go to bed than stay out drinking until dawn.

But just because I wouldn't do it again doesn't mean you shouldn’t either. I think if you are a solo traveler, a couple, or a pair of friends looking to meet other travelers and party, Busabout would be fantastic for you. It offers the same benefit as the hop-on, hop-off buses that I think are wonderful for travelers. (Sadly, there is no hop-on, hop-off boat which would be AWESOME but I think that option is just called a ferry.)

I always ask people on trips like these “would you recommend it to friends and did you have fun?” and while many people on my boat wished there was some free water (come on, can’t you even give us one bottle when we get on!!!) and better value with the BBQ and Captain’s dinner, not one person I asked said they didn’t enjoy themselves. In heartbeat they said they would all do it again. In fact for some, this was there second or third Busabout tour.

And I think that says a lot about how good the company and experience is.

My Busabout Croatia sailing trip turning out to be a good deal of fun, more than I thought it would be. These tours aren't my cup of a tea anymore, but if you're looking for a party, want to hang out with a bunch of other young (and old – there were two 40-year-old women on my boat) travelers, this boat could be for you.

After all, how many companies organize massive pirate-themed parties!?

Editor’s Note: Busabout provided the tour for free. Flights, drinks, off-ship meals, and other incidentals were paid for by me.

Traveling soon? Book your trip with the following companies and help keep the lights on here at Nomadic Matt HQ
Flights from Vayama | Insurance from World Nomads | Accommodation from HW | G Adventure Tours

©Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Disney Blog

My Disney Blog

Our Chat With Jordan Hembrough, Host of Toy Hunter, the New Show on the Travel Channel

Posted: 28 Aug 2012 09:14 PM PDT

This past weekend was the Star Wars Celebration V. We sent a writer to cover this amazing event for us. While she was there she interviewed the star of the upcoming Travel Channel show the Toy Hunter.

Jordan Hembrough, Host of Toy Hunter as seen above disguised as a toy. 

A Rocket Firing Boba Fett? Did you know it even existed? Jordan Hembrough does and can show you in a new TV show on the Travel Channel, on Wednesdays at 9/8c.  Jordan is an avid toy collector and has been buying and selling toys for the past 25 years.  He has seen his fair share of Disney memorabilia, can give you a price on just about any toy, and is showing off his talent on Toy Hunter every week.

Continue reading this interview.>>>>