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Posted in adventure, Cook, Europe, Food, honeymoon, Restaurant, tourist, travel, on 25 April 2018, by , 0 Comments

Love truffles? Hunting for truffles is a favorite pastime for those who love eating these specialty mushrooms, or love selling them. Truffles are considered a delicacy, and come with the price to prove it. While truffles do add another whole level of flavor to luxury meals, they are also hard to find, which is part of the reason why they’re so expensive. In fact, truffles are often compared to the price of gold. Not long ago a truffle weighing 4.16 pounds sold for $61,000. Pretty impressive for a mushroom.

About Truffles

Truffles are more commonly found growing on the roots of oak, poplar, hazel and beech trees as these are the types of trees that can provide the perfect soil conditions that support the growing of truffles. The fact that there’s only so many nutrients to go around is why there are only so many truffles available in any given area. Types of truffles include black truffles, burgundy truffles and Oregon white truffles.

 

Dogs are often used to find truffles and for two reasons, 1. they can smell truffles making them much easier to find, and 2. by digging they’re spreading the spores, leading to new truffle growth. (While pigs are used, too, they tend to eat the truffles so must be watched closely!) Another common way of finding truffles, mainly used in the Pacific Northwest, is called raking and involves using a special rake to dig the truffles up.

Top 5 places to Hunt for Truffles

The majority of truffles can be found in Italy, France and the Pacific Northwest. Truffles grown in Italy and France tend to be the rarest kind of truffle and therefore the most expensive.

 

  1. Villefranche-du-Perigord. France is home to the world’s most famous black truffles, also known as Diamonds of Perigord. The reason? The truffles found here are huge, with one truffle weighing a remarkable 1.3 kg.
  2. Alba, Italy is often referred to as the white truffle capital of the world, as truffles grow naturally in this Northern Italy location. An annual truffle fair is held here, which lasts for about six weeks and is the oldest truffle celebration in the entire world.
  3. Pacific Northwest truffles are often found growing under Douglas fir trees, from Northern California all the way to Southern Washington. (The fact that most truffles are found in Oregon is why people refer to truffles found in the Pacific Northwest as Oregon truffles.)
  4. Manjumup, Australia is the largest grower of Perigord Truffles in the southern hemisphere due to the rich fertile soils and the cool climate found here. Truffle season in Australia runs from June to September, and it all starts with a special celebration held in Manjimup.
  5. The south coast of the United Kingdom offers lots of truffle hunting opportunities due to the many forests found here that support the growing of truffles. Top forestry choices include Hertfordshire, Gloucestershire and Cornwall.

Happy Truffle Hunting!

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Posted in cheap travel, Europe, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, News, Tahiti, tourist, travel, on 7 February 2018, by , 0 Comments


Looking for some of the best places to buy foreign currency? Smart. A country to country money conversion is indeed required when you’re traveling to a foreign country, making it necessary for you to find a place where you can convert your money from one foreign currency to another. While convenience is definitely a nice option when buying foreign money, understand that this convenience is going to cost you more. This makes finding the best options when it comes to exchanging foreign currencies a top priority for travelers.

Top 5 Places to Buy Foreign Currency

When traveling to a foreign country, finding some of the best deals when it comes to buying foreign currency is important to most travelers. Traveling costs can quickly add up, making saving every penny important. Knowing what the current currency rate is when buying foreign currency will help you get the absolute best exchange rate, which is going to give you more value for your money.

The following is a list of the top 5 places to buy foreign currency when getting ready to travel to a foreign destination.

 

  1. Your Bank, Credit Union. Before you go, know that most banks offer their customers the option to exchange foreign currency for free. Others may charge a small fee, making this option a truly affordable one.

 

  1. Credit Cards. Using the right credit card can save travelers lots of money when spending currency in a foreign country. Be sure to avoid using credit cards that charge foreign transaction fees.

 

  1. Credit Union Cards. Many credit unions offer their customers a credit union card, which can offer holders no foreign currency fees as well as some of the best exchange rates!

 

  1. ATM Cards aka Debit Cards. A foreign ATM withdrawal can save travelers money when cash is needed as most banks only charge a small fee, with others charging no fee at all.

 

  1. Online. Finding the best place to buy foreign currency online is extremely convenient as it can save time because there’s no need to wait in any lines. While an online currency converter website is convenient as the foreign currency is mailed to your home, the exchange rates along with delivery fees tend to add up quickly.

Bottom Line

Being prepared is going to be your best bet when it comes to finding the top places to buy foreign currency. This includes knowing what the current exchange rate is so you’re sure to get the best deal, as well as understanding any and all foreign exchange fees that may be applied when spending money in a foreign country.

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Posted in adventure, Caribbean, Cruises, Mexico, tourist, travel, vacation deals, on 16 January 2018, by , 0 Comments

The Caribbean continues to be a popular vacation destination for travelers! The top-rated beaches, fun family activities, alluring cultures, exciting nightlife, and high-end shopping opportunities are all part of what makes this travel destination a top vacation spot for families.

The Caribbean continues to be a popular vacation destination for travelers! The top-rated beaches, fun family activities, alluring cultures, exciting nightlife, and high-end shopping opportunities are all part of what makes this travel destination a top vacation spot for families.

Top 10 Caribbean Family All Inclusive Resorts
The following is a 2018 list of the top 10 Caribbean family all-inclusive resorts, of which all provide travelers with the luxury quality they’re looking for when planning an all-inclusive resort vacation.

1. Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana – Dominican Republic.
• Meals take guests on a culinary journey
• Premium drinks included
• Award winning wine list
• Personalized services
• Hand-selected activities for all ages

2. Windjammer Landing – St. Lucia.
• Extraordinary dining experiences
• Signature spa treatments
• Island activities – swimming pools, sporting activities, beach pizza parties, dance lessons, bowling with coconuts
• Beachfront or hillside villas

3. Fowl Cay Resort – Bahamas.
• 5-Star Diamond Award Winner
• Private island means no crowds; 3 main beaches
• Fully stocked kitchen
• Power boat and golf cart available at guest’s disposal
• Water sports, kayaks, sailboats, paddle boards, snorkeling, fishing
• Tennis, Bocce, horseshoe
• Freshwater pools

4. Beaches Negril Resort & Spa – Jamaica.
• Famous 7-mile white sand beach offers gorgeous sunrises, sunsets
• Waterpark for all ages
• Private pools
• Supervised kids camp, Xbox play lounge
• Unlimited scuba diving, watersports
• Nightlife, restaurants, bars
• Gourmet and local food options
• Unlimited premium drinks

5. Jewel Runaway Bay – Jamaica.
• Hiking, waterfalls
• Kids, teen camps
• Private golf course
• Water park, raft rides, slides
• Water sports, snorkeling, kayaking
• Swim with the dolphins, zip line through the forest

6. Grand Velas Riviera Maya – Mexico.
• White sand beaches, jungle sanctuary
• Spa treatments, private butler service
• Private patios, plunge pools
• Kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving
• Casual bars, top-rated restaurants

7. Beaches Resort – Turks & Caicos.
• Private crystal-clear water and white sand beaches is why it’s known as the ‘last of the true exotics’
• Beachside villas
• Spa treatments
• Scuba diving, snorkeling
• Whale watching, bird watching

8. The Verandah Resort & Spa – Antigua.
• Near a national park, lots of hiking trails
• Private beaches, 3 different pools
• Top-rate restaurants
• Spa therapy treatments
• Lots of activities for kids, mini golf course

9. Spice Island Beach Resort – Grenada.
• Beachfront gourmet dining includes island cuisine specialties
• Rain forests, ocean reefs
• Water sports, snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving
• Tennis, bicycling, golfing
• Tours and excursions to various places
• Children’s activity center

10. Bitter End Yacht Club – British Virgin Islands.
• White sand beaches
• Water sports
• Spa treatments, fitness center
• Private pools
• Gorgeous room views, balconies
• Outdoor movie theater

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Posted in adventure, Europe, Iceland, Italy, tourist, travel, on 13 December 2017, by , 0 Comments

infinite journeys travelUp, up and away in a beautiful hot air balloon ride! There’s no better way to see the sites in Europe than taking a once-in-a-lifetime adventure over its mountains and cities. Here are five of the top hot air balloon rides that you shouldn’t miss:

Gstaad, Switzerland: This hot air balloon experience is great during the winter time, when the peaks of the mountains are covered in snow. Float above the chalets and villages of Gstaad and view the beautiful blue skies. Once the ride is over, you can head to the small villages and watch some winter sports. You can even tie your vacation to when the Château-d’Oex in the Vaudois Alps plays host to hundreds of hot air balloons in January of each year for a nine-day hot air balloon festival.

Beanue, France: France Montgolfieres offers many hot air balloon rides, including this trip over the town of Beanue, which is rich with history and art. Visitors will see the Hôtel Dieu, the signature monument of Beanue, and the surrounding vineyards that make wines such as Volnay, Montrachet or Meursault Premier Cru, which you can taste in the wineries of the town after your flight.

Cappadocia, Turkey: This cave-filled region of Turkey is good to visit both in the warmer and cooler weather. On your ride, you’ll encounter multi-colored, striped rock formations, vineyards, subterranean churches, and, of course, caves and dwellings. This view is as compelling in the air as it is on the ground, where you can find underground cities, fairy chimneys (limestone rock peaks), and quaint farming communities.

Loire Valley, France: It’s no surprise that France is on this list twice and fans of hot air ballooning will know why. Places like Loire Valley are filled with a fairy tale-like atmosphere that is hard to resist visiting. The valley is filled with meandering rivers, over 800 castles and manors, villages with stone buildings and sunflower fields. Viewing this all from a hot air balloon will truly be magical.

Tuscany, Italy: Tuscany is a very popular tourist destination for those visiting Italy. It has a sort of rustic appeal that brings up feelings of nostalgia and relaxation. Ballooning in Tuscany offers hot air balloon rides from multiple locations, with a popular launch site of Montisi, a historical town filled with vineyards, forests, and access to the Le Crete di Senesi and La Val d’Orcia regions.

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Posted in adventure, Caribbean, Cruises, destination weddings, honeymoon, Iceland, Mexico, Tahiti, tourist, travel, on 14 November 2017, by , 0 Comments

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When you travel, you rely on your phone to connect to your email, get you onto the Internet and keep in touch with friends and family. However, you might not be using your phone to its fullest potential because there are so many apps you can add to it that will make your travel experience much easier. Here are just a few to consider downloading:

Packpoint: Before you even get on a plane or hit the road, this app will come in handy. It helps you to pack. All you need to do is tell it is where you are going, how long you will be there and what activities you have planned. It will generate a packing list for you based on your answers – and, of course, the weather — so you don’t forget anything. You can still take off items or add those that you want to bring.

Hopper: How many times have you sat at your computer, wondering if the price of your flight is going to change? Should you buy it now or wait to try and save some money? That’s where Hopper comes in because the app tells you when to book for the biggest savings. If it doesn’t want you to book the flight now, it will notify you when that price drops and that it’s the right time.

Skiplagged: This app helps you to find hidden cities to save money. What that means is that you fly to your hidden city and have a stopover and then continue on to your destination. It often is more affordable than flying direct, perfect for travelers on a budget.

HappyCow: If you’re vegan you know how hard it can be to find places to eat when you’re traveling. This interestingly-named app lists vegan and vegetarian restaurants in nearly 10,500 cities worldwide. Each restaurant listing comes with a short description of the menu and reviews. The app is $3.99.

Dayuse: How often have you had a layover and wish you had a hotel room just take a nap and grab a shower, but not stay overnight? Dayuse helps you to do this because their app offers unused hotel rooms at a whopping 75 percent off the hotel’s regular rate. If you just want to pop in to relax or use the pool or the gym and you can choose your room times (e.g. 7am-1pm, 12pm-4pm or 11am-11pm) from over 3,000 hotels around the world.

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Posted in adventure, Cook, honeymoon, tourist, travel, vacation deals, on 25 October 2017, by , 0 Comments

infinite journeys travelTuscany, Italy is known for its beautiful landscapes, delicious food and wine, and its art and culture. There’s so much to see here that it’s hard to narrow down the highlights, but here are some definite must-sees to keep on your list:

Eat: It’s time to mangia, or eat, in Italy, and if you want to prepare some of the food on your own, make sure you stop at the Mercato San Lorenzo food market where you can buy olive oil, honey, spices, salt, balsamic vinegar, and more local delicacies. Top it off with some dessert which, of course, means stopping at Perche’ No for some gelato, which has been owned and operated by the same family since 1939. A trip to Tuscany isn’t complete without taking a cooking class and learning how to make pasta from scratch.

Drink: This Tuscan region is the epitome of wine country, so while you’re there, make sure to enjoy a glass at one of the many wineries in the area, including Antinori Chianti Classico, Castello di Ama, or Castello di Nipozzano.

Take it in: See some of the greatest art in the world at The Uffizi Gallery, which houses collections of paintings of the fourteenth century and especially from Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo. The Duomo in Siena which is filled with treasures by Pisano, Donatello and Michelangelo, and the Accademia Gallery museum, home to Michelangelo’s David. When it comes to historical architecture, check out the Basilica San Miniato al Monte, which is a fine example of Tuscan Romanesque architecture and was built between the 11th and 13th centuries.

Bathe: Seeing Tuscany isn’t always about walking miles through gorgeous landscapes. Instead treat your feet to a break by dipping them in one of Tuscany’s thermal baths, such as Saturnia, which has warm sulphurous waters.

Cycle: Get out of the car and hop on a bike to take in this amazing landscaping. Enjoy cycling through the Tuscan countryside on your own agenda or with a tour group. It’s a great way to cover more ground by going at your own pace and stopping to see whatever sites you want to see along the way.

Looking to book your dream trip to Tuscany, Italy? Contact your travel agent.

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Posted in adventure, Caribbean, cheap travel, Cook, Cruises, Food, honeymoon, Iceland, Mexico, Royal Caribbean, Safaris, Tahiti, tourist, trains, travel, vacation deals, on 13 September 2017, by , 0 Comments

infinite journeys travelHave you ever dreamed of just buying an airline ticket and traveling around the world? If you’re really interested in this trip-of-a-lifetime, it’s important to know how those round-the-world fares really work.

You might not know that you don’t need a separate plane ticket for every leg of your trip. As a matter of fact, you can actually purchase a ‘round-the-world’ (otherwise known as an RTW) plane ticket that allows you to fly anywhere on any airline. These RTW tickets are also known as airline alliance passes, because you will book your flights with one airline but fly with their alliance partners. That is because not every airline flies to every destination.

What’s the advantage of purchasing one RTW or alliance ticket? There are several. First, convenience knowing you just have one ticket, but most importantly, you will save a ton of money compared to purchasing each individual ticket separately.

Today, there are several companies that also handle these one-year airline alliance tickets, such as SkyTeamStar Alliance and Oneworld, or you can work with your travel agent to customize your trip. The tickets come with a certain amount of stopovers and other limitations, such as first, business or economy class so make sure to read the fine print carefully.

The best thing about traveling around the world is that it brings flexibility and freedom and so does this alliance ticket where you can make changes at anytime. Again, it’s important to read that fine print. You might find you can hop from country to country, but not go backwards. It can get tricky.

You’re definitely saving money on this ticket, but just keep in mind that you’re still shelling out between a couple of thousand dollars upwards of $10,000 depending on the route you take and your itinerary. The less stops you make the more you can save. Two- or three-stop tickets might cost only $1,500 – try to do that yourself and you’ll spend way too much money.

On the reward side, just think about the mileage you’ll earn and what you can do with that on your next trip.

Confused by all of this? Of course your travel agent can sort out all of the particulars for you and help you to determine what’s best for your schedule and budget.

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Posted in adventure, Caribbean, Cruises, honeymoon, Royal Caribbean, tourist, travel, vacation deals, on 16 August 2017, by , 0 Comments

infinite journeys travelRiver cruises are more intimate of a cruising experience and are really becoming a popular way to travel. If it sounds like your perfect next vacation, here are the top five river cruises you should experience:

AmaWaterways Art: Want to paint on the Seine River? Then AmaWaterways has the cruise for you to Paris and Normandy. It begins in Paris, the City of Lights, and stops in Honfleur, a city in northern France’s Lower Normandy region that was a subject of many art works, including those by Monet. You’ll also tour Normandy, its capital city, Rouen, and its famous beaches of WWII. On board is an art instructor who helps you to hone your painting skills.

American Queen Steamboat: Wine connoisseurs will love American Queen Steamboat’s ‘Vineyards, Vintages and Varietals’ themed cruises that include meeting local wine makers for tastings along the Washington and Oregon regions. Enjoy meals made with local wines and learn about the America’s Pacific Northwest wine country. If bourbon is more your choice of beverage, then the Bourbon Cruise puts you in Kentucky’s bourbon region for tastings, treats and cooking demonstrations.

AmaWaterways Wine: The AmaWaterways also caters to the wine lover with its river cruise of the Loire Valley in central France, starting with the colossal Château de Chambord listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has 426 rooms, 77 staircases, 282 fireplaces and a stable that once held 1,200 horses. Once you’re done touring, the Loire Valley is also home to one of the world’s most well-known areas of wine production. It’s referred to as the Cradle of the French and the Garden of France. Sip wine at the Nitray Vineyards and the Loire Valley’s Bouvet Ladubay, which has more than 10 miles of wine cellars located right under the St Florent Abbey ruins.

Riviera Travel: It’s a new U.K.-based company, with river cruises to Europe. They operate 10 ships on the Rhine, Main, Danube, Rhone and Douro rivers on 11 itineraries. They also offer a Black Sea cruise, which cruises through the 83-mile stretch of the Iron Gates Gorge in Serbia’s Djerdap National Park and into the Danube Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Viking Ra: Viking has added the Egypt’s Nile River to their cruise itinerary for March 2018.

The 12-day Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary features the Great Pyramids of Giza, the new Grand Egyptian Museum and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali.

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Posted in adventure, tourist, trains, travel, on 13 July 2017, by , 0 Comments

infinite journeys travelAll aboard! Seeing the world by train is a great way to travel. Sit back, look out the window and let someone else take care of all of the driving. Here are some great adventures you should add to your must-do list:

Hogwarts Express: In the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone movie, Harry is transported by train to Hogwarts via Platform 9 ¾. What viewers may not know is that the train is actually Scotland’s legendary Jacobite Steam Train. The train ride is a pleasant 84-mile ride from Fort William to Mallaig. Make sure you take your selfie at the Kings Crossing station in London, England, with the sign for Platform 9 ¾.

The Glacier Express: This seven hour travel on the train that opened in 1920 lets you see Switzerland’s snow-capped gorges, 91 tunnels, and hundreds of bridges. The company suggests that you travel in spring if you want to see the perfect combination of green valleys and lots of snow in the mountains. The train cars are filled with large panoramic windows so you can see all the wonderful beauty without interference.

The Green Mountain Railroad: One of the most picturesque areas of the United States is the Northeast during fall leaf-changing season. This train ride allows you to see the beautiful colors up close. Take a ride on The Green Mountain Railroad’s three-hour tour and see this beauty for yourself as you travel through Vermont’s Burlington and Chester.

Cass Scenic Railroad: Located in West Virginia, the Cass Scenic Railroad takes passengers on an 11-mile heritage line which heads up into the mountains. Enjoy a steam-driven locomotive ride, where you can feel as if you are transported back to the past on a railroad which was built in 1901.

Westward Ho! Amtrak offers a 51-hour, 2,500-mile California Zephyr trip through seven states and across the Continental Divide. The Zephyr runs daily between Chicago and San Francisco and you’ll go through the plains of Nebraska to Denver, across the Rockies to Salt Lake City, and then through Reno and Sacramento into Emeryville/San Francisco. You’ll see the Rocky Mountains; Sierra Nevadas; Moffat Tunnel; Colorado’s Gore; Byers and Glenwood Canyons; Winter Park; Truckee River; Donner Lake; San Pablo Bay and the Carquinez Strait.

Want to put together a perfect train trip? Contact your travel agent who can help you to decide on the best route and handle all of the particulars.

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Posted in adventure, Cook, Food, honeymoon, Restaurant, tourist, travel, on 19 June 2017, by , 1 Comments

infinite journeys travelWhen you’re in Italy, you’ll want to see everything – including the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Trevi Fountain and, of course, the Coliseum – that are regular tourist hotspots. But if you really want to enjoy a different side of Italy, get off the main road and travel to some of the less popular attractions. Here are just a few that you shouldn’t miss:

Mercato San Lorenzo: Located in Florence, this market is a must for foodies and shoppers alike. Here you can purchase pottery, clothing, notebooks, souvenirs and leather goods as well as spices for your favorite Italian meals.

Libreria Acqua Alta: Prefer a good book? Well, this is where you’ll find one in Venice’s bookstore, Libreria Acqua Alta. Interestingly, this store keeps all of their books in water basins, bathtubs and gondolas, because of the mega-flooding that happens in the store

Castello Orsini-Odescalchi: Castello Orsini-Odescalchi is a grandiose castle in Bracciano, in the Province of Rome, Lazio, Italy. It’s located a short distance from Rome and is open to the public for tours.

Parma: means cheese and if you love cheese you need to visit this town where there are daily tours – book early! — given by the Parmigiano Reggiano Association to see cheesemakers at work.

Lake Como: Lake Como is located in Northern Italy and is known for its scenery, deep-blue waters and rugged, forested foothills of the Alps. There are hotels and Mediterranean villas with formal gardens, all which would make a great spot to spend with your romantic partner. Go ahead and ask singer John Legend, who tied the knot here with his wife Chrissy Teigen.

See a fùtbol game: Get off the beaten path and onto the pitch, otherwise known in America as the soccer field. It’s an important and popular pastime in Italy and here you can cheer for your favorite team – will you root for Juventus, Milan and Inter, or Roma, Fiorentina, Lazio or Napoli?

Eat some gelato: Eating some gelato is a thing to do, but make sure you stop by Perche’ No, which has been owned and operated by the same family since 1939.

Keats-Shelley Memorial House: Poet John Keats spent the last days of his life in this home, located in the Piazza di Spagna and it’s been turned into a museum that honors his works. You’ll see letters, paintings, books and manuscripts from John Keats other poets, such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

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