Welcome to Grandma’s Shoppe, a new travel blog sharing experiences from people who have lived. This blog is the brainchild of Sandra Alcock, a 59-year-old-grandma of three from Montecito, California. In between raising a family and carving out a career as a hotel manager in Santa Barbara, Sandra has indulged her passion for travel by visiting some of the most exotic vacation destinations in the world. Here she shares her tips, and those of her friends, on how to make the most out of life through travel.
Every now and then, we need to reset our mind and body, to take a long vacation away from our desks and just relax and enjoy time with ourselves. Let’s take a trip and experience the breathtaking beaches in Europe.
Why Europe, you ask? There are certainly a lot of good attractions out there in the world, but none can compare to the majestic and relaxing sceneries that the continent has to offer. What better way to clear your mind but with a wide view the waves rippling across the horizon.
Here is a list of the best beaches that you can find in beautiful Europe:
The Algarve has become a popular destination for tourists from all over the globe. It remains serene and rarely has establishments around and it is almost deserted. Cool spots for you to visit are Praia de Albandeira and Sudoeste Alentejano.
Gorgeous sea views and beaches can be found in the country of Italy. We strongly suggest going to more than just one place to make the most of your stay here. Places to visit are Amalfi Coast, Cala Goloritze in Sardinia, Cala Tonnarella in Sicily, Trieste and Venice.
San Sebastian, Formentera and Barcelona are two of the best city beaches in Spain. Here you can enjoy shopping, dining, swimming and partying. If you want to get away from the congested beaches and prefer a place more private and with fewer people, Cala Macarella beach in Menorca is perfect for you. Just a heads-up though – getting there is not easy. You may need to travel far and hike a couple of miles, but all that effort will be totally worth it.
Ireland actually has beaches. It is common knowledge that Ireland has cold weather. But if you are looking for a fantastic sea view, Ireland is also home to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway’s Dolphin Beach houses are top tourist spots, too.
The Bay of Biscay is known as the Hamptons or White Islands of France. Nice is also perfect during the summer, particularly the Blue Beach and Plage Beau Rivage.
The Zlatni Rat in Brac, Split and Dubrovnik are one of the best beaches and sea views in Croatia. They are perfect places for sailing and relaxation. Most of the beaches here are isolated and peaceful.
Bodrum and Istanbul are the best places to visit in Turkey. They are clean and probably some of the most peaceful beaches in the Mediterranean.
The Santorini Caldera has one of the world’s spectacular shorelines. The sunsets are best to view from terraces. It has been described as “majestic” by most. The Navagio beach in Zakynthos, Greece is popular for its limestone cliffs and ancient shipwreck that is buried in its center.
These amazing places in Europe are perfect and you can choose to go to sites that are not as crowded like other destinations out there. Travel and open your mind and soul to the sea.
There is nothing more horrifying than being scammed during your holiday. Most of the time, you would save so much money and vacation days for those precious few days of relaxing by the beach. Unfortunately, many people who are simply trying to save money on their trip end up being victimized. In some cases, those who are booking cottages end up paying exorbitant hidden or additional fees or worse, having paid for a property that does not even exist.
The key is being smart and knowing these important steps when booking your cottage.
1 Use Your Instinct
The easiest way to spot any kind of scam is to follow what your gut tells you. If all other cottages are within a price range and something comes up that seems to be an incredibly good offer, then it is time to think twice. If it seems too good to be true, it is. Do your research, ask for pictures of the cottage, read reviews (to be sure that the place exists), and never ever send any money (like through Western Union). In some cases, the prices are so low because the cottage is in some remote or even shady part of the city or town, so researching the property is very important in weeding out the tourist traps.
2 Book through Reputable Rental Sites
You get a certain amount of safety and legitimacy by booking through a third-party, though it is not always foolproof. There are rental sites that allow cottage owners to advertise their property and let interested customers coordinate with them directly. This is different from having an agent do all the work for the owner. The difference is that with the first option, there is no more middleman, which can lower the cost. In the second option, there are instances where booking fees have to be paid, and they might raise your final expenses significantly.
3 Call the Owner
In most sites, you can find the contact details of the owner before you have to pay. It is a good idea to simply call them and ask for more information on the booking. For example, ask what is included in the price and if there are any additional charges. In some cases, a cleaning fee might be added, or there is a deposit necessary. Ask about the bed linen and towels, just to be sure you will not be sleeping without any sheets. Clarify if there is free parking available, as well as find out what facilities the cottage has or are available in the area. Be polite, and if they are rude or not helpful, you can also decide to go to another cottage.
4 Choose a Safe Method of Payment
Most owners will require a 25% non-refundable deposit once you book, and you would have to pay off the balance at least 4 weeks before the booking. Because the cost of these bookings can be higher compared to hotel rooms, it is important to be safe with your money.
When you pay more than £100 with your credit card, Section 75 protects you in case of a scam. Your credit card should help resolve the issue. If you pay at the site and the site will pay the owner, protection for credit card transactions might be provided, though your credit card might have a chargeback scheme.
If paying by credit card is not possible, do not ever wire money. Instead, deposit the amount into the owner’s account. If the account name and the address are suspicious or are in a different country, then it is very questionable.
Scammers nowadays are very smart and know how to sweet-talk their victims, so make sure that you only part with your hard-earned holiday money on reputable cottage owners by following these simple steps.
Michelin stars are often the indicator on whether a place serves the best food. However, it should be remembered that the best food venues are those most tried and eaten by the locals and tourists, such as those served in the streets.
Food stalls by the streets are probably the ones which can best introduce you to the local cuisine of a certain place. It is an essential travel experience. Aside from experiencing what it is like to eat along the roads, you will also be given the chance to eat delicacies not usually served in fine dining restaurants. Below is a list of the top 5 places in the world that offer the best of the best street food. Along with the location are the famous dishes in their area served of course in the streets.
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
Meals in Brazil are undeniably expensive but travelers need not worry about this when they visit the country. There are a lot of food stalls on the streets which can come to the rescue of visitors. Rio de Janeiro’s thoroughfares are the home of much well-known street food. But it is mostly popular for its tapioca crepes, pão de queijo cheese balls, acai smoothies, fried savory pastries and kebabs. These foods along with other dishes featuring seafood are often located on the waterfront as the city is literally surrounded by the sea.
Paris is popular for being the home of fashion and fine dining. What many people often miss about it, however, is the wide range of street food it has been offering tourists and the locals. The most dominant street food here is, of course, the Parisian crêperie mostly partnered with Nutella. These are simple thinned pancakes served with a filling of the consumer’s choice. It may be filled fruit jams, ice cream, or plain chocolate. Other than the crepe, Paris also has its pastries to brag about. Food trucks are also becoming a thing in this city serving other food like American burgers and various sandwiches.
Aside from the famous vending machines, Tokyo is now known for its extensive outdoor eating amenities particularly in the streets. The most common food served here include Okonomiyaki pancakes and bento boxes. Tokyo streets offer anything through vending machines but the best food is served in the Tsukiji market. It is also known as the seafood haven. There you can buy and eat sashimi samples. Not to mention the delicious raw oysters and the yummy, massive nigiri rolls.
Hong Kong does not only have Disneyland to be proud about. It is also home to the best snake soup and egg tarts. The streets in Hong Kong serve a wide variety of dishes from favorites from the West to the classic Cantonese delicacies. The most visited places here for street food are the Temple Street in Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon City and the Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street.
When talking about Canada and food, people always think of Vancouver and Toronto. But what they fail to notice is the rise of Ottawa in the food scene. There are more than 40 food trucks in the area which offer plenty of different food whether locally produced or derivatives from other places. The most popular ones serve the classic churros, frozen yogurt, sausages, hotdogs and much more.
While there is nothing wrong in going after popular fine dining restaurants, it also would not hurt to try out something new. Street foods, which are often disregarded, can sometimes give you a better food experience.
Who says traveling is only for the rich and famous? Backpacking these days has never been easy and exciting with the availability of options wherever in the world you may go. From east to west, Europe to Antartica, there are accommodations, restaurants, and adventures that fit your budget. Visit any of the amazing backpacking destinations this year. Here are the top 5 countries considered backpacker-friendly.
Nepal, the country that houses the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, is definitely a timeless backpacking destination for those who love mountain peaks and treks. If you love camping and believe in the idea of exercising while traveling, then this place is for you. Along the trails, there are available cabins and temples with wallet-friendly accommodations, offering guests with guides to beautiful sights and sumptuous meals.
While in Nepal, don’t miss out the city as there are many historical spots there. Among them are the Garden of Dreams, Durga Temple, Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa, and many other temples. You would be surprised to know that exploring the country’s capital, Kathmandu, only costs you about $2 to $5 a night. The great thing about Nepal is that it borders on India and Tibet. This makes it perfect for backpackers to cross to another scintillating Asian country.
Do you love the Mediterranean atmosphere but can’t afford to travel to Italy or Greece? If so then Albania is your perfect alternative destination. You will enjoy the coastlines, the cool breeze coming from the Adriatic Sea, and of course, the beautiful Mediterranean architectural designs. The houses and castles reflect the rich history of the country, having been influenced by Romans and Turks (Ottoman Empire). The food is incredibly cheap, and so do the hotels. At around $10 to $16, you can now sleep in a comfortable room.
Thailand is known for its beautiful beaches and has been the classic backers’ destination since Day 1. But its neighboring country – the Philippines – is also equally tropical and fun to explore. It is home to the magnificent Puerto Princesa, Palawan, voted as one of the 7 Wonders of the World in 2012. Plus expect some of the best sunsets here. If you love surfing, then you go to Siargao. From north to south, the country boasts of beautiful falls, stately mountains, and crystal-clear waters – all waiting to be explored. For as low as $5 to $10, you can avail of a dormitory type room or no-frills private room for a night. The food also comes cheap, especially when sold at local shops.
Do you want a Spanish environment for your next trip? Visit Peru in South America, bordered by Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil. The place is oozing with historical and archaeological sites that spell adventure for backpackers. The infamous Macchu Pichu and Inca Trail are found in Peru. These ruins still look stunning until today, including the Sacred Valley and Cusco’s Architectural Treasures. Try the hostels in Lima, there are those that offer at $10 a night.
Yes, Europe can be a backpacking destination, too. If you merely want a leisurely walk, sight-seeing baroque architecture, then visit Budapest, Hungary. You name it – Roman, Ottoman, or Renaissance – there are structures that you can feast on. The Fishermen’s Bastion and Castle Hill are among them. So far, Budapest ranks as the cheapest European country by backpackers. You only get to spend as low as $20 a night in a European land. Plus, you can easily travel by train to reach to another country.
There are many other budget-friendly countries that you can visit and explore without compromising the fun and adventure. The top five picks will enable you to fly all the way from Asia to South America to Europe.
Traveling to different places is such a relaxing, peaceful and exhilarating experience, especially if you are a sunset lover. One of the best things about watching sunsets is that you can be in an island and witness how nature puts a nightly display or be in desert and see the rocks turn to red because of the sunset’s illumination.
There is really something special about it that is life changing. Definitely, you must visit these different places to see the dazzling display of such a rare beauty. Here is the list of the most spectacular sunsets in the world to inspire you for a vacation.
Mindil Beach in Australia
Ever been to Australia? Then don’t miss the chance to visit Mindil Beach. If you are a sunset lover and a foodie like most of the travelers, then you will enjoy this place in Darwin, Australia. Local vendors normally come out by the afternoon as the sunset approaches. Apart from that, sky watchers can also appreciate the smell of barbeque from the nearby stalls. There are also craft stalls with goodies to sell. Aside from that, they have live music and beach lights. What a way to combine all these things setting the mood to make Mindil Beach as one of the well known sunset destinations.
Cairo Sunset in Egypt
Inside the large, old city of Cairo is a spot solely for watching the sun set over this bustling city in Egypt. The view makes you realize as if you traveled back in time to witness a glorious site. Each night, vendors and wait staff set the tables and chairs for the locals and foreigners to enjoy the view. Cairo has wonderful things to offer aside from the spectacular sunset. You can also enjoy a sip of their sweet juices and create a memory as you listen to some Arabic music. One of the amazing things being in the place is that it is as if the people really wait for the sunset and there is this vibrant feel in everyone.
Who wouldn’t want to visit and soak in the transparent waters in Maldives? It is such a dream destination for many people because of its exquisite beauty – white sand, coral reefs, foods, etc. Almost everything is a dream in Maldives especially the sunset. The place is quiet and you even see the whales cruising along the waters, making everything such a heavenly moment. The whole setting of Maldives is really for the golden sunset. It is such an elegant site that will change the way you see the world forever.
Missoula Sunset in Montana
This is one of the finest cities to live in America. It is a diverse city and also popularly known as the big sky country because of the amazing sunset you see in this place. Almost anywhere you look and in any direction, the sunset seems to be in three dimensions, painting the sky with colorful hues. It can inspire your soul as you also breathe the mountain air.
So go ahead and realize that there is really something to look forward to in life with the artistic glory of the most spectacular sunsets in the world.