Best things to do during a 2021 staycation

You probably spent the majority of 2020 inside your home. But, soon, work resumed, and you got right back to your old routine, but in pajamas. Some of you might have even returned to your office spaces or been asked to appear at your office a few days a week. But each time you leave your house, you must get yourself decked up in the best protective gear to safeguard yourself, your family and those around you. Though international travel has resumed, it is still rather unsafe and intimidating and not an easy option for everyone.

You still want to take a break from the daily grind, and a staycation might be your best option.

A staycation basically means a vacation that is not spent abroad. You could stay at an Airbnb nearby or just stay home. But, you do want to make these few days a bit different from how you spend your weekends at home.

Go on a hike

Remember that little hill you’ve seen while you drove down the road before but never got a chance to visit? Now is the time to go hiking with your family. Since it will be a weekday, you will encounter a smaller crowd, and even if you do see other hikers, steer away from them. Bring your masks and other necessary protective equipment alongside the right hiking gear. If the hike leads to a picturesque location, pack a picnic rug and a basket filled with your favourite snacks to enjoy a picnic together.

A movie night in your backyard

We’re sure you’ve spent many nights watching movies with your loved ones on your big screen TV. But, during your staycation, you can have a special or romantic night right in your backyard. Determine the area where the movie will be projected. You can choose a blank wall or a plain, light-coloured cloth that’s been hung up. Roll out some rugs, or set down a few comfortable chairs. Hang your favourite fairy lights all around your movie watching area to give it a magical feel. Finally, get your popcorn and snacks ready, grab your family, and settle down for a lovely night outdoors.

Recreate a casino experience at home

If you are someone who enjoys gambling at casinos, you must have felt disappointed for not being able to visit your favourite casinos anymore. By mid-2020, it became apparent that public spaces such as casinos that witness huge crowds were not safe anymore. During your staycation, you can grab your family and your laptops to set up makeshift slot machines where you all can play. There are hundreds of online casinos available today, and these online slot machines are explained here. You can spend several hours at these online gambling sites, celebrating each win and strategising. Many online casinos also provide live dealers if you are looking to better emulate the casino experience.

Have a family barbecue

A staycation is a great time to dust up your grill and skewers. Get your favourite organically sourced meats and vegetables, prepare some drool-worthy seasoning and get grilling. This a fun activity you can enjoy with your family, and it also results in a delicious dinner.

As an additional step, you could also have a little campfire in your backyard, make some s’mores and have the kids perform their various talents. Tell them stories about your childhood, sing your favourite family songs and just have a good time.

A staycation on an RV

If you love camping but want to do something different this time, rent an RV. You can tour the countryside and take turns driving the vehicle. You will have to make several stops at restaurants and stores, so be prepared for that. But, an RV staycation can be a great way to go on a trip without moving into a strange hotel. Take your RV to a beautiful location with a magnificent view and enjoy a fantastic morning waking up to dreamy surroundings right out of a movie.

Explore your town

If you are tired of sitting home, open Google, get in your car and drive to the nearest tourist locations. Being a resident of the town, you might have never found time to properly tour your area. This could be a great time to visit all the historical locations you have only heard about but never seen. Check beforehand to understand any restrictions or safety policies they may have put in place and always ensure proper social distancing when at these locations.

Summing up

A staycation is an excellent option if you want to take a break from your work but do not want to travel anywhere too far. Take a few days to stay home and plan out fun new activities everyone can enjoy together. Keep electronic devices, work and social media away for these few days and try to enjoy what is around you. A staycation can easily rejuvenate you and get your spirits back up before you rejoin your office.

5 Delightful European Travel Destinations for Winter Sun

For many people, it’s this time of year that the travel bug starts to take over. There is that desire to escape the stress and hustle of everyday life, and experience a different destination, culture, and of course climate. As we get closer to winter, the desire to flock to a warmer climate starts to sink in, and suddenly you may find yourself researching European winter sun destinations.

Well, we’ve gone ahead and done the work for you and provided a list of the top winter sun destinations that you can find right here in Europe. The biggest question you’ll need to answer is how you’ll pick just one of these locations?

Sicily, Italy

Sicily has long since been a popular winter destination for tourists who are looking to unwind, relax, and enjoy some sunshine. Of course, there is a lot more to Sicily than its pleasant winter temperatures, there’s also the culture, cuisine, history, architecture, and stunning natural beauty of the region. Highlights include Mount Etna, Baroque towns to explore, Taormina, and a variety of archaeological sites to keep you intrigued. Sicily is also the fictional home of Inspector Montalbano!

Malta

Then we have Malta, which may be relatively small in size but it packs a real punch in terms of vacation enjoyment. Here you will find a whopping nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, rocky cliffs and coves, quaint little fishing villages, history and natural harbours, fabulous cuisine, and plenty of sunshine and mild temperatures. The winter months are quite dry and you’ll find the temperatures don’t often drop below 15°C, so there’s no need to bundle up.

If you want to experience a really special time of year in Malta, be sure to visit during the Christmas season when you’ll find a variety of Christmas markets to explore.

Cyprus

If you’re looking for a destination that is a bit more exotic and warmer, then Cyprus could be the winter destination for you. Here you’ll find the temperatures sit around 20°C throughout the entire winter, and again you’ll get plenty of sunshine. The big draws of Cyprus are the history and culture, but let’s not forget to also mention the food. For the foodies out there, this can be the perfect place to satisfy your cravings for spectacular and unique dishes.

Canary Islands, Spain

Perhaps budget is a concern as you book your winter getaway, and if that’s the case the Canary Islands in Spain can be a great option. These islands are warm and comfortable all year round and are often dubbed as one of the best winter sun destinations in all of Europe. Despite their popularity, the Canary Islands manage to stay affordable, giving plenty of people an opportunity to visit.

In terms of what you’ll find here, the Canary Islands are ideal for those looking for a no-fuss, laid back, and quiet vacation. This one is ideal for couples who are looking for a romantic getaway and want to escape the large sprawling resorts.

Madeira, Portugal

You can’t create a list of European winter sun destinations without also include Madeira, Portugal. Madeira isn’t found on the mainland, in fact, it is 1,000 miles out to sea from the mainland. It’s often seen as one of the most remote islands in Europe, as well as the most exotic. It has a real tropical feel to it with its lush greenery and gardens, expansive coastline, plenty of sun, mountainous landscape, and comfortable temperatures all year-round.

Be Prepared with Travel Insurance

As a final tip, you’ll want to be sure you purchase European travel insurance, such as the coverage you can find through Staysure, which includes Covid-19 cover as standard. Regardless of the destination, it gives you that peace of mind that is even more necessary during today’s times. You can get a quote online quickly and easily.

Go Ahead and Book that Holiday

As you can tell, there is no shortage of European sun destinations, which means you may need to book more than one getaway.

How to Save For the Trip of a Lifetime

Many people aspire to travel the world or embark on a profound and meaningful journey. However, for some, it’s hard to imagine ever being able to afford this dream adventure. Despite the challenges involved in raising funds for the trip of a lifetime, it’s absolutely possible to do it. In this article, we’ll look at a few approaches you can take to make your traveling dreams a reality.

Draw Up a Strict Budget and Savings Plan

The best first step when saving for anything at all is to calculate how much you’ll need and what it will take to achieve that amount. Factor in everything from transport and accommodation to food and miscellaneous expenses. Consider the cost of equipment purchase or hire if you’re planning on hiking, skiing or doing any other specialist activity. You should also include a good-sized contingency in case of emergencies. Next, take into account your existing income and expenditure. What could you cut back on and how much would that save per month? Without restricting yourself too much, calculate how long it is likely to take to save the required money in your current situation. Remember to allow for unexpected expenses leading up to your trip.

Refinance and Consolidate

Have you taken out any loans? Do you have any debts? You may be able to look into refinancing, particularly when it comes to student loans or mortgages. With refinancing, you can opt for private financing to repay all your student loans and you’ll be left with one loan with a new repayment schedule and interest rate. Releasing equity is a great way to access money quickly but it can also be risky, so make sure you know exactly what you’re doing.

Take on Extra Work

Do you have the time and energy to undertake additional employment? If so, think about looking for an evening or weekend job to earn extra money. While this is a way of raising funds surprisingly quickly, you should take care not to run yourself into the ground or let your personal life suffer as a result.

Try a New Saving Technique

Why not think about opening a savings account? If you set aside a predetermined amount of money every week and deposit it, it will gain interest and grow over time. Many accounts will only allow you to access these funds after a particular length of time, so you won’t be able to spend the saved amount until the time is right. Another approach is to hold back a percentage of your monthly wage, perhaps between 15 and 20%, and earmark it for your trip. Whether you have a special money jar or a separate bank account solely for this purpose, saving in this way is simple but surprisingly effective.

Consider Earning While You Travel

If you’re able to make money during your trip, you’ll need to bring less along. It’s definitely best to make firm arrangements before you set off in case you’re left in a pinch, but there are numerous online resources available to help you find short-term work overseas. Of course, it’s important to first make sure you have the right permissions to seek employment in your destination country so be sure to check the regulations before you accept a position.

5 Best Itineraries for Your Next Cruise

If you dream of experiencing an unforgettable trip with your family or your partner, cruising can be the perfect answer to all your needs. Every year, many travelers book both ocean and river cruises and leave for a life-changing adventure.

There are many companies, such as Aqua Expeditions, that offer marvelous river and ocean cruises all around the world. All you have to do is pick your favorite itinerary and leave for your next adventure. If you still haven’t decided which one your next destination is going to be, we have selected five of the best itineraries to take into account before you book your cruise. Continue reading

4 Activities You Shouldn’t Miss Out on for a Luxe Berkshire Holiday

Image by Luxury London

The United Kingdom is full of luxury retreats, and there’s such a strong sense of culture no matter where you go. This rich and varied culture is what makes trips to the UK so irresistible, but also what makes it difficult to plan — with so many avenues and activities to explore, where do you even begin?

If you’re looking for a prime destination to visit while in the UK, look no further than Berkshire. Below are four suggestions for luxe travellers you won’t forget any time soon. Continue reading

Keeping In Touch With Loved Ones When You Travel

Travelling can be a hugely liberating experience. Whether you’re travelling alone or travelling with a companion. You get to free yourself from the confines of your usual day job. You get to break free from other unnecessary commitments that many of us place on ourselves. You get to travel the world, see new places, experience new things and have the time of your life. But one obstacle many people find when they are travelling is that they will miss their nearest and dearest. Often, we grow up in one area and have strong bonds with people who remain home.

But nowadays, this problem is more easily surmountable than in the past. The rise of technology and other industries means that it’s easier to stay in touch with those we love than ever before. Here are a few simple steps you can take to keep in touch with people, no matter where you are in the world. Continue reading

Five Tips for Eating Healthy While Traveling in 2021

One activity on the top of almost every wish list is ‘traveling’. Breaking the routine and exploring new places and people is something that excites most people. You might know a couple of your friends or family who make it a point to take an annual vacation (sometimes two!) and share their happy pictures on social media. Then there are those whose work takes them places on a weekly or monthly basis and lets them discover new cultures and work ethics. But be it for leisure or business, traveling around does take a toll on the ‘eating habits’. Continue reading

Lunch at Murger Hanhan in London

Murger Hanhan is the restaurant everyone should come to when they travel to London. As London’s first authentic Xi’an restaurant, it is home to the irresistibly delicious Chinese Biang Biang Noodles. These super long noodles (12 feet in fact) are just as much fun to eat as they are to photograph and videotape. With so many reasons to visit, from efficient service to top notch cuisine for the whole family, it is no wonder I keep thinking about this spot nearly a month after visiting.

Murger Hanhan specializes in regional Chinese cuisine from Xi’an City in the Shanxi Province. This province is located in North China close to Beijing.

I already know I will be visiting here multiple times when I am back in London in the summer of 2020.

Coming in for lunch? Make sure you are one of the first groups to arrive. Murger Hanhan gets busy (very) quickly. The service is very fast without being pushy or overbearing, so you have plenty of time to enjoy your meal without feeling rushed.

Continue reading

Bethlehem, Connecticut’s Annual Christmas Festival

The little town of Bethlehem, Connecticut has earned local notoriety as “Christmas Town”. With a name like Bethlehem, it would be a shame if the town did not go all out on its Christmas tree lighting celebration. Luckily for us, Bethlehem does not disappoint in this regard. The center of town closes to traffic one weekend per year in early December to celebrate the holiday season with food, music, crafts, horse-drawn carriages, and even a 5k run.

The annual festival took place on Friday, December 6th, and Saturday, December 7th this year. Guests were delighted to walk down the festively decorated main street and enter each building in the town’s center to find the special surprises each had inside.

Continue reading

Holiday Soiree and Winter Showcase in Westport, CT

Entrepreneurship and networking were the themes of the evening at the Enchanted Holiday Soiree Winter Gift Showcase with B.I.G. An amazing group of women without of this world products and services to offer showcased their finest Wednesday, December 4th at Positano’s Restaurant in Westport, CT. Each offered a detailed insight into their company and product along with holiday specials valid for the month of December only. As we shopped and networked we were treated to a selection of Italian appetizer favorites from Positano’s including bread, arancini, calamari, and a cheeseboard. While the shopping and appetizers were a welcome way to spend an evening, the real privilege was witnessing the camaraderie between the group of female professionals that make up Believe Inspire Grow, or B.I.G. Continue reading

The Rockwell in London

It would be almost impossible to devise a better meeting place after work or after a day exploring London. After stepping out into the frosty air from the National Art Gallery, walk across Trafalgar Square to The Rockwell. A new destination cocktail bar and lounge at The Trafalgar St. James, it is the ideal destination to escape into your own libation fantasy.

Dapper and demure meets a celestial and botanical hideaway. Easily meet friends, colleagues, and loved ones here for a drink and some innovative bar food after work or pre-theatre. We visited on a Wednesday evening during their Mid-Week Magic that begins at 6pm.

 

Pure Magic

As you settle into one of their plush and sophisticated banquettes, you may be greeted by one of their resident fortune tellers, a caricaturist, or illusionist. They rotate every Wednesday throughout the months. During these magical evenings, their bar team whips up an array of carefully curated apothecary-style magical cocktails. How about trying the Illusion cocktail? Crafted with Kinahan’s Cask Project, White Tea Rinomato, Marshmallow Leaf, and Mancino Bianco Ambrato. (£14).

Cocktails

This is the location to have fun with and experience out-of-the-ordinary libations. The Rockwell in Trafalgar Square is the reason why you go out for creative cocktails. It is also where you go to discover and try new pairings brimming with imaginative elements.

Cocktails to try first are the ones crafted with Gin. Try the Plymouth Navy Strength made with Franklin & Sons Natural Indian Tonic. Garnish with Rosemary & Cranberry Tea (£16). For a magical escape, sip Myrtle’s Escape with Banana Purée, Licorice Water, Eucalyptus Soda (£9).

For Festive Cocktails, my favorite was the Tea for Nicholas. A marvelously festive concoction of Sandalwood Rebel Yell Bourbon, Chestnut Syrup, English Breakfast Tea, and Milk Foam. Served hot. (£14). Additional festive cocktails are crafted with Gin or Whiskey, like the Yuletide Gin & Tonic.

The Food

All plates are perfect for sharing. Recommended is ordering 2-3 per party of two. For nibbles, we suggest Lemon & herb Chicken Skewers (£10); and Skin on Fries with Rosemary and Parmesan (£5). For small plates, chose the Tuna Tartare, Avocado, Ginger; Crispy Prawn Tempura; and Beef Sliders with Cheddar and Mayonnaise (£12/each).

For something sweet, go with the Chocolate Fondant with Salted Caramel (£8).

There is also an all day dining menu. That menu has the addition of main courses and additional appetizer selections. I could easily spend a few hours here. The high-spirited vibe is invigorating yet relaxing. Conversations at The Rockwell should never be rushed through.

Images courtesy of The Rockwell

The Rockwell in Trafalgar Square is open seven days a week beginning at 11am.

On Thursdays from 8pm, The Rockwell hosts an evening of smooth jazz and bespoke cocktails with New Orleans vibe.

Coming up, there will be a special Christmas, and New Year’s Eve menu.

020 7244 2000

Greenwich Connecticut Holiday Stroll

It’s that time of year again and the holiday season brings with it ample opportunities for shopping excursions. For the 11th consecutive year, Greenwich CT celebrates the best shopping days of the season with its townwide holiday stroll. This annual event highlights Greenwich’s downtown shopping district, often referred to as the “Rodeo Drive of the East Coast” which is an excellent place to find boutique clothing, shoes, outerwear, and accessories.

There is a shop for everything and everyone in the downtown Greenwich shopping area. Spas, antique dealers, art galleries, convenience stores, and so much more are all available in one convenient location. Restoration Hardware, Benefit, Sephora, Lulu Lemon, Apple, Good Stuff, Betteridge, Brooks Brothers, Hoagland, Orvis, and Fjallraven Kankin.

Since shopping is hungry work, it is quite convenient that the downtown area is peppered with superb places to dine or enjoy a cocktail or coffee. Greenwich coffee roasters, a short walk from Tiffany and co., Vineyard Vines and Saks 5th Avenue, roasts their beans by hand and offers cappuccino, lattes, and espresso. For lunch or dinner, be sure to visit EastEnd, Harvest Wine Bar, Back 40 Kitchen, Terra Ristorante or Mediterraneo for an unforgettable meal. For shoppers who preferred a bite on the go, a food truck court was available.

The holiday stroll also included the neighboring areas of Cos Cob, Byram, and Riverside. The shops put their best face forward with festive decorations in the storefronts and the town of Greenwich ensured that lights, garlands, and festive ornaments were lining the streets for the event. Toy shops, clothiers, and suppliers of products for the home all participated in the holiday stroll.

Greenwich Avenue is a lovely place to spend a leisurely day strolling, shopping, and dining year-round, however, it has a special sparkle during the holidays that is worth the trip. If you find yourself in the Fairfield County area, be sure to stop by.