Alaska travel guide

Top Five Places to Drink Beer in Anchorage

Beer-making was once the domain of a few large companies, but with the rise in popularity of microbrews and home-brewing, there are hundreds more beers to choose from, no matter what your style or budget. Alaskans, being fans of both locally-owned businesses and beer in general, have started to get in on the microbrew craze. Though Anchorage doesn’t compare to cities like Portland in the lower 48 for sheer number of breweries and brew-pubs, the educated traveler to the city can put together a decent little beer tour. Here are the highlights that any hop-obsessed traveler to Anchorage must see:

1. The Moose’s Tooth
3300 Old Seward Highway, Anchorage
* One of the best-known brewpubs and eateries in Alaska, the Moose’s Tooth offers not only 17 styles of beer but also home-made root beer, ginger ale and cream soda for the tee-totalers in the group (or the designated driver), and award-winning pizza. Can be a little touristy, but worth it, especially for the combo of great beer and great pizza, not always easy to find in Alaska.

Alaska travel guide

How Big is Alaska?

This post is part of our ongoing Alaska FAQ series, answering commonly asked questions about the state.

Short answer: Really, really big. To many travelers from Europe and the rest of the world, the United States can seem dauntingly large, and that’s just the lower 48 states. Alaska is by far the largest of the 50 US states, and we’ve compiled a list of facts on Alaska’s size that should help explain just how massive the Great Land really is:

  • Total land area: 663,268 square miles (1,717,854 sq. km.)
  • More land area than the 2nd, 3rd and 4th biggest states combined
  • More land area than the 22 smallest states combined
  • More miles of coastline than the other 49 states combined
  • If Alaska was a country, it would be the 19th largest in the world
  • Because of the Aleutian Island chain, Alaska is over 2,200 miles wide from end to end, more than the distance from Madrid to Cairo.
Germany travel guide

How About Visiting Germany This Summer?

Germany is so much more than Oktoberfest. Although the very popular festival involving loads of beer and not-so-healthy food is the reason most foreigners visit Germany, there are plenty of other things to check out in this lovely European country.

If you are an EU citizen, it’s not even necessary to drop by the German embassy in London before planning your trip. You don’t need anything but your national ID card to travel within the EU and the Schengen space.

Especially if you are already in Europe, cheap flights to Germany are very easy to find, regardless of when you plan to visit the country. Many low cost carriers offer excellent deals on flights to various German cities.

Berlin should definitely be one of the cities to visit during your vacation in Germany. Berlin is a very cultural city. A lot of museums and churches wait to be discovered. But Berlin is also a trendy city, filled with excellent clubs and very good restaurants. Of course, don’t miss visiting a section of the Berlin Wall. The parades and festivals complete the city’s cosmopolite atmosphere.

Just remember to book one of the hotels in Berlin ahead of time, especially if you travel during the summer.

The price tag for a week in Germany? Let’s see: €77 per person for the roundtrip flight (London – Berlin on Ryanair) and at least €70 per night (2 persons) in a 2-star hotel in the middle of August. Don’t forget to account for the food and the sightseeing as well.

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Portugal travel guide

A Vacation in Lisbon : Low Cost and A Lot of Fun!

Visiting both Spain and Portugal during a summer vacation is very popular activity among tourists; it is very easy to get from one place to another and you can experience a mixture of what the area has to offer and be amazed by the differences between the two countries.

You can start the vacation in Madrid. Accommodation starts at just €11 a night in Spain’s capital if you choose a bed in a hostel. There are quite a lot of things to do in Madrid and you’ll surely be busy for several days.

Once you’ve decided to travel to Portugal, you can choose one of the ways to get from Madrid to Lisbon . The fastest way to travel between the two capitals is by plane and luckily, flights to Lisbon are not very expensive. As a matter of fact, even during the peak season you can book a one way flight for just €31 (on easyJet).

Don’t worry about accommodation either because cheap Lisbon hotels are not hard to find. And if you want even cheaper accommodation, hostel beds start at €15 per night.

Lisbon is an exciting place to visit; the nightlife is amazing and the architecture is stunning. And let’s not forget the cuisine, which appeals to all taste buds.

And if you want to stick around for a longer time in Portugal, rent a car and drive to the Algarve region. You can soak up the sun on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and , of course, enjoy the stunning scenery and buildings.

Edinburgh Things to Do

It’s Not Too Late to Plan a Trip for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, is one of the most popular places in the country to visit. And at no time is it more popular than during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, an annual event that takes place each August and is one of the best outdoor festivals in the world.

The festival is an open-air arts fest that brings together theatre, visual art, music, comedy and performance art that spills out onto the streets of the city. The festival developed “on the fringe” and continues to be a venue for lesser-known and more avant-garde artists.

Visiting during the Fringe Festival is difficult, but worthwhile. Hotels and hostels book up well in advance and rates are much higher than during other times of year, but the trade off is the chance to see random art just about everywhere you look in the city.

With large city-wide events like this, we tend to notice two trends. In order to score good Fringe Festival deals, you either need to book very far in advance, or you need to wait until a month or so before the date. Waiting until the last minute like this is a gamble and there’s a good chance all the best hotels are sold out, or priced far beyond your reach. However, it is still possible to find cheap Edinburgh hotels willing to cut a deal on some unsold inventory. The hotels may not be your first choice – they may be located farther out of the city center or may be more basic that what you prefer – but when there is so much going on in the city, you won’t be spending much time in the hotel room anyways.

Likewise, you can often find some excellent deals on flights to Edinburgh if you wait till just a a few days or weeks out. Low cost carriers like RyanAir are notorious for waiting until the last minute to slash their fares and get rid of unsold inventory, and in those circumstances, it definitely pays to wait until the last minute to finalize your travel plans.

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Las Vegas Things to Do

Go to Las Vegas for Nature, Not Just City

Last month we brought up the idea of summer trip to Las Vegas as a good option for a quick getaway. But what if you’re looking for a break from city life? What if you’d rather spend your quick getaway away from concrete and cars? If you know anything about Las Vegas, you’ll know it can still fit the bill – because there’s far more on offer in Sin City than just the Sin (or the City).

One of the things that makes Vegas so popular is that it’s usually pretty cheap to get there and (unless you’re coveting a suite at the Paris) cheap to stay. From Los Angeles, it’s even worth considering making it a road trip – but with so many cheap flights to Las Vegas it’s also an easy plane ride away. And if you’ve ever flown into Vegas, you know that it’s a very short trip from even the busiest and neon-iest part of the city center to the many outdoor pursuits that surround the city.

While there’s many a Las Vegas travel guide that scarcely mentions anything beyond the casinos and clubs, there are so many outdoor activities in Las Vegas that you could spend a week in the city with a packed itinerary and never even venture onto the Strip. The desert that stretches out in all directions from the city is full of adventures. Whether you’re in the mood for a hike through Red Rock Canyon, an ATV ride through the El Dorado Canyon, or a rafting trip down the Colorado River, Las Vegas has you covered. You can combine your outdoor-centric trip with a bit of city glam by staying in downtown Las Vegas and going to a show or a fancy dinner after a day of hiking, or you can stay at an off-Strip hotel and avoid it altogether.

In other words, just because you want to get away from L.A. this summer, don’t overlook Las Vegas as a vacation destination – there’s plenty of un-city stuff to keep you entertained.

photo by Exothermic

travel guide

Let Technology Help Planning Your France Vacation

It might be that my job sort of made me drag my laptop, camera and cell around all the time…or that I am just way too addicted to being always connected, but one thing is sure: whenever I plan a vacation, technology surely plays a huge role.

Nowadays, smartphones are pretty much small laptops which can help you do anything you ever dreamed of. With the introduction of the iPhone, everyone went crazy to have the latest apps and use them for their needs.

Planning a vacation in France can be very easy if you let technology help. France iPhone apps allow you to carry travel guides with you, without having to fill your backpack with books; and they surely help when you cannot remember a particular French word (or don’t speak the language at all). And if you want to try the local cuisine but you are afraid something weird will turn up in your plate, an iPhone app can help you choose the right dish.

Most of us have totally forgotten about travel agents. Why should we trust them when it’s easy to book cheap flights to Paris online? Just do it from the home computer (or during lunch break at work). You can check various possibilities and choose the best flight and the best prices. Also many airlines offer web-only deals, which are absolutely amazing.

Likewise, searching among the many Paris hotels can be a daunting task but you’ll surely be able to find something that fits your budget and plan. And just like in the case of airlines, hotels also have web-only offers which can save you quite a lot of money (or you can get various perks for free).

Not to mention that you can ask around the travel community and get direct recommendations regarding a particular hotel. I’ve done it many times and I was never disappointed by the suggestions and what I eventually chose.

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