HomeTagsPosts tagged with "travel"

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We are all itching to get away after this lockdown. We need a break from our homes, but who knows when we’ll be able to safely travel abroad.

One option many people are considering is heading away on a staycation when restrictions on travel around Ireland are lifted. We are incredibly lucky to live on such a beautiful island with stunning sites just a short drive away.

One location we’re eager to visit is the beautiful Hotel Westport, located on the stunning Westport Estate. It is the perfect place for your post-pandemic staycation this summer. With the easing of the toughest restrictions just around the corner, Hotel Westport has put together the ultimate socially distant staycation packages for those chomping at the bit to get beyond their 20k and reset the rest of their summer in style. Those coping with cabin-fever or simply ready for some new experiences – remember those – need to pack up for picturesque Westport and head for the wild and wonderful west!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Hotel Westport is a peaceful haven set on the idyllic surrounds of Westport House, and the Hotel Westport team has spent the past month preparing the highest safety standards and guidelines in anticipation of welcoming guests back to enjoy a unique staycation experience this summer. But safety aside, the team has focussed on the ultimate in innovation and collaboration to wake up your restricted senses and enjoy a ‘second-half of summer’ to remember. Adventure lovers, zen seekers and fun-loving families will all find something to fulfil their travel needs at this west coast wonder.

The picturesque estate with its 400 acres of fresh air is set in the heart of the town at the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way and overlooked by Ireland’s most famous mountain, Croagh Patrick. Visitors can enjoy some quality time with loved ones at the hotel’s Family Bush Camp, a unique outdoor experience which allows guests to reconnect with nature through fun bush crafting and survival activities, while maintaining social distance from other guests. It’s the perfect way to kick-start your freedom with an unrivalled experience that won’t compromise on safety. Packages start at €79 pps for Bed & Breakfast  and bookings can be secured at www.hotelwestport.ie 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Community spirit is at the heart of Westport, as local businesses come together during these unprecedented times. The owner and head chef of Cian’s on Bridge Street, Cian Hayes, will be opening a pop-up restaurant experience in Hotel Westport this summer: Cian’s at Hotel Westport. Bringing a unique take on the menu ordinarily served at his award-winning restaurant to Hotel Westport, the pop-up will take advantage of the large space available in the hotel so guests and locals alike can enjoy a remarkable dining experience in comfortable and socially distant surroundings. 

Another great collaboration is with Clew Bay Bike Hire. Guests at Hotel Westport can truly experience the wild Atlantic west by hiring bikes on site and cycling an exclusive and accessible 10km loop through the estate, the harbour, and the town. If you’re feeling ambitious, why not take on the breath-taking Great Western Greenway, a cycle you could only but dream of these past few months!

Westport House, an 18th century manor house also on Westport Estate, is just a stone’s throw away from the hotel. Visitors can stroll through the beautiful grounds to enjoy the blooming gardens and take in the 3.5k looped Lakeland and woodland walk. The house itself is open to day-visitors to discover the fascinating stories of this privately-owned historic house while they immerse themselves in 300 years of Irish heritage in its stunning formal rooms and original antiques, architecture, and artwork.

Newly appointed Chief Executive at Westport Estate, Barry O’Connor, said; “Unity in Westport is something that’s important to all of us and local businesses are joining forces to help each other during these different times. Things have changed for Irish people so much over recent months, so at Hotel Westport we have created a unique staycation experience while ensuring the safety of our guests, to offer people a chance to make some amazing memories this summer.”

Discover Westport like never before this summer. For more information or to make a booking enquiry please visit www.hotelwestport.ie

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I recently went on my first ever mother-daughter trip and according to science, it was good for my health.

It was nothing glamorous or expensive, but it was really eye-opening. We didn’t fly off to New York or explore a sunny Greek island, we got the 9am train down to Mallow for one night but it has made me appreciate my Mam so much more than before.

We wandered around the town, popping into dinky shops and bookstores, we ate hearty cheese toasties and drank gallons of tea. We acted like giddy schoolkids when we saw the size of our beautiful room at The Hibernian Hotel, we listened to Sunshine 106.8 and argued about what time we should have dinner.

We ate like kings, drank pints and nattered about things we rarely got the chance to talk about. 

We went for a walk around Mallow Castle grounds, met up with some of our Cork family for a well overdue catch up and read our books in a peaceful silence as the train rolled out of the station.

It was a short break, nothing crazy, pricey or lavish, but it has strengthened our relationship. It helped me see my Mam in a completely different light, we laughed so much and spent quality time together that is far too rare these days.

Harvard Medical School recently found that going on a trip with your mum has a positive impact on both your mental and general health.

A mother-daughter trip has the power to lower your stress levels, boost your immune responses and lowers your risk of heart disease, according to the study.

If anyone needs us we’ll be planning our next getaway with mother dearest.

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We have been dreaming of hopping on a plane ever since the temperatures dropped. We’re so tired of these miserable, dark evenings. 

We find ourselves swooning over snaps of Bali and Hawaii on Instagram and scrolling through the Ryanair sight to see what flights we can afford with the €16 in our bank accounts.

If you too are hoping to jet away with the gals in the coming months then we’ve got wonderful news for you.

Going away with the girlies is actually good for your health.

That’s right, booking a girls trip will boost your happiness and improve your health, according to researchers and who are we to argue with science?

Psychologist William Chopik discovered that our friendships have the biggest impact on our wellbeing. His study, which was published in Personal Relationships, found that spending quality time with your friends improves your mood.

He explained, “These are relationships of choice. You choose to hang out together because you enjoy each other’s company.”

He added:  “You can sit down, look them in the eye, have a true back-and-forth, and read each other’s body language. They can see you and your facial expressions. You’re emotionally responding to things, and you can pick up on their emotions. You don’t always get that through a phone call.”

Going away with your friends will help you spend pure quality time together. We don't get a chance to have heart-to-hearts during coffee dates or cinema trips so it is the perfect way to bond with your best pals. 

If anyone needs us we’ll be looking up Air BnBs with our besties. A holiday is well-needed!

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About Time is one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time and you can’t tell us any different.

The heartwarming movie starring Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy never fails to make us smile, melt our hearts and leave us bawling like a newborn baby at the end (that beach scene).

Set in both London and Cornwall, About Time always leaves us lusting to jet away to where Tim and Mary’s love story takes place.

Country House charm by the sea

You can even go a step further now and stay in Tim’s gorgeous family home in Cornwall.

That’s right, the actual house where the famous New Years party took place, where many a table tennis tournament occurred and plenty packets of biscuits were opened.

The family home, which is located on Cornwall’s south coast is the perfect place to getaway from the dull realities of everyday life.

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The decor hasn’t changed much since the movie was filmed in 2013 so now our dream of being in a rom-com can finally come true.

All we need now is to bump into Domhnall Gleeson.

You can check out the Porthpean House on Airbnb here.

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There are so many places in the world that I’d love to visit. Canada, New York, Denmark, South Africa… the list is never-ending.

However, at the end of the day, there really is no place like home. No matter where I go I always look forward to coming home to the Emerald Isle. Ireland has a certain charm that, in my eyes, is simply unbeatable.

We may be a tiny island but there are just so many incredibly beautiful places to visit across the country, including Kerry.

I was lucky enough to visit Tralee to stay at the Ballygarry House Hotel recently and have fallen head over heels in love with the charming country house hotel.

The staff welcome you with the warmth that you feel when reuniting with a childhood friend. They were so kind and accommodating and couldn’t have made me feel more welcome.

From the moment we stepped inside the hotel felt like a home away from home.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Ballygarry House Hotel caters for everyone. If you’re a bookworm you can cosy up by the fire and get lost in a story.

For those adventurers out there, you can take one of the bikes available at the hotel down to the Ballyseedy Woods.

If you’re in need of a little bit of chill time then look no further than the tranquil Nádúr Spa where you will be treated like royalty by the lovely Gina and her team.

Enjoy a soothing stroll through the hotel’s gardens and take in the stunning view of the Sliabh Mish Mountains on a crisp winter morning.

You certainly won’t be short of things to do during your time at the Ballygarry House Hotel. And you certainly won’t go hungry either.

I was lucky enough to dine at both The Brasserie and the lavish Restaurant 58. Trust me, the food is simply divine. Restaurant 58 is a soothing spot that has a menu to die for and the sweetest staff who will ensure you have everything you need.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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If you’re in the mood to splash out then try the Char Grilled Prime Irish Steak and thank me later. My stomach has never been as happy or full as it was after our visit.

Be sure to roll into Owen Mac's bar after your dinner to wash it all down with a beverage of choice. The recently renovated and revamped bar has everything from wine to whiskey and pink gin to craft beers.

You’ll be wowed by the talents of a live pianist at the weekends which adds even more charm to the hotel.

After a night of sheer luxury, you can doze off in the comfiest bed ever or tune into one of your favourite movies on Netflix on the hotel TV.

I truly didn’t want to leave the Ballygarry House Hotel. I was so close to asking if I could move into The Lodge, which is a little nugget of history right on the hotel’s doorstep.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The mid – 18th Century Lodge was formerly the gate lodge of the O'Connor farmhouse and is now being used as a private event room for celebrations with a personalised Butler Service for Afternoon Tea.

A visit at The Ballygarry House Hotel is an essential trip for all you travel bugs out there. You just need to add to your bucket list. The charm, warmth and kindness of the staff alone will make your visit one you’ll never forget. There’s no doubt it’ll become a home away from home for you, right in the heart of Kerry.

Do yourself a favour and book a stay at The Ballygarry House Hotel. Check out their website for more information.

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Each year millions of backpackers and holidaymakers touch down on European soil to sample the culinary and cultural delights.

With 48% of holidaymakers now preferring city breaks, choosing a destination can be a difficult decision to make.

The January blues have hit and we are itching to get away so we can escape reality. There are dozens of places we want to visit this year and that list just got a hell of a lot longer.

Wren Kitchens has revealed the top food capitals of Europe and we’re practically salivating at the thought of trying all of the food in the top spots.

From Polish Perogi to Italian pizzas all the way to German bratwurst, Europe hosts some of the most iconic (and delicious) dishes worldwide.

Lille, France has been crowned Europe’s food capital, followed by Lyon, Toulouse, Montpellier and Paris. Germany also boasts 4 top 10 spots with Aachen, Leipzig, Berlin, Dresden.

The cheapest city to eat in Europe is Zaporizhya, and although not your stereotypical tourist destination, the city is a hidden gem, with restaurants serving many local delicacies such as Borscht, a type of hot beetroot soup.

Norway has the most expensive restaurants across the entirety of Europe so we won’t be visiting any time soon.

The top European cuisine has been revealed as Italian and we’re not one bit surprised. We’ll have all the pizza and pasta, please!

Full details on the report can be seen here.

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Oh the weather outside is frightful!

And we must admit we really want to jet away.

To help with our wanderlust we've composed the ultimate list on where to find the sun- based on your stars. 

Aquarius (January 20- February 19)

The open-minded Aquarius loves being pushed out of their comfort zone and experience life different to their own. Pick somewhere off the beaten track for your next big adventure like Japan. Immersing yourself in a unique culture and history is ideal for Aquarius! 

Pisces (February 19- March 20)

Pieces are all about experiencing multiple things at once- they want it all and they want it now! South America is calling for you Pieces, embrace the landscapes and friendly locals of Peru. 

Aries (March 20- April 19)

A creature of habit, Aries find one spot they love and stick to it- try something different and head to USA this year. With so many different climates and cultures in the one country, America has tons to offer the Aries looking to expand their travels. 

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Lovers of aesthetic beauty and great food, Thailand is the destination of choice for Taurus. a tactile sign, they'll love the stunning scenery, smells and sounds of this bustling destination. 

Gemini (May 21-June 19)

Ever the adventurer, Gemini's love pushing the boundaries and uncovering the hidden gems of new countries. Try somewhere completely mad like Singapore and embrace the intelligence of the East. 

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Creative, emotional and artistic, Italy is the holiday of choice for Cancer. They'll love the art and architecture of Italy's museums and churches… also did someone say pizza? 

Leo (July 23- August 22)

The confident and easy-going Leo's are as perfect fit for a trip down under! Take a chance and head to Oz this summer, from golden sunny beaches to the endless deserts, Australia has more than enough room for a Leo to prowl. 

Virgo (August 23- September 22)

The logical and curious Virgo is bound for Germany this year. Get lost in the hustle and bustle of Berlin or embrace the nature of the Black Forest, Germany is the ultimate place for our hyper-organised Virgo to chillax. 

Libra (September 23- October 22)

A lover of balance, a Lira needs a little bit of everything to be fully refreshed after a get-away. Treat yourself with a trip to the Maldives. Libra's will just love the laid-back vibes and sunny beaches of the islands! 

Scorpio (October 23- November 21)

The complicated and enigmatic Scorpios love finding somewhere that's as complicated as themselves. Try somewhere away from the crowds for the ultimate get away. Try Romania and be the first of your friends to talk about it! 

Sagittarius (November 22- December 21)

The adventurous Sagittarian will absolutely love India. A combination of physical beauty and deeply enriching philosophies will both challenge and excite a Sagittarius. 

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

The disciplined and self-contained Capricorn is destined for China. The restrained nature and complex history of China is right up a Capricorn's ally! 

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Imagine giving the ultimate gift on Christmas Day? Aura Leisure in association with Deep River Rock are offering one lucky family the chance to win a Family Holiday worth a whopping €2,500 voucher to spend on next year's holidays! 

In addition to this grand prize, each Aura Leisure Centre will be giving away a prize of a €150 gift voucher. The nationwide draw will run across all ten Aura Leisure sites from Monday, December 2 until midday on December 20 and is open to all members of the public.

The promotion coincides with swim academy re-bookings which are now live for the next term of the Aura Swim Academy starting in January. The Aura Swim Academy is the largest in Ireland with over 16,000 children participating each year.

The experienced and professional swim teachers make learning to swim fun and with 10 levels available, the Academy caters for all ages and ability.

To enter the draw, simply complete a Swim Academy enquiry form on the Aura Leisure website here. A full list of the terms and conditions are also available by following this link. For details of the Aura Swim Academy please visit here.

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Are you planning a short get-away before Christmas arrives? Why not fly across the pond to the UK for some last minute Christmas shopping?

thortful.com have compiled a list of the most Instagram-worthy Christmas hotspots in the UK and you definitely need to check them out if you’re visiting over the next few weeks.

Manchester Christmas Market has been crowned the top Christmas market in the UK, followed by Edinburgh, Bath and London’s Winter Wonderland.

Birmingham and York also made the top ten list.

Manchester hosts UK’s most Instagrammable Christmas market in the UK, with the hashtag #manchesterchristmasmarkets being used a staggering 41,507 times. With more than 300 wooden chalets spread across 10 locations in the city, be sure to grab a picture on Albert Square with a backdrop of the huge light up Santa.

If you’ve completed your Christmas shopping (we’re very jealous) then you need to head to one of the UK’s top ice-rinks for a festive evening.

The Natural History Museum hosts UK’s most Instagrammable Ice Skating Rink, with the hashtag #nhmicerink being used over 2,600 times. With the charming architecture of the museum as your backdrop, this outdoor ice rink is too beautiful.

Competing with the top spot are Somerset house Ice Rink, London, Bath on Ice, Winter Wonderland Ice Rink, Cardiff and the Christmas Village Ice Rink, Aberdeen.

We’ll certainly be squeezing in a trip to the UK before December is over.

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Recent reports circulating in the media on the disastrous effects of humankind on the planet and resulting climate change are pretty terrifying.

The greenhouse effect includes rising sea levels, famine and climatic alterations, and is caused by the emission of certain gases into the atmosphere such as man's use of fossil fuels. If we want to reverse the damage, it needs to be in the next 11 years.

The latest findings by the United Nations are alarming, at worst. The sweeping assessment has concluded that humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so extensively that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction.

Populations worldwide depends on these threatened ecosystems.

Transportation is imperative to this problem and bears responsibility for one fifth of all carbon dioxide emissions currently. Cars and lorries contribute 80-90 percent of all transport emissions, and traffic congestion is drastically worsening in Dublin.

It's time that Ireland declared a national emergency on climate change, and we found solutions. How can we make small but significant changes to our daily lives for the sake of the planet? Diet, travel, fashion and plastic; four key areas.

Your life can't totally cease to contain any fun, and why shouldn't you still be able to travel despite the troubling findings? We've made a comprehensive list of ways to travel in an eco-friendly, guilt-free way. The planet will thank you for it…

1. Travel by train, if possible, or boat.

Trains are more energy-efficient than other modes of transport, and can easily adapt to different sources of energy. Renewable energy is the key, so using cars and planes for travel can cause problems. Of course, we in Ireland are surrounded by water and generally have to fly everywhere, but at least the first waste-free plane journey has taken place.

Steps are being taken to reduce the plastic intake on flights; Quantas operates the 'world's first zero-waste' airline journey, which is SO exciting. They disposed of all their waste via compost, reuse and recycling.

Why not try inter-railing as a means of travel? The European journey tickets offered by USIT feature some great offers at low prices.

Ferry journeys also save a lot more energy than flying, though many people find long journeys on the sea unnerving. 

2. Ride that bike and give your planet a like

As well as saving you a rake load of cash on transportation, cycling is an amazing way to improve your general health and fitness as well as reducing your carbon footprint.

By riding your bicycle for just four miles, you stop roughly 15 pounds of pollutants from being released, in comparison to car journeys. 

Places like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Oslo, Prague and Tuscany offer some incredible views and cycling tours. From riding your bike through the Italian countryside to pedalling the coastal roads of France, you're seriously missing out if you think bikes aren't a brilliant holiday opportunity.

They contribute zero negativity to the planet, yet can get you to some beautiful places, so it's worth giving it a go.

3. Do you ever feel, like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind….

DITCH those plastic bags, it's easier than ever. Plastic bags can take up to 500 years to biodegrade, so why not take a reusable bag with you when you're grabbing goods or groceries?

You can get some gorgeous tote bags made ethically, and are perfect if you want to support independent artists while making a moral statement. 

4. If you can, try to book non-stop flights

It’s actually the takeoffs and landings that create most of a plane's carbon emissions, so by only booking one flight to a destination rather than two or three, it saves energy.

Studies have found that stops can increase emissions by a shocking 35 percent per person, all because of the takeoff.

5. Shame on you if you still buy plastic bottles

Okay, granted sometimes it's necessary to buy plastic water bottles in countries which have undrinkable tap water. We've all been there, just desperately trying to avoid getting a stomach parasite in some remote part of Asia.

If you're in an area that has tap water freely available and it's drinkable, you have no excuse not to carry around your own water bottle to refill it.

Considering the news that, by 2050, the world's oceans will contain more plastic than fish., we definitely need to reduce our plastic water bottle use.

6. Ask if your hostel, Airbnb or hotel has a recycling policy

If they don't have one, why not leave a comment on their feedback cards asking them to start one? 

If you can find a nearby recycling area with bottle bins, etc, try to bring your rubbish with you to dump somewhere eco-friendly. You can also quiz your hostel or hotel on their policies regarding issues like solar power, wind turbines, rainwater harvesting, energy-efficient lighting, and low-flow toilets.

7. Carpool with your pals

Road trip, anyone? Carpooling with friends or family is a big method of reducing your pollution contribution. It brings down the volume of vehicles on the road, which helps lower emission rates.

It's also a lot more fun than embarking on road trips by yourself, with nobody in the car to appreciate your killer Spotify playlists…

8. Get that Keep Cup out at all times, people

Nurse your Keep Cup like it's your baby, gals. If you carry it with you in your bag (there are foldable ones that barely take up any space too), you'll cut down on the amount of cardboard takeaway coffee cups you use.

While some of these cups and lids are recyclable, many of them aren't and cause needless harm to landfill sites.

9. Keep the energy down

Treat your hostel or hotel like you would at home; turn off lights whenever you can, switch off appliances like a television or kettle, don't use clean towels when you have a perfectly good one already, take shorter showers if possible. Showers use 10-25 gallons of water, but baths use up to 70 gallons, so choose showers.

Of course, a holiday is supposed to be relaxing. Treat yourself, but keep in mind that the planet needs treating too. Eating and drinking local food also cuts down on the travel mileage of your meal, instead of having meals or beers which have been transported from halfway across the world.

10. Wildlife lover

If you're hiking or travelling in protected sites, make sure not to wander off the beaten track and risk endangering more species of plants and wildlife.

When in another country, it's so important to respect the ecosystems there and do your research before the trip. Especially with snorkelling and scuba diving, take caution with disrupting coral reefs.

Know the laws for example about hunting, or trespassing on specific grounds. NEVER touch or feed animals you meet along the way, unless it's in a protected area or you're visiting an animal sanctuary alongside knowledgable guides.

Don't visit tourist sites which cause animals distress or harm, like elephant grounds in Thailand which allow you to ride the animals or walking with lions.

Do your homework before visiting anywhere involving animals to ensure there are no cruel practices.

You can even adopt an animal safety through the correct websites, and give them some love. by sponsoring their care. 

11. Walk this way

If you can walk around cities or countrysides on your holidays, make sure to try and do as much as you can on foot. Walking tours of cities are always brilliant for discovering the history of the places you are staying in, and don't waste any money or energy on transport.

Walking also gives you bonus health benefits which extend beyond the environment. Reduce your risk of diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease by walking only 30 minutes every day, at home or abroad.

12. Beep Beep: Electric Cars

Electric cars produce zero emissions during your travels, but can increase a power plant's emission when charging. The only issue with them is their production, which takes place in factories often powered by fossil fuels. This actually means the vehicle has already caused pollution before hitting the roads, but if the factories started using renewable energy, this could all change.

Make sure to do the research when it comes to your choice between electric cars or diesel powered machines.

13. Reduce plastic in your shopping habits

Try your best not to buy goods from major corporations which use unethical worker policies and produce large amounts of plastic waste. It's important to support independent companies and eco-friendly, ethical shops. 

Research online before you travel somewhere new about the location's best shops and companies for the environment, and get groceries that aren't pre-wrapped in plastic. Carrier bags are ideal for loose fruit and vegetables. 

14. Bamboo toothbrushes and natural toiletries

It's cheap and cheerfully easy to buy a bamboo toothbrush instead of a plastic one, which takes 400 years to break down in landfill. Holland and Barrett sell a great range, and you can also switch to natural shampoos and deodorants.

Irish brand Indeora sell a beautiful-smelling spray-on deodorant (vanilla, YUM) and Lush is famous for it's bars of shampoo and skincare products using either zero packaging or 100 percent recycled packaging.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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15. Mini carrier fans

This was an absolute GOD-SEND when I travelled Asia (50 degrees Celsius, permanently). Instead of using a monumental amount of air condition, try limiting your energy consumption by just using battery powered mini-fans.

They work insanely well if you pay a tad bit more for a decent brand, and last for ages too. 

16. Break up with your make-up

We highly recommend buying reusable make-up pads or remover face cloths, because make-up wipes are incredibly harmful for the environment.

They usually end up in landfill, or the ocean, and don't break down well. More and more brands are releasing their machine washable face cloths, buy enough to keep you going and they'll last for years.

17. Paper planes

If you're handed leaflets or paper maps during your trip away, either hang on to them or return them to the companies so that they can be re-used.

Whatever you do, don't let them just get dumped on the street, They could be useful for someone else, so why waste them? Try to use Google Maps instead of buying paper maps, if you can.

18. Waste not, want not.

Hang on to any unused shampoos or toiletries that are provided to you by hostels or hotels. They most likely just end up in the bin, which in turn ends up in MORE landfill.

Also, if you're having some sexy fun times abroad with your significant other or just feel like a spontaneous summer fling, why not try using vegan condoms or eco-friendly latex? Greenpeace have a great article about eco-friendly sex. No, seriously…

You can even reuse the plastic containers or bottles for another purpose. Many ethical brands allow you to fill up your plastic bottles with their products to reduce waste.

19. Fast fashion

Many of us can't resist the temptation to buy a whole new wardrobe for our summer holidays. Bear in mind, most holidays are only a week or two long, out of 52 in the entire year.

Try to refrain from buying brand new clothes unless you absolutely need them. Most high street brands like Penneys, Zara, Missguided, PrettyLittleThing, H+M, Boohoo, Berskha and Pull and Bear don't use ethical working conditions, and don't pay their employees a living wage.

The textiles industry is also the second biggest polluter of water on earth, and needs to massively reduce ASAP. Try going for ethical brands, charity shopping or vintage clothing instead of getting brands new threads. Depop is a brilliant app for buying used but stunning clothes and giving them new life. You can also put your own clothes up for sale.

Good On You is a great website which can tell you if your favourite shops are ethical or eco-friendly, so give it a go.

20. Local loving

Try to seek out indigenous artisans, because if you shop from them rather than a typical assembly line, your money goes directly towards feeding that person's family. Do your best to ensure that your money doesn't go towards tourist traps that don't pay the workers properly.

If you keep up to date on foods, such as those containing palm oil, you can also avoid harmful products made in unethical circumstances. Avoid meat, especially beef, if you can. The World Wildlife Fund have loads of information on their website along those lines.

It's our duty to protect the environment from even more harm, before it's too late. Be conscious on your travels, sustainability benefits everyone on earth.

 If you don't listen to me, at least listen to Obama…

barack obama clean energy GIF by NowThis

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If you love haunted houses, spooky places with f*cked up histories, listen up.

As the holiday for thrills and chills are almost upon us, ditch the local creepy haunt and stick these on your bucket list.

For a real scare, Holiday Guru has hooked us up with some of the most terrifyingly haunted places on the planet. 

1. Island of the Dolls, Mexico

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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First up is one you might be familiar with, chilling on a small island outside Mexico City is probably one of the most freakish tributes to a young girl.

A man named Don Juliano Santana Barrera was the caretaker and lone inhabitant of the island, and legend tells that he found a young girl's body who had drowned in the canals

In the 1950s, he hung her doll to a tree to remember her little life, and supposedly many believe the man was then possessed by the girl's spirit – JUST, NOPE.

He began decorating the place with more and more dolls, turning it into a bizarre wonderland of cracked, dirty toys.

If you want to see this little hellish island, grab a boat and get ready to see one of the weirdest collections of dolls in the world.

2. Poveglia, Venice

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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If creepy dolls ain't your thing, why not try the bubonic plague?

This island in the Venetian lagoon was home to imprisoned people suffering from the disease in the late 18th century, which means there are thousands of pissed off souls lurking here.

Get out your ghostbuster gear, as the island also hosted a mental asylum in 1922, and the doctors were reportedly d*cks, as they tortured patients.

The story goes that they would perform crude lobotomies and using hammers and drills as surgical instruments. – which is probably why the island is said to have a morbid atmosphere.

Tourists have reported screams and if your travels aren't entertaining enough, why not risk becoming possessed, as some people say visitors to the island have been – joyous. 

3. Aokigahara, Japan

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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At the base of Mount Fuji, forget the compass as the paranormal activity is rife. 

Aokigahara, is better known as Japan's ‘suicide forest’. The forest has sadly become known as the world’s second most popular place to take one’s life. 

The forest’s malevolent energies are said to swallow up unfortunate visitors and the atmosphere is unlike anywhere else.

And, if you do frequent the forest, just don't make a Youtube video about it – *cough, cough*

4. Centralia – Pennsylvania Ghost Town

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Don't fall for the pretty colours in the image, this used to be a high way and there's a very good reason why nature is reclaiming this city.

The town of Centralia, Pennsylvania is a modern-day ghost town because they suffered a coal mine fire in 1962 – which is still burning today.

It's a real-life horror story as people began to fall ill as lethal levels of carbon monoxide billowed towards the surface.

Sinkholes literally appear in people’s back gardens – one of which nearly killed one young boy. Fewer than 10 people live here today.

While the town isn’t necessarily haunted, it does get an influx of curious, seek-thrilling tourists around Halloween. 

5. The witches of Salem, Massachusetts

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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In the late 17th-century, the children of Salem Village, Massachusetts experienced something rather baffling. Cue the young ladies going into fits, making strange noises, throwing objects and contorting their bodies.

Instead of looking for a logical explanation, witchcraft was the obvious cause.

Hysteria erupted which led to the infamous Salem Witch Trials when over a dozen people were executed.

The judges involved in the trials and future sheriffs died under mysterious circumstances and today, strange noises and mysterious floating lights have been reported at the local cemetery. 

6. Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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You couldn't pay me enough money to visit this place. Why I hear you scream? – Well, only controlled visits at night for ghost tours are allowed – which sends alarm bells ringing.

Would you actually risk being abused? Visitors often leave with bruises, scratches, bite marks and burns and fainting is a regular occurrence – that's some serious head rush.

But why is this place so locked with a dark aura? Well, it is said that the hundreds-year-old graveyard is protected by the ghost of George McKenzie, a ruthless judge who imprisoned and starved over 1,000 Scottish Presbyterians in the 1600s – So don't f*ck with him.

7. Ballygally Castle, Northern Ireland

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This tale involves one evil husband and the male ego. Lady Isabella Shaw was unfortunately wed to James Shaw and couldn't produce a male heir – it's your swimmers, mate. 

When she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, James snatched the child and locked Lady Shaw in the room, leaving her to stave.

In a bid to escape, some say she fell from the window, others say she was pushed – either way, it's a grim way to die.

She has remained in the hotel ever since, gently knocking on bedroom doors and walking the corridors, looking for her child. Today, you can lap up luxury in the hotel and visit the “Ghost Room”.

8. Lawang Sewu Semarang, Indonesia

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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A truly spooky place, Lawang Sewu translates to “a thousand doors”.

During WWII, the Japanese used its basement to imprison, torture and kill Indonesian nationalists and Dutch colonials.

Among the ghostly residents, there's one badass b*tch, a Dutch woman who supposedly committed suicide inside as well as the beheaded rebels who were killed by the Japanese.

 9. Château de Brissac, France

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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You really couldn't get more cliche than this: in 1477, Lady Charlotte de Breze was caught doing the dirty on her husband with Jacques de Breze. 

In a fit of rage, her husband murdered her and since the incident, guests have reported seeing the ghost through the window of the tower room of the castle’s chapel, with holes where her nose and mouth should be.

Her moans are said to be heard throughout the chateau early in the morning.

10. Bhangarh Fort, India

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Last but not least, we meet an abandoned 17th-century fort, known as one of the most haunted places in India. So much so, tourists and locals under government orders are forbidden to enter the fort after the sun sets. 

As the tale goes, a magician, Singhia fell in love with the beautiful Princess Ratnavati. The tantrik attempted to use magic to win her over, but the Princess learned of his plan and sentenced him to death. Before Singhia died, he cursed the fort's residents to die and for the surrounding houses to remain roofless forever.

Nowadays, the surrounding village is abandoned and Bhangarh Fort attracts plenty of curious tourists who have reported hearing the screams of ghosts and seeing strange lights. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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You couldn't offer me enough to get me to willingly go to any of these places.

But if you're brave, adventurous and curious, these are a definite in the travel plans, but remember – BE RESPECTFUL.

If restrictions exist, they're for your own safety – don't be that person.

 

Feature image credit: Josh Perrett/Instagram

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Global icon Barbie just added Airbnb Host to her extensive list of careers and accomplishments! Later this month, Barbie will hand over the keys to her Malibu Dreamhouse for the ultimate fan stay. Located in the heart of Malibu and overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the fabulous life-size Dreamhouse will be available to book on October 23 at 11a.m. PDT by one guest and up to three friends for a two-night stay. The one-time reservation will take place from Sunday, October 27 to Tuesday, October 29.

With panoramic ocean views and beachy, glamorous decor, the home is a larger-than-life recreation of Barbie’s signature style and hospitality. From her hobby room and personal cinema, to the infinity pool and outdoor meditation zone, every corner of the house reflects Barbie’s lifetime as a role model to young women everywhere. 

The two-night stay is available for only $60 a night (plus taxes and fees) to commemorate the Barbie brand’s 60th anniversary.

Barbie’s invited some of her most accomplished and entrepreneurial pals along to welcome and inspire her guests. Ibtihaj Muhammad, world-class fencing champion and inspirational role model (who even has her own Barbie Shero doll!), will give guests one-on-one fencing lessons, while pilot and aerospace engineer Jill Meyers will take them on a behind-the-scenes tour of Columbia Memorial Space Centre to encourage them to aim for the stars.  

There’s so much to learn and try, but guests can count on time for R&R back at home. Because Barbie is always a little glam, hairstylist to the stars and girl boss Jen Atkin will stop by for makeovers with her Mane Addicts Creator Collective. And for a true taste of the farm-fresh and flavorful food native to California, renowned local chef Gina Clarke-Helm will provide a cooking lesson in Barbie’s spacious kitchen.

Barbie’s home has plenty of space to relax and play and can accommodate up to four guests. Barbie is excited to share the comfort of her home and to welcome new friends to her charming neighbourhood.

To celebrate this unique offering, Airbnb will make a donation to the Barbie Dream Gap Project GoFundMe initiative, which aims to help level the playing field for young women so they can follow their dreams.

For more information on how to book Barbie’s Dreamhouse, go to www.airbnb.com/barbie

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