The USA is a huge country with enough states to keep even the most nomadic of individuals occupied for a lifetime. Sure, different regions have different cultures. But sometimes our minds can wander to what lies overseas. With the current situation with the controversial President and majority right-wing views, many of us may feel distressed at the general mindset of the country and the direction it’s heading in. Now could be the ideal time to remove yourself from the torrid political climate. Others may simply want to immerse themselves in completely different cultures, surrounded by other languages, cuisines, and values. What time is better than the present to start expanding your mind and opening your eyes to what else exists beyond your native country’s borders? Regardless of your reasons for intending to leave, you can start out by taking a look at other countries and what potential they hold as a home for you. Here are some top locations from around the world to consider!
Paris is one of the romanticised cities in the world. So much so that there’s an actual disillusionment syndrome called “Paris Syndrome”. The Japanese Embassy now has a twenty four hour hotline open for people who are shocked upon arriving in Paris to find that every inhabitant isn’t a chic model; that not everyone survives on a diet of rare wine, specialist cheese, and croissants; that people do indeed have to work rather than lounging in berets around beat cafes. In short, sometime people are shocked that Paris is, well, real. But if you remove unrealistic expectations of glitz and glamour from your mind before arriving, you may find that Paris is indeed a wonderful potential new home for you. The city has so much to offer! Like any other capital city, there are plenty of jobs available. This means that you will be able to sustain yourself and your lifestyle. France runs on a more circadian rhythm when it comes to work, with the majority adopting the general attitude that you should work to live rather than live to work. Working weeks tend to be between thirty and forty hours, lunch breaks are long and you are entitled to thirty days vacation a year plus eleven days off for bank holidays. Apartments may well be small, but bear in mind that you probably wouldn’t actually be spending all that much time in them. After all, there are so many museums, cafes, exhibitions, and other cultural spots waiting to be visited that it would be a crying shame to remain cooped up in your own living space. The quality of French food is superior to most, with bustling marketplaces offering fresh ingredients and restaurants playing host to world-renowned names in cuisine. The one thing that generally puts people off is not knowing the country’s native language. But once you throw yourself in the deep end, you’ll pick it up surprisingly quickly. Plus you can always fit language lessons into your weekly schedule too!
Situated on the Southern tip of Malaysia, Singapore is a thriving city in a country that has risen to take the title of the fifth wealthiest place in the world. Now, this may not have been top of your list previously, but you may be surprised to know that people move in droves to Singapore every single year. Once you learn a little more about it, it’s not hard to see why! Not only is it widely considered one of the easiest Asian cities for expats to integrate into, but the general standard of living is high. Crime rates run low, the healthcare services are some of the best in the world, and there’s a brilliant education system for anyone planning on moving with kids or undertaking higher education themselves. As you’d expect, the cost of living is relatively high in this region. However, you do get what you pay for. Whether you move into a Condominium, apartment, or terraced housing further out in the suburbs of the city, housing is usually of high quality. Food and grocery shopping should cost around the same as you’d pay back in the USA. Public transport links are effective and affordable. However, we know that not everyone appreciates this and some would prefer to use their own vehicle to get from A to B. The good news for drivers is that you can use your own licence in the country for up to one year before having to gain a Singapore driving licence. This gives you time to get used to the roads before taking your test without having to take public transport if you don’t wish to get on board with it. The native language is Mandarin. However, many people do also speak English, which will mean that you can start learning the language without being thrown into the deep end of complete immersion in another language.
Iceland may well be a small country, but it has a whole lot to offer. Firstly, it is renowned for its gender equality and efforts to help the environment. Unlike the major cities above, Reykjavik also has a whole lot of natural scenery and stunning natural landscapes to offer. From waterfalls and glaciers to extensive hiking paths, pools and hot springs. That’s before you consider destinations such as the Blue Lagoon: a geothermal spa packed with nutrients and minerals that will give you a glowing visage. This all sounds perfect, but unless you have joint citizenships with an EU country, you’re going to have a little work on your hands, so make sure that this is a move that you’re truly invested in. There are three main ways to secure yourself a home in Iceland. The first is to be married to an Icelandic native. Unless you’ve fallen in love on a trip to the country, this may not be an option. The second is to take part in higher education in Iceland. If you’re planning on expanding your knowledge, then this might be a route to consider. Finally, you can secure a work permit for a job. So you’ll need to start applying before you purchase that one-way ticket to this stunning country!
These are just a few different places that you might like to consider. Remember that the world is your oyster and there are seemingly endless places out there that might prove to be the perfect home for you in the future! Just do your research and pick wisely.
Smart Traveling: Managing Your Money on the Go
Smart travelers are people who are clever when it comes to managing their money, even when they’re on the go. They are people that are able to budget and save, even when faced with all the worldly temptations that they come across while on their travels. Plus, they are people who are able to stretch their spending across the whole duration of their time away from home, no matter how long that may be.
Ask yourself this; are you smart with your finances when you’re traveling? If you don’t think that you are, then make sure to check out the helpful advice on the matter of being a smart traveler below.
Keep tabs on your bank account
When you travel, you escape the pressures of your life back home. You escape the pressures of working and studying, as well as those surrounding the balancing of your professional and personal life. When you travel, it’s just you, whoever you may be traveling with and the open road before you.
It’s okay to escape the pressures of your life, but it’s not okay to escape the particular pressure that is your bank account. No matter how far you go, you need to regularly check your bank so that you can keep tabs on how healthy it is looking. How can you be sure that you weren’t being charged double the amount you should have been for drinks on that night out you had? The only way to be sure is to log onto your internet banking portal on a safe, secure device and network to check your account as soon as you can. Or, you can sign up to text alerts that will bring the information you require regarding your spending to you, rather than you having to go to it. Such alerts will warn you when suspicious spending has taken place, too, so they’re well worth signing up for.
Keep up with your bills back home
Again, you may be escaping certain pressures back home when you head off on your travels, but there are just some that you can’t run away from. One such pressure may be the need for you to pay bills.
Having a life set up back home is going to mean that you are going to need to keep up with all of your important monthly payments. Be it payments on your home, on your car or even on something as simple as your phone; you need to make sure that they are going out of your bank each month. You need to make sure they are going out if you don’t want to miss a due date, trigger fees and then ultimately hurt your credit score. To keep up with your outgoings, you need to embrace continuous payment authority, otherwise known as autopay. As suggested in its name, autopay automates regular payments, meaning you don’t need to take time out of your travels to send the money you owe over to whoever is seeking to collect it.
Traveling is an expensive game, there’s no denying that. If you want to be stretching your adventure as far as it can go, then you need to be finding ways to cut into the amounts that you spend while you’re on the go. To do this, you’re going to have to seek financial rewards whenever and wherever you can.
First, this means finding yourself a reward credit card, the best of which can be found at Bonsai Finance, as this will gift you the chance to spend more money at any one given time. The Chase Sapphire card, especially, is one that you should be looking at as it works alongside travel partners, such as big airline and hotel companies, to provide money back on required traveling expenses. Second, you should be seeking to make as much use as you can out of airline miles, otherwise known as frequent flyer miles. When you do, you accumulate a free-spending fund with every mile you travel, meaning you could end up getting yourself a free plane ticket after traveling a certain distance.
The best way to manage your money, whether you’re on your travels or not, is to set budgets for yourself. Budgets that you not only set but, for the most part, adhere to. By doing so, you stop yourself from spending all those little, seemingly innocuous amounts of money, and by doing that you save yourself a boatload in the long run.
When it comes to budgeting throughout your traveling experience, you should first find ways to save on all the things that are necessary for you to maintain a good standard of living. For instance, this should mean you not only make full use of the free breakfast being offered at your hostel by heading down to it but by stocking up for your day while you’re there. If your hostel offers you the chance to make sandwiches, don’t be afraid to make extra for your day ahead! Doing so will see you get the nutrition you need to travel to the best of your ability, without having to spend big on having meals out.
Something else that you should do is load up on entertaining material before you are suckered into buying magazines at the airport. By bringing your own entertainment, which could mean packing your laptop with movies or bringing a device full of reading material, you stop yourself from having to spend money on things that will, sooner rather than later, have you wondering where all of your money has gone.
You should never let fears about your finances stop you from traveling. If you want to head out and the see the world, give in to your desire to itch your wanderlust scratch and do it! When you do do it, just don’t get silly with your finances. Make sure you are keeping up with your bank and your payments, make sure you are finding financial rewards wherever you can and make sure you are always budgeting.
Top 5 USA cities to enjoy this summer
The United States is a country full of contrasts, with diverse and interesting cities.
The United States is very coarse. It has a lot of natural wonders, populous cities and interesting corners. There are so many that it is impossible to highlight them all. Although, depending on the time of year, it is preferable to visit some cities than others, depending on your own interests and the experience you want to fulfil.
Together with the eDreams experts (about eDreams), we have prepared a list of the 5 most highly recommended cities if you travel to USA this summer. Would you like to know them all?
We can’t start the ranking any other way, as New York is perfect to enjoy the whole year round. A cosmopolitan city where millions of people coexist, both citizens and tourists. Its exit to the sea and the districts located in the surrounding islands make of it a place full of character. It is perfect to visit skyscrapers, especially if you approach Manhattan, a shopping and business center par excellence. Places like the Rockefeller Center, the Empire State or the space once occupied by the Twin Towers, one of the most traumatic episodes of modern history, where today, you can visit a memorial honouring the attack victims.
Walking through Central Park is one of the most beautiful memories to enjoy there. And if you want to take some time out by the beach, New York has one in every single district. Coney Island in Brooklyn offers a view from the sensational promenade. Although Long Beach is also a good choice, with miles of white sand, you should know that they charge an entry fee.
Of all the destinations you can visit in the United States, Miami may be the most familiar. Latin culture lives on every corner, offering visitors fascinating beaches, a varied cuisine and all kinds of shows and entertainment. And If you like beach tourism, seafood and fish dishes, water sports and spanish-speaking world areas, don’t forget to visit it.
Sin City is located in the middle of the desert, like an oasis rising up purely for the purpose of fun. Casinos, amusement parks and entertainment from morning to night is what you can expect in this city. There are also restaurants run by famous chefs, such as the popular TV chef Gordon Ramsay.
Although it is well known for the addictive gaming atmosphere filling the whole city, truth is that in Las Vegas there are spaces for everyone. Do not be afraid to travel with your family, because it has a huge leisure offer for all ages and interests.
Talking about family entertainment, Orlando is one of the top cities to travel with children in summertime. Completely understandable If you are planning to visit Walt Disney World, which have turned the area into a pilgrimage center for those wanting to live the magic of fairy tales and get to know their favorite characters. Although Orlando is not just Disney. There, you can also visit the Sea World Aquatic Zoo and the Universal Studios theme park. In less than an hour traveling you can visit Cape Canaveral, a living history of the space race, and the Cocoa Beach coast, which has become to be named the beach of Orlando.
The second largest city in the USA, only just surpassed by New York, it has everything you need to enjoy yourself. Beach and mountains, skyscrapers and cinema studios. In fact, this is where the vast majority of Hollywood stars reside, and travel guides make sure to remind you in all the recommended tours. Seeing the Hollywood sign crowning the mountain is something you can do from any city corner. Although the ideal plan is to get close to Hollywood Boulevard, where you can find the best viewpoint. You can also enjoy legendary walks, such as walking along Santa Monica Pier or bathing in Malibu beach.
Plenty to discover
These 5 cities are ideal if you want to travel to the United States this summer. Each of them offer a totally different view of the country. Therefore, USA is a territory full of contrasts, so you can travel there again and again without ever repeating the same experience.
Barcelona, the top-3 ‘MICE’ tourism destination of the world
Corporative tourism —also known as ‘MICE’ tourism mobilized around 18,000 million euros in 2016 in Spain. According to the Spanish Convention Bureau, the number of events, conventions and meetings in Spain has increased by 16%, while the MICE sector worldwide will grow by more than 5% in the next years. The country ranks 13th worldwide in a market led by China and the US, but Barcelona and Madrid are in the Top 10 of the favorite European cities to organize congresses and events.
What is MICE tourism?
The acronym MICE stands for meetings, incentives, conferencing & exhibitions. It is a niche area of tourism that is focused around the planning and booking of groups for large events, conferences or seminar. A top class MICE event organised to showcase your products, build new client relationships, host a company event or to reward your employees for their hard work is an investment and usually it’s one to remember.
The players in the MICE field include corporate meeting planners, meetings and convention departments of hotels, conference centers or cruise ships, food and beverage managers, logistics firms, private tour operators and transfer companies, incentive houses, professional trade organizations, tourism boards, tourism trade associations, and travel-selling professionals. Destinations often market themselves as MICE locations and bid for events through their convention and visitor bureaus. They might be able to offer subsidies to attract large events because of the increased revenue the visitors provide through their economic impact on the host location.
Barcelona, the best city in Spain to celebrate events and conferences
The good position of Barcelona as a destination of congresses and meetings is increasingly more evident and, recently, the Catalan capital has been placed in third position in the prestigious world ranking drawn up by the ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) to establish which are the most relevant cities and states in MICE tourism (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions), and it is placed ahead of other very important destinations in the sector such as Vienna or London. The Catalan city was hot on the heels of the first two in the ranking —Berlin and Paris — and acts as a pole of attraction to boost the organisation of events all over Catalonia.
The offering to organize events and congresses in the city is wide thanks to the presence of companies such as Eventos Barcelona, an event management agency in Barcelona specializing in artistic and technical production of events for companies, meetings, incentive travels, conventions or gala dinners.
During 2017, Barcelona hosted 2,134 congresses and conventions —10.5% more than in 2016. More than 675,000 delegates participated in these events, and their economic impact in the city is estimated at 1,850€. Throughout 2017, Barcelona obtained the best results since it entered in the MICE tourism industry, increasing its benefits 21% more than the previous year, as reported by the Turisme de Barcelona consortium. The last six months were a little weaker due to the effects of the attack of August 17th and the independence mobilizations of October 1st, but thanks to the entrance of the summer season the city has returned againt to the highest level.
‘Bleisure’and gastronomy, the key to success in MICE tourism
‘Bleisure’ is the buzzword in corporate tourism. Its name mixes the B of business with the word pleasure —that is, combining business trips with pleasure tourism. Therefore, many events are organized in local destinations and non-conventional spaces. The salons and conventional spaces lose importance against of unusual spaces, which are also more profitable because visitors can enjoy a wider leisure offer (such as spas, cursos de coctelería, showcookings) and team building activities, combining both work and fun in an entertaining and relevant way.
Nowadays, congresses and events want to offer a more friendly, funnier face than the pompous and rigid meetings of yesteryear. The idea is to personalize the experience of a congress with the emotional connection of each assistant thanks to the flexible and dynamic spaces. This emotional connection is achieved by taking care of the details, which is valued above all in the younger generations. Interactive and collaborative activities, non-traditional speakers and sessions with a spirit of commitment rather than instructive are the booming formats.
Gastronomy is another distinguishing factor for MICE events’ success. The youngest attendants to these events –mostly workers under 40 appreciate that the culinary proposals of the events include healthy alternatives, fresh food, fruits and foods that provide energy, instead of unnecessary huge meals full of empty calories. Also, mixing the gastronomic experiences and technology is very helpful. Incorporating innovative cuisine techniques and exotic foods with creative, very ‘instagramable’ preparations, are all a synonym of success. Once again, new technologies provide another guideline on how to succeed in these events.
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