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9 Mistakes to Avoid in the Maldives1
travel

9 Mistakes to Avoid in the Maldives

The Maldives, a collection of more than a thousand islands in the Indian Ocean, is known for its clear emerald waters, beautiful beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see, and of course, luxurious overwater bungalows. With features like these, the archipelago makes for an idyllic sanctuary where guests can snorkel, scuba dive, swim, and savor some truly unforgettable sunsets. Aside from being one of the most stunning island getaways in the world, the Maldives is also a perfect addition to an itinerary for travelers visiting magnificent South Asian cities or Middle Eastern capitals.

For those planning to visit the Maldives, there are certain things to keep in mind. To be fully prepared for your trip — whether you’re in the planning stages or are already lounging by your infinity pool in the Baa Atoll — here are nine mistakes to avoid in the Maldives.

1. Visiting Only One Island

The first thing to know about the Maldives is that most resorts are situated on their own private island — in fact, one island, one resort is the typical approach for hotels within the archipelago. This makes sense geographically, considering the Maldives is home to at least 1,192 uninhabited and 200 inhabited islands. Whether you tour multiple islands by staying at more than one resort over the course of your vacation, or you charter a boat or take a day tour to an adjacent atoll, make sure to island hop while visiting the destination.

2. Assuming the Maldives Can’t Be Budget-friendly

The Maldives has a reputation for being an exclusive, ultra-lavish destination. But it’s actually quite possible to visit the Maldives on a budget — even the airfare isn’t prohibitively expensive, if you scout out connecting flights through Europe or Asia. To cut down on expenses, stay at a local guest house or affordable hotel, like the Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma. As for attractions on a budget, life in the Maldives doesn’t have to be all about chartering yachts and diving off the deck of an overwater bungalow. There are many ways to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Maldives: You can plant coral to help conserve the Maldivian reefs through a number of ongoing initiatives, many of which are set up by affordable resorts, like Summer Island, where guests can take part in planting pieces of a 3D-printed reef for just $5. And while folks staying at a resort may be able to snorkel along the property’s house reefs, those opting for a rental home can easily snorkel on select public beaches instead.

3. Not Going Until Your Honeymoon

Thanks to its dreamy overwater bungalows and romantic sunsets, the Maldives will always rank as a top honeymoon destination. But this isn’t a place you need to save for your honeymoon or a romantic getaway with a partner. The Maldives is just as well-suited for a girls’ trip or family escape. In fact, many island resorts in the Maldives cater specifically to families. And more than being a spot for couples, the Maldives is a place where you can relax and leave your real-life worries at home — and that luxury shouldn’t be reserved solely for honeymooners.

4. Not Considering a Liveaboard for Part of Your Trip

The Maldives has 158 liveaboards — also known as localized cruise ships, houseboats, and the like — that offer sea safaris around the pristine waters and coral reefs. The liveaboards come with a wide range of accommodations and facilities, including personal chefs, dive and surf instructors, and other staff members depending on the type of liveaboard you book. Travelers can even rent out the entirety of a yacht, houseboat, or small cruising vessel, and then customize the staff to their requirements — perhaps adding an on-site masseuse or sommelier. Renting an entire liveaboard vessel can also make for a perfect distanced vacation — you have the space all to yourself and can tailor your vacation such that, apart from the staff and the other guests in your party, you won’t see another soul.

5. Avoiding the Local Culture

Because the Maldives is known as a beach destination, its South Asian influences are often overlooked — a plight that often befalls many South Pacific islands as well. The culture here is a unique melting pot of Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Middle Eastern, Indonesian, and African influences. This heady blend can really only be experienced here in the Maldives. You can witness the Maldivian culture firsthand by attending music and dance performances or sampling the local cuisine rather than just sticking to resort food. You can also arrange a day trip to a nearby village island to learn more about the traditional way of life.

6. Forgetting the Reef-safe Sunscreen at Home

The Maldivian islands sit on the equator, which means the sun’s rays beat down at a 90-degree angle. In other words, the sun is exceptionally strong and your sunscreen should be waterproof, packed with SPF, and constantly reapplied. Also, be sure to pack sun protection like hats, visors (they’re making a comeback), and light, breathable, full-sleeve shirts and long pants for when you need extra coverage. When visiting any destination where the native reef is a main attraction, reef-safe sunscreen is crucial. To support the ongoing environmental initiatives to preserve the Maldivian reefs, purchase reef-safe sunscreen before traveling to the islands.

7. Not Considering an All-inclusive Resort

When scoping out accommodations in the Maldives, don’t forget that food and alcohol are expensive. You’re on an island in the middle of the sea, so it costs a lot to transport your favorite spirits. For this reason, many tourists choose an all-inclusive resort — even though the nightly rate and resort fees may be higher than some of the budget hotels, it bundles the cost of food and drink into the price of your stay.

8. Not Combining the Maldives With a Trip to Southeast Asia or the Middle East

Located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is a remote tropical paradise that’s actually quite accessible from major Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian hubs like Dubai (a four-hour direct flight from the Maldives) and Sri Lanka (a three-hour flight from the Maldives). Thanks to a fantastic range of flight deals in partnership with airlines and carriers like Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Emirates, and Qatar Airways, the Maldives can be easily tacked on to a trip to Dubai, Sri Lanka, or any destination that flies directly to either port (think: Singapore, Malaysia, Abu Dhabi, or Doha).

9. Skipping the Bioluminescent Views

Did you know the Maldives is known for having shores that illuminate at night, lit up by bioluminescent plankton? In addition to boasting diverse sea life, including manta rays, whale sharks, and more than 2,000 species of fish, most islands are visited by bioluminescent plankton at certain points throughout the year. To experience this magical light show, you’ll want to visit during plankton high season (mid-summer to mid-winter), when the bioluminescent organisms line the shores and create a glow-in-the-dark effect at the water’s edge.

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7 of the Best Train Trips in Canada and What You'll See Along the Way
travel

7 of the Best Train Trips in Canada and What You’ll See Along the Way

7 of the Best Train Trips in Canada and What You’ll See Along the Way

Offering some of the most scenic views in all of North America, Canada’s excellent long-distance train network is a great way to experience all the best of this incredible country, from the pristine beauty of the Canadian Rockies to the dynamic big cities of the East and West Coasts. VIA Rail operates 494 trains per week in eight Canadian provinces over a network of 7,800 miles of track. So whether you travel on VIA Rail’s classic trans-continental train, The Canadian, from Toronto to Winnipeg, Edmonton, Jasper and Vancouver, the inter-city trains between Toronto, Montréal and Québec, or the Ocean from Montréal to Halifax, you’ll experience fresh, chef-prepared meals, comfortable, relaxing amenities, and spectacular views throughout!

Learn more below about 7 of Amtrak Vacations’ best train journeys through Canada and the spectacular stops they make along the way. And remember, you can get there from any one of Amtrak’s 500+ stations in the U.S.!

1. Classic Canada Coast-to-Coast

The Classic Canada Coast to Coast is a once-in-a-lifetime journey across Canada! Experience the quaint seaside community of Halifax in the Canadian Maritimes, then journey by train to Montreal and explore the historic, multi-cultural streets. Visit Toronto, the country’s largest city, and enjoy a full-day tour out to the Ontario side of Niagara Falls and the surrounding area. Next, journey west for an incredible train experience through the Canadian plains and the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Your trip ends in Vancouver where you’ll see all the best sights of this diverse and vibrant city.

2. Canadian Rockies Discovery Eastbound

Experience the gorgeous scenery and breathtaking landscapes of the Canadian Rockies on this incredibly scenic rail journey from Vancouver to Calgary. See amazing views of Vancouver from hundreds of feet above the ground at the Vancouver Lookout. Stroll down the charming cobblestone streets of Victoria. Get up close and personal with massive glaciers during an interactive ride on the Ice Explorer. See the spectacular natural treasures of Jasper. Discover everything that Banff has to offer. Finally, discover all Calgary has to offer!

3. Ultimate Canada and Rockies Westbound

Learn what truly makes the Canadian Rockies so majestic on this amazing journey through four different cities and a fun day trip to Niagara Falls! Tour all the splendid sites of Toronto, including the lovely Harbourfront. Get up close and personal with Niagara Falls with a cruise on the lake. Sip local delicious wine during a winery tour. Explore the spectacular natural treasures of Jasper National Park. Experience breathtaking views of the Rockies during the ride of a lifetime aboard the Jasper Skytram. Visit one of the largest expanses of ice and snow south of the Arctic Circle, the Columbia Icefield in Banff. Enjoy two days of sightseeing in Vancouver. You’ll be talking about this trip for years to come!

4. Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rockies by Rail

Experience spectacular landscapes and scenery on this 11-day adventure to Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rockies. Discover the beauty of Glacier National Park as you travel along the world-famous Going-to-the-Sun Road. Enjoy one of the most scenic train journeys as you travel through the Canadian Rockies. Tour the Icefields Parkway and ride an Ice Explorer vehicle onto Athabasca Glacier. Explore the picturesque mountain town of Banff and take in the splendour of Lake Louise while relaxing at the historical Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

5. Seattle, Vancouver, and Victoria Rail Journey

Enjoy 7-days of sightseeing in the beautiful Pacific Northwest on this multi-city journey. Experience the sparkling metropolis of Seattle. Travel all around the city on a sightseeing tour that will take you to the city’s harbour front, the busy Pioneer Square, and to the iconic Space Needle where you can explore its observation deck, towering over 500 feet above the city. After that enjoy the mesmerizing artwork at the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibit. After your time in Seattle, board the Amtrak’s scenic Cascades train route for your trip up to Vancouver. While there, you will travel around the city on a sightseeing tour that will show you the best of what Vancouver has to offer. Then experience the beautiful and lush forests of British Columbia on the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Next up is the charming seaside town of Victoria where you will get to experience the beauty of Butchart Gardens. A magical experience awaits on this 7-day journey!

6. Canadian Rail Experience

Enjoy an experience unlike any other on the Canadian Rail Experience! Capture all of the culture and excitement of both Toronto and Vancouver with fun and user-friendly hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tours! Then board VIA Rail’s Canadian for the cross-country trip to the west. Capture the pure beauty and majestic sights of the many plains, mountains, lakes, and glaciers as you travel through the Canadian countryside. With so much to take in on your cross-Canada trip, the travel becomes the destination on this Canadian Rail Experience!

7. New York and Eastern Canada

Travel from the “Big Apple” to the scenic Niagara Falls and on to the historical and cultural Eastern Canada on this 11-day journey. Start in New York where you will explore the city with a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour that will bring you to such iconic New York spots as the Empire State Building and Central Park. From there you are on to Eastern Canada where you will visit the majestic Niagara Falls, multi-cultural Toronto, and the historic cities of Montreal and Quebec City. While in Niagara you will enjoy a full-day tour of the city and surrounding areas. In Toronto, you will explore with another hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour and admission to the CN Tower. You will also enjoy sightseeing tours in Montreal and Quebec City. An exciting New York and Canadian journey awaits you!

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important tips
travel

Six Important Tips To Remember While Going Out On Vacation

It’s a good idea to put Electronics, Medications, Toothbrush, and an Extra Pair of Underwear in Your Carry-on A couple of significant things ought to consistently go in a lightweight suitcase. A bathing suit is likewise a smart thought on the off chance that you are going on a seashore excursion. You can purchase the vast majority of these things if your package gets lost, however having them in your portable will set aside your cash and time if your baggage becomes mixed up in travel.

Always ask before jumping on to any form of public transport It’s a smart thought to get some information about the cost before you jump on a transport or other types of open transportation.

Hydration is key while flying Remaining hydrated particularly on whole deal flights makes it simpler to get over jet lag. Minimize the risk of getting sick 30,000 feet up in the air and stay hydrated.

Never Forget To Put Your Room Number and Hotel Address in Your Phone Always a key thing to remember. The entire trip might go to waste if you don’t remember where you booked rooms.

Ask The Locals Who knows about the local scene better than the locals?! It’s pretty much a solid choice to be asking the locals about the local scene like the food, places to go for sightseeing, etc.

Be careful with Free Public WIFI One thing people tend to forget while on vacation is they are constantly under the threat of cybercrimes. It’s generally not a good idea to be logging into free public WiFis.

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5 tips for stress-free Christmas travel with a toddler
travel

5 tips for stress-free Christmas travel with a toddler

Tis the season to be smiling…

Traffic jams, airport delays and tired toddlers – travelling at Christmas, especially with children, can be, how shall we put it, interesting.

‘Tis the season to jolly, but research also shows that over a quarter of us feel the strain and admit to feeling stressed around Christmas. Even if you’re flying off to an exotic destination travelling can put pressure on you – as it could no doubt mean meltdowns, squabbles and tired tots.

However, there is some prep you can do before you get in the car, or make your way to the airport, we speak to Leah Davis, founder of RyRy Compact who shares a few tips with us – allowing you to start of your festive holidays with a smile on your face.

Give Santa a heads up

You’ll be stressing about the turkey and making sure all the presents are wrapped, but Leah says that the most important worry for kids is: How will Father Christmas know where we are? ‘This is a problem that’s easily solved, get your children to let him know in their Christmas letter.

‘If you’re a fan of Elf on the Shelf, get your kids to tell your Elf what your travel plans are and where you’ll be on Christmas Day – just don’t forget to make sure that Elf comes with you!’ Sorted!

Pack their favourites

Although a holiday is a great way to ‘vacate’ your lives for a few days, the kids will want some of their home comforts with them: ‘A few of your kid’s favourite Christmas toys could make all the difference,’ explains Leah.

‘They will help to make your holiday accommodation or hotel room feel more festive – even if it’s just a favourite Christmas stocking or festive pyjamas. Also remember that the festive spirit can come in reciting a favourite Christmas poem or story, which will also help pass the time for those long car journeys with kids.’

Plan, plan, plan

Have you made a list and checked it twice? Planning ahead is they key to less stress over the Christmas period, especially if you’re travelling, says Leah: ‘Include your kids in the planning – they might actually turn out to be helpful and enjoy the sense of responsibility.’

This also includes where you’re going and how you’ll be getting there: ‘Talk them through the travel plans and build a sense of excitement for each stage of your journey, I find this also helps to remove any anxiety they might have around travelling during the festive season.’
Take your own car seat

We know you’re going abroad, and you don’t want the stress of carrying too much stuff. But, have you ever tried to hire a car seat with your rental car? ‘It’s a somewhat disappointing experience,’ says Leah. ‘They are invariably a health hazard waiting to happen. Anti-bacterial wipes aren’t even going to solve this one for you. Save yourself this level of hassle by taking one with you.’

Gift ahead

Thinking ahead, aka present buying and sending them direct will mean more room for the kids and their toys in the car: ‘This will save on time, space and stress as you can rest assured that the perfect gift for mother-in-law is already sitting in Manchester wrapped and ready to go,’ says Leah.

‘But, it’s always worth packing an extra roll of wrapping paper and sticky tape just in case you pick up any last-minute gifts along the way.’

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