Tips for Choosing the Right Tour Company

These simple steps will help you pick the right tour company in the right destination :

1) Rely on Research

Finding reliable tour companies in your chosen destination is the first step of research. Check reviews on travel forums and websites like TripAdvisor or get advice from friends and colleagues. Visit the company’s social media pages to learn more from previous travellers’ reviews. Make sure you you are thorough and satisfied with your research.

2) List your Travel Goals

Have a clear idea of what you want your trip to be, be it adventurous, official, or leisurely. Then make a list of places you wish to see and activities or experiences you want to undertake. Also, make sure to align your preferred activities, transportation, and schedule, making sure it all times out nicely.

3) Track Interactions

The key to trusting a provider is keeping tabs on how responsive they are. Also, keeping your interaction alive with the company via email or phone is a great way to establish a rapport with them. Cross the unresponsive ones from your list, because if they are not listening to you now, then chances are they will not be reliable if you are stuck somewhere or need something during the trip.

4)  Don’t be Greedy for More

If you are planning to travel to 5 european countries in 6 days, then it is apparent that you won’t be able to see much of each of your destinations. Don’t try to fit too many places into your itinerary. Do you want a 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there kind of experience that leaves you exhausted, or do you want an in-depth, quality experience that allows you to explore a place with ease?

5) Check for Safety

Make sure the company is a certified company that adheres to safety measures. If it is a reputable company, then chances are it will have proper safety measures in place and will offer a low-risk travel package.

6) Calculate Costs

Be certain of what all the costs are and shop around to compare rates and services before committing to them. Also check the costs of things that are not included in the tour, like prices of activities or transportation from one place to another. Find out how many meals and stays are covered in the tour price. The company should also be able to provide you a rough estimate of additional expenses which are not included in the tour.

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Beauty Light : Travel Beauty Tips for Light Packers

Packing Travel Makeup: 1-2 Pieces

When packing makeup, my rule is to only pack 1-2 pieces max. When choosing which makeup to pack, you have two options:

  1. If you want to wear makeup every day, pack the basics. Choose neutral colored makeup that will go with everything.
  2. If you only want to wear makeup for nights out, and are totally fine sans-makeup day-to-day, go for bold. Go for the bright red lipstick, or whatever it is that matches the one nice dress or top you’ve already packed.

A good middle ground is to have the one item that’s good every day (eyeliner) and the one item that’ll instantly spice up a look (red lip stain). Remember, few people will see you more than once — it’s OK to repeat looks.

Packing Hair Products : 1 Product and Small Accessories

When talking with a few girl friends, we all agreed that for hair products we always pack bobby pins and extra hair ties. In addition to conditioner, we also allow ourselves to pack the one hair product we use most often — in a small, travel sized container, of course.

Finally, ditch the brush for an easy to pack comb, preferably with a wide tooth on one end, and small tooth on the other. What you end up packing will depend a lot on personal preferences, but for some ideas, take a look in our bags.

Travel hair hack : Most tutorials on hair-teasing will tell you to use a brush. Truth is, an easier to pack, small toothed comb will work just fine in a pinch.

Go Extra-Mini

You’re allowed to bring 3oz of liquid on the plane, but you really don’t need that much hairspray, perfume, or face cream for trips of one month or less. So go extra mini — like 1 ounce or less mini — with your beauty products.

For this, you could buy smaller sized travel bottles, like the Nalgene 1 ounce leakproof container for creams and gels, or reuse mini perfume sample bottles or old lip gloss tins. No matter what though, aim for everything to roughly fit in the palm of your hand.

Note : Avoid aerosol products when you can. They’re harder to transfer into smaller containers and you’ll have to keep buying travel sized versions of these products.

Simplify Hairstyles

Sometimes while traveling, you want to look nice. Be it for a night out or just feeling more put together on a plane, it happens.

If you want to have a cute hairstyle while traveling without having to pack a travel blow dryer (seriously, just don’t even pack a travel blow dryer), learn a few hairstyles that don’t require much more than a hair tie. For example:

  • The fishtail braid — or any braid for that matter. Braids are in, so rock them. Also, fishtail braids are great travel hairstyles since they stay in place and don’t get in your way when you’re trying to sleep on a plane or bus. Check out the tutorial on Pretty Designs.
  • The architectural ponytail I fell in love with this hairstyle when I stumbled on Refinery29’s article on work hairstyles for long hair, but it works surprisingly well for travel as well — and especially work travel.
  • Messy chignon — This hairstyle works great if you haven’t had time to wash your hair. Pull it into a side pony, tease it a bit (optional), and wrap it all up into a slightly messy bun. Full tutorial can be found on Coconut Robot.
  • Headband tuck and cover — Put your stretchy hairband on and tuck your hair into it. And voila, an easy but impressive-looking hairstyle for a last minute night out.  See home and heart’s tuck and cover tutorial for more details.

Use Scarves

If you travel with a light scarf, these work great as impromptu hair wraps when your hair is looking just a little meh, or dirty (like when the water at your hostel goes out) or you have short hair and throwing it into a bun isn’t an option.

For the scarf trick, place the middle of the scarf on the back of your head, loop it together at the front, then tie in the back.

Don’t Pack a Hair Dryer… Ever

Even travel sized hair dryers take up a lot of unnecessary space, and if you’re traveling internationally, you might need a special adaptor for it. Instead, learn to do without and take advantage of hotels that give you one. Lots of hostels will have one you can borrow as well. Just ask!

Fly, Travel, or Sleep With Your Hair in a Bun

Get nice looking waves without a curler or blow dryer by putting your hair in a top bun (like the one mentioned above) or braids before going to sleep. In the morning, let it down, shake it out, and head out the door to go exploring!

Try Solid Perfumes

I just recently discovered solid perfumes (specifically, the Pacifica solid perfume line found at Whole Foods) and love them for travel. They’re only 0.33 oz, about the size of a quarter, they don’t break any TSA rules, and last forever.

Also, they’re super easy to put on discreetly at the end of a long flight — rather than spraying perfume into the air and choking everyone around you.


Just because you’re packing light, doesn’t mean you can’t keep up a minimalist hair and beauty routine. Always pack 1-2 makeup products and allow yourself 1 travel sized hair product plus conditioner. Pack everything in extra-mini containers of 1 oz or less.

For makeup, stick to basics or pack one bold item you can use on nights out. For travel hair, rely on simple hairstyles, get creative with the items you’ve already packed, and don’t ever bring “travel sized” blow dryers, straighteners, or curlers.

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6 tips for choosing the best hotel online for you

How to have a delightful stay at a hotel without breaking your back

Once you choose the destination, the search for the perfect hotel can begin. But where should you start and how can you choose? There are so many choices available, and it can feel like a big-time investment to browse through most of them.

1. Pay close attention to the location

The location of your hotel matters for a handful of reasons. First, it will have an impact on how long you have to travel between the hotel and the sightseeing locations. The further away you are, the earlier you will probably need to make your way back.

Secondly, you want to know what area you are staying in. There’s no fun in staying in a hotel next to two completely abandoned buildings and an open field which also requires you to either walk through China town or take a long train journey to get to the city centre .

And lastly, being in close proximity of what you value will make your journey more pleasant. Prefer to stay as close to the city because you can walk everywhere? Or, do you prefer to avoid the buzz and enjoy the green areas? Let’s find out.

2. Know how you like to travel

This one is quite an important step. Do you travel to relax and let others take care of you? Or do you want to be challenged, learn new facts and dive into a completely different culture?

Knowing how you like to travel can tell you a lot about what kind of hotel you’d enjoy most. If you don’t care that much for breakfast, don’t upgrade your room. If you will be mostly outdoors, you don’t need a fancy room. And finally, if your aim is to travel on a tight budget, only spend money on experiences you know you will enjoy (for example, your bucket list items).

3. Create a list of your must-haves and nice-to-haves

Must-haves for hotels

  • Good location with no more than a 30-minute walk between the hotel and the main sightseeing activities. If you are planning a short stay (<4 days), every hour counts, so wasting it on sitting in traffic doesn’t sound like a good idea, especially after having spent that much money on aeroplane tickets, transfers and the lot.
  • Clean, well-sized room with a slightly modern interior. After Milan and a few experiences after, we realised that we don’t enjoy overly modern interiors with weird shapes and colours. When we get to our hotel room, we want to rest up and get ready for the next day of exploration, so we tend to choose very light interior when possible.
  • Good breakfast options: included or great options nearby. Hotel breakfasts may seem a bit boring, especially compared to the next up-and-coming cafe on the corner, but it can take a lot of time to find great places to eat spontaneously. We used to skip the breakfast options at hotels and choose to look for something in the morning which almost always left me hungry for most of the first part of the day. It’s fine when you are lounging in the car, but it’s not as great when you want to spend an active day outdoors.

Nice-to-haves for hotels

  • Bath. Staying at a hotel is a chance to relax, so a bath is definitely on the nice-to-have list. It’s almost on the must-have, to be honest, but we have had great breaks in hotel rooms with a shower only, and the former can be quite expensive.
  • Nice view. It’s tough to get a great room on a budget with beautiful views, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. If you are flying on your birthday, anniversary or any other joyous occasion, don’t forget to mention when making your booking. You may just be in for a little treat.
  • Gym or Swimming Pool. This is something I’ve been trying to get into but have only succeeded once so far, and it’s exercising while travelling. All that glorious food and cocktails can accumulate quite fast so, in the version of my dream life, I travel and exercise in the mornings.

4. Use a reputable website to choose a hotel and compare prices

You can use individual hotel websites to make your booking, but before you do, you may want to compare the prices in the area to get the best value for your money. You may be surprised at how the prices in specific hotels can differ by date due to availability and events in the area.

One of the best places to look is* — you can compare prices based on date, location and plenty of hotel features like the WiFi, parking, amenities, and of course, guest rating and stars. I used to compare multiple sites like this, but has won me over with their simple user interface and the extra mile they go to make sure your trip is more enjoyable. For example, you automatically receive a trip guide to the city you are travelling to, with discounts for popular attractions as well as guidance on experiences and food destinations.

There are other websites for browsing hotels though, like Trivago, and I know that Momondo is getting into this as well. What’s important is that you look at the prices, decide on the price range you are comfortable with and start building your list.

With your location and must-haves in mind, you can start narrowing down your list. It will take you some time at the start, but don’t worry as it’s a simple task and it will get faster each time you take this approach.

Once you have set your eyes on a particular hotel for your city break, I’d recommend making a quick check on the hotel’s website, just in case they have a deal for the same room, or you can get some extras for free.

5. Narrow your choice down based on your preferences and reviews

Compare by what’s important to you (location, hotel features, and of course, price).

Sort the tabs of your semi-finalists/quarterfinalists and compare them even more based on the money you are paying and what you are getting in return. We mostly look at the breakfast photos, if the hotel has any of our nice-to-haves (since we would have sorted the must-haves already).

Double check the hotel against the fresh/new reviews

Some hotels had excellent service in the past and have seen a steep decline. There’s nothing quite like entering your hotel room and realising that the photos you saw were probably taken more than 10 years ago.

Also, pay close attention to the photos, when do you think these were taken? — customer reviews are usually the best as they are timestamped, and you can actually see how rooms and the public areas of the hotel look without professional lighting and HDR toning.

Triple check the reviews on other websites

Check not only on the website you are booking your room on but also Google Reviews and TripAdvisor. Street viewing the property helped us to narrow down our lists too on some occasions!

6. Enjoy it when you get there

Be friendly and kind to hotel staff

This may sound like a given, but sometimes it can really make all the difference in the world to be nice to the staff.

Skip the minibar – go shopping at the supermarket

Going shopping where the locals do must have been the best travel hack of 2017 for us. Why overspend on eating out when you are not feeling like it? Instead, pop by a local supermarket, stock up on ready-made local food like cooked meats or salad greens, some fresh fruit and the drinks of your choice.

Going shopping like this has saved us quite a bit of money, and it’s actually quite romantic if you come to think of it. It’s just the two of you enjoying each other’s company and tasting different flavours together. The money you save on that odd meal at the room can be better spent on an activity, a tour or even a more luxurious dinner at a restaurant.

Same applies to cocktails by the way — if you like your G&T, why not enjoy that in the comfort of your hotel with a movie. By the way, here’s a little hack. If you travel with your laptop and your hotel room has a big TV, bring an HDMI cable with you so you can connect the former to the TV and enjoy a great movie with that cocktail.

Over to you

And that wraps it up! You should now be fully suited to choose the best hotel for you online without having to worry too much about making the wrong choice.


Top 12 hotel safety tips travelers should never ignore

These days, travel is no Sunday picnic and when you finally stumble into the lobby of your hotel, you may be tired, dirty, and in a hurry to get cleaned up, get some sleep, or get to the first item on your agenda.

Unfortunately, this is no time to let your guard down. If you’re traveling on business, you’re probably traveling alone and these tips are even more important to follow.

The following are the top hotel safety tips culled from the experts.

Upon arrival

1. Stay with your luggage – if you walk into the lobby ahead of your luggage, it could be snatched. Keep your luggage nearby too, because if the lobby is busy, enterprising thieves can take advantage of the distraction.

2. Ask for a room that’s not on the ground floor (it’s too easy to break in). Many safety experts recommend staying between the third and sixth floors – where rooms are high enough to avoid easy break-ins, but low enough to be reached by fire engine ladders.

During check-in

3. Most reputable hotels with honest staff know not to give out names or room numbers, but it’s still known to happen. If your room number is compromised (i.e., announced out loud), ask to be given another room. You never know who is listening and your room number is a matter of personal security.

4. Don’t set your credit card on the check-in counter – it’s too easy for a thief to capture the numbers with a good camera. And when it’s handed back to you, be sure it’s your credit card and not someone else’s or a bogus card.

5. Ask for two business cards with the hotel name and address. Place one by the phone in your room. If there is an emergency, and you call for help, you’ll have the name and address of your location. Place the other in your pocket or purse. If you have to take a cab or get lost, you can show the driver your location and avoid being taken to the wrong hotel.

In your room

6. If a valet has accompanied you to your room, block the door open while you check the room. Look in the closet, in the shower, and behind the curtains before you shut the door or release the valet.

7. Check the lock to be sure it’s functioning properly.  Make sure that the door has a deadbolt and keep it locked whenever you are in the room.

8. Use a door wedge to further secure the door – especially when you are sleeping or in the shower. Crooks are not always caught and may not have a record, so they can get hired by hotels where they have excellent access to spare room keys. Some criminals have been known to wait until they hear you in the shower before robbing your room or attacking you.

9. Place your flashlight or headlamp by the bead. If there’s an alarm or the electricity goes out, you’ll have the light you need to navigate an unfamiliar building.

When you leave

10. Lock the items you won’t be carrying with you, such as your laptop or other electronics, in the room safe. Modern hotels with a safe that lets you select your own combination are safer than those with keys. Don’t leave your passport behind.

11. If the safe in your room doesn’t appear safe, lock valuables in the hotel safe, but be sure to get a written receipt for your items and ask about the coverage for loss. Most hotels do not accept liability for items left in the guestroom safes but they will for those locked in the hotel safe.

12. If you lose your key or room entry card, report it to the hotel immediately and ask to be moved to another room. You can’t assume you ‘lost’ it – it may have been stolen from you by someone with malicious intent.

Oh, and one more thing: be wary of using the remote – that’s likely to be the germiest thing in the room.  Slide it into one of those small clean trash bags or wrap it in a wash cloth before pressing the buttons.

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