Europe Latin America Travel Planning

World’s Top-Rated Cities to Learn Spanish

Are you looking to take a Spanish course to improve your speaking skills? It is a fact: the best way to learn a foreign language is to immerse yourself in it. If you really want to be fluent in Spanish, studying abroad in a country where the language is spoken is an easy and fast way to accomplish your goal, better than any other educational method. If you’e ready to accelerate your Spanish learning process by immersing yourself in another culture, here are the two world’s best cities to devote yourself to master your Spanish.

Barcelona

If you are looking for a combination of learn spanish barcelona, unique culture, great food, vibrant nightlife, and sun-soaked beaches, Barcelona is definitely your best bet.

From Gaudi’s breathtaking masterpieces (such as the majestic and controversial Sagrada Familia cathedral) to a large coastline filled with stunning beaches, Barcelona is a fantastic place to study the language of Cervantes and one of Spain’s most impressive cities.

There is a real student vibe going on in Barcelona, with a huge international population. The city has dozens upon dozens of Spanish language schools offering short intensive courses, as well as longer programs for serious students, with a huge emphasis on learning the language and increasing your knowledge of Spanish culture.

If you are a foodie, you are going to love Barcelona. Paella, tortilla, and Iberic cured ham are some of the highlights to go tapas-hopping with friends at any of the city’s world-class bars and restaurants.

You can also spend hours at the numerous local markets (La Boquería is the most famous one!) picking up the freshest local produce. They sell vegetables, meat, fish, and thousands of other products in stalls with charm and imaginative presentation.

Barcelona is also an all-round winner if you are after a good dose of culture. The city offers a wealth of natural wonders, museums, art centers, private galleries, and a wide range of cultural and sports activities open to everyone. First-time visitors to Barcelona are often overwhelmed by the innumerable choices the city has to offer.

The only downside of living in Barcelona is that the city is super-touristy, so it might be a little crowded (especially during high season) and also more expensive than other parts of Spain. However, if you budget accordingly the cost of living may be still manageable.

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, Argentina’s largest city, is an increasingly popular place to learn Spanish, and though the city has its own variant of the language –known as Castellano – is also a good place to learn conventional Spanish.

Buenos Aires will definitely keep you occupied when your classes do not, in fact, it is almost impossible to get bored in Argentina’s capital. The city, often called “the Paris of South America” has it all: amazing theaters, live music, lovely architecture, tango dancing, great restaurants, and a non-stop vibrant nightlife.

The best thing about Buenos Aires is probably its local people. Argentines are open, generous, and quite friendly with their time and willingness to let you practice your Spanish on them (they love to chat!).

Studying in Buenos Aires on a tight budget can definitely be done. Argentina’s current economic situation allows nearly anyone – with almost any budget – to stay within their means. The country has been undergoing a constant inflationary process for years, and for this reason, things will surely be cheaper if you travel with a strong currency, such as dollars or euros.

Getting the Right Destination is the Key

Mastering your Spanish will give you a valuable life skill that looks great on your CV, but it will also expand your perspectives, as well as your circle of friends. However, choosing the right place to learn Spanish abroad may be a little tricky.

If you finally decide to study abroad, you will most likely spend between one and six months improving your Spanish skills, so choosing the right city is the key to make the most of your language learning experience.

Therefore, keep in mind that choosing the city is a deeply personal process. You can start by narrowing your options, identifying which city will provide you with the right mix of challenges and fun, as you learn and practice the language.

 

 

Group Travel Travel Planning

Group Travel Tips for Women

Women are increasingly welcoming the idea of traveling independently or organized group travels. Women-only vacations help break the monotonous travel cultures of family, couples or friends holidays and serve as the perfect getaway for women leading busy lifestyles. It’s a whole different experience if you successfully pull off group travel. It is adventurous, liberating and most importantly, cost-effective. However, most group travel often fails to meet expectations due to poor planning. The listed steps below will help you make the most out of a women’s only trip next time you are on holiday.

Where to Find Traveling Partners

Assuming you don’t  have a group and intend to get one, finding the partners to travel with can be quite the task. The good thing though is that most women work well in numbers. Keep an eye out for local meetups on online platform.. Various online travel groups are easily found with a simple keyword search on Google or social media. For example, you could head on to Facebook and search for, ‘Women travel group.’ You can also follow popular female travel bloggers and vloggers to learn about the latest deals. Getting at the planning phase in the initial stages presents you with the opportunity to chip in your ideas.

Take Time to Know your Travel Buddies

This lets the group play to its strengths. Having already found a group that shares common interests, make an effort to freely interact with one another and throw all judgement out of the window. Some traits cannot be denied regardless of the roles you wish to assign people. For example, some people are natural leaders and have more command than the rest of the group. They should be assigned leadership roles and given the green light to coordinate travel. This is not to say that others should abstain from the planning process. There are those within the group that are more passionate about food. They should be in charge of meals. Identify the different tasks and assign each to a suitable member. The specialization will ensure every responsibility gets top priority and travelling seems effortless.

Budget and Booking

The next step would be to focus on budgeting to identify and take advantage of every available opportunity. One way to ensure you stick to a budget would be to book early. You should book as early as the end of the budgeting stage. Most flights and tourist destinations charge less when booked in advance. Some even offer special incentives to group travellers. This would also help eliminate confusion during the actual trip as you will only need to follow the plan and not line up on cues unsure of whether you will get slots. Other expenses that do not feature booking can be subdivided among group members for equality or opt for personal financing. After all, people have different spending preferences as well as needs. During the budgeting stage, you know where to take advantage of numbers and get group discounts. Such include travel charges on flights and accommodation. For most groups, BnBs, apartments and vocational homes are preferable to hotel rooms. Besides, most travel destinations offer favourable prices for group packages. You will most likely have to share rooms with someone. it is important that you feel comfortable with your roommate.

Take Advantage of Luggage shipping Services

Baggage is always a headache when travelling. It becomes worse when you have to take care of group luggage. Luggage is often left behind at various stop points, leading to losses that could hamper the trip. Moving from station to station could also attract extra fees when checking-in luggage. This is why you need an excellent luggage service to take the edge off when travelling. Courier companies pick baggage at your location at an agreed time and have them at the destination even before you get there. The team of professionals handle items with care and uphold a stringent work ethic hence you can be guaranteed your items will be in one piece when you get there. Depending on the destination you agree to, your items shall be delivered at the promised time. Inconveniences may occur in rare events, but professional luggage shipping companies are well coordinated to keep you informed at all times. You can also track the delivery process from your current location. We advise you to check the list of acceptable items, to ensure your baggage is approved for such services.

Take Advantage of Smart Technology for Easy Communication

All members need to be updated at all times with essential information. It is also easier to coordinate the group from a single platform. Social media groups are instrumental when used purposefully. Most social media groups can be used for frequent communication but not plan sharing. You will need apps such as Doodle to help vote for agreements if you are doing so online. Splitts and Splitwise can be used to manage expenses while Google Sheets could be used to organize available options. This way, each member can view individual pages to acquire any necessary information rather than having to contact people individually.

Is it a lot to Handle? Hire Professionals

Vacation planning could involve a lot for an inexperienced group to handle comfortably. Some professionals in the industry help manage group trips at a reasonable cost. If you find the price affordable, why not leave the planning work for someone else to handle as you worry about the fun parts. After all, vacations are all about freeing our minds from day-to-day hustles.

 

Cruising Luxury

Alternatives to glamping that still leave room for adventure

So you want to explore the great outdoors and the wilder parts of the world, but still want a touch of luxury? For many, the answer to this urge is glamping, but if the concept leaves you cold, never fear! There are plenty of alternatives to glamping that let you explore the wilderness, be adventurous, and have exciting experiences, while still maintaining a level of comfort and luxury. Read on and discover five of the most attractive and exciting alternatives to glamping.

RVs and Camper Vans

Basically glamping on wheels, hopping in an RV, or renting a camper van and hitting the road is a quintessential Great American Adventure, and a superb way of exploring the great outdoors will keeping a few creature comforts close to hand.

A glass pod on the side of a cliff

No, this isn’t crazy talk. In Sacred Valley in Peru, you can literally sleep in a glass pod suspended halfway down a cliff, 400 feet above the ground. The ‘rooms’ aren’t cheap (starting at around $1,000 a night!) but the views of the Andes are genuinely incomparable, and the experience itself will stay with you for a lifetime.

Log cabins

Staying a few nights in a traditional log cabin at the heart of a state forest or National Park is a fantastic experience. You can get back to basics, go fishing for your supper, but still relax with a warm shower and a comfortable bed at the end of the day. A great way to do this sort of vacation is by kayak, stopping off every day at a specific cabin along the route.

Adventure cruises

If you want to explore the most exotic, far-flung corners of the world, the best way to do that is by water. Try sailing to Antarctica on a cruise, heading up the Norwegian Fjords, or taking a tall ship across the Atlantic, for a truly memorable and adventurous experience!

Shepherd’s huts

For something intensely traditional and effortlessly cozy, why not hire a shepherd’s hut? These charming static wagons evoke a simpler time and usually come equipped with a log fire, perfect for snuggling up close to after a long day hiking up a mountain. Some of these even come with their own hot tub, making this an exceptional high-end outdoorsy experience, and one you won’t forget in a hurry

Advice Will Work for Travel

5 Tips To Become A Travel Writer And Get Paid To Explore Different Countries

Nowadays, it has become easier to make the dream of becoming a travel writer come true. In fact, even beginner writers are hired as essay writers to document their traveling experiences.

However, you can become a highly-paid writer whose job is to travel to different locations but to get this paid sponsorship as a travel writer, your work and perspective must stand out. Your written content must resonate with audiences locally and beyond. Read along to learn about some useful tips that will put you on the right path to kickstarting your career as a travel writer.

Start locally

Starting up your travel writing career should commence from your locale. Your local audience is often a microcosm of the entire world, making them the perfect litmus test for your content.

Are they interested in what you have to say? What do people find interesting?

Documenting stories about your local traveling experience helps you develop a unique style and study the audience. Choose locations with which you are familiar and start writing stories about visiting them.

Also, you need to develop a local audience with whom you can share your content. You can always start by sharing your content with your friends and family. More so, don’t forget to ask them for feedback and constructive criticism. Once you have gathered an established following, you can go ahead to the next stage

Stand out from the crowd

In order to stand out,  develop a style that sounds natural and unique to you.

Your aim is to relay your experiences, which is why you need a unique narrative. Of course, you should study the work of other travel writers. But only choose the most effective elements of their writing and craft yours

Visit undiscovered locations

Let’s face it; we are all tired of seeing pictures of the Louvre and Times Square. You have read so much about these places that you feel like you have visited them. So, save your readers from the same boring narratives by visiting undisclosed locations in a country.

Instead of writing about the Louvre, you can cover the wine culture of downtown Paris. Readers always find this kind of exclusive content refreshing since it opens a new world to them.

Even if you want to talk about the Louvre, find an unexplored perspective. Interview locals, the crowds, the security, or the staff… anything other than the building itself.

This unique perspective on a popular location will put you in the perfect position to write lucrative travel deals worldwide.

Get on the right media platforms

After crafting your content, you need to share it with the world. Create a Facebook group or an Instagram page dedicated to your travels. Also, choose a username and bio that clearly states that you are a travel writer.

More so, don’t post the stories and abandon them. Interact with the audience by answering their questions and showing gratitude for their compliments. This approach helps the readers to feel valued and also motivates them to accompany you on your journey.

Network: prepare your perfect pitch

Armed with your unique content and audience, you can now reach out to companies to seek travel writer jobs. Find companies with mutual interests in the places you intend to visit. You can reach out to travel companies, airlines, and clothing brands for sponsorship.

However, your pitch should be ready before approaching them. Here are the things you need to include in your offer for cooperation.

1. Your name, occupation, and base of operations

2. Your interests and destinations

3. Reasons why the proposed company fits into your narrative

4. The amount of exposure your promise (your follower count, etc.)

5. The name of your blog or page

6. Your (realistic) travel budget

Landing high-paying travel writer jobs takes a lot of time and dedication. However, you can expedite the process by creating a specific niche for yourself. Work on establishing a massive following for your blog or travel page and keep the content entertaining. Also, keep your followers engaged by replying to comments and interacting with them. And when you have the right amount of followers, you can pitch your services to the right company for sponsorship opportunities.

 

Journal Lifestyle

Black is Beautiful: Following Your Dreams and Finding Your Passion

Our Journey from Travel Book Idea to Landing a Collection at Nordstrom

A few years ago, shortly after I became a mother, I got itchy feet. I could remain where I was, with a comfortable life enjoying new parenthood, or go on an adventure, living and traveling around the world, as I’d long desired to do. After much planning and preparation, my husband and I decided to leave the United States and travel full time with our daughter Asha, who was just shy of turning two years old. I was uncertain of where we would land, or the long-term professional outcome, but I was open to the journey and the excitement of doing something different.

Over the next two years, we lived in four different countries, across three continents and traveled with Asha to over 20 countries, including Ethiopia, Indonesia, Singapore, Turkey, Iceland, Greece, Oman, Tanzania, and Senegal. In the course of our travels, I saw how much the world has to teach young people and how open the world is to children.

At a very young age, Asha, now with her baby brother, has seen so much of the world. They have met children all over the globe, heard the languages they speak, learned the games they play, the songs they sing, and tasted the foods they eat. These experiences led us to create our children’s story book collection, The Amazing Adventures of Aya & Pete, which shares some of what we’ve seen and learned with other children and their families.

The idea behind our books was to share with children the little things we learn in new places, like what languages are spoken in France or England, what are some foods you could find there, what kinds of currency they use, and what are the key landmarks. But we also wanted to convey the intangible elements of travel, like compassion, understanding of cultural differences and appreciation of our shared humanity. Even if children can’t travel themselves, they could still experience the magic and wonder of exploring and learning about other places through a beautiful book. Plus, there is something truly magical about seeing the world through the eyes of a child!

Our journey to creating Aya & Pete started with an outline for the books, and the lead characters. Aya is inspired by our daughter, and Pete by her favorite stuffed animal at that time, a toy monkey named Frenchie. We wanted our books to be informational, but also fun, so we created character-driven narratives with a good dose of adventure and cheeky banter between Aya and her stuffed sloth, Pete.

We published our first book, the Amazing Adventures of Aya & Pete in Paris in December 2017 under our publishing company, Ashima. Since so much of our story is inspired by Asha’s lived experiences, it was important that she be the co-author, and co-owner of our publishing business. This was an opportunity for her to learn how to create something, how to build a business, when to pivot if necessary and to get back up if you stumbled. Most importantly, I wanted her to have ownership of her story.

While the first two years of this project were one fledgling step after the other, we realized we had something interesting when we launched our second book, The Amazing Adventures of Aya & Pete in London, in the spring of 2019. We organized a five-city “book tour” and in each stop, bookstores and libraries welcomed us and readers and supporters showed up! The day after Asha turned six, we hosted a reading at our local bookstore, and a roomful of nearly 100 people sang her Happy Birthday. That was a very special moment.

In the fall of 2020, we launched our third book, The Amazing Adventures of Aya & Pete in New York! One of the keys to succeeding in whatever it is you want to do, is to be passionate about it. Sometimes you’re in a full sprint, and it’s easy to keep going. Other times it’s a slow crawl and you question whether it makes sense to continue. But we never stopped, and our tenacity eventually caught the attention of Nordstrom, which started carrying our line of books and products last fall. With a national platform, more children have access to Aya & Pete and imagery that shows a little girl who looks like them, or perhaps who doesn’t look like them, boldly exploring, trying new things and just being herself – a kid having fun!

At a time when we cannot travel as freely as we wish and it seems like all of our vacation plans are on extended pause, we believe these books are more relevant than ever. We hope our books can inspire excitement for little ones to see new places, and spark their imaginations with adventures that lay just around the corner. But our story and our books are really not about the act or art of traveling. It’s about our core belief that you cannot dream what you cannot see, and we want all children to know, whether they are traveling, or simply traveling in their imaginations, there’s a big world out there, there’s a place for them, and they belong in it as much as anyone else.

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