All posts by Danny Rodriquez

Planning a Wedding in Italy

The beginning of any significant event like a wedding is a thrilling yet a very stressful period. From the minute you announce your participation on social networking, the stress is on. And for all those looking for a wedding in Italy for those extra wedding photos, sometimes even more as expectations and ethnic influences may influence each of the preparation phases.

Fortunately, the resounding reality is this is all about you and your spouse and nobody else, as far as it does not feel like this sometimes. The luxury of being wed in 2016 instead of 1953, is the wedding couple are far more present throughout the planning stages and non-conventional is your new standard when it comes to weddings, even a trend seen in Italy.

Though some couples still adhere to local customs, by way of instance extremely lengthy dinner services with numerous courses, precisely the exact same time people are beginning to mix-it-up. From crimson wedding dresses into a barn-yard like motif beneath a Tuscan wine grove, unique touches thanks to DIY hints on Pinterest are exploding in popularity. Smaller budgets don’t fear, a marriage in Italy can arrive in almost any assortment of ideals.

Do not underestimate the power of help

One thing to remember while organizing your wedding in Italy, and anyplace is that assistance is totally underrated. Traditionally here, you’ve got your Italian household to help direct the preparation however, things are changing since society begins to stray from quite conventional ‘I do’s’. For foreigners coming overseas, hiring a wedding planner is excellent for helping navigate through sticky paperwork along with calling local sellers.

For people who wish to undertake the weight of organizing themselves, a day-of planner is another choice. They’ll ensure guests get from point A to point B, will be certain that you follow along with your own time schedule of events that the day of (addresses through supper, first dance, cake cutting) and assist taxis the night of. Basically, deal with details while you truly get to enjoy daily.

For those coming overseas who do not speak Italian, it’s highly suggested to have a stage person, such as a day-of planner, so you don’t get inundated with queries on your special day.

Stay Organized and Stress-Free

Being a self-admitted organizational mess, I had been fairly lucky to possess an engineer spouse who’s a lot more familiar with spreadsheets and numbers than I had been. My advice would be to stay as organized as you can, maintain an excel sheet with your own budget, number of guests, even where they’re coming from and dates of departure and arrival, and another wedding album together with all the day-by-day coordination the week of their wedding.

On top sheet, add the contact information of each one of your sellers, and that you want to cover and when. Entrust this using a few close friends that are helping, or together with your day-of planner a couple of days ahead of your wedding she/he could be up-to-date with everything. If it comes to DIY attempts, keep in mind that these really can take more hours than it sounds so be cautious of taking on a lot of while planning.

Off-season means great bargains

Even though May to September is the perfect wedding time in Italy, think about a date in November, January or even February with the risk of disagreeable weather. Especially for people on a budget, then you can often negotiate a cheaper cost for the rental cost of a villa or place. Ask your wedding planner to help negotiate prices and do not be scared to ask. Typically a place may offer to perform the food-in-house and in this scenario, it is possible to probably request a lower lease. Wedding places should normally be reserved 10 months to a year beforehand so lockdown after you get engaged.

If it comes to weather, this is essential to think about when planning. Always have a plan B in regards to rain, in the summertime as the previous couple of decades have been shown to be much more than erratic weather-wise. The advantages of off-season weddings are that you need to get married inside which alleviates the strain of ‘what if’ when it comes to rain. A wedding in Italy may seem like a great idea but would not be recommended wedding photographers in melbourne as they would dispute that Melbourne has all the photo opportunity spots.

Shoe Shopping in Florence

Florence is often referred to as the shoe capital of the world, especially for women’s shoes and men’s dress shoes. As the birthplace of Gucci and the town where Salvatore Ferragamo made his name, it was a pioneer of this luxury footwear market and one of its main shopping streets is Via dei Calzaiuoli, which translates to the ‘road of shoemakers’. The city’s shoe stores offer a range of styles, from comfortable everyday driving shoes to towering stilettos and chunky winter boots; there’s a shoe and shop to suit every preference.


Salvatore Ferragamo

Salvatore Ferragamo’s vast store and accompanying museum dominates the southernmost end of Via de’ Tornabuoni: a suitably grand setting for the father of Florentine shoemaking. Ferragamo started creating shoes in Florence in 1927 and soon made his name producing bespoke footwear for famous names like Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot. Today, the principles in which he thought are upheld by his brand, with shoes that fit perfectly and are effortlessly hip.

Cesare Paciotti

After taking over the reins in his father’s shoe business in 1980, Cesare Paciotti began re-inventing men’s dress shoes, turning them from a necessity into a desired accessory. His shoes are constantly on trend, but combine a modern aesthetic with high quality craftsmanship and a timeless quality that’s enduringly elegant. Collaborations with Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Roberto Cavalli have contested his typical aesthetic, though a commitment to pioneering research implies there’s always something new to see in shop.



High-quality craftsmanship has always been central to Casadei and it’s luxurious Via de’ Tornabuoni flagship store showcases this calibre in a suitably prestigious site. The expansive boutique exhibits its timeless designs alongside new men’s and women’s shoes in two big street-facing windows, but there’s far more to see inside where the complete collection is placed, including beautifully designed pieces, made in Italy and hand-finished by highly skilled artisans.



This Florence-born brand started out with only just one shop but it made its mark as a part of Florentine’s artisan craftsmanship, with its reputation for attention to detail and mastery of ability, resulting in a rapid growth and there are now several Raspini shops throughout the city. Its Via Roma boutique is among the biggest and its six windows are known for their extravagant window screens. Expect to discover a selection of international brands in store including D&G, Paul Smith and Stuart Weitzman when you visit the store alongside Raspini originals.



The classic moccasin is now synonymous with relaxed chic — a weekend staple which was Tod’s standout shoe beginning in the 1980s. The moccasin is typical of Tod’s footwear; relaxation is always the main factor, with pieces crafted from the softest Florentine leathers available. However, elegance and tradition are equally valued and each of Tod’s hand crafted shoe are as smart as they are comfortable. It’s the Via de’ Tornabuoni shop that stocks the Tod’s full range for women and men alongside an assortment of statement bags and luxury accessories for you to feast your eyes on and maybe even purchase.

These brands are just a few of the staple brands that make up the prestigious Florentine shoe industry, make sure you explore the cobble stone streets and find the boutique homes of shoemakers across the city.

Taste the Italian Alps

Kishore Iyengar

Situated right under Europe’s greatest peak, Monte Bianco or Mont Blanc, image best Courmayeur is a dream alpine destination drawing in visitors throughout the year.

In summertime, it is a sanctuary for mountaineers, trekkers, bicycle riders and biologists, who come here to check out the huge reaches of the alpine forests and kayakers and white water rafting lovers handling the snow-fed water bodies. And in winter season, it turns a snow-blanketed wonderland for skiers, snowboarders and cliffhanger daredevils.

This fairly unidentified getaway in the Italian Alps appeals with its charming and cosy Alpine timbervillas and chalet landmarks like Auberge de La Maison and Au Coeur des Neiges, pastures and snow-capped peaks. The locals in this area speak in a dialect called Patois– a Francoprovencal language blend of French and Italian.

Food trail

Valdostan cuisine is a distinct gastronomic attraction in Courmayeur and the attractive Valle D’Aosta. One can enjoy specialties like their fabled mellow yellow– tinged fontina cheese, partially prepared and made with cow’s milk, warming soups, polenta, black bread, gnocchi, rice and potatoes, risotto, cheeses and salami.

Specifically yours

Courmayeur is indeed a gourmand’s sanctuary with dishes you will not find in other regions of Italy. There is a type of Risotto which is local to the area called alla Valdostana, made from fontina, tomatos, Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses and rice. Carbonade is a beef stew made with salt-preserved beef, onions, red wine and served with polenta. Seupa de Gri, a regional Valdostan (from this Valle D’Aosta region) barley soup made with seasonal vegetables, potatoes, experienced with onions and salt pork, is another need to attempt!

Polentas is popular in Courmayeur. Polenta alla Rascard is corn meal mush chilled, sliced and layered with a thick beef and sausage ragout with fontina cheese. Capriolo alla Valdostana– venison and veggies stewed in an herb-flavoured cream and grappa sauce is another specialty grocery item worth delighting in

Do try Employers de Jambon, herb spiced ham, Lardo di Arnad (bacon) and dried meat Motzetta, which is made from beef, sheep or goat muscle. One can’t miss the desserts– apple pie, chestnut honey, Mont Blanc ice cream and fresh blueberry pie.

Combine it well

Courmayeur’s Valdostan fresh food choices are a tribute to the bounty of the alpine environment and the best it has to provide. Complementing the different impressive meals of the area are its store gewurztraminers. Cavern Mont Blanc de Morgexet de La Salle produce the premium Prie Blanc whites that match with polenta and risotto. The shimmering Spumante 1187 and Blanc du Blanc together with La Piagne pair well with Pasticcio di Penne alla Valdostana, baked penne in Valle d’Aosta design, and Gnocchi di Patate alla Bavam, which is a type of gnocchi that contains the fontina cheese. Midway at the Pavillon du Mont Frety, the cable car station as much as Mont Blanc, you can quaff the great shimmering Cavern Mont Blanc gewurztraminers with delicious cheeses or crisp torcetti (a local snack) at their tasting lounge as a celebration of your check out to this greatest top’s grandeur. With an alpine quest topped with such exceptional wonders, the check out to the charming Courmayeur makes the experience memorable.

This Aussie Travel Tech Start-up is Changing the Game for Small Tourism Companies

Australian travel innovation business Rezdy is changing the game for little travel and tourism services, making them more competitive globally and changing the way the travel industry sees the trip and activity sector.

The trips and tourist attraction sector has actually been mostly ignored by travel innovation gamers, who have actually focussed on flights, hotels, car leasings and home-rentals such as Airbnb. This is rapidly changing with Rezdy’s marketplace innovation linking travel suppliers that specialise travel tours and destinations with representatives from all around the world.

Rezdy CEO Simon Lenoir stated that the software application and its agile automated testing is a game-changer for the tourist businesses.

“Up until just recently travellers relied on travel guide or the fliers in hotel lobbies. If providers weren’t featured in these they depended on word of mouth or visitors discovering their site. If customers did find them, the documents was cumbersome and time consuming, typically dependent on phone or e-mail reservations,” stated Mr Lenoir.

“Unlike the ‘meat and potato’ of flight and hotel bookings, trips and tourist attraction were viewed as a trouble for travel business. After managed testing services, there was a lag in verification, increased possibilities of human error in the reservation and no scope for commission since the suppliers didn’t have the technology to manage the volume of reservations.”

The subscription-based platform is designed to assist little, often family-run operations that do not have resources to market themselves on a large scale.

Tourism operators who register for the Rezdy Market are quickly available to customers all over the world through tourism companies such as online travel agents (Expedia, TripAdvisor, GetYourGuide, RedBalloon), Traveler Visitor Centres and hotel concierges the world. The capability to be accessible to travellers worldwide through say, TripAdvisor’s Immediate Reservation Tool develops substantial chances for these ‘Mom & Pop’ companies.

How is Rezdy doing so far?

The software application has drawn in the interest of major global gamers with a variety of global collaborations consisting of Chinese outbound tour and activity expert Haiwan. This offers access to a market that was previously hard to take advantage of, in a year when Chinese visitors to Australia went beyond 1 million in 12-months for the very first time.

Lantern Ghost Tours has reported remarkable growth given that using the Rezdy Market technology with a 200% increase in bookings.

Jacqui Travaglia said, “The level of development we’ve experienced has had an extraordinary influence on our service, we’ve worked with more tourist guide and head workplace personnel and have actually been able to present brand-new products which also assists create repeat company. On a practical level it’s developed effectiveness that saves us a huge amount of time– formerly we would need to constantly upgrade the site and calendar and e-mail or send out messages to guests individually– nobody in the group misses that!”

The tourist market is valued at $47.5 billion in Australia. The Rezdy Marketplace deals with 1,500 travel companies worldwide, with more than 30,000 products throughout 80 nations, with these numbers growing rapidly, and has actually processed over $1.2 billion in reservations.

Rezdy raised 1.5 million from 2012 to 2014 in 3 rounds led by Sydney-based” incredibly angel’ Grand Prix Capital. Bailador Technology Investments led a 3 million series round in 2015.

This French City Is the Art World’s New Hot Spot

Arles has never ever been at the top of the list for tourists checking out Provence. Definitely the ancient French city, located near the mouth of the Rhône, has enough appeal– and great light– to have actually motivated artists. Van Gogh invested a manically efficient 15 months there, painting more than 200 works (however losing an ear). Picasso often visited the bullfights and made portraits of his second spouse, Jacqueline, in Arlesian outfits which is showcased under picture hanging systems. Still, it has actually always lacked the romance of those picture-perfect towns in the South of France that have sat alongside landscapes and architectural pieces of timber products “Arles has actually stayed basically the same– open in the summer but rather closed down in the winter season,” muses Maja Hoffmann, an art-world power broker who grew up in the close-by Camargue area and went to school in your area.

Now Arles is fast becoming a popular year-round destination, thanks to the vision of the Swiss-born benefactor, a successor to the fortune of the pharmaceutical business Hoffmann-La Roche. A run-down rail yard is being transformed into a 15-acre global cultural school, called LUMA Arles, that will be dedicated to the arts, the environment, and human rights. (Hoffmann’s umbrella LUMA Structure is named after her kids, Lucas and Marina.) The year after next will see the opening of the park’s centerpiece: Frank Gehry‘s glittering ten-story tower– part museum, part think tank– tentatively called the Center for Human Dignity and Ecological Justice. Its façade of stainless steel and stone was motivated by the city’s practically 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheater along with the surrounding region’s craggy limestone cliffs. “I fulfilled Frank in 2005 and was impressed by his all-inclusive method,” Hoffmann recalls, “the method he mixes modern art and architecture, the freedom of his lines and thoughts.”

This previous summertime Annabelle Selldorf completed remodellings of the second of two cavernous 19th-century commercial structures once utilized to develop and fix trains. “The initial structures, with their cast-iron columns and steel architectural trusses, had extremely graceful percentages, with a rather neoclassical exterior,” she says. “The job was to deal with that, to not interrupt it, to make calm and versatile exhibition area. Obviously, it’s constantly much more complex than satisfies the eye. But that’s my organisation.”

The buildings– the larger of which is 65 feet wide and column-free– now offer space for artists’ studios, exhibits, and performances. This summertime’s launch exposition at the brought back Mécanique Générale consisted of a group photography show curated by a quartet of talents under a picture rail system, including Zanele Muholi and Walead Beshty, as well as a room-encompassing multiscreen installation by William Kentridge. Performances were provided by choreographer Benjamin Millepied’s business, L.A. Dance Job, which has simply begun a three-year residency in Arles.

When the school opens in full, in 2018, it will be joined by a garden-filled public park conceived by Belgian landscape architect Bas Smets. On the other hand, as smart Parisians penetrate Arles’s ancient Roman gates, trendy hotels and ambitious dining establishments (consisting of Hoffmann’s own Hôtel du Cloître and L’Ouvre Boîte tapas café) are opening at a rapid pace. “It’s a great opportunity,” states professional photographer François Halard, who purchased an 18th-century house in Arles quickly after visiting good friends there in the 1990s. “LUMA will give the town brand-new life and fresh energy. What Maja is doing is fantastic. She is breaking all the guidelines.”

Top 4 Destinations You Must Visit In Australia


Wilsons Promontory, VIC

Way down in Victoria is a knob of land called Wilsons Promontory. Surrounded on 3 sides by the crashing Southern Ocean with granite headlands, natural beaches and plenty of wildlife, this is an area liked by the locals and tourist who stay in Lorne accommodation before making their way down here. Take a look at Squeaky Beach, so called since the sand ‘squeaks’, the historic 1859 lighthouse and the fabulous views from Mount Oberon. There is a lot of lodging in the area from standard right to the luxury.

Kosciuszko National Park, NSW

Heading to NSW? Well, you can’t visit our southern neighbour without a journey to Kosciuszko National Park. The home of the famous Snowy River, in addition to Mt Kosciuszko, Australia’s greatest mountain, the surroundings are simply sensational. Recognised as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, this park has a fantastic range of native plants and animals, including the corroboree frog and the mountain pygmy possum

Kalbarri National Park, WA

Head north from Perth and you will discover the breathtaking Kalbarri National Park with deep canyons carved out by the Murchison River, spectacular views and various hiking tracks.

There are several breath-taking lookouts along the hiking tracks, the most well-known being Nature’s Window, which frames a perfect view upstream. So, if you wish to get back to nature for a few days, then the Kalbarri National Park is the ideal salve for your soul.


Flinders Ranges National Park, SA

With magnificent canyons, excellent range of mountains, Aboriginal Rock Art and protected creeks, Flinders Ranges has some of the most amazing scenery in South Australia.

After staying in some great Apollo Bay accommodation, take a look at the Wangarra lookout and the historical Hills Homestead, Old Wilpena Station, Stokes Hill Lookout and Brachina Gorge. You could also take the 28km Moralana scenic drive, check out the Sacred Canyon or catch a photo of the Cazneaux Tree, made well-known by Harold Cazneaux in his 1937 painting, entitled “The Spirit of Endurance”.

7 Places To Go To If You Are Travelling Solo

Have you ever wanted to experience travelling alone? If you have, then here are some of the best destinations for you to go exploring on your own.

Just the thought of getting on a plane and jetting off to somewhere all alone can be daunting to a lot of people, especially the plus size clothing type, but it doesn’t have to be! There are so many destinations around the world that are perfectly suited for solo travellers to visit and there are so many tours you can do, whether it be full day tours or half day tours, and the great thing is that it doesn’t matter what your budget is or how old you are! Everyone is doing it for the same reason, to explore the world on a whole new level.

So here are our top 7 picks…

1. New York City, USA

Whether you want to stroll down 5th Avenue, visit all of the museums that show off their amazing museum art and design works, eat as much food as you can manage, or even just grab a book and sit in Central Park, your options are endless in this city! Want the New York experience? Go straight to Times Square and embrace the energy that surrounds that place 24/7 or go venture down to Broadway and watch a play. Or if you are wanting to understand the city on a deeper level then visit the 9/11 memorial for a glimpse into the city’s history.

2. Costa Rica, Central America

In Costa Rica, you always have so much to choose from when it comes to finding things to do. If you are feeling adventurous, you can go zip lining and white water rafting, or do some hiking through the jungles and volcanoes. Or if you would like to relax, there are plenty of spas and retreats you can go to, and there are even some hot springs to visit!

3. Dublin, Ireland

Dublin would have to be one of the friendliest places in the world. You can be walking down the street, stumble across a bar and go inside, and then by the time you leave several hours later, you would have made a number of new mates.

4. Reykjavik, Iceland

Considered one of the safest countries in the world, Iceland is one of the best places to travel to solo. You can take your time when there and go whale and dolphin watching, spot geysers, relax in the geothermal spa the Blue Lagoon, or take an excursion to the Northern Lights. So many beautiful and breathtaking things to see and do, it makes the best adventure.

5. Barcelona, Spain

There are always heaps of people out and about in Barcelona, so much so that you’ll find yourself just sitting there and people watching from the cafes or on the beach where the outdoor gym is full of people strutting around and preening. Make yourself comfortable perched at the really cool bars that are around, go into town to experience the cultural differences, or go have a quick swim in the ocean whenever you desire because it is all at your fingertips.

6. Melbourne, Australia

You don’t have to be in your twenties to go backpacking around Australia. There are so many amazing places suited for solo travellers and Melbourne tops it in my opinion! Your options are endless when in Melbourne. You have a large range of bars you can go to, so many different sporting events for you to choose from, with a notable mention of the MCG which looks like it’s lit up with industrial lighting, and even some beautiful places you can travel to for a day or even spend a weekend along The Great Ocean Road. A personal favourite of mine being Yarra Valley wine tours.

7. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is such a beautiful place full of so much life and culture. Spend your time visiting art museums and markets, or for a bit more adventure, jump on a bike and ride around or hop on a boat and go for a cruise down the canal. The city is always buzzing and the people are so welcoming.

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7 Reasons That The Yarra Valley Is The Perfect Destination For A Weekend Getaway

1. Gorgeous Scenery

The Yarra Valley is very lucky that Mother Nature was so generous to the region, rewarding it with a picture perfect combination of farm lands as far as the eyes can see, perfectly kept vineyards, thick and luscious natural reserves, and an abundance of wildlife. Driving down the main road Maroondah Highway, surrounded by cows, sheep, and horses enjoying their daily feed in the paddocks, with nice retaining walls I must add, has such a warm and fuzzy vibe to it, but if you are wanting to explore Australia’s wildlife even further, then pop into Healesville Sanctuary where you’ll find so many more mammals, birds and reptiles such as koalas and kangaroos, to echidnas and wombats. The list doesn’t seem to end! But if it is more the view you would like to absorb, Yarra Valley has plenty of lookouts you can go to, to see the amazing views of the rolling green hills, forest covered mountains, and sprawling vineyards. So go and have your physio fix any niggles with your body and get exploring! You can find them scattered around Healesville to the east, and just past Christmas Hills to the west.

2. Fine Wine

The fresh sun-kissed climate of the Yarra Valley creates the perfect condition for a collection of fine wines from some of the world’s most renowned wineries. Whether you are after a crisp chardonnay or a smooth pinot noir, or you would much prefer a playful glass of sparkling wine, there is definitely no shortage of selections to satisfy even the pickiest wine connoisseur. With over 80 wineries in the Valley alone, your options are endless and you will easily be able to find some Yarra Valley wine tours that suit you. But if wine isn’t really your thing, don’t worry! For those who are yearning over a cold cider or a refreshing pale ale, there are plenty of options in the valley that aren’t wine, like the Meletos Ciderhouse and Brewery with beers and ciders, or the White Rabbit Brewery with a big selection of Belgian Style beers.

3. Terrific Food

Visiting the Yarra Valley on the weekend means you are in for a treat! Numerous wineries offer a special Saturday night dinner menu with the chef’s best creations, which is paired with the finest wines they have to offer. Add that to an amazing view and a romantic atmosphere and you have got yourself a perfect out of town date night at any of the Yarra Valley vineyards

4. Hidden Accommodation

Food and wine is essential for a weekend away, but if there is one thing more important than that, it is the luxury place you’ll be consuming it! There is a wide variety ranging from small B&B ‘s to 5-star luxury hotels, so you are sure to find something you like when searching for beautiful Yarra Valley accommodation! The options are endless! You can have a room in a shared house or have an entire house which is suitable for a family or group of friends (a girls weekend away with lots of wine? Um yes please!)

5. Quirky Shopping

When shopping in the Yarra Valley, don’t expect to be stocking up on the latest fashion trends. As a matter of fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find more than just a handful of shops in Healesville, but for those who love to shop, there are a few options if you want to maybe pick up a few little Christmas gifts for either yourself or someone else! If by any chance you are in Yarra Glen on the 3rd Sunday of the month, then take the time to visit the Yarra Valley Farmer’s Market It consists of a wide variety of arts and crafts, gourmet food, produce, and homewares.

6. Outside Activities

If you are wanting to break up your day with some outdoor activities, then the Yarra Valley has lots to offer. You can head over to one of the golf courses, 4 of them have been ranked in the Australian top 100 by the Australian Golf Digest, to enjoy a nice round of golf, or if golf isn’t your thing, then you can spend some time hiking or cycling through some of the great trails, or book a Segway tour for something different! And for those who are wanting the ultimate experience, hot air ballooning might just be the right fit for you. The view of the valley in the morning is breathtaking and definitely worth the expense. Your options are endless and there are so many Yarra Valley tours to choose from so you are sure to find something everyone enjoys.

7. Family Adventures

When you think of a wine region, you probably don’t think about it being a destination for the whole family, but in the Yarra Valley, your kids can easily have heaps of fun too. They can go on a forest zip-lining adventure in the Dandenong Ranges, or spend a day at the Healesville Sanctuary getting familiar with the amazing wildlife that Australia has to offer.

But if you are after something to keep the kids happy, then the Yarra Valley Chocolatier and Ice-Creamery is the best place to go! They have free chocolate tastings, hundreds of chocolates on display, and by far some of the best chocolatiers working on their delicious creations, it is every kids (and adults!!) dream! They have made it virtually impossible to stop yourself from trying way too much chocolate and to leave empty handed!

It is near impossible to not enjoy your time visiting the incredible place that is the Yarra Valley.

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Traveling Overseas? Touring Tips to Packing Like a Legend!

I recently came across a brilliant article that goes through genius ways of packing your clothing for the big trip overseas. This article is especially helpful for any person who is terrible packing like a few of my close friends who find it extremely hard to fit everything in that they need. Enjoy the read.

Packing Tips

Some travelers jam two weeks’ worth of gear in their bags for a long weekend of body transformation for that beach bod. Others pack a bit too lightly and forget important things like medicine or passports. Savvy travelers strike the perfect balance and bring just what they need, like people with plus size clothing – with a little help from our list of road-tested packing tips, of course!

Packing Methods
When packing your clothes, you don’t want to neatly fold them individually as you would in a dresser. If you do, they will crease when compressed. Here are a few alternatives:

Rolling Your Clothes
Backpackers swear by this method. Rolling works well with pants, skirts and sports shirts. Lay the item face down, fold back the sleeves and then roll from the bottom up. Trainer’s who travel and teach at personal trainer courses swear by this rule.

Fold Clothes Together
Take two or more garments, for example, trousers, and lay half of one pair on top of the other. Fold the one on the bottom over the pair on the top. Then take the other and fold it on the top. This gives each pair some cushion where you’ve folded it so it’s less likely to crease or wrinkle in the folds.

What Not to Pack

The Bundle Approach
This ingenious method of packing, which we learned from Judith Guilford, co-founder of the Easy Going travel store and author of the “The Packing Book,” has now become our favorite. It’s a bit difficult to explain without a demonstration, but we’ll do our best. You need luggage that opens up and lays flat to do this. You will also need a flat, soft, pouch-like rectangular “core” with dimensions that are at least 1/2 to 3/4 the size of your luggage compartment. This can be a pouch filled with underwear or something similar.

Start with your sports jacket or the longest, most wrinkle-prone item you have. With the collar or waistband flat, place it against the bottom edge of the bag and drape the rest of the garment over the opposite side of the bag. Take another garment and place it in the opposite direction, flattening and smoothing out both garments in the bag and draping the remainder over the side. If you have trousers or other narrow items, do the same with them in the narrow direction of the bag. Keep alternating your items, ending up with the most wrinkle-resistant clothes you have.

When you finish, place your “core” in the middle. Now you’re going to start folding the garments over the core and each other in the reverse order you put them in. If you fold something over and there’s excess draping over the sides of the bag, tuck it underneath the bundle you are creating.

What you will end up with is a bundle of all of your clothes that looks like a pillow. You can pick it up in one piece. It’s compactly packed and doesn’t waste an available space in your luggage. Plus, because of the way things are folded, your clothes will wrinkle less.

To find something in the bundle, lay it flat and unwrap until you reach the layer you want. Take the item out and refold the remainder. If done properly each layer should result in a self-contained bundle at each layer.

Interactive Packing List

Tissue Paper
For delicate items, try tissue paper Lay the item face down and place tissue paper on top. Fold it up with the tissue paper inside. Use additional layers of paper as you fold the garment so it is completely wrapped in and around paper. This is easy enough the first time you pack, but becomes a pain if you have to keep repacking. We only use this approach for evening clothes that we don’t want to crush.

Tips for Air Travelers

You may not pack liquid or gel substances in your carry-on unless they are in individual containers of 3.4 ounces or less and enclosed in one clear, quart-size, plastic, zip-top bag per passenger. Any larger containers of liquids and gels must be packed in your checked luggage. For more information, see Airport Security Q&A.
Be aware of restrictions on the size and number of bags you may bring onto your flight. Many airlines now charge a fee for every checked bag or have lowered the maximum permitted weight limits for checked luggage.
Do not lock your checked bags except with TSA-approved locks; otherwise, if your bag is selected for random screening, agents will have to break the lock to get inside.
Do not overpack your bag. Screeners will have a difficult time closing your luggage if selected for inspection, which will only lead to wrinkles and the potential for lost articles.
Carry all film with you on-board, as screening equipment for checked luggage can damage undeveloped film.
Place any packed belongings like your plus size evening wear you don’t feel comfortable with strangers handling in clear plastic bags.

Do not stack books and other documents on top of each other; instead, spread them out throughout your bag.

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Cyprus Residence Left In The Dark: Not A Safe Place For Tourists?

An action movement by the name of ‘Urban Cyprus Society’ has criticised their authorities in Cyprus for spending too much money from the federal budget implementing state-of-the-art LED street lighting whilst leaving the other half of the small island’s streets in complete darkness.

The action group, who is a not for profit advocate online who reports on the issues and dysfunctions of Cyprus townships around the island, explained that the government spent in excess of €2 million on LED lighting whilst numerous other streets in townships around Cyprus were left in the dark.

“The state has paid €2 million for the purchase of money-saving LED bulbs aimed at keeping main crossings lit up, which was the right thing to do, but continues to keep half of the remaining lights switched off and as a result streets remain dark and dangerous for drivers and pedestrians.” This also tends to impact on the industrial parts of Cyprus as sometimes warehouse lighting is seen to go out every now and then.

Urban Cyprus also enlightens the issue with this money-saving structure imposed on a large number of cities and townships, with widespread delays of switching lights on early in the evening by as much as one hour, as well as switching the street lights off an hour too soon in the early hours in the morning.

Townships have on a number of times defended their approaches to saving their money whilst acknowledging at the same time that the lack of lighting is a very high risk to its society.

The local early morning talk show radio station also covers these kinds of issues around Cyprus, with many of its citizen’s constantly complaining about the lack of light in the streets, especially for those who need to wake up early in the morning for work and have to walk in the pitch black streets. This ultimately is a haven for crime to start.

People of the townships are ready to speak with and hold public forums to fix these issues impacting its society.

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Visit The Yarra Valley

The Yarra Valley is the home of more than 80 vineyard-1057635-1279x852wineries, varying from small, family-owned operations to big estates. This world-famous region is renowned for producing Australia’s finest pinot noir and champagne, in addition to a variety of other cool-climate wines. It was Victoria’s very first planted wine region back in 1838.

The Yarra Valley wine region is known for its fresh fruit and vegetables, freshwater salmon, trout and eggs, handmade cheeses and preserves. Follow the many self-drive wine trails and fill your picnic basket on the Yarra Valley Food Trail or at the many big, fresh grocery store.

De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate is among the region’s biggest and oldest wineries. The striking contemporary architecture of Tarrawarra Estate stands in plain contrast. See how exceptional wine is made on a behind-the-scenes tour and taste aging wines from the barrel.

Follow the many self-guided wine tracks or forge your own route between the cellar doors. For a complete different view of the valley, join a Yarra Valley tours company and jump in a hot-air balloon overlooking the dawn skies, before landing at a Yarra Valley vineyard to take pleasantly enjoy a breakfast with champagne and freshly-picked produce.

The charm of the Yarra Valley’s changing seasons motivated a lot of Australia’s early landscape painters. Today it is the house of Australia’s earliest artist’s colony and you can go to the studios and galleries where they work.

While you are in the area, why not stop by and visit the local Healesville sanctuary animals. Here you can experience one of the largest collection of Australian native wildlife, including spectacular birds of prey, koalas, wombats, kangaroos and dingoes. Take a drive through the beautiful Black Spur to the lovely village of Marysville. Enjoy nature in the Yarra Ranges National forest, Toolangi State Forest or Kinglake National forest. Hear the bell birds or spot a lyrebird in the rich green fern gullies and hazy mountain ash forests located in the Dandenong Ranges National Park.

The Yarra Valley is approximately a one hour drive north-east of Melbourne. There is no public transport to the valley, so the best method to get there is on an arranged tour or by hire vehicle. You can even visit the vineyards by horse-drawn carriage or chauffeured limousine.

In February, top chefs from many of the wineries host banquets complemented by various live music at the Yarra Valley Grape Grazing Festival. The public transport is not plentiful, but you can organise a choufer and even stay in the area for a few nights at many places offering accommodation in yarra valley.

Promoting Australia’s World-Class Treasures To The World





The opening of the Three Capes Track is wonderful news for Tasmania and a fantastic example of how we can motivate more travellers to check out natural Australia.

Many country Australian’s instinctively appreciate the charm of rural and regional Australia. Tourism provides a considerable opportunity for bringing these locations to life and is an essential source of employment.

Tourism is thriving and it’s one of 5 crucial markets that will drive the economy following the decline of the mining boom. Growth in tourism is predicted to continue at 4.1 per-cent over the next decade, well ahead of Australia’s overall financial growth rate. Tourism supports nearly 1 million jobs and 90 per-cent are filled by Australians.

While tourism is thriving, it’s not evenly spread out. The eastern states are reaping most of the rewards while South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Area are treading water. The story is very similar for rural and regional Australia, which is worrying.

Experiencing remote and magnificent natural attractions is often restricted to those ready to bring a camping tent. While this is a great experience, the building of tracks providing quality, eco-friendly cottages open these areas to a larger number of travellers, as the globally recognised Milford Track in New Zealand proves. This corner of New Zealand is prospering, nearby towns are very busy, their hotels reserved, yet it’s one of the most remote areas on earth.

Australia has world-class natural destinations too, however, we have to make sure more people in the world know about them and want to see them. Connectivity and air travel capability are absolutely crucial to accessibility. Especially for Australia’s prospering wine market, with regions including yarra valley wine establishments and the world famous wineries in the Adelaide hills and the Barossa Valley who rely on tourists to travel. Then think through tourism infrastructure, visa reform, workforce capacity and marketing. We must start thinking about the overall visitor experience from boarding their plane, ship or automobile, to the end location.

Australia is an aspirational location for global visitors. Australia’s natural surroundings, wild animals and diverse coastal experiences attract savvy visitors who are looking to not just visit the most popular attractions, but to have distinct and remarkable experiences that are the envy of their family and friends back home. Many want to experience the corners of the earth, but they don’t wish to rough it.

In 2014-15 nature-based visitors spent $49 billion and the essential attractions are discovered in our regions. We should make sure these sites are known to prospective visitors prior to their visit to Australia. We need to revitalize our offering and supply high-end experiences, such as the 3 Capes Track.

Chinese consumers rate world-class beauty and natural environments as the important element when planning a vacation. Last year 100 million Chinese visitors went on an international vacation, and by 2020 this is set to double. This provides a terrific opportunity for Australia if we can cater for the need.

Targeted worldwide marketing is important and the Restaurant Australia campaign shows why. Our credibility for quality, safe food is a huge advantage over our competitors and many of these experiences are in rural and regional locations with many top class winery restaurants yarra valley in Victoria, for instance. Research showed global visitors did not rate Australia as a food and wine location before they arrived, but rated it highly when they had. This campaign addressed the inconsistency – significantly increasing spending on food and wine by almost $700 million a year and enhancing the perception of our offering.

Tourism Australia’s upcoming Coastal and Aquatic campaign will build on another strength. All of us understand how great our coastal and aquatic experiences are however research has discovered a 10 per-cent decline in Google keyword search for “Australian beaches” and the “Excellent Barrier Reef”. A few of Australia’s best seaside and aquatic experiences are discovered in rural and regional Australia so this will be another excellent chance.

For the very first time because 2010 we are on track to reach our Tourism 2020 target to increase overnight expenses to between $115bn and $140bn, with overnight visitor expenditure reaching a record $88.8 bn last financial year.

With a sensible Australian dollar driving growth, we prepare to capitalise on the effort of the market to make sure the development continues. Our amazing local environments are a key advantage and it is important they share in the success of our tourism market.