A Regal Vacation at the Makadi Palace

The Makadi Palace is a salubrious resort situated on Makadi Bay in Egypt’s fabulous Red Sea area. Featuring a private beach and just 30 minutes in a free shuttle bus from the Grand Mall in Hurghada, it’s the perfect place to while away a few idyllic days with the family.

1 There are 475 rooms on 5 floors in the Makadi Palace and each room has a balcony from where guests can enjoy stunning views of the resort’s gardens, swimming pools or the Red Sea. It’s easy to see why the resort is often compared to a Moorish Palace. Air conditioning, satellite television, minibar and safety deposit box are all included in standard rooms.

There’s so much to do at the Makadi Palace it’s no surprise that some people barely leave the resort for the duration of their break. With 4 large swimming pools, 5 tennis courts and a football pitch, the opportunities for engaging in sport are immense here. Other activities offered include beach volleyball, water polo, aerobics and aqua-aerobics.

2Apart from the feel good factor you get from all of the exercise, it’s a great way to meet and make friends with some of the other guests in the resort. And with a unique daily sports program, featuring lots of fun games and competitions, there’s really no excuse not to get involved.

However, if sport is too much like hard work to you, other ways you can spend your time at the Makadi Palace include getting a massage from one of the fully qualified masseuses working full time at the resort or enrolling in a free Arabic language course. The only stipulation for the language course is there must be enough demand from guests to run it.

3Dining in the Makadi Palace is one of the highlights of a stay here. Guests have a wide range of options available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Dome and Melange restaurants offer breakfast including American, English and continental style selections and both also offer full lunch buffets. Another option for lunch includes the Sunset Grill which has a mouth-watering menu of grilled dishes.

4For the main evening meal buffets are available from the Dome, Melange and Discovery restaurants. Aficionados of Thai food though will probably spend most of their time in the Thai Garden which serves delicious, authentic Thai dishes for lunch and dinner. And if you’re worried about what the kids will eat there’s no need to be, a children’s buffet is available daily from 10am to 5pm and includes all the snacks that kids love.

After the sun sets, the atmosphere at the Makadi Palace becomes more tranquil as guests enjoy a few drinks in the Piano Bar. Every night a different act performs live music and if you still feel like dancing after this, you can get your groove on in the resort’s nightclub, which is open until the early hours every night of the week.

5The Makadi Palace also offers an extensive entertainment package for kids. There are various kids’ clubs run by the hotel, including one at Sunwing Waterworld. And if the little ones need to practice their swimming for this they have their own designated swimming pool at the Makadi Palace. Selections of children’s movies are also shown throughout the day and an evening disco completes the entertainment package.

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5 Delicious Vegetarian Foods from Around the World

Traveling as a vegetarian around the world has its ups and downs – but that’s half of the fun really. There are the fun and often ridiculous conversations as you try to communicate the delicate specifications of your diet without insulting the other parties involved, their quizzical looks, and then the food you are ultimately served…sometimes meaty-tastic despite your best efforts.

Though there are challenges, it’s also possible to eat some of the tastiest food of your life traveling. Dishes you could never conceive of, others you may already love but you’ve never had it quite like this.

So travel around the world with me as we look at five delicious vegetarian dishes even the meat-eaters will love.

Indonesia: Nasi Campur

Indonesia - Nasi CampurNasi campur is a rice based dish throughout Indonesia and even into Malaysia, Singapore, and other nearby regions. This is not an inherently vegetarian dish in all of these regions – the components of nasi campur vary widely.

The Balinese version I recommend for vegetarians can be found throughout Bali and consists of a skewered tempeh, tofu, a light tomato sauce and some flash-fried greens – all served over a fluffy bed of white rice. It’s so good I ate it nearly everyday – sometimes twice in a day!

India: Thali Sampler Platter

India - ThaliThe Indian thali is as diverse and varied as India itself and every version is worth a taste! The thali is like a sample platter of the best dishes from that region; you traditionally get small ramekins filled with little tastes of a curry dish, a dahl or two, some veggies, something spicy, and coconut paste (to cut the spice!). Add in a pile of rice, a chapatti, and a lime wedge and you’re all set for a filling meal.

Filling you may ask? Oh yes, the little dishes are a decoy– after you order the thali servers patrol the room with huge vats and offer unlimited refills! India is a mostly vegetarian country and that means the thali is inherently vegetarian unless you’re in the far northern areas of India.

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China: Delicious Dumplings

China - DumplingsChina is a difficult country as a vegetarian because the country really embraces a diversity of meats and thinks of some more as a seasoning than an actual animal product. That being said, it is possible to eat well in China and dumplings are the answer to your prayers.

Vegetable Chinese dumplings are stuffed with minced vegetables and garlic, steamed in wooden boxes, and served to your table piping hot – soy sauce optional since they’re normally well seasoned and tasty enough to eat without adornment! Make sure you know how to order vegetarian food, better yet, have your hotel right it down in Chinese characters, and you’ll be all set to enjoy some delicious dumplings in China.

Bosnia: Spinach Burek and Yogurt

Bosnia - BurekThe Balkans are not a particularly vegetarian-friendly region so this spinach burek is a tasty and timely option for vegetarians traveling through the region. The philo dough is light and crispy, the spinach insides seasoned and spread liberally throughout. The dish is a cousin to the Greek spanakopita but a lighter option.

Throughout Bosnia you’ll have the option of purchasing a small cup of plain yogurt to accompany the burek – do it! The tart yogurt flavor sets off the flavors inside the spinach burek and takes what could be a forgettable snack and transforms it into a tasty street eat you shouldn’t miss if you find yourself in the region.

Thailand: Pad See Ew

Thailand - Pad See EwPad see ew ranks in my top three favorite Thai dishes – and the good news is that it’s easy to make as a vegetarian staple while you travel through Thailand. The dish, which literally translates as stir-fried with soy sauce, features the wide fat Thai rice noodles and Chinese broccoli. Those are the basic ingredients and if you’re an egg-eating vegetarian they’ll add that in for a nice dose of protein and flavor.

A lot of Thai dishes can be made vegetarian as long as you can communicate that to the restaurant. If you’re traveling off the beaten path in Thailand make sure you have memorize some basic food words!

Traveling as a Vegetarian

These five dishes comprise some of my favorite memories from my foodie travels around the world. Being vegetarian is one of those things I have embraced as a way to enhance my travels – I often try out some dishes meat-eaters overlook and in a pinch I use my phrase-book to have the cook create something special out of his imagination – always something new and different.

Sometimes clear communication is simply impossible though, and if you’re hitting the road I recommend flexibility and a smile as your traveling companions as you sample these and the many other tasty vegetarian dishes the world has to offer.

Safe and Discreet Camera Bags for Travel

If you’re a photography junkie like me, you like to bring your camera gear when you travel.  Safety is always a concern though and personally, I stopped bringing my digital SLR because I was afraid I’d always be sticking out and a target for thieves.

Probably the most important thing to consider when traveling with a digital SLR camera is what kind of bag you’ll use.  Most camera bags stick out like a sore thumb and scream “I HAVE EXPENSIVE EQUIPMENT IN HERE!”  Whether you’re on the street or in a hostel, you should be careful with who letting people know what you’re carrying.

Earlier this year I began to shop for camera bags that don’t obviously look like typical camera bags.  Here’s a few options:

Think Tank Retrospective

The Think Tank Retrospective series is very cool. On the outside it’s a plain, incognito messenger style bag. Inside, it’s a great camera bag with adjustable padded dividers.  There are several sizes available depending on how much gear you want to hold.  There aren’t a plethora of pockets but it has the basics and Think Tank’s quality is always in the top of the class.

The pinestone model looks like a typical canvas bag, though it feels just as high-quality as you’d expect out of Think Tank.  I like the pinestone since it doesn’t stand out.

The Think Tank Retrospective series starts at $129

Check them out on Amazon and come back soon for a full review of the Retrospective 20.

Tenba Small Messenger Bag

I got to test out the Tenba messenger bags while in a local camera store and I was pretty impressed. There’s a small and a large model available. Both will carry a laptop in addition to your camera gear with the small model carrying up to a 15″ laptop.  Not bad.

There’s a ton of pockets for your gear so you can stay organized. A feature I like is the top has a zipper where you can slide things in and out quickly. Nice when you want to grab something from the main compartment without opening it up and completely exposing your camera gear.

My only gripe with the Tenba messenger bags is that they look like laptop bags.  If you’re trying to stay a bit incognito, this probably isn’t the bag for you.

Amazon has them starting at $95 in a variety of colors.

Kelly Moore Boy Bag

The Kelly Moore Boy Bag may not be as functional as above bags but it’s definitely the nicest looking.  It’s not real leather but the quality is very nice.  The dividers are removable to fit your gear needs and it has quite a bit of room.  This bag definitely wins the “I’m just wearing a cool messenger style bag and there’s nothing important in here” award.

Cons? It’s a bit pricey at $199. They’re available on Amazon.

Kelly Moore B-Hobo Bag

Here’s another bag from Kelly Moore and it’s the reason I was comfortable recommending the Boy Bag without seeing it.  I bought the B-Hobo bag for the lady in my life and she loves it.  The photos online really don’t do it justice. The work that went into these bags is really top-notch.  She loves to throw a couple of lenses and her camera in it and carry it on her while she’s shooting kids or a wedding.

The pros should be obvious.  It looks like a stylish purse.  The cons are that it’s hard to hold a professional digital SLR body with a grip attached.

Kelly Moore makes a few other styles for ladies starting at $169.  You can check them out on Amazon.

 

How to Make Money Traveling Around The World

One of the most common emails or questions I get from people is “how can I make money traveling?”

The answers are endless and most of them aren’t very practical.

Enter Nick Reese, affiliate marketing and Traffic and Trust.  Nick’s written an awesome guide that will teach you all about affiliate marketing, a great way to make money traveling. I highly suggest you check it out if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about…

Affiliate marketing is something that’s made me a bit of extra cash online for the last couple of years.  Essentially, you’re making a few bucks here and there off of sales you send to companies online.  You can do it occasionally like I do here, sending you over to Amazon to check out products I’ve used and enjoyed, or you can be a total sleaze bag like a lot of people who give affiliate marketing a bad name.  They’re out there misleading people left and right, pushing junk on them and using sketchy to make sales.

The truth is though, it’s not easy to make money traveling, but affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn an income.  Ask Nick, who I just talked to during his visit to Machu Picchu, or many others who are location independent.

Check out Traffic and Trust. You can get the first chapter free and I’m sure you’ll quickly see that this is an incredible guide.

By the way, it’s on sale for about 33% off until February 8th, so check it out ASAP.

12 Hours in Paris – What to do on a long layover?

What should you do if you’re stuck in an airport for half a day? Well, firstly, let’s dispel the myth about whether you can or can’t leave an airport during a layover. The rules are that unless you’re jumping from one plane straight onto another, all airports will allow you to leave their premises between flights.

With this in mind, so long as you’ve got enough time to play with, there’s nothing to stop you heading out and enjoying some sights and sounds that don’t involve duty free shops and ‘last calls’.

Visitors with a long layover in Paris (the city has two international airports – Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly) have an added incentive to get out of the terminal and explore. On your doorstep is one of the world’s most visually stunning and culturally captivating urban metropolises.

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How to Easily Pack Clothes in Your Backpack

Packing your clothes in your backpack may not sound like the most challenging thing in the world to do, but ask anyone who’s done it and undoubtedly they’ll admit it’s one of those things that’s harder than you would think.

For the last couple of years I followed the methods on the OneBag site which worked OK, but not perfectly. The bundle method promoted over there is certainly effective, but I found that in a backpack, your bundle of clothes shifted around and made a mess of things.

I’m getting ready for another trip to Morocco and during a trip to my local REI I came across the Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder.  I had walked by them before and passed them as nothing more than a gimmick, but after one too many trips with my clothes stretching out because I packed them too tight, I decided to give it a shot.  It had great reviews online and was on sale for about $20. Score an REI coupon code for further savings on this pack and other great finds.

I’m hooked.

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Big Bad Quito

“You’ll get robbed” they said.
“Quito is a hell hole full of mugs, low life’s and degenerates.”
“You’ll be lucky to leave with both kidneys intact, let alone your laptop.”

Everyone seems to have an opinion about Quito, and it’s generally not pleasant. ‘The most dangerous place in South America’ had been bandied about while I was in Ecuador, and based on what I had heard, I was pleasantly surprised to get out alive.

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Digital Nomad Lifestyle – Can you work & travel?

It’s 7:30am and the town of Boquete, Panama is just starting to wake up. But there I am, first up in the hostel, sitting with my MacBook Pro on my lap in the open-air dining area. I’m enjoying the refreshing breeze coming through the walkway, but more importantly I’m writing a client back in the states who has no idea I’m in Central America on a what I call a semi-holiday.

I had been wanting to visit Panama for a while but this trip was designed to be equal parts enjoyment and work. A test, of sorts.

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The Benefits of Travel Clothing

Something I avoided for far too long was purchasing any clothing marketed for “travel.” I found it quite silly that a shirt or pair of pants could benefit my comfort while traveling and laughed when I looked at the prices of most of them at the local outdoors store.

With every trip I started to realize how uncomfortable I was though, whether it was sitting on a plane for several hours in jeans or stretching out a cotton t-shirt while wearing my backpack.

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Your Path to Earning Serious Airline Miles & Free Travel

Frequent Flyer MasterHopefully you’re familiar with super-traveler & blogger extraordinaire Chris Guillebeau but if not, now’s the time to start.

But this post isn’t just to kiss his butt, it’s to share his great eBook titled Frequent Flyer Master.

I don’t buy many eBooks because I’m one of those stubborn fools who would rather spend 30 hours researching things myself than pay somebody $5 to teach me them in one hour.  Silly, I know but I’m starting to open up to the idea and have purchased a few products like this over the past few months.

Despite thinking I knew all there was to know about mileage programs and reward travel I went ahead and ordered Frequent Flyer Master after reading Chris’ 25,000 mile (one domestic round-trip airline ticket) guarantee.  Earn an extra 25,000 miles after reading it or he’ll gladly refund your money.  That’s a good enough guarantee to me and 25,000 miles is well worth the cost of the program.

Within two months of purchasing it I’m due to receive about 90,000 frequent miles and have only taken one flight (which I ironically didn’t earn any miles on due to my poor attention to booking details).
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