Going on a cruise is the dream of many–us included. So when you do book a cruise, it’s best to research what you can do to really get the most out of your vacation. Today, we share some tips born from our hands-on experience with cruises.

Pack A Change of Clothes in Your Carry On

The first day means that there might be a bit of a delay for your luggage to reach your quarters. So it’s best to have a set of comfortable clothes you can slip into as soon as you reach your cabin. It’s best to pack sandals, shorts, or swimsuits in your carry-on bag so you don’t have to wait to start your much deserved vacation!

Tour the Ship

Most cruises last a week at the minimum, so it’s pretty important to familiarize yourself with your surroundings. It can help give you a clear idea on which bars or eateries you’d want to try. It’s best to start at the top then slowly work your way down. Not only will you be seeing your options, you’ll be getting a workout as well!

Participate in the Muster Drill

Your safety must always be your primary concern. The muster drill provides a wealth of information regarding emergencies and what you can do. Keep the location of the muster station at the foremost of your memory. At the unlikely event of an emergency, this where all guests need to go and this is where you’ll get any aid that you may need.

Avoid the Buffet on the First Day

Trust us on this one. I’m sure the buffet was one of the main things that made you want to book a cruise, right? Well guess what, so did all the other guests. So chances are everyone is going to converge upon the buffet on the first day.

A good alternative is to try out one of the other options you’ve had an eye on. Not only will people be rather thin on the grounds but you may also be able to score good deals for embarkation day!

Book a Sun Deck or a Cabana in advance

These can run out fairly quickly so it’s best to pick a spot and book it right away. Reward yourself with some much needed sunning on a sea day. You’ll also get gorgeous views that you can appreciate at your own leisure when you have a secure spot.

Take oodles of Photos!

It’s best to take a lot of photos while you’re getting to know the ship. That way, you’ll be able to review your photos in the privacy of your cabin or whenever you have downtime. Such photos help to gather your bearings and they’ll always something you can use to look back when you’re done with your cruise.

Take photos that you plan on showing people and the ones that you aren’t. Snap the sights from the deck, the spots on board that you like, take snaps of your cabin and the amenities provided for you.

In case you missed it, the Miss Universe competition wrapped up with Miss France being our new queen. Why do we care about the Miss Universe pageant? It’s because it was held in one of the most tourist friendly countries in the world: The Philippines. Some of our contributors are from that lovely country and they’re more than happy to share their knowledge.

Of all the spots that the contestants were taken to, one in particular captivated our interest. That would be the City of Vigan in Ilocos Sur. A bit of research told us that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site–and for good reason!

Vigan has in its bosom one of the few fully intact Hispanic towns in the Philippines. So today, we’ll be discussing 5 things you can do in Vigan.

1.)  Do some hands-on pottery at Pagburnayan

Now, this isn’t a shop that you go to. It’s actually referring to an entire area where pottery is centered. There are several shops to go to but the two major ones are called Ruby’s Potter and RG Jar Factory. These places boast of their centuries tested techniques and often have people available to live-demo a pottery session for guests.

One of the best things about these places is that there is no entrance fee–instead, donations are appreciated. If you’re going to be staying a while, it’s suggested to take up a beginners class to really get into the subtle nuances of the art of pottery.

2.) Get your dose of local history from the Crisologo Museum and Syquia Mansion

Once a family mansion, the Crisologo home, was turned into a museum dedicated to one Mr. Floro Crisologo. The place houses his many records of exemplary contributions to the Filipino people and its government. It even has the car wherein an botched assassination attempt was done.

The Syquia Mansion was the house of the sixth President of the Philippines: Elpidio Quirino. It’s rich in history and culture. It houses old world architecture and goods that were indicative of how the elite used to live. The house was originally a gift from Quirino’s in-laws. Apparently, back then–it was a normal custom for the parents of the bride to gift the couple with a home. There are so many other things present in the mansion as well. Treated leathers, old stone stoves, giant fermenting pots are all on display for visitors to enjoy. Knowledgeable staff are also on hand to answer any queries and are more than willing to share old legends and stories.

3.) Try your hand at Loom Weaving

Outside of the city proper is Rowilda’s Loom Weaving. One of Vigan’s primary exports, the old technique of loom weaving with unique patterns are kept alive by the indigenous locals. Marvel at the speed in which these artisans turn brightly colored strings into intricate designs.

There are always people on hand on help you give the activity a try. It can look quite intimidating but it can be an enriching activity.

4.) Enjoy the sights of Calle Crisologo

Named as such after Mena Crisologo, a beloved poet and writer. Calle Crisologo is a stretch of avenue that will give you the feeling that you stepped into a different era. Cobblestone streets and a plethora of buildings that fused Philippine and Oriental building design with a touch of colonial European architecture.

5.) Feast upon the delicacies of the local area

If there was anything Vigan was going to be famous for, it would be it’s longganisa. Vigan longganisa is the Filipino take on the Spanish Chorizo or meat sausage. It is famous for its garlicky, spicy, tangy, and at the same time salty taste.

With these being only the tip of the rich cultural iceberg that is Vigan, it is definitely worth the trip!

Hello everyone, it’s time for the start of a new year and a lot of opportunities to travel! We’ve been getting quite a number of questions regarding why travel is good. Travel is more than just going on vacation or on any planned trip. Travel, in its truest sense is to go where you’ve never gone before. You don’t have to even leave your own country to travel. So today, let us lay out a few benefits of travelling that me and my team have experienced personally.

Travelling opens you up

When people are away from their usual surroundings, they tend to be a bit more aware of what’s around them. This is precisely because as the person tries to gather their bearings, they pick up nuances and information that hasn’t been processed before. Sights, smells, sounds, and feelings will feel brand new.

People who travel become more attentive to what’s around them as opposed to something they may see everyday and take for granted. People who travel get a better and stronger grasp of the state of the world and its people. For the disillusioned, seeing first hand the kindness of strangers will reawaken your love for humanity. One of the things that struck me the most as I traveled was how easy it was to make friends. People tend to be more honest when away from their structured and conditioned environment. Opening up to strangers is a lot easier because there is little fear of being judged. That authenticity and realness is like magic, really infectious magic–it passes around quite fast and inspires others to be just as real and open.

You’ll appreciate home a lot more

When I went to Hyderabad last year, I got to see such a stark contrast between my own life and the lives of those who are less fortunate than myself. Life was right before my eyes and I understood then how lucky I was–to have a home, to have the conveniences that are luxuries in other countries. I also got to see the joy others had in their homes and families. It made me really appreciate my home and my family precisely because I was without them at the time.

You’ll understand that your life is a pretty awesome gift

When you travel and experience more of the world, it’s impossible to not feel a sense of gratitude for all the unique and beautiful moments you’ve been able to enjoy and share with others. We’ve all read books and seen movies where characters are filled with regrets about how they didn’t do enough or experience more of life while they were still strong and able. So if you travel, you enrich yourself greatly and spare yourself from latter regret.

When I started travelling, I realized that I had so much going for me despite all the other times I grumbled and felt like I was headed nowhere. All the new sights and people I met added so much to my perspective and I found new and different ways of doing old things that seemed were draining. Taking part in other cultures and lifestyles helped me get a new pair of eyes for looking at my own life. Traveling helped renew my drive and priorities.

So that’s some I’ve listed off the top of my head. I’ll probably expound more on a later post–if you have any questions about travelling, feel free to hit us up via email and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Today, let’s take a look at the top places to visit in the 3rd most populated city in the United States: Chicago. Founded on March 4, 1837, the city of Chicago has remained to be one of the fastest developing cities in the world. With such a distinguished claim, there’s very little doubt that this city houses some sights that must simply be visited.

Shedd Aquarium

Opened to the public on May 30 1930, this aquarium contains over 32,000 animals. It was also known to be the first inland aquarium to hold a permanent saltwater fish collection. There are several permanent attractions and exhibits for visitors to enjoy like: Waters of the World, Amazon Rising, Caribbean Reef, Stingray Touch, Oceanarium, etc.

This institute not only promotes awareness on the lives and dangers faced by sea creatures, it also actively protects the animals with its various conservation efforts.

Navy Pier

This particular site is a 1,010 m pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan. It holds more than 50 acres of parks, gardens, restaurants, theaters, exhibition facilities, etc. It has been noted to be one of the top leisure destinations for both locals and tourists. The most iconic sight on the Navy Pier is the Ferris wheel that stands at a whopping 196 feet tall.

The earlier version of that Ferris wheel was used as a prop in the 2014 movie Divergent. It was slotted for a much needed replacement and was officially replaced May 2016.

Millennium Park

A public park located within the Loop community area of Chicago. This is merely a portion of the 319 acre Grant Park. If getting in-touch with nature and seeing artistic marvels are your things, this place is certainly a must-see for you. Millennium Park is called endearingly by locals as “the front lawn of Chicago”.  It serves as the home of four rather renowned artistic pieces: the Lurie Garden, the Crown Fountain, Cloud Gate, and the Jay Prizker Pavillon.

The park is also the home of The McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink—a multipurpose venue just along the western edge of the park.

Wrigley Field

This place is definitely a treat for the sports lover in you. Wrigley Field is a baseball park that is the home of the Chicago Cubs! Notably known for its ivy-covered brick outfield wall, it’s actually located in a primarily residential area which means living here can cost you a rather pretty penny. The seating capacity of this park is currently at 41, 268. Not only used for baseball, this field has also been used for football—being the home of the Chicago Bears at one point.

The Field Museum

Otherwise known as the Field Museum of Natural History, this location is one of the largest museums in the whole world. Its collections originated from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. One of its permanent exhibitions is the Grainger Hall of Gems which houses a rather large collection of diamonds and gems from several locations worldwide. It famously holds a Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass window and the collection of Chinese Jade artifacts that date up to more than 8,000 years.

Definitely one for the kids and kids at heart, visiting this location will help you catch a glimpse of the famous Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex—the most complete and best-preserved T.Rex fossil to date.

Top 5 Places To Visit In New York City

It is said that a planned visit to New York should be well thought out and planned for so as to make the most of the visit. Having a list of top 5 places to visit in New York City would be a good place to start your planning for your tour in the city of New York.

NYC is known as the big apple because of its rich cultural diversity and vibrancy. That may sound cliché, but a visit to this city will paint the actual picture, one of a city that gets all new and most repeat visitors spoilt for choice with its numerous attractions. With that said, here are the top 5 places that are a must visit when in NYC.

  1. Central Park

Central Park is one of the most iconic spots in the city. No visitor can come to NY and fail to visit this enormous space that has an array of sights and sounds. In fact, the park is so expansive that most it can take nearly a three-day visit to see and enjoy everything that the park has to offer; the issue is knowing where to start. If yours is a short stay in New York and the Central park is among your top choice places to visit, then plan early to know which are the best places to check out at the park. The Great Lawn, the Strawberry Fields, and the Loeb Central Park Boathouse are just some of the famous spots worth checking out.

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the home of the fine art housing the largest fine-art collection in the work. It is a humongous museum with thousands of items and exhibitions on display. MET is yet another place that cannot be covered with only a day’s visit.  For starters, much of what is on display can only be viewed and enjoyed while visitors are on foot, so there is a lot of walking and standing involved. As such, having a nice and comfortable pair of shoes will be a great idea.

  1. Times Square

Time Squares has over the years lost its ability to impress many New Yorkers probably because of the hordes of tourists that frequent the place. But, the square still does get a significant number of locals visiting just to enjoy the various activities taking place around the square on any given day such as the Broadway Shows. If you are not to spend some time and money while at Time Square, you can just as well plan to visit the place and have a chance to mingle with the locals.

  1. Grand Central Terminal

Do not be fooled by the frantic rush of the locals as they rush in and out of the Grand Central Terminal. For the many New Yorkers, there is nothing too “Grand” about it, but the terminal has several surprises for most first time visitors thus making it an interesting place worth a visit. The Celestial mural on the terminal ceiling is an eye-catcher and this is not just a place to catch a train, it has shops and restaurants.

  1. The Statue of Liberty

She stands majestically in the middle of a mass of water and she is a symbol recognized around the world and associated with New York City, she is the Statue of Liberty. If you seek to have a panoramic view of the city and the stretching mass of water, then include a visit to Lady Liberty in your tour plans.