Outdoor Adventures In Alaska

Welcome

Alaska sounds cold to most of us. But in the short summer time between June and August Alaska offers almost 24 hours of sunlight. Plenty of time to enjoy an abundance of animals, blooming flours, stunning mountain sceneries while the peaks are covered in snow but the valleys are pleasantly warm. Alaska is an outdoor heaven as there is more wilderness, backcountry trails and mountains to hike you could think of!
Here is my TOP 5 for travelling Alaska:

Overlanding

Bus

You might have heard about the cruise lines that travel to Alaska every year providing hundreds of people at a time an opportunity to see glaciers and mainly sea life with seven course meals. Not your style? Overlanding has become synonymous with places like Africa. But now it’s time that North America with places like Alaska and Western Canada is providing these adventurous and off-the-beaten path style of trips to cater for a different style of travelling.

Camping in the Wilderness

Camping 1

Have you ever slept out under the stars or in a place that everywhere you look has no roads and is surrounded by mountains, rivers and glaciers? This experience should not be missed. The Denali Highway is a perfect launching point for such an adventure! It’s time to venture through the bush and hop over creeks while being carefully watched by the local caribou. Take a boat upstream towards the Maclaren Glacier. This hike leads to a great vantage point to view the Maclaren glacier and eat wild blueberries. The following morning you’ll take a picturesque 2-hour canoe trip casually paddling your way back to a rustic lodge.

Ice Climbing and Glacier Hikes

Ice Climbing

Ever watch one of those films on extreme mountaineering and wondered if you could handle such an adventure? Well, here’s your introduction to the task. Wrangell/St. Elias is largest national park in North America and home to 9 of the 16 highest peaks. Climbing on the Root Glacier is all about technique and fun. Your guide will teach you about the 3-anchor system and the figure-8 knot that will keep you safe. A full day walking the glacier and climbing with your fellow adventurers will allow you to tick off a few boxes on your bucket list.

Sea Kayaking around Icebergs

Kayaking

The fairly casual and moderately strenuous activity of sea kayaking can take you many places other types of craft cannot. With a full day ahead of you, visiting and exploring the massive icebergs of the calving Columbia Glacier is hard to pass up. With a 2-hour wildlife spotting boat ride there and back, you spend the other six hours paddling, photographing, and gawking at the enormity of these turquoise Titanic-sinking pieces of frozen water.

Spotting Wildlife

Grizzly Bear

The animals in Alaska have a quite small window of opportunity to prepare themselves for the upcoming winter. You’ll see a bear eating on hundreds of thousands of berries, a beaver working hard to collect plants and stabilize their dams and lodges, salmon building up their fat reserves, or even an arctic ground squirrel scurrying around collecting nuts and fruit for their den. These animals can be seen on an overland adventure all day and night. Sometimes they’ll even make an appearance at camp to check out what’s for dinner. Well, usually they stay at a safe distance showing respect. If wildlife is something you get excited thinking about sitting in you recliner, then Alaska needs to be on your to do list!

Bio Natalie

Natalie

Left Germany end of 2010 to backpack West Africa. After feeling the freedom of the road applied for a tour leading job and since then has been driving overland trucks from Cairo to Capetown and Rio de Janeiro to Quito. After remodeling an old school bus into an ultimate overland vehicle and starting her on adventure company together with Dave (who she met travelling and working in Africa) Natalie is on the road again: This time to enjoy the beauty and wilderness of Alaska with like-minded people.

If you’d like to join Natalie and Dave visit their website … www.infiniteadv.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/infiniteadv
Twitter: @infiniteadv

Tourist Scams

 Some of the world’s most popular tourist scams (and how to beat them!)

A recent report by the City of London’s Police National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has revealed that holidaymakers are falling victim to £7 million worth of travel scams each year.
Over a 12 month period over 4,500 cases of holiday booking fraud were reported. Whether you’re distracted by pick-pocketers or fooled by bogus websites, there are a number of popular scams that catch out tourists from all over the world.

However, there’s no reason to let this put you off booking or taking a holiday – many of these scams are easily avoidable by being extra vigilant and especially careful with your belongings and surroundings when holiday planning and travelling.

To help you stay in the know, here’s ten of the world’s most popular tourist scams, along with some advice on how to beat them:

A distracting splat

Mustard splat

This popular scam is particularly prevalent in South American countries, but has claimed victims all over the world. A traveller may feel a wet splat on their shoulders, head or back – usually mustard, mayonnaise or some kind of other substance that’s sure to feel sticky and unpleasant. “Concerned” by-passers will offer to help clean you up, potentially relieving you of your bag or valuables at the same time. This is a classic distraction, and similar tactics can involve anything that might suddenly distract you from your bag or pockets.

How to beat the scammers: Try not to get fazed if you find yourself dolloped with sticky goo and politely, but firmly, refuse the help of anyone in the vicinity. Don’t take off your bag until you have moved to a quieter area out of site of the potential scammers. Also, keep money and other valuables tucked away in money wallets under your clothes rather than in your pockets so they cannot be easily reached.

Fake police officers

Fake Police
This trick involves presumed authority figures such as police officers approaching unsuspecting tourists, giving them sudden and unfair fines for small infractions that may not even exist in that country, like stubbing out a cigarette on the street. These figures are often fakes who pocket the cash or, even worse, take tourists details to be used for fraudulent activity later on. Similarly they may pull you over to ‘check’ your car, robbing you in the process.

 

How to beat the scammers: Always ask for identification when approached by these kinds of authority figures. If in doubt, call the local police station to confirm whether they are legitimate.

Closed tourist attractions

Tuk Tuk

Particularly popular with tuk tuk drivers in South East Asia, you may find when asking to visit a certain temple or landmark that your driver will ‘kindly’ inform you that it’s closed that day. Instead, they know of another great tourist spot that you’d like instead. It’s highly likely that this is a scam, which could result in the taxi driver getting a cut of your entry for this other attraction and you missing out on your plans for the day.

How to beat the scammers: Stick to your original plans and don’t let them convince you to go elsewhere – at worst you’ll simply need to make another taxi journey if your tuk tuk driver was being genuine.

Non-existent accommodation

Scams can strike before you’ve even left home – often at the early booking stage of your trip. Websites advertising private accommodation may look legitimate, but many travellers have been left stranded when they’ve arrived at their destination to find out that their holiday home doesn’t even exist. Not only are you left out of pocket for the money you’ve paid, but you also then need to fork out cash for more accommodation.

How to beat the scammers: Make sure to check for reviews when possible – don’t just rely on testimonials on the site. If other consumers have had problems or have been the victim of fraud, then it’s likely they’ll have posted details about their experiences online. Also check that the accommodation provider has the relevant credentials (like being registered with ABTA) to ensure that they’re legitimate.

Wrong cash notes

Dollars scan

This generally tends to take place in taxis, especially at night and often driving from airports to hotels. When it comes to paying, you hand over a note – say a $20 – and the driver takes it from you, before turning around with a smaller note, implying it was the one you originally gave them and that you’d only, in fact, handed over $5. It’s likely that the cabbie simply switched the notes and is preying on jet lagged tourists who are too tired to be sure of what they handed over. You then end up coughing up even more cash to your scammer.

How to beat the scammers: Make sure to say out loud how much you are handing to your taxi driver as you pass it over. If need be, ensure that both you and your driver have seen the note clearly so that there is no confusion.

Careful on the camels

Camels

Visitors to popular tourist attractions like the pyramids can enjoy taking camel rides for the perfect Egyptian experience and ideal photo opportunity. To get up on these impressive beasts, their owners will happily encourage the camel to lie down, but when it comes to getting off the animal again, they won’t let them lie down until you’ve paid over a much higher sum than may have originally been agreed.

How to beat the scammers: Book your camel rides as part of an organised tour to avoid being caught out high and dry.

Gifts from strangers

Your parents may have taught you never to accept gifts from strangers, and that still stands when you’re exploring a tourist destination. Examples of this scam include charming locals placing friendship bracelets on your wrist or souvenir gifts in your hand without your permission and then refusing to leave you alone until you have given them money. If a tourist refuses to pay up, they may get angry or bothersome, causing distress until the weary traveller simply hands over their cash.

How to beat the scammers: Be vigilant with strangers bearing gifts and don’t take anything from them. If they do manage to give you a bracelet or unwanted souvenir, simply ask them to remove it or take the item back before you call the police.

Not enough change

Another popular taxi driver scam is simple but extremely frustrating for visitors, particularly when just arriving at the airport. The driver will wait until you hand over cash to pay and will simply inform you that they don’t have any change to give you back. It’s fairly likely that if they’re taking you from the airport, you will only have larger notes available and they will be able to pocket the difference.

How to beat the scammers: If this happens to you then stand your ground – ask them to change the note in a nearby shop, cafe or even in your hotel.

Gold ring trick

Lost ring

A trick that has been witnessed all over the world, involves a local scammer discovering a ‘gold’ ring or valuable on the floor and sharing their excitement with a nearby tourist. They then offer to sell the ring to the tourist in the hope that the visitor will hope to make money by selling it on elsewhere. Of course the ring turns out to be worthless and the tourist ends up out of pocket.

How to beat the scammers: Here they are just appealing to greed, hoping that you will be looking to make yourself some extra cash. Just walk away and don’t let them convince you otherwise.

Fake airline tickets

Bogus flight tickets account for around one fifth of travel scams1, with flights to West Africa said to be a particular target. Fraudsters often claim to sell tickets on behalf of well-known airlines, but are in fact completely unauthorised. These scammers have been known to target travellers by advertising on social networks like Facebook and then use the consumer’s details to pocket money and even commit identity fraud.

How to beat the scammers: If a cheap fare looks too good to be true, it’s likely that it probably is, particularly when advertised through an unknown third party. Never send money or give your bank details online – if possible always pay on credit card so that you can claim back lost money if necessary.

Find out more

To find out more about travel scams and what to do if you’ve been a victim, check out this guide to avoiding scams when booking a holiday.

Steph Sheehan

 

 

 

 

 

Published by Stephanie Sheehan, a travel expert (and city break fanatic!) at Propellernet.

Beware And Be Careful About This …

We have been getting an increasing number of requests to remove adverts in traveljunkies and we’re not alone. These are often emails with businesslike names claiming to be webmasters and using Gmail, AOL or similar general use email addresses.

The most frequently given reason is that Google are penalising companies that advertise referring to Google’s backlink policy and the effect on Search Engine Optimisation.

Whereas this my be a genuine concern for some businesses it isn’t the case for the majority who use respectable and responsible advertising.
If it were, advertising as we know it would soon disappear.

I’m writing this to alert you to the unscrupulous and possibly illegal actions perpetrated by businesses attempting to impact their competitors and by hackers and scammers being disruptive and destructive.

We recently received an email requesting the removal of a free advert for a backpackers in Australia. When we checked with the company they had not sent the email.

At traveljunkies we have been promoting small businesses with free and paid adverts for 12 years and we only accept requests from authorised representatives of genuine businesses, and we check the website of every request to ensure they are who they say they are.

Therefore we do not accept any request to remove an advert unless it comes directly from the company who placed it and only when sent from the company’s email address, or with the explicit approval of the company if the request comes from an agency or affiliate claiming to represent the company.

As we have no way of checking the validity of every request to delete an advert, I’m sure you will understand why we enforce this rule.

And if you place adverts on your website, free or paid, I recommend you do the same when you receive requests to remove them.

Cliff Chapman
traveljunkies

Nightlife In Stockholm

Stockholm at night

Stockholm at night

Stockholm might be better known for its medieval history, art galleries and famous waterways than its nightlife for now, but this is all set to change in 2014.

The Summerburst electric dance festival has really put Stockholm on the map of best party destinations, rivalling Ibiza, – with past headliners including Avicci, Calvin Harris and David Guetta. As well as festivals, Stockholm attracts big name music acts with recent visitors including Rihanna, Beyonce and Miley Cyrus.

However it’s not all pop music and dance festivals, the foundation of Stockholm’s nightlife is based on a good mix of exclusive VIP nightclubs juxtaposed with relaxed live jazz music clubs and bohemian bars.

Whatever you consider a good night out, Stockholm can provide. The best areas to go out in are Stureplan and Södermalm, two different areas with two very different nightlife styles. Find out which one suits you best below:

Stureplan

Described by the Swedish tourist board as ‘Glamorous Stureplan’, this part of town will really appeal to visitors who want to see how the other half live. As well as designer shops like Versace and Gucci, here you’ll find the most expensive bars and restaurants, which of course are also Stockholm’s most famous.

Laroy, Spy Bar and Sturehof are just some of the more well-known nightlife venues to visit, but there’s plenty to pick from with Stureplan’s extremely dense concentration of bars and nightclubs.
Many of the venues are decadent, with lots of white and purple furnishings and guests who regularly splash out on bottles of champagne.

A number of the clubs, like the posh sushi restaurant East, start as restaurants before transforming into clubs – but forget bar snacks of fries and chicken wings, you’re far more likely to dine on red snapper carpaccio or beef tenderloin sashimi here.

  • Word of advice: If you’re going to do Stureplan’s nightclubs properly get on a guest list. It’s not as hard as it sounds; usually you can sign-up to a guest list online at the club’s website. Although open to the wee small hours, the best clubs reach maximum capacity very quickly, so head there before midnight to make sure you get in before they fill up.

Best of Stureplan

Spy Bar

Spy Bar

Spy Bar

  • Although it now attracts Stockholm’s fashionistas, hipsters and anyone working in media, Spy Bar used to be reserved for just B-list celebrities and wannabe stars.
  • The door policy can still be tough however, and although the bar really gets going between 3-5am, it’s worth getting there before 1am to increase your chances of making it past security. But once you’re in, the long queue (and pricey drinks) don’t seem to matter – the decadent rooms, beautiful locals and visitors and excellent music make it all seem worthwhile.

Sturecompagniet

  • Stockholm’s largest nightclub is also one of the city’s oldest, giving it a legendary status. With four halls over two storeys, there are different music themes in each room with an elaborate interior of period ceilings, marble and carved roses. Sign up to the online guest list to increase your chances of getting in.

The Wall at V

  • A club within a club, you can only access The Wall by going through Sturecompagniet to get to the V Club. The Wall is the al fresco courtyard within the V Club, complete with its own conservatory style bar. The secret location makes the club very alluring to those with enough swagger to try their luck at getting in.

Södermalm

Forget pretentious staff and unforgiving bouncers, Södermalm is Stockholm’s more inclusive part of town. The bars here are all about the music and prefer to focus on creating their own niche style rather than creating a contrived VIP scene.

Pet Sounds Bar

  • Ran by Pet Sounds Records you can rely on this bar for top class music and guest DJs. With Rock history inspired cocktails and a restaurant serving up decent food at reasonable prices, Pet Sounds provides the whole package for a solid night out without any self-important attitudes.

Snotty Sounds Bar

  • Don’t be put off by the name, Snotty is another bar that’s all about the music. Specialising in loud indie rock, (both in music and décor) Snotty is popular with locals and visitors alike as a relaxed hangout during the week and attracting larger crowds over the weekend.

Debaser Medis

  • THE venue for live music in Södermalm, Debaser Medis spreads over three floors with live gigs, DJs and clubs. A laid-back atmosphere, choice of restaurant and bars and brilliant live performers all contribute to make this a must-visit club in Stockholm mid-week or at the weekend.

Jazz Bars

Glenn miller Cafe

Glenn Miller Café

Glenn Miller Café

Stockholm has a really strong live jazz scene, with a number of high and low profile clubs and cafes all over Stockholm.
The Glenn Miller Café is Stockholm’s most highly rated jazz café, with a 1930’s eastern European feel and a hideaway location in a very central part of the city.
The café has a loyal, local crowd and is always busy yet still very welcoming to visiting music lovers. Guests can enjoy a drink or make a reservation for dinner and the café boasts a live music program practically every day of the week.
See more jazz bars and reviews in Stockholm here.

Find out more

As well as this short snapshot of Stockholm’s nightlife, find out more about Stockholm’s restaurants, hotels and museums with these videos from London City airport.

Guest post by Stephanie Sheehan
Propellernet.co.uk

A Place In The Sun

 

A Place in the Sun Live takes place at Olympia London on 28th-30th March 2014. It’s the official exhibition of the hit overseas property TV show and is the perfect place to find your holiday home, investment property or retirement pad abroad.

The Hub at A Place in the Sun Live

There’s a world of overseas property information under one roof including;

Over 150 property agents and developers selling thousands of properties

Homes of all kinds from just £20,000 to over £1 million

Specialist zones for FranceFlorida, Italy and Portugal with free specific buying advice

Free advice seminar and Q&A sessions with experts from across the industry

Exclusive show offers and discounts

Expert currency, tax and legal advice

Free copy of the latest issue of A Place in the Sun magazine

Meet A Place in the Sun’s TV presenters Laura HamiltonJasmine HarmanJonnie Irwin and Amanda Lamb


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Some of the highlights at A Place in the Sun Live

The Top 5 European Beer Festivals 2014

Beer is not just a drink but is a beverage that is central to the culture of many European countries. Beer festivals give the visitor the chance to enjoy good company, rousing music, local food and, of course, beer. Festivals take place throughout the year and provide the perfect opportunity for a city break holiday. So why not pack a bag, make sure your passport and insurance are in order, and visit one or more of the following:

Photo: evocateur
Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/evocateur/5912108245/

Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany

The Oktoberfest is, quite simply, the world’s oldest and largest beer festival. It takes place in Munich every autumn and is visited by up to five million people. The Oktoberfest is a celebration of Bavarian culture and gives the visitor a chance to enjoy traditional music, hearty food and to sample the region’s fantastic range of beers. The festival this year takes place between 20 September and 5 October.

Prague Beer Festival, Czech Republic

The Czechs are Europe’s top beer drinkers in terms of quantity consumed. They also claim to produce the finest beers in Europe. The Prague beer festival provides a good opportunity to check out this claim and to visit one of Europe’s most beautiful capital cities into the bargain. This year’s festival takes place from 5 to 31 May..

Stuttgart Beer Festival, Germany

Stuttgart is one of Germany’s most elegant cities and is home to the country’s second largest beer festival. The festival this year commences on 26 September and lasts 17 days. It is more than just a beer festival but is a celebration of the abundant fruit harvest that autumn brings to this beautiful part of Germany.

Essen Christmas Beer Festival, Belgium

Without doubt, Belgium is home to the world’s biggest range of beers. The Belgians produce a great variety of styles of beer, including some that use fruits and spices. As visitors will discover, every Belgian beer is served in its own special glass. The Essen Festival is a Christmas beer festival and takes place this year on 15 and 16 December in the small town of Essen near the Dutch border. Many of Belgium’s beers are made by Trappist monks in accordance with traditional recipes. Some of these brews are very strong and are guaranteed to provide a little inner warmth on a cold December day.

Great British Beer Festival, London

Much closer to home, but well worth a visit, the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) takes place in London every August. It has established itself as one of Europe’s top beer festivals and takes place this year on 12 to 16 August. The festival is held at Olympia and the organisers describe it as ‘Britain’s biggest pub’ with 800 real ales being served as well as a range of ciders and foreign beers. As well as beer, up to 50,000 visitors a day are able to enjoy a variety of foods and musical entertainment. The GBBF is the perfect centrepiece to a weekend or midweek break in London.
Tickets go on sale in April/May

Cliff
traveljunkies

Why People Buy From You

Or rather – Why they don’t

Why

It’s mainly because most of the time we’ve got it wrong.

  • Why did the Wright brothers beat the competition for man-powered flight?
  • Why did a quarter of a million people turn up to Martin Luther King’s speech?
  • Why is Apple so innovative?

An insightful look at why some things succeed and others fail, and it’s nothing to do with function, features, benefits or price.

There’s one simple explanation. See it here >>

Cliff Chapman
www.traveljunkies.com