Category Archives: Travel

Your Guide to Some of Germany’s Absolute Best Restaurants

Most people don’t go to Germany to try the food, but once in the country, one’s got to eat. It’s typically within that first bite that visitors realize that “eat all the food” should be on their Germany bucket-list, right between pay respects at the Berlin wall and ogle Cologne Cathedral. German chefs know what they’re doing, and no matter if you go to a hole in the wall outside of town or a Michelin three-star establishment at the base of the Eifel Mountains, you’re bound to try some foods that will make your taste buds shiver with delight. If you’re not sure where to start your food tour, use this guide to get started.

Zum Zwiebel, Thuringia

Like anywhere else in the world, Germanys absolutely best restaurants come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. Zum Zwiebel happens to be one of the smaller, more affordable establishments. However, despite its hole-in-the-wall appearance, this restaurant offers large portions of traditional Thuringian fare. According to recent visitors, the food is absolutely delicious and rivals that of Michelin-rated restaurants.

Ratskeller, München

Ratskeller is one of those restaurants that looks like it SHOULD be pricey because of its vaulted ceilings, stunning murals, and elaborate stained glass windows, but in actuality, it’s on the lower end of the price scale. While not as affordable as Zum Swiebel and other local restaurants, the unique atmosphere more than makes up for the price bump. The dinner menu features typical hearty Bavarian fare, and the full bar boasts a collection of fine wines, beers, and spirits.

Gugelhof, Berlin

If you’re in country on your honeymoon, for an anniversary, or another sort of romantic getaway, you might want to treat your significant other to a dining experience a little more sophisticated than that offered by Zum Swiebel or Ratskeller. Gugelhof offers food at middle-of-the-road prices but of high-class taste. Though the menu is simple and features traditional German fare, each item is full of flavor and each bite more savory than the last. Once the meal is through, you’ll be served a Tarte Flambee, which you won’t think you have it in you to eat but which you’ll devour as easily as you did the main course. As if great food at an affordable price isn’t enough, the atmosphere is cozy, yet upscale and the staff is friendly and attentive.

Vendôme, Bergish Gladbach

Vedôme has made the top 50 restaurants in the WORLD for several years running now, a fact that many attribute to the chef’s creative take on traditional German fare. Dining at Vendôme is truly an experience, one that lasts anywhere between four and six hours, depending on when you go and how many courses are served that night. The food itself is perfection, but the setting is pretty cool too, being that it’s in a castle and all. You read that right—a castle. That said, the deposit for one person alone is more than a family of four typically spends on a meal, so be prepared to shell out some serious dough if you plan on eating at this three-star establishment.

Whether you’re looking for a quick but delicious bite to hold you over until you get to your next destination, a nice, hearty meal for the whole family, or a meal that is also a one of a kind of experience, you can find it all in Germany.

4 Steps for Switching Your Car Insurance Provider

If your car insurance premiums are on the rise while the customer service you receive from your provider is not what it used to be, it may be time to switch your insurance coverage. One recent report indicates that some new car models are affordable to insure, but if you are working with a company that does not strive to find you the best coverage possible, you may lose money elsewhere in your premium. Changing insurance companies can be daunting; however, there are a few steps you can take to find the right services for your budget and needs.

Understand Your Insurance Needs

When you first signed on with your current insurance company, you may have taken their advice about what was required or, if you did not own your car at the time, what your bank or lender required. If you have paid your car off since then, you might want to look into what you change about your policy before you switch carriers.

For example, if the bank required you carry collision insurance as well as basic liability, you may be able to get lower monthly premiums if your car is now paid off. You may also now qualify for certain discounts you could not take advantage of before. Make a list of what you want in a policy before you look for a new provider.

Talk With Your Current Agent

Speaking with your local car insurance agent can be an important step in switching providers because he or she may offer you a variety of policy discounts you were not aware of. In many cases, car insurance companies may have discounts available but drivers usually have to be proactive when it comes to seeking them out. While your current carrier might not be able to offer you bundling or other discounts, having this information can be helpful as you shop around for other services.

Beware of Cancellation Fees

Before you decide to make the switch, it is wise to review your current car insurance policy to ensure you will not be penalized for canceling it. While not all companies charge for this service, others may fine you as much as $50 depending on when you cancel. You may want to reach out to local insurance agents as you shop for a new policy to compare how each company handles cancellations in case you must change services again somewhere in the future.

Cover the Gap

Once you find a new insurance provider, it is important that you cover any gaps in your car insurance as you switch your policy over. Most companies now have phone apps that can provide you with digital proof of insurance until they can mail you physical copies, and you can usually begin a new policy right away. You might want to ask your new provider representative about this detail so you can be sure you are covered completely as you make the switch.

Switching car insurance companies might help you find a more affordable policy and improved customer service. Knowing which steps to take during this process can help you make a confident decision about which carrier will best suit your insurance needs and budget.

3 Benefits of Learning English Regardless of Your Location

English is the most widely used language in the world. It is the official language of 54 countries and the first language of 360 million people. English is also the most commonly studied language in the world. A whopping 20% of the world’s population speaks English. Because it is so popular, learning English has many advantages.

Study Abroad

If you would like to study abroad, you will need to know at least some English. For students who wish to enroll in English-speaking universities, the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam will measure your ability. Students who are serious about their future can take the TOEFL preparation course online. The course outlines what you can expect from the exam and how to best prepare for it, including practice tests and personal guidance.

Job Opportunities

Many employers today have a global presence. Even if you are working for a local company or small shop, they likely have an internet presence. Because of this, it is common for job offerings to require some level of English. This expectation will only continue to grow in the future, so it’s a great idea to get a head start today.

Travel

There is a great, big world out there for you to see. Much of it speaks a different language than you do, but English seems to bind everyone together; at least for the most part. By being able to have basic conversations in English, you will have a more enriched travel experience. You will be able to find attractions and little-known spots by speaking with locals and fellow travelers. You will gain a better understanding and appreciation of the areas you travel to.

There are many more reasons why you will want to continue to focus on your English language development. The world is becoming more and more connected. Geographical borders are becoming less divisive and the ways in which we communicate are becoming more advanced. When you are able to speak the most widely used language in the world, more opportunities become available to you.

Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck with Transport

Everyone knows that transport is one of the biggest expenses when it comes to travel. Getting to and from your destination can cost a lot of money. In fact, even traveling within the same city you’re going to can cost a lot. Fortunately, there are some great tips that can help you save when you’re traveling home for the holidays or setting out on your dream vacation. Keep reading to find out where you can pinch those pennies!

Inner-City Transport

Gone are the days of having to rely on confusing public transport or expensive taxis. There are plenty of apps for driving services nowadays, from cheap and accessible to expensive rides in luxury vehicles. Many of these services even offer ride share capabilities, where you split your fare with someone who is along your route. Though these services can be more costly than taking the bus, some find that the convenience is worth it. Plus, a driving service may be able to take you where the bus system cannot.

Choose Your Rentals Wisely

Sometimes when you are traveling, you may have to rent a vehicle. While renting a car can be a hassle, it is a necessity when you’re traveling long distances or in areas with limited public transit. When renting a vehicle, make sure you do your research. Look for bundle deals, discounts, and other special treats online. Speak with representatives from different companies and see where the best deal is. You may be surprised by the costs you can shave off.

Travel in Groups

Carpooling is often thought of in relation to work commutes, but you can also save money by carpooling during vacation. The average amount of money saved by carpooling can range anywhere from 50 cents to $1 per mile. This can lead to a huge savings if you are planning a road trip. While you want to make sure that your group is comfortable, a smaller vehicle with good gas mileage will help you save even more.

Look for Bargain Airline Tickets

Cheap airline tickets can be a real budget saver. Airlines like Nanak Flights are hopping on board with package deals, special discounts, and many more helpful amenities designed to save you some cash. Nanak Flights is a ticketing authority for over 70 airlines, and they’re able to help you find a ticket to the destination you’re looking for whether it’s local or global. Not only that, but their user-friendly website is responsive, well-organized, and has a clean UI which creates a seamless user experience from ticket purchase to flight.

Try Alternative Travel Methods

When people need to travel a far distance, airplanes are sometimes the only option. However, if you’re going to be going from place to place on one continent, there are many different travel methods available. Take a look at the local transportation options in your area. Some examples include trains, streamliners, overnight buses, and more. Ground services do add additional travel time to your schedule, but you can end up saving hundreds of dollars in some situations.

Plan Your Vacation Out Efficiently

Another way to save big is to keep an eye out for sales, bargains, and discounts. Peak travel times may come with discount packages for those who want to fly. Days like Black Friday will often come with their own discounts, depending on the airline. If you decide to fly or travel during off seasons, you’ll likely find the tickets much cheaper than they would be if you were flying during peak times. All it takes is a little looking around and planning, and you’ll find yourself saving money.

When all of these strategies are combined, you might save much more than you ever thought you could. Plan ahead and search for all the bargains you can, and you’ll be able to budget more of your money for the fun things like gifts, experiences, and more.

Take a Unique Tour of Japan

When people plan their vacations, they often check out tour companies who offer standard tours of popular areas. For example, a popular tour of the city of Boston takes people past all of the important sites associated with the American revolution and the beginnings of the country. Japan has a lot to offer, and there are unique Japan tours that will give you a look at the Land of the Rising Sun that you might not have ever seen before.

Pop Culture Tours

From anime cartoons to popular characters such as the Pokemon monsters, Japan is filled with a wide variety of pop culture references and icons that many Americans are familiar with. Instead of taking a tour of the gardens of Japan, you can go on a tour of all of the places Godzilla destroyed in all of his movies. Many tour companies will even provide you with a customized tour that will introduce your family to the real spots where many Japanese legends were started.

Mystical Tours

Japan is filled with sacred cities and sites that are very important to millions of people around the world. The problem with trying to visit those sites on your own is there are protocols and rules for those sites that you might unknowingly violate. Instead of getting on the bad side of the locals, you can get a guided tour from a professional who will help you to see all of these amazing places without any incidents.

Imperial Japan

Most people from the United States do not know that Japan has a series of older cities that, at one time, were very important to the entire country. As time has gone by, these old Imperial Era cities have transitioned into tourist areas that can sometimes be difficult to find. A professional tour company can not only take you through the historic parts of Japan, but you will also get the stories surrounding those cities. The history of Japan is fascinating, but you could miss it all if you do not take advantage of a professional tour company.

Food Tours

A tour of the gardens of Japan is a colorful way to see the city, but if you get hungry then you could be out of luck. Japan is home to some of the most famous foods in the world, and a visit to Japan without a food tour would almost seem like a crime. Many professional tour companies have tours of places in Japan where you can get food that you have never tasted before, and you can go to places where your favorite Japanese dishes originated. A food tour of Japan is the kind of thing that could change your life forever.

Mountain Tours

The mountains of Japan contain many secrets and traditions that most people from the West have never experienced. The mountains is where the oldest temples still stand, where the most interesting wildlife resides and where some of the most fascinating art still exists. If you are planning on going to Japan, you should also plan on discovering the many secrets of the Japanese mountains. There are more mountains in Japan than Mount Fuji, and there are worlds to discover in those mountains.

Japan is a country with a culture that dates back centuries, and many of the relics of those long gone days still exist. The problem is that your standard tours of Japan include a look at the gardens, sleek cities and large farms that have made Japan so famous. If you really want to see what Japan has to offer, you need to take a customized tour that will take you to places other tours will not.

You will learn about Japanese history, see many sights that most people have not seen and you can even stand in the same spot your favorite anime character stood in during your favorite anime film. There is a world to discover in Japan, and you should look into unique tours that will help you to discover all of this fascinating country.

3 Things to Do After You Buy a Boat So You Can Get Out on the Water ASAP

Owning a boat is a privilege and something that you have likely worked towards for several years. Because of that, it is important that you understand what is involved in owning a boat if you are lucky enough to have one. You need to take the operation and maintenance of your boat very seriously. Many tragedies have occurred on the open water because the person operating the boat did not have the necessary experience or training. Do not put yourself in this situation. Make learning about your boat one of your top priorities. This will ensure the safety of yourself and any passengers that you take on a trip. Here are some of the most important things you need to do if you own a boat.

1. Get a Boater’s License

It is illegal to simply drive your boat around without having the necessary training. A boat requires a license just like a car. You will need to pass various tests to make sure that you have the skills required to maneuver the boat in a safe manner. Failure to get a valid boater’s license is not just a legal issue. It will put everyone on your boat in danger if you make a mistake while you are driving.

2. Take Boater Safety Lessons

Learning how to drive your boat safely is only part of the instruction you will need to have. It is also essential that you take several boater safety lessons. These will teach you how to react if you encounter various emergency situations while you are on the water. You never know when you will need to know these things. The tips that you learn during a boater safety lesson could save your life.

3. Learn About Proper Boat Maintenance

Your boat is a sophisticated machine that needs to be properly maintained in order to ensure that it continues to run properly. Therefore, you would be wise to take some boat maintenance classes so you can avoid any mechanical problems when you are on the water. You should look at boat lifts so you can take your vessel out of the water when you are not using it. Boat maintenance does not only involve the engine. You will also need to know the best ways of cleaning the hull and making sure barnacles do not start to form. A boat maintenance course will be worth the money you pay for it.

Safe Driving Tips: How to Make Sure You Stay Awake and Alert While on the Road

Drowsy driving is dangerous. We all know that you should not be behind the wheel if you are incapable of operating with total alertness. We also know that sometimes we simply have no choice but to be on the road, despite feeling a little sleep deprived. For these occasions, it’s important to know a few tricks for maintaining alertness. These safe driving tips and suggestions will help get you to your destination safely.

Plan ahead. If you know you’ve got to be on the road early in the morning, do what you can to ensure that you have a restful night. By going to bed at a reasonable hour, you can hopefully avoid drive-time drowsiness altogether.

Avoid driving late at night. Your body’s natural rhythms will often cause you feel drowsy between midnight and 6:00 a.m. While roads may be less busy, it’s best not to drive during these peak sleeping hours.

Catch some quick z’s. If you didn’t get adequate rest the night before, try for a quick cat nap before getting behind the wheel. Even 20 minutes of sleep can refresh you enough to drive safely, depending on the distance. Additionally, rest stops can be used for quick naps should you suddenly be overtaken by drowsiness while already on the road.

Bring a buddy. Solitary driving and drowsy driving can be a lethal combination. Having someone in the car with you can keep you engaged and alert; they can also take the wheel should you become too tired to drive.

Caff up. Caffeine momentarily improves energy and alertness. Pull over for a cup of strong coffee or a soda if you are feeling sleepy while behind the wheel. Keep in mind that the effects of caffeine only last a couple of hours, so snag another soda for later or make sure you can arrive at your destination before the inevitable crash hits.

Rock out. Playing some heart-pumping music can have an energizing effect, so turn that radio up or queue up some of your favorite tunes to snap you out of your sleepiness for a bit.

Take your time. Safety is of utmost importance whenever anyone is on the road. Don’t ignore speed limits in order to get where you are going faster. It’s better to take the little bit of extra time you may need in order to arrive at your destination safely.

Don’t drink and drive. This is true any time you are behind the wheel of a car. The side effects of alcohol increase drowsiness, so drinking and driving will make your time on the road that much more dangerous — and possibly even lethal.

Remember that it isn’t just your safety as stake when you decide to get behind the wheel of a car. Heed these safe driving tips to make sure that you are awake and alert while on the road. Don’t risk a trip to the auto repair shop — or worse, the hospital — by driving while impaired by drowsiness.

Projects Abroad Offers Accessible Gap Year Volunteering Options for Anyone

Taking a gap year before embarking onto the next stage of their academic careers is an increasingly popular trend for North American high school graduates. Some, like Malia Obama, are even deferring their college enrollment to do so. With volunteer organization Projects Abroad, a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs, bridging high school and college with a gap year is an option that can still help make a difference around the world for anyone eager to experience it.

Typically, a gap year can take place over a full year, a semester, or even just a month or two spent fulfilling an inner calling before heading back to the classroom. Volunteering abroad is just one meaningful way to spend a gap year, and it’s an option that offers several benefits, says Elizabeth Cauchois, a Program Advisor for Projects Abroad USA.

“Students taking their gap years in developing countries find that their experience as volunteers impacts them significantly. They devote their time, energy, and skills to helping others, learning about cultural exchange firsthand by living and working in local communities, and exploring the world. This gives them a measure of independence and maturity that few other experiences can, and many students feel more confident and prepared for their impending studies. A well-planned gap year can make all the difference.”

Projects Abroad has more than one option for gap year students. Global Gap is a pre-designed gap year volunteering program for a group of students to volunteer together throughout the course of an academic year (eight months). The group travels together to five countries — Ghana, South Africa, Peru, Nepal, and Thailand — to participate in a wide variety of volunteer projects and internships, such as helping local teachers improve their English and learning new classroom management techniques.

Students can also customize their gap year by participating on standard projects of their choice. They can choose exactly what they want to do, where they want to go, how long they want to go for, and when they want to start. This gives gap year students enormous freedom when planning their gap year and their travels can take them across the globe.

“A gap year is accessible to everyone,” Cauchois emphasizes. “We have a number of projects that are available on a budget, but that still offer safety and are well-coordinated. Volunteering abroad is possible on any budget and we are always happy to speak to and advise students who are looking to make their trip a reality.”

A gap year is an experience for anyone, and there are various ways to go about planning a year focused on traveling and volunteering. Learn more about gap year volunteering with Projects Abroad.

5 Reasons to Intern on a Public Health Project

In many of the countries that international volunteer organization Projects Abroad works in, basic primary healthcare infrastructure cannot support the demands of the population. To ease the pressure on these services, it is vital to prevent disease at a community level by providing basic treatments and diagnoses. This, along with improving the overall health of local communities, is a priority of each Public Health Project run by the organization.

Here are the top five reasons to get involved at a Public Health Project.

1. Provide Primary Medical Care Where it is Needed

Accessing medical care and treatment can be difficult for underprivileged communities and at-risk groups. Public Health interns take on an important role in these communities by working with local medical professionals to provide basic care. This can include cleaning and bandaging minor wounds, testing blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and testing for illnesses like malaria. This has an immediate effect on communities — not only do doctors, nurses, and interns treat any immediate symptoms as best they can, they can help people get further medical care at a hospital or clinic if needed.

2. Contribute to Long Term Impact

While local medical staff and interns can provide immediate treatment, Public Health Projects also focus on prevention and causes of illnesses. By educating communities on how to prevent illnesses and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), interns ensure that they have the knowledge to pass on to others and future generations. This is especially important considering the increasing prevalence of conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Public Health interns regularly contribute to health campaigns, such as the larviciding campaign held last year to help prevent the spread of Dengue fever in the Philippines.

3. Enhance Personal Medical Knowledge

Public Health interns learn various practical skills for their resumes during their placements and working alongside local medical professionals also gives interns the opportunity to improve their medical knowledge. Projects Abroad encourages interns to ask questions and take notes every day, particularly when observing illnesses and conditions not usually seen in North America.

4. Experience Cross-Cultural Exchange

One of the main motivations for volunteering and interning abroad is to immerse yourself in the culture where you will be working. Interning on a Public Health Project is a fantastic way to do this. Not only do interns work directly in the community every day, they also live with local host families. Having an understanding and respect for different cultures and mindsets is an extremely valuable skill to have, especially in the healthcare field.

5. Stand Out From the Crowd

Medical school admissions are tough! Participating on a Public Health Project shows that you are prepared to challenge yourself, you are passionate about healthcare, and are committed to helping those in need. Internships also give applicants relevant experience to talk about during interviews.

Projects Abroad offers Public Health Projects in five destinations in the developing world. These programs typically run from one to four weeks or more at any time of the year. Start dates are flexible and participants can choose when they depart and return. The organization also offers Public Health placements for university students over spring break and for high school students during the summer.

About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. The program had its genesis in post-USSR Romania, where students were given the chance to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.

Projects Abroad is a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs with projects in 30 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, and the United States.

For details on volunteering abroad, visit Project Abroad’s website.

How to Enjoy Spring Break When You’re Stuck at Home

As much as you might enjoy jetting off to some exotic destination for spring break, or even just driving down Florida to celebrate, there is always a chance that your plans may not work out. Things come up, people bail, and not everyone has the cash needed to celebrate spring break the way characters do in movies and on television. If you find yourself spending spring break at home with your parents, you can still find ways to enjoy yourself and have a little fun.

Rally Your Old Buddies

Did you make a pact with your high school buddies that you would stay in touch, either through social media or email? If you’re like most college students, you probably found yourself focusing more on your new college friends and less on your old ones. Send out a quick email or group text a few weeks before heading home and arrange a get-together. You can meet for dinner, drinks, go to a movie, or even have a small party at home.

Hit Your Favorite Spots

Depending on where you go to school and how far away it is from home, you may find yourself missing some of your favorite restaurants and other hot spots. Spending spring break at home lets you catch up on all of your favorite places. You can stop by the diner for some home cooked food, hit up your favorite cupcake joint for a few sweet treats, and even grab regional dishes that you won’t find back on campus.

Take a Local Tour

Going home for spring break is your chance to be a tourist in your own hometown. Many people ignore the great museums, parks, and historic sites in their cities. Spending spring break at home is your chance to tour all the places you never saw, and the places you haven’t visited since you were a kid on a field trip. When you come back from school, you’ll see all of those places in a new light. Have fun playing with your dog in the park, touring historical museums, and checking out the artwork produced by local artists.

Find New Treasures

Finding new treasures in an old place might appeal to those who wrote about spring break ideas in the past, like celebrated writer Eloise Lynton did. As long as you have an internet connection, you can read reviews about new attractions that have opened since you moved away. You might find that new antique, thrift, and vintage clothing stores opened downtown, that the movie theater introduced a classic movie night, or that a new playhouse opened. Every time you come back for a visit, you might find something new, unique, and different waiting for you.

Make a To Do List

If you really want to make the most of a spring break spent at home, make a to do list before you leave campus. Your to do list should include things you need to accomplish, as well as some fun things you want to do. Write down all of the assignments you will need to finish for school, add a few books you want to read, and include things you want to do every day, like keeping up with your fitness routine. The more things you have on your list, the less likely it is that you’ll get bored at home.

When you fill your schedule with things to do, you’ll love spending spring break with your family.