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Edinburgh Voted Top City in the UK in Conde Nast Readers’ Travel Awards

The Conde Nast magazine portfolio is one of the most prestigious collections of household names, including, Vogue, Vanity Fair, and GQ. Its travel magazine, the Conde Nast Traveller, rates some of the most luxurious and esteemed holiday destinations and accommodations in the world, the results of which culminate in the annual awards events such as the Readers’ Travel Awards.

This year, Turkey came out on top as the overall winner, followed closely by Egypt and Australia in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. In the UK category however, it was Edinburgh which beat off tough competition from London and Liverpool to claim the award for best UK city.

The scoring system is based on “an index of satisfaction with travel facilities and services, scored out of a maximum of 100.” Edinburgh received extremely high marks across the board, most notably in areas such as aesthetics and architecture (93.72), as well as user-friendliness (90.46).

Edinburgh has improved on last year’s performance, when it came 2nd in the same competition. The accolade is not the first time the city has been recognised for its superior visitor experience; in 2008, the capital was named as one of the world’s top 10 cities by travel magazine Wanderlust, and has been voted as the UK’s favourite city break by Guardian/Observer readers for 10 years running.

The only other Scottish city to appear in the top 10 was Glasgow, coming in at number 5. Within top 15 UK business hotel category, the only non-London hotel in the winning bunch was The Balmoral in Edinburgh, a further testament to the esteem in which this glorious city is held.

With a veritable mix of cultural, culinary, and visual splendour, the city’s art galleries, top drawer restaurants, vibrant night-life, and luxury hotels in Edinburgh city centre, it is no wonder it appeals to so many cross sections of society.

The current Edinburgh marketing campaign, ‘This is My Edinburgh’, features a real-life mix of Edinburgh residents and their perspective of their home-town. With the release of the Conde Nast Readers Travel Awards, they have one more aspect to be proud of.

Travel The Majestic Canadian Rockies In Luxury

Each major mountain range of the world is known for its scenic splendor and the Canadian Rockies are no exception. The Canadian Rockies are a must-see location for travelers who enjoy the majesty of mountain ranges or for anyone who desires to be counted among the well-traveled world explorers. For over 125 years, savvy travelers have taken advantage of the superior opportunities to view the panoramic scenery of the Canadian Rockies through luxury train excursions.

The historic trains of Royal Canadian Pacific (RCP) offer a luxury travel experience like no other. At the 2006 World Travel Awards ceremony RCP won the “World’s Leading Luxury Train” award, winning over such notable train experiences such as the famed European Orient Express and The Blue Train of South Africa. RCP guests can be assured of five-star luxury service in an intimate atmosphere as only 32 guests are on board each rail excursion. Chartered individual tours can be arranged for the ultimate in privacy and service.

The fully restored railcars hail from the 1920′s, the era of luxury travel of such notable society names as Rockefeller, Carnegie, Churchill and the British Royal Family. Wealthy individuals traveled to the famed lodge on Lake Louise to spend the summer season in the cool natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies. Travelers seeking the best in luxury travel can relive the elegant lifestyle of the pre-war American and British elite, admiring the unchanged scenery of this majestic part of the world.

The Royal Canadian Pacific train originates in Calgary in the province of Alberta. The tour package includes limousine service between the airport, hotel and train locations as well as gourmet dining experiences in Calgary before and after the tour. RCP provides first-class amenities and service from beginning to end.

Another well-known train service to the highlights of the Canadian Rockies, the Rocky Mountaineer, travels between Vancouver, British Columbia on the west coast, to Calgary with stops at the popular tourist destinations of Whistler, British Columbia, and Jasper or Banff in Alberta. Travelers originating or terminating at Vancouver can easily extend their scenic experience with an Alaskan cruise which includes whale watching and spectacular views of Alaska’s famed glaciers.

The Rocky Mountaineer takes a 2-day journey to the national parks at Jasper and Banff and features glass domed bi-level rail cars. Travelers enjoy the panoramic views from the second storey. Gold Leaf Service provides seated first-class dining en-route. Overnight accommodations and dinner are provided at a moderate hotel. While not the award-winning luxury trip of RCP, the Rocky Mountaineer provides an alternate means of reaching the famed tourist spots of the Canadian Rockies from the west coast of Canada.

A knowledgeable travel consultant can combine the train trip with a stay at a luxury resort nestled in the pristine forests of the Canadian Rockies. There are any number of modern first-class premier resorts that provide tourists with upscale accommodations and service nestled in the stunning forests near the numerous clear lakes of the area. Anyone seeking an eco-friendly luxury travel experience in a peaceful and private spot in the world need look no further than a Canadian Rockies adventure.

London Named World Destination of the Year at the World Travel Awards

Considerably, on the fifth consecutive occasion, London has been chosen as the ‘World’s Leading Destination’ at the high-prestige ‘World Travel Awards (WTA)’. Although there was a stiff competition between the world’s so-called top-notch hospitable cities including New York, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town and Sydney, the British capital amazingly bagged the award at the end. London’s accolade follows the last month’s phenomenal news that Britain is the world’s fourth most admired country, lagging behind the USA, Germany and France.

In the beginning of the year, tourist arrivals in the metropolis rose to 27 million, thanks to a few prominent events, which saw an influx of international tourists as well as to the excitement builds before the 2012 Olympics. In addition, the capital boasts arrays of world class tourist venues which spellbind visitors all around the year. Not to forget, Christmas which every year sees flocks of people from all around struggling to find accommodation in jam-packed London.

World Travel Awards is the biggest and the most prestigious awards programme in the world of travel industry. WTA rummages around excellence across every sector of the international travel and tourism industry and picks out only the elites from the widespread industry. Also known as “The Oscars of the Travel Industry “, the World Travel Awards is the supreme travel accolade. From last 17 years, WTA is constantly in action to elevate the standards of customer service and the travel industry’s overall performance.

After a substantial year-long hunt, the World Travel Awards settled on their award winners and honoured all the frontrunners in the capital’s Grosvenor House hotel in the spectacular Grand Final Ceremony. A few hotel groups having UK properties including the InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, JW Marriott, Holiday Inn Express, von Essen and Ritz Carlton were also awarded at the programme.

Without doubt, the World Travel Awards has escalated London’s prominence in the world travel and tourism industry by honouring it yet again. Even if the capital has owned numerous influential awards so far, this award has its unique importance.

Holidays and Travelling With Kids

One of the most exciting things that a parent can do for their child is to give them new experiences. Buying them new gifts may seem exciting at first but in the long run, it is the experiences and the memories of travelling with them to new places that they will cherish forever. Even in adulthood, it is easier for a person to relate to a memorable excursion or a trip that they took many years ago. Children are easily excitable about learning new things and going to new places therefore it is important to ensure that you create an amazing experience for your child.

While it may be a carefree vacation for the kids, it is not entirely the same case for the parents. There are a great deal of logistics to be considered well in advance to ensure that the kids not only have a great experience but that they are also safe and well catered for in case of any emergencies. Some service providers also have specific rules regarding kids of certain age groups therefore it is best to be well prepared for the possible scenarios. This article seeks to highlight the important factors to consider and will also provide some handy tips that will assist you achieve the above.

One of the most important things that parents forget to do is to think about the vacation from a child’s perspective. As an adult, you may have experienced and ‘seen it all’ therefore it is easy to assume the same about your kids. This however is not the best approach. Take your time and let the children soak in the experience at their own pace. Instead of rushing to complete a ‘bucket list’, take enough time at every single stop to ensure that the child has a rich and wholesome experience.

Children of different age groups require different levels of preparation and care. For example if you are travelling with toddlers, you are required to think entirely on their behalf. This is involves choosing a destination to visit, means of transport to be used, what/how much supplies to carry, the kind of accommodation to select among other things. Take time to map out every single step of the vacation so as to avoid having any loop holes in your plan. Young children often get hungry and messy so be sure to carry lots of extra resources such as food, diapers, clothes, paper towels and such amenities. As much as one may be tempted to ‘wing it’ as may have been the case before becoming parents, remember that it is easier for adults to cope with a change in plan, compared to kids who require extra care. Make sure to contact all service providers you intend to use during your trip to avoid disappointments which are often based on assumptions.

Pre-teens and teens should be more involved in the trip’s logistics. To cultivate a sense of responsibility, you can assign easy tasks to them. Some kids tend to zone out if they feel bored or disengaged. To avoid this, keep them involved for example by tasking them with entertainment (singing and telling stories), taking photographs among other exercises that they can use to cultivate a skill or learn something new. In conclusion, every once in a while try and seek the child’s opinion perhaps on activities they would like to do or food they would like to eat in order to remind them that you value their opinion.

Finding Money for Travel – 3 Steps to Get You on the Road Fast

Some people live paycheck to paycheck. I live trip to trip.

The world calls my name, and I love it. Places I’ve never been, exotic places with unpronounceable names. Water so clear you can see the shadow of the boat, rippling on the sand at the bottom of the sea. An ancient walled castle, crumbling on a craggy hill. Bustling cities flashing in the night or forested roads wandering deep into nowhere… I want them all. I want to breathe the air, walk the paths, meet the people, and eat the food.

Unfortunately, that all takes money. And since I have a limited budget, getting money together for the next adventure is always on my mind.

Here are 3 steps that get me on the road. Use them to fast track your next journey outward.

1. Make it real.

When your heart connects, your travel changes from being a vague “someday, somewhere” into being a real part of your actual future. Suddenly this trip is urgent, pressing. It’s part of what you need to do, to be who you really are. And it’s do-able!

So make it real. Create a Pinterest page, develop a favorites folder, keep items of interest. Think specifics. What time of year would you want to go? Rainy season or dry? Any festivals you want to see? How much of the language can you learn before you go? Cover a poster board with pictures from the places that interest you, travel quotes that interest you. Work on an itinerary, research any dangers. Compare hotels, apartments and hostels. Put a local news site on your toolbar.

Immersion begins now.

2. Get real with money.

You need a realistic financial goal – not one that will leave you stranded or one that will scare you off.

Every trip has three basic money requirements: getting there, staying there, and living there. “Getting there” is usually the biggest expense, but even if you fly, you can often get better deals if you stay focused. The internet is full of good resources for cheap airfares. You can fly into a European hub city on an international carrier, for instance, and then take a low-cost airline to nearby countries. Play with it!

“Sleeping there” can be a huge expense, or it can be cheap, even free, depending on your choices. Willing to work for your room? Stay in hostels, or in an old convent with nuns? You can do it. You just have to do the research.

“Living there” is the cost of your daily life expenses, as you live somewhere else. Eating is part of living there, along with admissions, tips and side trips. Nights out for drinks, buses and rental cars are all part of living there. Explore local sources for in-country trips. They’re often less expensive and more interesting simply because they’re less “Americanized”. Live like a local in an apartment and cook some meals at home. Grocery shopping can be an adventure in another culture!

3. Make friends with your savings.

The money you save is not “money I don’t get to spend.” It’s “the trip I’m getting ready to take.” It’s for you. Own it.

Name your trip – “Bali for New Years”, for instance, or “Eastern Europe with Jack and Ellie”. Make a spreadsheet, or better yet, get an actual ledger or a notebook, and put colored tabs on it. Keep track of your savings in your ledger. When you enter an amount, record it in one of your three basic categories – getting there, sleeping there, or living there. You may want to designate a little for each area, each time you save, or finish one and start on the next – that’s my usual system.

The big amount you put in first, directly from your paycheck – that could be transportation money. The money you make from overtime, or pick up from babysitting for your neighbor’s kid on a Saturday – that could be one night in the over-water bungalow. When you stay home and eat cereal instead of going out with friends, and put the money into your account – that’s dinner on the beach.

To encourage yourself even more, recognize how much you’re saved as you go along. Basic airfare – check. Between country hops – check. Hotel in Singapore – check. Hostel in Bali – check. Romantic dinner on the beach – check. You get the idea.

Naming things helps you remember what really matters. You may want a new car. You may want to go to Vegas with the wedding party. Or out for mid-week dinner and drinks – every week. And those are good things. But you probably can’t do all of them, and still go on that fabulous trip.

You get to decide. If it’s between dinner out tonight or vague travel sometime, we’ll probably choose going out tonight. But if it’s between dinner out tonight, and hitting my hotel goal tonight when I put that $25 into my trip savings, I may very well decide to stay home and eat cereal!

Planning for your favorite things, learning about your new place, seeing your resources build – it’s an exciting part of the trip. And before you know it, you’ll be off to live your adventure in a whole new place.

Dr. Deborah Kukal is a licensed psychologist with a broad sense of her home in the world. She is Board Certified in Health Psychology, and she writes on health, sleep, spirituality and meditation, as well as life enrichment, travel and current events.